Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/188

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140
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

book "Yünnan" nothing more than that it is much too steep for animals. Even the friendly postmaster failed us here; all he could tell was that an official who had attempted to take ponies through lost them all, swept away by the torrents. The interpreter wagged his head doubtfully when I suggested my plan, but his opinion did not matter, for, like all of his class in China, he was disinclined to active exertion. And when I called the fu t'ou into council I found he had once gone this way, and was not inclined to go again.

Ku Niang (my title): "I wish to go to Ya-chou by the Lesser Trail."

Fu t'ou: "It is impossible."

Ku Niang: "I intend to go all the same, and I expect you to go with me."

Fu t'ou: "Very well. I will guide the Ku Niang by the Lesser Trail, but the pony cannot go, nor the chairs, nor the men, for it is impassable for shoulder loads, and these are Ning-yüan men who know no other way of carrying."

Apparently the fu t'ou and the cook, Jack and I were the only ones equal to the trip, as I had already told the interpreter he might go by the main road. But persistence conquers most things in the East. The pony should be sent round by the longer way in charge of the ma-fu. As for the interpreter, when he found I was ready to get along without him, he de-