We soon trained two of our Chinese boys to skin both large and small animals and they became quite expert. They required constant watching, however, and after each hide had been salted either Mr. Heller or I examined it to make sure that it was properly treated.
On our first day in camp we sent for natives to the village of Mu-cheng ten li distant. The men assured us that there were sambur, serow, and muntjac in the neighborhood, and they agreed to hunt. They had no dogs and were armed with crossbows, antiquated guns, and bows and arrows, but they showed us the skins of two sambur in proof of their ability to secure game.
Like most of the other natives, with the exception of the Mosos on the Snow Mountain, these men had no definite plan in hunting. The first day I went out with them they indicated that we were to drive a hill not far from camp. Without giving me an opportunity to reach a position in front of them, they began to work up the hill, and I had a fleeting glimpse of a sambur silhouetted against the sky as it dashed over the summit.
Two days later while I was out with ten other men who had a fairly good pack of dogs, the first party succeeded in killing a female sambur. The animal weighed at least five hundred pounds but they brought it to our camp and we purchased the skin for ten rupees. South of Gen-kang the money of the region, like all of Yuen-nan for some distance from the Burma frontier, is the Indian rupee which equals thirty-three cents American gold; in that part of the province adjoining Tonking, French Indo-China money is current.
My Journal of February 8 tells of our life at this camp, which we called “Good Hope.”
The weather is delightful for the sun is just warm enough for comfort and the nights are clear and cold. How we do sleep! It seems hardly an hour from the time we go to bed until we hear Wu rousing the servants, and the crackle of the camp-fire outside the tent. We half dress in our sleeping bags and with chattering teeth dash for the fire to lace our high boots in its comfortable warmth.
After breakfast when it is full daylight, my wife and I inspect the traps. The ground is white with frost and the trees and bushes are dressed in silver. Every trap holds an individual interest and we follow the line through the forest, resetting some, and finding new mammals in others. Yvette has conquered her feminine repugnance far enough to remove shrews or mice from the traps by releasing the spring and dropping them on to a broad green leaf, but she never touches them.
We go back to meet the hunters and while I am away with the men, the lady of the camp works at her photography. I return in the late afternoon and after tea we wander through the woods together. It is the most delightful part of the day when the sun goes down and the shadows lengthen. We sit on a log in a small clearing where we can watch