On October 22, we moved to the foot of the mountain and camped in the temple which we had formerly occupied. This was directly below the forests inhabited by serow, and we expected to devote our efforts exclusively toward obtaining a representative series of these animals.

Unfortunately I developed a severe infection in the palm of my right hand almost immediately, and had it not been for the devoted care of my wife I should not have left China alive. Through terrible nights of delirium when the poison was threatening to spread over my entire body, she nursed me with an utter disregard of her own health and slept only during a few restless hours of complete exhaustion. For three weeks I could do no work but at last was able to bend my "trigger finger" and resume hunting although I did not entirely recover the use of my hand for several months.

However, the work of the expedition by no means ceased because of my illness. Mr. Heller continued to collect small mammals with great energy and the day after we arrived at the temple we engaged eight new native hunters. These were Lolos, a wandering unit from the independent tribe of S'suchuan and they proved to be excellent men.

The first serow was killed by Hotenfa's party on our third day in the temple. Heller went out with the hunters but in a few hours returned alone. A short time after he had left the natives the dogs took up the trail of a huge serow and followed it for three miles through the spruce forest. They finally brought the animal to bay against a cliff and a furious fight ensued. One dog was ripped wide open, another received a horn-thrust in the side, and the big red leader was thrown over a cliff to the rocks below. More of the hounds undoubtedly would have been killed had not the hunters arrived and shot the animal.

The men brought the serow in late at night but our joy was considerably dampened by the loss of the red dog. Hotenfa carried him in his arms and laid him gently on a blanket in the temple but the splendid animal died during the night. His master cried like a child and I am sure that he felt more real sorrow than he would have shown at the loss of his wife; for wives are much easier to get in China than good hunting dogs.

The serow was an adult male, badly scarred from fighting, and had lost one horn by falling over a cliff when he was killed. He was brownish black, with rusty red lower legs and a whitish mane. His right horn was nine and three-quarters inches in length and five and three-quarters inches in circumference at the base and the effectiveness with which he had used his horns against the dogs demonstrated that they were by no means only for ornaments. In the next chapter the habits and relationships of the gorals and serows will be considered more fully.

On the morning following the capture of the first serow the last rain of the season began and continued for nine days almost without ceasing. The weather made hunting practically impossible for the fog hung so thickly over the woods that one could not see a hundred feet and Heller found that many of his small traps were sprung by the raindrops. The Lolos had disappeared, and we believed that they had returned to their village, but they had been hunting in spite of the weather and on the fifth day arrived with a fine male serow in perfect condition. It showed a most interesting color variation for, instead of red, the lower legs were buff with hardly a tinge of reddish.

November 2, the sun rose in an absolutely cloudless sky and during the remainder of the winter we had as perfect weather as one could wish. Yvette's constant nursing and efficient surgery combined with the devotion of our interpreter, Wu, had checked the spread of the poison in my hand and my nights were no longer haunted with the strange fancies of delirium, but I was as helpless as a babe. I could do nothing but sit with steaming cloths wrapped about my arm and rail at the fate which kept me useless in the temple.

The Lolos killed a third serow on the mountain just above our camp but the animal fell into a rock fissure more than a hundred feet deep and was recovered only after a day's hard work. The men wove a swinging ladder from tough vines, climbed down it, and drew the serow bodily up the cliff; as it weighed nearly three hundred pounds this was by no means an easy undertaking.

Our Lolo hunters were tall, handsome fellows led by a slender young chief with patrician features who ruled his village like an autocrat with absolute power of life and death. The Lolos are a strange people who at one time probably occupied much of the region south of the Yangtze River but were pushed south and west by the Chinese and, except in one instance, now exist only in scattered units in the provinces of Kwei-chau and Yuen-nan.

In S'suchuan the Lolos hold a vast territory which is absolutely closed to the Chinese on pain of death and over which they exercise no control. Several expeditions have been launched against the Lolos but all have ended in disaster.

