On August 6, we dispatched half our equipment to Ta-li Fu, and three days later we ourselves left Yuen-nan Fu at eleven o'clock in the morning after an interminable wait for our caravan. Through the kindness of Mr. Page, a house boat was put at our disposal and we sailed across the upper end of the beautiful lake which lies just outside the city, and intercepted the caravan twenty-five li [Footnote: A li in this province equals one-third of an English mile.] from Yuen-nan Fu.

On the way we passed a number of cormorant fishers, each with ten or a dozen birds sitting quietly upon the boat with outspread wings drying their feathers. Every bird has a ring about its neck, and is thus prevented from swallowing the fish which it catches by diving into the water.

After waiting an hour for our caravan we saw the long train of mules and horses winding up the hill toward us. There were seventeen altogether, and in the midst of them rode the cook clinging desperately with both hands to a diminutive mule, his long legs dangling and a look of utter wretchedness upon his face. Just before the caravan reached us it began to rain, and the cook laboriously pulled on a suit of yellow oilskins which we had purchased for him in Yuen-nan Fu. These, together with a huge yellow hat, completed a picture which made us roar with laughter; Heller gave the caption for it when he shouted, "Here comes the 'Yellow Peril.'"

We surveyed the tiny horses with dismay. As Heller vainly tried to get his girth tight enough to keep the saddle from sliding over the animal's tail he exclaimed, "Is this a horse or a squirrel I'm trying to ride?" But it was not so bad when we finally climbed aboard and found that we did not crush the little brutes.

A seventy-pound box on each side of the saddle with a few odds and ends on top made a pack of at least one hundred and sixty pounds. This is heavy even for a large animal and for these tiny mules seemed an impossibility, but it is the usual weight, and the businesslike way in which they moved off showed that they were not overloaded.

The Yuen-nan pack saddle is a remarkably ingenious arrangement. The load is strapped with a rawhide to a double A-shaped frame which fits loosely over a second saddle on the animal's back and is held in place by its own weight. If a mule falls the pack comes off and, moreover, it can be easily removed if the road is bad or whenever a stop is made. It has the great disadvantage, however, of giving the horses serious back sores which receive but scanty attention from the mafus (muleteers).

When we were fairly started upon our long ride to Ta-li Fu the time slipped by in a succession of delightful days. Since this was the main caravan route the mafus had regular stages beyond which they would not go. If we did not stop for luncheon the march could be ended early in the afternoon and we could settle ourselves for the night in a temple which always proved a veritable "haven of rest" after a long day in the saddle. A few pages from my wife's "Journal" of September fifteenth describes our camp at Lu-ho-we and our life on the road to Ta-li Fu.

    We are sitting on the porch of an old, old temple. It is on a hilltop
    in a forest grove with the gray-walled town lying at our feet. The sun
    is flooding the flower-filled courtyard and throwing bars of golden
    light through the twisted branches of a bent old pine, over the stone
    well, and into the dim recesses behind the altar where a benevolent
    idol grins down upon us.

    We have been in the saddle for eight hours and it is enchanting to rest
    in this peaceful, aged temple. Outside children are shouting and
    laughing but all is quiet here save for the drip of water in the well,
    and the chatter of a magpie on the pine tree. Today we made the stage
    in one long march and now we can rest and browse among our books or
    wander with a gun along the cool, tree-shaded paths.

    The sun is hot at midday, although the mornings and evenings are cold,
    and tonight we shall build a fragrant fire of yellow pine, and talk for
    an hour before we go to sleep upon the porch where we can see the moon
    come up and the stars shining so low that they seem like tiny lanterns
    in the sky.

    It is seven days since we left Yuen-nan Fu and each night we have come
    to temples such as this. There is an inexpressible charm about them,
    lying asleep, as it were, among the trees of their courtyards, with
    stately, pillared porches, and picturesque gables upturned to the sky.
    They seem so very, very old and filled with such great calm and peace.

