Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/185

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137
TACHIENLU

the portal, we found ourselves in a large courtyard paved with stone and surrounded by two-story galleried buildings. Facing us was the temple, scarcely more imposing in outward appearance than the others. On one side a group of half-naked lamas were gathered about an older man who seemed to be relating or expounding something, whether gossip or doctrine I could not tell, but I should judge the former from their expressions. They paid little attention to us, nor did others strolling about the yard, but the big dogs roaming loose were not backward in their greeting, although to my surprise they did not seem at all ferocious, and treated my imperturbable little dog with distant respect. Earlier travellers recount unpleasant experiences, but perhaps the lamas have learned better in late years, and fasten up their dangerous dogs if visitors are expected. Afterwards I saw in another inner courtyard a large, heavy-browed brute adorned with a bright red frill and securely chained. He looked savage, and could have given a good account of himself in any fight.

While I was waiting for permission to enter the temple, I inspected the stuffed animals—dogs, calves, leopards—suspended on the verandah. They were fast going to decay from dust and moth, but I was told that they were reputed sacred. The temple, which we were forced to enter from a side door, was large and high, hung with scrolls and banners and