During the eight days in which we remained at the "Good Hope" camp, two hundred specimens comprising twenty-one species were added to our collection. Although the altitude was still 5,000 feet, the flora was quite unlike that of any region in which we had previously collected, and that undoubtedly was responsible for the complete change of fauna. We were on the very edge of the tropical belt which stretches along the Tonking and Burma frontiers in the extreme south and west of the province.

It was already mid-February and if we were to work in the fever-stricken valleys below 2,000 feet, it was high time we were on the way southward. The information which we had obtained near Gen-kang had been supplemented by the natives of Mu-cheng, and we decided to go to Meng-ting as soon as possible.

The first march was long and uneventful but at its end, from the summit of a high ridge, we could see a wide valley which we reached in the early morning of the second day. The narrow mountain trail abruptly left us on a jutting promontory and wandered uncertainly down a steep ravine to lose itself in a veritable forest of tree ferns and sword grass. The slanting rays of the sun drew long golden paths into the mysterious depths of the mist-filled valley. To the right a giant sentinel peak of granite rose gaunt and naked from out the enveloping sea of green which swelled away to the left in huge ascending billows.

We rested in our saddles until the faint tinkle of the bell on the leading mule announced the approach of the caravan and then we picked our way slowly down the steep trail between walls of tangled vegetation. In an hour we were breathing the moist warm air of the tropics and riding across a wide valley as level as a floor. The long stretches of rank grass, far higher than our heads, were broken by groves of feathery bamboos, banana palms, and splendid trees interlaced with tangled vines.

Near the base of the mountains a Shan village nestled into the grass. The bamboo houses, sheltered by trees and bushes, were roofed in the shape of an overturned boat with thatch and the single street was wide and clean. Could this really be China? Verily, it was a different China from that we had seen before! It might be Burma, India, Java, but never China!

Before the door of a tiny house sat a woman spinning. A real Priscilla, somewhat strange in dress to be sure and with a mouth streaked with betel nut, but Priscilla just the same. And in his proper place beside her stood John Alden. A pair of loose, baggy trousers, hitched far up over one leg to show the intricate tattoo designs beneath, a short coat, and a white turban completed John's attire, but he grasped a gun almost as ancient in design as that of his Pilgrim fathers. Priscilla kept her eyes upon the spinning wheel, but John's gaze could by no stretch of imagination be called ardent even before we appeared around a corner of the house and the pretty picture resolved into its rightful components - a surprised, but not unlovely Shan girl and a well-built, yellow-skinned native who stared with wide brown eyes and open mouth at what must have seemed to him the fancy of a disordered brain.

For into his village, filled with immemorial peace and quiet, where every day was exactly like the day before, had suddenly ridden two big men with white skins and blue eyes, and a little one with lots of hair beneath a broad sun helmet. And almost immediately the little one had jumped from the horse and pointed a black box with a shiny front at him and his Priscilla. At once, but without loss of dignity, Priscilla vanished into the house, but John Alden stood his ground, for a beautiful new tin can had been thrust into his hand and before he had really discovered what it was the little person had smiled at him and turned her attention to the charming street of his village. There the great water buffalos lazily chewed their cuds standing guard over the tiny brown-skinned natives who played trustingly with the calves almost beneath their feet.

Such was our invasion of the first Shan village we had ever seen, and regretfully we rode away across the plain between the walls of waving grass toward the Nam-ting River. Two canoes, each dug out of a single log, and tightly bound together, formed the ferry, but the packs were soon across the muddy stream and the mules were made to swim to the other bank. Shortly after leaving the ferry we emerged from the vast stretches of rank grass on to the open rice paddys which stretched away in a gently undulating plain from the river to the mountains. Strangely enough we saw no ducks or geese, but three great flocks of cranes (probably Grus communis) rose from the fields and wheeled in ever-widening spirals above our heads until they were lost in the blue depths of the sky.

Away in the distance we saw a wooded knoll with a few wisps of smoke curling above its summit, but not until we were well-nigh there did we realize that its beautiful trees sheltered the thatched roofs of Meng-ting. But this was only the "residential section" of the village and below the knoll on the opposite side of a shallow stream lay the shops and markets.

We camped on a dry rice dyke where a fringe of jungle separated us from the nearest house. As soon as the tents were up I announced our coming to the mandarin and requested an interview at five o'clock. Wu and I found the yamen to be a large well-built house, delightfully cool and exhibiting several foreign articles which evinced its proximity to Burma.

