Part 2 out of 6
our beds on the roof of the boat and went to sleep under the stars. We left
the boat shortly after daylight at Daing-nei for the six-mile walk to
Lung-tao. To my great surprise the coolies were considerably distressed at
the lightness of our loads. In this region they are paid by weight and some
of the bearers carry almost incredible burdens. As an example, one of our
men came into camp swinging a 125-pound trunk on each end of his pole,
laughing and chatting as gayly as though he had not been carrying 250
pounds for six miles under a broiling sun.
Mr. Caldwell's Chinese hunter, Da-Da, lived at Lung-tao and we found his
house to be one of several built on the outskirts of a beautiful grove of
gum and banyan trees. Although it was exceptionally clean for a Chinese
dwelling, we pitched our tents a short distance away. At first we were
somewhat doubtful about sleeping outside, but after one night indoors we
decided that any risk was preferable to spending another hour in the
stifling heat of the house.
It was probable that a tiger would be so suspicious of the white tents that
it would not attack us, but nevertheless during the first nights we were
rather wakeful and more than once at some strange night sound seized our
rifles and flashed the electric lamp into the darkness.
Tigers often come into this village. Only a few hundred yards from our camp
site, in 1911, a tiger had rushed into the house of one of the peasants and
attempted to steal a child that had fallen asleep at its play under the
family table. All was quiet in the house when suddenly the animal dashed
through the open door. The Chinese declare that the gods protected the
infant, for the beast missed his prey and seizing the leg of the table
against which the baby's head was resting, bolted through the door dragging
the table into the courtyard.
This was the work of the famous "blue tiger" which we had come to hunt and
which had on two occasions been seen by Mr. Caldwell. The first time he
heard of this strange beast was in the spring of 1910. The animal was
reported as having been seen at various places within an area of a few
miles almost simultaneously and so mysterious were its movements that the
Chinese declared it was a spirit of the devil. After several unsuccessful
hunts Mr. Caldwell finally saw the tiger at close range but as he was armed
with only a shotgun it would have been useless to shoot.
His second view of the beast was a few weeks later and in the same place. I
will give the story in his own words:
"I selected a spot upon a hill-top and cleared away the grass and ferns
with a jack-knife for a place to tie the goat. I concealed myself in the
bushes ten feet away to await the attack, but the unexpected happened and
the tiger approached from the rear.
"When I first saw the beast he was moving stealthily along a little trail
just across a shallow ravine. I supposed, of course, that he was trying to
locate the goat which was bleating loudly, but to my horror I saw that he
was creeping upon two boys who had entered the ravine to cut grass. The
huge brute moved along lizard-fashion for a few yards and then cautiously
lifted his head above the grass. He was within easy springing distance when
I raised my rifle, but instantly I realized that if I wounded the animal
the boys would certainly meet a horrible death.
"Tigers are usually afraid of the human voice so instead of firing I
stepped from the bushes, yelling and waving my arms. The huge cat, crouched
for a spring, drew back, wavered uncertainly for a moment, and then slowly
slipped away into the grass. The boys were saved but I had lost the
opportunity I had sought for over a year.
"However, I had again seen the animal about which so many strange tales had
been told. The markings of the beast are strikingly beautiful. The ground
color is of a delicate shade of maltese, changing into light gray-blue on
the underparts. The stripes are well defined and like those of the ordinary
Before I left New York Mr. Caldwell had written me repeatedly urging me to
stop at Futsing on the way to Yuen-nan to try with him for the blue tiger
which was still in the neighborhood. I was decidedly skeptical as to its
being a distinct species, but nevertheless it was a most interesting animal
and would certainly be well worth getting.
I believed then, and my opinion has since been strengthened, that it is a
partially melanistic phase of the ordinary yellow tiger. Black leopards are
common in India and the Malay Peninsula and as only a single individual of
the blue tiger has been reported the evidence hardly warrants the
assumption that it represents a distinct species.
We hunted the animal for five weeks. The brute ranged in the vicinity of
two or three villages about seven miles apart, but was seen most frequently
near Lung-tao. He was as elusive as a will o' the wisp, killing a dog or
goat in one village and by the time we had hurried across the mountains
appearing in another spot a few miles away, leaving a trail of terrified
natives who flocked to our camp to recount his depredations. He was in
truth the "Great Invisible" and it seemed impossible that we should not get
him sooner or later, but we never did.
Once we missed him by a hair's breadth through sheer bad luck, and it was
only by exercising almost superhuman restraint that we prevented ourselves
from doing bodily harm to the three Chinese who ruined our hunt. Every
evening for a week we had faithfully taken a goat into the "Long Ravine,"
for the blue tiger had been seen several times near this lair. On the
eighth afternoon we were in the "blind" at three o'clock as usual. We had
tied a goat to a tree nearby and her two kids were but a few feet away.
The grass-filled lair lay shimmering in the breathless heat, silent save
for the echoes of the bleating goats. Crouched behind the screen of
branches, for three long hours we sat in the patchwork shade,--motionless,
dripping with perspiration, hardly breathing,--and watched the shadows
steal slowly down the narrow ravine.
It was a wild place which seemed to have been cut out of the mountain side
with two strokes of a mighty ax and was choked with a tangle of thorny
vines and sword grass. Impenetrable as a wall of steel, the only entrance
was by the tiger tunnels which drove their twisting way through the
murderous growth far in toward its gloomy heart.
The shadows had passed over us and just reached a lone palm tree on the
opposite hillside. By that I knew it was six o'clock and in half an hour
another day of disappointment would be ended. Suddenly at the left and just
below us there came the faintest crunching sound as a loose stone shifted
under a heavy weight; then a rustling in the grass. Instantly the captive
goat gave a shrill bleat of terror and tugged frantically at the rope which
held it to the tree.
At the first sound Harry had breathed in my ear "Get ready, he's coming." I
was half kneeling with my heavy .405 Winchester pushed forward and the
hammer up. The blood drummed in my ears and my neck muscles ached with the
strain but I thanked Heaven that my hands were steady.
Caldwell sat like a graven image, the stock of his little 22 caliber high
power Savage nestling against his cheek. Our eyes met for an instant and I
knew in that glance that the blue tiger would never make another charge,
for if I missed him, Harry wouldn't. For ten minutes we waited and my heart
lost a beat when twenty feet away the grass began to move again--but
rapidly and _up the ravine_.
I saw Harry watching the lair with a puzzled look which changed to one of
disgust as a chorus of yells sounded across the ravine and three Chinese
wood cutters appeared on the opposite slope. They were taking a short cut
home, shouting to drive away the tigers--and they had succeeded only too
well, for the blue tiger had slipped back to the heart of the lair from
whence he had come.
He had been nearly ours and again we had lost him! I felt so badly that I
could not even swear and it wasn't the fact that Harry was a missionary
which kept me from it, either. Caldwell exclaimed just once, for his
disappointment was even more bitter than mine; he had been hunting this
same tiger off and on for six years.
It was useless for us to wait longer that evening and we pushed our way
through the sword grass to the entrance of the tunnel down which the tiger
had come. There in the soft earth were the great footprints where he had
crouched at the entrance to take a cautious survey before charging into the
As we looked, Harry suddenly turned to me and said: "Roy, let's go into the
lair. There is just one chance in a thousand that we may get a shot." Now I
must admit that I was not very enthusiastic about that little excursion,
but in we went, crawling on our hands and knees up the narrow passage.
Every few feet we passed side branches from the main tunnel in any one of
which the tiger might easily have been lying in wait and could have killed
us as we passed. It was a foolhardy thing to do and I am free to admit that
I was scared. It was not long before Harry twisted about and said: "Roy, I
haven't lost any tigers in here; let's get out." And out we came faster
than we went in.
