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about eight inches, thus enabling me to sit erect, after which things went better.
We soon reached a river so deep that the robber-soldiers thought it best to dismount and paddle across, all swimming the horses. In this way we kept ourselves and saddles dry. Two of the ponies came near being lost in a quicksand on the opposite side of the river as they tried to reach the shore. A lot of hoodlum Chinamen were near. Rushing in they managed to catch the horses by the legs, necks, and tails and deliberately rolled them over and over as they floundered until they reached firmer bottom. For this the men were rewarded by half a dollar (Mexican)—in each case, to their intense delight.
Off again we went, through kaoliang fields, melon-patches, gardens, and great stretches of millet, by roads almost impassable for anything but mounted men. Eventually we reached a little town or rookery where we halted for our midday meal. On the way the Hung-hutzes had evidently been putting on a number of frills for our special edification, and once or twice we thought they assumed an air of superiority as they performed some daredevil feat. Boyd noticed this, and after tiffin turned to me and said: " Don't you think it's about time we showed these Oriental experts in horsemanship what can be done in that line by Americans?" Captain Boyd is one of the best horsemen in the American army. He had not passed four years at West Point for nothing, and his experience in the cavalry enables him to play to an enthusiastic gallery. He took his pony out in the open before our entire escort and, without saddle, proceeded to do what we are pleased to call "stunts." Boyd never rode better in his life. No cowboy or Cossack could have surpassed him. Up and down he went at full gallop, vaulting over one horse and landing on the second, riding backward as well as forward, until he simply thrilled the crowd. Their eyes bulged in amazement. The program that the military tournament in the Madison Square Garden furnishes every year was enacted for their special amusement. When he finished Boyd could have " got a job " as a firstclass Hung-hutze bandit without the asking. Those robbers were willing, we could see by their faces, to be his slaves. It is a question if he might not have imperiled Chung's supremacy had he desired to remain with them. If he ever has the misfortune to sever his connection with the United States army, he now knows where he can get a place as a bandit with a commanding position.
On our way to camp that night the spirit of deviltry seized our escort. They separated into two bands to show us what they could do in fancy riding. The bands charged full tilt at each other, with the result that two of the men were unhorsed, one man and his pony being thrown to the ground so violently as to " knock seven bells " out of the man for nearly ten minutes. The pony got up first, but we had to carry the man most of the way to town. Just before we approached it, however, he pulled himself together, remounted, and we all raced in, like a wild-flying band of daredevils. It was a glorious day of keen exhilaration. Whether the bandits had risen to our level or we had descended to theirs matters not; for the time being we were one band of brothers hilariously excited.