Only a few weeks before we arrived in Yuen-nan a number of Chinese soldiers butchered nearly a hundred Lolos whom they had encountered outside the independent territory, and in reprisal the Lolos burned several villages almost under the walls of a fortified city in which were five hundred soldiers, massacred all the men and boys, and carried off the women as slaves.

The pure blood Lolos "are a very fine tall race, with comparatively fair complexions, and often with straight features, suggesting a mixture of Mongolian with some more straight-featured race. Their appearance marks them as closely connected by race with the eastern Tibetans, the latter being, if anything, rather the bigger men of the two." [Footnote: "Yuen-nan, the Link between India and the Yangtze," by Major H.R. Davies, 1909, p. 389.] They are great wanderers and over a very large part of Yuen-nan form the bulk of the hill population, being the most numerous of all the non-Chinese tribes in the province.

Like almost every race which has been conquered by the Chinese or has come into continual contact with them for a few generations, the Lolos of Yuen-nan, where they are in isolated villages, are being absorbed by the Chinese. We found, as did Major Davies, that in some instances they were giving up their language and beginning to talk Chinese even among themselves. The women already had begun to tie up their feet in the Chinese fashion and even disliked to be called Lolos.

Those whom we employed were living entirely by hunting and, although we found them amiable enough, they were exceedingly independent. They preferred to hunt alone, although they recognized what an increased chance for game our high-power rifles gave them, and eventually left us while I was away on a short trip, even though we still owed them considerable money.

The Lolos are only one of the non-Chinese tribes of Yuen-nan. Major Davies has considered this question in his valuable book to which I have already referred, and I cannot do better than quote his remarks here.

    The numerous non-Chinese tribes that the traveler encounters in western
    China, form perhaps one of the most interesting features of travel in
    that country. It is safe to assert that in hardly any other part of the
    world is there such a large variety of languages and dialects, as are
    to be heard in the country which lies between Assam and the eastern
    border of Yuen-nan and in the Indo-Chinese countries to the south of
    this region.

    The reason of this is not hard to find. It lies in the physical
    characteristics of the country. It is the high mountain ranges and the
    deep swift-flowing rivers that have brought about the differences in
    customs and language, and the innumerable tribal distinctions, which
    are so perplexing to the enquirer into Indo-Chinese ethnology.

    A tribe has entered Yuen-nan from their original Himalayan or Tibetan
    home, and after increasing in numbers have found the land they have
    settled on not equal to their wants. The natural result has been the
    emigration of part of the colony. The emigrants, having surmounted
    pathless mountains and crossed unbridged rivers on extemporized rafts,
    have found a new place to settle in, and have felt no inclination to
    undertake such a journey again to revisit their old home.

    Being without a written character in which to preserve their
    traditions, cut off from all civilizing influence of the outside world,
    and occupied merely in growing crops enough to support themselves, the
    recollection of their connection with their original ancestors has died
    out. It is not then surprising that they should now consider themselves
    a totally distinct race from the parent stock. Inter-tribal wars, and
    the practice of slave raiding so common among the wilder members of the
    Indo-Chinese family, have helped to still further widen the breach. In
    fact it may be considered remarkable that after being separated for
    hundreds, and perhaps in some case for thousands, of years, the
    languages of two distant tribes of the same family should bear to each
    other the marked general resemblance which is still to be found.

    The hilly nature of the country and the consequent lack of good means
    of communication have also naturally militated against the formation of
    any large kingdoms with effective control over the mountainous
    districts. Directly we get to a flat country with good roads and
    navigable rivers, we find the tribal distinctions disappear, and the
    whole of the inhabitants are welded into a homogeneous people under a
    settled government, speaking one language.

    Burmese as heard throughout the Irrawaddy valley is the same
    everywhere. A traveler from Rangoon to Bhamo will find one language
    spoken throughout his journey, but an expedition of the same length in
    the hilly country to the east or to the west of the Irrawaddy valley
    would bring him into contact with twenty mutually unintelligible

    The same state of things applies to Siam and Tong-king - one nation
    speaking one language in the flat country and a Tower of Babel in the
    hills (loc. cit., pp. 332-333).