This was only one of the times when the "Great Invisible" was almost in our
hands. A few days later a Chinese found the blue tiger asleep under a rice
bank early in the afternoon. Frightened almost to death he ran a mile and a
half to our camp only to find that we had left half an hour before for
another village where the brute had killed two wild cats early in the
Again, the tiger pushed open the door of a house at daybreak just as the
members of the family were getting up, stole a dog from the "heaven's
well," dragged it to a hillside and partly devoured it. We were in camp
only a mile away and our Chinese hunters found the carcass on a narrow
ledge in the sword grass high up on the mountain side. The spot was an
impossible one to watch and we set a huge grizzly bear trap which had been
carried with us from New York.
It seemed out of the question for any animal to return to the carcass of
the dog without getting caught and yet the tiger did it. With his hind
quarters on the upper terrace he dropped down, stretched his long neck
across the trap, seized the dog which had been wired to a tree and pulled
it away. It was evident that he was quite unconscious of the trap for his
fore feet had actually been placed upon one of the jaws only two inches
from the pan which would have sprung it.
One afternoon we responded to a call from Bui-tao, a village seven miles
beyond Lung-tao, where the blue tiger had been seen that day. The natives
assured us that the animal continually crossed a hill, thickly clothed with
pines and sword grass just above the village and even though it was late
when we arrived Harry thought it wise to set the trap that night.
It was pitch dark before we reached the ridge carrying the trap, two
lanterns, an electric flash-lamp and a wretched little dog for bait. We had
been engaged for about fifteen minutes making a pen for the dog, and
Caldwell and I were on our knees over the trap when suddenly a low rumbling
growl came from the grass not twenty feet away. We jumped to our feet just
as it sounded again, this time ending in a snarl. The tiger had arrived a
few moments too early and we were in the rather uncomfortable position of
having to return to the village by way of a narrow trail through the
jungle. With our rifles ready and the electric lamp cutting a brilliant
path in the darkness we walked slowly toward the edge of the sword grass
hoping to see the flash of the tiger's eyes, but the beast backed off
beyond the range of the light into an impenetrable tangle where we could
not follow. Apparently he was frightened by the lantern, for we did not
hear him again.
After nearly a month of disappointments such as these Mr. Heller joined us
at Bui-tao with Mr. Kellogg. Caldwell thought it advisable to shift camp to
the Ling-suik monastery, about twelve miles away, where he had once spent a
summer with his family and had killed several tigers. This was within the
blue tiger's range and, moreover, had the advantage of offering a better
general collecting ground than Bui-tao; thus with Heller to look after the
small mammals we could begin to make our time count for something if we did
not get the tiger.
Ling-suik is a beautiful temple, or rather series of temples, built into a
hillside at the end of a long narrow valley which swells out like a great
bowl between bamboo clothed mountains, two thousand feet in height. On his
former visit Mr. Caldwell had made friends with the head priest and we were
allowed to establish ourselves upon the broad porch of the third and
highest building. It was an ideal place for a collecting camp and would
have been delightful except for the terrible heat which was rendered doubly
disagreeable by the almost continual rain.
The priests who shuffled about the temples were a hard lot. Most of them
were fugitives from justice and certainly looked the part, for a more
disreputable, diseased and generally undesirable body of men I have never
Our stay at Ling-suik was productive and the temple life interesting. We
slept on the porch and each morning, about half an hour before daylight,
the measured strokes of a great gong sounded from the temple just below us.
_Boom--boom--boom--boom_ it went, then rapidly _bang, bang, bang_. It was a
religious alarm clock to rouse the world.
A little later when the upturned gables and twisted dolphins on the roof
had begun to take definite shape in the gray light of the new day, the gong
boomed out again, doors creaked, and from their cell-like rooms shuffled
the priests to yawn and stretch themselves before the early service. The
droning chorus of hoarse voices, swelling in a meaningless half-wild chant,
harmonized strangely with the romantic surroundings of the temple and
become our daily _matin_ and evensong.
At the first gong we slipped from beneath our mosquito nets and dressed to
be ready for the bats which fluttered into the building to hide themselves
beneath the tiles and rafters. When daylight had fully come we scattered to
the four winds of heaven to inspect traps, hunt barking deer, or collect
birds, but gathered again at nine o'clock for breakfast and to deposit our
spoil. Caldwell and I always spent the afternoon at the blue tiger's lair
but the animal had suddenly shifted his operations back to Lung-tao and did
not appear at Ling-suik while we were there.
Our work in Fukien taught us much that may be of help to other naturalists
who contemplate a visit to this province. We satisfied ourselves that
summer collecting is impracticable, for the heat is so intense and the
vegetation so heavy that only meager results can be obtained for the
efforts expended. Continual tramping over the mountains in the blazing sun
necessarily must have its effect upon the strongest constitution, and even
a man like Mr. Caldwell, who has become thoroughly acclimated, is not
Both Caldwell and I lost from fifteen to twenty pounds in weight during the
time we hunted the blue tiger and each of us had serious trouble from
abscesses. I have never worked in a more trying climate--even that of
Borneo and the Dutch East Indies where I collected in 1909-10, was much
less debilitating than Fukien in the summer. The average temperature was
about 95 degrees in the shade, but the humidity was so high that one felt
as though one were wrapped in a wet blanket and even during a six weeks'
rainless period the air was saturated with moisture from the sea-winds.
In winter the weather is raw and damp, but collecting then would be vastly
easier than in summer, not only on account of climatic conditions, but
because much of the vegetation disappears and there is an opportunity for
Trapping for small mammal is especially difficult because of the dense
population. The mud dykes and the rice fields usually are covered with
tracks of civets, mongooses, and cats which come to hunt frogs or fish, but
if a trap is set it either catches a Chinaman or promptly is stolen.
Moreover, the small mammals are neither abundant nor varied in number of
species, and the larger forms, such as tiger, leopard, wild pig and serow
are exceedingly difficult to kill.
While our work in the province was done during an unfavorable season and in
only two localities, yet enough was seen of the general conditions to make
it certain that a thorough zooelogical study of the region would require
considerable time and hard work and that the results, so far as a large
collection of mammals is concerned, would not be highly satisfactory. Work
in the western part of the province among the Bohea Hills undoubtedly would
be more profitable, but even there it would be hardly worth while for an
expedition with limited time and money.
Bird life is on a much better footing, but the ornithology of Fukien
already has received considerable attention through the collections of
Swinhoe, La Touche, Styan, Ricketts, Caldwell and others, and probably not
a great number of species remain to be described.
Much work could still be done upon the herpetology of the region, however,
and I believe that this branch of zooelogy would be well worth investigation
for reptiles and batrachians are fairly abundant and the natives would
rather assist than retard one's efforts.
The language of Fukien is a greater annoyance than in any other of the
Chinese coast provinces. The Foochow dialect (which is one of the most
difficult to learn) is spoken only within fifty or one hundred miles of the
city. At Yen-ping Mr. Caldwell, who speaks "Foochow" perfectly, could not
understand a word of the "southern mandarin" which is the language of that
region, and near Futsing, where a colony of natives from Amoy have settled,
the dialect is unintelligible to one who knows only "Foochow."
Travel in Fukien is an unceasing trial, for transport is entirely by
coolies who carry from eighty to one hundred pounds. The men are paid by
distance or weight; therefore, when coolies finally have been obtained
there is the inevitable wrangling over loads so that from one to two hours
are consumed before the party can start.
But the worst of it is that one can never be certain when one's entire
outfit will arrive at its new destination. Some men walk much faster than
others, some will delay a long time for tea, or may give out altogether if
the day be hot, with the result that the last load will arrive perhaps five
or six hours after the first one.
As horses are not to be had, if one does not walk the only alternative is
to be carried in a mountain chair, which is an uncomfortable, trapeze-like
affair and only to be found along the main highways. On the whole,
transport by man-power in China is so uncertain and expensive that for a
large expedition it forms a grave obstacle to successful work, if time and
funds be limited.
