[Footnote AX: The day before, whilst we were passing along the edge of a cliff, we saw a deliberate suicide on the part of a pony. Getting away from its companions, it first jumped against a tree, then turned its head sharply on the side of a cliff, finally taking a leap into mid-air over the precipice. It touched ground at about two hundred and fifty feet below this point, and then rolled out of sight. My men exhibited no concern, and laughed me down because I did. It was, as they said, merely diseased, and the muleteers went on their way, leaving horse and loads to Providence. This sort of thing is not uncommon.—E.J.D.]
The mountains of Yuen-nan. Wonderful scenery. Among the Mohammedans. Sorry scene at Ch’u-tung. A hero of a horrid past. Infinite depth of Chinese character. Mule falls one hundred and fifty yards, and escapes unhurt. Advice to future travelers. To Shayung. We meet Tibetans on the mountains. Chinese cruelty. Opium smoker as a companion. Opium refugees. One opinion only on the subject. Mission work among smokers and eaters.
Mere words are a feeble means to employ to describe the mountains of Yuen-nan.
As I start from Hwan-lien-p’u this morning, to the left high hills are picturesquely darkened in the soft and unruffled solemnity of their own still unbroken shade. Opposite, rising in pretty wavy undulation, with occasional abruptions of jagged rock and sunken hollow, the steep hill-sides are brought out in the brightest coloring of delicate light and shade by the golden orb of early morn; towering majestically sunwards, sheer up in front of me, high above all else, still more sombre heights stand out powerfully in solemn contrast against the pale blue of the spring sky, the effect in the distance being antithetical and weird, with the magnificent Ts’ang Shan[AY] standing up as a beautiful background of perpendicular white, from whence range upon range of dark lines loom out in the hazy atmosphere. From the extreme summit of one snow-laden peak, whose white steeple seems truly a heavenward-directed finger, I gaze abstractedly all around upon nothing but dark masses of gently-waving hills, steep, weary ascents and descents, green and gold, and yellow and brown, and one’s eyes rest upon a maze of thin white lines intertwining them all. These are the main roads. I am alone. My men are far behind. I am awed with an unnatural sense of bewildered wonderment in the midst of all this glory of the earth.