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Title: An Australian in China - Being the Narrative of a Quiet Journey Across China to Burma
Author: Morrison, George Ernest, 1862-1920
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: THE AUTHOR IN WESTERN CHINA.]


AN AUSTRALIAN IN CHINA

BEING THE NARRATIVE OF A QUIET JOURNEY ACROSS CHINA TO BURMA

BY GEORGE ERNEST MORRISON M.D. EDIN., F.R.G.S.


_THIRD EDITION_

LONDON: HORACE COX WINDSOR HOUSE, BREAM'S BUILDINGS E.C.

MDCCCCII


TO

JOHN CHIENE, M.D.,

F.R.C.S.E., F.R.S.E., ETC.,

PROFESSOR OF SURGERY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH,

WHO GAVE ME BACK THE POWER OF LOCOMOTION.

I GRATEFULLY

INSCRIBE THIS VOLUME.



CONTENTS.



  CHAPTER I.                                              PAGES
  INTRODUCTORY--MAINLY ABOUT MISSIONARIES AND THE CITY
  OF HANKOW                                                1-11

  CHAPTER II.
  FROM HANKOW TO WANHSIEN, WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF
  CHINESE WOMEN AND THE RAPIDS OF THE YANGTSE             12-23

  CHAPTER III.
  THE CITY OF WANHSIEN, AND THE JOURNEY FROM WANHSIEN
  TO CHUNGKING                                            24-34

  CHAPTER IV.
  THE CITY OF CHUNGKING--THE CHINESE CUSTOMS--THE
  FAMOUS MONSIEUR HAAS, AND A FEW WORDS ON
  THE OPIUM FALLACY                                       35-49

  CHAPTER V.
  THE JOURNEY FROM CHUNGKING TO SUIFU--CHINESE INNS       50-62

  CHAPTER VI.
  THE CITY OF SUIFU--THE CHINA INLAND MISSION, WITH
  SOME GENERAL REMARKS ABOUT MISSIONARIES IN CHINA        63-75

  CHAPTER VII.
  SUIFU TO CHAOTONG, WITH SOME REMARKS ON THE
  PROVINCE OF YUNNAN--CHINESE PORTERS, POSTAL
  ARRANGEMENTS, AND BANKS                                 76-96

  CHAPTER VIII.
  THE CITY OF CHAOTONG, WITH SOME REMARKS ON ITS
  POVERTY, INFANTICIDE, SELLING FEMALE CHILDREN
  INTO SLAVERY, TORTURES, AND THE CHINESE INSENSIBILITY
  TO PAIN                                                97-106

  CHAPTER IX.
  MAINLY ABOUT CHINESE DOCTORS                          107-114

  CHAPTER X.
  THE JOURNEY FROM CHAOTONG TO TONGCHUAN                115-124

  CHAPTER XI.
  THE CITY OF TONGCHUAN, WITH SOME REMARKS UPON
  INFANTICIDE                                           125-134

  CHAPTER XII.
  TONGCHUAN TO YUNNAN CITY                              135-147

  CHAPTER XIII.
  AT YUNNAN CITY                                        148-157

  CHAPTER XIV.
  GOLD, BANKS, AND TELEGRAPHS IN YUNNAN                 158-170

  CHAPTER XV.
  THE FRENCH MISSION AND THE ARSENAL IN YUNNAN CITY     171-182

  CHAPTER XVI.
  THE JOURNEY FROM YUNNAN CITY TO TALIFU                183-201

  CHAPTER XVII.
  THE CITY OF TALI--PRISONS--POISONING--PLAGUES AND
  MISSIONS                                              202-217

  CHAPTER XVIII.
  THE JOURNEY FROM TALI, WITH SOME REMARKS ON THE
  CHARACTER OF THE CANTONESE, CHINESE EMIGRANTS,
  CRETINS, AND WIFE-BEATING IN CHINA                    218-232

  CHAPTER XIX.
  THE MEKONG AND SALWEEN RIVERS--HOW TO TRAVEL
  IN CHINA                                              233-243

  CHAPTER XX.
  THE CITY OF TENGYUEH--THE CELEBRATED WUNTHO
  SAWBWA--SHAN SOLDIERS                                 244-259

  CHAPTER XXI.
  THE SHAN TOWN OF SANTA, AND MANYUEN, THE SCENE
  OF CONSUL MARGARY'S MURDER                            260-269

  CHAPTER XXII.
  CHINA AS A FIGHTING POWER--THE KACHINS--AND THE
  LAST STAGE INTO BHAMO                                 270-281

  CHAPTER XXIII.
  BHAMO, MANDALAY, RANGOON, AND CALCUTTA                282-291



ILLUSTRATIONS.

_Mostly from Photographs by_ MR. C. JENSEN _of the Imperial Chinese
Telegraphs._


  THE AUTHOR IN WESTERN CHINA                    _Frontispiece._

  THE AUTHOR'S CHINESE PASSPORT                        _page_ 8

  ON A BALCONY IN WESTERN CHINA                              14

  THE RIVER YANGTSE AT TUNG-LO-HSIA                          34

  MEMORIAL ARCHWAY AT THE FORT OF FU-TO-KUAN                 34

  CHUNGKING, FROM THE OPPOSITE BANK OF THE YANGTSE           38

  A TEMPLE THEATRE IN CHUNGKING                              44

  ON THE MAIN ROAD TO SUIFU                                  52

  CULTIVATION IN TERRACES                                    58

  SCENE IN SZECHUEN                                          58

  OPIUM-SMOKING                                              72

  A TEMPLE IN SZECHUEN                                       84

  LAOWATAN                                                   84

  THE OPIUM-SMOKER OF ROMANCE                                93

  PAGODA BY THE WAYSIDE, WESTERN CHINA                      118

  THE BIG EAST GATE OF YUNNAN CITY                          146

  VIEW IN YUNNAN CITY                                       156

  SOLDIERS ON THE WALL OF YUNNAN CITY                       168

  THE PAGODA OF YUNNAN CITY, 250 FEET HIGH                  174

  THE VICEROY OF TWO PROVINCES                              180

  THE AUTHOR'S CHINESE NAME                                 182

  THE GIANT OF YUNNAN                                       184

  THE "EAGLE NEST BARRIER," ON THE ROAD TO TALIFU           192

  SNOW-CLAD MOUNTAINS BEHIND TALIFU                         204

  MEMORIAL IN A TEMPLE NEAR TALIFU                          220

  THE DESCENT TO THE RIVER MEKONG                           232

  INSIDE VIEW OF A SUSPENSION BRIDGE                        236

  THE RIVER SALWEEN                                         240

  THE RIVER SHWELI AND ITS SUSPENSION BRIDGE                242

  THE SUBURB BEYOND THE SOUTH GATE OF TENGYUEH              250

  CHINESE MAP OF CHUNGKING                                  292

  ROUGH SKETCH-MAP OF CHINA AND BURMA                  _at end._



AN AUSTRALIAN IN CHINA.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY--MAINLY ABOUT MISSIONARIES AND THE CITY OF HANKOW.


In the first week of February, 1894, I returned to Shanghai from Japan.
It was my intention to go up the Yangtse River as far as Chungking, and
then, dressed as a Chinese, to cross quietly over Western China, the
Chinese Shan States, and Kachin Hills to the frontier of Burma. The
ensuing narrative will tell how easily and pleasantly this journey,
which a few years ago would have been regarded as a formidable
undertaking, can now be done.

The journey was, of course, in no sense one of exploration; it consisted
simply of a voyage of 1500 miles up the Yangtse River, followed by a
quiet, though extended, excursion of another 1500 miles along the great
overland highway into Burma, taken by one who spoke no Chinese, who had
no interpreter or companion, who was unarmed, but who trusted implicitly
in the good faith of the Chinese. Anyone in the world can cross over to
Burma in the way I did, provided he be willing to exercise for a certain
number of weeks or months some endurance--for he will have to travel
many miles on foot over a mountainous country--and much forbearance.

I went to China possessed with the strong racial antipathy to the
Chinese common to my countrymen, but that feeling has long since given
way to one of lively sympathy and gratitude, and I shall always look
back with pleasure to this journey, during which I experienced, while
traversing provinces as wide as European kingdoms, uniform kindness and
hospitality, and the most charming courtesy. In my case, at least, the
Chinese did not forget their precept, "deal gently with strangers from
afar."

I left Shanghai on Sunday, February 11th, by the Jardine Matheson's
steamer _Taiwo_. One kind friend, a merchant captain who had seen life
in every important seaport in the world, came down, though it was past
midnight, to bid me farewell. We shook hands on the wharf, and for the
last time. Already he had been promised the first vacancy in Jardine
Matheson's. Some time after my departure, when I was in Western China,
he was appointed one of the officers of the ill-fated _Kowshing_, and
when this unarmed transport before the declaration of war was destroyed
by a Japanese gunboat, he was among the slain--struck, I believe, by a
Japanese bullet while struggling for life in the water.

I travelled as a Chinese, dressed in warm Chinese winter clothing, with
a pigtail attached to the inside of my hat. I could not have been more
comfortable. I had a small cabin to myself. I had of course my own
bedding, and by paying a Mexican dollar a day to the Chinese steward,
"foreign chow," was brought me from the saloon. The traveller who cares
to travel in this way, to put his pride in his pocket and a pigtail down
his back, need pay only one-fourth of what it would cost him to travel
as a European in European dress.

But I was, I found, unwittingly travelling under false pretences. When
the smart chief officer came for my fare he charged me, I thought, too
little. I expressed my surprise, and said that I thought the fare was
seven dollars. "So it is," he replied "but we only charge missionaries
five dollars, and I knew you were a missionary even before they told
me." How different was his acuteness from that of the Chinese compradore
who received me on the China Merchants' steamer _Hsin Chi_, in which I
once made a voyage from Shanghai to Tientsin, also in Chinese dress! The
conversation was short, sharp, and emphatic. The compradore looked at me
searchingly. "What pidgin belong you?" he asked--meaning what is your
business? Humbly I answered, "My belong Jesus Christ pidgin"; that is, I
am a missionary, to which he instantly and with some scorn replied, "No
dam fear!"

We called at the river ports and reached Hankow on the 14th. Hankow, the
Chinese say, is the mart of eight provinces and the centre of the earth.
It is the chief distributing centre of the Yangtse valley, the capital
city of the centre of China. The trade in tea, its staple export, is
declining rapidly, particularly since 1886. Indian opium goes no higher
up the river than this point; its importation into Hankow is now
insignificant, amounting to only 738 piculs (44 tons) per annum. Hankow
is on the left bank of the Yangtse, separated only by the width of the
Han river from Hanyang, and by the width of the Yangtse from Wuchang;
these three divisions really form one large city, with more inhabitants
than the entire population of the colony of Victoria.

Wuchang is the capital city of the two provinces of Hunan and Hupeh; it
is here that the Viceroy, Chang Chi Tung, resides in his official yamen
and dispenses injustice from a building almost as handsome as the
American mission-houses which overlook it. Chang Chi Tung is the most
anti-foreign of all the Viceroys of China; yet no Viceroy in the Empire
has ever had so many foreigners in his employ as he. "Within the four
seas," he says, "all men are brothers"; yet the two provinces he rules
over are closed against foreigners, and the missionaries are compelled
to remain under the shelter of the foreign Concession in Hankow. With a
public spirit unusual among Chinese Viceroys he has devoted the immense
revenues of his office to the modern development of the resources of his
vice-kingdom. He has erected a gigantic cotton-mill at Wuchang with
thirty-five thousand spindles, covering six acres and lit with the
electric light, and with a reservoir of three acres and a half. He has
built a large mint. At Hanyang he has erected magnificent iron-works and
blast furnaces which cover many acres and are provided with all the
latest machinery. He has iron and coal mines, with a railway seventeen
miles long from the mines to the river, and specially constructed
river-steamers and special hoisting machinery at the river-banks. Money
he has poured out like water; he is probably the only important official
in China who will leave office a poor man.

Acting as private secretary to the Viceroy is a clever Chinese named Kaw
Hong Beng, the author of _Defensio Populi_, that often-quoted attack
upon missionary methods which appeared first in _The North China Daily
News_. A linguist of unusual ability, who publishes in _The Daily News_
translations from Heine in English verse, Kaw is gifted with a rare
command over the resources of English. He is a Master of Arts of the
University of Edinburgh. Yet, strange paradox, notwithstanding that he
had the privilege of being trained in the most pious and earnest
community in the United Kingdom, under the lights of the United
Presbyterian Kirk, Free Kirk, Episcopalian Church, and _The_ Kirk, not
to mention a large and varied assortment of Dissenting Churches of more
or less dubious orthodoxy, he is openly hostile to the introduction of
Christianity into China. And nowhere in China is the opposition to the
introduction of Christianity more intense than in the Yangtse valley. In
this intensity many thoughtful missionaries see the greater hope of the
ultimate conversion of this portion of China; opposition they say is a
better aid to missionary success than mere apathy.

During the time I was in China, I met large numbers of missionaries of
all classes, in many cities from Peking to Canton, and they unanimously
expressed satisfaction at the progress they are making in China.
Expressed succinctly, their harvest may be described as amounting to a
fraction more than two Chinamen per missionary per annum. If, however,
the paid ordained and unordained native helpers be added to the number
of missionaries, you find that the aggregate body converts nine-tenths
of a Chinaman per worker per annum; but the missionaries deprecate their
work being judged by statistics. There are 1511 Protestant missionaries
labouring in the Empire; and, estimating their results from the
statistics of previous years as published in the _Chinese Recorder_, we
find that they gathered last year (1893) into the fold 3127 Chinese--not
all of whom it is feared are genuine Christians--at a cost of _£350,000_,
a sum equal to the combined incomes of the ten chief London hospitals.

Hankow itself swarms with missionaries, "who are unhappily divided into
so many sects, that even a foreigner is bewildered by their number, let
alone the heathen to whom they are accredited." (Medhurst.)

Dwelling in well-deserved comfort in and around the foreign settlement,
there are members of the London Missionary Society, of the Tract
Society, of the Local Tract Society, of the British and Foreign Bible
Society, of the National Bible Society of Scotland, of the American
Bible Society; there are Quaker missionaries, Baptist, Wesleyan, and
Independent missionaries of private means; there are members of the
Church Missionary Society, of the American Board of Missions, and of the
American High Church Episcopal Mission; there is a Medical Mission in
connection with the London Missionary Society, there is a flourishing
French Mission under a bishop, the "_Missions étrangères de Paris_," a
Mission of Franciscan Fathers, most of whom are Italian, and a Spanish
Mission of the Order of St. Augustine.

The China Inland Mission has its chief central distributing station at
Hankow, and here also are the headquarters of a Scandinavian Mission, of
a Danish Mission, and of an unattached mission, most of the members of
which are also Danish. Where there are so many missions, of so many
different sects, and holding such widely divergent views, it is, I
suppose, inevitable that each mission should look with some disfavour
upon the work done by its neighbours, should have some doubts as to the
expediency of their methods, and some reasonable misgivings as to the
genuineness of their conversions.

The Chinese "Rice Christians," those spurious Christians who become
converted in return for being provided with rice, are just those who
profit by these differences of opinion, and who, with timely lapses from
grace, are said to succeed in being converted in turn by all the
missions from the Augustins to the Quakers.

Every visitor to Hankow and to all other open ports, who is a supporter
of missionary effort, is pleased to find that his preconceived notions
as to the hardships and discomforts of the open port missionary in China
are entirely false. Comfort and pleasures of life are there as great as
in any other country. Among the most comfortable residences in Hankow
are the quarters of the missionaries; and it is but right that the
missionaries should be separated as far as possible from all
discomfort--missionaries who are sacrificing all for China, and who are
prepared to undergo any reasonable hardship to bring enlightenment to
this land of darkness.

I called at the headquarters of the Spanish mission of Padres Agustinos
and smoked a cigarette with two of the Padres, and exchanged
reminiscences of Valladolid and Barcelona. And I can well conceive,
having seen the extreme dirtiness of the mission premises, how little
the Spaniard has to alter his ways in order to make them conform to the
more ancient civilisation of the Chinese.

In Hankow there is a large foreign concession with a handsome embankment
lined by large buildings. There is a rise and fall in the river between
summer and winter levels of nearly sixty feet. In the summer the river
laps the edge of the embankment and may overflow into the concession; in
the winter, broad steps lead down to the edge of the water which, even
when shrunk into its bed, is still more than half a mile in width. Our
handsome consulate is at one end of the embankment; at the other there
is a remarkable municipal building which was designed by a former City
constable, who was, I hope, more expert with the handcuffs than he was
with the pencil.

[Illustration: THE AUTHOR'S CHINESE PASSPORT.]

Our interests in Hankow are protected by Mr. Pelham Warren, the Consul,
one of the ablest men in the Service. I registered at the Consulate as a
British subject and obtained a Chinese passport in terms of the Treaty
of Tientsin for the four provinces Hupeh, Szechuen, Kweichow, and
Yunnan, available for one year from the date of issue.

I had no servant. An English-speaking "boy," hearing that I was in need
of one, came to me to recommend "his number one flend," who, he assured
me, spoke English "all the same Englishman." But when the "flend" came I
found that he spoke English all the same as I spoke Chinese. He was not
abashed, but turned away wrath by saying to me, through an interpreter,
"It is true that I cannot speak the foreign language, but the foreign
gentleman is so clever that in one month he will speak Chinese
beautifully." We did not come to terms.

At Hankow I embarked on the China Merchants' steamer _Kweili_, the only
triple-screw steamer on the River, and four days later, on February
21st, I landed at Ichang, the most inland port on the Yangtse yet
reached by steam. Ichang is an open port; it is the scene of the
anti-foreign riot of September 2nd, 1891, when the foreign settlement
was pillaged and burnt by the mob, aided by soldiers of the Chentai
Loh-Ta-Jen, the head military official in charge at Ichang, "who gave
the outbreak the benefit of his connivance." Pleasant zest is given to
life here in the anticipation of another outbreak; it is the only
excitement.

From Ichang to Chungking--a distance of 412 miles--the river Yangtse, in
a great part of its course, is a series of rapids which no steamer has
yet attempted to ascend, though it is contended that the difficulties of
navigation would not be insuperable to a specially constructed steamer
of elevated horse-power. Some idea of the speed of the current at this
part of the river may be given by the fact that a junk, taking thirty to
thirty-five days to do the upward journey, hauled most of the way by
gangs of trackers, has been known to do the down-river journey in two
days and a half.

Believing that I could thus save some days on the journey, I decided to
go to Chungking on foot, and engaged a coolie to accompany me. We were
to start on the Thursday afternoon; but about midnight on Wednesday I
met Dr. Aldridge, of the Customs, who easily persuaded me that by taking
the risk of going in a small boat (a _wupan_), and not in an ordinary
passenger junk (a _kwatze_), I might, with luck, reach Chungking as soon
by water as I could reach Wanhsien at half the distance by land. The
Doctor was a man of surprising energy. He offered to arrange everything
for me, and by 6 o'clock in the morning he had engaged a boat, had
selected a captain (_laoban_), and a picked crew of four young men, who
undertook to land me in Chungking in fifteen days, and had given them
all necessary instructions for my journey. All was to be ready for a
start the same evening.

During the course of the morning the written agreement was brought me by
the laoban, drawn up in Chinese and duly signed, of which a Chinese
clerk made me the following translation into English. I transcribe it
literally:--

Yang Hsing Chung (the laoban) hereby contracts to convey Dr. M. to
Chungking on the following conditions:--

     1. The passage-money agreed upon is 28,000 cash (_£2 16s._),
     which includes all charges.

     2. If Chungking is reached in twelve days, Dr. M. will give
     the master 32,500 cash instead; if in thirteen days 31,000,
     and if in fifteen days 28,000.

     3. If all goes well and the master does his duty
     satisfactorily, Dr. M. will give him 30,000 cash, even if he
     gets to Chungking in fifteen days.

     4. The sum of 14,000 cash is to be advanced to the master
     before starting; the remainder to be paid on arrival at
     Chungking.

               (Signed)     YANG HSING CHUNG.

  Dated the 17th day of the 2nd moon,
          K, shui 20th year.

The Chinaman who wrote this in English speaks English better than many
Englishmen.



CHAPTER II.

FROM ICHANG TO WANHSIEN, WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF CHINESE WOMEN AND THE
RAPIDS OF THE YANGTSE KIANG.


The agreement was brought me in the morning; all the afternoon I was
busy, and at 8 p.m. I embarked from the Customs pontoon. The boat was a
wupan (five boards), 28 feet long and drawing 8 inches. Its sail was
like the wing of a butterfly, with transverse ribs of light bamboo; its
stern was shaped "like a swallow's wings at rest." An improvised
covering of mats amidships was my crib; and with spare mats, slipt
during the day over the boat's hood, coverings could be made at night
for'ard for my three men and aft for the other two. It seemed a frail
little craft to face the dangers of the cataracts, but it was manned by
as smart a crew of young Chinese as could be found on the river. It was
pitch dark when we paddled into the stream amidst a discharge of
crackers. As we passed under the _Kweili_, men were there to wish me
_bon voyage_, and a revolver was emptied into the darkness to propitiate
the river god.

We paddled up the bank under the sterns of countless junks, past the
walled city, and then, crossing to the other bank, we made fast and
waited for the morning to begin our journey. The lights of the city were
down the river; all was quiet; my men were in good heart, and there was
no doubt whatever that they would make every effort to fulfil their
contract.

At daylight we were away again and soon entered the first of the great
gorges where the river has cleft its way through the mountains.

With a clear and sunny sky, the river flowing smoothly and reflecting
deeply the lofty and rugged hills which fall steeply to the water's
edge, a light boat, and a model crew, it was a pleasure to lie at ease
wrapped in my Chinese pukai and watch the many junks lazily falling down
the river, the largest of them "dwarfed by the colossal dimensions of
the surrounding scenery to the size of sampans," and the fishing boats,
noiseless but for the gentle creaking of the sheers and dip-net,
silently working in the still waters under the bank.

At Ping-shan-pa there is an outstation of the Imperial Maritime Customs
in charge of a seafaring man who was once a cockatoo farmer in South
Australia, and drove the first team of bullocks to the Mount Brown
diggings. He lives comfortably in a house-boat moored to the bank. He is
one of the few Englishmen in China married in the English way, as
distinct from the Chinese, to a Chinese girl. His wife is one of the
prettiest girls that ever came out of Nanking, and talks English
delightfully with a musical voice that is pleasant to listen to. I
confess that I am one of those who agree with the missionary writer in
regarding "the smile of a Chinese woman as inexpressibly charming." I
have seen girls in China who would be considered beautiful in any
capital in Europe. The attractiveness of the Japanese lady has been the
theme of many writers, but, speaking as an impartial observer who has
been both in Japan and China, I have never been able to come to any
other decision than that in every feature the Chinese woman is superior
to her Japanese sister. She is head and shoulders above the Japanese;
she is more intellectual, or, rather, she is more capable of
intellectual development; she is incomparably more chaste and modest.
She is prettier, sweeter, and more trustworthy than the misshapen
cackling little dot with black teeth that we are asked to admire as a
Japanese beauty. The traveller in China is early impressed by the
contrast between the almost entire freedom from apparent immorality of
the Chinese cities, especially of Western China, and the flaunting
indecency of the _Yoshiwaras_ of Japan, with "their teeming, seething,
busy mass of women, whose virtue is industry and whose industry is
vice."

The small feet of the Chinese women, though admired by the Chinese and
poetically referred to by them as "three-inch gold lilies," are in our
eyes a very unpleasant deformity--but still, even with this deformity,
the walk of the Chinese woman is more comely than the gait of the
Japanese woman as she shambles ungracefully along with her little bent
legs, scraping her wooden-soled slippers along the pavement with a noise
that sets your teeth on edge. "Girls are like flowers," say the Chinese,
"like the willow. It is very important that their feet should be bound
short so that they can walk beautifully with mincing steps, swaying
gracefully, and thus showing to all that they are persons of
respectability." Apart from the Manchus, the dominant race, whose women
do not bind their feet, all chaste Chinese girls have small feet. Those
who have large feet are either, speaking generally, ladies of easy
virtue or slave girls. And, of course, no Christian girl is allowed to
have her feet bound.

[Illustration: ON A BALCONY IN WESTERN CHINA.]

Leaving Ping-shan-pa with a stiff breeze in our favour we slowly stemmed
the current. Look at the current side, and you would think we were doing
eight knots an hour or more, but look at the shore side, close to which
we kept to escape as far as possible from the current, and you saw how
gradually we felt our way along.

At a double row of mat sheds filled with huge coils of bamboo rope of
all thicknesses, my laoban went ashore to purchase a towline; he took
with him 1000 cash (about two shillings), and returned with a coil 100
yards in length and 600 cash of change. The rope he brought was made of
plaited bamboo, was as thick as the middle finger, and as tough as
whalebone.

The country was more open and terraced everywhere into gardens. Our
progress was most satisfactory. When night came we drew into the bank,
and I coiled up in my crib and made myself comfortable. Space was
cramped, and I had barely room to stretch my legs. My cabin was 5 feet 6
inches square and 4 feet high, open behind, but with two little doors in
front, out of which I could just manage to squeeze myself sideways round
the mast. Coir matting was next the floor boards, then a thick Chinese
quilt (a _pukai_), then a Scotch plaid made in Geelong. My pillow was
Chinese, and the hardest part of the bed; my portmanteau was beside me
and served as a desk; a Chinese candle, more wick than wax, stuck into a
turnip, gave me light.

This, our first day's journey, brought us to within sound of the worst
rapid on the river, the Hsintan, and the roar of the cataract hummed in
our ears all night.

Early in the morning we were at the foot of the rapid under the bank on
the opposite side of the river from the town of Hsintan. It was an
exciting scene. A swirling torrent with a roar like thunder was frothing
down the cataract. Above, barriers of rocks athwart the stream stretched
like a weir across the river, damming the deep still water behind it.
The shore was strewn with boulders. Groups of trackers were on the bank
squatting on the rocks to see the foreign devil and his cockleshell.
Other Chinese were standing where the side-stream is split by the
boulders into narrow races, catching fish with great dexterity, dipping
them out of the water with scoop-nets.

We rested in some smooth water under shelter and put out our towline;
three of my boys jumped ashore and laid hold of it; another with his
bamboo boat-hook stood on the bow; the laoban was at the tiller; and I
was cooped up useless in the well under the awning. The men started
hauling as we pushed out into the sea of waters. The boat quivered, the
water leapt at the bow as if it would engulf us; our three men were
obviously too few. The boat danced in the rapid. My men on board
shrieked excitedly that the towrope was fouling--it had caught in a
rock--but their voices could not be heard; our trackers were brought to
with a jerk; the hindmost saw the foul and ran back to free it, but he
was too late, for the boat had come beam on to the current. Our captain
frantically waved to let go, and the next moment we were tossed bodily
into the cataract. The boat heeled gunwale under, and suddenly, but the
bowman kept his feet like a Blondin, dropped the boat-hook, and jumped
to unlash the halyard; a wave buried the boat nose under and swamped me
in my kennel; my heart stopped beating, and, scared out of my wits, I
began to strip off my sodden clothes; but before I had half done the
sail had been set; both men had miraculously fended the boat from a
rock, which, by a moment's hesitation, would have smashed us in bits or
buried us in the boiling trough formed by the eddy below it, and, with
another desperate effort, we had slid from danger into smooth water.
Then my men laughed heartily. How it was done I do not know, but I felt
keen admiration for the calm dexterity with which it had been done.

We baled the water out of the boat, paid out a second towrope--this one
from the bow to keep the stern under control, the other being made fast
to the mast, and took on board a licensed pilot. Extra trackers, hired
for a few cash, laid hold of both towlines, and bodily--the water
swelling and foaming under our bows--the boat was hauled against the
torrent, and up the ledge of water that stretches across the river. We
were now in smooth water at the entrance to the Mi Tsang Gorge. Two
stupendous walls of rock, almost perpendicular, as bold and rugged as
the Mediterranean side of the Rock of Gibraltar seem folded one behind
the other across the river. "Savage cliffs are these, where not a tree
and scarcely a blade of grass can grow, and where the stream, which is
rather heard than seen, seems to be fretting in vain efforts to escape
from its dark and gloomy prison." In the gorge itself the current was
restrained, and boats could cross from bank to bank without difficulty.
It was an eerie feeling to glide over the sunless water shut in by the
stupendous sidewalls of rock. At a sandy spit to the west of the gorge
we landed and put things in order. And here I stood and watched the
junks disappear down the river one after the other, and I saw the truth
of what Hosie had written that, as their masts are always unshipped in
the down passage, the junks seem to be "passing with their human freight
into eternity."

An immensely high declivity with a precipitous face was in front of us,
which strained your eyes to look at; yet high up to the summit and to
the very edge of the precipice, little farmsteads are dotted, and every
yard of land available is under cultivation. So steep is it that the
scanty soil must be washed away, you think, at the first rains, and only
an adventurous goat could dwell there in comfort. My laoban, Enjeh,
pointing to this mighty mass, said, "_Pin su chiao_;" but whether these
words were the name of the place, or were intended to convey to me his
sense of its magnificence, or dealt with the question of the
precariousness of tenure so far above our heads, I had no means to
determine.

My laoban knew twelve words of English, and I twelve words of Chinese,
and this was the extent of our common vocabulary; it had to be carefully
eked out with signs and gestures. I knew the Chinese for rice,
flourcake, tea, egg, chopsticks, opium, bed, by-and-by, how many,
charcoal, cabbage, and customs. My laoban could say in English, or
pidgin English, chow, number one, no good, go ashore, sit down,
by-and-by, to-morrow, match, lamp, alright, one piecee, and goddam. This
last named exotic he had been led to consider as synonymous with "very
good." It was not the first time I had known the words to be misapplied.
I remember reading in the _Sydney Bulletin_, that a Chinese cook in
Sydney when applying for a situation detailed to the mistress his
undeniable qualifications, concluding with the memorable announcement,
"My Clistian man mum; my eat beef; my say goddam."

There was a small village behind us. The villagers strolled down to see
the foreigner whom children well in the background called "_Yang
kweitze_" (foreign devil). Below on the sand, were the remains of a
junk, confiscated for smuggling salt; it had been sawn bodily in two.
Salt is a Government monopoly and a junk found smuggling it is
confiscated on the spot.

Kueichow, on the left bank, is the first walled town we came to. Here
we had infinite difficulty in passing the rapids, and crossed and
recrossed the river several times. I sat in the boat stripped and
shivering, for shipwreck seemed certain, and I did not wish to be
drowned like a rat. For cool daring I never saw the equal of my boys,
and their nicety of judgment was remarkable. Creeping along close to the
bank, every moment in danger of having its bottom knocked out, the boat
would be worked to the exact point from which the crossing of the river
was feasible, balanced for a moment in the stream, then with sail set
and a clipping breeze, and my men working like demons with the oars,
taking short strokes, and stamping time with their feet, the boat shot
into the current. We made for a rock in the centre of the river; we
missed it, and my heart was in my mouth as I saw the rapid below us into
which we were being drawn, when the boat mysteriously swung half round
and glided under the lee of the rock. One of the boys leapt out with the
bow-rope, and the others with scull and boat-hook worked the boat round
to the upper edge of the rock, and then, steadying her for the dash
across, pushed off again into the swirling current and made like fiends
for the bank. Standing on the stern, managing the sheet and tiller, and
with his bamboo pole ready, the laoban yelled and stamped in his
excitement; there was the roar of the cataract below us, towards which
we were fast edging stern on, destruction again threatened us and all
seemed over, when in that moment we entered the back-wash and were again
in good shelter. And so it went on, my men with splendid skill doing
always the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, with
unerring certainty.

At Yehtan rapid, which is said to be the worst on the river in the
winter, as the Hsintan rapid is in summer, three of the boys went
ashore to haul us up the ledge of water--they were plainly insufficient.
While we were hanging on the cataract extra trackers appeared from
behind the rocks and offered their services. They could bargain with us
at an advantage. It was a case well known to all Chinese "of speaking of
the price after the pig has been killed." But, when we agreed to their
terms, they laid hold of the towrope and hauled us through in a moment.
Here, as at other dangerous rapids on the river, an official lifeboat is
stationed. It is of broad beam, painted red. The sailors are paid eighty
cash (_2d._) a day, and are rewarded with 1000 cash for every life they
save, and 800 cash for every corpse.

Wushan Gorge, the "Witches' Gorge," which extends from Kuantukou to
Wushan-hsien, a distance of twenty miles, is the longest gorge on the
river.

Directly facing us as we emerged from the gorge was the walled town of
Wushan-hsien. Its guardian pagoda, with its seven stories and its
upturned gables, like the rim of an official hat, is down-stream from
the city, and thus prevents wealth and prosperity being swept by the
current past the city.

Beyond there is a short but steep rapid. Before a strong wind with all
sail set we boldly entered it and determined which was the stronger, the
wind or the current. But, while we hung in the current calling and
whistling for the wind, the wind flagged for a moment; tension being
removed, the bow swung into the rocks; but the water was shallow, and in
a trice two of the boys had jumped into the water and were holding the
boat-sides. Then poling and pulling we crept up the rapid into smooth
water. Never was there any confusion, never a false stroke. To hear my
boys jabber in their unintelligible speech you pictured disorder, and
disaster, and wild excitement; to see them act you witnessed such
coolness, skill, and daring as you had rarely seen before. My boys were
all young. The captain was only twenty, and was a model of physical
grace, with a face that will gladden the heart of the Chinese maiden
whom he condescends to select to be the mother of his children.

Junks were making slow progress up the river. The towpath is here on the
left bank, sixty feet above the present level of the river. Barefooted
trackers, often one hundred in a gang, clamber over the rocks "like a
pack of hounds in full cry," each with the coupling over his shoulder
and all singing in chorus, the junk they are towing often a quarter of a
mile astern of them. When a rapid intervenes they strain like bondmen at
the towrope; the line creaks under the enormous tension but holds fast.
On board the junk, a drum tattoo is beaten and fire-crackers let off,
and a dozen men with long ironshod bamboos sheer the vessel off the
rocks as foot by foot it is drawn past the obstruction. Contrast with
this toilsome slowness the speed of the junk bound down-stream. Its mast
is shipped; its prodigious bow-sweep projects like a low bowsprit; the
after deck is covered as far as midships with arched mat-roof; coils of
bamboo rope are hanging under the awning; a score or more of boatmen,
standing to their work and singing to keep time, work the yulos, as
looking like a modern whaleback the junk races down the rapids.

Kweichou-fu, 146 miles from Ichang, is one of the largest cities on the
Upper Yangtse. Just before it is the Feng-hsiang Gorge the "Windbox
Gorge" where the mountains have been again cleft in twain to let pass
the river; this is the last of the great gorges of the Yangtse.

We had left the province of Hupeh. Kweichou is the first prefectural
city that the traveller meets in Szechuen; for that reason my laoban
required me to give him my passport that he might take it ashore and
have it viséed by the magistrate. While he was away two Customs
officials searched my boat for contraband goods. When he returned, he
had to pay a squeeze at the Customs station. We clawed with our hooked
bamboos round the sterns of a hundred Szechuen junks, and were again
arrested at a likin boat, and more cash passed from my laoban to the
officials in charge. We went on again, when a third time we came face on
to a likin-barrier, and a third time my laoban was squeezed. After this
we were permitted to continue our journey. For the rest of the day
whenever the laoban caught my eye he raised three fingers and with a
rueful shake of the head said "Kweichou haikwan (customs) no good"; and
then he swore, no doubt.

My little boat was the smallest on the river. In sailing it could hold
its own with all but the long ferry boats or tenders which accompany the
larger junks to land the trackers and towline. These boats carry a huge
square sail set vertically from sheer legs, and are very fast. But in
rowing, poling, and tracking we could beat the river.

Anping was passed--a beautiful country town in a landscape of red hills
and rich green pastures, of groves of bamboo and cypress, of pretty
little farmhouses with overhanging eaves and picturesque temples in
wooded glens.

At Chipatzu there are the remains of a remarkable embankment built of
huge blocks of dressed stone resting upon a noble brow of natural rock;
deep Chinese characters are cut into the stone; but the glory is
departed and there are now only a few straggling huts where there was
once a large city.

The river was now at its lowest and at every point of sand and shingle,
meagre bands of gold puddlers were at work washing for gold in cradle
rockers. To judge, however, from the shabbiness of their surroundings
there was little fear that their gains would disturb the equilibrium of
the world's gold yield.



CHAPTER III.

THE CITY OF WANHSIEN, AND THE JOURNEY FROM WANHSIEN TO CHUNGKING.


At daylight, on March 1st, we were abreast of the many storied pagoda,
whose lofty position, commanding the approach to the city, brings good
fortune to the city of Wanhsien. A beautiful country is this--the
chocolate soil richly tilled, the sides of the hills dotted with
farmhouses in groves of bamboo and cedar, with every variety of green in
the fields, shot through with blazing patches of the yellow rape-seed.
The current was swift, the water was shallow where we were tracking, and
we were constantly aground in the shingle; but we rounded the point, and
Wanhsien was before us. This is the half-way city between Ichang and
Chungking. My smart laoban dressed himself in his best to be ready to go
ashore with me; he was jubilant at his skill in bringing me so quickly.
"Sampan number one! goddam!" he said; and, holding up two hands, he
turned down seven fingers to show that we had come in seven days. Then
he pointed to other boats that we were passing, and counted on his
fingers fifteen, whereby I knew he was demonstrating that, had I gone in
any other boat but his, I should have been fifteen days on the way
instead of seven.

An immense number of junks of all kinds were moored to the bank, bow on.
Many of them were large vessels, with hulls like that of an Aberdeen
clipper. Many carry foreign flags, by which they are exempt from the
Chinese likin duties, so capricious in their imposition, and pay instead
a general five per cent. _ad valorem_ duty on their cargoes, which is
levied by the Imperial Maritime Customs, and collected either in
Chungking or Ichang. From one to the other, with boathooks and paddle,
we crept past the outer wings of their balanced rudders till we reached
the landing place. On the rocks at the landing a bevy of women were
washing, beating their hardy garments with wooden flappers against the
stones; but they ceased their work as the foreign devil, in his uncouth
garb, stepped ashore in their midst. Wanhsien is not friendly to
foreigners in foreign garb. I did not know this, and went ashore dressed
as a European. Never have I received such a spontaneous welcome as I did
in this city; never do I wish to receive such another. I landed at the
mouth of the small creek which separates the large walled city to the
east from the still larger city beyond the walls to the west. My laoban
was with me. We passed through the washerwomen. Boys and ragamuffins
hanging about the shipping saw me, and ran towards me, yelling: "_Yang
kweitze, Yang kweitze_" (foreign devil, foreign devil).

Behind the booths a story-teller had gathered a crowd; in a moment he
was alone and the crowd were following me up the hill, yelling and
howling with a familiarity most offensive to a sensitive stranger. My
sturdy boy wished me to produce my passport which is the size of an
admiral's ensign, but I was not such a fool as to do so for it had to
serve me for many months yet. With this taunting noisy crowd I had to
walk on as if I enjoyed the demonstration. I stopped once and spoke to
the crowd, and, as I knew no Chinese, I told them in gentle English of
the very low opinion their conduct led me to form of the moral
relations of their mothers, and the resignation with which it induced me
to contemplate the hyperpyretic surroundings of their posthumous
existence; and, borrowing the Chinese imprecation, I ventured to express
the hope that when their souls return again to earth they may dwell in
the bodies of hogs, since they appeared to me the only habitations meet
for them.

But my words were useless. With a smiling face, but rage at my heart, I
led the procession up the creek to a stone bridge where large numbers
left me, only to have their places taken on the other bank by a still
more enthusiastic gathering. I stopped here a moment in the jostling
crowd to look up-stream at that singular natural bridge, which an
enormous mass of stone has formed across the creek, and I could see the
high arched bridge beyond it, which stretches from bank to bank in one
noble span, and is so high above the water that junks can pass under it
in the summer time when the rains swell this little stream into a broad
and navigable river.