    Sometimes they stand in the midst of a populous town and we ride
    through long streets between dirty houses, swarming with ragged women,
    filthy men, and screaming children; suddenly we come to the dilapidated
    entrance of our temple, pass through a courtyard, close the huge gates
    and are in another world.

    We leave early every morning and the boys are up long before dawn. As
    we sleepily open our eyes we see their dark figures silhouetted against
    the brilliant camp fire, hear the yawns of the mafus and the
    contented crunching of the mules as they chew their beans.

    Wu appears with a lantern and calls out the hour and before we have
    fully dressed the odor of coffee has found its way to the remotest
    corner of the temple, and a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and oatmeal is
    awaiting on the folding table spread with a clean white cloth. While we
    are eating, the beds are packed, and the loads retied, accompanied by a
    running fire of exhortations to the mafus who cause us endless

    They are a hard lot, these mafus. Force seems to be the only thing
    they understand and kindness produces no results. If the march is long
    and we stop for tiffin it is well-nigh impossible to get them started
    within three hours without the aid of threats. Once after a long halt
    when all seemed ready, we rode ahead only to wait by the roadside for
    hours before the caravan arrived. As soon as we were out of sight they
    had begun to shoe their mules and that night we did not make our stage
    until long after dark.

    In the morning when we see the first loads actually on the horses we
    ride off at the head of the caravan followed by a straggling line of
    mules and horses picking their way over the jagged stones of the road.
    It is delightful in the early morning for the air is fresh and brisk
    like that of October at home, but later in the day when the sun is
    higher it is uncomfortably hot, and we are glad to find a bit of shade
    where we can rest until the caravan arrives.

    The roads are execrable. The Chinese have a proverb which says: "A road
    is good for ten years and bad for ten thousand," and this applies most
    excellently to those of Yuen-nan. The main caravan highways are paved
    with huge stones to make them passable during the rainy season, but
    after a few years' wear the blocks become broken and irregular, the
    earth is washed from between them and they are upturned at impossible
    angles. The result is a chaotic mass which by no stretch of imagination
    can be called a road. Where the stones are still in place they have
    been worn to such glasslike smoothness by the thousands of passing
    mules that it is well-nigh impossible to walk upon them. As a result a
    caravan avoids the paving whenever it can find a path and sometimes
    dozens of deeply-cut trails wind over the hills beside the road.

    We are seldom on level ground, for ten per cent of the entire province
    is mountainous and we soon lost count of the ranges which we crossed.
    It is slow, hard work, toiling up the steep mountain-sides, but once on
    the ridges where the country is spread out below us like a great, green
    relief map, there is a wonderful exhilaration, and we climb higher with
    a joyous sense of freedom.

    Yuen-nan means "south of the cloud" and every morning the peaks about us
    are shrouded in fog. Sometimes the veil-like mists still float about
    the mountain tops when we climb into them, and we are suddenly
    enveloped in a wet gray blanket which sends us shivering into the coats
    tied to our saddles.

For centuries this road has been one of the main trade arteries through the province, and with the total lack of conservation ideas so characteristic of the Chinese, every available bit of natural forest has been cut away. As a result the mountains are desert wastes of sandstone alternating with grass-covered hills sometimes clothed with groves of pines or spruces. These trees have all been planted, and ere they have reached a height of fifteen or twenty feet will yield to the insistent demand for wood which is ever present with the Chinese.

The ignorance of the need of forest conservation is an illuminating commentary on Chinese education. Mr. William Hanna, a missionary of Ta-li Fu, told us that one day he was riding over this same road with a Chinese gentleman, a deep scholar, who was considered one of the best educated men of the province. Pointing to the barren hills washed clean of soil and deeply worn by countless floods, Mr. Hanna remarked that all this could have been prevented, and that instead of a rocky waste there might have been a fertile hillside, had the trees been left to grow.

The Chinese scholar listened in amazement to facts which every western schoolboy has learned ere he is twelve years old, but of which he was ignorant because they are not a part of Confucius' teachings. To study modern science is considered a waste of time by the orthodox Chinese for "everything good must be old," and all his life he delves into the past utterly neglectful of the present.

