HANOI TO MONGTSE
should have met us here were detained by the Taotai. Nor did there seem much chance of finding them. In vain we talked, in the middle of the enclosure which serves as a public square, where the telegraph stood. Big bilious-visaged Chinese lounged about in robes and slippers with pasteboard soles, killing time with talk and smoke; and these effeminate creatures gazed on us with that self-
sufficient and contemptuous air which meets one everywhere in
China, and which we were forced to put up with for many a month to come.
We watched caravans arriving or departing, long processions of
draught oxen adorned with red worsted tassels and bells. 1 hese
cattle made the journey slowly from Mongtse in twelve days. 1 heir
load consisted of two sheets of tin weighing about 200 lbs. Mules