On the other hand, servants are cheap and usually good. We employed a very
fair cook who received monthly seven dollars Mexican (then about three and
one-half dollars gold), and "boys" were hired at from five to seven dollars
(Mexican). As none of the servants knew English they could be obtained at
much lower wages, but English-speaking cooks usually receive from fifteen
to twenty dollars (Mexican) a month.
It was hard to leave Fukien without the blue tiger but we had hunted him
unsuccessfully for five weeks and there was other and more important work
awaiting us in Yuen-nan. It required thirty porters to transport our baggage
from the Ling-suik monastery to Daing-nei, twenty-one miles away, where two
houseboats were to meet us, and by ten o'clock in the evening we were lying
off Pagoda Anchorage awaiting the flood tide to take us to Foochow. We made
our beds on the deck house and in the morning opened our eyes to find the
boat tied to the wharf at the Custom House on the Bund, and ourselves in
full view of all Foochow had it been awake at that hour.
The week of packing and repacking that followed was made easy for us by
Claude Kellogg, who acted as our ministering angel. I think there must be a
special Providence that watches over wandering naturalists and directs them
to such men as Kellogg, for without divine aid they could never be found.
When we last saw him, he stood on the stone steps of the water front waving
his hat as we slipped away on the tide, to board the S.S. _Haitan_ for
THE WOMEN OF CHINA
The schools for native girls at Foochow and Yen-ping interested us greatly,
even when we first came to China, but we could not appreciate then as we
did later the epoch-making step toward civilization of these institutions.
How much the missionaries are able to accomplish from a religious
standpoint is a question which we do not wish to discuss, but no one who
has ever lived among them can deny that the opening of schools and the
diffusing of western knowledge are potent factors in the development of the
people. The Chinese were not slow even in the beginning to see the
advantages of a foreign education for their boys and now, along the coast
at least, some are beginning to make sacrifices for their daughters as
well. The Woman's College, which was opened recently in Foochow, is one of
the finest buildings of the Republic, and when one sees its bright-faced
girls dressed in their quaint little pajama-like garments, it is difficult
to realize that outside such schools they are still slaves in mind and body
to those iron rules of Confucius which have molded the entire structure of
Chinese society for over 2400 years.
The position of women in China today, and the rules which govern the
household of every orthodox Chinese, are the direct heritage of
Confucianism. The following translation by Professor J. Legge from the
_Narratives of the Confucian School_, chapter 26, is illuminating:
Confucius said: "Man is the representative of heaven and is supreme
over all things. Woman yields obedience to the instructions of man and
helps to carry out his principles. On this account she can determine
nothing of herself and is subject to the rule of the three obediences.
"(1) When young she must obey her father and her elder brother;
"(2) When married, she must obey her husband;
"(3) When her husband is dead she must obey her son.
"She may not think of marrying a second time. No instructions or orders
must issue from the harem. Women's business is simply the preparation
and supplying of drink and food. Beyond the threshold of her apartments
she shall not be known for evil or for good. She may not cross the
boundaries of a state to attend a funeral. She may take no steps on her
own motive and may come to no conclusion on her own deliberation."
The grounds for divorce as stated by Confucius are:
"(1) Disobedience to her husband's parents;
"(2) Not giving birth to a son;
"(3) Dissolute conduct;
"(4) Jealousy of her husband's attentions (to the other inmates at his
"(5) Talkativeness, and
A Chinese bride owes implicit obedience to her mother-in-law, and as she is
often reared by her husband's family, or else married to him as a mere
child, and is under the complete control of his mother for a considerable
period of her existence, her life in many instances is one of intolerable
misery. There is generally little or no consideration for a girl under the
best of circumstances until she becomes the mother of a male child; her
condition then improves but she approaches happiness only when she in turn
occupies the enviable position of mother-in-law.
It is difficult to imagine a life of greater dreariness and vacuity than
that of the average Chinese woman. Owing to her bound feet and resultant
helplessness, if she is not obliged to work she rarely stirs from the
narrow confinement of her courtyard, and perhaps in her entire life she may
not go a mile from the house to which she was brought a bride, except for
the periodical visits to her father's home.
It has been aptly said that there are no real homes in China and it is not
surprising that, ignored and despised for centuries, the Chinese woman
shows no ability to improve the squalor of her surroundings. She passes her
life in a dark, smoke-filled dwelling with broken furniture and a mud
floor, together with pigs, chickens and babies enjoying a limited sphere of
action under the tables and chairs, or in the tumble-down courtyard
without. Her work is actually never done and a Chinese bride, bright and
attractive at twenty, will be old and faded at thirty.
But without doubt the crowning evil which attends woman's condition in
China is foot binding, and nothing can be offered in extenuation of this
abominable custom. It is said to have originated one thousand years before
the Christian era and has persisted until the present day in spite of the
efforts directed against it. The Empress Dowager issued edicts strongly
advising its discontinuation, the "Natural Foot Society," which was formed
about fifteen years ago, has endeavored to educate public opinion, and the
missionaries refuse to admit girls so mutilated to their schools; but
nevertheless the reform has made little progress beyond the coast cities.
"Precedent" and the fear of not obtaining suitable husbands for their
daughters are responsible for the continuation of the evil, and it is
estimated that there are still about seventy-four millions of girls and
women who are crippled in this way.
The feet are bandaged between the ages of five and seven. The toes are bent
under the sole of the foot and after two or three years the heel and instep
are so forced together that a dollar can be placed in the cleft; gradually
also the lower limbs shrink away until only the bones remain.
The suffering of the children is intense. We often passed through streets
full of laughing boys and tiny girls where others, a few years older, were
sitting on the doorsteps or curbstones holding their tortured feet and
crying bitterly. In some instances out-houses are constructed a
considerable distance from the family dwelling where the girls must sleep
during their first crippled years in order that their moans may not disturb
the other members of the family. The child's only relief is to hang her
feet over the edge of the bed in order to stop the circulation and induce
numbness, or to seek oblivion from opium.
If the custom were a fad which affected only the wealthy classes it would
be reprehensible enough, but it curses rich and poor alike, and almost
every day we saw heavily laden coolie women steadying themselves by means
of a staff, hobbling stiff-kneed along the roads or laboring in the fields.
Although the agitation against foot binding is undoubtedly making itself
felt to a certain extent in the coast provinces, in Yuen-nan the horrible
practice continues unabated. During the year in which we traveled through a
large part of the province, wherever there were Chinese we saw bound feet.
And the fact that virtually _every_ girl over eight years old was mutilated
in this way is satisfactory evidence that reform ideas have not penetrated
to this remote part of the Republic.
I know of nothing which so rouses one's indignation because of its
senselessness and brutality, and China can never hope to take her place
among civilized nations until she has abandoned this barbarous custom and
liberated her women from their infamous subjection.
There has been much criticism of foreign education because the girls who
have had its advantages absorb western ideas so completely that they
dislike to return to their homes where the ordinary conditions of a Chinese
household exist. Nevertheless, if the women of China are ever to be
emancipated it must come through their own education as well as that of the
One of the first results of foreign influence is to delay marriage, and in
some instances the early betrothal with its attendant miseries. The evil
which results from this custom can hardly be overestimated. It happens not
infrequently that two children are betrothed in infancy, the respective
families being in like circumstances at the time. The opportunity perhaps
is offered to the girl to attend school and she may even go through
college, but an inexorable custom brings her back to her parents' home,
forces her to submit to the engagement made in babyhood and perhaps ruins
her life through marriage with a man of no higher social status or
intelligence than a coolie.
Among the few girls imbued with western civilization a spirit of revolt is
slowly growing, and while it is impossible for them to break down the
barriers of ages, yet in many instances they waive aside what would seem an
unsurmountable precedent and insist upon having some voice in the choosing
of their husbands.