Then we climbed the steep bank into the city and entering by a dirty
narrow street we emerged into the main thoroughfare, the crowd still
following and the shops emptying into the street to see me. We passed
the Mohammedan Mosque, the Roman Catholic Mission, the City Temple, to a
Chinese house where I was slipped into the court and the door shut, and
then into another to find that I was in the home of the China Inland
Mission, and that the pigtailed celestial receiving me at the steps was
Mr. Hope Gill. It was my clothes I then learnt that had caused the
manifestation in my honour. An hour later, when I came out again into
the street, the crowd was waiting still to see me, but it was
disappointed to see me now dressed like one of themselves. In the
meantime I had resumed my Chinese dress. "Look," the people said, "at
the foreigner; he had on foreign dress, and now he is dressed in Chinese
even to his queue. Look at his queue, it is false." I took off my hat to
scratch my head. "Look," they shouted again, "at his queue; it is stuck
to the inside of his hat." But they ceased to follow me.

There are three Missionaries in Wanhsien of the China Inland Mission,
one of whom is from Sydney. The mission has been opened six years, and
has been fairly successful, or completely unsuccessful, according to the
point of view of the inquirer.

Mr. Hope Gill, the senior member of the mission, is a most earnest good
man, who works on in his discouraging task with an enthusiasm and
devotion beyond all praise. A Premillennialist, he preaches without
ceasing throughout the city; and his preaching is earnest and
indiscriminate. His method has been sarcastically likened by the
Chinese, in the words of one of their best-known aphorisms, to the
unavailing efforts of a "blind fowl picking at random after worms."
Nearly all the Chinese in Wanhsien have heard the doctrine described
with greater or less unintelligibility, and it is at their own risk if
they still refuse to be saved.

During the cholera epidemic this brave man never left his post; he never
refused a call to attend the sick and dying, and, at the risk of his
own, saved many lives. And what is his reward? This work he did, the
Chinese say, not from a disinterested love of his fellows, which was his
undoubted motive, but to accumulate merit for himself in the invisible
world beyond the grave. "Gratitude," says this missionary, and it is the
opinion of many, "is a condition of heart, or of mind, which seems to be
incapable of existence in the body of a Chinaman." Yet other
missionaries tell me that no man can possess a livelier sense of
gratitude than a Chinaman, or manifest it with more sincerity. "If our
words are compared to the croaking of the frog, we heed it not, but
freely express the feelings of our heart," are actual words addressed by
a grateful Chinese patient to the first medical missionary in China. And
the Chinaman himself will tell you, says Smith, "that it does not follow
that, because he does not exhibit gratitude he does not feel it. When
the dumb man swallows a tooth he may not say much about it, but it is
all inside."

Since its foundation in 1887, the Inland Mission of Wanhsien has been
conducted with brave perseverance. There are, unfortunately, no
converts, but there are three hopeful "inquirers," whose conversion
would be the more speedy the more likely they were to obtain employment
afterwards. They argue in this way; they say, to quote the words used by
the Rev. G. L. Mason at the Shanghai Missionary Conference of 1890, "if
the foreign teacher will take care of our bodies, we will do him the
favour to seek the salvation of our souls." This question of the
employment of converts is one of the chief difficulties of the
missionary in China. "The idea (derived from Buddhism) is universally
prevalent in China," says the Rev. C. W. Mateer, "that everyone who
enters any sect should live by it.... When a Chinaman becomes a
Christian he expects to live by his Christianity."

One of the three inquirers was shown me; he was described as the most
advanced of the three in knowledge of the doctrine. Now I do not wish to
write unkindly, but I am compelled to say that this man was a poor,
wretched, ragged coolie, who sells the commonest gritty cakes in a
rickety stall round the corner from the mission, who can neither read
nor write, and belongs to a very humble order of blunted intelligence.
The poor fellow is the father of a little girl of three, an only child,
who is both deaf and dumb. And there is the fear that his fondness for
the little one tempts him to give hope to the missionaries that in him
they are to see the first fruit of their toil, the first in the district
to be saved by their teaching, while he nurses a vague hope that, when
the foreign teachers regard him as adequately converted, they may be
willing to restore speech and hearing to his poor little offspring. It
is a scant harvest.

After a Chinese dinner the missionary and I went for a walk into the
country. In the main street we met a troop of beggars, each with a bowl
of rice and garbage and a long stick, with a few tattered rags hanging
round his loins--they were the poorest poor I had ever seen. They were
the beggars of the city, who had just received their midday meal at the
"Wanhsien Ragged Homes." There are three institutions of the kind in the
city for the relief of the destitute; they are entirely supported by
charity, and are said to have an average annual income of 40,000 taels.
Wanhsien is a very rich city, with wealthy merchants and great salt
hongs. The landed gentry and the great junk owners have their town
houses here. The money distributed by the townspeople in private charity
is unusually great even for a Chinese city. Its most public-spirited
citizen is Ch'en, one of the merchant princes of China whose
transactions are confined exclusively to the products of his own
country. Starting life with an income of one hundred taels, bequeathed
him by his father, Ch'en has now agents all over the empire, and
mercantile dealings which are believed to yield him a clear annual
income of a quarter of a million taels. His probity is a by-word; his
benefactions have enriched the province. That cutting in the face of the
cliff in the Feng-hsiang Gorge near Kweichou-fu, where a pathway for
trackers has been hewn out of the solid rock, was done at his expense,
and is said to have cost one hundred thousand taels. Not only by his
benefactions has Ch'en laid up for himself merit in heaven, but he has
already had his reward in this world. His son presented himself for the
M.A. examination for the Hanlin degree, the highest academical degree in
the Empire. Everyone in China knows that success in this examination is
dependent upon the favour of Wunchang-te-keun, the god of literature
(Taoist) "who from generation to generation hath sent his miraculous
influence down upon earth", and, as the god had seen with approbation
the good works done by the father, he gave success to the son. When the
son returned home after his good fortune, he was met beyond the walls
and escorted into the city with royal honours; his success was a triumph
for the city which gave him birth.

A short walk and we were out of the city, following a flagged path with
flights of steps winding up the hill through levelled terraces rich with
every kind of cereal, and with abundance of poppy. Splendid views of one
of the richest agricultural regions in the world are here unfolded. Away
down in the valley is the palatial family mansion of Pien, one of the
wealthiest yeomen in the province. Beyond you see the commencement of
the high road, a paved causeway eight feet wide, which extends for
hundreds of miles to Chentu, the capital of the province, and takes rank
as the finest work of its kind in the empire. On every hill-top is a
fort. That bolder than the rest commanding the city at a distance of
five miles, is on the "Hill of Heavenly Birth." It was built, says
Hobson, during the Taiping Rebellion; it existed, says the missionary,
before the present dynasty; discrepant statements characteristic of this
country of contradictions. But, whether thirty or two hundred and fifty
years old, the fort is now one in name only, and is at present occupied
by a garrison of peaceful peasantry.

Chinamen that we met asked us politely "if we had eaten our rice," and
"whither were we going." We answered correctly. But when with equal
politeness we asked the wayfarer where he was going, he jerked his chin
towards the horizon and said, "a long way."

We called at the residence of a rich young Chinese, who had lately
received it in his inheritance, together with 3000 acres of farmland,
which, we were told, yield him an annual income of 70,000 taels. In the
absence of the master, who was away in the country reading with his
tutor for the Hanlin degree, we were received by the caretakers, who
showed us the handsome guest chambers, the splendid gilded tablet, the
large courts, and garden rockeries. A handsome residence is this,
solidly built of wood and masonry, and with the trellis work carved with
much elaboration.

It was late when we returned to the mission, and after dark when I went
on board my little wupan. My boys had not been idle. They had bought new
provisions of excellent quality, and had made the boat much more
comfortable. The three kind missionaries came down to wish me Godspeed.
Brave men! they deserve a kinder fortune than has been their fate
hitherto. We crossed the river and anchored above the city, ready
against an early start in the morning.

The day after leaving Wanhsien was the first time that we required any
assistance on our journey from another junk; it was cheerfully given.
Our towrope had chafed through, and we were in a difficulty, attempting
to pass a bad rapid among the rocks, when a large junk was hauled bodily
past us, and, seeing our plight, hooked on to us and towed us with them
out of danger. On this night we anchored under the Sentinel Rock
(Shih-pao-chai), perhaps the most remarkable landmark on the river. From
two hundred to three hundred feet high, and sixty feet wide at the base,
it is a detached rock, cleft vertically from a former cliff. A
nine-storied pagoda has been inset into the south-eastern face, and
temple buildings crown the summit.

It was surprising how well my men lived on board the boat. They had
three good meals a day, always with rice and abundance of vegetables,
and frequently with a little pork. Cooking was done while we were under
way; for the purpose we had two little earthenware stoves, two pans, and
a kettle. All along the river cabbages and turnips are abundant and
cheap. Bumboats, laden to the rail, waylay the boats _en route_, and
offer an armful of fresh vegetables for the equivalent in copper cash of
three-eighths of a penny. Other boats peddle firewood, cut short and
bound in little bundles, and sticks of charcoal. Coal is everywhere
abundant, and there are excellent briquettes for sale, made of a mixture
of clay and coal-dust.

All day long now for the rest of our voyage we sailed through a
beautiful country. From the hill tops to the water's edge the hillsides
are levelled into a succession of terraces; there are cereals and the
universal poppy, pretty hamlets, and thriving little villages; a river
half a mile wide thronged with every kind of river craft, and back in
the distance snow-clad mountains. There are bamboo sheds at every point,
with coils of bamboo towrope, mats, and baskets, and huge Szechuen hats
as wide as an umbrella.

On the morning of March 5th I was awakened by loud screaming and yelling
ahead of us. I squeezed out of my cabin, and saw a huge junk looming
down upon us. In an awkward rapid its towline had parted, and the huge
structure tumbling uncontrolled in the water, was bearing down on us,
broadside on. It seemed as if we should be crushed against the rocks,
and we must have been, but for the marvellous skill with which the
sailors on the junk, just at the critical time, swung their vessel out
of danger. They were yelling with discord, but worked together as one
man.

In the afternoon we were at Feng-tu-hsien, a flourishing river port, one
of the principal outlets of the opium traffic of the Upper Yangtse. Next
day we were at Fuchou, the other opium port, whose trade in opium is
greater still than that of Feng-tu-hsien. It is at the junction of a
large tributary--the Kung-t'-an-ho, which is navigable for large vessels
for more than two hundred miles. Large numbers of the Fuchou junks were
moored here, which differ in construction from all other junks on the
river Yangtse in having their great sterns twisted or wrung a quarter
round to starboard, and in being steered by an immense stern sweep, and
not by the balanced rudder of an ordinary junk.

The following day, after a long day's work, we moored beyond the town of
Chang-show-hsien. Here I paid the laoban 2000 cash, whereupon he paid
his men something on account, and then blandly suggested a game of
cards. He was fast winning back his money, when I intervened and bade
them turn in, as I wished to make an early start in the morning. The
river seemed to get broader, deeper, and more rapid as we ascended; the
trackers, on the contrary, became thinner, narrower, and more decrepit.

On March 8th, our fourteenth day out, disaster nearly overtook us when
within a day's sail of our destination. Next day we reached Chungking
safely, having done by some days the fastest journey on record up the
Yangtse rapids. My captain and his young crew had finished the journey
within the time agreed upon.

[Illustration: THE RIVER YANGTSE AT TUNG-LO-HSIA.]

[Illustration: MEMORIAL ARCHWAY AT THE FORT OF FU-TO-KUAN.]



CHAPTER IV.

THE CITY OF CHUNGKING--THE CHINESE CUSTOMS--THE FAMOUS MONSIEUR HAAS,
AND A FEW WORDS ON THE OPIUM FALLACY.


After passing through the gorge known as Tung-lo-hsia ten miles from
Chungking, the laoban tried to attract my attention, calling me from my
crib and pointing with his chin up the river repeating "Haikwan one
piecee," which I interpreted to mean that there was an outpost of the
customs here in charge of one white man; and this proved to be the case.
The customs kuatze or houseboat was moored to the left bank; the
Imperial Customs flag floated gaily over an animated collection of
native craft. We drew alongside the junk and an Englishman appeared at
the window.

"Where from?" he asked, laconically.

"Australia."

"The devil, so am I. What part?"

"Victoria."

"So am I. Town?"

"Last from Ballarat."

"My native town, by Jove! Jump up."

I gave him my card. He looked at it and said, "When I was last in
Victoria I used to follow with much interest a curious walk across
Australia, from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Melbourne done by a namesake.
Any relation? The same man! I'm delighted to see you." Here then at the
most inland of the customs stations in China, 1500 miles from the sea,
I met my fellow countryman who was born near my home and whose father
was a well-known Mayor of Ballarat City.

Like myself he had formerly been a student of Melbourne University, but
I was many years his senior. What was his experience of the University I
forgot to inquire, but mine I remember vividly enough; for it was not
happy. In the examination for the Second-year Medicine, hoping the more
to impress the Professors, I entered my name for honours--and they
rejected me in the preliminary pass. It seems that in the examination in
Materia Medica, I had among other trifling lapses prescribed a dose of
Oleum Crotonis of "one half to two drachms _carefully increased_." I
confess that I had never heard of the wretched stuff; the question was
taken from far on in the text book and, unfortunately, my reading had
not extended quite so far. When a deputation from my family waited upon
the examiner to ascertain the cause of my misadventure, the only
satisfaction we got was the obliging assurance "that you might as well
let a mad dog loose in Collins Street" as allow me to become a doctor.
And then the examiner produced my prescription. But I thought I saw a
faint chance of escape. I pointed a nervous finger to the two words
"carefully increased," and pleaded that that indication of caution ought
to save me. "Save _you_ it might," he shouted with unnecessary
vehemence; "but, God bless my soul, man, it would not save your
patient." The examiner was a man intemperate of speech; so I left the
University. It was a severe blow to the University, but the University
survived it.

My countryman had been five years in China in the customs service, that
marvellous organisation which is more impartially open to all the world
than any other service in the world. As an example, I note that among
the Commissioners of Customs at the ports of the River Yangtse alone, at
the time of my voyage the Commissioner at Shanghai was an Austrian, at
Kiukiang a Frenchman, at Hankow an Englishman, at Ichang a Scandinavian,
and at Chungking a German.

The Australian had been ten months at Chungking. His up-river journey
occupied thirty-eight days, and was attended with one moving incident.
In the Hsintan rapid the towline parted, and his junk was smashed to
pieces by the rocks, and all that he possessed destroyed. It was in this
rapid that my boat narrowly escaped disaster, but there was this
difference in our experiences, that at the time of his accident the
river was sixty feet higher than on the occasion of mine.

Tang-chia-to, the customs out-station, is ten miles by river from
Chungking, but not more than four miles by land. So I sent the boat on,
and in the afternoon walked over to the city. A customs coolie came with
me to show me the way. My friend accompanied me to the river crossing,
walking with me through fields of poppy and sugarcane, and open beds of
tobacco. At the river side he left me to return to his solitary home,
while I crossed the river in a sampan, and then set out over the hills
to Chungking. It was more than ever noticeable, the poor hungry
wretchedness of the river coolies. For three days past all the trackers
I had seen were the most wretched in physique of any I had met in China.
Phthisis and malaria prevail among them; their work is terribly arduous;
they suffer greatly from exposure; they appear to be starving in the
midst of abundance. My coolie showed well by contrast with the trackers;
he was sleek and well fed. A "chop dollar," as he would be termed down
south, for his face was punched or chopped with the small-pox, he swung
along the paved pathway and up and down the endless stone steps in a way
that made me breathless to follow. We passed a few straggling houses and
wayside shrines and tombstones. All the dogs in the district recognised
that I was a stranger, and yelped consumedly, like the wolfish mongrels
that they are. From a hill we obtained a misty view of the City of
Chungking, surrounded on two sides by river and covering a broad expanse
of hill and highland. I was taken to the customs pontoon on the south
bank of the river, and then up the steep bank by many steps to the
basement of an old temple where the two customs officers have their
pleasant dwelling. I was kindly received, and stayed the night. We were
an immense height above the water; the great city was across the broad
expanse of river, here more than seven hundred yards in width. Away down
below us, moored close to the bank, and guarded by three Chinese armed
junks or gunboats, was the customs hulk, where the searching is done,
and where the three officers of the outdoor staff have their offices.
There is at present but little smuggling, because there are no Chinese
officials. Smuggling may be expected to begin in earnest as soon as
Chinese officials are introduced to prevent it. Chinese searchers do
best who use their eyes not to see--best for themselves, that is. The
gunboats guarding this Haikwan Station have a nominal complement of
eighty men, and an actual complement of twenty-four; to avoid, however,
unnecessary explanation, pay is drawn by the commanding officer, not for
the actual twenty-four, but for the nominal eighty.

[Illustration: THE CITY OF CHUNGKING, AS SEEN FROM THE OPPOSITE BANK OF
THE RIVER YANGTSE.]

My two companions in the temple were tidewaiters in the Customs. There
are many storied lives locked away among the tidewaiters in China. Down
the river there is a tidewaiter who was formerly professor of French in
the Imperial University of St. Petersburg; and here in Chungking,
filling the same humble post, is the godson of a marquis and the nephew
of an earl, a brave soldier whose father is a major-general and his
mother an earl's daughter, and who is first cousin to that enlightened
nobleman and legislator the Earl of C. Few men so young have had so many
and varied experiences as this sturdy Briton. He has humped his swag in
Australia, has earned fifteen shillings a day there as a blackleg
protected by police picquets on a New South Wales coal mine. He was at
Harrow under Dr. Butler, and at Corpus Christi, Cambridge. He has been
in the Dublin Fusiliers, and a lieutenant in Weatherby's Horse, enlisted
in the 5th Lancers, and rose from private to staff-sergeant, and ten
months later would have had his commission. He served with distinction
in the Soudan and Zululand, and has three medals with four clasps. He
was present at El Teb, and at the disaster at Tamai, when McNeill's
zareeba was broken. He was at Tel-el-kebir; saw Burnaby go forth to meet
a coveted death at Abu-klea, and was present at Abu-Kru when Sir Herbert
Stewart received his death-wound. He was at Rorke's Drift, and appears
with that heroic band in Miss Elizabeth Thompson's painting. Leaving the
army, C. held for a time a commission in the mounted constabulary of
Madras, and now he is a third class assistant tidewaiter in the Imperial
Maritime Customs of China, with a salary as low as his spirits are high.

Chungking is an open port, which is not an open port. By the treaty of
Tientsin it is included in the clause which states that any foreign
steamer going to it, a closed port, shall be confiscated. Yet by the
Chefoo Convention, Chungking is to become an open port as soon as the
first foreign steamer shall reach there. This reminds one of the
conflicting instructions once issued by a certain government in
reference to the building of a new gaol. The instructions were
explicit:--

     Clause I.--The new gaol shall be constructed out of the
     materials of the old.

     Clause II.--The prisoners shall remain in the old gaol till
     the new gaol is constructed.

In Chungking the Commissioner of Customs is Dr. F. Hirth, whose Chinese
house is on the highest part of Chungking in front of a temple, which,
dimly seen through the mist, is the crowning feature of the city. A
distinguished sinologue is the doctor, one of the finest Chinese
scholars in the Empire, author of "China and the Roman Orient," "Ancient
Porcelain," and an elaborate "Textbook of Documentary Chinese," which is
in the hands of most of the Customs staff in China, for whose assistance
it was specially written. Dr. Hirth is a German who has been many years
in China. He holds the third button, the transparent blue button, the
third rank in the nine degrees by which Chinese Mandarins are
distinguished.

The best site in Chungking has been fortunately secured by the Methodist
Episcopalian Mission of the United States. Their missionaries dwell with
great comfort in the only foreign-built houses in the city in a large
compound with an ample garden. Their Mission hospital is a well-equipped
Anglo-Chinese building attached to the city wall, and overlooking from
its lofty elevation the Little River, and the walled city beyond it.

The wards of the hospital are comfortable and well lit; the floors are
varnished; the beds are provided with spring mattresses; indeed, in the
comfort of the hospital the Chinese find its chief discomfort. A
separate compartment has been walled off for the treatment of
opium-smokers who desire by forced restraint to break off the habit.
Three opium-smokers were in durance at the time of my visit; they were
happy and contented and well nourished, and none but the trained eye of
an expert, who saw what he wished to see, could have guessed that they
were addicted to the use of a drug which has been described in
exaggerated terms as "more deadly to the Chinese than war, famine, and
pestilence combined." (Rev. A. H. Smith, "Chinese Characteristics," p.
187.)

Not long ago three men were admitted into the hospital suffering, on
their own confession, from the opium habit. They freely expressed the
desire of their hearts to be cured, and were received with welcome and
placed in confinement. Every effort was made to wean them from the habit
which, they alleged, had "seized them in a death grip." Attentive to the
teacher and obedient to the doctor, they gave every hope of being early
admitted into Church fellowship. But one night the desire to return to
the drug became irresistible, and, strangely, the desire attacked all
three men at the same time on the same night; and they escaped together.
Sadly enough there was in this case marked evidence of the demoralising
influence of opium, for when they escaped they took with them everything
portable that they could lay their hands on. It was a sad trial.

Excellent medical work is done in the hospital. From the first annual
report just published by the surgeon in charge, an M.D. from the United
States, I extract the two following pleasing items.

_Medical Work._--"Mr. Tsang Taotai, of Kuei-Iang-fu, was an eye witness
to several operations, as well as being operated upon for Internal
Piles" (the last words in large capitals).

_Evangelistic Work._--"Mrs. Wei, in the hospital for suppurating glands
of the neck, became greatly interested in the truth while there, left a
believer, and attends Sunday service regular (_sic_), walking from a
distant part of the city each Sunday. We regard her as very hopeful, and
she is reported by the Chinese as being very warm-hearted. She will be
converted when the first vacancy occurs in the nursing staff."

During my stay in Chungking I frequently met the French Consul "_en
commission_," Monsieur Haas, who had lately arrived on a diplomatic
mission, which was invested with much secrecy. It was believed to have
for its object the diversion of the trade of Szechuen from its natural
channel, the Yangtse River, southward through Yunnan province to
Tonquin. Success need not be feared to attend his mission. "_Ils
perdront et leur temps et leur argent._" Monsieur Haas has helped to
make history in his time. The most gentle-mannered of men, he writes
with strange rancour against the perfidious designs of Britain in the
East. In his diplomatic career Monsieur Haas suffered one great
disappointment. He was formerly the French Chargé d'Affaires and
Political Resident at the court of King Theebaw in Mandalay. And it was
his "Secret Treaty" with the king which forced the hand of England and
led to her hasty occupation of Upper Burma. The story is a very pretty
one. By this treaty French influence was to become predominant in Upper
Burma; the country was to become virtually a colony of France, with a
community of interest with France, with France to support her in any
difficulty with British Burma. Such a position England could not
tolerate for one moment. Fortunately for us French intrigue outwitted
itself, and the Secret Treaty became known. It was in this way. Draft
copies of the agreement drawn up in French and Burmese were exchanged
between Monsieur Haas and King Theebaw. But Monsieur Haas could not read
Burmese, and he distrusted the King. A trusted interpreter was
necessary, and there was only one man in Mandalay that seemed to him
sufficiently trustworthy. To Signor A---- then, the Italian Chargé
d'Affaires and Manager of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, Monsieur Haas
went and, pledging him to secrecy, sought his assistance as interpreter.

As Monsieur Haas had done, so did his Majesty the King. Two great minds
were being guided by the same spirit. Theebaw could not read French, and
he distrusted Monsieur Haas. An interpreter was essential, and, casting
about for a trusted one, he decided that no one could serve him so
faithfully as Signor A----, and straightway sought his assistance, as
Monsieur Haas had done. Their fates were in his hands; which master
should the Italian serve, the French or the Burmese? He did not
hesitate--he betrayed them both. Within an hour the Secret Treaty was in
possession of the British Resident. Action was taken with splendid
promptitude. "M. de Freycinet, when pressed on the subject, repudiated
any intention of acquiring for France a political predominance in
Burma." An immediate pretext was found to place Theebaw in a dilemma;
eleven days later the British troops had crossed the frontier, and Upper
Burma was another province of our Indian Empire.

Monsieur Haas was recalled, and his abortive action repudiated. He had
acted, of course, without orders, he had erred from too much zeal.
Signor A---- was also recalled, but did not go because the order was not
accompanied with the customary cheque to defray the cost of his passage.
His services to England were rewarded, and he retained his engagement as
Manager of the Flotilla Company; but he lost his appointment as the
Representative of Italy--an honourable post with a dignified salary paid
by the Italian Government in I.O.U.'s.

Chungking is an enormously rich city. It is built at the junction of the
Little River and the Yangtse, and is, from its position, the great river
port of the province of Szechuen. Water-ways stretch from here an
immense distance inland. The Little River is little only in comparison
with the Yangtse, and in any other country would be regarded as a mighty
inland river. It is navigable for more than 2000 li (600 miles). The
Yangtse drains a continent; the Little River drains a province larger
than a European kingdom. Chungking is built at a great height above the
present river, now sixty feet below its summer level. Its walls are
unscalable. Good influences are directed over the city from a lofty
pagoda on the topmost hill in the vicinity. Temples abound, and spacious
yamens and rich buildings, the crowning edifice of all being the Temple
to the God of Literature. Distances are prodigious in Chungking, and the
streets so steep and hilly, with flights of stairs cut from the solid
rock, that only a mountaineer can live here in comfort. All who can
afford it go in chairs; stands of sedan chairs are at every important
street corner.

[Illustration: A TEMPLE THEATRE IN CHUNGKING.]

During the day the city vibrates with teeming traffic; at night the
streets are deserted and dead, the stillness only disturbed by a
distant watchman springing his bamboo rattle to keep himself awake and
warn robbers of his approach. In no city in Europe is security to life
and property better guarded than in this, or, indeed, in any other
important city in China. It is a truism to say that no people are more
law-abiding than the Chinese; "they appear," says Medhurst, "to maintain
order as if by common consent, independent of all surveillance."

Our Consul in Chungking is Mr. E. H. Fraser, an accomplished Chinese
scholar, who fills a difficult post with rare tact and complete success.
Consul Fraser estimates the population of Chungking at 200,000; the
Chinese, he says, have a record of 35,000 families within the walls. Of
this number from forty to fifty per cent. of all men, and from four to
five per cent. of all women, indulge in the opium pipe. The city abounds
in opium-shops--shops, that is, where the little opium-lamps and the
opium-pipes are stacked in hundreds upon hundreds. Opium is one of the
staple products of this rich province, and one of the chief sources of
wealth of this flourishing city.

During the nine months that I was in China I saw thousands of
opium-smokers, but I never saw one to whom could be applied that
description by Lay (of the British and Foreign Bible Society), so often
quoted, of the typical opium-smoker in China "with his lank and
shrivelled limbs, tottering gait, sallow visage, feeble voice, and
death-boding glance of eye, proclaiming him the most forlorn creature
that treads upon the ground."

This fantastic description, paraded for years past for our sympathy, can
be only applied to an infinitesimal number of the millions in China who
smoke opium. It is a well-known fact that should a Chinese suffering
from the extreme emaciation of disease be also in the habit of using
the opium-pipe, it is the pipe and not the disease that in ninety-nine
cases out of a hundred will be wrongly blamed as the cause of the
emaciation.

During the year 1893 4275 tons of Indian opium were imported into China.
The Chinese, we are told, plead to us with "outstretched necks" to cease
the great wrong we are doing in forcing them to buy our opium. "Many a
time," says the Rev. Dr. Hudson Taylor, "have I seen the Chinaman point
with his thumb to Heaven, and say, 'There is Heaven up there! There is
Heaven up there!' What did he mean by that? You may bring this opium to
us; you may force it upon us; we cannot resist you, but there is a Power
up there that will inflict vengeance." (_National Righteousness_, Dec.
1892, p. 13.)

But, with all respect to Dr. Hudson Taylor and his ingenious
interpretation of the Chinaman's gesture, it is extremely difficult for
the traveller in China to believe that the Chinese are sincere in their
condemnation of opium and the opium traffic. "In some countries," says
Wingrove Cooke, "words represent facts, but this is never the case in
China." Li Hung Chang, the Viceroy of Chihli, in the well-known letter
that he addressed to the Rev. F. Storrs Turner, the Secretary of the
Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade, on May 24th, 1881, a
letter still widely circulated and perennially cited, says, "the poppy
is certainly surreptitiously grown in some parts of China,
notwithstanding the laws and frequent Imperial edicts prohibiting its
cultivation."

Surreptitiously grown in some parts of China! Why, from the time I left
Hupeh till I reached the boundary of Burma, a distance of 1700 miles, I
never remember to have been out of sight of the poppy. Li Hung Chang
continues, "I earnestly hope that your Society, and all right-minded
men of your country, will support the efforts China is now making to
escape from the thraldom of opium." And yet you are told in China that
the largest growers of the poppy in China are the family of Li Hung
Chang.

The Society for the Suppression of Opium has circulated by tens of
thousands a petition which was forwarded to them from the
Chinese--spontaneously, per favour of the missionaries. "Some tens of
millions," this petition says, "some tens of millions of human beings in
distress are looking on tiptoe with outstretched necks for salvation to
come from you, O just and benevolent men of England! If not for the good
or honour of your country, then for mercy's sake do this good deed now
to save a people, and the rescued millions shall themselves be your
great reward." (_China's Millions_, iv., 156.)

Assume, then, that the Chinese do not want our opium, and unavailingly
beseech us to stay this nefarious traffic, which is as if "the Rivers
Phlegethon and Lethe were united in it, carrying fire and destruction
wherever it flows, and leaving a deadly forgetfulness wherever it has
passed." (The Rev. Dr. Wells Williams. "The Middle Kingdom," i., 288.)

They do not want our opium, but they purchase from us 4275 tons per
annum.

Of the eighteen provinces of China four only, Kiangsu, Cheh-kiang,
Fuhkien, and Kuangtung use Indian opium, the remaining fourteen
provinces use exclusively home-grown opium. Native-grown opium has
entirely driven the imported opium from the markets of the Yangtse
Valley; no Indian opium, except an insignificant quantity, comes up the
river even as far as Hankow. The Chinese do not want our opium--it
competes with their own. In the three adjoining provinces of Szechuen,
Yunnan, and Kweichow they grow their own opium; but they grow more than
they need, and have a large surplus to export to other parts of the
Empire. The amount of this surplus can be estimated, because all
exported opium has to pay customs and likin dues to the value of two
shillings a pound, and the amount thus collected is known. Allowing no
margin for opium that has evaded customs dues, and there are no more
scientific smugglers than the Chinese, we still find that during the
year 1893 2250 tons of opium were exported from the province of
Szechuen, 1350 tons from Yunnan, and 450 tons from Kweichow, a total of
4050 tons exported by the rescued millions of three provinces only for
the benefit of their fellow-countrymen, who, with outstretched necks,
plead to England to leave them alone in their monopoly.

Edicts are still issued against the use of opium. They are drawn up by
Chinese philanthropists over a quiet pipe of opium, signed by
opium-smoking officials, whose revenues are derived from the poppy, and
posted near fields of poppy by the opium-smoking magistrates who own
them.

In the City Temple of Chungking there is a warning to opium-eaters. One
of the fiercest devils in hell is there represented gloating over the
crushed body of an opium-smoker; his protruding tongue is smeared with
opium put there by the victim of "_yin_" (the opium craving), who wishes
to renounce the habit. The opium thus collected is the perquisite of the
Temple priests, and at the gate of the Temple there is a stall for the
sale of opium fittings.

Morphia pills are sold in Chungking by the Chinese chemists to cure the
opium habit. This profitable remedy was introduced by the foreign
chemists of the coast ports and adopted by the Chinese. Its advantage
is that it converts a desire for opium into a taste for morphia, a mode
of treatment analogous to changing one's stimulant from colonial beer to
methylated spirit. In 1893, 15,000 ounces of hydrochlorate of morphia
were admitted into Shanghai alone.

The China Inland Mission have an important station at Chungking. It was
opened seventeen years ago, in 1877, and is assisted by a representative
of the Horsburgh Mission. The mission is managed by a charming English
gentleman, who has exchanged all that could make life happy in England
for the wretched discomfort of this malarious city. Every assistance I
needed was given me by this kindly fellow who, like nearly all the China
Inland Mission men, deserves success if he cannot command it. A more
engaging personality I have rarely met, and it was sad to think that for
the past year, 1893, no new convert was made by his Mission among the
Chinese of Chungking. (_China's Millions_, January, 1894.) The Mission
has been working short-handed, with only three missionaries instead of
six, and progress has been much delayed in consequence.

The London Missionary Society, who have been here since 1889, have two
missionaries at work, and have gathered nine communicants and six
adherents. Their work is largely aided by an admirable hospital under
Cecil Davenport, F.R.C.S., a countryman of my own. "Broad Benevolence"
are the Chinese characters displayed over the entrance to the hospital,
and they truthfully describe the work done by the hospital. In the
chapel adjoining, a red screen is drawn down the centre of the church,
and separates the men from the women--one of the chief pretexts that an
Englishman has for going to church is thus denied the Chinaman, since he
cannot cast an ogling eye through a curtain.



CHAPTER V.

THE JOURNEY FROM CHUNGKING TO SUIFU--CHINESE INNS.


I left the boat at Chungking and started on my land journey, going west
230 miles to Suifu. I had with me two coolies to carry my things, the
one who received the higher pay having also to bring me my food, make my
bed, and pay away my copper cash. They could not speak a single word of
English. They were to be paid for the journey one _4s. 10d._ and the
other _5s. 7d._ They were to be entitled to no perquisites, were to find
themselves on the way, and take their chance of employment on the return
journey. They were to lead me into Suifu on the seventh day out from
Chungking. All that they undertook to do they did to my complete
satisfaction.

On the morning of March 14th I set out from Chungking to cross 1600
miles over Western China to Burma. Men did not speak hopefully of my
chance of getting through. There were the rains of June and July to be
feared apart from other obstacles.

Père Lorain, the Procureur of the French Mission, who spoke from an
experience of twenty-five years of China, assured me that, speaking no
Chinese, unarmed, unaccompanied, except by two poor coolies of the
humblest class, and on foot, I would have _les plus grandes
difficultés_, and Monsieur Haas, the Consul _en commission_, was equally
pessimistic. The evening before starting, the Consul and my friend
Carruthers (one of the _Inverness Courier_ Carruthers) gave me a lesson
in Chinese. "French before breakfast" was nothing to this kind of
cramming. I learnt a dozen useful words and phrases, and rehearsed them
in the morning to a member of the Inland Mission, who cheered me by
saying that it would be a clever Chinaman indeed who could understand
Chinese like mine.

I left on foot by the West Gate, being accompanied so far by A. J.
Little, an experienced traveller and authority on China, manager in
Chungking of the Chungking Transport Company (which deals especially
with the transport of cargo from Ichang up the rapids), whose book on
"The Yangtse Gorges" is known to every reader of books on China.

I was dressed as a Chinese teacher in thickly-wadded Chinese gown, with
pants, stockings, and sandals, with Chinese hat and pigtail. In my dress
I looked a person of weight. I must acknowledge that my outfit was very
poor; but this was not altogether a disadvantage, for my men would have
the less temptation to levy upon it. Still it would have been awkward if
my men had taken it into their heads to walk off with my things, because
I could not have explained my loss. My chief efforts, I knew, throughout
my journey would be applied in the direction of inducing the Chinese to
treat me with the respect that was undoubtedly due to one who, in their
own words, had done them the "exalted honour" of visiting "their mean
and contemptible country." For I could not afford a private sedan chair,
though I knew that Baber had written that "no traveller in Western China
who possesses any sense of self-respect should journey without a sedan
chair, not necessarily as a conveyance, but for the honour and glory of
the thing. Unfurnished with this indispensable token of respectability
he is liable to be thrust aside on the highway, to be kept waiting at
ferries, to be relegated to the worst inn's worst room, and generally to
be treated with indignity, or, what is sometimes worse, with
familiarity, as a peddling footpad who, unable to gain a living in his
own country, has come to subsist on China." ("Travels and Researches in
Western China," p. 1.)

Six li out (two miles), beyond the gravemounds there is a small village
where ponies are kept for hire. A kind friend came with me as far as the
village to act as my interpreter, and here he engaged a pony for me. It
was to carry me ten miles for fourpence. It was small, rat-like and
wiry, and was steered by the "mafoo" using the tail like a tiller.
Mounted then on this small beast, which carried me without wincing, I
jogged along over the stone-flagged pathway, down hill and along valley,
scaling and descending the long flights of steps which lead over the
mountains. The bells of the pony jingled merrily; the day was fine and
the sun shone behind the clouds. My two coolies sublet their contracts,
and had their loads borne for a fraction of a farthing per mile by
coolies returning empty-handed to Suifu.

[Illustration: ON THE MAIN ROAD TO SUIFU.]

Fu-to-kuan four miles from Chungking is a powerful hill-fort that guards
the isthmus where the Yangtse and the Little River come nearly together
before encircling Chungking. Set in the face of the cliff is a gigantic
image of Buddha. Massive stone portals, elaborately carved, and huge
commemorative tablets cut from single blocks of stone and deeply
engraved, here adorn the highway. The archways have been erected by
command of the Emperor, but at the expense of their relatives, to the
memory of virtuous widows who have refused to remarry, or who have
sacrificed their lives on the death of their husbands. Happy are those
whose names are thus recorded, for not only do they obtain ten thousand
merits in heaven, as well as the Imperial recognition of the Son of
Heaven on earth; but as an additional reward their souls may, on
entering the world a second time, enjoy the indescribable felicity of
inhabiting the bodies of men.

Cases where the widow has thus brought honour to the family are
constantly recorded in the pages of the _Peking Gazette_. One of more
than usual merit is described in the _Peking Gazette_ of June 10th,
1892. The story runs:--

"The Governor of Shansi narrates the story of a virtuous wife who
destroyed herself after the death of her husband. The lady was a native
of T'ienmen, in Hupeh, and both her father and grandfather were
officials who attained the rank of Taotai. When she was little more than
ten years old her mother fell ill. The child cut flesh from her body and
mixed it with the medicines and thus cured her parent. The year before
last she was married to an expectant magistrate. Last autumn, just after
he had obtained an appointment, he was taken violently ill. She mixed
her flesh with the medicine but it was in vain, and he died shortly
afterwards. Overcome with grief, and without parents or children to
demand her care, she determined that she would not live. Only waiting
till she had completed the arrangements for her husband's interment, she
swallowed gold and powder of lead. She handed her trousseau to her
relatives to defray her funeral expenses, and made presents to the
younger members of the family and the servants, after which, draped in
her state robes, she sat waiting her end. The poison began to work and
soon all was over. The memorialist thinks that the case is one which
should be recorded in the erection of a memorial arch, and he asks the
Emperor to grant that honour to the deceased lady." ("_Granted._")

Near the base of the rock upon which the hill-fort is built, and between
it and the city, the Methodist Episcopalian Mission of the U.S.A.
commenced in 1886 to build what the Chinese, in their ignorance, feared
was a foreign fort, but what was nothing more than a mission house in a
compound surrounded by a powerful wall. The indiscreet mystery
associated with its erection was the exciting cause of the anti-foreign
riot of July, 1886.

From the fort the pathway led us through a beautiful country. We met
numbers of sedan chairs, borne by two coolies, or three, according to
the importance of the traveller. There were Chinese gentlemen mounted on
ponies or mules; there were strings of coolies swinging along under
prodigious loads of salt and coal, and huge bales of raw cotton.
Buffaloes with slow and painful steps were ploughing the paddy fields,
the water up to their middles--the primitive plough and share guided by
half-naked Chinamen. Along the road there are inns and tea-houses every
mile or two, for this is one of the most frequented roadways of China.
At one good-sized village my cook signed to me to dismount; the mafoo
and pony were paid off, and I sat down in an inn, and was served with an
excellent dish of rice and minced beef. The inn was crowded and open to
the street. Despite my Chinese dress anyone could see that I was a
foreigner, but I was not far enough away from Chungking to excite much
curiosity. The other diners treated me with every courtesy; they offered
me of their dishes, and addressed me in Chinese--a compliment which I
repaid by thanking them blandly in English.

