he plains of Mongolia stretch bleakly, forbidding, yet beckoning, backed again and again by the Great Wall. Granite mountains turned their craven faces to the grey sky and the wind-god chaps their cheeks with icy blasts. The ages past, there stand to await oblivion which never comes....
Nothing but thorns and breeding nothing but dust, reminisces the men who have trod before never to trod again.
Far from the sacrilegious bustle of Peking, out of earshot, and eyeshot too, of civilization, I slipped a cautious hand about the watch tower’s window and with a last strain of muscle, lifted my body through, to gasp at the approximity of the world’s end. The rest of the blockhouse was not there. Dripping from every pore, I curled myself on the broad, lofty ledge and closed my swimming eyes.
I had climbed for a long, long time over the sharp granite rock chips, which tore my futile shoes to threads. I had burst through tawny thorn trees, onward and upward from Nan–k’ou. The Great Wall was everywhere, but for me, there was only the highest pinnacle.
I opened my eyes and viewed my conquest. The Wall straggled miles before me, broken in places, cut here and there by the sandstorms.
Twisting and turning, even writhing, in the distance, keeping alive the memory of China’s glorious past.
The wind whipped through my hair and stung my cheeks with its bitter breath. It shrieked about the lonely tower, screamed to frighten me away from its playthings, the Wall, the mountains and the thorns. And I laughed to match its wildness and opened my blue shirt at the throat to flaunt the wind-god and ridicule his power.
But the laugh died presently, the wall was too stern and frowning.
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