Every valley along the road was green with rice fields and this, together with the deforestation of the mountains, is responsible for the almost total lack of animal life. Night after night we set traps about our temple camps only to find them untouched in the morning. There were no mammals with the exception of a few red-bellied squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus sub sp.) and now and then a tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis).

The latter is an interesting species. Although it is an Insectivore, and a relative of the tiny shrews which live in holes and under logs, it has squirrel-like habits and in appearance is like a squirrel to which it is totally unrelated. Instead of the thinly haired mouselike tails of the ordinary shrews the tupaias have developed long bushy tails and in fact look and act so much like squirrels that it is difficult to convince the white residents of Yuen-nan, who are accustomed to see them run about the hedges and walls of their courtyards that the two are quite unrelated.

The tree shrews are found only in Asia and are one of the most remarkable instances of a superficial resemblance between unrelated animals with similar habits. A study of their anatomy has revealed the fact that they represent a distinct group which is connected with the monkeys (lemurs).

Although birds were fairly abundant the species were not varied. We were about a month too early for the ducks and geese, which during the winter swarm into Yuen-nan from the north, and without a dog, pheasants are difficult to get. In fact we were greatly disappointed in the game birds, for we had expected good pheasant shooting even along the road and virtually none were to be found.

The main caravan roads of Yuen-nan held little of interest for us as naturalists, but as students of native customs they were fascinating, for the life of the province passed before us in panoramic completeness. Chinese villages wherever we have seen them are marvels of utter and abandoned filth and although those of Yuen-nan are no exception to the rule, they are considerably better than the coast cities.

Pigs, chickens, horses and cows live in happy communion with the human inmates of the houses, the pigs especially being treated as we favor dogs at home. On the door steps children play with the swine, patting and pounding them, and one of my friends said that he had actually seen a mother bring her baby to be nursed by a sow with her family of piglets.

The natives were pleasant and friendly and seemed to be industrious. Wherever the deforestation had left sufficient soil on the lower hillsides patches of corn took the place of the former poppy fields for opium. In 1906, the Empress Dowager issued an edict prohibiting the growing of opium, and gave guarantees to the British that it would be entirely stamped out during the next ten years. Strangely enough these promises have been faithfully kept, and in Yuen-nan the hillsides, which were once white with poppy blossoms, are now yellow with corn. In all our 2000 miles of riding over unfrequented trails and in the most out-of-the-way spots we found only one instance where opium was being cultivated.

The mandarin of each district accompanied by a guard of soldiers makes periodical excursions during the seasons when the poppy is in blossom, cuts down the plants if any are found, and punishes the owners. China deserves the greatest credit for so successfully dealing with a question which affects such a large part of her four hundred millions of people and which presents such unusual difficulties because of its economic importance.

Just across the frontier in Burma, opium is grown freely and much is smuggled into Yuen-nan. Therefore its use has by no means been abandoned, especially in the south of the province, and in some towns it is smoked openly in the tea houses. In August, 1916, just before we reached Yuen-nan Fu there was an expose of opium smuggling which throws an illuminating side light on the corruption of some Chinese officials.

Opium can be purchased in Yuen-nan Fu for two dollars (Mexican) an ounce, while in Shanghai it is worth ten dollars (Mexican). Tang (the Military Governor), the Minister of Justice, the Governor's brother and three members of Parliament had collected six hundred pounds of opium which they undertook to transfer to Shanghai.

Their request that no examination of their baggage be made by the French during their passage through Tonking was granted, and a similar favor was procured for them at Shanghai. Thus the sixty cases were safely landed, but a few hours later, through the opium combine, foreign detectives learned of the smuggling and the boxes were seized.

The Minister of Justice denied all knowledge of the opium, as did the three Parliament members, and Governor Tang was not interrogated as that would be quite contrary to the laws of Chinese etiquette; however, he will not receive reappointment when his official term expires.

