Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/218

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164
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

arrange for a pony to take the place of mine, left behind at Ya-chou, as he seemed in need of a longer rest. The weather was now too hot for walking, but all day in the chair was unendurable, so I hoped here to hire a pony for half a stage. I refused to engage one without seeing its back, but nothing appeared to be inspected, why, I could not tell. The shifts and turns of the oriental mind are not our shifts and turns, so I finally gave up trying to find out, and went to bed, telling the fu t'ou he must have something ready in the morning, only if its back was sore I would not take it. But morning came and no pony. I was told it was waiting for me outside the town, and there it was, sure enough. Ordering off saddle and blanket I inspected its back to make certain that all was right, as it was. But the strange ma-fu seemed quite overcome with consternation at the sight of me, while the fu t'ou collapsed on a stone wall near by, doubled up with laughter. At last an explanation was made. When the fu t'ou tried to get a pony for me from the pony hong he was met by a refusal. No foreigner should ride one of their horses ; they had let one to a foreign gentleman not long before, and he had abused it and gone so fast that the ma-fu could not keep up, and nearly lost the pony; nor were they to be moved. Anyway, the fu t'ou told them, he must have one himself. When it was brought to the inn at dawn he mounted and rode outside the town. There, finding