the clasped hands to the head, and proceed to business. For some
moments they warily watch one another, stepping and dancing round with
a good deal of attitudinizing of an alarming description, by the
extravagance of which we can generally tell the best man. The blows are
rather round-armed, it is true, and kicking is allowed; but it is
wonderfully quiet and masterful, and when they warm to it, very hard
rounds are fought. The umpires squat round ready to separate the men,
call time, and generally see fair play, and at the end of each round
the two men squat down, and are offered water out of silver bowls, the
bearer respectfully on his knee handing them the ladle. The keenness of
the onlookers is tremendous, especially when the men are well matched;
but what produced most enthusiasm was a fight between boys of about ten
years old. The little fellows showed, I must say, a great deal of pluck
and more science than most of us did at that age at school; they kept
their tempers well, and at the end of each round their seconds,
stalwart fathers and uncles, were beside themselves with delight,
stroking their heads and dancing round them with tears of laughter
running from their eyes.
were some sword and sword-and-spear dances by two men in slow time to
music, with silver-handled weapons, and accompanied by the gestures in
which all these nations take such pleasure.
the time I was in Chieng Kong district the weather was getting warmer.
Up the river we had the minimum 54° three days running, just after
sunrise, at which time heavy mists shrouded the river valley, and
subsequently 56°, 58°, 60° were the minimum at the same time. The
maximum in the shade at the sala or under the coverings in the boats
was 91° at 1 p.m.—the average 89°. But in the jungle, where the
south-west winds could not reach, the heat was very great, and the sun
was very fierce, especially on the great banks of sand, which are so
characteristic of the river. The height I make 1250 feet from the sea.
sands, over which we used to trudge for miles from stream to stream,
got so hot after 11 a.m. until about sunset, that the men could not
bear walking on them, and took to the water; the glare is tremendous to
the eyes. After sunset the rocks retained their heat so that some
long-haired Shan dogs we had with us would not lie or walk upon them.
There is a great deal of mica, iron pyrites, and magnetic iron ore in
these sands; and washing among the bushes,