Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/82

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62

TREATMENT OF PRISONER.

After discharging his piece every man shouted at the top of his voice before reloading. This is the usual style of warfare, alternately firing and uttering terrible cries to frighten the enemy.

At length our brave warriors started in pursuit and caught one man who turned out to be a Chinese. He may possibly have been a Dungan for the Mahommedan Chinese do not differ in appearance from their Confucian brethren. It was resolved to put the prisoner to death as soon as the caravan arrived at the next halting-place; in the meantime he was compelled to walk beside his captors. He was caught trying to get off by hiding in the long grass at the road side, so he was tied by his queue to the tail of one of the mounted camels.

On arrival at camp the prisoner was fastened to one of the packs, while the lamas sharpened a sword intended to cut off his head. But now a dispute arose as to whether he should be put to death, some of them wishing to spare his life. Understanding perfectly their conversation, which was in Mongol, the Chinaman never lost his composure. When tea was ready he was invited to join in the meal, receiving as much attention as an invited guest. Greatly to our astonishment he drank it as though nothing out of the common way had happened, the lamas filling his cup while they discussed his execution. Finding this extremely disgusting, we started off on an excursion into the mountains. On our return towards evening we learned that, thanks to the mediation of the leaders of the caravan,