While in Yen-ping we were invited to attend the semi-foreign wedding of a
girl who had been brought up in the Woman's School and who was qualified to
be a "Bible Woman" or native Christian teacher. It was whispered that she
had actually met her betrothed on several occasions, but on their wedding
day no trace of recognition was visible, and the marriage was performed
with all the punctilious Chinese observances compatible with a Christian
Precedent required of this little bride, although she might have been
radiantly happy at heart, and undoubtedly was, to appear tearful and
shrinking and as she was escorted up the aisle by her bridesmaid one might
have thought she was being led to slaughter. White is not becoming to the
Chinese and besides it is a sign of mourning, so she had chosen pink for
her wedding gown and had a brilliant pink veil over her carefully oiled
After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom proceeded downstairs to the
joyous strain of the wedding march, but with nothing joyous in their
demeanor--in fact they appeared like two wooden images at the reception and
endured for over an hour the stares and loud criticism of the guests. He
assumed during the ordeal a look of bored indifference while the little
bride sat with her head bowed on her breast, apparently terror stricken.
But once she raised her face and I saw a merry twinkle in her shining black
eyes that made me realize that perhaps it wasn't all quite so frightful as
she would have us believe. I often wonder what sort of a life she is
leading in her far away Chinese courtyard.
VOYAGING TO YUeN-NAN
We had a busy week in Hongkong outfitting for our trip to Yuen-nan. Hongkong
is one of the best cities in the Orient in which to purchase supplies of
almost any kind, for not only is the selection excellent, but the best
English goods can be had for prices very little in excess of those in
The system which we used in our commissary was that of the unit food box
which has been adopted by most large expeditions. The boxes were packed to
weigh seventy pounds each and contained all the necessary staple supplies
for three persons for one week; thus only one box needed to be opened at a
time, and, moreover, if the party separated for a few days a single box
could be taken without the necessity of repacking and with the assurance
that sufficient food would be available.
Our supplies consisted largely of flour, butter, sugar, coffee, milk,
bacon, and marmalade, and but little tinned meat, vegetables, or fruit
because we were certain to be able to obtain a plentiful supply of such
food in the country through which we were expecting to travel.
Our tents were brought from New York and were made of light Egyptian cotton
thoroughly waterproof, but we also purchased in Hongkong a large army tent
for the servants and two canvas flies to protect loads and specimens. We
used sleeping bags and folding cots, tables and chairs, for when an
expedition expects to remain in the field for a long time it is absolutely
necessary to be as comfortable as possible and to live well; otherwise one
cannot work at one's highest efficiency.
For clothing we all wore khaki or "Dux-back" suits with flannel shirts and
high leather shoes for mountain climbing, and we had light rubber
automobile shirts and rubber caps for use in rainy weather. The auto shirt
is a long, loose robe which slips over the head and fastens about the neck
and, when one is sitting upon a horse, can be so spread about as to cover
all exposed parts of the body; it is especially useful and necessary, and
hip rubber boots are also very comfortable during the rainy season.
Our traps for catching small mammals were brought from New York. We had two
sizes of wooden "Out of Sight" for mice and rats, and four or five sizes of
Oneida steel traps for catching medium sized animals such as civets and
polecats. We also carried a half dozen No. 5 wolf traps. Mr. Heller had
used this size in Africa and found that they were large enough even to hold
Mr. Heller carried a 250-300 Savage rifle, while I used a 6-1/2 mm.
Mannlicher and a .405 Winchester. All of these guns were eminently
satisfactory, but the choice of a rifle is a very personal matter and every
sportsman has his favorite weapon. We found, however, that a flat
trajectory high-power rifle such as those with which we were armed was
absolutely essential for many of our shots were at long range and we
frequently killed gorals at three hundred yards or over.
The camera equipment consisted of two 3A Kodaks, a Graphic 4 x 5 tripod
camera, and Graflex 4 x 5 for rapid work. We have found after considerable
field experience that the 4 x 5 is the most convenient size to handle, for
the plate is large enough and can be obtained more readily than any other
in different parts of the world. The same applies to the 3A Kodak
"post-card" size film, for there are few places where foreign goods are
carried that 3A films cannot be purchased.
All of our plates and films were sealed in air-tight tin boxes before we
left America, and thus the material was in perfect condition when the cans
were opened. We used plates almost altogether in the finer photographic
work, for although they are heavier and more difficult to handle than
films, nevertheless the results obtained are very superior. A collapsible
rubber dark room about seven feet high and four feet in diameter was an
indispensable part of the camera equipment. This tent was made for us by
the Abercrombie & Fitch Company, of New York, and could be hung from the
limb of a tree or the rafters of a building and be ready for use in five
The motion pictures were taken with a Universal camera, and like all other
negatives were developed in the field by means of a special apparatus which
had been designed by Mr. Carl Akeley of the American Museum of Natural
History. This work required a much larger space than that of the portable
dark room and we consequently had a tent made of red cloth which could be
tied inside of our ordinary sleeping tent.
Our equipment was packed in fiber army trunks and in wooden boxes with
sliding tops. The latter arrangement is especially desirable in Yuen-nan,
for the loads can be opened without being untied from the saddle, thus
saving a considerable amount of time and trouble.
It was by no means an easy matter to get our supplies together, but the
Lane & Crawford Company of Hongkong pushed the making and packing of our
boxes in a remarkably efficient manner; as the manager of one of their
departments expressed it, "the one way to hurry a Chinaman is to get more
Chinamen," and they put a small army at work upon our material, which was
ready for shipment in just a week.
While in Hongkong we were joined by Wu Hung-tao, of Shanghai, who acted as
interpreter and "head boy" as well as a general field manager of the
expedition. He formerly had been in the employ of Mr. F. W. Gary, when the
latter was Commissioner of Customs in Teng-yueh, Yuen-nan, and he was
educated at the Anglo-Chinese College of Foochow. Wu proved to be the most
efficient and trustworthy servant whom we have ever employed, and the
success of our work was due in no small degree to his efforts.
We left for Tonking on the S.S. _Sung-kiang_, commanded by Harry
Trowbridge, a congenial and well-read gentleman whose delightful
personality contributed much toward making our week's stay on his ship most
pleasant. On our way to Haiphong the vessel stopped at the island of Hainan
and anchored about three miles off the town of Hoi-hau. This island is 90
by 150 miles long, is mountainous in its center, but flat and uninteresting
at the northwest.
A large part of the island is unexplored and in the interior there is a
mountain called "the Five Fingers" which has never been ascended, for it is
reported that the hill tribes are unfriendly and that the tropical valleys
are reeking with deadly malaria. The island undoubtedly would prove to be a
rich field for zooelogical work as is shown by the collections which the
American Museum of Natural History has already received from a native
dealer; these include monkeys, squirrels, and other small mammals, and
bears, leopards, and deer are said to be among its fauna.
The next night's steaming brought us to the city of Paik-hoi on the
mainland. In the afternoon we went ashore with Captain Trowbridge to visit
Dr. Bradley of the China Inland Mission who is in charge of a leper
hospital, which is a model of its kind. The doctor was away but we made
ourselves at home and when he returned he found us in his drawing room
comfortably enjoying afternoon tea. He remarked that he knew of a Chinese
cook who was looking for a position, and half an hour later, while we were
watching some remarkably fine tennis, the cook arrived. He was about six
feet two inches high, and so thin that he was immediately christened the
"Woolworth Building" and, although not a very prepossessing looking
individual he was forthwith engaged, principally because of his ability to
speak English. This was at six o'clock in the afternoon and we had to be
aboard the ship at eight. The doctor sent a note to the French Consul and
the cook returned anon with his baggage and passport. Obtaining this cook
was the only really rapid thing which I have ever seen done in China!
