The Russian trap is set

Leaving the Manchuria warlord Chang Tso-lin, Marguerite Harrison traveled to Peking, where donkey carts, rickshaws, and an occasional automobile kicked up the dust of wide city streets.

She spent a month there socializing with Americans, Russians, and Chinese. It now was mid-October 1922 and she knew it was unlikely she would to return to the United States in time to start a lecture tour scheduled to begin in November. Rather than making preparations to travel home, she began to solidify plans to enter Russia.

She applied to the Russian Embassy in Peking for a visa, making no effort to hide her previous imprisonment and expulsion. Several Russian officials assured her the government would grant her visa request.  Her plan was to travel to Chita in the Far Eastern Republic to await word on her application.

Again, Marguerite chose an arduous route to her destination. Rather than traveling by train from Peking to Chita, she decided to pass through the Mongolian capital, Urga. She had no visa for Mongolia, so she journeyed to the Chinese city of Kalgan, 125 miles northwest of Peking, where she hoped to find a car to take her to Urga. She would need to find a car to take her to Verkhne-Udinsk, where she could catch the Trans-Siberian Railway to Chita.

Street life in Peking
Street life in Peking, 1921. Courtesy of New York Public Library.

She did not know she was walking into a trap.

On October 9, Genrikh Yagoda, head of the Foreign Office of the GPU, ordered Chita officials to arrest her as soon as she arrived

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