As we neared Ta-li Fu, and indeed along the entire road, we were amazed at the prevalence of goitre. At a conservative estimate two out of every five persons were suffering from the disease, some having two, or even three, globules of uneven size hanging from their throats. In one village six out of seven adults were affected, but apparently children under twelve or fourteen years are free from it as we saw no evidences in either sex. Probably the disease is in a large measure due to the drinking water, for it is most prevalent in the limestone regions and seems to be somewhat localized.

Every day we passed "chairs," or as we named them, "mountain schooners," in each of which a fat Chinaman sprawled while two or four sweating coolies bore him up hill. The chair is rigged between a pair of long bamboo poles and consists of two sticks swung by ropes on which is piled a heap of bedding. Overhead a light bamboo frame supports a piece of yellow oilcloth, which completely shuts in the occupant, except from the front and rear.

The Chinese consider it undignified to walk, or even to ride, and if one is about to make an official visit nothing less than a four-man chair is required. Haste is just as much tabooed in the "front families" as physical exertion, and is utterly incomprehensible to the Chinese. Major Davies says that while he was in Tonking before the railroad to Yuen-nan Fu had been constructed, M. Doumer, the Governor-General of French Indo-China, who was a very energetic man, rode to Yuen-nan Fu in an extraordinarily short time. While the Europeans greatly admired his feat, the Chinese believed he must be in some difficulty from which only the immediate assistance of the Viceroy of Yuen-nan could extricate him.

In Yuen-nan it is necessary to carry one's own bedding for the inns supply nothing but food, and consequently when a Chinaman rides from one city to another he piles a great heap of blankets on his horse's back and climbs on top with his legs astride the animal's neck in front. The horses are trained to a rapid trot instead of a gallop, and I know of no more ridiculous sight than a Chinaman bouncing along a road on the summit of a veritable mountain of bedding with his arms waving and streamers flying in every direction. He is assisted in keeping his balance by broad brass stirrups in which he usually hooks his heels and guides his horse by means of a rawhide bridle decorated with dozens of bangles which make a comforting jingle whenever he moves.

On the sixth day out when approaching the city of Chu-hsuing Fu we took a short cut through the fields leaving the caravan to follow the main road. The trail brought us to a river about forty feet wide spanned by a bridge made from two narrow planks, with a wide median fissure. We led our horses across without trouble and Heller started to follow. He had reached the center of the bridge when his horse shied at the hole, jumped to one side, hung suspended on his belly for a moment, and toppled off into the water.

The performance had all happened behind Heller's back and when he turned about in time to see his horse diving into the river, he stood looking down at him with a most ludicrous expression of surprise and disgust, while the animal climbed out and began to graze as quietly as though nothing had happened.

Chu-hsuing was interesting as being the home of Miss Cordelia Morgan, a niece of Senator Morgan of Virginia. We found her to be a most charming and determined young woman who had established a mission station in the city under considerable difficulties. The mandarin and other officials by no means wished to have a foreign lady, alone and unattended, settle down among them and become a responsibility which might cause them endless trouble, and although she had rented a house before she arrived, the owner refused to allow her to move in.

She could get no assistance from the mandarin and was forced to live for two months in a dirty Chinese inn, swarming with vermin, until they realized that she was determined not to be driven away. She eventually obtained a house and while she considers herself comfortable, I doubt if others would care to share her life unless they had an equal amount of determination and enthusiasm.

At that time she had not placed her work under the charge of a mission board and was carrying it on independently. Until our arrival she had seen but one white person in a year and a half, was living entirely upon Chinese food, and had tasted no butter or milk in months.

We had a delightful dinner with Miss Morgan and the next morning as our caravan wound down the long hill past her house she stood at the window to wave good-by. She kept her head behind the curtains, and doubtless if we could have seen her face we would have found tears upon it, for the evening with another woman of her kind had brought to her a breath of the old life which she had resolutely forsaken and which so seldom penetrated to her self-appointed exile.

On our ninth day from Yuen-nan Fu we had a welcome bit of excitement. We were climbing a long mountain trail to a pass over eight thousand feet high and were near the summit when a boy dashed breathlessly up to the caravan, jabbering wildly in Chinese. It required fifteen minutes of questioning before we finally learned that bandits had attacked a big caravan less than a mile ahead of us and were even then ransacking the loads.