When the _Sung-kiang_ arrived in Haiphong the next afternoon we were
besieged by a screaming, fighting mob of Annamits who seized upon our
baggage like so many vultures, and it was only by means of a few
well-directed kicks that we could prevent it from being scattered to the
four winds of Heaven. After we had designated a _sampan_ to receive our
equipment the unloading began and several trunks had gone over the side,
when Mr. Heller happened to glance down just in time to see one of the
ammunition boxes drop into the water and sink like lead. The Annamits,
believing that it had not been noticed, went on as blithely as before and
volubly denied that anything had been lost. We stopped the unloading
instantly and sent for divers. The box had sunk in thirty feet of muddy
water and it seemed useless to hope that it could ever be recovered, but
the divers went to work by dropping a heavy stone on the end of a rope and
going down it hand over hand.
After two hours the box was located and brought dripping to the surface.
Fortunately but little of the ammunition was ruined, and most of it was
dried during the night in the engine room. Because of this delay we had to
leave Haiphong on the following day, and with Captain Trowbridge, we went
by train to Hanoi, the capital of the colony.
Hanoi is a city of delightful surprises. It has broad, clean streets,
overhung with trees which often form a cool green canopy overhead,
beautiful lawns and well-kept houses, and in the center of the town is a
lovely lake surrounded by a wide border of palms. At the far end, like a
jewel in a crystal setting, seems to float a white pagoda, an outpost of
the temple which stands in the midst of a watery meadow of lotos plants.
The city shops are excellent, but in most instances the prices are
Like all the French towns in the Orient the hours for work are rather
confusing to the foreigner. The shops open at 6:30 in the morning and close
at 11 o'clock to reopen again at 3 in the afternoon and continue business
until 7:30 or 8 o'clock in the evening. During the middle of the day all
houses have the shutters closely drawn, and because of the intense heat and
glare of the sun the streets are absolutely deserted, not even a native
being visible. In the morning a _petit dejeuner_, remarkable especially for
its "petitness," is served, and a real _dejeuner_ comes later anywhere from
10 to 12:30.
About 6 o'clock in the evening the open _cafes_ and restaurants along the
sidewalk are lined with groups of men and women playing cards and dice and
drinking gin and bitters, vermouth or absinthe. There is an air of
happiness and life about Hanoi which is typically Parisian and even during
war time it is a city of gayety. An immense theater stands in the center of
the town, but has not been opened since the beginning of the war.
We had letters to M. Chemein Dupontes, the director of the railroads, as
well as to the Lieutenant-Governor and other officials. Without exception
we were received in the most cordial manner and every facility and
convenience put at our disposal. M. Dupontes was especially helpful.
Some time before our arrival a tunnel on the railroad from Hanoi to Yuen-nan
Fu had caved in and for almost a month trains had not been running. It was
now in operation, however, but all luggage had to be transferred by hand at
the broken tunnel and consequently must not exceed eighty-five pounds in
weight. This meant repacking our entire equipment and three days of hard
work. M. Dupontes arranged to have our 4000 pounds of baggage put in a
special third class carriage with our "boys" in attendance and in this way
saved the expedition a considerable amount of money. He personally went
with us to the station to arrange for our comfort with the _chef de gare_,
telegraphed ahead at every station upon the railroad, and gave us an open
letter to all officials; in fact there was nothing which he left undone.
The railroad is a remarkable engineering achievement for it was constructed
in great haste through a difficult mountainous range. Yuen-nan is an
exceedingly rich province and the French were quick to see the advantages
of drawing its vast trade to their own seaports. The British were already
making surveys to construct a railroad from Bhamo on the headwaters of the
Irawadi River across Yuen-nan to connect with the Yangtze, and the French
were anxious to have their road in operation some time before the rival
line could be completed.
Owing to its hasty construction and the heavy rainfall, or perhaps to both,
the tunnels and bridges frequently cave in or are washed away and the
railroad is chiefly remarkable for the number of days in the year in which
it does not operate; nevertheless the French deserve great credit for their
enterprise in extending their line to Yuen-nan Fu over the mountains where
there is a tunnel or bridge almost every mile of the way. While it was
being built through the fever-stricken jungles of Tonking the coolies died
like flies, and it was necessary to suspend all work during the summer
The scenery along the railroad is marvelous and the traveling is by no
means uncomfortable, but the hotels in which one stops at night are
wretched. One of our friends in Hongkong related an amusing experience
which he had at Lao-kay, the first hotel on the railroad. He asked for a
bath and discovered that a tub of hot water had been prepared. He wished a
cold bath, and seeing a large tank filled with cold water in the corner of
the room he climbed in and was enjoying himself when the hotel proprietor
suddenly rushed upstairs exclaiming, "Mon Dieu, Mon Dieu, you are in the
tank of drinking water."
When we arrived at Yuen-nan Fu we found a surprisingly cosmopolitan
community housed within its grim old walls; some were consuls, some
missionaries, some salt, telegraph, or customs officials in the Chinese
employ, and others represented business firms in Hongkong, but all received
us with open handed hospitality characteristic of the East.
We thought that after leaving Hongkong our evening clothes would not again
be used, but they were requisitioned every night for we were guests at
dinners given by almost everyone of the foreign community. Mr. Howard Page,
a representative of the Standard Oil Company, proved a most valuable
friend, and through him we were able to obtain a caravan and make other
arrangements for the transportation of our baggage. M. Henry Wilden, the
French Consul, an ardent sportsman and a charming gentleman, took an active
interest in our affairs and arranged a meeting for us with the Chinese
Commissioner of Foreign Affairs. Moreover, he later transported our trunks
to Hongkong with his personal baggage and assisted us in every possible
We went to the Foreign Office at half past ten and were ushered into a
large room where a rather imposing lunch had already been spread. The
Commissioner, a fat, jolly little man, who knew a few words of French but
none of English, received us in the most cordial way and immediately opened
several bottles of champagne in our honor. He asked why our passports had
not been vised in Peking, and we pleased him greatly by replying that at
the time we were in the capital Yuen-nan was an independent province and
consequently the Peking Government had not the temerity to put their stamp
upon our passports.
Inasmuch as Yuen-nan was infested with brigands we had expected some
opposition to our plans for traveling in the interior, but none was
forthcoming, and with the exception of an offer of a guard of soldiers for
our trip to Ta-li Fu which we knew it would be impolitic to refuse, we left
the Foreign Office with all the desired permits.
The Chinese Government appeared to be greatly interested in our zooelogical
study of Yuen-nan, offered to assist us in every way we could suggest, and
telegraphed to every mandarin in the north and west of the province,
instructing them to receive us with all honor and to facilitate our work in
every way. None of the opposition which we had been led to expect
developed, and it is difficult to see how we could have been more cordially
ON THE ROAD TO TA-LI FU
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
LI-CHIANG AND "THE TEMPLE OF THE FLOWERS"
We left a part of our outfit with Mr. Evans at Ta-li Fu and with a new
caravan of twenty-five animals traveled northward for six days to Li-chiang
Fu. By taking a small road we hoped to find good collecting in the pine
forests three days from Ta-li, but instead there was a total absence of
animal life. The woods were beautiful, parklike stretches which in a
country like California would be full of game, but here were silent and
deserted. During the fourth and fifth days we were still in the forests,
but on the sixth we crossed a pass 10,000 feet high and descended abruptly
into a long marshy plain where at the far end were the gray outlines of
Li-chiang dimly visible against the mountains.
Wu and I galloped ahead to find a temple for our camp, leaving Heller and
my wife to follow. A few pages from her journal tell of their entry into
We rode along a winding stone causeway and halted on the outskirts of
the town to wait until the caravan arrived. Neither Roy nor Wu was in
sight but we expected that the _mafus_ would ask where they had gone
and follow, for of course we could not speak a word of the language.
Already there was quite a sensation as we came down the street, for our
sudden appearance seemed to have stupefied the people with amazement.
