Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/240

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THE DAY'S ROUTINE.

argols, break ice for water, and then we had to wait, hungry and tired, till the water boiled. How we used to relish the nasty compound of butter and barley-meal, glad enough even to get that!

After this meal my companion and I would start off on a shooting expedition, weather of course permitting, or I would write up my diary while the Cossacks cooked the dinner. Now the axe was again required to break the ice and chop the frozen meat before putting them into the pot, whilst that again had to be tinkered with raw hide and barley-meal paste. This utensil, which served the double purpose of saucepan and tea-kettle, had, from constant use, worn into holes, and these had to be mended every day. It was not till afterwards that we succeeded in patching it more effectually with the copper cartridge cases of our Berdan rifle.

Dinner was ready at six or seven P.M., and was a sumptuous repast, for we had now enough meat and to spare; indeed we might have supplied a regiment with the game we killed. Unfortunately, it was often frozen so hard that we could scarcely thaw enough for our soup. Moreover, the argols burnt so badly and gave out so little heat at this great elevation, and water boiled at such a low temperature (185° Fahr.),[1] that it was difficult to cook the meat properly.

After this meal, which was dinner and supper combined, we had more work to do: the marshes and streams being all, with a few exceptions, ice to

  1. The boiling point of water at sea-level is 212° Fahr. — M.