Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/343

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275
ACROSS THE DESERT OF GOBI

turn back, and an overturned cart and a drowned horse show the danger. But we decide to risk it, hiring two Mongols, a lama and a "black man," to guide our horses. One, on his own mount, takes the big cart horse by the head; the other, riding my pony, leads the buggy horse. Wang comes in with me and holds Jack. The crowds watch eagerly as we start out; the water splashes our feet. First one horse, then another, floundering badly, almost goes down, the buggy whirls round and comes within an ace of upsetting, the little dog's excited yaps sound above the uproar. Then one mighty lurch and we are up the bank. Four times more we repeat the performance, and at last we find ourselves with only a strip of meadow between us and Mai-ma-chin, the Chinese settlement where we plan to put up. Clattering along the stockaded lane we stop before great wooden gates that open to Tchagan's call, and we are invited in by the Mongol trader who, warned of our coming, stands ready to bid us welcome.