One old lady looked at me with an indescribable expression and uttered
what sounded exactly like a long-drawn "Mon Dieu" of disagreeable
I tried smiling at them but they appeared too astonished to appreciate
our friendliness and in return merely stared with open mouths and eyes.
We halted and immediately the street was blocked by crowds of men,
women, and children who poured out of the houses, shops, and
cross-streets to gaze in rapt attention. When the caravan arrived we
moved on again expecting that the _mafus_ had learned where Roy had
gone, but they seemed to be wandering aimlessly through the narrow
winding streets. Even though we did not find a camping place we
afforded the natives intense delight.
I felt as though I were the chief actor in a circus parade at home, but
the most remarkable attraction there could not have equaled our
unparalleled success in Li-chiang. On the second excursion through the
town we passed down a cross-street, and suddenly from a courtyard at
the right we heard feminine voices speaking English.
"It's a girl. No, it's a boy. No, no, can't you see her hair, it's a
girl!" Just then we caught sight of three ladies, unmistakably
foreigners although dressed in Chinese costume. They were Mrs. A. Kok,
wife of the resident Pentecostal Missionary, and two assistants, who
rushed into the street as soon as they had determined my sex and
literally "fell upon my neck." They had not seen a white woman since
their arrival there four years ago and it seemed to them that I had
suddenly dropped from the sky.
While we were talking Wu appeared to guide us to the camp. They had
chosen a beautiful temple with a flower-filled courtyard on the summit
of a hill overlooking the city. It was wonderfully clean and when our
beds, tables, and chairs were spread on the broad stone porch it seemed
like a real home.
The next days were busy ones for us all, Roy and Heller setting traps,
and I working at my photography. We let it be known that we would pay
well for specimens, and there was an almost uninterrupted procession of
men and boys carrying long sticks, on which were strung frogs, rats,
toads, and snakes. They would simply beam with triumph and enthusiasm.
Our fame spread and more came, bringing the most ridiculous tame
things--pigeons, maltese cats, dogs, white rabbits, caged birds, and I
even believe we might have purchased a girl baby or two, for mothers
stood about with little brown kiddies on their backs as though they
really would like to offer them to us but hardly dared.
The temple priest was a good looking, smooth-faced chap, and hidden
under his coat he brought dozens of skins. I believe that his religious
vows did not allow him to handle animals--openly--and so he would
beckon Roy into the darkness of the temple with a most mysterious air,
and would extract all sorts of things from his sleeves just like a
sleight-of-hand performer. He was a rich man when we left!
The people are mostly tribesmen--Mosos, Lolos, Tibetans, and many
others. The girls wear their hair "bobbed off" in front and with a long
plait in back. They wash their hair once--on their wedding day--and
then it is wrapped up in turbans for the rest of their lives. The
Tibetan women dress their hair in dozens of tiny braids, but I don't
believe there is any authority that they ever wash it, or themselves
Li-chiang was our first collecting camp and we never had a better one. On
the morning after our arrival Heller found mammals in half his traps, and
in the afternoon we each put out a line of forty traps which brought us
fifty mammals of eleven species. This was a wonderful relief after the many
days of travel through country devoid of animal life.
Our traps contained shrews of two species, meadow voles, Asiatic
white-footed mice, spiny mice, rats, squirrels, and tree shrews. The small
mammals were exceedingly abundant and easy to catch, but after the first
day we began to have difficulty with the natives who stole our traps. We
usually marked them with a bit of cotton, and the boys would follow an
entire line down a hedge, taking every one. Sometimes they even brought
specimens to us for sale which we knew had been caught in our stolen traps!
The traps were set under logs and stumps and in the grass where we found
the "runways" or paths which mice, rats and voles often make. These animals
begin to move about just after dark, and we usually would inspect our traps
with a lantern about nine o'clock in the evening. This not only gave the
trap a double chance to be filled but we also secured perfect specimens,
for such species as mice and shrews are cannibalistic, and almost every
night, if the specimens were not taken out early in the evening, several
would be partly eaten.
Small mammals are often of much greater interest and importance
scientifically than large ones, for, especially among the Insectivores,
there are many primitive forms which are apparently of ancestral stock and
throw light on the evolutionary history of other living groups.
Li-chiang is a fur market of considerable importance for the Tibetans bring
down vast quantities of skins for sale and trade. Lambs, goats, foxes,
cats, civets, pandas, and flying squirrels hang in the shops and there are
dozens of fur dressers who do really excellent tanning.
This city is a most interesting place especially on market day, for its
inhabitants represent many different tribes with but comparatively few
Chinese. By far the greatest percentage of natives are the Mosos who are
semi-Tibetan in their life and customs. They were originally an independent
race who ruled a considerable part of northern Yuen-nan, and Li-chiang was
their ancient capital. To the effeminate and "highly civilized" Chinese
they are "barbarians," but we found them to be simple, honest and wholly
delightful people. Many of those whom we met later had never seen a white
woman, and yet their inherent decency was in the greatest contrast to that
of the Chinese who consider themselves so immeasurably their superior.
The Mosos have large herds of sheep and cattle, and this is the one place
in the Orient except in large cities along the coast, where we could obtain
fresh milk and butter. As with the Tibetans, buttered tea and _tsamba_
(parched oatmeal) are the great essentials, but they also grow quantities
of delicious vegetables and fruit. Buttered tea is prepared by churning
fresh butter into hot tea until the two have become well mixed. It is then
thickened with finely ground _tsamba_ until a ball is formed which is eaten
with the fingers. The combination is distinctly good when the ingredients
are fresh, but if the butter happens to be rancid the less said of it the
The natives of this region are largely agriculturists and raise great
quantities of squash, turnips, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, onions, corn,
peas, beans, oranges, pears, persimmons and nuts. While traveling we filled
our saddle pockets with pears and English walnuts or chestnuts and could
replenish our stock at almost any village along the road.
Everything was absurdly cheap. Eggs were usually about eight cents
(Mexican) a dozen, and we could always purchase a chicken for an empty tin
can, or two for a bottle. In fact, the latter was the greatest desideratum
and when offers of money failed to induce a native to pose for the camera a
bottle nearly always would decide matters in our favor.
In Li-chiang we learned that there was good shooting only twelve miles
north of the city on the Snow Mountain range, the highest peak of which
rises 18,000 feet above the sea. We left a part of our outfit at Mr. Kok's
house and engaged a caravan of seventeen mules to take us to the hunting
grounds. Mr. Kok assisted us in numberless ways while we were in the
vicinity of Li-chiang and in other parts of the country. He took charge of
all our mail, sending it to us by runners, loaned us money when it was
difficult to get cash from Ta-li Fu and helped us to engage servants and
It had rained almost continually for five days and a dense gray curtain of
fog hung far down in the valley, but on the morning of October 11 we awoke
to find ourselves in another world. We were in a vast amphitheater of
encircling mountains, white almost to their bases, rising ridge on ridge,
like the foamy billows of a mighty ocean. At the north, silhouetted against
the vivid blue of a cloudless sky, towered the great Snow Mountain, its
jagged peaks crowned with gold where the morning sun had kissed their
summits. We rode toward it across a level rock-strewn plain and watched the
fleecy clouds form, and float upward to weave in and out or lose themselves
in the vast snow craters beside the glacier. It was an inspiration, that
beautiful mountain, lying so white and still in its cradle of dark green
trees. Each hour it seemed more wonderful, more dominating in its grandeur,
and we were glad to be of the chosen few to look upon its sacred beauty.
In the early afternoon we camped in a tiny temple which nestled into a
grove of spruce trees on the outskirts of a straggling village. To the
north the Snow Mountain rose almost above us, and on the east and south a
grassy rock-strewn plain rolled away in gentle undulations to a range of
hills which jutted into the valley like a great recumbent dragon.
