Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/77

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TA-JING.

57

having been lighted inside. The Mongols gravely assured me that the fuel used on these occasions was a mixture of wolves' and sheep's dung, and that the smoke rose perpendicularly in the air, no matter how strong a wind blew.

Rather over a mile beyond the Great Wall lies the small town of Ta-jing, which escaped the Dungans. At the time of our march it was garrisoned by 1,000 Chinese troops, Solones[1] from Manchuria, near the banks of the Amur. They all understood Russian, and some could even speak it, saluting us with a 'How do you do? I hope you are well.'

Oar caravan did not enter the town, but halted immediately outside its mud wall, where we hoped to obtain some respite from unwelcome visitors. But vain were such hopes. In a moment the news of our arrival had passed through the town, and we were invaded by crowds of sightseers. Not content with looking from a distance, the Chinese actually forced their way into our tent, and gave us not a moment's peace. It was no use driving them out, or setting the dog at them, because no sooner had one lot disappeared than another made its appearance. Officers rode up to our tent, and asked us to show them our guns and make them some present. On our refusal, they demanded to see our passports, and threatened to prevent us from proceeding on our journey. This continued for two days, i.e. as long as we were at Ta-jing. Here we found a very

  1. See Supplementary Note.