Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/338

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270
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

and sheep again gladdened our eyes, and the pony herds were a splendid sight; hundreds of beautiful creatures, mostly chestnut or black, were grazing near the trail or galloping free with flowing mane and tail.

We had been warned that the rainy season was setting in early, and for three days we met storm after storm, delaying us for hours, sometimes keeping us in camp a day or more. We stopped for tiffin the first day just in time to escape a drenching, and did not get away again until six o'clock. As some Chinese pony traders had encamped alongside of us, and there were two or three yurts not far away, I did not lack amusement. The Mongolian women camped down in my tent as soon as it was up, making themselves much at home. One was young and rather good-looking, and all wore the striking headdress of North Mongolia. Like that of the south, it was of silver, set with bright stones, but it was even more elaborate in design, and the arrangement of the hair was most extraordinary. Parted from brow to nape of the neck, the two portions were arranged in large plastered structures like ears on either side of the head; these extended out almost to the width of the shoulder, and were kept in place by bars of wood or silver, the two ends of hair being braided and brought forward over the breast. This is the style of head-dressing adopted at marriage and rarely meddled