We were received by a suave Chinese "secretary" who shortly introduced the mandarin - a young Shan not more than twenty years old who only recently had succeeded his late father as chief of the village. The boy was dressed in an exceedingly long frock coat, rather green and frayed about the elbows, which in combination with his otherwise typical native dress gave him a most extraordinary appearance.

We soon discovered that the Chinese secretary who did all the talking was the "power behind the throne." He accepted my gift of a package of tea with great pleasure, but the information about hunting localities for which we asked was not forthcoming. He first said that he knew of a place where there were tiger and leopard, but that he did not dare to reveal it to us for we might be killed by the wild animals and he would be responsible for our deaths; bringing to his attention the fact that tigers had never been recorded from the Meng-ting region did not impress him in the slightest.

It did tend to send him off on another track, however, and he next remarked that if he sent us to a place where the hunting was disappointing we probably would report him to the district mandarin. Assurances to the contrary had no effect. It was perfectly evident that he wished only to get us out of his district and thus relieve himself of the responsibility of our safety. During the conversation, which lasted more than an hour, the young Shan was not consulted and did not speak a word; he sat stolidly in his chair, hardly winking, and except for the constant supply of cigarettes which passed between his fingers there was no evidence that he even breathed.

The interview closed with assurances from the Chinaman that he would make inquiries concerning hunting grounds and communicate with us in the morning. We returned to camp and half an hour later a party of natives arrived from the yamen bearing about one hundred pounds of rice, a sack of potatoes, two dozen eggs, three chickens, and a great bundle of fire wood. These were deposited in front of our tent as gifts from the mandarin.

We were at a loss to account for such generosity until Wu explained that whenever a high official visited a village it was customary for the mandarin to supply his entire party with food during their stay. It would be quite polite to send back all except a few articles, however, for the supplies were levied from the inhabitants of the town. We kept the eggs and chickens, giving the yamen "runners" considerably more than their value in money, and they gratefully returned with the rice and potatoes.

On the hill high above our camp was a large Shan Buddhist monastery, bamboo walled and thatched with straw, and at sunset and daybreak a musical chant of childish voices floated down to us in the mist-filled valley. All day long tiny yellow-robed figures squatted on the mud walls about the temple like a flock of birds peering at us with bright round eyes. They were wild as hawks, these little priests and, although they sometimes left the shelter of their temple walls, they never ventured below the bushy hedge about our rice field.

In the village we saw them often, wandering about the streets or sitting in yellow groups beneath the giant trees which threw a welcome shade over almost every house. They were not all children, and finely built youths or men so old that they seemed like wrinkled bits of lemon peel, passed to and fro to the temple on the hill.

There is no dearth of priests, for every family in the village with male children is required to send at least one boy to live a part of his life under the tutelage of the Church. He must remain three years, and longer, if he wishes. The priests are fed by the monastery, and their clothing is not an important item of expenditure as it consists merely of a straw hat and a yellow robe. They lead a lazy, worthless life, and from their sojourn in religious circles they learn only indolence and idleness.

The day following our arrival in Meng-ting the weekly market was held, and when Wu and I crossed the little stream to the business part of the village, we found ourselves in the midst of the most picturesque crowd of natives it has ever been my fortune to see. It was a group flashing with color, and every individual a study for an artist. There were blue-clad Chinese, Shans with tattooed legs, turbans of pink or white, and Burmans dressed in brilliant purple or green, Las, yellow-skinned Lisos, flat-faced Palaungs, Was, and Kachins in black and red strung about with beads or shells. Long swords hung from the shoulders of those who did not carry a spear or gun, and the hilts of wicked looking daggers peeped from beneath their sashes. Every man carried a weapon ready for instant use.

Nine tribes were present in the market that day and almost as many languages were being spoken. It was a veritable Babel and half the trading was done by signs. The narrow street was choked with goods of every kind spread out upon the ground: fruit, rice, cloth, nails, knives, swords, hats, sandals, skins, horns, baskets, mats, crossbows, arrows, pottery, tea, opium, and scores of other articles for food or household use.

Dozens of natives were arriving and departing, bringing new goods or packing up their purchases; under open, thatched pavilions were silent groups of men gambling with cash or silver, and in the "tea houses" white-faced natives lay stretched upon the couches rolling "pills" of opium and oblivious to the constant stream of passers-by.

It was a picturesque, ever changing group, a kaleidoscopic mass of life and color, where Chinese from civilized Canton drank, and gambled, and smoked with wild natives from the hills or from the depths of fever-stricken jungles.

After one glimpse of the picture in the market I dashed back to camp to bring the "Lady of the Camera." On the way I met her, hot and breathless, half coaxing, half driving three bewildered young priests resplendent in yellow robes. All the morning she had been trying vainly to photograph a priest and had discovered these splendid fellows when all her color plates had been exposed. She might have succeeded in bringing them to camp had I not arrived, but they suddenly lost courage and rushed away with averted faces.

