“Haven’t lost it,” he answered. “Why? Did you?”
“Haven’t seen it for five hours,” I replied.
“Holy dingoes!” he gasped, “Thought you were close behind, or I’d have felt mighty little like singing.”
We had no difficulty in keeping to the route for the rest of the day, and passed several carriers westward bound. With never a hut to raid, we fasted. Yet had we but known it there was food all about us. What a helpless being is civilized man without the accessories of civilization! It fell to uncouth jungle dwellers to bring home to us our own ignorance.
Weak from hunger, we had halted at the edge of a mountain stream well on in the afternoon, when we were overtaken by the soldiers. They had packed away their uniforms and wore only 佛山南海桑拿论坛交流 loin-cloths and caps.
“Kin-kow? Kin-kow?” cried the sergeant, with an interrogatory gesture.
436We nodded sadly. He chuckled to himself and waved his arms about him, as if to say that there was food everywhere. We shrugged our shoulders skeptically. He laughed like a man prepared to prove his point and addressed himself to the squad. Two of the soldiers picked up cudgels, and, returning along the path to a half-rotten log, began to move back and forth on opposite sides of it, striking it sharp blows here and there. They came back with a half-dozen lizards, those great, green reptiles that sing their “she-kak!” all night long in the thatch of Indian bungalows. Meanwhile two others of the squad were kneeling at the edge of a mudhole. From time to time they plunged their bare arms into it, drawing out frogs and dropping them, still alive, into a joint of bamboo. The sergeant took a dah and cut down a small tree at the edge of the 佛山桑拿中心 jungle. A servant dug some reddish-brown roots on the opposite bank of the stream, while his mate started a fire by rubbing two sticks together.
In a few minutes all were reassembled beside us. The lizards were skinned, cut up with lumps of red currie in an iron pot, and set to boiling. A servant drew out the frogs one by one, struck them on the head with a stick, and tossed them to his companion. The latter rolled them up inside mud balls and threw them into the fire. The sergeant split open his tree, extracted a pith some four inches in diameter, cut it into slices, toasted them on the point of his dah, and tossed them onto a large leaf spread out at our feet. The reddish roots were beaten to a pulp on the face of the rock and sprinkled over the toasted slices. Rice was boiled, the soldiers, grinning knowingly, took up their refrain of “kin-kow! kin-kow!” and the meal began. Before it was finished, both the jungle and its inhabitants had risen several degrees in our estimation. Extracted from their shell of mud, the frogs were found to be baked into brown balls, and tasted not unlike fried fish. The toasted pith resembled pickled beets. But best of all was the lizard currie. James and I ate more than our share, and offered mutual condolence that the pair sent to pound the old tree trunk had not remained longer at their task.
We went on with the soldiers, halting soon after dark at the bank of the largest stream we had yet encountered. There was no village in the vicinity, but the government had erected a military rest-house on the bank. In this we spent the night with the troopers, after partaking of a frog and lizard supper.
Beyond, the territory was less mountainous and the path well-marked; 437but whatever advantage we gained thereby was offset by another difficulty. The river beside which we had left the soldiers was deep and swift, and wound back and forth across our course with a regularity that was disheartening. In the first few morning hours we swam it no less than fourteen times. It was the ninth crossing that we had cause longest to remember. Reaching the narrow, sandy bank a bit before my companion, I stripped, and, rolling my clothing up in the oilcloth, tied the bundle to my head, and plunged in. James began to disrobe as I reached the opposite shore. Without removing his ragged shirt, or his helmet, he fastened on his “swag” as I had done, and struck out. Being an excellent swimmer he advanced with long, clean strokes. Unfortunately he did not take care to keep his head pointed up-stream. The powerful current caught him suddenly broadside, dragged him under, and dashed him against a submerged snag. He righted himself quickly, but in that brief struggle lost both his bundle 佛山桑拿服务微信 and his helmet, and in an effort to save both caught only the topee. The “swag” raced down stream. I sprang to my feet and dashed along the sandy shore in hot pursuit. The stream was far swifter than I. The tangled undergrowth brought me to a sudden halt, and the Australian’s worldly possessions were swallowed up in the jungle.
I returned to find him sitting disconsolately on the bank. Luckily there was but one tecal in his bundle, but with it had gone his shoes, trousers, jacket, the odds and ends he had picked up on his travels, his military and citizenship papers, the pocket compass, and even that bottle of “Superior Currie Dressing”; in short, everything he possessed except a helmet and a tattered shirt.
But James was not a man to be long cast down by minor misfortunes. He tied the shirt about his loins and we proceeded. 佛山桑拿黄岐 Relieved of his burden, he marched more easily and crossed the streams with far less difficulty than I. But in less than an hour his shoulders, back, and legs were painted a fiery red by the implacable sun; and the stones and jagged brambles tore and bruised his feet until he left a blood stain at every step.
