Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/301

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239
THE MONGOLIAN GRASSLAND

be intolerably hot; I must expect snowstorms and sandstorms; there would be heavy rains making going impossible. My transport would give out; my men would desert me; brigands would waylay and rob my caravan.

One gentleman to whom I wrote began his reply by saying that he answered my inquiries "with much pleasure"; and then continued, "Frankly, I do not think the trip from Kalgan to Urga should be taken by a lady alone at any time." Then followed ten good reasons why I should not go, and first and foremost that I should have to leave behind me all inns, and would have to camp out.

That settled it. There was nothing I should be so glad to leave behind as inns, and for months I had been longing to sleep in a tent. So I fell to making my preparations with good heart. But the enemy had not reached the end of his resources (the enemy was usually a well-bred, intelligent European or American with charming manners and the kindest intentions.) An English officer just returned from Mongolia assured me I could never get my dog across, the savage Mongol brutes would tear him in pieces; but I knew my dog and he did not, so I put that aside. The last shot was the hardest to meet : "It will not be worth while." Almost I gave in, but I had reached the pig-headed stage, and I could not, though I wanted to.