Camps and Trails in China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 325 pages of information about Camps and Trails in China.

The company drilled splendidly and we were surprised to hear all commands given in English although none of the men could understand that language.  This is done to enable British and Indian troops to maneuver together.  Captain Clive, himself, spoke Hindustani to his officers.  In the evening the men played football on the parade ground and it seemed as though we had suddenly been transported into civilization on the magic carpet of the Arabian Nights.

Every morning we went shooting at daylight and returned about nine o’clock.  Conditions were not favorable for small mammals and although we could undoubtedly have caught a few civets, mongooses, and cats we did not set a line of steel traps for we expected to leave at any time.  Our attention was mostly devoted to bird collecting and we obtained about two hundred interesting specimens.

We had our mid-morning meal each day with Captain Clive and he dined with us in the evening.  He had brought with him from Lashio a large quantity of supplies and lived almost as well as he could have done at home.  Although the days were very warm, the nights were cold and a camp fire was most acceptable.

Captain Clive was on excellent terms with the Chinese authorities and, while we were there, a very old mandarin, blind and infirm, called to present his compliments.  He had been an ardent sportsman and was especially interested in our guns; had we been willing to accept the commission he would have paid us the money then and there to purchase for him a Savage .250-.300 rifle like the one we were carrying.  The old gentleman always had been very loyal to the British and had received several decorations for his services.

A few days after our arrival a half dead Chinaman crawled into camp with his throat terribly cut.  He had been attacked by brigands only a few miles over the border and had just been able to reach Ma-li-pa.  The company “compounder” took him in charge and, when Clive asked him about the patient, his evasive answers were most amusing; like all Orientals he would not commit himself to any definite statement because he might “lose face” if his opinion proved to be wrong.

Captain Clive said to him, “Do you think the Chinaman will die?” Looking very judicial the native replied, “Sir, he may die, and yet, he may live.”  “But,” said Clive, “he will probably die, won’t he?” “Yes,” was the answer, “and yet perhaps he will live.”  That was all the satisfaction he was able to get.

Clive told us of another native who formerly had been in his company.  He had been transferred and one day the Captain met him in Rangoon.  When asked if his pay was satisfactory the answer was typical, “Sir, it is good, but not s-o-o good!”

On the afternoon of our fourth day in Ma-li-pa a heliograph from Rangoon announced that “The Asiatic Zooelogical Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History is especially commended to His Majesty’s Indian Government and permission is hereby granted to carry on its work in Burma wherever it may desire.”  This was only one of the many courtesies which we received from the British.

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Camps and Trails in China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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