We were again overtaken by the soldiers about noonday and halted for another jungle meal. Off once more, we forged ahead for a time, but found it prudent to wait for the troopers to lead the way; for the route was beset with unexpected pitfalls. As once, in fighting our way along the bank of the river, we crashed headlong through the 438bushes into the dry, stony bed of a tributary—fifteen feet below. This mishap left little of my clothing, and gave the Australian the appearance of a modern Saint Sebastian.
A wider 佛山夜生活桑拿论坛 path began where we rejoined the soldiers. The higher mountain ranges fell away; but if the foothills were less lofty they were as steep, and the slopes were often clear of vegetation and reeking in mud. At the top of such a ridge we overtook an equine caravan returning from some village off to the southwest. Burdened with huge pack saddles, the horses began the perilous descent reluctantly. Suddenly three of them lost their footing, sat down on their haunches, and rolled over and over, their packs flying in every direction. James laughed loudly and slapped me on the back. The blow disturbed my equilibrium. My feet shot from under me, and, slipping, sliding, rolling, clutching in vain for support, I pitched down the five-hundred yard slope and splashed headfirst into a muddy stream at the bottom several seconds in advance of 佛山桑拿蒲友 the horses.
Another mile left me barefooted and nearly as naked as my companion. Now and again we overtook a band of Laos carriers, once a young Buddhist priest in tattered yellow, attended by two servants. We had seen him somewhere a day or two before and remembered him not only by his garb but on account of the licentious cast of his coarse features. He joined our party uninvited and tramped along with us, puffing at a long saybully and chattering volubly. The soldiers greeted his sallies with roars of laughter and winked at us in a way to suggest that the tales he told would have made the efforts of Boccaccio seem Sunday-school stories. We deplored more than ever our ignorance of the Siamese tongue.
James was protesting that he could not continue another yard when we came most unexpectedly to the edge of the jungle. Before 佛山桑拿那里好 us stretched a vast paddy field, deeply inundated. The soldiers led the way along the tops of the ridges toward a dense grove two miles distant. The howling of a hundred curs heralded our approach, and as many chattering humans swarmed about us when we paused in a large, deep-shaded village at the edge of a river fully a mile wide. It could be no other than the Menam Chow Pya—the “great river” of Siam. Along the low eastern bank stretched a veritable city with white, two-story buildings, before which were anchored large native junks. It was Rehang. The soldiers told us so with shouts of joy and ran away to don their uniforms.
We threw off what was left of our garments and plunged into the 439stream to wash off the blood and grime of the jungle. When we had prepared ourselves for entrance into civilization the soldiers were 佛山桑拿飞机网 gone. We appealed to the villagers to set us across the river. They refused. We took possession of one of a dozen dug-out logs drawn up along the shore, and the village swarmed down upon us in a great avalanche of men, women, children, and yellow curs. We caught up two paddles and laid about us. In two minutes we were alone.
We pushed the dug-out into the stream and were climbing in when two ugly, wrinkled females ran down the bank and offered to ferry us across. They pointed the craft up-stream and fell to paddling, their flabby breasts beating against their paunches with every stroke, their bony knees rising and falling regularly. They were expert water dogs, however, and crossed the swift stream without mishap, landing us at a crazy wooden wharf in the center of the town.
In every published map of Siam you will find Rehang 佛山桑拿小姐电话 noted—somewhere within a hundred miles of its actual situation. Not that the city deserves such distinction. The geographer must have some name to fill in this vast space on his chart or he lays himself open to a charge of ignorance. On nearer sight the white, two-story buildings were rather pathetic, dilapidated structures. The avenue between them was not much better paved than the jungle paths, and deeper in mud. The sanitary squad, evidently, had not yet returned from an extended vacation. Here and there a dead cat or dog had been tossed out to be trampled under foot. There was no dearth of inhabitants; one could not but wonder how the town could house such a population. But the passing throng was merely a larger gathering of those same uncouth “wild men” of the jungle villages. The fear of being arrested for unseemly exposure soon left us. James, in national costume, attracted 佛山桑拿蒲友网 much less attention than I, in the remnants of jacket and trousers.
Just one advance agent of modern civilization had reached Rehang. Bill posters had decorated several blank walls with huge lithographs announcing, in Siamese letters a foot high, the merits of a well-known sewing machine. That we had expected, of course. In the back waters of modern progress are a few hamlets where Milwaukee beer is unknown, but the traveler who extends his explorations so far into the wilds as to discover a community ignorant of the existence of the American sewing machine merits decoration by the Royal Geographical Society.
