On Friday, September 23, we were at Chou Chou and camped in a picturesque little temple on the outskirts of the town. As the last stage was only six hours we spent half the morning in taking moving pictures of the caravan and left for Ta-li at eleven-thirty after an early tiffin.

About two o'clock in the afternoon we reached Hsia-kuan, a large commercial town at the lower end of the lake. Its population largely consists of merchants and it is by all means the most important business place of interior Yuen-nan; Ta-li, eight miles away, is the residence and official city.

At Hsia-kuan we called upon the salt commissioner, Mr. Lui, to whom Mr. Bode, the salt inspector at Yuen-nan Fu, had very kindly telegraphed money for my account, and after the usual tea and cigarettes we went on to Ta-li Fu over a perfectly level paved road, which was so slippery that it was well-nigh impossible for either horse or man to move over it faster than a walk.

This was the hottest day of our experience in Northern Yuen-nan, the thermometer registering 85 deg.+ in the shade, which is the usual mid-summer temperature, but the moment the sun dropped behind the mountains it was cool enough for one to enjoy a fire. Even in the winter it is never very cold and its delightful summer should make Northern Yuen-nan a wonderful health resort for the residents of fever-stricken Burma and Tonking.

We rode toward Ta-li with the beautiful lake on our right hand and on the other the Ts'ang Shan mountains which rise to a height of fourteen thousand feet. As we approached the city we could see dimly outlined against the foothills the slender shafts of three ancient pagodas. They were erected to the feng-shui, the spirits of the "earth, wind, and water," and for fifteen hundred years have stood guard over the stone graves which, in countless thousands, are spread along the foot of the mountains like a vast gray blanket. In the late afternoon sunlight the walls of the city seemed to recede before us and the picturesque gate loomed shadowy and unreal even when we passed through its gloomy arch and clattered up the stone-paved street.

We soon discovered the residence of Mr. H.G. Evans, agent of the British American Tobacco Company, to whose care our first caravan had been consigned, and he very hospitably invited us to remain with him while we were in Ta-li Fu. This was only the beginning of Mr. Evans' assistance to the Expedition, for he acted as its banker throughout our stay in Yuen-nan, cashing checks and transferring money for us whenever we needed funds.

The British American Tobacco Company and the Standard Oil Company of New York are veritable "oases in the desert" for travelers because their agencies are found in the most out-of-the-way spots in Asia and their employees are always ready to extend the cordial hospitality of the East to wandering foreigners.

Besides Mr. Evans the white residents of Ta-li Fu include the Reverend William J. Hanna, his wife and two other ladies, all of the China Inland Mission. Mr. Hanna is doing a really splendid work, especially along educational and medical lines. He has built a beautiful little chapel, a large school, and a dispensary in connection with his house, where he and his wife are occupied every morning treating the minor ills of the natives, Christian and heathen alike.

Ta-li Fu was the scene of tremendous slaughter at the time of the Mohammedan war, when the Chinese captured the city through the treachery of its commander and turned the streets to rivers of blood. The Mohammedans were almost exterminated, and the ruined stone walls testify to the completeness of the Chinese devastation.

The mandarin at Ta-li Fu was good-natured but dissipated and corrupt. He called upon us the evening of our arrival and almost immediately asked if we had any shotgun cartridges. He remarked that he had a gun but no shells, and as we did not offer to give him any he continued to hint broadly at every opportunity.

The mandarins of lower rank often buy their posts and depend upon what they can make in "squeeze" from the natives of their district for reimbursement and a profit on their investment. In almost every case which is brought to them for adjustment the decision is withheld until the magistrate has learned which of the parties is prepared to offer the highest price for a settlement in his favor. The Chinese peasant, accepting this as the established custom, pays the bribe without a murmur if it is not too exorbitant and, in fact, would be exceedingly surprised if "justice" were dispensed in any other way.

My personal relations with the various mandarins whom I was constantly required to visit officially were always of the pleasantest and I was treated with great courtesy. It was apparent wherever we were in China that there was a total lack of antiforeign feeling in both the peasant and official classes and except for the brigands, who are beyond the law, undoubtedly white men can travel in perfect safety anywhere in the republic. Before my first official visit Wu gave me a lesson in etiquette. The Chinese are exceedingly punctilious and it is necessary to conform to their standards of politeness for they do not realize, or accept in excuse, the fact that Western customs differ from their own.

At the end of the reception room in every yamen is a raised platform on which the visitor sits at the left hand of the mandarin; it would be exceedingly rude for a magistrate to seat the caller on his right hand. Tea is always served immediately but is not supposed to be tasted until the official does so himself; the cup must then be lifted to the lips with both hands. Usually when the magistrate sips his tea it is a sign that the interview is ended. When leaving, the mandarin follows his visitor to the doorway of the outer court, while the latter continually bows and protests asking him not to come so far.

Ta-li Fu and Hsia-kuan are important fur markets and we spent some time investigating the shops. One important find was the panda ( Aelurus fulgens). The panda is an aberrant member of the raccoon family but looks rather like a fox; in fact the Chinese call it the "fire fox" because of its beautiful, red fur. Pandas were supposed to be exceedingly rare and we could hardly believe it possible when we saw dozens of coats made from their skins hanging in the fur shops.