Now I went on, on foot, though I had difficulty in keeping pace with my
men. Behind the village we climbed a very steep hill by interminable
steps, and passed under an archway at the summit. Descending the hill,
my cook engaged in a controversy with a thin lad whom he had hired to
carry his load a stage. The dispute waxed warm, and, while they stopped
to argue it out at leisure, I went on. My cook, engaged through the kind
offices of the Inland Mission, was a man of strong convictions; and in
the last I saw of the dispute he was pulling the unfortunate coolie
downhill by the pigtail. When he overtook me he was alone and smiling
cheerfully, well satisfied with himself for having settled _that_ little
dispute. The road became more level, and we got over the ground quickly.

Late in the evening I was led into a crowded inn in a large village,
where we were to stay the night. We had come twenty-seven miles, and had
begun well. I was shown into a room with three straw-covered wooden
bedsteads, a rough table, lit by a lighted taper in a saucer of oil, a
rough seat, and the naked earth floor. Hot water was brought me to wash
with and tea to drink, and my man prepared me an excellent supper. My
baggage was in the corner; it consisted of two light bamboo boxes with
Chinese padlocks, a bamboo hamper, and a roll of bedding covered with
oilcloth. An oilcloth is indispensable to the traveller in China, for
placed next the straw on a Chinese bed it is impassable to bugs. And
during all my journey in China I was never disturbed in my sleep by this
unpleasant pest. Bugs in China are sufficiently numerous, but their
numbers cannot be compared with the gregarious hosts that disturb the
traveller in Spain.

My last night in Spain was spent in Cadiz, the most charming city in
the peninsula. I had lost the last boat off to the steamer, on which I
was a passenger; it was late at night, and I knew of no inn near the
landing. At midnight, as I was walking in the Plaza, called after that
revered monarch, Queen Isabel II., I was spoken to at the door of a
fonda, and asked if I wanted a bedroom. It was the taberna "La
Valenciana." I was delighted; it was the very thing I was looking for, I
said. The innkeeper had just one room unoccupied, and he showed me
upstairs into a plain, homely apartment, which I was pleased to engage
for the night. "_Que usted descanse bien_" (may you sleep well), said
the landlord, and left me. Keeping the candle burning I tumbled into
bed, for I was very tired, but jumped out almost immediately, despite my
fatigue. I turned down the clothes, and saw the bugs gathering in the
centre from all parts of the bed. I collected a dozen or two, and put
them in a basin of water, and, dressing myself, went out on the landing
and called the landlord.

He came up yawning.

"Sir," he said, "do you wish anything?"

"Nothing; but it is impossible, absolutely impossible, for me to sleep
in that bed."

"But why, señor?"

"Because it is full of bugs."

"Oh no, sir, that cannot be, that cannot be; there is not a bug in the
house."

"But I have seen them."

"You must be mistaken; it is impossible that there can be a bug in the
house."

"But I have caught some."

"It makes twenty years that I live in this house, and never have I seen
such a thing."

"Pardon me, but will you do me the favour to look at this basin?"

"Sir, you are right, you are completely right; it is the weather; _every
bed in Cadiz is now full of them_."

In the morning, and every morning, we were away at daylight, and walked
some miles before breakfast. All the way to Suifu the road is a paved
causeway, 3 feet 6 inches to 6 feet wide, laid down with dressed flags
of stone; and here, at least, it cannot be alleged, as the Chinese
proverb would have it, that their roads are "good for ten years and bad
for ten hundred." There are, of course, no fences; the main road picks
its way through the cultivated fields; no traveller ever thinks of
trespassing from the roadway, nor did I ever see any question of
trespass between neighbours. In this law-abiding country the peasantry
conspicuously follow the Confucian maxim taught in China four hundred
years before Christ, "Do not unto others what you would not have others
do unto you." Every rood of ground is under tillage.

Hills are everywhere terraced like the seats of an amphitheatre, each
terrace being irrigated from the one below it by a small stream of
water, drawn up an inclined plain by a continuous chain bucket, worked
with a windlass by either hand or foot. The poppy is everywhere abundant
and well tended; there are fields of winter wheat, and pink-flowered
beans, and beautiful patches of golden rape-seed. Dotted over the
landscape are pretty Szechuen farmhouses in groves of trees. Splendid
banyan trees give grateful shelter to the traveller. Of this country it
could be written as a Chinese traveller wrote of England, "their fertile
hills, adorned with the richest luxuriance, resemble in the outline of
their summits the arched eyebrows of a fair woman."

The country is well populated, and a continuous stream of people is
moving along the road. Grand memorial arches span the roadway, many of
them notable efforts of monumental skill, with columns and architraves
carved with elephants and deer, and flowers and peacocks, and the
Imperial seven-tailed dragon of China. Chinese art is seen at its best
in this rich province.

[Illustration: CULTIVATION IN TERRACES. In the foreground the poppy in
bloom.]

[Illustration: SCENE IN SZECHUEN.]

I lived, of course, in the common Chinese inn, ate Chinese food, and was
everywhere treated with courtesy and good nature; but at first I found
it trying to be such an object of curiosity; to have to do all things in
unsecluded publicity; to have to push my way through streets thronged by
the curious to see the foreigner. My meals I ate in the presence of the
street before gaping crowds. When they came too close I told them
politely in English to keep back a little, and they did so if I
illustrated my words by gesture. When I scratched my head and they saw
the spurious pigtail, they smiled; when I flicked the dust off the table
with my pigtail, they laughed hilariously.

The wayside inns are usually at the side of an arcade of grass and
bamboo stretched above the main road. Two or three ponies are usually
waiting here for hire, and expectant coolies are eager to offer their
services. In engaging a pony you make an offer casually, as if you had
no desire in the world of its being accepted, and then walk on as if you
had no intention whatever of riding for the next month. The mafoo
demands more, but will come down; you stick to your offer, though
prepared to increase it; so demand and offer you exchange with the mafoo
till the width of the village is between you, and your voices are almost
out of hearing, when you come to terms.

Suppose I wanted a chair to give me a rest for a few miles--it was
usually slung under the rafters--Laokwang (my cook) unobserved by anyone
but me pointed to it with his thumb inquiringly. I nodded assent and
apparently nothing more happened and the conversation, of which I was
quite ignorant, continued. We left together on foot, my man still
maintaining a crescendo conversation with the inn people till well away.
When almost out of hearing he called out something and an answer came
faintly back from the distance. It was his ultimatum as regards price
and its acceptance--they had been bargaining all the time. My man
motioned to me to wait, said the one word "_chiaodza_" (sedan chair) and
in a few moments the chair of bamboo and wicker came rapidly down the
road carried by two bearers. They put down the chair before me and bowed
to me; I took my seat and was borne easily and pleasantly along at four
miles an hour at a charge of less than one penny a mile.

My men received nearly 400 cash a day each; but from time to time they
sweated their contract to unemployed coolies and had their loads carried
for so little as sixty cash (one penny halfpenny), for two-thirds of a
day's journey.

At nightfall we always reached some large village or town where my cook
selected the best inn for my resting place, the best inn in such cases
being usually the one which promised him the largest squeeze. All the
towns through which the road passes swarm with inns, for there is an
immense floating population to provide for. Competition is keen. Touts
stand at the doorway of every inn, who excitedly waylay the traveller
and cry the merits of their houses. At the counter inside the entrance,
piles of pukais (the warm Chinese bedding), are stacked for hire--few of
the travellers carry their own bedding. The inns are sufficiently
comfortable. The bedrooms are in one or two stories and are arranged
round one or more, or a succession of courts. The cheapness is to be
commended. For supper, bed, and light, tea during the night and tea
before starting in the morning, and various little comforts, such as hot
water for washing, the total charge for the six nights of my journey
from Chungking to Suifu was 840 cash (_1s. 9d._).

Rice was my staple article of diet; eggs, fowls, and vegetables were
also abundant and cheap; but I avoided pork which is the flesh
universally eaten throughout China by all but the Mohammedans and
vegetarians. In case of emergency I had a few tins of foreign stores
with me. I made it a point never to drink water--I drank tea. No
Chinaman ever drinks anything cold. Every half hour or hour he can reach
an inn or teahouse where tea can be infused for him in a few minutes.
The price of a bowl of tea with a pinch of tea-leaves, filled and
refilled with hot water _ad lib_, is two cash--equal to the twentieth
part of one penny. Pork has its weight largely added to by being
injected with water, the point of the syringe being passed into a large
vein; this is usually described as the Chinese method of "watering
stock."

On the third day we were at Yuenchuan, sixty-three miles from Chungking.
On the 5th, we passed through Luchow, one of the richest and most
populous cities on the Upper Yangtse, and at noon next day we again
reached the Yangtse at the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, two miles
down the river from the large town of Lanchihsien. According to my
interpretation of the gesticulations of Laokwang, we were then forty
miles from Suifu, and a beautiful sunny afternoon before us, in which to
easily cover one half the distance. But I must reckon with my guide. He
wished to remain here; I wished to go on; but as I could not understand
his Chinese explanation, nor advance any protest except in English, of
which he was innocent, I could only look aggrieved and make a virtue of
a necessity. He did, however, convey to me his solemn assurance that
to-morrow (_ming tien_) he would conduct me into Suifu before sunset. An
elderly Chinaman, who had given us the advantage of his company at
various inns during the last three days, here entered into the
conversation, produced his watch, and, with his hand over his heart,
which, in a Chinaman, is in the centre of the breast-bone, added his
sacred asseveration to my guide's. So I stayed. We were quite a friendly
party travelling together.

In the middle of the night a light was flashed into our room and a voice
pealed out an alarm that awoke even my two Chinese, who always
obligingly slept in the same room with me. I had protested against their
doing so, but they mistook my expostulation for approbation. We rose at
once, and came down the steep bank to a boat that was lying stern to
shore showing a light. I was charmed to get such an early start, and
construed the indications into a ferry boat to take me across the river,
whence we would go by a short route into Suifu. The boat was loaded with
sugar and had a crew of two men and three boys. There was an awning over
the cargo, but most of the space under it was already occupied by twelve
amiable Chinese, among whom were six promiscuous friends, who had kept
with us for several stages, and had, I imagine, derived some pecuniary
advantages from my company. Yet this was not a ferry boat, but a
passenger boat engaged especially for me to carry me to Suifu before
nightfall. The Chinese passengers had courteously projected their
companionship upon the inarticulate stranger. An elderly gentleman, with
huge goggles and long nails, whose fingers were stained with opium, was
the pacificator of the party, and calmed the frequent wranglings in
which the other eighteen Chinese engaged with much earnestness.

Well, this boat--a leaky, heavy, old tub that had to be tracked nearly
all the way--carried me the forty miles to Suifu within contract time.
The boatmen on board worked sixteen hours without any rest except at two
hasty meals; the frayed towrope never parted at any rapid, and only once
did our boat get entangled with any other. Towards sundown we were
abreast of the fine pagoda of Suifu, and a little later were at the
landing. The city is on a high, level shelf of land with high hills
behind it. It lies in the angle of bifurcation formed by the Yangtse
river (here known as the "River of Golden Sand"), going west, and the
Min, or Chentu river, going north to Chentu, the capital city of the
province. I landed below the southern wall, and said good-bye to my
companions. Climbing up the bank into the city, I passed by a busy
thoroughfare to the pretty home of the Inland Mission, where I received
a kind welcome from the gentleman and lady who conduct the mission, and
a charming English girl, also in the mission, who lives with them.



CHAPTER VI.

THE CITY OF SUIFU--THE CHINA INLAND MISSION, WITH SOME GENERAL REMARKS
ABOUT MISSIONARIES IN CHINA.


At Suifu I rested a day in order to engage new coolies to go with me to
Chaotong in Yunnan Province, distant 290 miles. Neither of my two
Chungking men would re-engage to go further. Yet in Chungking Laokwang
the cook had declared that he was prepared to go with me all the way to
Talifu. But now he feared the loneliness of the road to Chaotong. The
way, he said, was mountainous and little trodden, and robbers would see
the smallness of our party and "come down and stab us." I was then glad
that I had not paid him the retaining fee he had asked in Chungking to
take me to Tali.

I called upon the famous Catholic missionaries, the Provicaire Moutot
and Père Béraud, saw the more important sights and visited some
newly-arrived missionaries of the American Board of Missions. Four of
the Americans were living together. I called with the Inland missionary
at a time when they were at dinner. We were shown into the drawing-room,
where the most conspicuous ornament was a painted scroll with a well
executed drawing of the poppy in flower, a circumstance which would
confirm the belief of the Chinese who saw it, that the poppy is held in
veneration by foreigners. While we waited we heard the noise of dinner
gradually cease, and then the door opened and one of the single ladies
entered. She was fierce to look at, tall as a grenadier, with a stride
like a camel; she was picking her teeth with a hairpin. She courteously
expressed her regret that she could not invite us to dinner. "Waal now,"
she said, looking at us from under her spectacles, "ahm real sorry I
caan't ask you to have somethin' to eat, but we've just finished, and I
guess there ain't nothin' left."

Fourteen American missionaries were lately imported into Suifu in one
shipment. Most of them are from Chicago. One of their earliest efforts
will be to translate into Chinese Mr. Stead's "If Christ came to
Chicago," in order the better to demonstrate to the Chinese the lofty
standard of morality, virtue, probity, and honour attained by the
Christian community that sent them to China to enlighten the poor
benighted heathen in this land of darkness.

Szechuen is a Catholic stronghold. There are nominally one hundred
thousand Catholics in the province, representing the labours of many
French missionaries for a period of rather more than two hundred years.
Actually, however, there are only sixty thousand Chinese in the province
who could be called Catholics. To use the words of the Provicaire, the
Chinese are "_trôp matèrialistes_" to become Christian, and, as they are
all "liars and robbers," the faith is not easily propagated amongst
them. Rarely have I met two more charming men than these brave
missionaries. French, they told me, I speak with the "_vrai accent
parisien_," a compliment which I have no doubt is true, though it
conflicts with my experience in Paris, where most of the true Parisians
to whom I spoke in their own language gave me the same look of
intelligence that I observe in the Chinaman when I address him in
English. Père Moutot has been twenty-three years in China--six years at
the sacred Mount Omi, and seventeen years in Suifu; Père Béraud has been
twenty-three years in Suifu. They both speak Chinese to perfection, and
have been co-workers with the bishop in the production of a
Mandarin-French dictionary just published at Sicawei; they dress as
Chinese, and live as Chinese in handsome mission premises built in
Chinese style. There is a pretty chapel in the compound with scrolls and
memorial tablets presented by Chinese Catholics, a school for boys
attended by fifty ragamuffins, a nunnery and girls' school, and a fit
residence for the venerable bishop. When showing me the chapel, the
Provicaire told me of the visit of one of Our Lord's Apostles to Suifu.
He seemed to have no doubt himself of the truth of the story. Tradition
says that St. Thomas came to China, and, if further proof were wanting,
there is the black image of Tamo worshipped to this day in many of the
temples of Szechuen. Scholars, however, identify this image and its
marked Hindoo features with that of the Buddhist evangelist Tamo, who is
known to have visited China in the sixth century.

In Suifu there is a branch of the China Inland Mission under an
enthusiastic young missionary, who was formerly a French polisher in
Hereford. He is helped by an amiable wife and by a charming English girl
scarcely out of her teens. The missionary's work has, he tells me, been
"abundantly blessed,"--he has baptised six converts in the last three
years. A fine type of man is this missionary, brave and self-reliant,
sympathetic and self-denying, hopeful and self-satisfied. His views as a
missionary are well-defined. I give them in his own words:--"Those
Chinese who have never heard the Gospel will be judged by the Almighty
as He thinks fit"--a contention which does not admit of dispute--"but
those Chinese who have heard the Christian doctrine, and still steel
their hearts against the Holy Ghost, will assuredly go to hell; there is
no help for them, they can believe and they won't; had they believed,
their reward would be eternal; they refuse to believe and their
punishment will be eternal." But the destruction that awaits the Chinese
must be pointed out to them with becoming gentleness, in accordance with
the teaching of the Rev. S. F. Woodin, of the American Baptist Mission,
Foochow, who says:--"There are occasions when we must speak that awful
word 'hell,' but this should always be done in a spirit of earnest
love." (_Records_ of the Shanghai Missionary Conference, 1877, p. 91.)
It was a curious study to observe the equanimity with which this
good-natured man contemplates the work he has done in China, when to
obtain six dubious conversions he has on his own confession sent some
thousands of unoffending Chinese _en enfer bouillir éternellement_.

But, if the teaching of this good missionary is unwelcome to the
Chinese, and there are hundreds in China who teach as he does, how
infinitely more distasteful must be the teaching of both the Founder and
the Secretary of the Mission which sent him to China.

"They are God's lost ones who are in China," says Mr. C. L. Morgan,
editor of _The Christian_, "and God cares for them and yearns over
them." (_China's Millions_, 1879, p. 94.) "The millions of Chinese,"
(who have never heard the Gospel,) says Mr. B. Broomhall, secretary of
the China Inland Mission, and editor of _China's Millions_, "where are
they going, what is to be their future? What is to be their condition
beyond the grave? Oh, tremendous question! It is an awful thing to
contemplate--but they perish; that is what God says." ("Evangelisation
of the World," p. 70.) "The heathen are all guilty in God's eyes; as
guilty they perish." (_Id._, 101.) "Do we believe that these millions
are without hope in the next world? We turn the leaves of God's Word in
vain, for there we find no hope; not only that, but positive words to
the contrary. Yes! we believe it." (_Id._, p. 199.)

The Rev. Dr. Hudson Taylor, the distinguished Founder of the Mission,
certainly believes it, and has frequently stated his belief in public.
Ancestral worship is the keystone of the religion of the Chinese; "the
keystone also of China's social fabric." And "the worship springs," says
the Rev. W. A. P. Martin, D.D., LL.D., of the Tung Wen College, Peking,
"from some of the best principles of human nature. The first conception
of a life beyond the grave was, it is thought, suggested by a desire to
commune with deceased parents." ("The Worship of Ancestors--a plea for
toleration.") But Dr. Hudson Taylor condemned bitterly this plea for
toleration. "Ancestral worship," he said (it was at the Shanghai
Missionary Conference of May, 1890), "Ancestral worship is idolatry from
beginning to end, the whole of it, and everything connected with it."
China's religion is idolatry, the Chinese are universally idolatrous,
and the fate that befalls idolaters is carefully pointed out by Dr.
Taylor:--"Their part is in the lake of fire."

"These millions of China," I quote again from Dr. Taylor, "These
millions of China" (who have never heard the Gospel), "are unsaved. Oh!
my dear friends, may I say one word about that condition? The Bible says
of the heathen, that they are without hope; will you say there is good
hope for them of whom the Word of God says, 'they are without hope,
without God in the world'?" (Missionary Conference of 1888, _Records_,
i., 176.)

"There are those who know more about the state of the heathen than did
the Apostle Paul, who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost,
'They that sin without law, perish without law,' nay, there are those
who are not afraid to contradict the revelation of Jesus Christ, which
God gave unto Him to shew unto His servants, in which He solemnly
affirms that 'idolators and all liars, their part shall be in the lake
that burneth with fire and brimstone.' Such being the state of the
unsaved of China, do not their urgent needs claim from us that with
_agonising eagerness_ we should hasten to proclaim everywhere the
message through which alone deliverance can be found?" (_Ut supra_, ii.,
31.)

Look then at the enormous difficulty which the six hundred and eleven
missionaries, of the China Inland Mission, raise up against themselves,
the majority of whom are presumably in agreement with the teaching of
their director, Dr. Hudson Taylor. They tell the Chinese inquirer that
his unconverted father, who never heard the Gospel, has, like Confucius,
perished eternally. But the chief of all virtues in China is filial
piety; the strongest emotion that can move the heart of a Chinaman is
the supreme desire to follow in the footsteps of his father. Conversion
with him means not only eternal separation from the father who gave him
life, but the "immediate liberation of his ancestors to a life of
beggary, to inflict sickness and all manner of evil on the
neighbourhood."

I believe that it is now universally recognised that the most difficult
of all missionary fields--incomparably the most difficult--is China.
Difficulties assail the missionary at every step; and every honest man,
whether his views be broad or high or low, must sympathise with the
earnest efforts the missionaries are making for the good and advancement
of the Chinese.

Look for example at the difficulty there is in telling a Chinese, who
has been taught to regard the love of his parents as his chief duty, as
his forefathers have been taught for hundreds of generations before
him--the difficulty there is in explaining to him, in his own language,
the words of Christ, "If any man come to Me and hate not his father, he
cannot be My disciple. For I am come to set a man at variance against
his father."

In the patriarchal system of government which prevails in China, the
most awful crime that a son can commit, is to kill his parent, either
father or mother. And this is said to be, though the description is no
doubt abundantly exaggerated, the punishment of his crime. He is put to
death by the "_Ling chi_," or "degrading and slow process," and his
younger brothers are beheaded; his house is razed to the ground and the
earth under it dug up several feet deep; his neighbours are severely
punished; his principal teacher is decapitated; the district magistrate
is deprived of his office; and the higher officials of the province
degraded three degrees in rank.

Such is the enormity of the crime of parricide in China; yet it is to
the Chinese who approves of the severity of this punishment that the
missionary has to preach, "And the children shall rise up against their
parents and cause them to be put to death."

The China Inland Mission, as a body of courageous workers, brave
travellers, unselfish and kindly men endowed with every manly virtue
that can command our admiration, is worthy of all the praise that can
be bestowed on it. Most of its members are men who have been saved after
reaching maturity, and delicately-nurtured emotional girls with
heightened religious feelings.

Too often entirely ignorant of the history of China, a mighty nation
which has "witnessed the rise to glory and the decay of Egypt, Assyria,
Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome, and still remains the only monument
of ages long bygone," of its manners and polity, customs and religions,
and of the extraordinary difficulties in the acquirement of its
language, too often forgetful that the Chinese are a people whose
"prepossessions and prejudices and cherished judgments are the growth of
millenniums," they come to China hoping that miraculous assistance will
aid them in their exposition of the Christian doctrine, in language
which is too often impenetrable darkness to its hearers.

"They are God's lost ones who are in China, and God cares for them and
yearns over them," and men who were in England respectable artisans,
with an imperfect hold of their own language, come to China, in response
to the "wail of the dying millions," to stay this "awful ruin of souls,"
who, at the rate of 33,000 a day, are "perishing without hope, having
sinned without law."

Six months after their arrival they write to _China's Millions_: "Now
for the news! Glorious news this time! Our services crowded! Such bright
intelligent faces! So eager to hear the good news! They seemed to drink
in every word, and to listen as if they were afraid that a word might be
lost." Five years later they write: "The first convert in Siao Wong Miao
was a young man named Sengleping, a matseller. He was very earnest in
his efforts to spread the Gospel, but about the beginning of the year
he became insane. The poor man lost his reason, but not his piety."
(_China's Millions_, iv., 5, 95, and 143).

A young English girl at this mission, who has been more than a year in
China, tells me that she has never felt the Lord so near her as she has
since she came to China, nor ever realised so entirely His abundant
goodness. Poor thing, it made me sad to talk to her. In England she
lived in a bright and happy home with brothers and sisters, in a
charming climate. She was always well and full of life and vigour,
surrounded by all that can make life worth living. In China she is never
well; she is almost forgetting what is the sensation of health; she is
anæmic and apprehensive; she has nervous headaches and neuralgia; she
can have no pleasure, no amusement whatever; her only relaxation is
taking her temperature; her only diversion a prayer meeting. She is
cooped up in a Chinese house in the unchanging society of a married
couple--the only exercise she can permit herself is a prison-like walk
along the top of the city at the back of the mission. Her lover, a
refined English gentleman who is also in the mission, lives a week's
journey away, in Chungking, a depressing fever-stricken city where the
sun is never seen from November to June, and blazes with unendurable
fierceness from July to October. In England he was full of strength and
vigour, fond of boating and a good lawn-tennis player. In China he is
always ill, anæmic, wasted, and dyspeptic, constantly subject to low
forms of fever, and destitute of appetite. But more agonising than his
bad health is the horrible reality of the unavailing sacrifice he is
making--no converts but "outcasts subsidised to forsake their family
altars;" no reward but the ultimate one which his noble self-devotion
is laying up for himself in Heaven. No man with a healthy brain can
discern "Blessing" in the work of these two missionaries, nor be blind
to the fact that it is the reverse of worshipful to return effusive
thanks to the great Almighty, "who yearns over the Chinese, His lost
ones," for "vouchsafing the abundant mercies" of a harvest of six
doubtful converts as the work of three missionaries for three years.

There are 180,000 people in Suifu, and, as is the case with Chinese
cities, a larger area than that under habitation is occupied by the
public graveyard outside the city, which covers the hill slopes for
miles and miles. The number of opium-smokers is so large that the
question is not, who does smoke opium, but who doesn't. In the mission
street alone, besides the Inland Mission, the Buddhist Temple,
Mohammedan Mosque, and Roman Catholic Mission, there are eight
opium-houses. Every bank, silk shop, and hong, of any pretension
whatever, throughout the city, has its opium-room, with the lamp always
lit ready for the guest. Opium-rooms are as common as smoking rooms are
with us. A whiff of opium rather than a nip of whisky is the preliminary
to business in Western China.

[Illustration: OPIUM-SMOKING.]

An immensely rich city is Suifu with every advantage of position, on a
great waterway in the heart of a district rich in coal and minerals and
inexhaustible subterranean reservoirs of brine. Silks and furs and
silverwork, medicines, opium and whitewax, are the chief articles of
export, and as, fortunately for us, Western China can grow but little
cotton, the most important imports are Manchester goods.

Szechuen is by far the richest province of the eighteen that constitute
the Middle Kingdom. Its present Viceroy, Liu, is a native of Anhwei; he
is, therefore, a countryman of Li Hung Chang to whom he is related by
marriage, his daughter having married Li Hung Chang's nephew. Its
provincial Treasurer is believed to occupy the richest post held by any
official in the empire. It is worth noticing that the present provincial
Treasurer, Kung Chao-yuan, has just been made (1894) Minister
Plenipotentiary to Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden and
Norway, and one can well believe how intense was his chagrin when he
received this appointment from the "Imperial Supreme" compelling him, as
it did, to forsake the tombs of his ancestors--to leave China for
England on a fixed salary, and vacate the most coveted post in the
empire, a post where the opportunities of personal enrichment are simply
illimitable.

In Suifu there are two magistrates, both with important yamens. The Fu
magistrate is the "Father of the City," the Hsien magistrate is the
"Mother of the City;" and the "Mother of the City" largely favours the
export opium trade. When Protestant missionaries first came to the city
in 1888 and 1889 there was little friendliness shown to them. Folk would
cry after the missionary, "There goes the foreigner that eats children,"
and children would be hurriedly hidden, as if from fear. These taunts
were at first disregarded. But there came a time when living children
were brought to the mission for sale as food; whereupon the mission made
formal complaint in the yamen, and the Fu at once issued a proclamation
checking the absurd tales about the foreigners, and ordering the
citizens, under many pains and penalties, to treat the foreigners with
respect. There has been no trouble since, and, as we walked through the
crowded streets, I could see nothing but friendly indifference.
Reference to this and other sorrows is made in the missionary's report
to _China's Millions_, November, 1893:--

"Soon after this trial had passed away (the rumours of baby eating),
still more painful internal sorrow arose. One of the members, who had
been baptised three years before and had been useful as a preacher of
the Gospel, fell into grievous sin, and had to be excluded from Church
fellowship. Then a little later a very promising inquirer, who had been
cured of opium-smoking and appeared to be growing in grace, fell again
under its power. While still under a cloud he was suddenly removed
during the cholera visitation."

The China Inland Mission has pleasant quarters close under the city
wall. Their pretty chapel opens into the street, and displays
prominently the proclamation of the Emperor concerning the treaty rights
of foreign missionaries. Seven children, all of whom are girls, are
boarded on the premises, and are being brought up as Christians. They
are pretty, bright children, the eldest, a girl of fourteen,
particularly so. All are large-footed, and they are to be married to
Christian converts. When this fact becomes known it is hoped that more
young Chinamen than at present may be emulous to be converted. All seven
are foundlings from Chungking where, wrapped in brown paper, they were
at different times dropped over the wall into the Mission compound. They
have been carefully reared by the Mission.

At the boys' school fifty smart boys, all heathens, were at their
lessons. They were learning different subjects, and were teaching their
ears the "tones" by reading at the top of their voices. The noise was
awful. None but a Chinese boy could study in such a din. In China, when
the lesson is finished, the class is silent; noise, therefore, is the
indication of work in a Chinese school--not silence.

The schoolmaster was a ragged-looking loafer, dressed in grey. He was
in mourning, and had been unshaven for forty-two days in consequence of
the death of his father. This was an important day of mourning, because
on this day, the forty-second after his death, his dead father became,
for the first time, aware of his own decease. A week later, on the
forty-ninth day, the funeral rites would cease.



CHAPTER VII.

SUIFU TO CHAOTONG, WITH SOME REMARKS ON THE PROVINCE OF YUNNAN--CHINESE
PORTERS, POSTAL ARRANGEMENTS, AND BANKS.


I engaged three new men in Suifu, who undertook to take me to Chaotong,
290 miles, in thirteen days, special inducement being held out to them
in the shape of a reward of one shilling each to do the journey in
eleven days. Their pay was to be seven shillings and threepence each,
apart from the bonus, and of course they had to find themselves. They
brought me from the coolie-hong, where they were engaged, an agreement
signed by the hong-master, which was to be returned to them in Chaotong,
and remitted to their master as a receipt for my safe delivery.

Every condition detailed in the agreement they faithfully carried out,
and they took me to Chaotong in ten days and a half, though the ordinary
time is fourteen days.

One of the three was a convert, one of the six surviving converts made
by the aggregate Inland Mission of Suifu in six years. He was an
excellent good fellow, rather dull of wits, but a credit to the Mission.
To him was intrusted the paying away of my money--he carried no load.
When he wanted money he was to show me his empty hands, and say "_Muta
tsien! muta tsien!_" (I have no money! I have no money!).

I knew that perfect confidence could be placed in the convert, apart
from the reason of his conversion, because he had a father living in
Suifu. Were he to rob me or do me a wrong and run away, we could arrest
his father and have him detained in the yamen prison till his son
returned. Nothing in China gives one greater protection against fraud
and injury than the law which holds a father responsible for the
wrongdoing of his son, or, where there is no father, an elder son
culpable for the misdeed of the younger.

On the morning of March 22nd we started for Chaotong in Yunnan province.
The Inland Missionary and a Brother from the American Baptist Mission
kindly came with me for the first thirteen miles. My route lay west on
the north bank of the Yangtse, but later, after crossing the Yangtse,
would be nearly south to Chaotong.

Shortly before leaving, the _chairen_ or yamen-runner--the policeman,
that is to say--sent by the Magistrate to shadow me to Tak-wan-hsien,
called at the Mission to request that the interpreter would kindly
remind the traveller, who did not speak Chinese, that it was customary
to give wine-money to the chairen at the end of the journey. The request
was reasonable. All the way from Chungking I had been accompanied by
yamen-runners without knowing it. The chairen is sent partly for the
protection of the traveller, but mainly for the protection of the
Magistrate; for, should a traveller provided with a passport receive any
injury, the Magistrate of the district would be liable to degradation.
It was arranged, therefore, with the convert that, on our arrival in
Tak-wan-hsien, I was to give the chairen, if satisfied with his
services, 200 cash (five pence); but, if he said "_gowshun! gowshun!_"
(a little more! a little more!) with sufficient persistence, I was to
increase the reward gradually to sevenpence halfpenny. This was to be
the limit; and the chairen, I was assured, would consider this a
generous return for accompanying me 227 miles over one of the most
mountainous roads in China.

It was a pleasant walk along the river-bank in the fertile alluvial,
where the poppy in white flower and tobacco were growing, and where
fields of yellow rape-seed alternated with beds of rushes--the rape-seed
yielding the oil, and the rushes the rushlights of Chinese lamps. Flocks
of wild geese were within easy shot on the sandbanks--the "peaceful
geese," whose virtues are extolled by every Chinaman. They live in
pairs, and, if one dies, its mate will be for ever faithful to its
memory. Such virtue is worthy of being recorded on the arch which here
spans the roadway, whose Chinese characters, _Shen_ (holy), _Chi_
(will), show that it was erected by the holy decree of the Emperor to
perpetuate the memory of some widow who never remarried.

As we walked along the missionary gave instructions to my men. "In my
grace I had given them very light loads; hurry and they would be richly
rewarded"--one shilling extra for doing fourteen stages in eleven days.

At an inn, under the branches of a banyan tree, we sat down and had a
cup of tea. While we waited, a hawker came and sat near us. He was
peddling live cats. In one of his two baskets was a cat that bore a
curious resemblance to a tortoise-shell tabby, that till a week ago had
been a pet in the Inland Mission. It had disappeared mysteriously; it
had died, the Chinese servant said; and here it was reincarnated.

At the market town the missionaries left me to go on alone with my three
men. I had seventeen miles still to go before night.

It was midday, and the sun was hot, so a chair was arranged for to take
me the seventeen miles to Anpien. It was to cost 320 cash (eightpence),
but, just before leaving, the grasping coolies refused to carry me for
less than 340 cash. "Walk on," said the missionary, "and teach them a
Christian lesson," so I walked seventeen miles in the sun to rebuke them
for their avarice and save one halfpenny. In the evening I am afraid
that I was hardly in the frame of mind requisite for conducting an
evangelical meeting.

Anpien is a considerable town. It is on the Yangtse River just below
where it bifurcates into two rivers, one of which goes north-west, the
other south-west. Streets of temporary houses are built down by the
river; they form the winter suburb, and disappear in the summer when the
river rises in consequence of the melting of the snows in its mountain
sources. At an excellent inn, with a noisy restaurant on the first
floor, good accommodation was given me. No sooner was I seated than a
chairen came from the yamen to ask for my Chinese visiting card; but he
did not ask for my passport, though I had brought with me twenty-five
copies besides the original.

At daybreak a chair was ready, and I was carried to the River, where a
ferry boat was in waiting to take us across below the junction. Then we
started on our journey towards the south, along the right bank of the
Laowatan branch of the Yangtse. The road was a tracking path cut into
the face of the cliff; it was narrow, steep, winding, and slippery.
There was only just room for the chair to pass, and at the sudden turns
it had often to be canted to one side to permit of its passage. We were
high above the river in the mountain gorges. The comfort of the
traveller in a chair along this road depends entirely upon the sureness
of foot of his two bearers--a false step, and chair and traveller would
tumble down the cliff into the foaming river below. Deep and narrow was
the mountain river, and it roared like a cataract, yet down the passage
a long narrow junk, swarming with passengers, was racing, its oars and
bow-sweep worked by a score of sailors singing in chorus. The boat
appeared, passed down the reach, and was out of sight in a moment; a
single error, the slightest confusion, and it would have been smashed in
fragments on the rocks and the river strewn with corpses.

We did a good stage before breakfast. Every few li where the steepness
of the valley side permits it, there are straw-thatched, bamboo and
plaster inns. Here rice is kept in wooden bins all ready steaming hot
for the use of travellers; good tea is brewed in a few minutes; the
tables and chopsticks are sufficiently clean.

Leaving the river, we crossed over the mountains by a short cut to the
river again, and at a wayside inn, much frequented by Chinese, the chair
stage finished. I wished to do some writing, and sat down at one of the
tables. A crowd gathered round me, and were much interested. One elderly
Chinese with huge glasses, a wag in his own way, seeing that I did not
speak Chinese, thought to make me understand and divert the crowd by the
loudness of his speech, and, insisting that I was deaf, yelled into my
ears in tones that shook the tympanum. I told the foolish fellow, in
English, that the less he talked the better I could understand him; but
he persisted, and poked his face almost into mine, but withdrew it and
hobbled off in umbrage when I drew the attention of the bystanders to
the absurd capacity of his mouth, which was larger than any mule's.

I must admit that my knowledge of Chinese was very scanty, so scanty
indeed as to be almost non-existent. What few words I knew were rarely
intelligible; but, as Mrs. General Baynes, when staying at Boulogne,
found Hindostanee to be of great help in speaking French, so did I
discover that English was of great assistance to me in conversing in
Chinese. Remonstrance was thus made much more effective. Whenever I was
in a difficulty, or the crowd too obtrusive, I had only to say a few
grave sentences in English, and I was master of the situation. This
method of speaking often reminded me of that employed by a Cornish lady
of high family whose husband was a colleague of mine in Spain. She had
been many years in Andalusia, but had never succeeded in mastering
Spanish. At a dinner party given by this lady, at which I was present,
she thus addressed her Spanish servant, who did not "possess" a single
word of English: "Bring me," she said in an angry aside, "bring me the
_cuchillo_ with the black-handled heft," adding, as she turned to us and
thumped her fist on the table, while the servant stood still mystified,
"D---- the language! I wish I had never learnt it."

The inn, where the sedan left me, was built over the pathway, which was
here a narrow track, two feet six inches wide. Mountain coolies on the
road were passing in single file through the inn, their backs bending
under their huge burdens. Pigs and fowls and dogs, and a stray cat, were
foraging for crumbs under the table. Through the open doorways you saw
the paddy-fields under water and the terraced hills, with every arable
yard under cultivation. The air was hot and enervating. "The country of
the clouds," as the Chinese term the province of Szechuen, does not
belie its name. An elderly woman was in charge of the oven, and toddled
about on her deformed feet as if she were walking on her heels. Her
husband, the innkeeper, brought us hot water every few minutes to keep
our tea basins full. "_Na kaishui lai_" (bring hot water), you heard on
all sides. A heap of bedding was in one corner of the room, in another
were a number of rolls of straw mattresses; a hollow joint of bamboo was
filled with chopsticks for the common use, into another bamboo the
innkeeper slipped his takings of copper cash. Hanging from the rafters
were strings of straw sandals for the poor, and hemp sandals for moneyed
wayfarers like the writer. The people who stood round, and those seated
at the tables, were friendly and respectful, and plied my men with
questions concerning their master. And I did hope that the convert was
not tempted to backslide and swerve from the truth in his answers.

My men were now anxious to push on. Over a mountainous country of
surpassing beauty, I continued my journey on foot to Fan-yien-tsen, and
rested there for the night, having done two days' journey in one.

On March 24th we were all day toiling over the mountains, climbing and
descending wooded steeps, through groves of pine, with an ever-changing
landscape before us, beautiful with running water, with cascades and
waterfalls tumbling down into the river, with magnificent glens and
gorges, and picturesque temples on the mountain tops. At night we were
at the village of Tanto, on the river, having crossed, a few li before,
over the boundary which separates the province of Szechuen from the
province of Yunnan.

From Tanto the path up the gorges leads across a rocky mountain creek
in a defile of the mountains. In England this creek would be spanned by
a bridge; but the poor heathen, in China, how do they find their way
across the stream? By a bridge also. They have spanned the torrent with
a powerful iron suspension bridge, 100 feet long by ten feet broad,
swung between two massive buttresses and approached under handsome
temple-archways.

Mists clothe the mountains--the air is confined between these walls of
rock and stone. Population is scanty, but there is cultivation wherever
possible. Villages sparsely distributed along the mountain path have
water trained to them in bamboo conduits from tarns on the hillside.
Each house has its own supply, and there is no attempt to provide for
the common good. Besides other reasons, it would interfere with the
trade of the water-carriers, who all day long are toiling up from the
river.

The mountain slope does not permit a greater width of building space
than on each side of the one main street. And on market days this street
is almost impassable, being thronged with traffickers, and blocked with
stalls and wares. Coal is for sale, both pure and mixed with clay in
briquettes, and salt in blocks almost as black as coal, and three times
as heavy, and piles of drugs--a medley of bones, horns, roots, leaves,
and minerals--and raw cotton and cotton yarn from Wuchang and Bombay,
and finished goods from Manchester. At one of the villages there was a
chair for hire, and, knowing how difficult was the country, I was
willing to pay the amount asked--namely, _7d._ for nearly seven miles;
but my friend the convert, who arranged these things, considered that
between the _5d._ he offered and the _7d._ they asked the discrepancy
was too great, and after some acrimonious bargaining it was decided
that I should continue on foot, my man indicating to me by gestures, in
a most sarcastic way, that the "_chiaodza_" men had failed to overreach
him.

[Illustration: A TEMPLE IN SZECHUEN.]

[Illustration: LAOWATAN.]

