Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/143

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
103
ON THE MANDARIN ROAD

smallest places our entrance was the signal for an uproar. The scores of dogs—big, gaunt pariahs—that infested every village, greeted us as we passed through the gate with a chorus of barks, sending the word down the line. To his credit be it said, Jack paid little attention to them, tittupping along, head up, tail up, only when they came too close turning on them with a flash of white teeth that sent the cowardly brutes flying and brought cries of delight from the village folk who crowded nearer to inspect the strange dog, so small, so brave, and so friendly.

Seen from within, Fulin was not attractive and I escaped outside leaving my men to get their breakfast, which they generally had at about nine o'clock, for the Szechuan order of day is not like that of Yunnan. We were on the road often before six o'clock, and my cook always succeeded in getting me some tea before starting, but the coolies fasted until eight or after, when they stopped for a hearty breakfast. At noon there was usually a second long halt, this time for me and the pony, but the coolies took nothing more save the hourly cups of tea until we reached our night's stopping-place about the middle of the afternoon. The start at dawn was delightful ; less so getting into the town with half an afternoon before me, and I made it the rule to stop a mile or so outside the town for a nap in peace and quiet, but the quiet was hard to find. Generally there