When the plate holders were all reloaded we hurried back to the market followed by two coolies with the cameras. Leaving Yvette to do her work alone I set up the cinematograph. Wu was with me and in less than a minute the narrow space in front of us was packed with a seething mass of natives. It was impossible to take a "street scene" for the "street" had suddenly disappeared. Making a virtue of necessity I focused the camera on the irregular line of heads and swung it back and forth registering a variety of facial expressions which it would be hard to duplicate. For some time it was impossible to bribe the natives to stand even for a moment, but after one or two had conquered their fear and been liberally rewarded, there was a rush for places. Wu asked several of the natives who could speak Chinese if they knew what we were doing but they all shook their heads. None of them had ever seen a camera or a photograph.

The Kachin women were the most picturesque of all the tribes as well as the most difficult to photograph. Yvette was not able to get them at all, and I could do so only by strategy. When Wu discovered two or three squatting near their baskets on the ground I moved slowly up behind them keeping in the center of the crowd. After the "movie camera" was in position Wu suddenly "shooed" back the spectators and before the women realized what was happening they were registered on twenty-five or thirty feet of film.

One of the Kachin men, who had drunk too much, suddenly became belligerent when I pointed the camera in his direction, and rushed at me with a drawn knife. I swung for his jaw with my right fist and he went down in a heap. He was more surprised than hurt, I imagine, but it took all of the fight out of him for he received no sympathy from the spectators.

Poor Yvette had a difficult time with her camera operations and a less determined person would have given up in despair. The natives were so shy and suspicious that it was well-nigh impossible to bribe them to stand for a second and it was only after three hours of aggravating work in the stifling heat and dust that she at last succeeded in exposing all her plates. Her patience and determination were really wonderful and I am quite sure that I should not have obtained half her results.

The Kachin women were extraordinary looking individuals. They were short, and strongly built, with a mop of coarse hair cut straight all around, and thick lips stained with betel nut. Their dress consisted of a short black jacket and skirt reaching to the knees, and ornamented with strings of beads and pieces of brass or silver. This tribe forms the largest part of the population in northern Burma and also extends into Assam. Yuen-nan is fortunate in having comparatively few of them along its western frontier for they are an uncivilized and quarrelsome race and frequently give the British government considerable trouble.

There were only a few Burmans in the market although the border is hardly a dozen miles to the west, but the girls were especially attractive. Their bright pretty faces seemed always ready to break into a smile and their graceful figures draped in brilliant sarongs were in delightful contrast to the other, not over-clean, natives.

The Burma girls were not chewing betel nut, which added to their distinction. The lips of virtually every other woman and man were stained from the red juice, which is in universal use throughout India, the Malay Peninsula, and the Netherlands Indies. In Yuen-nan we first noted it at the "Good Hope" camp, and the Shans are generally addicted to the practice.

The permanent population of Meng-ting is entirely Shan, but during the winter a good many Cantonese Chinamen come to gamble and buy opium. The drug is smuggled across the border very easily and a lucrative trade is carried on. It can be purchased for seventy-five cents (Mexican) an ounce in Burma and sold for two dollars (Mexican) an ounce in Yuen-nan Fu and for ten dollars in Shanghai.

Opium is smoked publicly in all the tea houses. The drug is cooked over an alcohol lamp and when the "pill" is properly prepared it is placed in the tiny bowl of the pipe, held against the flame and the smoke inhaled. The process is a rather complicated one and during it the natives always recline. No visible effect is produced even after smoking several pipefuls, but the deathly paleness and expressionless eye marks the inveterate opium user.

There can be no doubt that the Chinese government has been, and is, genuinely anxious to suppress the use of opium and it has succeeded to a remarkable degree. We heard of only one instance of poppy growing in Yuen-nan and often met officials, accompanied by a guard of soldiers, on inspection trips. Indeed, while we were in Meng-ting the district mandarin arrived. We were sitting in our tents when the melodious notes of deep-toned gongs floated in through the mist. They were like the chimes of far away cathedral bells sounding nearer and louder, but losing none of the sweetness. Soon a long line of soldiers appeared and passed the camp bearing in their midst a covered chair. The mandarin established himself in a spacious temple on the opposite side of the village, where I visited him the following day and explained the difficulty we had had at the Meng-ting yamen. He aided us so effectually that all opposition to our plans ended and we obtained a guide to take us to a hunting place on the Nam-ting River, three miles from the Burma border.