At Sengki-ping it rained all through the night, and I had to sleep under
my umbrella because of a solution in the continuity of the roof
immediately above my pillow. And it rained all the day following; but my
men, eager to earn their reward of one shilling, pushed on through the
slush. It was hard work following the slippery path above the river. Few
rivers in the world flow between more majestic banks than these,
towering as they do a thousand feet above the water. Clad with thick
mountain scrub, that has firm foothold, the mountains offer but a poor
harvest to the peasant; yet even here high up on the precipitous sides
of the cliffs, ledges that seem inaccessible are sown with wheat or
peas, and, if the soil be deep enough, with the baneful poppy. As we
plodded on through the mud and rain, we overtook a poor lad painfully
limping along with the help of a stick. He was a bright lad, who unbound
his leg and showed me a large swelling above the knee. He spoke to me,
though I did not understand him, but with sturdy independence did not
ask for alms, and when I had seen his leg he bound it up again and
limped on. Meeting him a little later at an inn, where he was sitting at
a table with nothing before him to eat, I gave him a handful of cash
which I had put in my pocket for him. He thanked me by raising his
clasped hands, and said something, I knew not what, as I hurried on. A
little while afterwards I stopped to have my breakfast, when the boy
passed. As soon as he saw me he fell down upon his knees and "kotow'd"
to me, with every mark of the liveliest gratitude. I felt touched by the
poor fellow's gratitude--he could not have been more than fifteen--and
mean, to think that the benefaction, which in his eyes appeared so
generous, was little more than one penny. There can be no doubt that I
gained merit by this action, for this very afternoon as I was on the
track a large stone the size of a shell from a 50-ton gun fell from the
crag above me, struck the rock within two paces of me, and shot past
into the river. A few feet nearer and it would have blotted out the life
of one whom the profession could ill spare. We camped at Laowatan.

A chair with three bearers was waiting for me in the morning, so that I
left the town of Laowatan in a manner befitting my rank. The town had
risen to see me leave, and I went down the street amid serried ranks of
spectators. We crossed the river by a wonderful suspension bridge, 250
feet long and 12 feet broad, formed of linked bars of wrought iron. It
shows stability, strength, and delicacy of design, and is a remarkable
work to have been done by the untutored barbarians of this land of
night. We ascended the steep incline opposite, and passed the likin
barrier, but at a turn in the road, higher still in the mountain, a
woman emerged from her cottage and blocked our path. Nor could the chair
pass till my foremost bearer had reluctantly given her a string of cash.
"With money you can move the gods," say the Chinese; "without it you
can't move a man."

For miles we mounted upwards. We were now in Yunnan, "south of the
clouds"--in Szechuen we were always under the clouds--the sun was warm,
the air dry and crisp. Ponies passed us in long droves; often there were
eighty ponies in a single drove. All were heavily laden with copper and
lead, were nozzled to keep them off the grass, and picked their way down
the rocky path of steps with the agility and sureness of foot of
mountain goats. Time was beaten for them on musical gongs, and the
echoes rang among the mountains. Many were decorated with red flags and
tufts, and with plumes of the Amherst pheasant. These were official pack
animals, which were franked through the likin barriers without
examination.

The path, rising to the height of the watershed, where at a great
elevation we gain a distant view of water, descends by the counterslope
once more to the river Laowatan. A wonderful ravine, a mountain riven
perpendicularly in twain, here gives passage to the river, and in full
view of this we rested at the little town of Taoshakwan, with the roar
of the river hundreds of feet below us. Midway up the face of the
precipice opposite there is a sight worth seeing; a mass of coffin
boards, caught in a fault in the precipice, have been lying there for
untold generations, having been originally carried there by the "ancient
flying-men who are now extinct."

A poor little town is Taoshakwan, with a poor little yamen with
pretentious tigers painted on its outflanking wall, with a poor little
temple, and gods in sad disrepair; but with an admirable inn, with a
charming verandah facing a scene of alpine magnificence.

We were entering a district of great poverty. At Tchih-li-pu, where we
arrived at midday the next day, the houses are poor, the people
poverty-stricken and ill-clad, the hotel dirty, and my room the worst I
had yet slept in. The road is a well-worn path flagged in places,
uneven, and irregular, following at varying heights the upward course of
the tortuous river. The country is bald; it is grand but lonely;
vegetation is scanty and houses are few; we have left the prosperity of
Szechuen, and are in the midst of the poverty of Yunnan. Farmhouses
there are at rare intervals, amid occasional patches of cultivation;
there are square white-washed watch towers in groves of sacred trees;
there are a few tombstones, and an occasional rudely carved god to guard
the way. There are poor mud and bamboo inns with grass roofs, and dirty
tables set out with half a dozen bowls of tea, and with ovens for the
use of travellers. Food we had now to bring with us, and only at the
larger towns where the stages terminate could we expect to find food for
sale. The tea is inferior, and we had to be content with maize meal,
bean curds, rice roasted in sugar, and sweet gelatinous cakes made from
the waste of maize meal. Rice can only be bought in the large towns. It
is not kept in roadside inns ready steaming hot for use, as it is in
Szechuen. Rarely there are sweet potatoes; there are eggs, however, in
abundance, one hundred for a shilling (500 cash), but the coolies cannot
eat them because of their dearness. A large bowl of rice costs four
cash, an egg five cash, and the Chinaman strikes a balance in his mind
and sees more nourishment in one bowl of rice than in three eggs. Of
meat there is pork--pork in plenty, and pork only. Pigs and dogs are the
scavengers of China. None of the carnivora are more omnivorous than the
Chinese. "A Chinaman has the most unscrupulous stomach in the world,"
says Meadows; "he will eat anything from the root to the leaf, and from
the hide to the entrails." He will not even despise the flesh of dog
that has died a natural death. During the awful famine in Shansi of
1876-1879 starving men fought to the death for the bodies of dogs that
had fattened on the corpses of their dead countrymen. Mutton is
sometimes for sale in Mohammedan shops, and beef also, but it must not
be imagined that either sheep or ox is killed for its flesh, unless on
the point of death from starvation or disease. And the beef is not from
the ox but from the water buffalo. Sugar can be bought only in the
larger towns; salt can be purchased everywhere.

Beggars there are in numbers, skulking about almost naked, with unkempt
hair and no queue, with a small basket for gathering garbage and a staff
to keep away dogs. Only beggars carry sticks in China, and it is only
the beggars that need beware of dogs. To carry a stick in China for
protection against dogs is like carrying a red flag to scare away bulls.
Dogs in China are lowly organised; they are not discriminating animals;
and, despite the luxurious splendour of my Chinese dress--it cost more
than seven shillings--dogs frequently mistook my calling. In Szechuen,
as we passed through the towns, there was competition among the inns to
obtain our custom. Hotel runners were there to shout to all the world
the superior merits of their establishments. But here in Yunnan it is
different. There is barely inn accommodation for the road traffic, and
the innkeepers are either too apathetic or too shamefaced to call the
attention of the traveller to their poor, dirty accommodation houses.

In Szechuen, one of the most flourishing of trades is that of the
monumental mason and carver in stone. Huge monoliths are there cut from
the boulders which have been dislodged from the mountains, dressed and
finished _in situ_, and then removed to the spot where they are to be
erected. The Chinese thus pursue a practice different from that of the
Westerns, who bring the undressed stone from the quarry and carve it in
the studio. With the Chinese the difficulty is one of transport--the
finished work is obviously lighter than the unhewn block. In Yunnan, up
to the present, I had seen no mason at work, for no masonry was needed.
Houses built of stone were falling into ruin, and only thatched,
mud-plastered, bamboo and wood houses were being built in their places.

At Laowatan I told my Christian to hire me a chair for thirty or forty
li, and he did so, but the chair, instead of carrying me the shorter
distance, carried me the whole day. The following day the chair kept
company with me, and as I had not ordered it, I naturally walked; but
the third day also the chair haunted me, and then I discovered that my
admirable guide had engaged the chair not for thirty or forty li, as I
had instructed him in my best Chinese, but for three hundred and sixty
li, for four days' stages of ninety li each. He had made the agreement
"out of consideration for me," and his own pocket; he had made an
agreement which gave him wider scope for a little private arrangement of
his own with the chair-coolies. For two days I was paying fifteen cash a
li for a chair and walking alongside of it charmed by the good humour of
the coolies, and unaware that they were laughing in their sleeves at my
folly. Trifling mistakes like this are inevitable to one who travels in
China without an interpreter.

My two coolies were capital fellows, full of good humour, cheerful, and
untiring. The elder was disposed to be argumentative with his
countrymen, but he could not quarrel. Nature had given him an
uncontrollable stutter, and, if he tried to speak quickly, spasm seized
his tongue, and he had to break into a laugh. Few men in China, I think,
could be more curiously constructed than this coolie. He was all neck;
his chin was simply an upward prolongation of his neck like a second
"Adam's apple." Both were very pleasant companions. They were naturally
in good humour, for they were well paid, and their loads, as loads are
in China, were almost insignificant; I had only asked them to carry
sixty-seven pounds each.

We, who live amid the advantages of Western civilisation, can hardly
realise how enormous are the weights borne by those human beasts of
burthen, our brothers in China. The common fast-travelling coolie of
Szechuen contracts to carry eighty catties (107lbs.), forty miles a day
over difficult country. But the weight-carrying coolie, travelling
shorter distances, carries far heavier loads than that. There are
porters, says Du Halde, who will carry 160 of our pounds, ten leagues a
day. The coolies, engaged in carrying the compressed cakes of Szechuen
tea into Thibet, travel over mountain passes 7000 feet above their
starting place; yet there are those among them, says Von Richthofen, who
carry 324 catties (432lbs.). A package of tea is called a "_pao_" and
varies in weight from eleven to eighteen catties, yet Baber has often
seen coolies carrying eighteen of the eighteen-catty _pao_ (the "_Yachou
pao_") and on one occasion twenty-two, in other words Baber has often
seen coolies with more than 400lbs. on their backs. Under these enormous
loads they travel from six to seven miles a day. The average load of the
Thibetan tea-carrier is, says Gill, from 240lbs. to 264lbs. Gill
constantly saw "little boys carrying 120lbs." Bundles of calico weigh
fifty-five catties each (73-1/3lbs.), and three bundles are the average
load. Salt is solid, hard, metallic, and of high specific gravity, yet I
have seen men ambling along the road, under loads that a strong
Englishman could with difficulty raise from the ground. The average load
of salt, coal, copper, zinc, and tin is 200lbs. Gill met coolies
carrying logs, 200lbs. in weight, ten miles a day; and 200lbs., the
Consul in Chungking told me, is the average weight carried by the
cloth-porters between Wanhsien and Chentu, the capital.

Mountain coolies, such as the tea-carriers, bear the weight of their
burden on their shoulders, carrying it as we do a knapsack, not in the
ordinary Chinese way, with a pliant carrying pole. They are all provided
with a short staff, which has a transverse handle curved like a
boomerang, and with this they ease the weight off the back, while
standing at rest.

We were still ascending the valley, which became more difficult of
passage every day. Hamlets are built where there is scarce foothold in
the detritus, below perpendicular escarpments of rock, cut clean like
the façades of a Gothic temple. A tributary of the river is crossed by
an admirable stone bridge of two arches, with a central pier and
cut-water of magnificent boldness and strength, and with two images of
lions guarding its abutment. Just below the branch the main stream can
be crossed by a traveller, if he be brave enough to venture, in a bamboo
loop-cradle, and be drawn across the stream on a powerful bamboo cable
slung from bank to bank.

We rested by the bridge and refreshed ourselves, for above us was an
ascent whose steepness my stuttering coolie indicated to me by fixing my
walking stick in the ground, almost perpendicularly, and running his
finger up the side. He did not exaggerate. A zigzag path set with stone
steps has been cut in the vertical ascent, and up this we toiled for
hours. At the base of the escalade my men sublet their loads to spare
coolies who were waiting there in numbers for the purpose, and climbed
up with me empty-handed. At every few turns there were rest-houses where
one could get tea and shelter from the hot sun. The village of
Tak-wan-leo is at the summit; it is a village of some little importance
and commands a noble view of mountain, valley, and river. Its largest
hong is the coffin-maker's, which is always filled with shells of the
thickest timber that money can buy.

Stress is laid in China upon the necessity of a secure resting-place
after death. The filial affection of a son can do no more thoughtful act
than present a coffin to his father, to prove to him how composedly he
will lie after he is dead. And nothing will a father in China show the
stranger with more pride than the coffin-boards presented to him by his
dutiful son.

Tak-wan-leo is the highest point on the road between Suifu and Chaotong.
For centuries it has been known to the Chinese as the highest point;
how, then, with their defective appliances did they arrive at so
accurate a determination? Twenty li beyond the village the stage ends at
the town of Tawantzu, where I had good quarters in the pavilion of an
old temple. The shrine was thick with the dust of years; the three gods
were dishevelled and mutilated; no sheaves of joss sticks were
smouldering on the altar. The steps led down into manure heaps and a
piggery, into a garden rank and waste, which yet commands an outlook
over mountain and river worthy of the greatest of temples.

[Illustration: THE OPIUM-SMOKER OF ROMANCE.]

On March 30th I reached Tak-wan-hsien, the day's stage having been
seventy li (twenty-three and one-third miles). I was carried all the way
by three chair-coolies in a heavy chair in steady rain that made the
unpaved track as slippery as ice--and this over the dizzy heights of a
mountain pathway of extraordinary irregularity. Never slipping, never
making a mistake, the three coolies bore the chair with my thirteen
stone, easily and without straining. From time to time they rested a
minute or two to take a whiff of tobacco; they were always in good
humour, and finished the day as strong and fresh as when they began it.
Within an hour of their arrival all these three men were lying on their
sides in the room opposite to mine, with their opium-pipes and little
wooden vials of opium before them, all three engaged in rolling and
heating in their opium-lamps treacly pellets of opium. Then they had
their daily smoke of opium. "They were ruining themselves body and
soul." Two of the men were past middle age; the third was a strapping
young fellow of twenty-five. They may have only recently acquired the
habit, I had no means of asking them; but those who know Western China
will tell you that it is almost certain that the two elder men had used
the opium-pipe as a stimulant since they were as young as their
companion. All three men were physically well-developed, with large
frames, showing unusual muscular strength and endurance, and differed,
indeed, from those resurrected corpses whose fleshless figures, drawn by
imaginative Chinese artists, we have known for years to be typical of
our poor lost brothers--the opium-smoking millions of China. For their
work to-day, work that few men out of China would be capable of
attempting, the three coolies were paid sevenpence each, out of which
they found themselves, and had to pay as well one penny each for the
hire of the chair.

On arriving at the inn in Tak-wan-hsien my estimable comrade, one of the
six surviving converts of Suifu, indicated to me that his cash belt was
empty--up the road he could not produce a single cash for me to give a
beggar--and pointing in turn to the bag where I kept my silver, to the
ceiling and to his heart, he conveyed to me the pious assurance that if
I would give him some silver from the bag he would bring me back the
true change, on his honour, so witness Heaven! I gave him two lumps of
silver which I made him understand were worth 3420 cash; he went away,
and after a suspicious absence returned quite gleefully with 3050 cash,
the bank, no doubt, having detained the remainder pending the
declaration of a bogus dividend. But he also brought back with him what
was better than cash, some nutritious maize-meal cakes, which proved a
welcome change from the everlasting rice. They were as large as an
English scone, and cost two cash apiece, that is to say, for one
shilling I could buy twenty dozen.

Money in Western China consists of solid ingots of silver, and copper
cash. The silver is in lumps of one tael or more each, the tael being a
Chinese ounce and equivalent roughly to between 1400 and 1500 cash.
Speaking generally a tael was worth, during my journey, three shillings,
that is to say, forty cash were equivalent to one penny. There are
bankers in every town, and the Chinese methods of banking, it is well
known, are but little inferior to our own. From Hankow to Chungking my
money was remitted by draft through a Chinese bank. West from Chungking
the money may be sent by draft, by telegraph, or in bullion, as you
choose. I carried some silver with me; the rest I put up in a package
and handed to a native post in Chungking, which undertook to deliver it
intact to me at Yunnan city, 700 miles away, within a specified time. By
my declaring its contents and paying the registration fee, a mere
trifle, the post guaranteed its safe delivery, and engaged to make good
any loss. Money is thus remitted in Western China with complete
confidence and security. My money arrived, I may add, in Yunnan at the
time agreed upon, but after I had left for Talifu. As there is a
telegraph line between Yunnan and Tali, the money was forwarded by
telegraph and awaited my arrival in Tali.

There are no less than four native post-offices between Chungking and
Suifu. All the post-offices transmit parcels, as well as letters and
bullion, at very moderate charges. The distance is 230 miles, and the
charges are fifty cash (_1-1/4d._) the catty (1-1/3lb.), or any part
thereof; thus a single letter pays fifty cash, a catty's weight of
letters paying no more than a single letter.

From Chungking to Yunnan city, a distance of 630 miles, letters pay two
hundred cash (fivepence) each; packages of one catty, or under, pay
three hundred and fifty cash; while for silver bullion there is a
special fee of three hundred and fifty cash for every ten taels,
equivalent to ninepence for thirty shillings, or two-and-a-half per
cent., which includes postage registration, guarantee, and insurance.

Tak-wan-hsien is a town of some importance, and was formerly the seat of
the French missionary bishop. It is a walled town, ranking as a Hsien
city, with a Hsien magistrate as its chief ruler. There are 10,000
people (more or less), within the walls, but the city is poor, and its
poverty is but a reflex of the district. Its mud wall is crumbling; its
houses of mud and wood are falling; the streets are ill-paved and the
people ill-clad.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE CITY OF CHAOTONG, WITH SOME REMARKS ON ITS POVERTY, INFANTICIDE,
SELLING FEMALE CHILDREN INTO SLAVERY, TORTURES, AND THE CHINESE
INSENSIBILITY TO PAIN.


By the following day we had crossed the mountains, and were walking
along the level upland that leads to the plain of Chaotong. And on
Sunday, April 1st, we reached the city. Cedars, held sacred, with
shrines in the shelter of their branches, dot the plain; peach-trees and
pear-trees were now in full bloom; the harvest was ripening in the
fields. There were black-faced sheep in abundance, red cattle with short
horns, and the ubiquitous water-buffalo. Over the level roads primitive
carts, drawn by red oxen, were rumbling in the dust. There were mud
villages, poor and falling into ruins; there were everywhere signs of
poverty and famine. Children ran about naked, or in rags. We passed the
likin-barrier, known by its white flag, and I was not even asked for my
visiting card, nor were my boxes looked into--they were as beggarly as
the district--but poor carriers were detained, and a few cash unjustly
wrung from them. At a crowded teahouse, a few miles from the city, we
waited for the stragglers, while many wayfarers gathered in to see me.
Prices were ranging higher. Tea here was 4 cash, and not 2 cash as
hitherto. But even this charge was not excessive. In Canton one day,
after a weary journey on foot through the crowded streets, I was taken
to a five-storied pagoda overlooking the city. At the topmost story tea
was brought me, and I drank a dozen cups, and was asked threepence in
payment. I thought that the cheapest refreshment I ever had. Yet here I
was served as abundantly with better tea at a charge compared with which
the Canton charge was twenty-five times greater. Previously in this
province the price I had paid for tea in comparison with the price at
Canton was as one to fifty.

Early in the afternoon we passed through the south gate into Chaotong,
and, picking our way through the streets, were led to the comfortable
home of the Bible Christian Mission, where I was kindly received by the
Rev. Frank Dymond, and welcomed as a brother missionary of whose arrival
he had been advised. Services were ended, but the neighbours dropped in
to see the stranger, and ask my exalted age, my honourable name, and my
dignified business; they hoped to be able to congratulate me upon being
a man of virtue, the father of many sons; asked how many thousands of
pieces of silver I had (daughters), and how long I proposed to permit my
dignified presence to remain in their mean and contemptible city.

Mr. Dymond is a Devonshire man, and that evening he gave me for tea
Devonshire cream and blackberry jam made in Chaotong, and native oatmeal
cakes, than which I never tasted any better in Scotland.

Chaotong is a walled Fu city with 40,000 inhabitants. Roman Catholics
have been established here for many years, and the Bible Christian
Mission, which is affiliated to the China Inland Mission, has been
working here since 1887.

There were formerly five missionaries; there are now only two, and one
of these was absent. The missionary in charge, Mr. Frank Dymond, is one
of the most agreeable men I met in China, broad-minded, sympathetic and
earnest--universally honoured and respected by all the district. Since
the mission was opened three converts have been baptised, one of whom is
in Szechuen, another is in Tongchuan, and the third has been gathered to
his fathers. The harvest has not been abundant, but there are now six
promising inquirers, and the missionary is not discouraged. The mission
premises are built on land which cost two hundred and ninety taels, and
are well situated not far from the south gate, the chief yamens, the
temples, and the French Mission. People are friendly, but manifest
dangerously little interest in their salvation.

At Chaotong I had entered upon a district that had been devastated by
recurring seasons of plague and famine. Last year more than 5000 people
are believed to have died from starvation in the town and its immediate
neighbourhood. The numbers are appalling, but doubt must always be
thrown upon statistics derived from Chinese sources. The Chinese and
Japanese disregard of accuracy is characteristic of all Orientals.
Beggars were so numerous, and became such a menace to the community,
that their suppression was called for; they were driven from the
streets, and confined within the walls of the temple and grounds beyond
the south gate, and fed by common charity. Huddled together in rags and
misery, they took famine fever and perished by hundreds. Seventy dead
were carried from the temple in one day. Of 5000 poor wretches who
crossed the temple threshold, the Chinese say that 2000 never came out
alive. For four years past the harvests had been very bad, but there was
now hope of a better time coming. Opportune rains had fallen, and the
opium crop was good. More than anything else the district depends for
its prosperity upon the opium crop--if the crop is good, money is
plentiful. Maize-cobs last harvest were four times the size of those of
the previous harvest, when they were no larger than one's finger. Wheat
and beans were forward; the coming rice crop gave every hope of being a
good one. Food was still dear, and all prices were high, because rice
was scarce and dear, and it is the price of rice which regulates the
market. In a good year one sheng of rice (6-2/3lbs.) costs thirty-five
cash (less than one penny), it now costs 110 cash. The normal price of
maize is sixteen cash the sheng, it now cost sixty-five cash the sheng.
To make things worse, the weight of the sheng had been reduced with the
times from twelve catties to five catties, and at the same time the
relation of cash to silver had fallen from 1640 to 1250 cash the tael.

The selling of its female children into slavery is the chief sorrow of
this famine-stricken district. During last year it is estimated, or
rather, it is stated by the Chinese, that no less than three thousand
children from this neighbourhood, chiefly female children and a few
boys, were sold to dealers and carried like poultry in baskets to the
capital. At ordinary times the price for girls is one tael (three
shillings) for every year of their age, thus a girl of five costs
fifteen shillings, of ten, thirty shillings, but in time of famine
children, to speak brutally, become a drug in the market. Female
children were now offering at from three shillings and fourpence to six
shillings each. You could buy as many as you cared to, you might even
obtain them for nothing if you would enter into an agreement with the
father, which he had no means of enforcing, to take care of his child,
and clothe and feed her, and rear her kindly. Starving mothers would
come to the mission beseeching the foreign teachers to take their babies
and save them from the fate that was otherwise inevitable.

Girls are bought in Chaotong up to the age of twenty, and there is
always a ready market for those above the age of puberty; prices then
vary according to the measure of the girl's beauty, an important feature
being the smallness of her feet. They are sold in the capital for wives
and _yatows_; they are rarely sold into prostitution. Two important
factors in the demand for them are the large preponderance in the number
of males at the capital, and the prevalence there of goitre or thick
neck, a deformity which is absent from the district of Chaotong.
Infanticide in a starving city like this is dreadfully common. "For the
parents, seeing their children must be doomed to poverty, think it
better at once to let the soul escape in search of a more happy asylum
than to linger in one condemned to want and wretchedness." The
infanticide is, however, exclusively confined to the destruction of
female children, the sons being permitted to live in order to continue
the ancestral sacrifices.

One mother I met, who was employed by the mission, told the missionary
in ordinary conversation that she had suffocated in turn three of her
female children within a few days of birth; and, when a fourth was born,
so enraged was her husband to discover that it was also a girl that he
seized it by the legs and struck it against the wall and killed it.

Dead children, and often living infants, are thrown out on the common
among the gravemounds, and may be seen there any morning being gnawed by
dogs. Mr. Tremberth of the Bible Christian Mission, leaving by the south
gate early one morning, disturbed a dog eating a still living child
that had been thrown over the wall during the night. Its little arm was
crunched and stript of flesh, and it was whining inarticulately--it died
almost immediately. A man came to see me, who for a long time used to
heap up merit for himself in heaven by acting as a city scavenger. Early
every morning he went round the city picking up dead dogs and dead cats
in order to bury them decently--who could tell, perhaps the soul of his
grandfather had found habitation in that cat? While he was doing this
pious work, never a morning passed that he did not find a dead child,
and usually three or four. The dead of the poor people are roughly
buried near the surface and eaten by dogs.

An instance of the undoubted truth of the doctrine of transmigration
occurred recently in Chaotong and is worth recording. A cow was killed
near the south gate on whose intestine--and this fact can be attested by
all who saw it--was written plainly and unmistakably the character
"_Wong_," which proved, they told me, that the soul of one whose name
was Wong had returned to earth in the body of that cow.

I stayed two days in Chaotong, and strolled in pleasant company through
the city. Close to the Mission is the yamen of the Chentai or
Brigadier-General, the Military Governor of this portion of the
province, and a little further is the more crowded yamen of the Fu
Magistrate. Here, as in all yamens, the detached wall or fixed screen of
stone facing the entrance is painted with the gigantic representation of
a mythical monster in red trying to swallow the sun--the Chinese
illustration of the French saying "_prendre la lune avec les dents_." It
is the warning against covetousness, the exhortation against squeezing,
and is as little likely to be attended to by the magistrate here as it
would be by his brother in Chicago. We visited the Confucian Temple
among the trees and the examination hall close by, and another yamen,
and the Temple of the God of Riches. In the yamen, at the time of our
visit, a young official, seated in his four-bearer chair, was waiting in
the outer court; he had sent in his visiting card, and attended the
pleasure of his superior officer. China may be uncivilised and may yearn
for the missionaries, but there was refined etiquette in China, and an
interchange of many of the pleasantest courtesies of modern
civilisation, when we noble Britons were grubbing in the forest, painted
savages with a clout.

As we went out of the west gate, I was shown the spot where a few days
before a young woman, taken in adultery, was done to death in a cage
amid a crowd of spectators, who witnessed her agony for three days. She
had to stand on tiptoe in the cage, her head projecting through a hole
in the roof, and here she had to remain until death by exhaustion or
strangulation ensued, or till some kind friend, seeking to accumulate
merit in heaven, passed into her mouth sufficient opium to poison her,
and so end her struggles.

On the gate itself a man not so long ago was nailed with red-hot nails
hammered through his wrists above the hands. In this way he was exposed
in turn at each of the four gates of the city, so that every man, woman,
and child could see his torture. He survived four days, having
unsuccessfully attempted to shorten his pain by beating his head against
the woodwork, an attempt which was frustrated by padding the woodwork.
This man had murdered and robbed two travellers on the high road, and,
as things are in China, his punishment was not too severe.

No people are more cruel in their punishments than the Chinese, and
obviously the reason is that the sensory nervous system of a Chinaman is
either blunted or of arrested development. Can anyone doubt this who
witnesses the stoicism with which a Chinaman can endure physical pain
when sustaining surgical operation without chloroform, the comfort with
which he can thrive amid foul and penetrating smells, the calmness with
which he can sleep amid the noise of gunfire and crackers, drums and
tomtoms, and the indifference with which he contemplates the sufferings
of lower animals, and the infliction of tortures on higher?

Every text-book on China devotes a special chapter to the subject of
punishment. Mutilation is extremely common. Often I met men who had been
deprived of their ears--they had lost them, they explained, in battle
facing the enemy! It is a common punishment to sever the hamstrings or
to break the ankle-bones, especially in the case of prisoners who have
attempted to escape. And I remember that when I was in Shanghai, Mr.
Tsai, the Mixed Court Magistrate, was reproved by the papers because he
had from the bench expressed his regret that the foreign law of Shanghai
did not permit him to punish in this way a prisoner who had twice
succeeded in breaking from gaol. The hand is cut off for theft, as it
was in England not so many years ago. I have seen men with the tendon of
Achilles cut out, and it is worth noting that the Chinese say that this
"acquired deformity" can be cured by the transplantation in the seat of
injury of the tendon of a sheep. One embellishment of the Chinese
punishment of flogging might with good effect be introduced into
England. After a Chinese flagellation, the culprit is compelled to go
down on his knees and humbly thank the magistrate for the trouble he has
been put to to correct his morals.

There is a branch of the _Missions Étrangères de Paris_ in Chaotong. I
called at the mission and saw their school of fifteen children, and
their tiny little church. One priest lives here solitary and alone; he
was reading, when I entered, the famous Chinese story, "The Three
Kingdoms." He gave me a kindly welcome, and was pleased to talk in his
own tongue. An excellent bottle of rich wine was produced, and over the
glass the Father painted with voluble energy the evil qualities of the
people whom he has left his beautiful home in the Midi of France to lead
to Rome. "No Chinaman can resist temptation; all are thieves. Justice
depends on the richness of the accused. Victory in a court of justice is
to the richer. Talk to the Chinese of Religion, of a God, of Heaven or
Hell, and they yawn; speak to them of business and they are all
attention. If you ever hear of a Chinaman who is not a thief and a liar,
do not believe it, Monsieur Morrison, do not believe it, they are
thieves and liars every one."

For eight years the priest had been in China devoting his best energies
to the propagation of his religion. And sorry had been his recompense.
The best Christian in the mission had lately broken into the mission
house and stolen everything valuable he could lay his impious hands on.
Remembrance of this infamy rankled in his bosom and impelled him to this
expansive panegyric on Chinese virtue.

Some four months ago the good father was away on a holiday, visiting a
missionary brother in an adjoining town. In his absence the mission was
entered through a rift made in the wall, and three hundred taels of
silver, all the money to the last sou that he possessed, were stolen.
Suspicion fell upon a Christian, who was not only an active Catholic
himself, but whose fathers before him had been Catholics for
generations. It was learned that his wife had some of the money, and
that the thief was on his way to Suifu with the remainder. There was
great difficulty in inducing the yamen to take action, but at last the
wife was arrested. She protested that she knew nothing; but, having been
triced up by the wrists joined behind her back, she soon came to reason,
and cried out that, if the magistrate would release her hands, she would
confess all. Two hundred taels were seized in her house and restored to
the priest, and the culprit, her husband, followed to Tak-wan-hsien by
the satellites of the yamen, was there arrested, and was now in prison
awaiting punishment. The goods he purchased were likewise seized and
were now with the poor father.



CHAPTER IX.

MAINLY ABOUT CHINESE DOCTORS.


Chaotong is an important centre for the distribution of medicines to
Szechuen and other parts of the empire. An extraordinary variety of
drugs and medicaments is collected in the city. No pharmacopoeia is more
comprehensive than the Chinese. No English physician can surpass the
Chinese in the easy confidence with which he will diagnose symptoms that
he does not understand. The Chinese physician who witnesses the
unfortunate effect of placing a drug of which he knows nothing into a
body of which he knows less, is no more disconcerted than is his Western
brother under similar circumstances; he retires, sententiously observing
"there is medicine for sickness but none for fate." "Medicine," says the
Chinese proverb, "cures the man who is fated not to die." "When Yenwang
(the King of Hell) has decreed a man to die at the third watch, no power
will detain him till the fifth."

The professional knowledge of a Chinese doctor largely consists in
ability to feel the pulse, or rather the innumerable pulses of his
Chinese patient. This is the real criterion of his skill. The pulses of
a Chinaman vary in a manner that no English doctor can conceive of. For
instance, among the seven kinds of pulse which presage approaching
death, occur the five following:--

"1. When the pulse is perceived under the fingers to bubble irregularly
like water over a great fire, if it be in the morning, the patient will
die in the evening.

"2. Death is no farther off if the pulse seems like a fish whose head is
stopped in such a manner that he cannot move, but has a frisking tail
without any regularity; the cause of this distemper lies in the kidneys.

"3. If the pulse seems like drops of water that fall into a room through
some crack, and when in its return it is scattered and disordered much
like the twine of a cord which is unravelled, the bones are dried up
even to the very marrow.

"4. Likewise if the motion of the pulse resembles the pace of a frog
when he is embarrassed in the weeds, death is certain.

"5. If the motion of the pulse resembles the hasty pecking of the beak
of a bird, there is a defect of spirits in the stomach."

Heredity is the most important factor in the evolution of a doctor in
China, success in his career as an "hereditary physician" being
specially assured to him who has the good fortune to make his first
appearance in the world feet foremost. Doctors dispense their own
medicines. In their shops you see an amazing variety of drugs; you will
occasionally also see tethered a live stag, which on a certain day, to
be decided by the priests, will be pounded whole in a pestle and mortar.
"Pills manufactured out of a whole stag slaughtered with purity of
purpose on a propitious day," is a common announcement in dispensaries
in China. The wall of a doctor's shop is usually stuck all over with
disused plasters returned by grateful patients with complimentary
testimonies to their efficiency; they have done what England is alleged
to expect of all her sons--their duty.

Medicines, it is known to all Chinamen, operate variously according to
their taste, thus:--"All sour medicines are capable of impeding and
retaining; bitter medicines of causing looseness and warmth as well as
hardening; sweet possess the qualities of strengthening, of harmonising,
and of warming; acids disperse, prove emollient, and go in an athwart
direction; salt medicines possess the properties of descending; those
substances that are hard and tasteless open the orifices of the body and
promote a discharge. This explains the use of the five tastes."

Coming from Szechuen, we frequently met porters carrying baskets of
armadillos, leopard skins, leopard and tiger bones. The skins were for
wear, but the armadillos and bones were being taken to Suifu to be
converted into medicine. From the bones of leopards an admirable tonic
may be distilled; while it is well known that the infusion prepared from
tiger bones is the greatest of the tonics, conferring something of the
courage, agility, and strength of the tiger upon its partaker.

Another excellent specific for courage is a preparation made from the
gall bladder of a robber famous for his bravery, who has died at the
hands of the executioner. The sale of such a gall bladder is one of the
perquisites of a Chinese executioner.

Ague at certain seasons is one of the most common ailments of the
district of Chaotong, yet there is an admirable prophylactic at hand
against it: write the names of the eight demons of ague on paper, and
then eat the paper with a cake; or take out the eyes of the paper
door-god (there are door-gods on all your neighbours' doors), and devour
them--this remedy never fails.

Unlike the Spaniard, the Chinese disapproves of blood-letting in fevers,
"for a fever is like a pot boiling; it is requisite to reduce the fire
and not diminish the liquid in the vessel, if we wish to cure the
patient."

Unlike the Spaniard, too, the Chinese doctors would not venture to
assert, as the medical faculty of Madrid in the middle of last century
assured the inhabitants, that "if human excrement was no longer to be
suffered to accumulate as usual in the streets, where it might attract
the putrescent particles floating in the air, these noxious vapours
would find their way into the human body and a pestilential sickness
would be the inevitable consequence."

For boils there is a certain cure:--There is a God of Boils. If you have
a boil you will plaster the offending excrescence without avail, if that
be _all_ you plaster; to get relief you must at the same time plaster
the corresponding area on the image of the God. Go into his temple in
Western China, and you will find this deity dripping with plasters, with
scarcely an undesecrated space on his superficies.

At the yamen of the Brigadier-General in Chaotong, the entrance is
guarded by the customary stone images of mythical shape and grotesque
features. They are believed to represent lions, but their faces are not
leonine--they are a reproduction, exaggerated, of the characteristic
features of the bulldog of Western China. The images are of undoubted
value to the city. One is male and the other female. On the sixteenth
day of the first month they are visited by the townspeople, who rub them
energetically with their hands, all over from end to end. Every spot so
touched confers immunity from pain upon the corresponding region of
their own bodies for the ensuing year. And so from year to year these
images are visited. Pain accordingly is almost absent from the city,
and only that man suffers pain who has the temerity to neglect the
opportunity of insuring himself against it.

I was called to a case of opium-poisoning in Chaotong. A son came in
casually to seek our aid in saving his father, who had attempted suicide
with a large over-dose of opium. He had taken it at ten in the morning
and it was now two. We were led to the house and found it a single small
unlit room up a narrow alley. In the room two men were unconcernedly
eating their rice, and in the darkness they seemed to be the only
occupants; but, lying down behind them on a narrow bed, was the dim
figure of the dying man, who was breathing stertorously. A crowd quickly
gathered round the door and pent up the alley-way. Rousing the man, I
caused him to swallow some pints of warm water, and then I gave him a
hypodermic injection of apomorphia. The effect was admirable, and
pleased the spectators even more than the patient.

Opium is almost exclusively the drug used by suicides. No Chinaman would
kill himself by the mutilation of the razor or pistol-shot because awful
is the future punishment of him who would so dare to disturb the
integrity of the body bequeathed to him by his fathers.

China is the land of suicides. I suppose more people die from suicide in
China in proportion to the population than in any other country. Where
the struggle for existence is so keen, it is hardly to be wondered at
that men are so willing to abandon the struggle. But poverty and misery
are not the only causes. For the most trivial reason the Chinaman will
take his own life. Suicide with a Chinaman is an act that is recorded in
his honour rather than to his opprobrium.

Thus a widow, as we have seen, may obtain much merit by sacrificing
herself on the death of her husband. But in a large proportion of cases
the motive is revenge, for the spirit of the dead is believed to "haunt
and injure the living person who has been the cause of the suicide." In
China to ruin your adversary you injure or kill yourself. To vow to
commit suicide is the most awful threat with which you can drive terror
into the heart of your adversary. If your enemy do you wrong, there is
no way in which you can cause him more bitterly to repent his misdeed
than by slaying yourself at his doorstep. He will be charged with your
murder, and may be executed for the crime; he will be utterly ruined in
establishing, if he can establish, his innocence; and he will be haunted
ever after by your avenging spirit.

Occasionally two men who have quarrelled will take poison together, and
their spirits will fight it out in heaven. Opium is very cheap in
Chaotong, costing only fivepence an ounce for the crude article. You see
it exposed for sale everywhere, like thick treacle in dirty besmeared
jars. It is largely adulterated with ground pigskin, the adulteration
being detected by the craving being unsatisfied. Mohammedans have a holy
loathing of the pig, and look with contempt on their countrymen whose
chief meat-food is pork. But each one in his turn. It is, on the other
hand, a source of infinite amusement to the Chinese to see his
Mohammedan brother unwittingly smoking the unclean beast in his
opium-pipe.

On our way to the opium case we passed a doorway from which pitiful
screams were issuing. It was a mother thrashing her little boy with a
heavy stick--she had tethered him by the leg and was using the stick
with both hands. A Chinese proverb as old as the hills tells you, "if
you love your son, give him plenty of the cudgel; if you hate him, cram
him with delicacies." He was a young wretch, she said, and she could do
nothing with him; and she raised her baton again to strike, but the
missionary interposed, whereupon she consented to stay her wrath and did
so--till we were round the corner.

"Extreme lenity alternating with rude passion in the treatment of
children is the characteristic," says Meadows, "of the lower stages of
civilisation." I mention this incident only because of its rarity. In no
other country in the world, civilised or "heathen," are children
generally treated with more kindness and affection than they are in
China. "Children, even amongst seemingly stolid Chinese, have the
faculty of calling forth the better feelings so often found latent.
Their prattle delights the fond father, whose pride beams through every
line of his countenance, and their quaint and winning ways and touches
of nature are visible even under the disadvantages of almond eyes and
shaven crowns" (Dyer Ball).

A mother in China is given, both by law and custom, extreme power over
her sons whatever their age or rank. The Sacred Edict says, "Parents are
like heaven. Heaven produces a blade of grass. Spring causes it to
germinate. Autumn kills it with frost. Both are by the will of heaven.
In like manner the power of life and death over the body which they have
begotten is with the parents."

And it is this law giving such power to a mother in China which tends,
it is believed, to nullify that other law whereby a husband in China is
given extreme power over his wife, even to the power in some cases of
life and death.