It was easy, however, to overlook the backwardness of this tumble-down 440thorp on the banks of the Menam; at least it was a market town. James dashed into the first booth with a whoop of delight and startled the keeper out of his wits by demanding a whole three cents’ worth of cigarettes. Saybullies might do well enough as a last resort, but the Australian did not propose to be reduced to such extremities again. He splashed on through the reeking streets blowing great clouds of smoke from his nostrils and forgetting for the time even the smarting of his torn and sun-scorched skin.
Half the merchants of the town were Chinamen. We stopped at a shop kept by three wearers of the pig-tail and, dragging a bench into the center of the room, called for food. One of the keepers, moving as if he deeply resented our intrusion, set canned meat before us, and brought us as a can-opener, after long delay, a hatchet with a blade considerably wider than the largest tin.
When we rose to depart, the Celestials quickly lost their apathy. They demanded ten tecals. I gave them two. The market price of the stuff was certainly not over a half of that sum. A triple scream rent the air and a half-dozen Monguls bounded into the shop and danced like ogres about us. One caught up the hatchet and swung it high above his head. James snatched it from him, kicked him across the room, and threw the weapon among the heaped-up wares. We fought our way to the street. The keeper nearest us gave one stentorian bellow that was answered from every side. Chinamen tumbled out through every open doorway, out of every hole in the surrounding shop walls; they sprang up from under the buildings, dropped from the low roofs, swarmed out of the alleyways, for all the world like rats; screaming, yelping, snarling, clawing the air as they ran, their cues streaming behind them. In the twinkling of an eye the mob at our heels had increased to a hundred. We refused to sacrifice our dignity by running. The frenzied Celestials scratched us savagely with their overgrown finger nails, caught at our legs, spattered us with mud. Not one of them used his fists.
When we turned upon them they recoiled as from a squad of cavalry and we could retaliate only by catching a flying pig-tail in either hand to send a pair of yellow-skinned rascals sprawling in the mud. They came back at us after every stand before we had taken a dozen steps. Our backs were a network of finger-nail scratches. We cast our eyes about us for some weapon and found two bemired sticks. Before we could use them our assailants turned and fled, still screaming at the top of their lungs.
The sort of jungle through which we cut our way for three weeks. Gerald James, my Australian companion, in the foreground
Not far beyond, we turned in at the largest edifice in the town—the 441Rehang barracks. Among the half-hundred little brown soldiers lounging about the entrance were our intermittent comrades of the few days past. It
was plain that they had told our story. The recruits gathered about us, laughing and plying pantomimic questions. How had we liked lizard currie? What had turned our dainty skins so blood red? What ignorant and helpless beings were white men, were they not?
Suddenly, amid the general chatter, I caught a hint that there was a European on the floor above. We sprang towards the stairway at the end of the veranda. The soldiers shrieked in dismay and snatched at our rags. We must not go up; it was contrary to stringent barrack rules. A guardsman on duty at the foot of the stairs held his musket out horizontally and shouted a tremulous command. James caught him by the shoulder and sent him spinning along the veranda. We dashed up the steps. Two doors stood ajar. James sprang to one while I pushed open the other.
“Hello!” I shouted, “Where’s the white—”
A triumphant roar from my companion sent me hurrying after him. He was dancing gleefully just inside the second door, and shaking a white man ferociously by the hand, an astonished white man in khaki uniform with officer’s stripes. I reminded the Australian of his costume and he subsided. The European invited us inside and sent a servant for tea, biscuits and cigars. Our host was commander of the Rehang garrison—a Dane, but with a fluent command of English. That we had been wandering through the jungle was all too evident; but that we had come overland from Burma was a tale he would not credit until the sergeant had been called in to confirm our assertions. Forgetting his military duties, the commander plied us with wondering questions until dusk fell, and then ordered three of the newly-arrived squad to arrange for our accommodation.
The sergeant, plainly overawed at finding us on such intimate terms with his dreaded chief, led the way through the barracks. The garrison grounds were extensive. Within the inclosure was a Buddhist monastery, resembling, if less pretentious than, the Tavoy of Rangoon. Here were the same irregular patches of untilled ground, where priests wandered and chattered in the twilight; the same disorderly array of gaudy temples, gay little pagodas with tinkling silver bells, and frail priestly dwellings.
On the veranda of one of the latter the soldiers spread a pair of army blankets. We were for turning in at once. Our seneschals would not hear of it. For a half-hour they trotted back and forth 442between our bungalow and that of the commander, bearing steaming dishes. The little table they had set up was groaning under its burden before the sergeant signed to us to begin. There was broiled fish, a mutton roast, a great steak, a spitted fowl, fruits and vegetables of astounding variety and quantity. The sergeant laughed aloud at our astonishment when he drew out a pair of knives and forks from his pocket. Then he tapped his head meditatively with a skinny finger and ran off again into the night. He came back with a box of cigars and a quart bottle of whiskey!