A short time after our camp was established we had a visit from an Austrian
botanist, Baron Haendel-Mazzetti, who had been in the village for two
weeks. He had come to Yuen-nan for the Vienna Museum before the war,
expecting to remain a year, but already had been there three. Surrounded as
he was by Tibet, Burma, and Tonking, his only possible exit was by way of
the four-month overland journey to Shanghai. He had little money and for
two years had been living on Chinese food. He dined with us in the evening,
and his enjoyment of our coffee, bread, kippered herring, and other canned
goods was almost pathetic.
A week after our arrival Baron Haendel-Mazzetti left for Yuen-nan Fu and
eventually reached Shanghai which, however, became a closed port to him
upon China's entry into the European war. It is to be hoped that his
collections, which must be of great scientific value and importance, have
arrived at a place of safety long ere this book issues from the press.
CAMPING IN THE CLOUDS
We hired four Moso hunters in the Snow Mountain village. They were
picturesque fellows, supposedly dressed in skins, but their garments were
so ragged and patched that it was difficult to determine the original
material of which they were made.
One of them was armed with a most extraordinary gun which, it was said,
came from Tibet. Its barrel was more than six feet long, and the stock was
curved like a golf stick. A powder fuse projected from a hole in the side
of the barrel, and just behind it on the butt was fastened a forked spring.
At his waist the man carried a long coil of rope, the slowly burning end of
which was placed in the crotched spring. When about to shoot the native
placed the butt of the weapon against his cheek, pressed the spring so that
the burning rope's end touched the powder fuse, and off went the gun.
The three other hunters carried crossbows and poisoned arrows. They were
remarkably good shots and at a distance of one hundred feet could place an
arrow in a six-inch circle four times out of five. We found later that
crossbows are in common use throughout the more remote parts of Yuen-nan and
were only another evidence that we had suddenly dropped back into the
Middle Ages and, with our high-power rifles and twentieth century
equipment, were anachronisms.
The natives are able to obtain a good deal of game even with such primitive
weapons for they depend largely upon dogs which bring gorals and serows to
bay against a cliff and hold them until the men arrive. The dogs are a
mongrel breed which appears to be largely hound, and some are really
excellent hunters. White is the usual color but a few are mixed black and
brown, or fox red. Hotenfa, one of our Mosos, owned a good pack and we all
came to love its big red leader. This fine dog could be depended upon to
dig out game if there was any in the mountains, but his life with us was
short for he was killed by our first serow. Hotenfa was inconsolable and
the tears he shed were in sincere sorrow for the loss of a faithful friend.
Almost every family owns a dog. Some of those we saw while passing through
Chinese villages were nauseating in their unsightliness, for at least
thirty per cent of them were more or less diseased. Barely able to walk,
they would stagger across the street or lie in the gutter in indescribable
filth. One longed to put them out of their misery with a bullet but,
although they seemed to belong to nobody, if one was killed an owner
appeared like magic to quarrel over the damages.
The dogs of the non-Chinese tribes were in fairly good condition and there
seemed to be comparatively little disease among them. Our hunters treated
their hounds kindly and fed them well, but the animals themselves, although
loyal to their masters, manifested but little affection. In Korea dogs are
eaten by the natives, but none of the tribes with which we came in contact
in Yuen-nan used them for food.
On our first day in the temple Heller went up the Snow Mountain for a
reconnoissance and the party secured a fine porcupine. It is quite a
different animal from the American tree porcupines and represents a genus
(_Hystrix_) which is found in Asia, Africa, and southern Europe. This
species lives in burrows and, when hunting big game, we were often greatly
annoyed to find that our dogs had followed the trail of one of these
animals. We would arrive to see the hounds dancing about the burrow yelping
excitedly instead of having a goral at bay as we had expected.
Some of the beautiful black and ivory white quills are more than twelve
inches long and very sharp. A porcupine will keep an entire pack of dogs at
bay and is almost sure to drive its murderous weapons into the bodies of
some of them unless the hunters arrive in a short time. The Mosos eat the
flesh which is white and fine.
Although we were only twelve miles from Li-chiang the traps yielded four
shrews and one mouse which were new to our collection. The natives brought
in three bats which we had not previously seen and began a thriving
business in toads and frogs with now and then a snake.
The temple was an excellent place for small mammals but it was evident that
we would have to move high up on the slopes of the mountain if gorals and
other big game were to be obtained. Accordingly, while Heller prepared a
number of bat skins we started out on horseback to hunt a camp site.
It was a glorious day with the sun shining brilliantly from a cloudless sky
and just a touch of autumn snap in the air. We crossed the sloping
rock-strewn plain to the base of the mountain, and discovered a trail which
led up a forested shoulder to the right of the main peaks. An hour of
steady climbing brought us to the summit of the ridge where we struck into
the woods toward a snow-field on the opposite slope. The trail led us along
the brink of a steep escarpment from which we could look over the valley
and away into the blue distance toward Li-chiang. Three thousand feet below
us the roof of our temple gleamed from among the sheltering pine trees, and
the herds of sheep and cattle massed themselves into moving patches on the
smooth brown plain.
We pushed our way through the spruce forest with the glistening snow bed as
a beacon and suddenly emerged into a flat open meadow overshadowed by the
ragged peaks. "What a perfectly wonderful place to camp," we both
exclaimed. "If we can only find water, let's come tomorrow."
The hunters had assured us that there were no streams on this end of the
mountain but we hoped to find a snow bank which would supply our camp for a
few days at least. We rode slowly up the meadow reveling in the grandeur of
the snow-crowned pinnacles and feeling very small and helpless amid
surroundings where nature had so magnificently expressed herself.
At the far end of the meadow we discovered a dry creek bed which led upward
through the dense spruce forest. "Where water has been, water may be
again," we argued and, leading the horses, picked our way among the trees
and over fallen logs to a fairly open hill slope where we attempted to
ride, but our animals were nearly done. After climbing a few feet they
stood with heaving sides and trembling legs, the breath rasping through
distended nostrils. We felt the altitude almost as badly as the horses for
the meadow itself was twelve thousand feet above the level of the sea and
the air was very thin.
There seemed to be no hope of finding even a suitable snow bank when it was
slowly borne in upon us that the subdued roaring in our ears was the sound
of water and not the effect of altitude as we both imagined. Above and to
the left was a sheer cliff, hundreds of feet in height, and as we toiled
upward and emerged beyond timber line we caught a glimpse of a silver
ribbon streaming down its face. It came from a melting snow crater and we
could follow its course with our eyes to where it swung downward along a
rock wall not far from the upper end of the meadow. It was so hidden by the
trees that had we not climbed above timber line, it never would have been
This solved the question of our camp and we looked about us happily. On the
way through the forest we had noticed small mammal runways under almost
every log and, when we stood above the tree limit, the grassy slope was cut
by an intricate network of tiny tunnels. These were plainly the work of a
meadow vole (_Microtus_) and at this altitude it certainly would prove to
be a species new to our collection.
The sun had already dropped behind the mountain and the meadow was in
shadow when we reached it again on our homeward way. By five o'clock we
were in the temple eating a belated tiffin and making preparations for an
early start. But our hopes were idle, for in the morning three of the mules
had strayed, and we did not arrive at the meadow until two o'clock in the
Our camp was made just at the edge of the spruce forest a few hundred yards
from the snow stream. As soon as the tents were up we climbed to the grassy
slope above timber line, with Heller, to set a string of traps in the vole
runways and under logs and stumps in the forest.
The hunters made their camp beside a huge rock a short distance away and
slept in their ragged clothes without a blanket or shelter of any kind. It
was delightfully warm, even at this altitude, when the sun was out, but as
soon as it disappeared we needed a fire and the nights were freezing cold;
yet the natives did not seem to mind it in the slightest and refused our
offer of a canvas tent fly.
