Prince Yuri Lubovedsky
After long discussions among ourselves we decided to plan our crossing of the Gobi Desert so as to pass through that region where, according to the many indications just mentioned, the city buried beneath the sands should be. There we intended to carry out some exploratory excavations under the direction of old Professor Skridlov, who was a great specialist in this field. And in accordance with this plan we mapped out our route.
Although this region was not near any of the more or less known routes across the Gobi Desert, not only did we all, holding to our already long-established principle never to follow the beaten track, treat lightly all the difficulties before us, but there even arose in each of us a feeling somewhat like elation. When this feeling subsided, we set ourselves to work out the details of our plan, and then all the extreme difficulties of our project became apparent, and to such an extent that the question actually arose whether it were possible to carry it out at all.
The trouble was that this journey, by the route we had planned, would be very long and impossible to accomplish by ordinary means. The greatest difficulty lay in providing ourselves with sufficient water and provisions, as even by the most modest calculations the quantity would have to be so great that to carry such a burden ourselves was in no way feasible. At the same time, it was out of the question to use pack-animals for this purpose, as we could not count on a single blade of grass or drop of water on the way. We could not even be sure of passing a small oasis on our route.
In spite of all this we did not give up our plan, but, having pondered over the question, we decided by common agreement that we should not undertake anything for the time being but that for one month each of us should concentrate all his thought on finding some way out of this hopeless situation; and each was to be provided with the means of doing whatever he pleased and going wherever he wished.
Professor Skridlov, as our senior member and the most respected among us, was entrusted with the direction of this affair, and, among other things, he was in charge of our common treasury. When everyone had received from him a certain sum of money, some left the village, while others settled down there, each according to his plan.