FROM TALI TO TSEKOU
The dwellings were always filthy; we slept better in a passage than in the chiefs apartment, which besides was littered with an assortment of articles such as grain bins, ears of corn, bows, bird snares, a broken matchlock, wooden spoons, a flail, bamboo-hooped buckets, and a kind of iron grid on which were kindled bits of resinous wood for light. Over the door there might be a white drawing of men on horses, though it required an effort of imagination to guess what the artist had intended.
In the woods which we traversed at this time the wild olive flourished, in appearance just like that of our own country; and here again after a long lapse we found specimens of the
Native Designs on Door Lintel.
palm or macaw-tree. How did its seeds find their way hither?' The wild vine, plum, and hazel were abundant, also some excellent little wild apples in which we instructed Nam in the art of making compotes. The country itself varied little: on one side ran the Mekong at our feet, always yellow and muddy in a deep channel, and on our left towered above us the range that separated us from the Salwen, its savage peaks and skirmisher pines reminding one of the Dolomites of the Tyrol.
As the 30th (July) wore on the route became better, and by the evening of that day we reached a townlet which we had been told was of some importance. We found In-Chouan, as it