FROM TONKIN TO INDIA
dismissed most of our former mafous and disposed of several mules.
Before we left we received a visit from two of the Fathers, Pitou and Reichenbach, whose station was two daysa distant from Tali; and with six Frenchmen momentarily united in a
far country it may be judged if the party broke up early. The missionaries gave us interesting details of the country, especially regarding the superstitions of the Chinese in Tali, among which the errors of the Middle Ages lived again. For instance, in the heart of the larger cactus is found a pith, which to a lively imagination presents the semblance of a doll. In this the natives see the embryo European, and to be beforehand with a possible invasion slay every cactus in the place. Again, when rain is wanted a long paper dragon is carried through the streets; or, more effectual still, a dressed-up dog is carried in a palanquin, before which the very mandarins must bow for the propitiation of the skies.