We expected from our easy hunt of the morning that it would not be difficult to get sambur, and indeed, Heller did see another in the afternoon but failed to kill it. Unfortunately, a relative of one of the hunters died suddenly during the night and all the men went off with their dogs to the burial feast which lasted several days, and we were not able to find any other good hounds.
There were undoubtedly several sambur in the vicinity of our camp but they fed entirely during the night and spent the day in such thick cover that it was impossible to drive them out except with good beaters or dogs. We hunted faithfully every morning and afternoon but did not get another shot and, after a week, moved camp to the base of a great mountain range six miles away near a Liso village.
The scenery in this region is magnificent. The mountain range is the same on which we hunted at Ho-mu-shu and reaches a height of 11,000 feet near Wa-tien. It is wild and uninhabited, and the splendid forests must shelter a good deal of game.
The foothills on which we were camped are low wooded ridges rising out of open cultivated valleys, which often run into the jungle-filled ravines in which the sambur sleep. Why the deer should occur in this particular region and not in the neighboring country is a mystery unless it is the proximity of the great forested mountain range. But in similar places only a few miles away, where there is an abundance of cover, the natives said the animals had never been seen, and neither were they known on the opposite side of the mountain range where the Teng-yueh—Tali-Fu road crosses the Salween valley.
On May 20, we started back to Hui-yao to spend three or four days hunting monkeys before we returned to Teng-yueh to pack our specimens and end the field work of the Expedition. On the way my wife and I became separated from the caravan but as we had one of our servants for a guide we were not uneasy.
The man was a lazy, stupid fellow named Le Ping-sang (which we had changed to “Leaping Frog” because he never did leap for any cause whatever), and before long he had us hopelessly lost.
It would appear easy enough to ask the way from the natives, but the Chinese are so suspicious that they often will intentionally misdirect a stranger. They do not know what business the inquirer may have in the village to which he wishes to go and therefore, just on general principles, they send him off in the wrong direction.
Apparently this is what happened to us, for a farmer of whom we inquired the way directed us to a road at nearly right angles to the one we should have taken, and it was late in the afternoon before we finally found the caravan.
LAST DAYS IN CHINA