He said that there were two hundred and fifty of them and that they had killed two mafus; almost immediately a second gesticulating Chinaman appeared and gave the number as three hundred and fifty and the dead as five. Allowing for the universal habit of exaggeration we felt quite sure that there were not more than fifty, and subsequently learned that forty was the correct number and that no one had been killed.

Our caravan was in a bad place to resist an attack but we got out our rifles and made for a village at the top of the pass. There were not more than a half dozen mud houses and in the narrow street between them perfect bedlam reigned. Several small caravans had halted to wait for us, and men, horses, loads, and chairs were packed and jammed together so tightly that it seemed impossible ever to extricate them. Our arrival added to the confusion, but leaving the mafus to scream and chatter among themselves, we scouted ahead to learn the true condition of affairs.

Almost within sight we found the caravan which had been robbed. Paper and cloth were strewn about, loads overturned, and loose mules wandered over the hillside. The frightened mafus were straggling back and told us that about forty bandits had suddenly surrounded the caravan, shooting and brandishing long knives. Instantly the mafus had run for their lives leaving the brigands to rifle the packs unmolested. The goods chiefly belonged to the retiring mandarin of Li-chiang, and included some five thousand dollars worth of jade and gold dust, all of which was taken.

Yuen-nan, like most of the outlying provinces of China, is infested with brigands who make traveling very unsafe. There are, of course, organized bands of robbers at all times, but these have been greatly augmented since the rebellion by dismissed soldiers or deserters who have taken to brigandage as the easiest means to avoid starvation.

The Chinese Government is totally unable to cope with the situation and makes only half-hearted attempts to punish even the most flagrant robberies, so that unguarded caravans carrying valuable material which arrive at their destination unmolested consider themselves very lucky.

So far as our expedition was concerned we did not feel great apprehension for it was generally known that we carried but little money and our equipment, except for guns, could not readily be disposed of. Throughout the entire expedition we paid our mafus and servants a part of their wages in advance when they were engaged, and arranged to have money sent by the mandarins or the British American Tobacco Co., to some large town which would be reached after several months. There the balance on salaries was paid and we carried with us only enough money for our daily needs.

Before we left Yuen-nan Fu we were assured by the Foreign Office that we would be furnished with a guard of soldiers - an honor few foreigners escape! The first day out we had four, all armed with umbrellas! These accompanied us to the first camp where they delivered their official message to the yamen and intrusted us to the care of others for our next day's journey.

Sometimes they were equipped with guns of the vintage of 1872, but their cartridges were seldom of the same caliber as the rifles and in most cases the ubiquitous umbrella was their only weapon. Just what good they would be in a real attack it is difficult to imagine, except to divert attention by breaking the speed limits in running away.

Several times in the morning we believed we had escaped them but they always turned up in an hour or two. They were not so much a nuisance as an expense, for custom requires that each be paid twenty cents (Mexican) a day both going and returning. They are of some use in lending an official aspect to an expedition and in requisitioning anything which may be needed; also they act as an insurance policy, for if a caravan is robbed a claim can be entered against the government, whereas if the escort is refused the traveler has no redress.

It is amusing and often irritating to see the cavalier way in which these men treat other caravans or the peasants along the road. Waving their arms and shouting oaths they shoo horses, mules or chairs out of the way regardless of the confusion into which the approaching caravan may be thrown. They must also be closely watched for they are none too honest and are prone to rely upon the moral support of foreigners to take whatever they wish without the formality of payment.

We were especially careful to respect the property on which we camped and to be just in all our dealings with the natives, but it was sometimes difficult to prevent the mafus or soldiers from tearing down fences for firewood or committing similar depredations. Wherever such acts were discovered we made suitable payment and punished the offenders by deducting a part of their wages. Foreigners cannot respect too carefully the rights of the peasants, for upon their conduct rests the reception which will be accorded to all others who follow in their footsteps.