Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/305

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
243
THE MONGOLIAN GRASSLAND

give a dinner party found themselves short of silver, but the servants rose to the situation, and when the night came the dinner table was resplendent with massive silver decorated with the armorial bearings—of another legation.

Just before I left Kalgan my larder was enriched from another and unexpected source. Thanks to the friendly introduction of an American gentleman in Peking, His Excellency, Hou Wei Têh, the Senior Vice-President of the Wai-wu-pu, most courteously sent instructions to Chinese officials along my route, especially at Kalgan and Urga, to give me every assistance. And soon after my arrival in Kalgan three officials of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs made me a formal call, and the next day they came again, followed by a coolie bearing a basket of stores which proved to be of great value before my journey was over. One feels rather shabby at accepting courtesies for which one can make no return. I did my best by writing appreciative letters to all concerned, beginning with His Excellency, the Senior Vice-President. I hope he got the letter, but the next thing I heard of His Excellency was his sudden appearance over the wall of the American Mission Compound at Peking, fleeing before the mutinous soldiers.

On the morning of July 26, I was rumbling over the broken pavements of Kalgan streets in a Peking cart guided by the trusty Mongol of a friend, and