Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/111

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75
THE CHIEN-CH'ANG

Cold Mountains," the country of the independent Lolos, is a mountainous region extending north and south some three hundred miles, which constitutes to this day an almost impenetrable barrier between east and west, crossed voluntarily by no Chinese, unless in force, and from which but one European party has returned to tell the tale. On the outskirts of this territory a little mission work has been undertaken with some success, but as yet no real impression has been made upon the people. Chinese hold upon the country is limited to an occasional more or less ineffective punitive expedition organized after some unusual outrage, such as the murder, a few years back, of Lieutenant Brooke, the English explorer. Naturally the Government does not care to assume any responsibility for the foolhardy foreigner bent on risking his life. Lieutenant Brooke went without permission, and during my stay in Ning-yüan I learned that two French travellers had just sought in vain for leave to attempt the crossing of the mountains to Suifu.

Within Lololand, of course, no Chinese writ runs, no Chinese magistrate holds sway, and the people, more or less divided among themselves, are under the government of their tribal chiefs. The little that is known of this interesting race has been learned from the so-called tame Lolos who have accepted Chinese rule, and are found scattered in small villages