Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/72

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42
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

my face away from the city. Once more I was on the "open road." Above me shone the bright sun of Yunnan, before me lay the long trail leading into the unknown. Seven hundred miles of wild mountainous country, six weeks of steady travelling lay between me and Chengtu, the great western capital. The road I planned to follow would lead nearly due north at first, traversing the famous Chien-ch'ang valley after crossing the Yangtse. But at Fulin on the Ta Tu I intended to make a detour to the west as far as Tachienlu, that I might see a little of the Tibetans even though I could not enter Tibet. I did not fear trouble of any sort in spite of a last letter of warning received at Hong Kong from our Peking Legation, but there was just enough of a touch of adventure to the trip to make the roughnesses of the way endurable. Days would pass before I could again talk with my own kind, but I was not afraid of being lonely. "The scene was savage, but the scene was new," and the hours would be filled full with the constantly changing interests of the road, and as I looked at my men I felt already the comradeship that would come with long days of effort and hardship passed together. These men of the East—Turk, Indian, Chinese, Mongol—are much of a muchness, it seems to me; pay them fairly, treat them considerately, laugh instead of storm at the inevitable mishaps of the way, and generally they will give you faithful, willing service.