Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/339

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271
ACROSS THE DESERT OF GOBI

with afterwards. The dress, too, of these northern Mongol women was striking. Over their usual loose, unbelted garment (the Mongol for "woman" means "unbelted one") they wore short coats of blue cotton with red sleeves, and the tops of these were so raised and stiffened that they almost raked the wearer's ears. On their feet they had high leather boots just like their husbands', and if they wore a hat it was of the same tall, peaked sort. The sight of a Mongol woman astride a galloping pony was not a thing to be forgotten; ears of hair flapping, high hat insecurely poised on top, silver ornaments and white teeth flashing.

It was nine o'clock before we camped that night, but we did not get off the next day until afternoon because of the rain, and again it was nine in the evening when we pitched our tent in a charming little dell beautiful with great thistles, blue with the blue of heaven in the lantern light.

The next day I was getting a little desperate, and against Tchagan Hou's advice I decided to try bullying the weather, and when the rain came on again I refused to stop. As a result we were all soaked through, and after getting nearly bogged, all hands of us in a quagmire, I gave it up and we camped on the drenched ground, and there we stayed till the middle of the next day—spending most of our time trying to get dry. The argols were too wet to burn,