The Mohammedans are still numerous in Chaotong, and there are some 3000
families--the figures are Chinese--in the city and district. Their
numbers were much reduced during the suppression of the rebellion of
1857-1873, when they suffered the most awful cruelties. Again, thirteen
years ago, there was an uprising which was suppressed by the Government
with merciless severity. One street is exclusively occupied by Moslems,
who have in their hands the skin trade of the city. Their houses are
known by a conspicuous absence from door and window of the coloured
paper door-gods that are seen grotesquely glaring from the doors of the
unbelievers. Their mosque is well cared for and unusually clean. In the
centre, within the main doorway, as in every mosque in the empire, is a
gilt tablet of loyalty to the living Emperor. "May the Emperor reign ten
thousand years!" it says, a token of subjection which the mosques of
Yunnan have especially been compelled to display since the insurrection.
At the time of my visit an aged mollah was teaching Arabic and the Koran
to a ragged handful of boys. He spoke to me through an interpreter, and
gave me the impression of having some little knowledge of things outside
the four seas that surround China. I told him that I had lived under the
shelter of two of the greatest mosques, but he seemed to question my
contention that the mosque in Cordova and the Karouin mosque in Fez are
even more noble in their proportions than his mosque in Chaotong. In
some of the skin-hongs that I entered, the walls were ornamented with
coloured plans of Mecca and Medinah, bought in Chentu, the capital city
of the province of Szechuen.



CHAPTER X.

THE JOURNEY FROM CHAOTONG TO TONGCHUAN.


In Chaotong I engaged three new men to go with me to Tongchuan, a
distance of 110 miles, and I rewarded liberally the three excellent
fellows who had accompanied me from Suifu. My new men were all active
Chinamen. The headman Laohwan was most anxious to come with me.
Recognising that he possessed characteristics which his posterity would
rejoice to have transmitted to them, he had lately taken to himself a
wife and now, a fortnight later, he sought rest. He would come with me
to Burma, the further away the better; he wished to prove the truth of
the adage about distance and enchantment. The two coolies who were to
carry the loads were country lads from the district. My men were to
receive _4s. 6d._ each for the 110 miles, an excessive wage, but all
food was unusually dear, and people were eating maize instead of rice;
they were to find themselves on the way, in other words, they were "to
eat their own rice," and, in return for a small reward, they were to
endeavour to do the five days' stages in three days. I bought a few
stores, including some excellent oatmeal and an annular cake of that
compressed tea, the "Puerh-cha," which is grown in the Shan States and
is distributed as a luxury all over China. It is in favour in the palace
of the Emperor in Peking itself; it is one of the finest teas in China,
yet, to show how jealous the rivalry now is between China tea and
Indian, when I submitted the remainder of this very cake to a well-known
tea-taster in Mangoe Lane, Calcutta, and asked his expert opinion, he
reported that the sample was "of undoubted value and of great interest,
as showing what _muck can be called tea_."

We left on the 3rd, and passed by the main-street through the crowded
city, past the rich wholesale warehouses, and out by the west gate to
the plain of Chaotong. The country spread before us was smiling and
rich, with many farmsteads, and orchards of pears and peaches--a pretty
sight, for the trees were now in full blossom. Many carts were lumbering
along the road on their uneven wheels. Just beyond the city there was a
noisy altercation in the road for the possession apparently of a blunt
adze. Carts stopped to see the row, and all the bystanders joined in
with their voices, with much earnestness. It is rare for the disputants
to be injured in these questions. Their language on these occasions is,
I am told, extremely rich in allusions. It would often make a _gendarme_
blush. Their oaths are more ornate than the Italians'; the art of
vituperation is far advanced in China. A strong wind was blowing in our
faces. We rested at some mud hovels where poverty was stalking about
with a stick in rags and nakedness. Full dress of many of these beggars
would disgrace a Polynesian. Even the better dressed were hung with
garments in rags, tattered, and dirty as a Paisley ragpicker's. The
children were mostly stark-naked. In the middle of the day we reached a
Mohammedan village named Taouen, twenty miles from Chaotong, and my man
prepared me an _al fresco_ lunch. The entire village gathered into the
square to see me eat; they struggled for the orange peel I threw under
the table.

From here the road rises quickly to the village of Tashuitsing (7380
feet above sea level), where my men wished to remain, and apparently
came to an understanding with the innkeeper; but I would not understand
and went on alone, and they perforce had to follow me. There are only
half-a-dozen rude inns in the village, all Mohammedan; but just outside
the village the road passes under a magnificent triple archway in four
tiers made of beautifully cut stone, embossed with flowers and images,
and richly gilt--a striking monument in so forlorn a situation. It was
built two years ago, in obedience to the will of the Emperor, by the
richest merchant of Chaotong, and is dedicated to the memory of his
virtuous mother, who died at the age of eighty, having thus experienced
the joy of old age, which in China is the foremost of the five measures
of felicity. It was erected and carved on the spot by masons from
Chungking. Long after dark we reached an outlying inn of the village of
Kiangti, a thatched mud barn, with a sleeping room surrounded on three
sides by a raised ledge of mud bricks upon which were stretched the
mattresses. The room was dimly lit by an oil-lamp; the floor was earth;
the grating under the rafters was stored with maize-cobs. Outside the
door cooking was done in the usual square earthen stove, in which are
sunk two iron basins, one for rice, the other for hot water; maize
stalks were being burnt in the flues. The room, when we entered, was
occupied by a dozen Chinese, with their loads and the packsaddles of a
caravan of mules; yet what did the good-natured fellows do? They must
all have been more tired than I; but, without complaining, they all got
up when they saw me, and packed their things and went out of the room,
one after the other, to make way for myself and my companions. And,
while we were comfortable, they crowded into another room that was
already crowded.

Next day a tremendously steep descent took us down to Kiangti, a
mountain village on the right bank of a swift stream, here spanned in
its rocky pass by a beautiful suspension bridge, which swings gracefully
high above the torrent. The bridge is 150 feet long by 12 feet broad,
and there is no engineer in England who might not be proud to have been
its builder. At its far end the parapets are guarded by two sculptured
monkeys, hewn with rough tools out of granite, and the more remarkable
for their fidelity of form, seeing that the artist must have carved them
from memory. The inevitable likin-barrier is at the bridge to squeeze a
few more cash out of the poor carriers. That the Inland Customs dues of
China are vexatious there can be no doubt; yet it is open to question if
the combined duties of all the likin-barriers on any one main road
extending from frontier to frontier of any single province in China are
greater than the _ad valorem_ duties imposed by our colony of Victoria
upon the protected goods crossing her border from an adjoining colony.

[Illustration: PAGODA BY THE WAYSIDE, WESTERN CHINA.]

Leaving the bridge, the road leads again up the hills. Poppy was now in
full flower, and everywhere in the fields women were collecting opium.
They were scoring the poppy capsules with vertical scratches and
scraping off the exuded juice which had bled from the incisions they
made yesterday. Hundreds of pack horses carrying Puerh tea met us on the
road; while all day long we were passing files of coolies toiling
patiently along under heavy loads of crockery. They were going in the
same direction as ourselves to the confines of the empire, distributing
those teacups, saucers, and cuplids, china spoons, and rice-bowls that
one sees in every inn in China. Most of the crockery is brought across
China from the province of Kiangsi, whose natural resources seems to
give it almost the monopoly of this industry. The trade is an immense
one. In the neighbourhood of King-teh-chin, in Kiangsi, at the outbreak
of the Taiping rebellion, more than one million workmen were employed in
the porcelain manufactories. Cups and saucers by the time they reach so
far distant a part of China as this, carried as they are so many
hundreds of miles on the backs of coolies, are sold for three or four
times their original cost. Great care is taken of them, and no piece can
be so badly broken as not to be mended. Crockery-repairing is a
recognised trade, and the workmen are unusually skilful even for
Chinese. They rivet the pieces together with minute copper clamps. To
have a specimen of their handiwork I purposely in Yunnan broke a cup and
saucer into fragments, only to find when I had done so that there was
not a mender in the district. Rice bowls and teacups are neatly made,
tough, and well finished; even the humblest are not inelegantly
coloured, while the high-class china, especially where the imperial
yellow is used, often shows the richest beauty of ornamentation.

Inns on this road were few and at wide distances; they were scarcely
sufficient for the numbers who used them. The country was red sandstone,
open, and devoid of all timber, till, descending again into a valley,
the path crossed an obstructing ridge, and led us with pleasant surprise
into a beautiful park. It was all green and refreshing. A pretty stream
was humming past the willows, its banks covered with the poppy in full
flower, a blaze of colour, magenta, white, scarlet, pink and blue picked
out with hedges of roses. The birds were as tame as in the Garden of
Eden; magpies came almost to our feet; the sparrows took no notice of
us; the falcons knew we would not molest them; the pigeons seemed to
think we could not. All was peaceful, and the peasants who sat with us
under the cedars on the borders of the park were friendly and
unobtrusive. Long after sundown we reached, far from the regular stage,
a lonely pair of houses, at one of which we found uncomfortable
accommodation. Fire had to be kindled in the room in a hollow in the
ground; there was no ventilation, the wood was green, the smoke almost
suffocating. My men talked on far into the night until I lost patience
and yelled at them in English. They thought that I was swearing, and
desisted for fear that I should injure their ancestors. There was a
shrine in this room for private devotions, the corresponding spot in the
adjoining room being a rough opium-couch already occupied by two lusty
thickset "slaves to this thrice-accursed drug." My men ate the most
frugal of suppers. Food was so much in advance of its ordinary price
that my men, in common with thousands of other coolies, were doing their
hard work on starvation rations.

On the 5th we did a long day's stage and spent the night at a bleak
hamlet 8500 feet above sea level, in a position so exposed that the
roofs of the houses were weighted with stones to prevent their being
carried away by the wind. This was the "Temple of the Dragon King," and
it was only twenty li from Tongchuan.

Next day we were astir early and soon after daylight we came suddenly to
the brow of the tableland overlooking the valley of Tongchuan. The
compact little walled city, with its whitewashed buildings glistening in
the morning sun, lay beyond the gleaming plats of the irrigated plain,
snugly ensconced under rolling masses of hills, which rose at the far
end of the valley to lofty mountains covered with snow. All the plain is
watered with springs; large patches of it are under water all the year
round, and, rendered thus useless for cultivation, are employed by the
Chinese for the artificial rearing of fish and as breeding grounds for
the wild duck and the "faithful bird," the wild goose. A narrow dyke
serpentining across the plain leads into the pretty city, where, at the
north-east angle of the wall, I was charmed to find the cheerful home of
the Bible Christian Mission, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Pollard and
two lady assistants, one of whom is a countrywoman of my own. This is, I
believe, the most charming spot for a mission station in all China. Mr.
Pollard is quite a young man, full of enthusiasm, modest, and clever.
Everywhere he is received kindly; he is on friendly terms with the
officials, and there is not a Chinese home within ten miles of the city
where he and his pretty wife are not gladly welcomed. His knowledge of
Chinese is exceptional; he is the best Chinese scholar in Western China,
and is examiner in Chinese for the distant branches of the Inland
Mission.

The mission in Tongchuan was opened in 1891, and the results are not
discouraging, seeing that the Chinaman is as difficult to lead into the
true path as any Jew. No native has been baptized up to date. The
convert employed by the mission as a native helper is one of the three
converts of Chaotong. He is a bright-faced lad of seventeen, as ardent
an evangelist as heart of missionary could desire, but a native preacher
can never be so successful as the foreign missionary. The Chinese listen
to him with complacency, "You eat Jesus's rice and of course you speak
his words," they say. The attitude of the Chinese in Tongchuan towards
the Christian missionary is one of perfect friendliness towards the
missionary, combined with perfect apathy towards his religion. Like any
other trader, the missionary has a perfect right to offer his goods,
but he must not be surprised, the Chinese thinks, if he finds difficulty
in securing a purchaser for wares as much inferior to the home
production as is the foreign barbarian to the subject of the Son of
Heaven.

There is a Catholic Mission in Tongchuan, but the priest does not
associate with the Protestant. How indeed can the two associate when
they worship different Gods!

The difficulty is one which cannot be easily overcome while there exists
in China that bone of contention among missionaries which is known as
the "Term Question."

The Chinese recognise a supreme God, or are believed by some to
recognise a supreme God--"High Heaven's ruler" (_Shangtien hou_), who is
"probably intended," says Williams, "for the true God." The Mohammedans,
when they entered China, could not recognise this god as identical with
the only one God, to whom they accordingly gave the Chinese name of
"true Lord" (_Chên Chu_). The Jesuits, when they entered China, could
not recognise either of these gods as identical with the God of the
Hebrews, whom they accordingly represented in Chinese first by the
characters for "Supreme Ruler" (_Shang ti_), and subsequently by the
characters for "Lord of Heaven" (_Tien Chu_). The Protestants naturally
could not be identified with the Catholics, and invented another Chinese
name, or other Chinese names, for the true God; while the Americans,
superior to all other considerations, discovered a different name still
for the true God to whom they assigned the Chinese characters for "the
true Spirit" (_Chên Shên_), thereby suggesting by implication, as Little
observes, that the other spirits were false. But, as if such divergent
terms were not sufficiently confusing for the Chinese, the Protestants
themselves have still more varied the Chinese characters for God. Thus,
in the first translation of the Bible, the term for God used is the
Chinese character for "Spirit" (_Shên_); in the second translation this
term is rejected and "Supreme Ruler" (_Shang ti_), substituted; the
third translation reverts to the "Spirit"; the fourth returns to the
"Supreme Ruler"; and the fifth, by Bishop Burdon of Hong Kong, and Dr.
Blodget of Peking, in 1884, rejects the title that was first accepted by
the Jesuits, and accepts the title "Lord of Heaven" (_Tien Chu_), that
was first rejected by the Jesuits.

"Many editions," says the Rev. J. Wherry, of Peking, "with other terms
have since been published." "Bible work in particular," says the Rev.
Mr. Muirhead, of Shanghai, "is carried on under no small disadvantage in
view of this state of things." "It is true, however," adds Mr. Muirhead,
"that God has blest all terms in spite of our incongruity." But
obviously the Chinese are a little puzzled to know which of the
contending gods is most worthy of their allegiance.

But apart from the "Term Question" there must be irreconcilable
antagonism between the two great missionary churches in China, for it
cannot be forgotten that "in the development of the missionary idea
three great tasks await the (Protestant) Church.... The second task is
_to check the schemes of the Jesuit_. In the great work of the world's
evangelisation the Church has no foe at all comparable with the
Jesuit.... Swayed ever by the vicious maxim that the end justifies the
means, he would fain put back the shadow of the dial of human progress
by half a dozen centuries. Other forms of superstition and error are
dangerous, but Jesuitism overtops them all, and stands forth an
organised conspiracy against the liberties of mankind. This foe is not
likely to be overcome by a divided Protestantism. If we would conquer in
this war we must move together, and in our movements must manifest a
patience, a heroism, a devotion equal to anything the Jesuit can claim."
(The Rev. A. Sutherland, D.D., Delegate from Canada to the Missionary
Conference, 1888, _Records_, i., 145.)

And, on the other hand, the distracted Chinese reads
that:--"Protestantism is not only a veritable Babel, but a horrible
theory, and an immoral practice which blasphemes God, degrades man, and
endangers society." (Cardinal Cuesta's Catechism cited in "China and
Christianity," by Michie, p. 8.)



CHAPTER XI.

THE CITY OF TONGCHUAN, WITH SOME REMARKS UPON INFANTICIDE.


When I entered Tongchuan the town was in commotion; kettledrums and
tomtoms were beating, and crackers and guns firing; the din and clatter
was continuous and deafening. An eclipse of the sun was commencing--it
was the 6th of April--"the sun was being swallowed by the Dog of
Heaven," and the noise was to compel the monster to disgorge its prey.
Five months ago the Prefect of the city had been advised of the
impending disaster, and it was known that at a certain hour he would
publicly intervene with Heaven to avert from the city the calamity of
darkness. I myself saw with my own eyes the wonderful power of this man.
The sun was darkened when I went to the Prefect's yamen. A crowd was
already gathered in the court. At the foot of the steps in the open air,
a loosely built framework of wood ten feet high was standing, displaying
on its vertex a yellow disc of paper inscribed with the characters for
"voracity."

As we waited the sun became gradually clearer, when, just as the moon
was disappearing across its edge, the Prefect in full dress, stepped
from his yamen into the court, accompanied by the city magistrate and a
dozen city fathers. Every instrument of discord was still clanging over
the city. Then all these men of weight walked solemnly three times
round the scaffold, and halted three times, while the Prefect went down
on his knees, and did obeisance with nine kotows to the rickety frame
and its disc of yellow paper. There was almost immediate answer to his
prayer. With a sigh of relief we saw the lingering remnant of darkness
disappear, and the midday sun shone full and bright. Then the Prefect
retired, his suite dividing to let him pass, and we all went home
blessing the good man whose intercession had saved the town from
darkness. For there can be little doubt, I hope, that it is due to the
action of this Prefect that the sun is shining to-day in Tongchuan. The
Chinese might well ask if any barbarian missionary could do as he did.

Eclipses in China are foretold by the Government almanac published
annually in Peking by a bureau of astrology attached to the Board of
Rites. The almanac is a Government monopoly, and any infraction of its
copyright is a penal offence. "It monopolises the management of the
superstitions of the people, in regard to the fortunate or unlucky
conjunctions of each day and hour. No one ventures to be without it,
lest he be liable to the greatest misfortunes and run the imminent
hazard of undertaking important events on blackballed days."

The Chinese almanac is much more comprehensive than ours, for even
eclipses are foretold that never happen. Should an error take place in
their almanac, and an expected eclipse not occur, the royal astronomers
are not disconcerted--far from it; they discover in their error reason
for rejoicing; they then congratulate the Emperor that "the heavens have
dispensed with this omen of ill-luck in his favour." For eclipses
forebode disaster, and every thoughtful Chinaman who has heard of the
present rebellion of the Japanese must attribute the reverses caused by
the revolt to the eclipse of April 6th, occurring immediately before the
insurrection.

Tongchuan is one of the most charming towns I have ever visited; it is
probably the cleanest city in China, and the best governed. Its prefect
is a man of singular enlightenment, who rules with a justice that is
rarely known in China. His people regard him as something more than
mortal. Like Confucius "his ear is an obedient organ for the reception
of truth." Like the Confucian Superior Man "his dignity separates him
from the crowd; being reverent he is beloved; being loyal he is
submitted to; and being faithful he is trusted. By his word he directs
men, and by his conduct he warns them."

For several years he was attached to the Embassy in Japan, and he boasts
that he has made Tongchuan as clean a city as any to be found in the
empire of the Mikado. The yamen is a model of neatness. Painted on the
outflanking wall there is the usual huge representation of the fabulous
monster attempting to swallow the sun--the admonition against
extortion--and probably the only magistrate in China who does not stand
in need of the warning is the Prefect of Tongchuan.

Prices in Tongchuan at the time of my visit were high and food was
scarce. It was difficult to realise that men at that moment were dying
of starvation in the pretty town. Rice cost 400 cash for the same
quantity that in a good season can be bought for 60 cash; maize was 300
cash the sheng, whereas the normal price is only 40 cash. Sugar was 15
cash the cake instead of 6 cash the cake, and so on in all things. Poppy
is not grown in the valley to the same extent as hitherto, because
poppy displaces wheat and beans, and the people have need of all the
land they can spare to grow breadstuffs. In the other half of the year,
rice, maize, and tobacco are grown together on the plain, and at the
same season potatoes, oats, and buckwheat are grown in the hills.

Part of the plain is permanently under water, but it was the drought in
the winter and the rains in the summer of successive years that caused
the famine. There are no Mohammedans in the town--there have been none
since the rebellion--but there are many small Mohammedan villages across
the hills. No district in China is now more peaceful than the Valley of
Tongchuan. The Yangtse River--"The River of Golden Sand"--is only two
days distant, but it is not navigable even by Chinese boatmen. Sugarcane
grows in the Yangtse Valley in little pockets, and it is from there that
the compressed cakes of brown sugar seen in all the markets of Western
Yunnan are brought. Coal comes from a mine two or three days inland;
white-wax trees provide an important industry; the hills to the west
contain the most celebrated copper mines in the empire.

The cash of Tongchuan are very small and inferior, 2000 being equivalent
to one tael, whereas in Chaotong, 110 miles away, the cash vary from
1260 to 1640 the tael. Before the present Prefect took office the cash
were more debased still, no less than 4000 being then counted as one
tael, but the Prefect caused all these cash to be withdrawn from
circulation.

Unlike Chaotong, no children are permitted to be sold in the city, but
during last year no less than 3000 children (the figures are again
Chinese) were carried through the town on their way from Chaotong to the
capital. The edict of the Prefect which forbids the selling of children
increases the cases of infanticide, and in time of famine there are few
mothers among the starving poor who can truthfully assert that they have
never abandoned any of their offspring.

The subject of infanticide in China has been discussed by a legion of
writers and observers; and the opinion they come to seems to be
generally that the prevalence of the crime, except in seasons of famine,
has been enormously overstated. The prevalent idea with us Westerns
appears to be, that the murder of their children, especially of their
female children, is a kind of national pastime with the Chinese, or, at
the best, a national peculiarity. Yet it is open to question whether the
crime, excepting in seasons of famine, is, in proportion to the
population, more common in China than it is in England. H. A. Giles of
H.B.M. Chinese Consular Service, one of the greatest living authorities
on China, says "I am unable to believe that infanticide prevails to any
great extent in China.... In times of famine or rebellion, under stress
of exceptional circumstances, infanticide may possibly cast its shadow
over the empire, but as a general rule I believe it to be no more
practised in China than in England, France, the United States and
elsewhere." (_Journal, China Branch R.A.S._, 1885, p. 28.)

G. Eugène Simon, formerly French Consul in China, declares that
"infanticide is a good deal less frequent in China than in Europe
generally, and particularly in France." A statement that inferentially
receives the support of Dr. E. J. Eitel. (_China Review_, xvi., 189.)

The prevailing impression as to the frequency of infanticide in China is
derived from the statements of missionaries, who, no doubt
unintentionally, exaggerate the prevalence of the crime in order to
bring home to us Westerns the deplorable condition of the heathen among
whom they are labouring. But, even among the missionaries, the
statements are as divergent as they are on almost every other subject
relating to China. Thus the Rev. Griffith John argues "from his own
experience that infanticide is common all over the Empire," the Rev. Dr.
Edkins on the other hand says that "infanticide is a thing almost
unknown in Peking." And the well known medical missionary, Dr. Dudgeon
of Peking (who has left the London Mission), agrees with another medical
missionary, Dr. Lockhart, "that infanticide is almost as rare in China
as in England."

The Rev. A. H. Smith ("Chinese Characteristics," p. 207) speaks "of the
enormous infanticide which is known to exist in China." The Rev. Justus
Doolittle ("Social Life of the Chinese," ii. p. 203) asserts that "there
are most indubitable reasons for believing that infanticide is tolerated
by the Government, and that the subject is treated with indifference and
with shocking levity by the mass." ... But Bishop Moule "has good reason
to conclude that the prevalence of the crime has been largely
exaggerated." (_Journal, China Branch R.A.S._, _ut supra_.)

One of the best known Consuls in China, who lately retired from the
Service, told the writer that in all his thirty years' experience of
China he had only had personal knowledge of one authentic case of
infanticide.

"Exaggerated estimates respecting the frequency of infanticide," says
the Rev. Dr. D. J. MacGowan, "are formed owing to the withholding
interment from children who die in infancy." And he adds that "opinions
of careful observers will be found to vary with fields of observation."
(_China Review_, xiv., 206.)

Whatever the relative frequency of infanticide in China and Europe may
be, it cannot, I think, admit of question that the crime of infanticide
is less common among the barbarian Chinese than is the crime of
foeticide among the highly civilised races of Europe and America.

There are several temples in Tongchuan, and two beyond the walls which
are of more than ordinary interest. There is a Temple to the Goddess of
Mercy, where deep reverence is shown to the images of the Trinity of
Sisters. They are seated close into the wall, the nimbus of glory which
plays round their impassive features being represented by a golden
aureola painted on the wall. The Goddess of Mercy is called by the
Chinese "_Sheng-mu_," or Holy Mother, and it is this name which has been
adopted by the Roman Catholic Church as the Chinese name of the Virgin
Mary.

There is a fine City Temple which controls the spirits of the dead of
the city as the yamens of the magistrates control the living of the
city. The Prefect and the City Magistrate are here shown in their
celestial abodes administering justice--or its Chinese equivalent--to
the spirits who, when living, were under their jurisdiction on earth.
They hold the same position in Heaven and have the same authority as
they had on earth; and may, as spirits, be bribed to deal gently with
the spirits of departed friends just as, when living, they were open to
offers to deal leniently with any living prisoner in whose welfare the
friends were prepared to express practical sympathy.

In the Buddhist Temple are to be seen, in the long side pavilions, the
chambers of horrors with their realistic representations of the torments
of a soul in its passage through the eight Buddhist hells. I looked on
these scenes with the calmness of an unbeliever; not so a poor woman to
whom the horrors were very vivid truths. She was on her knees before
the grating, sobbing piteously at a ghastly scene where a man, while
still alive, was being cast by monsters from a hill-top on to red-hot
spikes, there to be torn in pieces by serpents. This was the torture her
dead husband was now enduring; it was this stage he had reached in his
onward passage through hell--the priest had told her so, and only money
paid to the priests could lighten his torment.

Beyond the south gate, amid groves of lofty pine trees, are the temple
and grounds, the pond and senior wrangler bridge, of the Confucian
Temple--the most beautifully-finished temple I have seen in China. We
have accustomed ourselves to speak in ecstacies of the wood-carving in
the temples of Japan, but not even in the Sh[=o]gun chapels of the Shiba
temples in Tokyo have I seen wood-carving superior to the exquisite
delicacy of workmanship displayed in the carving of the Imperial dragons
that frame with their fantastic coils the large Confucian tablet of this
temple. Money has been lavished on this building. The inclined marble
slabs that divide the terrace steps are covered with fanciful tracery;
the parapets of the bridge are chiselled in marble; sculptured images of
elephants with howdahs crown the pillars of the marble balustrades; the
lattice work under the wide eaves is everywhere beautifully carved.
Lofty pillars of wood support the temple roofs. They are preserved by a
coating of hemp and protected against fire by an outer coating of
plaster stained the colour of the original wood. Gilding is used as
freely in the decoration of the grand altar and tablets of this temple,
as it is in a temple in Burma.

On a hill overlooking the city and valley is the Temple to the God of
Literature. The missionary and I climbed to the temple and saw its
pretty court, its ancient bronze censer, and its many beautiful flowers,
and then sat on the terrace in the sun and watched the picturesque
valley spread out before us.

As we descended the hill again, a lad, who had attached himself to us,
offered to show us the two common pits in which are cast the dead bodies
of paupers and criminals. The pits are at the foot of the hill,
open-mouthed in the uncut grass. With famine in the city, with people
dying at that very hour of starvation, there was no lack of dead, and
both pits were filled to within a few feet of the surface. Bodies are
thrown in here without any covering, and hawks and crows strip them of
their flesh, a mode of treating the dead grateful to the Parsee, but
inexpressibly hateful to the Chinese, whose poverty must be overwhelming
when he can be found to permit it. Pigtails were lying carelessly about
and skulls separated from the trunk. Human bones gnawed by dogs were to
be picked up in numbers in the long grass all round the hill; they were
the bones of the dead who had been loosely buried close to the surface,
through which dogs--the domestic dogs one met afterwards in the
street--had scraped their way. Many, too, were the bones of dead
children; for poor children are not buried, but are thrown outside the
wall, sometimes before they are dead, to be eaten perhaps by the very
dog that was their playmate since birth.

I called upon the French priest, Père Maire, and he came with much
cordiality to the door of the mission to receive me. His is a pretty
mission, built in the Chinese style, with a modest little church and a
nice garden and summer-house. The father has been four years in
Tongchuan and ten in China. Like most of the French priests in China he
has succeeded in growing a prodigious beard whose imposing length adds
to his influence among the Chinese, who are apt to estimate age by the
length of the beard. Only three weeks ago he returned from the capital.
Signs of famine were everywhere apparent. The weather was very cold, and
the road in many places deeply covered with snow. Riding on his mule he
passed at different places on the wayside eight bodies, all recently
dead from hunger and cold. No school is attached to the mission, but
there is an _orphèlinat_ of little girls, _ramassées dans les rues_, who
had been cast away by their parents; they are in charge of Chinese
Catholic nuns, and will be reared as nuns. As we sat in the pavilion in
the garden and drank wine sent to him by his brother in Bordeaux--true
French wine--the priest had many things to tell me of interest, of the
native rebellion on the frontier of Tonquin, of the mission of Monsieur
Haas to Chungking, and the Thibetan trade in tea. "The Chinese? ah! yes.
He loves the Chinese because he loves all God's creatures, but they are
liars and thieves. Many families are converted, but even the Christians
are never Christian till the third generation." These were his words.



CHAPTER XII.

TONGCHUAN TO YUNNAN CITY.


From Tongchuan to Yunnan city, the provincial seat of Government and
official residence of the Viceroy, whither I was now bound, is a
distance of two hundred miles. My two carriers from Chaotong had been
engaged to go with me only as far as Tongchuan, but they now re-engaged
to go with Laohwan, my third man, as far as the capital. The conditions
were that they were to receive _6s. 9d._ each (2.25 taels), one tael
(_3s._) to be paid in advance and the balance on arrival, and they were
to do the distance in seven days. The two taels they asked the
missionary to remit to their parents in Chaotong, and he promised to
receive the money from me and do so. There was no written agreement of
any kind--none of the three men could read; they did not even see the
money that the missionary was to get for them; but they had absolute
confidence in our good faith.

I had a mule with me from Tongchuan to Yunnan, which saved me many miles
of walking, and increased my importance in the eyes of the heathen. I
was taking it to the capital for sale. It was a big-boned rough-hewn
animal, of superior intelligence, and I was authorised to sell it,
together with its saddle and bridle, for four pounds. Like most Chinese
mules it had two corns on the forelegs, and thus could see at night.
Every Chinaman knows that the corns are adventitious eyes which give the
mule this remarkable power.

We were on our way early in the afternoon of the 7th, going up the
valley. Below the curiously draped pagoda which commands Tongchuan we
met two pairs of prisoners, who were being led into the city under
escort. They were coupled by the neck; they were suffering cruelly, for
their wrists were so tightly manacled that their hands were
strangulated, a mode of torture to which, it will be remembered, the
Chinese Government in 1860 subjected Bowlby, the _Times_ correspondent,
and the other prisoners seized with him "in treacherous violation of a
flag of truce," till death ended their sufferings. These men were
roadside robbers caught red-handed. Their punishment would be swift and
certain. Found guilty on their own confession, either tendered
voluntarily to escape torture, or under the compulsion of torture,
"self-accusation wrested from their agony," they would be sentenced to
death, carried in baskets without delay--if they had not previously
"died in prison"--died, that is, from the torture having been pushed too
far--to the execution ground, and there beheaded.

We stopped at an inn that was not the ordinary stage, where in
consequence we had few comforts. In the morning my men lay in bed till
late, and when I called them they opened the door and pointed to the
road, clearly indicating that rain had fallen, and that the roads were
too slippery for traffic. But what was my surprise on looking myself to
find the whole country deeply under snow, and that it was still snowing.
All day, indeed, it snowed. The track was very slippery, but my mule,
though obstinate, was sure-footed, and we kept going. We passed a huge
coffin--borne by a dozen men with every gentleness, not to disturb the
dead one's rest--preceded, not followed, by mourners, two of whom were
carrying a paper sedan chair, which would be burnt, and so, rendered
invisible, would be sent to the invisible world to bear the dead man's
spirit with becoming dignity. All day we were in the mountains
travelling up the bed of a creek with mountains on both sides of us. We
passed Chehki, ninety li from Tongchuan, and thirty li further were glad
to escape from the cold and snow to the shelter of a poor thatched mud
inn, where we rested for the night.

A hump-back was in charge. The only bedroom was half open to the sky,
but the main room was still whole, though it had seen better days. There
was a shrine in this room with ancestral tablets, and a sheet of
many-featured gods, conspicuous amongst them being the God of Riches,
who had been little attentive to the prayers offered him in this poor
hamlet. In a stall adjoining our bedroom the mule was housed, and
jingled his bell discontentedly all through the night. A poor man,
nearly blind with acute inflammation of the eyes, was shivering over the
scanty embers of an open fire which was burning in a square hole scooped
in the earthern floor near the doorway. He ate the humblest dishful of
maize husks and meal strainings. That night I wondered did he sleep out
in the open under a hedge, or did the inn people give him shelter with
my mule in the next room. My men and I had to sleep in the same room.
They were still on short rations. They ate only twice a day, and then
sparingly, of maize and vegetables; they took but little rice, and no
tea, and only a very small allowance of pork once in two days. Food was
very dear, and, though they were receiving nearly double wages to carry
half-loads, they must needs be careful. What admirable fellows they
were! In all my wanderings I have never travelled with more good-natured
companions. The attendant Laohwan was a powerful Chinese, solid and
determined, but courteous in manner, voluble of speech, but with an
amusing stammer; he had a wide experience of travel in Western China. He
seemed to enjoy his journey--he never appeared lovesick; but, of course,
I had no means of asking if he felt keenly the long separation from his
bride.

At the inn there was no bedding for my men; they had to cover
themselves, as best they could, with some pieces of felt brought them by
the hunchback, and sleep all huddled together from the cold. They had a
few hardships to put up with, but their lot was a thousand times better
than that of hundreds of their countrymen who were dying from hunger as
well as from cold.

On the 9th, as I was riding on my mule up the mountain road, with the
bleak, bare mountain tops on every side, I was watching an eagle
circling overhead, when my men called out to me excitedly and pointed to
a large wolf that leisurely crossed the path in front of us and slunk
over the brow. It had in its mouth a haunch of flesh torn from some poor
wretch who had perished during the night. This was the only wolf I saw
on my journey, though they are numerous in the province. Last year, not
twenty li from Chaotong, a little girl of four, the only child of the
mission cook, was killed by a wolf in broad daylight before its mother's
eyes, while playing at the cabin door.

Again, to-day, I passed a humpbacked dwarf on the hills, making his
solitary way towards Tongchuan, and I afterwards saw others, an
indication of the prosperity that had left the district, for in time of
famine no child who was badly deformed at birth would be suffered to
live.

We stopped the night at Leitoupo, and next day from the bleak tableland
high among the mountains, where the wind whistled in our faces, we
gradually descended into a country of trees and cultivation and
fertility. We left the bare red hills behind us, and came down into a
beautiful glade, with pretty streams running in pebbly beds past
terraced banks. At a village among the trees, where the houses made some
pretension to comfort, and where poppies with brilliantly coloured
flowers, encroached upon the street itself, we rested under a sunshade
in front of a teahouse. A pretty rill of mountain water ran at our feet.
Good tea was brought us in new clean cups, and a sweetmeat of peanuts,
set in sugar-like almond toffee. The teahouse was filled. In the midst
of the tea drinkers a man was lying curled on a mat, a bent elbow his
pillow, and fast asleep, with the opium pipe still beside him, and the
lamp still lit. A pretty little girl from the adjoining cottage came
shyly out to see me. I called her to me and gave her some sweetmeat. I
wished to put it in her mouth but she would not let me, and ran off
indoors. I looked into the room after her and saw her father take the
lolly from her and give it to her fat little baby brother, who seemed
the best fed urchin in the town. But I stood by and saw justice done,
and saw the little maid of four enjoy the first luxury of her life-time.
Girls in China early learn that they are, at best, only necessary evils,
to be endured, as tradition says Confucius taught, only as the possible
mothers of men. Yet the condition of women in China is far superior to
that in any other heathen country. Monogamy is the rule in China,
polygamy is the exception, being confined to the three classes, the
rich, the officials, and those who can by effort afford to take a
secondary wife, their first wife having failed to give birth to a son.

It is impossible to read the combined experiences of many missionaries
and travellers in China without forming the opinion that the condition
of women in China is as nearly satisfactory as could be hoped for, in a
kingdom of "civilised and organised heathenism," as the Rev. C. W.
Mateer terms it. The lot of the average Chinese woman is certainly not
one that a Western woman need envy. She cannot enjoy the happiness which
a Western woman does, but she is happy in her own way nevertheless.
"Happiness does not always consist in absolute enjoyment--but in the
idea which we have formed of it."

There was no impertinent curiosity to see the stranger. The people in
Yunnan seem cowed and crushed. That arrogance which characterises the
Chinese elsewhere is entirely wanting here. They have seen the horrors
of rebellion and civil war, of battle, murder and sudden death, of
devastation by the sword, famine, ruin, and misery. They are resigned
and spiritless. But their friendliness is charming; their courtesy and
kindliness is a constant delight to the traveller. At meal time you are
always pressed to join the table in the same manner, and with the
identical phrases still used by the Spaniards, but the request is one of
politeness only, and like the "_quiere Vd. gustar?_" is not meant to be
accepted.

We continued on our way. Comparatively few coolies now met us, and the
majority of those who did were travelling empty-handed; but there were
many ponies and mules coming from the capital, laden with tea and with
blocks of white salt like marble. Every here and there a rude shelter
was erected by the wayside, where a dish of cabbage and herbs could be
obtained, which you ate out of cracked dishes at an improvised bench
made from a coffin board resting on two stones. Towards sundown we
entered the village of Kong-shan, a pretty place on the hill slope, with
views across a fertile hollow that was pleasant to see. Here we found an
excellent inn with good quarters. Our day's journey was thirty-seven
miles, of which I walked fifteen miles and rode twenty-two miles. We
were travelling quickly. Distances in China are, at first, very
confusing. They differ from ours in a very important particular: they
are not fixed quantities; they vary in length according to the nature of
the ground passed over. Inequalities increase the distance; thus it by
no means follows that the distance from A to B is equal to the distance
from B to A--it may be fifty per cent. or one hundred per cent. longer.
The explanation is simple. Distance is estimated by time, and, speaking
roughly, ten li (3-1/3 miles) is the unit of distance equivalent to an
hour's journey. "Sixty li still to go" means six hours' journey before
you; it may be uphill all the way. If you are returning downhill you
need not be surprised to learn that the distance by the same road is
only thirty li.

To-night before turning in I looked in to see how my mule was faring. He
was standing in a crib at the foot of some underground stairs, with a
huge horse trough before him, the size and shape of a Chinese coffin. He
was peaceful and meditative. When he saw me he looked reproachfully at
the cut straw heaped untidily in the trough, and then at me, and asked
as clearly as he could if that was a reasonable ration for a
high-spirited mule, who had carried my honourable person up hill and
down dale over steep rocks and by tortuous paths, a long spring day in
a warm sun. Alas, I had nothing else to offer him, unless I gave him the
uncut straw that was stitched into our paillasses. What straw was before
him was Chinese chaff, cut into three-inch lengths, by a long knife
worked on a pivot and board, like the tobacco knife of civilisation. And
he had to be content with that or nothing.

Next day we had an early start soon after sunrise. It was a lovely day
with a gentle breeze blowing and a cloudless sky. The village of
Kong-shan was a very pretty place. It was built chiefly on two sides of
a main road which was as rugged as the dry bed of a mountain creek. The
houses were better and the inns were again provided with heaps of
bedding at the doorways. Advertisement bills in blue and red were
displayed on the lintels and doorposts, while fierce door-gods guarded
against the admission of evil spirits. Brave indeed must be the spirits
who venture within reach of such fierce bearded monsters, armed with
such desperate weapons, as were here represented. I stood on the edge of
the town overlooking the valley while my mule was being saddled. Patches
of wheat and beans were scattered among fields of white-flowered poppy.
Coolies carrying double buckets of water were winding up the sinuous
path from the border of the garden where "a pebbled brook laughs upon
its way." Boys were shouting to frighten away the sparrows from the
newly-sown rice beds; while women were moving on their little feet among
the poppies, scoring anew the capsules and gathering the juice that had
exuded since yesterday. Down the road coolies were filing laden with
their heavy burdens--a long day's toil before them; rude carts were
lumbering past me drawn by oxen and jolting on wheels that were solid
but not circular. Then the mule was brought to me, and we went on
through an avenue of trees that were half hidden in showers of white
roses, by hedges of roses in full bloom and wayside flowers, daisies and
violets, dandelions and forget-me-nots, a pretty sight all fresh and
sparkling in the morning sun.