Skins of the huge red-brown flying squirrel, Petaruista yunnanensis, were also used for clothing and the abundance of this animal was almost as great a surprise as the finding of the pandas. This is often true in the case of supposedly rare species. A few specimens may be obtained from the extreme limits of its range, or from a locality where it really is rare, and for years it may be almost unique in museum collections but eventually the proper locality may be visited and the animals found to be abundant.

We saw several skins of the beautiful cat (Felis temmicki) which, with the snow leopard (Felis uncia), it was said came from Tibet. Civets, bears, foxes, and small cats were being used extensively for furs and pangolins could be purchased in the medicine shops. The scales of the pangolin are considered to be of great value in the treatment of certain diseases and the skins are usually sold by the pound as are the horns of deer, wapiti, gorals, and serows.

Almost all of the fossil animals which have been obtained in China by foreigners have been purchased in apothecary shops. If a Chinaman discovers a fossil bed he guards it zealously for it represents an actual gold mine to him. The bones are ground into a fine powder, mixed with an acid, and a phosphate obtained which in reality has a certain value as a tonic. When a considerable amount of faith and Chinese superstition is added its efficacy assumes double proportions.

Every year a few tiger skins find their way to Hsia-kuan from the southern part of the province along the Tonking border, but the good ones are quickly sold at prices varying from twenty-five to fifty dollars (Mexican). Ten dollars is the usual price for leopard skins.

Marco Polo visited Ta-li Fu in the thirteenth century and, among other things, he speaks of the fine horses from this part of the province. We were surprised to find that the animals are considerably larger and more heavily built than those of Yuen-nan Fu and appear to be better in every way. A good riding horse can be purchased for seventy-five dollars (Mexican) but mules are worth about one hundred and fifty dollars because they are considered better pack animals.

On the advice of men who had traveled much in the interior of Yuen-nan we hired our caravan and riding animals instead of buying them outright, and subsequent experience showed the wisdom of this course. Saddle ponies, which are used only for short trips about the city, cannot endure continual traveling over the execrable roads of the interior where often it is impossible to feed them properly. If an entire caravan were purchased the leader of the expedition would have unceasing trouble with the mafus to insure even ordinary care of the animals, an opportunity would be given for endless "squeeze" in the purchase of food, and there are other reasons too numerous to mention why in this province the plan is impracticable.

However, the caravan ponies do try one's patience to the limit. They are trained only to follow a leader, and if one happens to be behind another horse it is well-nigh impossible to persuade it to pass. Beat or kick the beast as one will, it only backs up or crowds closely to the horse in front. On the first day out Heller, who was on a particularly bad animal, when trying to pass one of us began to cavort about like a circus rider, prancing from side to side and backward but never going forward. We shouted that we would wait for him to go on but he replied helplessly, "I can't, this horse isn't under my management," and we found very soon that our animals were not under our management either!

In a town near Ta-li Fu we were in front of the caravan with Wu and Heller: Wu stopped to buy a basket of mushrooms but his horse refused to move ahead. Beat as he would, the animal only backed in a circle, ours followed, and in a few moments we were packed together so tightly that it was impossible even to dismount. There we sat, helpless, to the huge delight of the villagers until rescued by a mafu. As soon as he led Wu's horse forward the others proceeded as quietly as lambs.

We paid forty cents (Mexican) a day for each animal while traveling, and fifteen or twenty cents when in camp, but the rate varies somewhat in different parts of the province, and in the west and south, along the Burma border fifty cents is the usual price. When a caravan is engaged the necessary mafus are included and they buy food for themselves and beans and hay for the animals.

Ever since leaving Yuen-nan Fu the cook we engaged at Paik-hoi had been a source of combined irritation and amusement. He was a lanky, effeminate gentleman who never before had ridden a horse, and who was physically and mentally unable to adapt himself to camp life. After five months in the field he appeared to be as helpless when the caravan camped for the night as when we first started, and he would stand vacantly staring until someone directed him what to do. But he was a good cook, when he wished to exert himself, and had the great asset of knowing a considerable amount of English. While we were in Ta-li Fu Mr. Evans overheard him relating his experiences on the road to several of the other servants. "Of course," said the cook, "it is a fine way to see the country, but the riding! My goodness, that's awful! After the third day I didn't know whether to go on or turn back - I was so sore I couldn't sit down even on a chair to say nothing of a horse!"

He had evidently fully made up his mind not to "see the country" that way for the day after we left Ta-li Fu en route to the Tibetan frontier he became violently ill. Although we could find nothing the matter with him he made such a good case for himself that we believed he really was quite sick and treated him accordingly. The following morning, however, he sullenly refused to proceed, and we realized that his illness was of the mind rather than the body. As he had accepted two months' salary in advance and had already sent it to his wife in Paik-hoi, we were in a position to use a certain amount of forceful persuasion which entirely accomplished its object and illness did not trouble him thereafter.

The loss of a cook is a serious matter to a large expedition. Good meals and varied food must be provided if the personnel is to work at its highest efficiency and cooking requires a vast amount of thought and time. In Yuen-nan natives who can cook foreign food are by no means easy to find and when our Paik-hoi gentleman finally left us upon our return to Ta-li Fu we were fortunate in obtaining an exceedingly competent man to take his place through the good offices of Mr. Hanna.