Sec. iii] • RETURN FROM THE NAN-SHAN TO MAO-MEI 519
too deep to be crossed without mounting. There I met with a very serious riding accident which might well have put an end for ever to all my travelling. My Badakhshi stallion, my regular mount all the way from Kashgar and ordinarily a quiet enough animal, probably excited by the many brood mares we had passed on the march, began to plunge as soon as I had mounted, reared suddenly, and overbalancing himself fell backwards upon me. Had it not been for the sodden condition of the turfy soil, the weight of the tall animal would probably have badly crushed me.
Even so the result was serious enough. Apart from a series of bad bruises the muscles of my Injured leg. left thigh were severely injured, the chief one evidently torn. Walking at once became impossible, and the pain made even carriage on the linked arms of my two surveying companions impossible. The pony-men with the baggage had hurried ahead to seek shelter from the rain in some stone huts they expected to find farther down. After dragging myself along for some distance supported by the surveyors, I was obliged to lie down on the boggy ground without being able to reach a couple of Tangut felt tents within sight a few hundred yards off. Their occupants would not stir to give help ; in fact, my two companions had some difficulty in keeping off the attacks of their fierce dogs. After three hours passed in this condition, the help summoned by a Turki servant arrived at last from the camping-place far ahead. Transport in the camp-chair which the men brought was exceedingly slow and painful as the ground was cut up by several steep nullahs, and it was not until close on six hours after the accident that I reached the shelter of my tent.
With my leg badly swollen and other injuries, any movement even on my camp-bed was for Survey
some days most difficult. But I soon diagnosed that my limbs had luckily escaped fracture or along
dislocation. So after a day or two employed by Lai Singh on plane-table work in the vicinity, I river.
was able to let him proceed down to Ta-ssû and thence up the main valley to the Kan-chou river
head-waters. The result of his survey, as recorded in Maps Nos. 43, 46, shows that the river above
Ta-ssû passes through a succession of narrow defiles formed by steep spurs which descend from
the ranges on either side, both clad with permanent snow-beds and small glaciers. By six marches
L51 Singh reached a point at the wide open head of the valley, well to the north of the ground
where our route of 1907 had crossed it (Map No. 43. c. 3), and was thence preparing to effect his
passage to the head-waters of the Ta-t`ung river. But determined resistance on the part of all his
Chinese frustrated his efforts, and to his great chagrin he was obliged to return to my camp as he
had come, instead of gaining the Hsi-ning route and thence 0-po.
I myself during the fortnight thus occupied had been unable to leave my camp-bed, or to use Survey east
the crutches improvised by my men with wood brought from the fir forest a march lower down on of O-po.
the 0-po river. But painfully slow as was the improvement in my severely injured thigh, I was
by then able to make arrangements for further work ahead. The helpful commandant at O-po
fort had managed on my behalf to intercept a party of Tungan muleteers returning from Hsi-ning,
and with the efficient transport thus assured I was able to let Lai Singh start for fresh surveys
in the mountains to the east and north-east of 0-po. They took him, as seen in Map No. 46. c, D
4, 5, around both the north and south flanks of a conspicuous snowy massif that seems to mark the
point of junction of the two ranges distinguished above O-po, and then past forest-clad slopes to the
watershed above the easternmost affluents of the Kan-chou river. Moving along these, he rejoined
me at Kan-chou by the middle of August, having with his unfailing energy and zeal carried through
as much of our original programme in the mountains as the altered circumstances would permit.
By the first week of August I had sufficiently recovered from the accident to get myself carried Return to
down in an improvised pony litter to Kan-chou, my leg still feeling severely the strain from the Kan-chou.
torn muscles. During a ten days' halt there in my peaceful temple quarters I experienced much
kindness from Fathers Van Eecke and De Smedt of the Belgian Mission and received the first