We went on in single file, my two coolies first with their light loads
that swung easily from their shoulders, then myself on the mule, and
last my stalwart attendant Laohwan with his superior dress, his huge sun
hat, his long pipe, and umbrella. A man of unusual endurance was
Laohwan. The day's journey done--he always arrived the freshest of the
party--he had to get ready my supper, make my bed, and look after my
mule. He was always the last to bed and the first to rise. Long before
daybreak he was about again, attending to the mule and preparing my
porridge and eggs for breakfast. He thought I liked my eggs hard, and
each morning construed my look of remonstrance into one of approbation.
It is very true of the Chinaman that precedent determines his action.
The first morning Laohwan boiled the eggs hard and I could not reprove
him. Afterwards of course he made a point of serving me the eggs every
morning in the same way. I could say in Chinese "I don't like them," but
the morning I said so Laohwan applied my dislike to the eggs not to
their condition of cooking, and saying in Chinese "good, good," he
obligingly ate them for me.

Leaving the valley we ascended the red incline to an open tableland,
where the soil is arid, and yields but a reluctant and scanty harvest.
Nothing obstructs the view, and you can see long distances over the
downs, which are bereft of all timber except an occasional clump of
pines that the axe has spared because of the beneficial influence the
geomancers declare they exercise over the neighbourhood. The roadway in
places is cut deeply into the ground; for the path worn by the
attrition of countless feet soon becomes a waterchannel, and the roadway
in the rains is often the bed of a rapid stream. At short intervals are
vast numbers of grave mounds with tablets and arched gables of well
dressed stone. No habitations of the living are within miles of them, a
forcible illustration of the devastation that has ravaged the district.
This was still the famine district. In the open uncultivated fields
women were searching for weeds and herbs to save them from starvation
till the ingathering of the winter harvest. Their children it was
pitiful to see. It is rare for Australians to see children dying of
hunger. These poor creatures, with their pinched faces and fleshless
bones, were like the patient with typhoid fever who has long been
hovering between life and death. There were no beggars. All the beggars
were dead long ago. All through the famine district we were not once
solicited for either food or money, but those who were still living were
crying for alms with silent voices a hundred times more appealing. When
we rested to have tea the poor children gathered round to see us,
skeletons dressed in skins and rags, yet meekly independent and
friendly. Their parents were covered with ragged garments that hardly
held together. Many wore over their shoulders rude grass cloths made
from pine fibre that appear to be identical with the native petticoats
worn by the women of New Guinea.

Leaving the poor upland behind us, we descended to a broad and fertile
plain where the travelling was easy, and passed the night in a large
Moslem inn in the town of Iangkai.

All next day we pursued our way through fertile fields flanked by pretty
hills, which it was hard to realise were the peaks of mountains 10,000
to 11,000 feet above sea-level. Before sundown we reached the prosperous
market town of Yanglin, where I had a clean upstairs room in an
excellent inn. The wall of my bedroom was scrawled over in Chinese
characters with what I was told were facetious remarks by Chinese
tourists on the quality of the fare.

In the evening my mule was sick, Laohwan said, and a veterinary surgeon
had to be sent for. He came with unbecoming expedition. Then in the same
way that I have seen the Chinese doctors in Australia diagnose the
ailments of their human patients of the same great family, he examined
the poor mule with the inscrutable air of one to whom are unveiled the
mysteries of futurity, and he retired with his fee. The medicine came
later in a large basket, and consisted of an assortment of herbs so
varied that one at least might be expected to hit the mark. My Laohwan
paid the mule doctor, so he said, for advice and medicine 360 cash
(ninepence), an exorbitant charge as prices are in China.

On Friday, April 13th, we had another pleasant day in open country,
leading to the low rim of hills that border the plain and lake of Yunnan
city. Ruins everywhere testify to the march of the rebellion of thirty
years ago--triumphal arches in fragments, broken temples, battered idols
destroyed by Mohammedan iconoclasts. Districts destitute of habitations,
where a thriving population once lived, attest that suppression of a
rebellion in China spells extermination to the rebels.

On the road I met a case of goitre, and by-and-by others, till I counted
twenty or more, and then remembered that I was now entering on a
district of Asia extending over Western Yunnan into Thibet, Burma, the
Shan States, and Siam, the prevailing deformity of whose people is
goitre.

[Illustration: THE BIG EAST GATE OF YUNNAN CITY.]

Ten miles before Yunnan my men led me off the road to a fine building
among the poplars, which a large monogram on the gateway told me was the
Catholic College of the _Missions Étrangères de Paris_, known throughout
the Province as Jinmaasuh. Situated on rising ground, the plain of
Yunnan widening before it, the College commands a distant view of the
walls and turretted gateways, the pagodas and lofty temples of the
famous city. Chinese students are trained here for the priesthood. At
the time of my visit there were thirty students in residence, who, after
their ordination, will be scattered as evangelists throughout the
Province. Père Excoffier was at home, and received me with
characteristic courtesy. His news was many weeks later than mine. M.
Gladstone had retired from the Premiership, and M. Rosebery was his
successor. England had determined to renew the payment of the tribute
which China formerly exacted by right of suzerainty from Burma. The
Chinese were daily expecting the arrival of two white elephants from
Burma, which were coming in charge of the British Resident in Singai
(Bhamo), M. Warry, as a present to the Emperor, and were the official
recognition by England that Burma is still a tributary of the Middle
Kingdom. I may here say that I often heard of this tribute in Western
China. The Chinese had been long waiting for the arrival of the
elephants, with their yellow flags floating from the howdahs,
announcing, as did the flags of Lord Macartney's Mission to Peking,
"Tribute from the English to the Emperor of China," and I suppose that
there are governments idiotic enough to thus pander to Chinese
arrogance. No doubt what has given rise to the report is the knowledge
that the Government of India is bound, under the Convention of 1886, to
send, every ten years, a complimentary mission from the Chief
Commissioner of Burma to the Viceroy of Yunnan.

It was late when I left Jinmaasuh, and long after sundown before I
reached the city. The flagged causeway across the plain was slippery to
walk on, and my mule would not agree with me that there was any need to
hurry. He knew the Chinese character better than I did. Gunfire, the
signal for the closing of the gates, had sounded when we were two miles
from the wall; but sentries are negligent in China and the gates were
still open. Had we been earlier we should have entered by the south
gate, which is always the most important of the gates of a Chinese city,
and the one through which all officials make their official entry; but,
unable to do this, we entered by the big east gate. Turning sharply to
the right along the city wall we were conducted in a few minutes to the
Telegraph Offices, where I received a cordial welcome from Mr. Christian
Jensen, the superintendent of telegraphs in the two great provinces of
Yunnan and Kweichow. These are his headquarters, and here I was to rest
a delightful week. It was a pleasant change from silence to speech, from
Chinese discomfort to European civilisation. Chinese fare one evening,
pork, rice, tea, and beans; and the next, chicken and the famed Shuenwei
ham, mutton and green peas and red currant jelly, pancakes and
aboriginal Yunnan cheese, claret, champagne, port, and cordial Medoc.



CHAPTER XIII.

AT YUNNAN CITY.


Yunnan City is one of the great cities of China, not so much in size as
in importance. It is within easy access at all seasons of the year of
the French colony of Tonquin, whereas the trade route from here to
British Burma is long, arduous, and mountainous, and in its Western
portions is closed to traffic during the rains. From Yunnan City to
Mungtze on the borders of Tonquin, where there is a branch of the
Imperial Maritime Customs of China, is a journey of eight days over an
easy road. Four days from Mungtze is Laokai on the Red River, a river
which is navigable by boat or steamer to Hanoi, the chief river port of
Tonquin. In the middle of 1889 the French river steamer, _Le Laokai_,
made the voyage from Hanoi to Laokai in sixty hours.

From Yunnan City to Bhamo on the Irrawaddy, in British Burma, is a
difficult journey of thirty-three stages over a mountainous road which
can never by any human possibility be made available for other traffic
than caravans of horses or coolies on foot. The natural highway of
Central and Southern Yunnan is by Tonquin, and no artificial means can
ever alter it. At present Eastern Yunnan sends her trade through the
provinces of Kweichow and Hunan to the Yangtse above Hankow, or viâ the
two Kuangs to Canton. Shortness of distance, combined with facility of
transport, must soon tap this trade or divert it into the highways of
Tonquin. Northern Yunnan must send her produce and receive her imports,
viâ Szechuen and the Yangtse. As for the trade of Szechuen, the richest
of the provinces of China, no man can venture to assert that any other
trade route exists, or can ever be made to exist, than the River
Yangtse; and all the French Commissioners in the world can no more alter
the natural course of this trade than they can change the channel of the
Yangtse itself.

I am not, of course, the first distinguished visitor who has been in
Yunnan City. Marco Polo was here in 1283, and has left on record a
description of the city, which, in his time, was known by the name of
Yachi. Jesuit missionaries have been propagating the faith in the
province since the seventeenth century. But the distinction of being the
first European traveller, not a missionary priest, to visit the city
since the time of Marco Polo rests with Captain Doudart de la Grée of
the French Navy, who was here in 1867.

Margary, the British Consul, who met a cruel death at Manwyne, passed
through Yunnan in 1875 on his famous journey from Hankow; and two years
later the tardy mission under Grosvenor, with the brilliant Baber as
interpreter, and Li Han Chang, the brother of Li Hung Chang, as delegate
for the Chinese, arrived here in the barren hope of bringing his
murderers to justice.

Hosie, formerly H.B.M. Consul in Chungking, and well known as a
traveller in Western China, was in Yunnan City in 1882.

In September, 1890, Bonvalot and Prince Henri d'Orleans stopped here at
the French Mission on their way to Mungtze in Tonquin. It was on the
completion of their journey along the eastern edge of _Tibet
Inconnu_--"Unknown Thibet!" as they term it, although the whole route
had been traversed time and again by missionary priests, a journey whose
success was due--though few have ever heard his name--to its true
leader, interpreter, and guide, the brave Dutch priest from Kuldja, Père
Dedeken.

Another famous missionary traveller, Père Vial, who led Colquhoun out of
his difficulty in that journey "Across Chryse," which Colquhoun
describes as a "Journey of Exploration" (though it was through a country
that had been explored and accurately mapped a century and a half before
by Jesuit missionaries), and conducted him in safety to Bhamo in Burma,
has often been in Yunnan City, and is a possible successor to the
Bishopric.

M. Boell, who left the Secretaryship of the French Legation in Peking to
become the special correspondent of _Le Temps_, was here in 1892 on his
way from Kweiyang, in Kweichow, to Tonquin, and a few months later
Captain d'Amade, the Military Secretary of the French Legation,
completed a similar journey from Chungking. In May, 1892, the
Commissioner from the French Government opium farm in Hanoi, M. Tommé,
arrived in Yunnan City from Mungtze, sent by his Government in search of
improved methods of poppy cultivation--the Yunnan opium, with the
exception of the Shansi opium, being probably the finest in China.
Finally, in May, 1893, Lenz, the American bicyclist, to the profound
amazement of the populace, rode on his "living wheel" to the
_Yesu-tang_. This was the most remarkable journey of all. Lenz
practically walked across China, surmounting hardships and dangers that
few men would venture to face. I often heard of him. He stayed at the
mission stations. All the missionaries praise his courage and endurance,
and the admirable good humour with which he endured every discomfort.
But one missionary lamented to me that Lenz did not possess that close
acquaintance with the Bible which was to be expected of a man of his
hardihood. It seems that at family prayers at this good missionary's,
the chapter for reading was given out when poor Lenz was discovered
feverishly seeking the Epistle to the Galatians in the Old Testament.
When his mistake was gently pointed out to him he was not discouraged,
far from it; it was the missionary who was dismayed to hear that in the
United States this particular Epistle is always reckoned a part of the
Pentateuch.

I paid an early visit of courtesy to my nominal host, Li Pi Chang, the
Chinese manager of the Telegraphs. He received me in his private office,
gave me the best seat on the left, and handed me tea with his own fat
hands. A mandarin whose rank is above that of an expectant Taotai, Li is
to be the next Taotai of Mungtze, where, from an official salary of 400
taels per annum, he hopes to save from 10,000 to 20,000 taels per annum.

"Squeezing," as this method of enrichment is termed, is, you see, not
confined to America. Few arts, indeed, seem to be more widely
distributed than the art of squeezing. "Dives, the tax-dodger," is as
common in China as he is in the United States. Compare, however, any
city in China, in the midst of the most ancient civilisation in the
world, with a city like Chicago, which claims to have reached the
highest development of modern civilisation, and it would be difficult to
assert that the condition of public morals in the heathen city was even
comparable with the corruption and sin of the American city, a city
"nominally Christian, which is studded with churches and littered with
Bibles," but still a city "where perjury is a protected industry." No
community is more ardent in its evangelisation of the "perishing
Chinese" than Chicago, but where in all China is there "such a supreme
embodiment of fraud, falsehood, and injustice," as prevails in Chicago?
An alderman in Chicago, Mr. Stead tells us (p. 172 _et seq._) receives
only 156 dollars a year salary; but, in addition to his salary, he
enjoys "practically unrestricted liberty to fill his pockets by
bartering away the property of the city." "It is expected of the
alderman, as a fundamental principle, that he will steal," and, in a
fruitful year, says the _Record_, the average crooked alderman makes
15,000 to 20,000 dollars. An assessorship in Chicago is worth nominally
1500 dollars per annum, but "everyone knows that in Chicago an
assessorship is the shortest cut to fortune."

Squeezing in China may be common, but it is a humble industry compared
with the monumental swindling which Mr. Stead describes as existing in
Chicago.

Besides being manager in Yunnan City, Li is the chief telegraph director
of the two provinces of Yunnan and Kweichow. That he is entirely
innocent of all knowledge of telegraphy, or of the management of
telegraphs, is no bar to such an appointment. He is a mandarin, and is,
therefore, presumably fitted to take any position whatever, whether it
be that of Magistrate or Admiral of the Fleet, Collector of Customs, or
General commanding in the field. Of the mandarin in China it is truly
said that "there is nothing he isn't."

Li is also Chief Secretary of the _Shan-hao-Tsung-Kuh_, "The Supreme
Board of Reorganisation" of the province, the members of which are the
four highest provincial officials next below the Governor
(_Futai_)--viz., the Treasurer (_Fantai_), Provincial Judge (_Niehtai_),
the Salt Comptroller, and the Grain Intendant.

Li, it may be said at once, is a man of no common virtue. He is the
father of seven sons and four daughters; he can die in peace; in his
family there is no fear of the early extinction of male descendants, for
the succession is as well provided against as it is in the most fertile
Royal family in Europe. His family is far spreading, and it is worth
noting as an instance of the patriarchal nature of the family in China,
that Li is regarded as the father of a family, whose members dependent
upon him for entire or partial support number eighty persons. He has had
three wives. His number one wife still lives at the family seat in
Changsha; another secondary wife is dead; his present number two wife
lives with him in Yunnan. This is his favourite wife, and her story is
worth a passing note. She was not a "funded houri," but a poor _yatow_,
a "forked head" or slave girl, whom he purchased on a lucky day, and,
smitten with her charms, made her his wife. It was a case of love at
first sight. Her conduct since marriage has more than justified the
choice of her master. Still a young woman, she has already presented her
lord with nine children, on the last occasion surpassing herself by
giving birth to twins. She has a most pleasant face, and really charming
children; but the chief attraction of a Chinese lady is absent in her
case. Her feet are of natural size, and not even in the exaggerated
murmurings of love could her husband describe them as "three-inch gold
lilies."

That this was a marriage of inclination there can be no doubt whatever.
It is idle to argue that the Chinese are an unemotional people,
incapable of feeling the same passions that move us. We ridicule the
image of a Chinaman languishing in love, just as the Chinaman derides
the possibility of experiencing the feelings of love for the average
foreign woman he has seen in China. Their poetry abounds in love
episodes. Students of Chinese civilisation seem to agree that a _mariage
de convenance_ in China is more likely even than on the Continent to
become instantly a marriage of affection. The pleasures of female
society are almost denied the Chinaman; he cannot fall in love before
marriage because of the absence of an object for his love. "The faculty
of love produces a subjective ideal; and craves for a corresponding
objective reality. And the longer the absence of the objective reality,
the higher the ideal becomes; as in the mind of the hungry man ideal
foods get more and more exquisite."

In Meadows' "Essay on Civilisation in China," there is a charming story,
translated from the Chinese, of love at first sight, given in
illustration of the author's contention that "it is the men to whom
women's society is almost unknown that are most apt to fall violently in
love at first sight. Violent love at first sight is a general
characteristic of nations where the sexes have no intercourse before
marriage.... The starved cravings of love devour the first object":--

"A Chinese who had suffered bitter disenchantments in marriage retired
with his infant son to the solitude of a mountain inaccessible for
little-footed Chinese women. He trained up the youth to worship the gods
and stand in awe and abhorrence of devils, but he never mentioned even
the name of woman to him. He always descended to market alone, but when
he grew old and feeble he was at length compelled to take the young man
with him to carry the heavy bag of rice. He very reasonably argued, 'I
shall always accompany my son, and take care that if he does see a
woman by chance, he shall never speak to one; he is very obedient; he
has never heard of woman; he does not know what they are; and as he has
lived in that way for twenty years already, he is, of course, now pretty
safe.'

"As they were on the first occasion leaving the market town together,
the son suddenly stopped short, and, pointing to three approaching
objects, inquired: 'Father, what are these things? Look! look! what are
they?' The father hastily answered: 'Turn away your head. They are
devils.' The son, in some alarm, instantly turned away from things so
bad, and which were gazing at his motions with surprise from under their
fans. He walked to the mountain top in silence, ate no supper, and from
that day lost his appetite and was afflicted with melancholy. For some
time his anxious and puzzled parent could get no satisfactory answer to
his inquiries; but at length the poor young man burst out, almost crying
from an inexplicable pain: 'Oh, father, that tallest devil! that tallest
devil, father!'"

Girls for Yunnan City are bought at two chief centres--at Chaotong, as
we have seen, and at Bichih. They are carried to the city in baskets.
They are rarely sold into prostitution, but are bought as slave girls
for domestic service, as concubines, and occasionally as wives. Their
great merit is the absence of the "thickneck," goitre.

The morning after my visit, Li sent me his card, together with a leg of
mutton and a pile of sweet cakes. I returned my card, and gave the
bearer 200 cash (fivepence), not as a return gift to the mandarin, but
as a private act of generosity to his servant--all this being in
accordance with Chinese etiquette.

My host in Yunnan, and the actual manager and superintendent of the
telegraphs of the two provinces, is a clever Danish gentleman, Mr.
Christian Jensen, an accomplished linguist, to whom every European
resident and traveller in the province is indebted for a thousand acts
of kindness and attention. He has a rare knowledge of travel in China.
Mr. Jensen arrived in China in 1880 in the service of the Great Northern
Telegraph Company--a Danish company. From December, 1881, when the first
Chinese telegraph line was opened (that from Shanghai to Tientsin), till
the spring of 1883, he was one of eight operatives and engineers lent by
the Company to the Chinese Government. In December 1883, having returned
in the meantime to the Great Northern he accepted an engagement under
the Imperial Government and he has been in their employ ever since.
During this time he has superintended the construction of 7000 li (2350
miles) of telegraph lines, and it was he who, on the 20th May, 1890,
effected the junction of the Chinese system with the French lines at
Laokai. Among the more important lines constructed by him are those
joining the two capital cities of the provinces of Yunnan and Kweichow;
that from Yunnan City to Mungtze, on the frontier of Tonquin; that from
Canton to the boundary of Fuhkien province; and that from Yunnan City
through Tali to Tengyueh (Momien), this last line being the one which
will eventually unite with the marvellous Indian telegraph system at the
Burmese frontier. In the course of his many journeys through China, Mr.
Jensen has been invariably well treated by the Chinese, and it is
pleasant to hear one who has seen so much of the inner life of the
country speak as he does of the universal courtesy and hospitality,
attention, and kindness that has been shown him by all classes of
Chinese from the highest officials to the humblest coolies.

[Illustration: VIEW IN YUNNAN CITY.]

Many interesting episodes have marked his stay in China. Once, when
repairing the line from Pase, in Kwangsi, to Mungtze, during the rainy
season of 1889, fifty-six out of sixty men employed by him died of what
there can be little doubt was the same plague that has lately devastated
Hong Kong. On this occasion, of twelve men who at different times were
employed as his chair-bearers, all died.

In October, 1886, he came to Yunnan City, and made this his
headquarters. He has always enjoyed good health.

One of the chief difficulties that formerly impeded the extension of the
telegraph in China was the belief that the telegraph poles spoil the
"_fungshui_"--in other words, that they divert good luck from the
districts they pass through. This objection has been everywhere
overcome. It last revealed itself in the extreme west of the line from
Yunnan. Villagers who saw in the telegraph a menace to the good fortune
of their district would cut down the poles--and sell the wire in
compensation for their trouble. The annoyance had to be put a stop to.
An energetic magistrate took the matter in hand. He issued a warning to
the villagers, but his warning was unheeded. Then he took more vigorous
measures. The very next case that occurred he had two men arrested, and
charged with the offence. They were probably innocent, but under the
persuasion of the bamboo they were induced to acquiesce in the
magistrate's opinion as to their guilt. They were sentenced to be
deprived of their ears, and then they were sent on foot, that all might
see them, under escort along the line from Yunnan City to Tengyueh and
back again. No poles have been cut down since.



CHAPTER XIV.

GOLD, BANKS, AND TELEGRAPHS IN YUNNAN.


Yunnan City is the great gold emporium of China, for most of the gold
found in China comes from the province of which it is the capital. When
a rich Chinaman returns from Yunnan to another province, or is summoned
on a visit to the Emperor at Peking, he carries his money in gold not
silver. Gold leaf sent from Yunnan gilds the gods of Thibet and the
temples and pagodas of Indo-China. No caravan returns to Burma from
Western China whose spare silver has not been changed into gold leaf. In
the Arracan Temple in Mandalay, as in the Shway-dagon Pagoda in Rangoon,
you see the gold leaf that Yunnan produces, and in the future will
produce in infinitely greater quantities.

Gold comes chiefly from the mines of Talang, eighteen days journey by
land S.W. from Yunnan City, on the confines of the district which
produces the famous Puerh tea. The yield must be a rich one despite the
ineffective appliances that are employed in its extraction. Gold has
always been abundant in this province; at the time of Marco Polo's visit
it was so abundant that its value in relation to silver was only as one
to six.

When gold is worth in Shanghai 35 times its weight in silver, it may be
bought in Yunnan City or Talifu for from 25 to 27.5 times its weight in
silver, and in quantities up to hundreds of ounces. To remit silver by
telegraphic transfer from Shanghai or Hong Kong to Yunnan city costs six
per cent., and either of the two leading banks in the city will
negotiate the transfer from their agents at the seaports of any amount
up to 10,000 ounces of silver in a single transaction. The gold can
always be readily sold in Shanghai or Hong Kong, and the only risk is in
the carriage of the gold from the inland city to the seaport. So far as
I could learn, no gold thus sent has gone astray. It is carried overland
by the fastest trade route--that through Mungtze to Laokai--and thence
by a boat down stream to Hanoi in Tonquin, from which port it is sent by
registered post to Saigon and Hong Kong. Here then is a venture open to
all, with excitement sufficient for the most _blasé_ speculator. Ample
profits are made by the dealer. For instance, a large quantity of gold
was purchased in Yunnan city on the 21st January, 1894, at 23.2, its
value in Shanghai on the same date being 30.9; but on the date that the
gold arrived in Shanghai its value had risen to 35, at which price it
was sold. At the time of my visit gold was 25.5 to 27 in Yunnan, and 35
in Shanghai, and I have since learnt that, while gold has become cheaper
in the province, it has become dearer at the seaport.

The gold is brought to the buyer in the form of jewellery of really
exquisite workmanship, of rings and bracelets, earrings and head
ornaments, of those tiny images worn by rich children in a half circlet
over the forehead, and bridal charms that would make covetous the heart
of a nun. Ornaments of gold such as these are 98 per cent. fine and are
sold, weighed on the same scales, for so many times their weight in
silver. They are sold not because of the poverty of their owners, but
because their owners make a very large profit on their original cost by
so disposing of them. If, however, the purchaser prefer it, gold will be
brought him in the leaf 99 per cent. fine, and this is undoubtedly the
best form into which to convert your silver. The gold beaters of Yunnan
are a recognised class, and are so numerous that they have a powerful
guild or trade's union of their own.

Gold-testing is also a recognised profession, but the methods are
primitive and require the skill of an expert, consisting, as they do, of
a comparison of the rubbing on a stone of the unknown gold, with a
similar rubbing of gold whose standard has been accurately determined.
One of the best gold-testers in the city has been taught electric
gilding by Mr. Jensen and does some skilful work.

The principle of self-protection restrains the Chinaman from the
ostentatious exhibition of his wealth--he fears being squeezed by the
officials who are apt to regard wealth as an aggravation of crime, to be
the more severely punished the better able is the accused to purchase
exemption from punishment. I have seen a stranger come into the room
where Mr. Jensen and I were sitting, who from his appearance seemed to
be worth perhaps a five-dollar bill, and after a preliminary interchange
of compliments, I have seen his hand disappear up his long sleeve and
produce a package of gold leaf worth perhaps 2000 taels of silver. This
he would offer for sale; there was some quiet bargaining; when, should
they agree, the gold was weighed, the purchaser handed a cheque on his
Chinese banker for the amount in silver, and the transaction was
finished as quickly and neatly as if it had taken place in Bond Street,
and not in the most inland capital of an "uncivilised country"; whose
civilisation has nevertheless kept it intact and mighty since the dawn
of history, and whose banking methods are the same now as they were in
the days of Solomon.

The silver of Yunnan is of the same standard as the silver of Shanghai,
namely 98 per cent. pure, and differs to the eye from the absolutely
unalloyed silver of Szechuen.

The cash of Yunnan vary in a way that is more than usually bewildering.
Let me explain, in a few sentences, the "cash" currency of the Middle
Kingdom. The current coin of China as everyone knows is the brass cash,
which is perforated so that it may be carried on a string. Now,
theoretically, a "string of cash" contains 100 coins, and in the Eastern
provinces ten strings are the theoretical equivalent of one Mexican
dollar. But there are eighteen provinces in China, and the number of
brass cash passing for a string varies in each province from the full
100, which I have never seen, to 83 in Taiyuen, and down to 33 in the
Eastern part of the province of Chihli. In Peking I found the system
charmingly simple. One thousand cash are there represented by 100 coins,
whereas 1000 "old cash" consist of 1000 coins, though 1000 "capital
cash" are only 500 coins. The big cash are marked as 10 capital cash,
but count the same as 5 old cash. Nowhere does a Chinaman mean 1000 cash
when he speaks of 1000 cash. In Tientsin 1000 cash means 500 cash--that
is to say 5 times 100 cash, the 100 there being any number you can pass
except 100, though by agreement the 100 is usually estimated at 98. In
Nanking I found a different system to prevail. There cash are 1075 the
1000, but of the 10 strings of 100 cash, 7 contain only 98 cash each,
and 3 only 95, yet the surplus 75 cash--that is to say the number which
for the time being is the Nanking equivalent of 75--are added all the
same. At Lanchow in Chihli on the Imperial Chinese Railway near
Shanhai-kwan, 16 old cash count as 100 cash, yet 33 are required to make
up 200; in Tientsin from which point the railway starts, 1000 cash are
really 500 cash and 98 count there as 100. Now 2000 Chihli cash are
represented by 325 coins, and 1000 by 162 coins, and 6000 by 975 coins,
which again count as 1000 large cash and equal on an average one Mexican
dollar. Therefore to convert Lanchow cash into Tientsin cash you must
divide the Lanchow cash by 3, count 975 as 1000, and consider this equal
to a certain percentage of a theoretical amount of silver known as a
tael, which is always varying of itself as well as by the fluctuations
in the market value of silver, and which is not alike in any two places,
and may widely vary in different portions of the same place.

Could anything be simpler? And yet there are those who say that the
system of money exchange in China is both cumbrous and exasperating.
Take as a further instance the cash in Yunnan. Everyone knows that
theoretically there are 2000 cash in the tael, each tael containing 20
"strings," and each "string" 100 cash, but in Yunnan 2000 cash are not
2000 cash--they are only 1880 cash. This does not mean that 1880 cash
are represented by 1880 coins, not at all; because 62 cash in Yunnan are
counted as 100. Eighteen hundred and eighty cash are therefore
represented by only 1240 cash coins and all prices must be paid in this
proportion. Immediately outside the city, however, a string of cash is a
"full string" and contains 100 cash or rather it contains as few cash as
possibly can be passed for 100, a fair average number being 98.

Silver is weighed in the City banks and at the wholesale houses on the
"capital scale," but in the retail stores on scales that are heavier by
14 per cent. (one mace and 4 candareens in the tael). Outside the city
on the road to Tali there is a loss on exchange varying according to
your astuteness from 3 to 6 per cent. on the capital scale.

There are two chief banks in Yunnan city. Wong's whose bank, the
signboard tells us, is "Beneficent, Rich, United," and Mong's "Bank of
the Hundred Streams," which is said to be still richer.

With Mr. Jensen I called one evening upon Wong, and found him with his
sons and chief dependents at the evening meal. All rose as we entered
and pressed us to take a seat with them, and when we would not, the
father and grown-up son showed us into the guest-room and seated us on
the opium-dais under the canopy. The opium-lamps were already lit; on a
beautiful tray inlaid with mother-of-pearl there were pipes for
visitors, and phials of prepared opium. Here we insisted on their
leaving us and returning to their supper; they finished speedily and
returned to their visitors. We were given good tea and afterwards a
single cigar was handed to each of us. In offering you a cigar it is not
the Chinese custom to offer you your choice from the cigar box; the
courtesy is too costly, for there are few Chinamen in these
circumstances who could refrain from helping themselves to a handful.
"When one is eating one's own" says the Chinese proverb, "one does not
eat to repletion; when one is eating another's, one eats till the tears
run."

Wong is one of the leading citizens of Yunnan, and is held in high
honour by his townsmen. His house is a handsome Chinese mansion; it has
a dignified entrance and the garden court is richly filled with plants
in porcelain vases. It may thus be said of him, as of the Confucian
Superior Man, "riches adorn his house and virtue his person, his heart
is expanded, and his body is at ease."

A Szechuen man, a native of Chungking, fifty-nine years of age, Wong is
a man of immense wealth, his bank being known all over China, and having
branches in capital cities so far distant from each other as Peking,
Canton, Kweiyang, Shanghai, Hankow, Nanchang, Soochow, Hangchow, and
Chungking. I may add that he has smoked opium for many years.

I formed a high opinion of the intelligence of Wong. He questioned me
like an insurance doctor as to my family history, and professed himself
charmed with the amazing richness in sons of my most honourable family.
He had heard of my native country, which he called _Hsin Chin Shan_, the
"New Gold Mountain," to distinguish it from the _Lao Chin Shan_, the
"Old Gold Mountain," as the Chinese term California. I was the more
pleased to find that Wong had some knowledge of Australia and its gold,
because a few months before I had been pained by an incident bearing on
this very subject, which occurred to me in the highly civilised city of
Manila, in the Philippine Islands. On an afternoon in August, 1893, I
stood in the Augustine Church, in Old Manila, to witness the funeral
service of the Padre Provincial of the Augustines. It was the first
occasion for one hundred and twenty-three years that the Provincial of
the Order had died while in the actual exercise of his office, and it
was known that the ceremony would be one of the most imposing ever seen
in the Islands. The fine old church, built by the son of the architect
of the Escorial--the only building in Manila left standing by the
earthquake of 1645--was crowded with mourners, and almost every
notability of the province was said to be present. During the service
two young Spaniards, students from the University close by, pushed their
way in beside me. Wishing to learn who were the more distinguished of
the mourners, I asked the students to kindly point out to me the
Governor-General (Blanco), and other prominent officials, and they did
so with agreeable courtesy. When the service was finished I thanked them
for the trouble they had taken and was coming away, when one of them
stopped me.

"Pardon me, Caballero," he said, "but will you do me the favour to tell
me where you come from?"

"I am from Australia."

"From Austria! so then you come from Austria?"

"No, sir, from Australia."

"But 'Australia'--where is it?"

"It is a rich colony of England of immense importance."

"But where is it?" he persisted.

"_Dios mio!_" I exclaimed aghast, "it is in China."

But his friend interposed. "The gentleman is talking in fun," he said.
"Thou knowest, Pepe, where is Australia, where is Seednay, and
Melboornay, where all the banks have broken one after the other in a
bankruptcy colossal."

"_Ya me figuraba donde era_," Pepe replied, as I edged uncomfortably
away.

During my journey across China it was not often that I was called upon
to make use of my profession. But I was pleased to be of some service to
this rich banker. He wished to consult me professionally, because he had
heard from the truthful lips of rumour of the wonderful powers of
divination given to the foreign medical man. What was his probable
tenure of life? That was the problem. I gravely examined two of his
pulses--every properly organised Chinaman has four hundred--and finding
his heart where it should be in the centre of his body, with the other
organs ranged round it like the satellites round the sun--every Chinaman
is thus constructed--I was glad to be able to assure him that he will
certainly live forty years longer--if Heaven permit him.

Wong has a grown-up son of twenty who will succeed to the bank; he is at
present the managing proprietor of a small general store purchased for
him by his father. The son has been taught photography by Mr. Jensen,
and has an excellent camera obtained from Paris. He is quite an
enthusiast. In his shop a crowd is always gathered round the counter
looking at the work of this Chinese amateur. There are a variety of
stores for sale on the shelves, and I was interested to notice the
cheerful promiscuity with which bottles of cyanide of potassium and
perchloride of mercury were scattered among bottles of carbonate of
soda, of alum, of Moët and Chandon (spurious), of pickles, and Howard's
quinine. The first time that cyanide of potassium is sold for alum, or
corrosive sublimate for bicarbonate of soda there will be an _éclat_
given to the dealings of this shop which will be very gratifying to its
owner.

The telegraph in Yunnan is very largely used by the Chinese, especially
by the bankers and officials. By telegraph you can remit, as I have
said, through the Chinese banks, telegraphic transfers to the value of
thousands of taels in single transactions. It is principally the banks
and the Government who make use of the telegraph, and their
communications are sent by private code. When the Tsungli Yamen in
Peking sends a telegram to the Viceroy in Yunnan it is in code that the
message comes; and it is by private code also that a Chinese bank in
Shanghai telegraphs to its far inland agents. Messages are sent in China
by the Morse system. The method of telegraphing Chinese characters,
whose discovery enabled the Chinese to make use of the telegraph, was
the ingenious invention of a forgotten genius in the Imperial Maritime
Customs of China. The method is simplicity itself. The telegraph code
consists of ten thousand numbers of four numerals each, and each group
so constituted represents a Chinese character. Any operator, however
ignorant of Chinese, can thus telegraph or receive a message in Chinese.
He receives, for instance, a message containing a series of numbers such
as 0018, 0297, 5396, 8424. He has before him a series of ten thousand
wood blocks on which the number is cut at one end and the corresponding
Chinese character at the other, he takes out the number, touches the
inkpad with the other end, and stamps opposite each group its Chinese
character. The system permits, moreover, of the easy arrangement of
indecipherable private codes, because by adding or subtracting a certain
number from each group of figures, other characters than those
telegraphed can be indicated.

I need hardly add that the system of wood blocks is not in practical
use, for the numbers and their characters are now printed in code-books.
And here we have an instance of the marvellous faculty of memorising
characteristic of the Chinese. A Chinaman's memory is something
prodigious. From time immemorial the memory of the Chinese has been
developed above all the other faculties. Memory is the secret of success
in China, not originality. Among a people taught to associate innovation
with impiety, and with whom precedent determines all action, it is
inevitable that the faculty of recollection should be the most highly
developed of all the mental faculties. Necessity compels the Chinaman to
have a good memory. No race has ever been known where the power of
memory has been developed even in rare individual cases to the degree
that is common to all classes of the Chinese, especially to the
literati.

The Chinese telegraph clerk quickly learns all the essential portion of
the code-book by heart. The book then lies in the drawer a superfluity.
It is claimed for Chiang, the second Chinese clerk in Yunnan, that he
knows all the 10,000 numbers and their corresponding characters.

Telegrams from Yunnan to Shanghai cost twenty-two tael cents (at the
present value of the tael this is equal to sixpence) for each Chinese
character; but each word in any other language is charged double, that
is, forty-four cents.

[Illustration: SOLDIERS ON THE WALL OF YUNNAN CITY.]

From Yunnan to Talifu is a distance of 307 miles. The native banker in
the capital will remit for you by wire to his agent in Tali the sum of
1000 taels, for a charge of eight taels, exclusive of the cost of the
telegram, and, as the value of silver in Tali is one per cent. higher
than it is in Yunnan, the traveller can send his money by wire with
perfect safety, and lose nothing in the remittance, not even the cost of
the telegram.

The telegraph offices are separated from the city wall by a small
common, which is quite level, and which the Chinaman of the future will
convert into a bowling green and lawn-tennis ground. There is a handsome
entrance. The large portal is painted with horrific gods armed with
monstrous weapons. The Chinese still seem to adhere to the belief that
the deadliness of a weapon must be in proportion to the savageness of
its aspect. Inside, there are spacious courts and well-furnished guest
rooms, roomy apartments, and offices for the mandarin, as well as
comfortable quarters for Mr. Jensen and his body of Chinese clerks and
operators. There is a pretty garden all bright and sunny, with a pond of
gold fish and ornamental parapet. Wandering freely in the enclosure are
peacocks and native companions, while a constant playmate of the
children is a little laughing monkey of a kind that is found in the
woods beyond Tali. At night a watchman passes round the courts every two
hours, striking a dismal gong under the windows, and waking the
foreigner from his slumbers; but the noise he makes does not disturb the
sleep of the Chinese--indeed, it is open to question if there is any
discord known which, as mere noise, _could_ disturb a Chinaman.

The walls that flank the entrance are covered with official posters
giving the names of the men of Yunnan City who contributed to the relief
of the sufferers by a recent famine in Shansi, together with the amounts
of their contributions and the rewards to which their gifts entitled
them. The Chinese are firm believers in the doctrine of justification by
works, and on these posters one could read the exact return made in this
world for an act of merit, apart, of course, from the reward that will
be reaped in Heaven. In a case like this it is usually arranged that for
"gifts amounting to a certain percentage of the sums ordinarily
authorised, subscribers may obtain brevet titles, posthumous titles,
decorations, buttons up to the second class, the grade of licentiate,
and brevet rank up to the rank of Colonel. Disgraced officials may apply
to have their rank restored. Nominal donations of clothes, if the money
value of the articles be presented instead, will entitle the givers to
similar honours."--_The Peking Gazette_, August 22, 1892.

In the centre of the green stands the hollow pillar in which Chinese
printed waste-paper is reverently burnt. "When letters were invented,"
the Chinese say, "Heaven rejoiced and Hell trembled." "Reverence the
characters," is an injunction of Confucius which no Chinaman neglects to
follow. He remembers that "he who uses lettered paper to kindle the fire
has ten demerits, and will have itchy sores"; he remembers that "he who
tosses lettered paper into dirty water, or burns it in a filthy place,
has twenty demerits and will frequently have sore eyes or become blind,"
whereas "he who goes about and collects, washes, and burns lettered
paper, has 5000 merits, adds twelve years to his life, will become
honoured and wealthy, and his children and grandchildren will be
virtuous and filial." But his reverence has strict limits, and while he
reverences the piece of paper upon which a moral precept is written, he
often thinks himself absolved from reverencing the moral precept itself,
just as a deacon in England need not necessarily be one who never
over-reached his neighbours or swindled his creditors.



CHAPTER XV.

THE FRENCH MISSION AND THE ARSENAL IN YUNNAN CITY.


