At the invitation of missionaries working among them, I then spent some months in residence and travel in Miaoland, and only regret that an extended account of my experiences is not possible.
[Footnote N: July, 1910.]
[Footnote O: The local name for the Yangtze.]
[Footnote P: This Liu was a remarkable man, quite unlike the average mandarin. He got the name of Liu Ma Pang, a disrespectful term, meaning that he was fond of using the stick. On a journey towards Chao-t’ong, some years ago, he went on ahead of his retinue of men and horses, and arriving at an inn at Tong-ch’uan-fu, asked the ta si fu—the general factotum—for the best room, and proceeded to walk into it. “No you don’t,” yelled the ta si fu, “that’s reserved for Liu Ma Pang, and you’re not to go in there.” After some time Liu’s men arrived, and calling one or two, he said, “Take this man” (pointing to the surprised ta si fu) “and give him a sound thrashing.” He stood by and saw the whacking administered, after which he said, “That’s for speaking disrespectfully of a mandarin.” Then, “Give him a thousand cash,” adding, “That’s for knowing your business.”
Some years ago Liu was the means of saving the life of the late Mr. Litton (mentioned later in this book), at the time he was British Consul at Tengyueh, when there was fighting down in the south of Yuen-nan with the Wa’s.—E.J.D.]
[Footnote Q: He was captured some months afterwards, I believe, at Mengtsz.—E.J.D.]
THE TRIBES OF NORTH-EAST YUeN-NAN, AND MISSION WORK AMONG THEM
Men who came through Yuen-nan twenty years ago wrote of its doctors and its medicines, its poverty and its infanticide. There seemed little else to speak of.
Although the tribes were here then—and in a rawer state even then than they are at the present time—little was known about them, and men had not yet developed the cult of putting their opinions upon this most absorbing topic into print. To-day, however, scores of men in Europe are eagerly devouring every line of copy they can get hold of bearing upon this fascinating ethnological study. Missionaries are plagued by inquiries for information respecting the tribes of Western China, and it is a curious feature of the situation that, with each article or book coming before the public contradiction follows contradiction, and very few people—not even those resident in the areas and working among the tribes—can agree absolutely upon any given points in their data. The numerous non-Chinese tribes I met in China formed one of the most interesting, and at the same time most bewildering, features of my travel; and I can quite agree with Major H.R. Davies,[R] who tackles the tribe question with considerable ability in his book on Yuen-nan, when he says that it is safe to