We never will forget that first night on the Snow Mountain. As we sat at
dinner about the campfire we could see the somber mass of the forest losing
itself in the darkness, and felt the unseen presence of the mighty peaks
standing guard about our mountain home. We slept, breathing the strong,
sweet perfume of the spruce trees and dreamed that we two were wandering
alone through the forest opening the treasure boxes of the Wild.
THE FIRST GORAL
We were awakened before daylight by Wu's long drawn call to the hunters,
"_L-a-o-u H-o, L-a-o-u H-o, L-a-o-u H-o_." The steady drum of rain on our
tent shot a thrill of disappointment through me as I opened my eyes, but
before we had crawled out of our sleeping-bags and dressed it lessened to a
gentle patter and soon ceased altogether. It left a cold, gray morning with
dense clouds weaving in and out among the peaks but, nevertheless, I
decided to go out with the hunters to try for goral.
Two of the men took the dogs around the base of a high rock shoulder
sparsely covered with scrub spruce while I went up the opposite slope
accompanied by the other two. We had not been away from camp half an hour
when the dogs began to yelp and almost immediately we heard them coming
around the summit of the ridge in our direction. The hunters made frantic
signs for me to hurry up the steep slope but in the thin air with my heart
pounding like a trip hammer I could not go faster than a walk.
We climbed about three hundred yards when suddenly the dogs appeared on the
side of the cliff near the summit. Just in front of them was a bounding
gray form. The mist closed in and we lost both dogs and animals but ten
minutes later a blessed gust of wind drifted the fog away and the goral was
indistinctly visible with its back to a rock ledge facing the dogs. The big
red leader of the pack now and then dashed in for a nip at the animal's
throat but was kept at bay by its vicious lunges and sharp horns.
It was nearly three hundred yards away but the cloud was drifting in again
and I dropped down for a shot. The hunters were running up the slope,
frantically waving for me to come on, thinking it madness to shoot at that
distance. I could just see the gray form through the sights and the first
two shots spattered the loose rock about a foot low. For the third I got a
dead rest over a stone and as the crash of the little Mannlicher echoed up
the gorge, the goral threw itself into the air whirling over and over onto
the rocks below.
The hunters, mad with excitement, dashed up the hill and down into the
stream bed, and when I arrived the goral lay on a grassy ledge beside the
water. The animal was stone dead, for my bullet had passed through its
lungs, and, although the front teeth had been smashed on the rocks, its
horns were uninjured and the beautiful gray coat was in perfect condition.
It so happened that this ram was the largest which we killed on the entire
When the hunters were carrying the goral to camp we met Yvette and Heller
on their way to visit the traps just below snow line, and she returned with
me to photograph the animal and to watch the ceremonies which I knew would
be performed. One of the natives cut a leafy branch, placed the goral upon
it and at the first cut chanted a prayer. Then laying several leaves one
upon the other he sliced off the tip of the heart, wrapped it carefully in
the leaves and placed it in a nearby tree as an offering to the God of the
I have often seen the Chinese and Korean hunters perform similar ceremonies
at the death of an animal, and the idea that it is necessary to propitiate
the God of the Hunt is universal. When I was shooting in Korea in 1912, and
also in other parts of China, if luck had been against us for a few days
the hunters would invariably ask me to buy a chicken, or some animal to
sacrifice for "good joss."
After each dog had had a taste of the goral's blood we again climbed the
cliff at the end of the meadow. When we were nearly 2,000 feet above camp
the clouds shut in and, as the impenetrable gray curtain wrapped itself
about us, we could only sit quietly and wait for it to drift away.
After an hour the fog began to thin and the men sent the hounds toward a
talus slope at the base of the highest peak. Almost immediately the big red
dog picked up a trail and started across the loose rock with the pack
yelping at his heels. We followed as rapidly as possible over such hard
going but before we reached the other side the dogs had rounded a sharp
pinnacle and disappeared far below us. Expecting that the goral would swing
about the base of the peak the hunters sent me back across the talus to
watch for a shot, but the animal ran down the valley and into a heavily
wooded ravine where the dogs lost his trail only a short distance above
I returned to find that Heller had secured a rich haul from the traps. As
we supposed, the runways which Yvette and I had discovered above timber
line were made by a meadow vole (_Microtus_) and in the forest almost every
trap had caught a white-footed mouse (_Apodemus_). He also had several new
shrews and we caught eight different species of these important little
animals at this one camp.
Wu, the interpreter, hearing us speak of shrews, came to me one day in
great perplexity with his Anglo-Chinese dictionary. He had looked up the
word "shrew" and found that it meant "a cantankerous woman!"
The following day Heller went out with the hunters and saw two gorals but
did not get a shot. In the meantime Yvette and I ran the traps and prepared
the small mammals. While we were far up on the mountain-side, Baron
Haendel-Mazzetti appeared armed with ropes and an alpine snow ax. He was
about to attempt to climb the highest peak which had never been ascended
but the drifts turned him back several hundred feet from the summit. He
dined at our camp and as all of us carefully refrained from "war talk" we
spent a very pleasant evening. During his three years in Yuen-nan he had
explored and mapped many sections of the province which had not been
visited previously by foreigners and from him we obtained much valuable
On the third morning we were up before daylight and I left with the hunters
in the gray dawn. We climbed steadily for an hour after leaving camp and,
when well up on the mountain-side, skirted the base of a huge peak through
a dense forest of spruce and low bamboo thickets, emerging upon a steep
grassy meadow; this abutted on a sheer rock wall at the upper end, and
below ran into a thick evergreen forest.
As we entered the meadow the big red leading dog, trotted off by himself
toward the rock wall above us, and in a few moments we heard his sharp
yelps near the summit. Instantly the pack was off stringing out in a long
line up the hillside.
We had nearly crossed the open slope and were standing on the edge of a
deep gully when the dogs gave tongue and as soon as the hunters were sure
they were coming in our direction we hurried to the bottom of the gorge and
began the sharp ascent on the other side. It was almost straight up and
before we had gone a hundred feet we were all gasping for breath and my
legs seemed like bars of lead, but the staccato yelps of the dogs sounding
closer and closer kept us going.
When we finally dropped on the summit of the hill I was absolutely done. I
lay flat on my back for a few minutes and got to my knees just as the goral
appeared on the opposite cliff. The sight of the magnificent animal
bounding like rubber from ledges which his feet seemed hardly to touch down
the face of a sheer wall, will remain in my memory as long as I live. He
seemed the very spirit of the mountains, a thing born of peaks and crags,
vibrant with the breath of the clouds. Selecting a spot which he must touch
in the next flying leap, I waited until his body darkened the sights and
then pulled the trigger.
The game little brute collapsed, then struggled to his feet, and with a
tremendous leap landed on a projecting shelf of rock four yards below.
Instantly I fired again and he sank down in a crumpled gray mass not two
feet from the edge of the precipice which fell away in a dizzy drop of six
The dogs were on him long before we had worked our way down the canon and
up to the shelf where he lay. He was a fine ram nearly as large as the
first one I had killed. I wanted to rest the dogs for they were very tired
from their two days of hunting, so I decided to return to camp with the
men. On the way a second goral was started but it swung about the summit of
the wooded ridge instead of coming in my direction, giving one of the
hunters a shot with his crossbow, which he missed.
It was a beautiful day. Above us the sky was clear and blue but the clouds
still lay thickly over the meadow and the camp was invisible. The billowy
masses clung to the forest line, but from the slopes above them we could
look far across the valley into the blue distance where the snow-covered
summits of range after range of magnificent mountains lay shining in the
sun like beaten silver. There was a strange fascination about those
mountains, and I thrilled with the thought that for twelve long months I
was free to roam where I willed and explore their hidden mysteries.
Both gorals were fine old rams with perfect horns. Their hair was thick and
soft, pale olive-buff tipped with brownish, and the legs on the "cannon
bones" were buff-yellow like the margins of the throat patches. Their color
made them practically invisible against the rocks and when I killed the