The most prominent structure within the city walls is the Heavenly Lord
Hall (_Tien-chu-tang_), the pile of buildings which form the
headquarters of the French Mission in the province of Yunnan. It was a
master-stroke to secure possession of so important a site. The palace is
on a higher level even than the yamen of the Viceroy, and must intercept
much of the good fortune that would otherwise flow into the city. The
façade of the central hall has been ornamented with a superb cross of
porcelain mosaic, which is a conspicuous object from the city wall. A
large garden, where the eucalyptus has been wisely planted, surrounds
the buildings. In residence in the Heavenly Hall are the venerable
Vicaire Apostolique of the province, Monseigneur Fenouil, the
Provicaire, and four missionary priests, all four of whom are from
Alsace. In the province altogether there are twenty-two French priests
and eight ordained Chinese priests--thirty in all; their converts number
15,000. Monseigneur Fenouil is a landmark of Western China; he first set
foot in the province in 1847, and is the oldest foreign resident in the
interior of China. No Chinaman speaks purer Chinese than he; he thinks
in Chinese. Present in the province throughout the Mohammedan
insurrection, he was an eye-witness of the horrors of religious warfare.
Few men have had their path in life marked by more thrilling episodes.
He was elected Bishop, in 1880, by the unanimous vote of all the priests
in the province, a vote confirmed by Rome; which is, I am told, the mode
of election by which Catholic Missionary Bishops in China are always
chosen.

The grand old Bishop seemed much amused at my journey. "I suppose you
are riding a mule," he said, "for you English have large bones, and the
Chinese ponies are very small." I said that I had come so far most of
the way on foot. "You speak Chinese, of course?"

"Hardly at all; I speak only a dozen words of Chinese."

"Then you have a Chinese interpreter? No! An English companion who can
speak Chinese? No! A Chinese servant who can speak English? No, and no
escort! But without doubt you are armed? No! No escort, no revolver, no
companion, and you can live on Chinese food. Ah! you have a brave heart,
Monsieur."

At the time of my visit to Yunnan, Père de Gorostarza, the accomplished
Provicaire, was absent at Mungtze deciding a question of discipline.
Four months before one of the most trusted converts of the mission had
been sent to Mungtze to purchase a property for the use of the mission.
He was given the purchase-money of 400 taels, but, when he arrived in
Mungtze, and the eye of the mission was no longer upon him, he invested
the money, not in premises for the mission, but in a coolie-hong for
himself. His backsliding had availed him little. And he was now
defending his conduct as best he could before the Bishop's deputy.

Converts of the French mission in China, it is well to remember, are no
longer French subjects or _protégés_; the objection is no longer
tenable that the mission shields bad characters who only become
converted in order to escape from the consequences of their guilt.

How wonderful has been the pioneer work done by the Jesuit Missionaries
in China! It may almost be said that the foundation of all that we know
about China we owe to the Jesuit Missionaries. All maps on China are
founded upon the maps of the Jesuit Missionaries employed for the
purpose by the Emperor Kanghi (1663-1723), "the greatest prince who ever
graced the throne of China." Their accuracy has been the wonder of all
geographers for a century past. "Now that the 'Great River' (the
Yangtse) has been surveyed," says Captain Blakiston, "for nearly 1600
miles from the ocean, and with instruments and appliances such as were
unknown in the days of those energetic and persevering men, no small
praise is due to the first Christian explorers for the extraordinary
correctness of their maps and records." The reports of the early Jesuit
Missionaries even Voltaire describes as the "productions of the most
intelligent travellers that have extended and embellished the fields of
science and philosophy."

Yet we, as Protestants, are warned by a great missionary that we must
not be deluded by these insidious compliments; we must not forget that
the work of the Jesuits in China "overtops all other forms of
superstition and error in danger, and stands forth an organised
conspiracy against the liberties of mankind. The schemes of the Jesuits
must be checked."

One Sunday morning Mr. Jensen and I rode round the city wall. This is
one of the most massive walls in a country of walled cities. It is built
of brick and stone over a body of earth thirty feet thick; it is of
imposing height, and wide enough for a carriage drive. When I was
mounted on my mule the upper edge of the parapet was on a level with my
forehead. There are six city gates. The great north gate is closely
barred all through the rains to prevent the entrance of the "Flood God,"
who, fortunately, his intelligence being limited, knows no other way to
enter the city than by this gate. The great turreted south gate is the
most important of all, as it is in all Chinese cities. Near this gate
the Viceroy's Yamen is situated, and the Yamen of the Futai (Governor of
the Province); both buildings, of course, looking to the south, as did
the Temple of Solomon and the tombs of the Mings, and as Chinese custom
requires that every building of importance shall do, whether temple or
yamen, private residence or royal palace. But why should they look
south? Because from the south the sun comes, bringing with it "genial
and animating influence," and putting new life into plant and animal
after the winter.

The south gate is a double gate in a semi-circular bastion. Beyond it is
a splendid triumphal arch erected by a grateful community to the memory
of the late viceroy. A thickly-populated suburb extends from here to the
wide common, where stands the lofty guardian pagoda of the city, 250
feet high, a conspicuous sight from every part of the great Yunnan
plain. Rich temples are all around it, their eaves hung with sweet-toned
bells, which tinkle with every breath of wind, giving forth what the
Chinese poetically describe as "the tribute of praise from inanimate
nature to the greatness of Buddha."

[Illustration: THE PAGODA OF YUNNAN CITY, 250 FEET HIGH.]

In the early morning the traveller is awakened by the steam whistle of
the arsenal, a strange sound to be heard in so far inland a city in
China. The factory is under Chinese management, a fact patent to any
visitor. Its two foremen were trained partly in the arsenal in Nanking
under Dr. Macartney (now Sir Halliday Macartney), and partly in the
splendid Shanghai arsenal under Mr. Cornish. I went to the arsenal, and
was received as usual in the opium-room. There was nothing to conceal,
and I was freely shown everything. The arsenal turns out Krupp guns of
7-1/2 centimetres calibre, but the iron is inferior, and the workmen are
in need of better training. Cartridges are also made here. And in one
room I saw two men finishing with much neatness a pure silver opium-tray
intended for the Fantai (provincial treasurer), but why made in the
arsenal only a Chinaman could tell you. Work in the furnace is done at a
disadvantage owing to the shortness of the furnace chimney, which is
only 25 feet high. All attempts to increase its height are now forbidden
by the authorities. There was agitation in the city when the chimney was
being heightened. Geomancers were consulted, who saw the feeling of the
majority, and therefore gave it as their unprejudiced opinion that, if
the chimney were not stunted, the _fungshui_ (good luck) of the Futai's
yamen (provincial governor), and of that portion of the city under its
protection, would depart for ever. All the machinery of the arsenal is
stamped with the name of Greenwood, Battley and Co., Leeds. Rust and
dirt are everywhere, and the 100 workmen for whom pay is drawn never
number on the rare pay days more than sixty persons, a phenomenon
observed in most establishments in China worked by government. Yet with
a foreigner in charge excellent work could be turned out from the
factory. The buildings are spacious, the grounds are ample.

The powder factory is outside the city, near the north-eastern angle of
the wall, but the powder magazine is on some rising ground inside the
city. No guns are stationed anywhere on the walls, though they may be in
concealment in the turrets; but near the small west gate I saw some
small cannon of ancient casting, built on the model of the guns cast by
the Jesuit missionaries in China two centuries ago, if they were not the
actual originals. They were all marked in relief with a cross and the
device I.H.S.--a motto that you would think none but a Chinaman could
select for a weapon designed to destroy men, yet characteristic of this
country of contradictions. "The Chinese statesman," says Wingrove Cooke,
the famous _Times_ correspondent, "cuts off 10,000 heads, and cites a
passage from Mencius about the sanctity of human life. He pockets the
money given him to repair an embankment and thus inundates a province,
and he deplores the land lost to the cultivator of the soil."

Du Halde tells us that "the first Chinese cannon were cast under the
directions of Père Verbiest in 1682, who blest the cannon, and gave to
each the name of a saint." "A female saint!" says Huc.

Near the arsenal and drill ground there is a large intramural swamp or
reedy lake, the reeds of which have an economic value as wicks for
Chinese candles. Dykes cross the swamp in various directions, and in the
centre there is a well known Taoist Temple, a richly endowed edifice,
with superior gods and censers of great beauty. Where the swamp deepens
into a pond at the margin of the temple, a pretty pavilion has been
built, which is a favourite resort of the Yunnan gentry. The most _chic_
dinner parties in the province are given here. The pond itself swarms
with sacred fish; they are so numerous that when the masses move the
whole pond vibrates. Many merits are gained by feeding the fish, and,
as it happened at the time of my visit that I had no money, I was
constrained to borrow fifteen cash from my chair coolies, with which I
purchased some of the artificial food that women were vending and threw
it to the fish, so that I might add another thousand to the innumerable
merits I have already hoarded in Heaven.

Upon a pretty wooded hill near the centre of the city is the Confucian
Temple, and on the lower slope of the hill, in an admirable position,
are the quarters of the China Inland Mission, conducted by Mr. and Mrs.
X., assisted by Mr. Graham, who at the time of my visit was absent in
Tali, and by two exceedingly nice young girls, one of whom comes from
Melbourne. The single ladies live in quarters of their own on the edge
of a swamp, and suffer inevitably from malarial fever. Mr. X. "finds the
people very hard to reach," he told me, and his success has only been
relatively cheering. After labouring here nearly six years--the mission
was first opened in 1882--he has no male converts, though there are two
promising nibblers, who are waiting for the first vacancy to become
adherents. There _was_ a convert, baptised before Mr. X. came here, a
poor manure-coolie, who was employed by the mission as an evangelist in
a small way; but "Satan tempted him, he fell from grace, and had to be
expelled for stealing the children's buttons." It was a sad trial to the
mission. The men refuse to be saved, recalcitrant sinners! but the women
happily are more tractable. Mr. X. has up to date (May, 1894), baptised
his children's nurse girl, the "native helper" of the single ladies, and
his wife's cook. Mr. X. works hard, far too hard. He is of the type that
never can be successful in China. He was converted when nearing middle
age, is narrow and uncompromising in his views, and is as stern as a
Cameronian. It is a farce sending such men to China. At his services
there is never any lack of listeners, who marvel greatly at the new
method of speaking Chinese which this enterprising emissary--in London
he was in the oil trade--is endeavouring to introduce into the province.
Of "tones" instead of the five used by the Chinese, he does not
recognise more than two, and these he uses indifferently. He hopes,
however, to be understood by loud speaking, and he bellows at the placid
coolies like a bull of Bashan.

I paid an early visit to my countrymen at the _Yesu-tang_ (Jesus Hall),
the mission home, as I thought that my medical knowledge might be of
some service. I wished to learn a little about their work, but to my
great sorrow I was no sooner seated than they began plying me with
questions about the welfare of my soul. I am a "poor lost sinner," they
told me. They flung texts at my head, and then sang a terrifying ballad,
by which I learnt for the first time the awful fate that is to be mine.
It is something too dreadful to contemplate. And the cheerful equanimity
with which they announced it to me! I left the _Yesu-tang_ in a cold
sweat, and never returned there.

Missionary work is being pursued in the province with increasing vigour.
Among its population of from five to seven millions, spread over an area
of 107,969 square miles, there are eighteen Protestant missionaries,
nine men and nine ladies (this is the number at present, but the usual
strength is twenty-three). Stations are open at Chaotong (1887),
Tongchuan (1891), Yunnan City (1882), Tali (1881), and Kuhtsing (1889).
The converts number--the work, however, must not be judged by
statistics--two at Chaotong, one at Tongchuan, three at Yunnan City,
three at Tali, and two at Kuhtsing.

That the Chinese are capable of very rapid conversion can be proved by
numberless instances quoted in missionary reports on China. The Rev. S.
F. Woodin (in the _Records_ of the Missionary Conference, 1877, p. 91)
states that he converted a "grossly immoral Chinaman, who had smoked
opium for more than twenty years," simply by saying to him "in a spirit
of earnest love, elder brother Six, as far as I can see, you must
perish; you are Hell's child."

Mr. Stanley P. Smith, B.A., who was formerly stroke of the Cambridge
eight, had been only seven months in China when he performed that
wonderful conversion, so applauded at the Missionary Conference of 1888,
of "a young Chinaman, a learned man, a B.A. of his University," who
heard Mr. Smith speak in the Chinese that can be acquired in seven
months, and "accepted Him there and then." (_Records_ of the Missionary
Conference, 1888, i., 46). Indeed, the earlier the new missionaries in
China begin to preach the more rapid are the conversions they make.

Now, in this province of Yunnan, conversions will have to be infinitely
more rapid before we can say that there is any reasonable hope of the
proximate conversion of the province. The problem is this: In a
population of from five to seven millions of friendly and peaceable
people, eighteen missionaries in eight years (the average time during
which the mission stations have been opened), have converted eleven
Chinese; how long, then, will it take to convert the remainder?

"I believe," said a late member of the House of Commons, who was once
Lord Mayor of London, speaking at the anniversary meeting of the China
Inland Mission in 1884, "I believe God intends to accomplish great
things in China," and, undoubtedly, the opinion of an ex-Lord Mayor on
such a subject is entitled to great weight.

"The Gospel," he said, "is making rapid progress in China.... We are
amazed at the great things God hath wrought" (in the conversion of the
Chinese).

Let us examine for a moment an instance of the rapid progress which
excited the amazement of this good man. No missionary body in China is
working with greater energy than the China Inland Mission. Their
missionaries go far afield in their work, and they are, what their
mission intends them to be, pioneer Protestant missionaries in Inland
China. At the present time, the beginning of 1894, the Inland Mission
numbers 611 male and female missionaries. They are assisted by 261 paid
native helpers, and the combined body of 872 Evangelists baptised during
the year just passed (1893) 821 Chinese. These figures, taken from
_China's Millions_, 1894, p. 122, attest a rather lower rate of progress
than the other missions can boast of; but a considerable part of the
inland work, it must be remembered, is the most difficult work of
all--the preaching of the Gospel for the first time in newly-opened
districts.

[Illustration: THE VICEROY OF THE TWO PROVINCES OF YUNNAN AND KWEICHOW.]

The Viceroy of the two provinces of Yunnan and Kweichow, Wong-wen-shao,
is one of the most enlightened rulers in China. No stranger could fail
to be impressed with his keen intellectual face and courtly grace of
manner. His career has been a distinguished one. Good fortune attended
him even at his birth. He is a native of Hangchow, in Chehkiang, a city
famous in China for its coffins. Every Chinaman will tell you that true
felicity consists in three things: to be born in Peking (under the
shadow of the Son of Heaven); to live in Soochow (where the girls are
prettiest); and to die in Hangchow (where the coffins are grandest).
Twelve years ago he was Governor of the province of Hunan. Called then
to Peking as one of the Ministers of State of the "Tsungli Yamen," or
Foreign Office, he remained there four years, his retirement being then
due to the inexorable law which requires an official to resign office
and go into mourning for three years on the death of one of his parents.
In this case it was his mother. (A Chinese mother suckles her child two
and a half years, and, as the age of the child is dated from a time
anterior by some months to birth, the child is three years old before it
leaves its mother's breast. Three years, therefore, has been defined as
the proper period for mourning.) At the termination of the three years,
Wong was reappointed Governor of Hunan, and a year and a half later, in
May, 1890, he was appointed to his present important satrapy, where he
has the supreme control of a district larger than Spain and Portugal,
and with a population larger than that of Canada and Australia combined.
In May, 1893, he made application to the throne to be allowed to return
to his ancestral home to die, but the privilege was refused him.

Before leaving Yunnan city the Mandarin Li kindly provided me with a
letter of introduction to his friend Brigadier-General Chang-chen Nien,
in Tengyueh. Since it contained a communication between persons of rank,
the envelope was about the size of an ordinary pillow-slip. The General
was presumably of higher rank than the traveller; I had, therefore, in
accordance with Chinese etiquette, to provide myself with a suitable
visiting card of a size appropriate to his importance. Now Chinese
visiting cards differ from ours in differing in size according to the
importance of the person to whom they are to be presented. My ordinary
card is eight inches by three, red in colour--the colour of
happiness--and inscribed in black with the three characters of my
Chinese name. But the card that I was expected to present to the
General was very much larger than this. Folded it was of the same size,
but unfolded it was ten times the size of the other (eight by thirty
inches), and the last page, politely inscribed in Chinese, contained
this humiliating indication of its purport: "Your addlepated nephew
Mo-li-son bows his stupid head, and pays his humble respects to your
exalted Excellency."

[Illustration]

I still have this card in my possession; and I should be extremely
reluctant to present it to any official in the Empire of lower rank than
the Emperor.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE JOURNEY FROM YUNNAN CITY TO TALIFU.


I sold the mule in Yunnan City, and bought instead a little white pony
at a cost, including saddle, bridle, and bells, of _£3 6s._ In doing
this I reversed the exchange that would have been made by a Chinaman. A
mule is a more aristocratic animal than a pony; it thrives better on a
journey, and is more sure-footed. If a pony, the Chinese tell you, lets
slip one foot, the other three follow; whereas a mule, if three feet
slip from under him, will hold on with the fourth.

My men, who had come with me from Chaotong, were paid off in Yunnan; but
it was pleasant to find all three accept an offer to go on with me to
Talifu. Coolies to do this journey are usually supplied by the coolie
agents for the wage of two _chien_ a day each (_7d._), each man to carry
seventy catties (93lbs.), find himself by the way, and spend thirteen
days on the journey. But no coolies, owing to the increase in the price
of food, were now willing to go for so little. Accordingly I offered my
two coolies three taels each (_9s._), instead of the hong price of _7s.
9d._, and loads of fifty catties instead of seventy catties. I offered
to refund them 100 cash each (_2-1/2d._) a day for every day that they
had been delayed in Yunnan, and, in addition, I promised them a reward
of five mace each (_1s. 6d._) if they would take me to Tali in nine
days, instead of thirteen, the first evening not to count. To Laohwan,
who had no load to carry, but had to attend to me and the pony and pay
away the cash, I made a similar offer. These terms, involving me in an
outlay of _36s._ for hiring three men to go with me on foot 915 li, and
return empty-handed, were considered liberal, and were agreed to at
once.

The afternoon, then, of the 19th April saw us again _en route_, bound to
the west to Talifu, the most famous city in western China, the
headquarters of the Mohammedan "Sultan" during the great rebellion of
1857-1873.

By the courtesy of the Mandarin Li, two men were detailed to "sung"
me--to accompany me, that is--and take the responsibility for my safe
delivery at the next hsien. One was a "wen," a chairen, or yamen runner;
the other was a "wu," a soldier, with a sightless right eye, who was
dressed in the ragged vestiges of a uniform that reflected both the
poverty of his environment and, inversely, the richness of his
commanding officer. For in China the officer enriches himself by the
twofold expedient of drawing pay for soldiers who have no existence,
except in his statement of claim, and by diverting the pay of his
soldiers who do exist from their pockets into his own.

[Illustration: THE GIANT OF YUNNAN.]

As I was leaving, a colossal Chinaman, sent by the Fantai to speed the
foreign gentleman on his way, strode into the court. He was dressed in
military jacket and official hat and foxtails. He was the Yunnan giant,
Chang Yan Miun, a kindly-featured monster, whom it is a pity to see
buried in China when he might be holding _levées_ of thousands in a
Western side-show. For the information of those in search of novelties,
I may say that the giant is thirty years of age, a native of Tongchuan,
born of parents of ordinary stature; he is 7ft. 1in. in his bare feet,
and weighs, when in condition, 27st. 6lb. With that ingenious
arrangement for increasing height known to all showmen, this giant might
be worth investing in as a possible successor to his unrivalled
namesake. There is surely money in it. Chang's present earnings are
rather less than _7s._ a month, without board and lodging; he is
unmarried, and has no incumbrance; and he is slightly taller and much
more massively built than a well-known American giant whom I once had
permission to measure, who has been shown half over the world as the
"tallest man on earth," his height being attested as "7ft. 11in. in his
stockings' soles," and who commands the salary of an English admiral.

We made only a short march the first evening, but after that we
travelled by long stages. The country was very pretty, open glades with
clumps of pine, and here and there a magnificent sacred tree like the
banyan, under whose far-reaching branches small villages are often half
concealed. Despite the fertility of the country, poverty and starvation
met us at every step; the poor were lingering miserably through the
year. Goitre, too, was increasing in frequency. It was rarely that a
group gathered to see us some of whose members were not suffering from
this horrible deformity. And everywhere in the pretty country were signs
of the ruthless devastation of religious war. That was a war of
extermination. "A storm of universal fire blasted every field, consumed
every house, destroyed every temple."

Crumbling walls are at long distances from the towns they used to guard;
there are pastures and waste lands where there were streets of
buildings; walls of houses have returned whence they came to the mother
earth; others are roofless. In the open country, far from habitation,
the traveller comes across groups of bare walls with foundations still
uncovered, and dismantled arches, and broken images in the long grass,
that were formerly yamens and temples in the midst of thriving
communities. Yet there are signs of a renaissance; many new houses are
being built along the main road; walls are being repaired, and bridges
reconstructed. When an exodus takes place from Szechuen to this
province, there is little reason why Yunnan should not become one of the
richest provinces in China. It has every advantage of climate, great
fertility of soil, and immense mineral resources hardly yet developed.
It needs population. It needs the population that dwelt in the province
before the rebellion involved the death of millions. It can absorb an
immense proportion of the surplus population of China. During, and
subsequent to, the Taiping rebellion the province of Szechuen increased
by 45,000,000 in forty years (1842-82); given the necessity, there seems
no reason why the population of Yunnan should not increase in an almost
equal proportion.

On the 22nd we passed Lu-feng-hsien, another ruined town. The finest
stone bridge I have seen in Western China, and one that would arrest
attention in any country in the world, is at this town. It crosses the
wide bed of a stream that in winter is insignificant, but which grows in
volume in the rains of summer to a broad and powerful river. It is a
bridge of seven beautiful arches; it is 12 yards broad and 150 yards
long, of perfect simplicity and symmetry, with massive piers, all built
of dressed masonry and destined to survive the lapse of centuries.
Triumphal archways with memorial tablets and pedestals of carved lions
are befitting portals to a really noble work.

On the 23rd we reached the important city of Chuhsing-fu, a walled city,
still half-in-ruins, that was long occupied by the Mohammedans, and
suffered terrible reprisals on its recapture by the Imperialists. For
four days we had travelled at an average rate of one hundred and five li
(thirty-five miles) a day. I must, however, note that these distances as
estimated by Mr. Jensen, the constructor of the telegraph line, do not
agree with the distances in Mr. Baber's itinerary. The Chinese distances
in li agree in both estimates; but, whereas Mr. Jensen allows three li
for a mile, Mr. Baber allows four and a-half, a wide difference indeed.
For convenience sake I have made use of the telegraph figures, but Mr.
Baber was so scrupulously accurate in all that he wrote that I have no
doubt the telegraph distances are over-estimated.

We were again in a district almost exclusively devoted to the poppy; the
valley-plains sparkled with poppy flowers of a multiplicity of tints.
The days were pleasant, and the sun shone brightly; every plant was in
flower; doves cooed in the trees, and the bushes in blossom were bright
with butterflies. Lanes led between hedges of wild roses white with
flower, and, wherever a creek trickled across the plain, its
willow-lined borders were blue with forget-me-nots. And everywhere a
peaceful people, who never spoke a word to the foreigner that was not
friendly.

On the evening of the 24th, at a ruined town thirty li from Luho, we
received our first check. It was at a walled town, with gateways and a
pagoda that gave some indication of its former prosperity, prettily
situated among the trees on the confines of a plain of remarkable
fertility. Near sundown we passed down the one long street, all battered
and dismantled, which is all that is left of the old town. News of the
foreigner quickly spread, and the people gathered into the street to
see me--no reception could be more flattering. We did not wait, but,
pushing on, we passed out by the west gate and hastened on across the
plain. But I noticed that Laohwan kept looking back at the impoverished
town, shaking his head and stuttering "_pu-pu-pu-pu-hao! pu-pu-pu-hao!_"
(bad! bad!) We had thus gone half a mile or so, when we were arrested by
cries behind us, and our last chairen was seen running, panting, after
us. We waited for him; he was absurdly excited, and could hardly speak.
He made an address to me, speaking with great energy and gesticulation;
but what was its purport, _Dios sabe_. When he had finished, not to be
outdone in politeness, I thanked him in English for the kindly phrases
in which he had spoken to me, assured him of my continued sympathy, and
undertook to say that, if ever he came to Geelong, he would find there a
house at his disposition, and a friend who would be ever ready to do him
a service. He seemed completely mystified, and began to speak again,
more excitedly than before. It was getting late, and a crowd was
collecting, so I checked him by waving my left hand before my face and
bawling at him with all my voice: "_Putung_, you stupid ass, _putung_ (I
don't understand)! Can't you see I don't understand a word you say, you
benighted heathen you? _Putung_, man, _putung_! Advance Australia, _dzo_
(go)!" And, swinging open my umbrella, I walked on. His excitement
increased--we must go back to the town; he seized me by the wrists, and
urged me to go back. We had a slight discussion; his feet gave from
under him and he fell down, and I was going on cheerfully when he burst
out crying. This I interpreted to mean that he would get into trouble if
I did not return, so, of course, I turned back at once, for the tears
of a Chinaman are sadly affecting. Back, then, we were taken to an
excellent inn in the main street, where a respectful _levée_ of the
townsfolk had assembled to welcome me. A polite official called upon me,
to whom I showed, with simulated indignation, my official card and my
Chinese passport, and I hinted to him in English that this interference
with my rights as a traveller from England, protected by the favour of
the Emperor, would--let him mark my word--be made an international
question. While saying this, I inadvertently left on my box, so that all
might see it, the letter of introduction to the Brigadier-General in
Tengyueh, which was calculated to give the natives an indication of the
class of Chinese who had the privilege to be admitted to my friendship.
The official was very polite and apologetic. I freely forgave him, and
we had tea together.

He had done it all for the best. A moneyed foreigner was passing through
his town near sundown without stopping to spend a single cash there. Was
it not his duty, as a public-spirited man, to interfere and avert this
loss, and compel the stranger to spend at least one night within his
gates?

This was what I wrote at the time. I subsequently found that I had been
sent for to come back because the road was believed to be dangerous,
there was no secure resting-place, and the authorities could not
guarantee my safety. Imagine a Chinese in a Western country acting with
the bluster that I did, although in good humour; I wonder whether he
would be treated with the courtesy that those Chinamen showed to me!

On the 25th an elderly chairen was ready to accompany us in the morning,
and he remained with us all day. All day he was engrossed in deep
thought. He spoke to no one, but he kept a watchful eye over his charge,
never leaving me a moment, but dogging my very footsteps all the
hundred li we travelled together. Poorly clad, he was better provided
than his brother of yesterday in that he wore sandals, whereas the
chairen of yesterday was in rags and barefoot. He was, of course,
unprovided with weapon of any kind--it was moral force that he relied
on. Over his shoulder was slung a bag from which projected his
opium-pipe; a tobacco pipe and tobacco box hung at his girdle; a green
glass bottle of crude opium he carried round his neck.

The chairen is the policeman of China, the lictor of the magistrate, the
satellite of the official; the soldier is the representative of military
authority. Now, China, in the person of her greatest statesman, Li Hung
Chang, has, through the secretary of the Anti-Opium Society, called upon
England "to aid her in the efforts she is now making to suppress opium."
If, then, China is sincere in her alleged efforts to abolish opium, it
is the chairen and the soldier who must be employed by the authorities
to suppress the evil; yet I have never been accompanied by either a
chairen or a soldier who did not smoke opium, nor have I to my knowledge
ever met a chairen or a soldier who was not an opium-smoker. Through all
districts of Yunnan, wherever the soil permits it, the poppy is grown
for miles, as far as the sight can reach, on every available acre, on
both sides of the road.

But why does China grow this poppy? Have not the _literati_ and elders
of Canton written to support the schemes of the Anti-Opium Society in
these thrilling words: "If Englishmen wish to know the sentiments of
China, here they are:--If we are told to let things go on as they are
going, then there is no remedy and no salvation for China. Oh! it makes
the blood run cold, and we want in this our extremity to ask the
question of High Heaven, what unknown crimes or atrocity have the
Chinese people committed beyond all others that they are doomed to
suffer thus?" (Cited by Mr. S. S. Mander, _China's Millions_, iv., 156.)

And the women of Canton, have they not written to the missionaries "that
there is no tear that they shed that is not red with blood because of
this opium?" ("China," by M. Reed, p. 63). Why, then, does China, while
she protests against the importation of a drug which a Governor of
Canton, himself an opium-smoker, described as a "vile excrementitious
substance" ("Barrow's Travels," p. 153), sanction, if not foster, with
all the weight of the authorities in the ever-extending opium-districts
the growth of the poppy? To the Rev. G. Piercy (formerly of the W.M.S.,
Canton), we are indebted for the following explanation of this anomaly:
China, it appears, is growing opium in order to put a stop to
opium-smoking.

"Moreover, China has not done with the evils of opium, even if our hands
were washed of this traffic to-day. China in her desperation has invoked
Satan to cast out Satan. She now grows her own opium, vainly dreaming
that, if the Indian supply lapse, she can then deal with this rapidly
growing evil. But Satan is not divided against himself; he means his
kingdom to stand. Opium-growing will not destroy opium-smoking."
(Missionary Conference of 1888, _Records_, ii., 546.)

"Yet the awful guilt remains," said the Ven. Archdeacon Farrar on a
recent occasion in Westminster Abbey, "that we, 'wherever winds blow and
waters roll,' have girdled the world with a zone of drunkenness, until I
seem to shudder as I think of the curses, not loud but deep, muttered
against our name by races which our fire-water has decimated and our
vice degraded." (_National Righteousness_, December 1892, p. 4.)

And this patriotic utterance of a distinguished Englishman the Chinese
will quote in unexpected support of the memorial "On the Restriction of
Christianity" addressed to the Throne of China in 1884 by the High
Commissioner Pêng Yü-lin, which memorial stated in severe language that
"_since the treaties have permitted foreigners from the West to spread
their doctrines, the morals of the people have been greatly injured_."
("The Causes of the Anti-Foreign Disturbances in China." Rev. Gilbert
Reid, M.A., p. 9.)

Forty li from our sleeping place we came to the pretty town of
Shachiaokai, on some undulating high ground well sheltered with trees.
Justice had lately been here with her headsman and brought death to a
gang of malefactors. Their heads, swinging in wooden cages, hung from
the tower near the gateway. They could be seen by all persons passing
along the road, and, with due consideration for the feelings of the
bereaved relatives, they were hung near enough for the features to be
recognised by their friends. Each head was in a cage of its own, and was
suspended by the pigtail to the rim, so that it might not lie upside
down but could by-and-by rattle in its box as dead men's bones should
do. To each cage a white ticket was attached giving the name of the
criminal and his confession of the offence for which he was executed.
They were the heads of highway robbers who had murdered two travellers
on the road near Chennan-chow, and it was this circumstance which
accounted for the solicitude of the officials near Luho to prevent our
being benighted in a district where such things were possible.

[Illustration: THE "EAGLE NEST BARRIER," ON THE ROAD BETWEEN YUNNAN AND
TALIFU.]

Midway between Shachiaokai and Pupêng there was steep climbing to be
done till we reached Ying-wu-kwan, the "Eagle Nest Barrier," which is
more than 8000 feet above the sea. Then by very hilly and poor country
we came to Pupêng, and, pursuing our way over a thickly-peopled plateau,
we reached a break in the high land from which we descended into a wide
and deep valley, skirted with villages and gleaming with sheets of
water--the submerged rice-fields. At the foot of the steep was a poor
mud town, but, standing back from it in the fields, was a splendid
Taoist temple fit for a capital. In this village we were delayed for
nearly an hour while my three men bargained against half the village for
the possession of a hen that was all unconscious of the comments,
flattering and deprecatory, that were being passed on its fatness. It
was secured eventually for 260 cash, the vendors having declared that
the hen was a family pet, hatched on a lucky day, that it had been
carefully and tenderly reared, and that nothing in the world could
induce them to part with it for a cash less than 350. My men with equal
confidence, based upon long experience in the purchase of poultry,
asserted that the real value of the hen was 200 cash, and that not a
single cash more of the foreign gentleman's money could they
conscientiously invest in such a travesty of a hen as _that_. But little
by little each party gave way till they were able to _tomber d'accord_.

A pleasant walk across the busy plain brought us to Yunnan Yeh, where we
passed the night.

On the 27th we had an unsatisfactory day's journey. We travelled only
seventy li over an even road, yet with four good hours of daylight
before us my men elected to stop when we came to the village of
Yenwanshan. We had left the main road for some unknown reason, and were
taking a short cut over the mountains to Tali. But a short-cut in China
often means the longest distance, and I was sure that this short-cut
would bring us to Tali a day later than if we had gone by the main
road--in ten days, that is, from Yunnan, instead of the nine which my
men had promised me. Laohwan, who, like most Chinaman I met, persisted
in thinking that I was deaf, yelled to me in the presence of the village
that the next stopping place was twenty miles distant, that "_mitte
liao! mitte liao!_" ("there were no beans") on the way for the pony, and
that assuredly we would reach Tali to-morrow, having given the pony the
admirable rest that here offered. As he stammered these sentences the
people supported what he said. Obviously their statements were _ex
parte_, and were promoted solely by the desire to see the distinguished
foreign mandarin sojourn for one night in their hungry midst. So here I
was detained in a tumble-down inn that had formerly been a temple. All
of us, men and master, were housed in the old guest-room. Beds were
formed of disused coffin boards, laid between steps made of clods of dry
clay; the floor was earth, the windows paper. The pony was feeding from
a trough in the temple hall itself, an armful of excellent grass before
it, while a bucket of beans was soaking for him in our corner. Other
mules and ponies were stationed in the side pavilions where formerly
were displayed the scenes of torture in the Buddhist Hells.

As I wrote at a table by the window, a crowd collected, stretching
across the street and quarrelling to catch a glimpse of the foreign
teacher and his strange method of writing, so different from the
Chinese. Poor sickly people were these--of the ten in the first row
three were suffering from goitre, one from strabismus, and two from
ophthalmia. All were poorly clad and poorly nourished; all were very
dirty, and their heads were unshaven of the growth of days. But, despite
their poverty, nearly all the women, the children as well as the
grandmothers, wore silver earrings of pretty filigree.

Now, even among these poor people, I noticed that there was a
disposition rather to laugh at me than to open the eyes of wonder; and
this is a peculiarity of the Chinese which every traveller will be
struck with. It often grieved me. During my journey, although I was
treated with undeniable friendliness, I found that the Chinese, instead
of being impressed by my appearance, would furtively giggle when they
saw me. But they were never openly rude like the coloured folk were in
Jamaica, when, stranded in their beautiful island, I did them the honour
to go as a "walk-foot buccra" round the sugar plantations from Ewarton
to Montego Bay. Even poor ragged fellows, living in utter misery, would
laugh and snigger at me when not observed, and crack jokes at the
foreigner who was well-fed, well-clad, and well-mounted in a way you
would think to excite envy rather than derision. But Chinese laughter
seems to be moved by different springs from ours. The Chinaman makes
merry in the presence of death. A Chinaman, come to announce to you the
death of a beloved parent or brother, laughs heartily as he tells
you--you might think he was overflowing with joy, but he is really sick
and sore at heart, and is only laughing to deceive the spirits. So it
may be that the poor beggars who laughed at that noble presence which
has been the admiration of my friends in four continents, were moved to
do so by the hope to deceive the evil spirits who had punished them with
poverty, and so by their apparent gaiety induce them to relax the
severity of their punishment.

To within two or three miles of this village the road was singularly
level; I do not think that it either rose or fell 100 feet in twenty
miles. Forty li from where we slept the night before, having previously
left the main road, we came to the large walled town of Yunnan-hsien.
The streets were crowded, for it was market day, and both sides of the
main thoroughfares, especially in the vicinity of the Confucian Temple,
were thronged with peasant women selling garden produce, turnips, beans
and peas, and live fish caught in the lake beyond Tali. Articles of
Western trade were also for sale--stacks of calico, braid, and thread,
"new impermeable matches made in Trieste," and "toilet soap of the
finest quality." I had a royal reception as I rode through the crowd,
and the street where was situated the inn to which we went for lunch
speedily became impassable. There was keen competition to see me. Two
thieves were among the foremost, with huge iron crowbars chained to
their necks and ankles, while a third prisoner, with his head pilloried
in a _cangue_, obstructed the gaze of many. There was the most admirable
courtesy shown me; it was the "foreign teacher" they wished to see, not
the "foreign devil." When I rose from the table, half a dozen guests
sitting at the other tables rose also and bowed to me as I passed out.
Of all people I have ever met, the Chinese are, I think, the politest.
My illiterate Laohwan, who could neither read nor write, had a courtesy
of demeanour, a well-bred ease of manner, a graceful deference that
never approached servility, which it was a constant pleasure to me to
witness.

As regards the educated classes, there can be little doubt, I think,
that there are no people in the world so scrupulously polite as the
Chinese. Their smallest actions on all occasions of ceremony are
governed by the most minute rules. Let me give, as an example, the
method of cross-examination to which the stranger is subjected, and
which is a familiar instance of true politeness in China.

When a well-bred Chinaman, of whatever station, meets you for the first
time, he thus addresses you, first asking you how old you are:

"What is your honourable age?"

"I have been dragged up a fool so many years," you politely reply.

"What is your noble and exalted occupation?"

"My mean and contemptible calling is that of a doctor."

"What is your noble patronymic?"

"My poverty-struck family name is Mô."

"How many honourable and distinguished sons have you?"

"Alas! Fate has been niggardly; I have not even one little bug."

But, if you can truthfully say that you are the honourable father of
sons, your interlocutor will raise his clasped hands and say gravely,
"Sir, you are a man of virtue; I congratulate you." He continues--

"How many tens of thousands of pieces of silver have you?" meaning how
many daughters have you?

"My yatows" (forked heads or slave children), "my daughters," you answer
with a deprecatory shrug, "number so many."

So the conversation continues, and the more minute are the inquiries the
more polite is the questioner.

Unlike most of the Western nations, the Chinese have an overmastering
desire to have children. More than death itself the Chinaman fears to
die without leaving male progeny to worship at his shrine; for, if he
should die childless, he leaves behind him no provision for his support
in heaven, but wanders there a hungry ghost, forlorn and forsaken--an
"orphan" because he has no children. "If one has plenty of money," says
the Chinese proverb, "but no children, he cannot be reckoned rich; if
one has children, but no money, he cannot be considered poor." To have
sons is a foremost virtue in China; "the greatest of the three unfilial
things," says Mencius, "is to have no children." (Mencius, iv., pt. i.,
26).

In China longevity is the highest of the five grades of felicity.
Triumphal arches are erected all over the kingdom in honour of those who
have attained the patriarchal age which among us seems only to be
assured to those who partake in sufficient quantity of certain
fruit-salts and pills. Age when not known is guessed by the length of
the beard, which is never allowed to grow till the thirty-second year.
Now it happens that I am clean-shaven, and, as it is a well-known fact
that the face of the European is an enigma to the Oriental, just as the
face of the Chinaman is an inscrutable mystery to most of us, I have
often been amused by the varying estimates of my age advanced by curious
bystanders. It has been estimated as low as twelve--"look at the
foreigner," they said, "there's a fine fat boy!"--and never higher than
twenty-two. But it is not only in China that a youthful appearance has
hampered me in my walk through life.

I remember that on one occasion, some years ago, I obliged a medical
friend by taking his practice while he went away for a few days to be
married. It was in a semi-barbarian village named Portree, in a
forgotten remnant of Scotland called the Isle of Skye. The time was
winter. The first case I was called to was that of a bashful matron, the
baker's wife, who had lately given birth to her tenth child. I entered
the room cheerfully. She looked me over critically, and then greatly
disconcerted me by remarking that: "She was gey thankfu' to the Lord
that it was a' by afore I cam', as she had nae wush to be meddled wi' by
a laddie of nineteen." Yet I was two years older than the doctor who had
attended her.

If in China you are so fortunate as to be graced with a beard, the
Chinaman will add many years to your true age. In the agreeable company
of one of the finest men in China, I once made a journey to the Nankow
Pass in the Great Wall, north of Peking. My friend had a beard like a
Welsh bard's, and, though a younger man than his years, forty-four,
there was not a native who saw him, who did not gaze upon him with awe,
as a possible Buddha, and not one who attributed to him an age less than
eighty.

