Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/99

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63
ACROSS YUNNAN

Would the rural American, happening upon a Chinese woman,—an alien apparition from her smoothly plastered hair to her tiny bound feet,—by the brookside in one of his home fields, have shown the same restraint?

At five o'clock that same day we reached the ferry across the Yangtse, too late to cross that night. I was hot and weary after a long march, and the only place available in the village of Lung-kai was a cramped, windowless hole opening into a small, filthy court, the best room of the inn being occupied by a sick man. Through an open doorway I caught a glimpse into a stable-yard well filled with pigs. On one side was a small, open, shrine-like structure reached by a short flight of steps. In spite of the shocked remonstrances of my men I insisted on taking possession of this; the yard, though dirty, was dry, and at least I was sure of plenty of air. Fresh straw was spread in the shrine and my bed set up on it; the pigs were given my pony's stable, as I preferred his company to theirs; and I had an unusually pleasant evening, spite of the fact that the roofs of the adjoining buildings were crowded with onlookers, mostly children, until it grew too dark for them to see anything.

We crossed the Yangtse the next day on a large flat-bottomed boat into which we all crowded higgledy-piggledy, the men and their loads, pony and chairs. The current was so swift that we were carried