Neither of us being particularly addicted to the use of fire-water, we wet our whistles and fell upon the fish. When I looked up again, the sergeant was watching me with the fixed stare of a half-starved cat.
“Kin-kow?” I asked, pointing at the steak.
The trooper shook his head almost fiercely.
“Try him on the gasoline,” suggested James.
I poured out a glass of whiskey and held it out to him. In accordance with Oriental etiquette, he refused it seven times with a pained expression. At the eighth offer he smiled nervously. At the ninth he raised his hand hesitatingly and dropped it again. At the tenth he took the glass gingerly between his slim fingers, eyed it askance, tasted the liquor half fearfully, smacked his lips, gulped down a liberal half of the potion, and handed the glass to the privates behind him.
The mutton roast engrossed our attention. When it was finished, I found the officer grinning down upon me. I filled the glass again. He cocked his head on one side in the beginning of a shake and kept it there. His refusals had lost force. With the third glass there was no refusal. The fourth he poured out for himself. By the time we were picking the chicken bones, the three warriors were dancing gleefully about us. We sat down on the blanket for a smoke. The sergeant, shrieking his undying affection, threw himself down between us and began to embrace us in turn. When we kicked him off the veranda he locked arms with the privates and waltzed away across the parade-ground, screaming a high-pitched native song at the top of his lungs. The quart bottle stood on the table—empty.
We spent the night on the veranda. We did not sleep there. Our sun-scorched skins would not permit it; even had they burned less fiercely, we could not have slept. One would have fancied the monastery a gigantic hen yard, with the priests transformed into chanticleers 443during the hours of darkness. After every shower the unveiled moon was greeted with a din of crowing that was nothing short of infernal. In the brief respite each gathering storm brought us, we tossed about wide-awake on our asperous couch, listening to the symphonic tinkling of the pagoda bells.
With dawn came a summons from the Dane. We hurried to his bungalow and joined him at breakfast. He had gathered together two pairs of shoes and four khaki uniforms. They were from his own tailor in Bangkok, still very serviceable, though fitting us a bit too snugly, and chafing our blistered skins. Rolling up the extra garments and swinging them over our shoulders, we bade our host farewell. As we left the garrison inclosure we came upon the sergeant, sitting on the ground, his knees drawn up to his chin, his face buried in his hands—a very personification of the baneful morning after.
CHAPTER XX THE JUNGLES OF SIAM
The route to Bangkok, such as it was, lay on the eastern bank of the Menam. This time we crossed the stream by the official ferry, a dug-out canoe fully thirty feet long, which held, besides ourselves and four paddlers, twenty-two natives, chiefly of the gentle sex. All day we tramped through jungle as wild as that to the westward, following the course of the river. Bamboo villages were numerous and for every hut at least a half-dozen, mangy, yellow curs added their yelping to the uproar that heralded our approach. We cooked our food where we chose and paid for it when we had eaten. The inhabitants were indolent “wild men” like those of the mountains, content to live and die in their nests of jungle rubbish, with a dirty rag about their loins. Occasionally a family ran away into the forest when we took possession of their abode. More often they remained where we found them, squatting on the floor, and watched our culinary dexterity with lack-luster eyes. Except for their breasts, there was nothing to distinguish the women from the men. Both sexes wore their dull, black hair some two inches long and dressed it in a bristling pompadour that gave them a resemblance to startled porcupines. Both had jet-black teeth. The younger children were robust little animals; the older, ungainly creatures with overgrown bellies.
Chief of the obstacles to our progress were the tributaries of the Menam Chow Pya. Sometimes they were swift and deep. Then we had only to strip and swim them, our bundles slung around our heads. What we dreaded more were the sluggish streams, through which we must wade waist deep in black, foul-smelling slush or half-acres of nauseating green slime, cesspools that seemed designed to harbor poisonous snakes. Once we despaired for a time of continuing our way. We had been halted by a stagnant rivulet more than a furlong wide, too deep to be waded, too thickly covered with stewing slime to be swum. We wandered back along it for some distance. No stream could have been less fitting a scene for romance. Yet what was our surprise to find, where the green scum was thickest, an old dug-out scow, half roofed with attap leaves, anchored to a snag equi-distant 445from either shore; and in it that same youthful priest of our mountain tramp, engrossed in the entertainment of as comely a female as one could have run to earth in the length and breadth of these Siamese wilds. We half suspected that he would resent being disturbed. At sight of the scowling face that he raised when we hallooed to him we were sure of it.