Next day, the 28th of April, despite my misgivings, my men fulfilled
their promise, and led me into Tali on the ninth day out from Yunnan. We
had come 307 miles in nine days. They walked all the way, living
frugally on scanty rations. I walked only 210 miles; I was better fed
than they, and I had a pony at my hand ready to carry me whenever I was
tired.

My men thus earned a reward of eighteen pence each for doing thirteen
stages in nine days. Long before daylight we were on our way. For miles
and miles in the early morning we were climbing up the mountains, till
we reached a plateau where the wind blew piercingly keen, and my fingers
ached with the cold, and the rarefaction in the atmosphere made
breathing uneasy. The road was lonely and unfrequented. We were
accompanied by a muleteer who knew the way, by his sturdy son of twelve,
and his two pack horses. By midday we had left the bare plateau, had
passed the three pagoda peaks, and were standing on the brow of a steep
hill overlooking the valleys of Chaochow and Tali. The plains were
studded with thriving villages, in rich fields, and intersected with
roadways lined with hedges. There on the left was the walled city of
Chaochow, beyond, to the right, was the great lake of Tali, hemmed in by
mountains, those beyond the lake thickly covered with snow, and rising
7000 feet above the lake, which itself is 7000 feet above the sea.

We descended into the valley, and, as we picked our way down the steep
path, I could count in the lap of the first valley eighteen villages
besides the walled city. Crossing the fields we struck the main road,
and mingled with the stream of people who were bending their steps
towards Hsiakwan. Many varieties of feature were among them, a diversity
of type unlooked for by the traveller in China who had become habituated
to the uniformity of type of the Chinese face. There were faces plainly
European, others as unmistakably Hindoo, Indigenes of Yunnan province,
Thibetans, Cantonese pedlars, and Szechuen coolies. A broad flagged road
brought us to the important market town of Hsiakwan, which guards the
southern pass to the Valley of Tali. It is on the main road going west
to the frontier of Burma, and is the junction where the road turns north
to Tali. It is a busy town. It is one of the most famous halting places
on the main road to Burma. The two largest caravanserais in Western
China are in Hsiakwan, and I do not exaggerate when I say that a
regiment of British cavalry could be quartered in either of them. At a
restaurant near the cross-road we had rice and a cup of tea, and a bowl
of the vermicelli soup known as _mien_, the muleteer and his son sitting
down with my men. When the time came to go, the muleteer, unrolling a
string of cash from his waistband, was about to pay his share, when
Laohwan with much civility refused to permit him. He insisted, but
Laohwan was firm; had they been Frenchmen, they could not have been more
polite and complimentary. The muleteer gave way with good grace, and
Laohwan paid with my cash, and gained merit by his courtesy.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE CITY OF TALI--PRISONS--POISONING--PLAGUES AND MISSIONS.


Three hours later we were in Tali. A broad paved road, smooth from the
passage of countless feet, leads to the city. Rocky creeks drain the
mountain range into the lake; they are spanned by numerous bridges of
dressed stone, many of the slabs of which are well cut granite blocks
eighteen feet in length. At a stall by the roadside excellent ices were
for sale, genuine ices, made of concave tablets of pressed snow
sweetened with treacle, costing one cash each--equal to one penny for
three dozen. We passed the Temple to the Goddess of Mercy, and entered
Tali by the south gate. Then by the yamen of the Titai and the Great
Five Glory Gate, the northern entrance of what was for seventeen years
the palace of the Mohammedan king during the rebellion, we turned down
the East street to the _Yesu-tang_, the Inland Mission, where Mr. and
Mrs. John Smith gave me a cordial greeting.

Tali has always been an important city. It was the capital of an
independent kingdom in the time of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. It was
the headquarters of the Mohammedan Sultan or Dictator, Tu Wen Hsiu,
during the rebellion, and seemed at one time destined to become the
capital of an independent Moslem Empire in Western China.

The city surrendered to the Mohammedans in 1857. It was recaptured by
the Imperialists under General Yang Yu-ko on January 15th, 1873, the
Chinese troops being aided by artillery cast by Frenchmen in the arsenal
of Yunnan and manned by French gunners. At its recapture the carnage was
appalling; the streets were ankle-deep in blood. Of 50,000 inhabitants
30,000 were butchered. After the massacre twenty-four panniers of human
ears were sent to Yunnan city to convince the people of the capital that
they had nothing more to fear from the rebellion.

In March, 1873, Yang was appointed _Titai_ or Commander-in-chief of
Yunnan Province, with his headquarters in Tali, not in the capital, and
Tali has ever since been the seat of the most important military command
in the province.

The subsequent history of Yang may be told in a few words. He assumed
despotic power over the country he had conquered, and grew in power till
his authority became a menace to the Imperial Government. They feared
that he aspired to found a kingdom of his own in Western China, and
recalled him to Peking--to do him honour. He was not to be permitted to
return to Yunnan. At the time of his recall another rebellion had broken
out against China--the rebellion of the French--and, like another Uriah,
the powerful general was sent to the forefront in Formosa, where he was
opportunely slain by a French bullet, or by a misdirected Chinese one.

After his death it was found that Yang had made a noble bequest to the
City of Tali. During his residence he had built for himself a splendid
yamen of granite and marble. This he had richly endowed and left as a
free gift to the city as a college for students. It is one of the
finest residences in China, and, though only seventy undergraduates were
living there at the time of my visit, the rooms could accommodate in
comfort many hundreds.

[Illustration: SNOW-CLAD MOUNTAINS BEHIND TALIFU.]

Tali is situated on the undulating ground that shelves gently from the
base of snow-clad mountains down to the lake. The lower slopes of the
mountain, above the town, are covered with myriads of grave-mounds,
which in the distance are scarcely distinguishable from the granite
blocks around them. Creeks and rills of running water spring from the
melting of the snows far up the mountain, run among the grave-mounds,
and are then trained into the town. The Chinese residents thus enjoy the
privilege of drinking a diluted solution of their ancestors. Half-way to
the lake, there is a huge tumulus of earth and stone over-grown with
grass, in which are buried the bones of 10,000 Mohammedans who fell
during the massacre. There is no more fertile valley in the world than
the valley of Tali. It is studded with villages. Between the two passes,
Hsiakwan on the south, and Shang-kwan on the north, which are distant
from each other a long day's walk, there are 360 villages, each in its
own plantation of trees, with a pretty white temple in the centre with
curved roof and upturned gables. The sunny reaches of the lake are busy
with fleets of fishing boats. The poppy, grown in small pockets by the
margin of the lake, is probably unequalled in the world; the flowers, as
I walked through the fields, were on a level with my forehead.

Tali is not a large city; its wall is only three and a half miles in
circumference. Before the rebellion populous suburbs extended half-way
to Hsiakwan, but they are now only heaps of rubble. In the town itself
there are market-gardens and large open spaces where formerly there
were narrow streets of Chinese houses. The wall is in fairly good
repair, but there are no guns in the town, except a few old-fashioned
cannon lying half buried in the ground near the north gate.

One afternoon we climbed up the mountain intending to reach a famous
cave, "The Phoenix-eyed Cave" (_Fung-yen-tung_) which overlooks a
precipice, of some fame in years gone by as a favourite spot for
suicides. We did not reach the cave. My energy gave out when we were
only half-way, so we sat down in the grass and, to use a phrase that I
fancy I have heard before, we feasted our eyes on the scene before us.
And here we gathered many bunches of edelweiss.

As we were coming back down the hill, picking our way among the graves,
a pensive Chinaman stopped us to ask our assistance in finding him a
lucky spot in which to bury his father, who died a year ago but was
still above ground. He was sorry to hear that we could not pretend to
any knowledge of such things. He was of an inquiring mind, for he then
asked us if we had seen any precious stones in the hillside--every
Chinaman knows that the foreigner with his blue eyes can see four feet
underground--but he was again disappointed with our reply, or did not
believe us.

At the poor old shrine to the God of Riches, half a dozen Chinamen in
need of the god's good offices were holding a small feast in his honour.
They had prepared many dishes, and, having "dedicated to the god the
spiritual essence, were now about to partake of the insipid remains."
"_Ching fan_," they courteously said to us when we approached down the
path. "We invite (you to take) rice." We raised our clasped hands:
"_Ching, ching_," we replied, "we invite (you to go on), we invite," and
passed on. They were bent upon enjoyment. They were taking as an
_apéritif_ a preliminary cup of that awful spirit _tsiu_, which is
almost pure alcohol and can be burnt in lamps like methylated spirit.

On the level sward, between this poor temple and the city, the annual
Thibetan Fair is held on the 17th, 18th, and 19th of April, when
caravans of Thibetans, with herds of ponies, make a pilgrimage from
their mountain villages to the ancient home of their forefathers. But
the fair is falling into disfavour owing to the increasing number of
likin-barriers on the northern trade routes.

There are many temples in Tali. The finest is the Confucian Temple, with
its splendid halls and pavilions, in a beautiful garden. Kwanti, the God
of War, has also a temple worthy of a god whose services to China in the
past can never be forgotten. Every Chinaman knows, that if it had not
been for the personal aid of this god, General Gordon could never have
succeeded in suppressing the Taiping rebellion. In the present rebellion
of the Japanese, the god appears to have maintained an attitude of
strict neutrality.

The City Temple is near the drill-ground. As the Temple of a Fu city it
contains the images of both Fu magistrate and Hsien magistrate, with
their attendants. In its precincts the _Kwan_ of the beggars, (the
beggar king or headman), is domiciled, who eats the Emperor's rice and
is officially responsible for the good conduct of the guild of beggars.

In the main street there is a Memorial Temple to General Yang, who won
the city back from the Mohammedans. But the temple where prayer is
offered most earnestly, is the small temple near the _Yesu-tang_,
erected to the goddess who has in her power the dispensation of the
pleasures of maternity. Rarely did I pass here without seeing two or
three childless wives on their knees, praying to the goddess to remove
from them the sin of barrenness.

Some of the largest caravanserais I have seen in China are in Tali. One
of the largest belongs to the city, and is managed by the authorities
for the benefit of the poor, all profits being devoted to a poor-relief
fund. There are many storerooms here, filled with foreign goods and
stores imported from Burma, and useful wares and ornamental nick-nacks
brought from the West by Cantonese pedlars. Prices are curiously low. I
bought condensed milk, "Milkmaid brand," for the equivalent of _7d._ a
tin. In the inn there is stabling accommodation for more than a hundred
mules and horses, and there are rooms for as many drivers. The tariff
cannot be called immoderate. The charges are: For a mule or horse per
night, fodder included, one farthing; for a man per night, a supper of
rice included, one penny.

Even larger than the city inn is the caravanserai where my pony was
stabled; it is more like a barracks than an inn. One afternoon the
landlord invited the missionary and me into his guest-room, and as I was
the chief guest, he insisted, of course, that I should occupy the seat
of honour on the left hand. But I was modest and refused to; he
persisted and I was reluctant; he pushed me forward and I held back,
protesting against the honour he wished to show me. But he would take no
refusal and pressed me forward into the seat. I showed becoming
reluctance of course, but I would not have occupied any other. By-and-by
he introduced to me with much pride his aged father, to whom, when he
came into the room, I insisted upon giving my seat, and humbly sat on
an inferior seat by his side, showing him all the consideration due to
his eighty years. The old man bore an extraordinary resemblance to
Moltke. He had smoked opium, he told Mr. Smith, the missionary, for
fifty years, but always in moderation. His daily allowance was two
_chien_ of raw opium, rather more than one-fifth of an ounce, but he
knew many Chinese, he told the missionary, who smoked daily five times
as much opium as he did without apparent injury.

In Tali there are four chief officials: the Prefect or Fu Magistrate,
the Hsien or City Magistrate, the Intendant or Taotai, and the Titai.
The yamen of the Taotai is a humble residence for so important an
official; but the yamen of the Titai, between the South Gate and the
Five Glory Tower, is one of the finest in the province. The Titai is not
only the chief military commander of the province of Yunnan, but he is a
very much married man. An Imperialist, he has yet obeyed the Mohammedan
injunction and taken to himself four wives in order to be sure of
obtaining one good one. He has been abundantly blessed with children. In
offices at the back of the Titai's yamen and within its walls, is the
local branch of the Imperial Chinese telegraphs, conducted by two
Chinese operators, who can read and write English a little, and can
speak crudely a few sentences.

The City Magistrate is an advanced opium-smoker, a slave to the pipe,
who neglects his duties. In his yamen I saw the wooden cage in which
prisoners convicted of certain serious crimes are slowly done to death
by starvation and exhaustion, as well as the wooden cages of different
shape in which criminals of another class condemned to death are carried
to and from the capital.

The City prison is in the Hsien's yamen, but permission to enter was
refused me, though the missionary has frequently been admitted. "The
prison," explained the Chinese clerk, "is private, and strangers cannot
be admitted." I was sorry not to be allowed to see the prison, all the
more because I had heard from the missionary nothing but praise of the
humanity and justice of its management.

The gaols of China, or, as the Chinese term them, the "hells," just as
the prison hulks in England forty years ago were known as "floating
hells," have been universally condemned for the cruelties and
deprivations practised in them. They are probably as bad as were the
prisons of England in the early years of the present century.

The gaolers purchase their appointments, as they did in England in the
time of John Howard, and, as was the case in England, they receive no
other pay than what they can squeeze from the prisoners or the
prisoners' friends. Poor and friendless, the prisoners fare badly. But I
question if the cruelties practised in the Chinese gaols, allowing for
the blunted nerve sensibility of the Chinaman, are less endurable than
the condition of things existing in English prisons so recently as when
Charles Reade wrote "It is Never Too Late to Mend." The cruelties of
Hawes, the "punishment jacket," the crank, the dark cell, and
starvation, "the living tortured, the dying abandoned, the dead kicked
out of the way"; when boys of fifteen, like Josephs, were driven to
self-slaughter by cruelty. These are statements published in 1856,
"every detail of which was verified, every fact obtained, by research
and observation." ("Life of Charles Reade," ii., 33.)

And it cannot admit, I think, of question that there are no cruelties
practised in the Chinese gaols greater, even if there are any equal to
the awful and degraded brutality with which the England of our fathers
treated her convicts in the penal settlements of Norfolk Island, Fort
Arthur, Macquarie Harbour, and the prison hulks of Williamstown. "The
convict settlements were terrible cesspools of iniquity, so bad that it
seemed, to use the words of one who knew them well, 'the heart of man
who went to them was taken from him, and there was given to him the
heart of a beast.'"

Can the mind conceive of anything more dreadful in China than the
incident narrated by the Chaplain of Norfolk Island, the Rev. W.
Ullathorne, D.D., afterwards Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, in his
evidence before the Commission of the House of Commons in 1838: "As I
mentioned the names of those men who were to die, they one after
another, as their names were pronounced, dropped on their knees and
thanked God that they were to be delivered from that horrible place,
whilst the others remained standing mute, weeping. It was the most
horrible scene I have ever witnessed."

Those who have read Marcus Clarke's "For the Term of His Natural Life,"
remember the powerfully-drawn character of Maurice Frere, the Governor
of Norfolk Island. It is well known, of course, that the story is
founded upon fact, and is a perfectly true picture of the convict days.
The original of Maurice Frere is known to have been the late Colonel
----, who was killed by the convicts in the prison hulk "Success," at
Williamstown, in 1853. To this day there is no old lag that was ever
exposed to his cruelty but reviles his memory. I once knew the convict
who gave the signal for his murder. He was sentenced to death, but was
reprieved and served a long term of imprisonment. The murder happened
forty-one years ago, yet to this day the old convict commends the
murder as a just act of retribution, and when he narrates the story he
tells you with bitter passion that the "Colonel's dead, and, if there's
a hell, he's frizzling there yet."

Captain Foster Fyans, a former Governor of Norfolk Island Convict
Settlement, spent the last years of his life in the town I belong to,
Geelong, in Victoria. The cruelties imposed on the convicts under his
charge were justified, he declared, by the brutalised character of the
prisoners. On one occasion, he used to tell, a band of convicts
attempted to escape from the Island; but their attempt was frustrated by
the guard. The twelve convicts implicated in the outbreak were put on
their trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death by strangulation, as
hanging really was in those days. Word was sent to headquarters in
Sydney, and instructions were asked for to carry the sentence into
effect. The laconic order was sent back from Sydney to "hang half of
them." The Captain acknowledged the humour of the despatch, though it
placed him in a difficulty. Which half should he hang, when all were
equally guilty? In his pleasant way the Captain used to tell how he
acted in the dilemma. He went round to the twelve condemned wretches,
and asked each man separately if, being under sentence of death, he
desired a reprieve or wished for death. As luck would have it, of the
twelve men, six pleaded for life and six as earnestly prayed that they
might be sent to the scaffold. So the Captain hanged the six men who
wished to live, and spared the six men who prayed for death to release
them from their awful misery. This is an absolutely true story, which I
have heard from men to whom the Captain himself told it. Besides, it
bears on its face the impress of truth. And yet we are accustomed to
speak of the Chinese as centuries behind us in civilisation and
humanity.

I went to two opium-poisoning cases in Tali, both being cases of
attempted suicide. The first was that of an old man living not _at_ the
South Gate as the messenger assured us, who feared to discourage us if
he told the truth, but more than a mile beyond it. On our way we bought
in the street some sulphate of copper, and a large dose made the old man
so sick that he said he would never take opium again, and, if he did, he
would not send for the foreign gentleman.

The other was that of a young bride, a girl of unusual personal
attraction, only ten days married, who thus early had become weary of
the pock-marked husband her parents had sold her to. She was dressed
still in her bridal attire, which had not been removed since marriage;
she was dressed in red--the colour of happiness. "She was dressed in her
best, all ready for the journey," and was determined to die, because
dead she could repay fourfold the injuries which she had received while
living. In this case many neighbours were present, and, as all were
anxious to prevent the liberation of the girl's evil spirit, I proved to
them how skilful are the barbarian doctors. The bride was induced to
drink hot water till it was, she declared, on a level with her neck,
then I gave her a hypodermic injection of that wonderful emetic
apomorphia. The effect was very gratifying to all but the patient.

Small-pox, or, as the Chinese respectfully term it, "Heavenly Flowers,"
is a terrible scourge in Western China. It is estimated that two
thousand deaths--there is a charming vagueness about all Chinese
figures--from this disease alone occur in the course of a year in the
valley of Tali. Inoculation is practised, as it has been for many
centuries, by the primitive method of introducing a dried pock-scab, on
a lucky day, into one of the nostrils. The people have heard of the
results of Western methods of inoculation, and immense benefit could be
conferred upon a very large community by sending to the Inland Mission
in Talifu a few hundred tubes of vaccine lymph. Vaccination introduced
into Western China would be a means, the most effective that could be
imagined, to check the death rate over that large area of country which
was ravaged by the civil war, and whose reduced population is only a
small percentage of the population which so fertile a country needs for
its development. Infanticide is hardly known in that section of Yunnan
of which Tali may be considered the capital. Small-pox kills the
children. There is no need for a mother to sacrifice her superfluous
children, for she has none.

Another disease endemic in Yunnan is the bubonic plague, which is, no
doubt, identical with the plague that has lately played havoc in Hong
Kong and Canton. Cantonese peddlers returning to the coast probably
carried the germs with them.

The China Inland Mission in Tali was the last of the mission stations
which I was to see on my journey. This is the furthest inland of the
stations of the Inland Mission in China. It was opened in 1881 by Mr.
George W. Clarke, the most widely-travelled, with the single exception
of the late Dr. Cameron, of all the pioneer missionaries of this brave
society; I think Mr. Clarke told me that he has been in fourteen out of
the eighteen provinces. His work here was not encouraging; he was
treated with kindness by the Chinese, but they refused to accept the
truth when he placed it before them.

"For the Bible and the Light of Truth," says Miss Guinness, in her
charming but hysterical "Letters from the Far East"--a book that has
deluded many poor girls to China--"For the Bible and the Light of Truth
the Chinese cry with outstretched, empty, longing hands" (p. 173). But
this allegation unhappily conflicts with facts when applied to Tali.

For the first eleven years the mission laboured here without any success
whatever; but now a happier time seems coming, and no less than three
converts have been baptised in the last two years.

There are now three missionaries in Tali--there are usually four; they
are universally respected by the Chinese; they have made their little
mission home one of the most charming in China. Mr. John Smith, who
succeeded Mr. Clarke, has been ten years in Tali. He is welcomed
everywhere, and in every case of serious sickness or opium-poisoning he
is sent for. During all the time he has been in Tali he has never
refused to attend a summons to the sick, whether by day or night. In the
course of the year he attends, on an average, between fifty and sixty
cases of attempted suicide by opium in the town or its environs, and, if
called in time, he is rarely unsuccessful. Should he be called to a case
outside the city wall and be detained after dark, the city gate will be
kept open for him till he returns. The city magistrate has himself
publicly praised the benevolence of this missionary, and said, "there is
no man in Tali like Mr. Smith--would that there were others!" He is a
Christian in word and deed, brave and simple, unaffected and
sympathetic--the type of missionary needed in China--an honour to his
mission. I saw the courageous man working here almost alone, far distant
from all Western comforts, cut off from the world, and almost unknown,
and I contrasted him with those other missionaries--the majority--who
live in luxurious mission-houses in absolute safety in the treaty ports,
yet whose courage and self-denial we have accustomed ourselves to
praise in England and America, when with humble voices they parade the
dangers they undergo and the hardships they endure in preaching, dear
friends, to the "perishing heathen in China, God's lost ones!"

In addition to the three converts who have been baptised in Tali in the
last two years, there are two inquirers--one the mission cook--who are
nearly ready for acceptance. At the Sunday service I met the three
converts. One is the paid teacher in the mission school; another is a
humble pedlar; the third is a courageous native belonging to one of the
indigenous tribes of Western China, a Minchia man, whose conversion,
judged by all tests, is one of those genuine cases which bring real joy
to the missionary. He has only recently been baptised. Every Sunday he
comes in fifteen li from the small patch of ground he tills to the
mission services. His son is at the mission school, and is boarded on
the premises. There is a small school in connection with the mission
under the baptised teacher, where eight boys and eight girls are being
taught. They are learning quickly, their wonderful gifts of memory being
a chief factor in their progress. At the service there was another
worshipper, a sturdy boy of fourteen, who slept composedly all through
the exhortation. If any boy should feel gratitude towards the kind
missionaries it is he. They have reared him from the most degraded
poverty, have taught him to read and write, and are now on the eve of
apprenticing him to a carpenter. He was a beggar boy, the son of a
professional beggar, who, with unkempt hair and in rags and filth, used
to shamble through the streets gathering reluctant alms. The father
died, and some friends would have sold his son to pay the expenses of
his burial; but the missionaries intervened and, to save the son from
slavery, buried his father. This action gave them some claim to help the
boy, and the boy has accordingly been with them since in a comfortable,
kindly home, instead of grovelling round the streets in squalor and
nakedness.

The mission-house, formerly occupied by Mr. George Clarke is near the
City Temple. We went to see it a day or two after my arrival. It is now
in the possession of a family of Mohammedans, one of the very few Moslem
families still living in the valley of Tali. "When we were in possession
of the valley," said the father sorrowfully, "we numbered '12,000 tens'
(120,000 souls), now we are '100 fives' (500 souls). Our men were slain,
our women were taken in prey, only a remnant escaped the destroyer."
Several members of the family were in the court when we entered, and
among the men were three with marked Anglo-Saxon features, a peculiarity
frequently seen in Western China, where every traveller has given a
different explanation of the phenomenon. One especially moved my
curiosity, for he possessed to an absurd degree the closest likeness to
myself. Could I give him any higher praise than that?

That the Mohammedan Chinese is physically superior to his Buddhist
countryman is acknowledged by all observers; there is a fearlessness and
independence of bearing in the Mohammedan, a militant carriage that
distinguishes him from the Chinese unbeliever. His religion is but a
thinly diluted Mohammedanism, and excites the scorn of the true
believers from India who witness his devotion, or rather his want of
devotion.

One of the men talking to us in the old mission-house was a
comical-looking fellow, whose head-dress differed from that of the
other Chinese, in that, in addition to his queue, lappets of hair were
drawn down his cheeks in the fashion affected by old ladies in England.
I raised these strange locks--impudent curiosity is often polite
attention in China--whereupon the reason for them was apparent. The body
bequeathed to him by his fathers had been mutilated--he had suffered the
removal of both ears. He explained to us how he came to lose them, but
we knew even before he told us; "he had lost them in battle facing the
enemy"--and of course we believed him. The less credulous would
associate the mutilation with a case of theft and its detection and
punishment by the magistrate; but "a bottle-nosed man," says the Chinese
proverb, "may be a teetotaller and yet no one will think so."

Our milkman at the mission was a follower of the Prophet, and the milk
he gave us was usually as reduced in quality as are his co-religionists
in number. In the milk he supplied there was what a chemist describes as
a remarkable absence of butter fat. Yet, when he was reproached for his
deceit, he used piously to say, even when met coming from the well, "I
could not put a drop of water in the milk, for there is a God up
there"--and he would jerk his chin towards the sky--"who would see me if
I did."



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE JOURNEY FROM TALI, WITH SOME REMARKS ON THE CHARACTER OF THE
CANTONESE, CHINESE EMIGRANTS, CRETINS, AND WIFE-BEATING IN CHINA.


The three men who had come with me the six hundred and seventeen miles
from Chaotong left me at Tali to return all that long way home on foot
with their well-earned savings. I was sorry to say good-bye to them; but
they had come many miles further than they intended, and their friends,
they said, would be anxious: besides Laohwan, you remember, was newly
married.

I engaged three new men in their places. They were to take me right
through to Singai (Bhamo). Every day was of importance now with four
hundred and fifty miles to travel and the rainy season closing in.
Laotseng was the name of the Chinaman whom I engaged in place of
Laohwan. He was a fine young fellow, active as a deer, strong, and
high-spirited. I agreed to pay him the fancy wage of _24s._ for the
journey. He was to carry no load, but undertook, in the event of either
of my coolies falling sick, to carry his load until a new coolie could
be engaged. The two coolies I engaged through a coolie-hong. One was a
strongly-built man, a "chop dollar," good-humoured, but of rare
ugliness. The other was the thinnest man I ever saw outside a Bowery
dime-show. He had the opium habit. He was an opium-eater rather than an
opium-smoker; and he ate the ash from the opium-pipe, instead of the
opium itself--the most vicious of the methods of taking opium. He was
the nearest approach I saw in China to the Exeter Hall type of
opium-eater, whose "wasted limbs and palsied hands" cry out against the
sin of the opium traffic. Though a victim of the injustice of England,
this man had never tasted Indian opium in his life, and, perishing as he
was in body and soul, going "straight to eternal damnation," his "dying
wail unheard," he yet undertook a journey that would have deterred the
majority of Englishmen, and agreed to carry, at forced speed, a far
heavier load than the English soldier is ever weighted with on march.
The two coolies were to be paid 4 taels each (_12s._) for the twenty
stages to Singai, and had to find their own board and lodging. But I
also stipulated to give them _churo_ money (pork money) of 100 cash each
at three places--Yungchang, Tengyueh, and Bhamo--100 cash each a day
extra for every day that I detained them on the way, and, in addition, I
was to reward them with 150 cash each a day for every day that they
saved on the twenty days' journey, days that I rested not to count.

Of course none of the three men spoke a word of English. All were
natives of the province of Szechuen, and all carried out their agreement
to the letter.

On May 3rd I left Tali. The last and longest stage of all the journey
was before me, a distance of some hundreds of miles, which I had to
traverse before I could hope to meet another countryman or foreigner
with whom I could converse. The two missionaries, Mr. Smith and Mr.
Graham, kindly offered to see me on my way, and we all started together
for Hsiakwan, leaving the men to follow.

Ten li from Tali we stopped to have tea at one of the many tea-houses
that are grouped round the famous temple to the Goddess of Mercy, the
_Kwanyin-tang_. The scene was an animated one. The open space between
the temple steps and the temple theatre opposite was thronged with
Chinese of strange diversity of feature crying their wares from under
the shelter of huge umbrellas. There is always a busy traffic to
Hsiakwan, and every traveller rests here, if only for a few minutes. For
this is the most famous temple in the valley of Tali. The Goddess of
Mercy is the friend of travellers, and no thoughtful Chinese should
venture on a journey without first asking the favour of the goddess and
obtaining from her priests a forecast of his success. The temple is a
fine specimen of Chinese architecture. It was built specially to record
a miracle. In the chief court, surrounded by the temple buildings, there
is a huge granite boulder lying in an ornamental pond. It is connected
by marble approaches, and is surmounted by a handsome monument of
marble, which is faced on all sides with memorial tablets. This boulder
was carried to its present position by the goddess herself, the monument
and bridges were built to detain it where it lay, and the temple
afterwards erected to commemorate an event of such happy augury for the
beautiful valley.

[Illustration: MEMORIAL IN THE TEMPLE OF THE GODDESS OF MERCY, NEAR
TALIFU.]

But the temple has not always witnessed only scenes of mercy. Two years
ago a tragedy was enacted here of strange interest. At a religious
festival held here in April, 1892, and attended by all the high
officials and by a crowd of sightseers, a thief, taking advantage of the
crush, tried to snatch a bracelet from the wrist of a young woman, and,
when she resisted, he stabbed her. He was seized red-handed, dragged
before the Titai, who happened to be present, and ordered to be
beheaded there and then. An executioner was selected from among the
soldiers; but so clumsily did he do the work, hacking the head off by
repeated blows, instead of severing it by one clean cut, that the
friends of the thief were incensed and vowed vengeance. That same night
they lay in wait for the executioner as he was returning to the city,
and beat him to death with stones. Five men were arrested for this
crime; they were compelled to confess their guilt and were sentenced to
death. As they were being carried out to the execution-ground, one of
the condemned pointed to two men, who were in the crowd of sightseers,
and swore that they were equally concerned in the murder. So these two
men were also put on their trial, with the result that one was found
guilty and was equally condemned to death. As if this were not
sufficient, at the execution the mother of one of the prisoners, when
she saw her son's head fall beneath the knife, gave a loud scream and
fell down stone-dead. Nine lives were sacrificed in this tragedy: the
woman who was stabbed recovered of her wound.

Hsiakwan was crowded, as it was market day. We had lunch together at a
Chinese restaurant, and then, my men having come up, the kind
missionaries returned, and I went on alone. A river, the Yangki River,
drains the Tali Lake, and, leaving the south-west corner of the lake,
flows through the town of Hsiakwan, and so on west to join the Mekong.
For three days the river would be our guide. A mile from the town the
river enters a narrow defile, where steep walls of rock rise abruptly
from the banks. The road here passes under a massive gateway. Forts, now
dismantled, guard the entrance; the pass could be made absolutely
impregnable. At this point the torrent falls under a natural bridge of
unusual beauty. We rode on by the narrow bank along the river, crossed
from the left to the right bank, and continued on through a beautiful
country, sweet with the scent of the honeysuckle, to the charming little
village of Hokiangpu. Here we had arranged to stay. The inn was a large
one, and very clean. Many of its rooms were already occupied by a large
party of Cantonese returning home after the Thibetan Fair with loads of
opium.

The Cantonese, using the term in its broader sense as applied to the
natives of the province of Kuangtung, are the Catalans of China. They
are as enterprising as the Scotch, adapt themselves as readily to
circumstances, are enduring, canny, and successful; you meet them in the
most distant parts of China. They make wonderful pilgrimages on foot.
They have the reputation of being the most quick-witted of all Chinese.
Large numbers come to Tali during the Thibetan Fair, and in the opium
season. They bring all kinds of foreign goods adapted for Chinese
wants--cheap pistols and revolvers, mirrors, scales, fancy pictures, and
a thousand gewgaws useful as well as attractive--and they return with
opium. They travel in bands, marching in single file, their carrying
poles pointed with a steel spearhead two feet long, serving a double
use--a carrying pole in peace, a formidable spear in trouble.

Everywhere they can be distinguished by their dress, by their enormous
oiled sunshades, and by their habit of tricing their loads high up to
the carrying pole. They are always well clad in dark blue; their heads
are always cleanly shaved; their feet are well sandalled, and their
calves neatly bandaged. They have a travelled mien about them, and carry
themselves with an air of conscious superiority to the untravelled
savages among whom they are trading. To me they were always polite and
amiable; they recognised that I was, like themselves, a stranger far
from home.

This is the class of Chinese who, emigrating from the thickly-peopled
south-eastern provinces of China, already possess a predominant share of
the wealth of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Timor, the Celebes and the
Philippine Islands, Burma, Siam, Annam and Tonquin, the Straits
Settlements, Malay Peninsula, and Cochin China. "There is hardly a tiny
islet visited by our naturalists in any part of these seas but Chinamen
are found." And it is this class of Chinese who have already driven us
out of the Northern Territory of Australia, and whose unrestricted entry
into the other colonies we must prevent at all hazards. We cannot
compete with Chinese; we cannot intermix or marry with them; they are
aliens in language, thought, and customs; they are working animals of
low grade but great vitality. The Chinese is temperate, frugal,
hard-working, and law-evading, if not law-abiding--we all acknowledge
that. He can outwork an Englishman, and starve him out of the
country--no one can deny that. To compete successfully with a Chinaman,
the artisan or labourer of our own flesh and blood would require to be
degraded into a mere mechanical beast of labour, unable to support wife
or family, toiling seven days in the week, with no amusements,
enjoyments, or comforts of any kind, no interest in the country,
contributing no share towards the expense of government, living on food
that he would now reject with loathing, crowded with his fellows ten or
fifteen in a room that he would not now live in alone, except with
repugnance. Admitted freely into Australia, the Chinese would starve
out the Englishman, in accordance with the law of currency--that of two
currencies in a country the baser will always supplant the better. "In
Victoria," says Professor Pearson, "a single trade--that of
furniture-making--was taken possession of and ruined for white men
within the space of something like five years." In the small colony of
Victoria there are 9377 Chinese in a population of 1,150,000; in all
China, with its population of 350,000,000, there are only 8081
foreigners (Dyer Ball), a large proportion of whom are working for
China's salvation.

There is not room for both in Australia. Which is to be our colonist,
the Asiatic or the Englishman?

In the morning we had another beautiful walk round the snow-clad
mountains to the village of Yangpi, at the back of Tali. There was a
long delay here. News of my arrival spread, and the people hurried along
to see me. No sooner was I seated at an inn than two messengers from the
yamen called for my passport. They were officious young fellows, sadly
wanting in respect, and they asked for my passport in a noisy way that I
did not like, so I would not understand them. I only smiled at them in
the most friendly manner possible. I kept them for some time in a fever
of irritation at their inability to make me understand; I listened with
imperturbable calmness to their excited phrases till they were nearly
dancing. Then I leisurely produced my passport, as if to satisfy a
curiosity of my own, and began scanning it. Seeing this, they rudely
thrust forth their hands to seize it; but I had my eye on them. "Not so
quick, my friends," I said, soothingly. "Be calm; nervous irritability
is a fruitful source of trouble. See, here is my passport; here is the
official seal, and here the name of your unworthy servant. Now I fold it
up carefully and--put it back in my pocket. But here is a copy, which
is at your service. If you wish to show the original to the magistrate,
I will take it to his honour myself, but out of my hands it does not
pass." They looked puzzled, as they did not understand English; they
debated a minute or two, and then went away with the copy, which in due
time they politely returned to me.

If you wish to travel quickly in China, never be in a hurry. Appear
unconscious of all that is passing; never be irritated by any delay, and
assume complete indifference, even when you are really anxious to push
on. Emulate, too, that leading trait in the Chinese character, and never
understand anything which you do not wish to understand. No man on earth
can be denser than a Chinaman, when he chooses.

Let me give an instance. It was not so long ago, in a police court in
Melbourne, that a Chinaman was summoned for being in possession of a
tenement unfit for human habitation. The case was clearly proved, and he
was fined _£1_. But in no way could John be made to understand that a fine
had been inflicted. He sat there with unmoved stolidity, and all that
the court could extract from him was: "My no savvy, no savvy." After
saying this in a voice devoid of all hope, he sank again into silence.
Here rose a well-known lawyer. "With your worship's permission, I think
I can make the Chinaman understand," he said. He was permitted to try.
Striding fiercely up to the poor Celestial, he said to him in a loud
voice, "John, you are fined two pounds." "No dam fear! Only _one_!"

Crossing now the river by a well-constructed suspension bridge, we had a
fearful climb of 2000 feet up the mountain. My coolie "Bones" nearly
died on the way. Then there was a rough descent by a jagged path down
the rocky side of the mountain-river to the village of Taiping-pu. It
was long after dark when we arrived; and an hour later stalked in the
gaunt form of poor "Bones," who, instead of eating a good meal, coiled
up on the _kang_ and smoked an opium-pipe that he borrowed from the
chairen. All the next day, and, indeed, for every day till we reached
Tengyueh, our journey was one of the most arduous I have ever known. The
road has to surmount in succession parallel ridges of mountains. The
road is never even, for it cannot remain where travelling is easiest,
but must continually dip from the crest of the ranges to the depths of
the valleys.

Shortly before reaching Huanglien-pu my pony cast a shoe, and it was
some time before we were able to have it seen to; but I had brought half
a dozen spare shoes with me, and by-and-by a muleteer came along who
fixed one on as neatly as any farrier could have done, and gladly
accepted a reward of one halfpenny. He kept the foot steady while
shoeing it by lashing the fetlock to the pony's tail.

Caravans of cotton coming from Burma were meeting us all day. Miles away
the booming of their gongs sounded in the silent hills; a long time
afterwards their bells were heard jingling, and by-and-by the mules and
horses appeared under their huge bales of cotton, the foremost decorated
with scarlet tufts and plumes of pheasant tails, the last carrying the
saddle and bedding of the headman, as well as the burly headman himself,
perched above all. A man with a gong always headed the way; there was a
driver to every five animals. In the sandy bed of the river at one place
a caravan was resting. Their packs were piled in parallel rows; their
horses browsed on the hillside. I counted 107 horses in this one
caravan.

The prevailing pathological feature of the Chinese of Western Yunnan is
the deformity goitre. It may safely be asserted that it is as common in
many districts as are the marks of small-pox. Goitre occurs widely in
Annam, Siam, Upper Burma, the Shan States, and in Western China as far
as the frontier of Thibet. It is distinctly associated with cretinism
and its interrupted intellectual development. And the disease must
increase, for there is no attempt to check it. To be a "thickneck" is no
bar to marriage on either side. The goitrous intermarry, and have
children who are goitrous, or, rather, who will, if exposed to the same
conditions as their parents, inevitably develop goitre. Frequently the
disease is intensified in the offspring into cretinism, and I can
conceive of no sight more disgusting than that which so often met our
view, of a goitrous mother suckling her imbecile child. On one
afternoon, among those who passed us on the road, I counted eighty
persons with the deformity. On another day nine adults were climbing a
path, by which we had just descended, every one of whom had goitre. In
one small village, out of eighteen full-grown men and women whom I met
in the street down which I rode, fifteen were affected. My diary in the
West, especially from Yunnan City to Yungchang, after which point the
cases greatly diminished in number, became a monotonous record of cases.
At the mission in Tali three women are employed, and of these two are
goitrous; the third, a Minchia woman, is free from the disease, and I
have been told that among the indigenes the disease is much less common
than among the Chinese. On all sides one encounters the horrible
deformity, among all classes, of all ages. The disease early manifests
itself, and I have often seen well-marked enlargement in children as
young as eight. Turn any street corner in any town of importance in
Western Yunnan and you will meet half a dozen cases; there must be few
families in the western portion of the province free from the taint.

On a day, for example, like this (May 5th), when the road was more than
usually mountainous, though that may have been an accident, my chairen
was a "thickneck" and my two soldiers were "thicknecks." At the village
of Huanglien-pu, where I had lunch, the landlady of the inn had a
goitrous neck that was swelled out half-way to the shoulder, and her son
was a slobbering-mouthed cretin with the intelligence of an animal. And
among the people who gathered round me in a dull, apathetic way every
other one was more or less marked with the disease and its attendant
mental phenomena. Again, at the inn in a little mountain village, where
we stopped for the night, mother, father, and every person in the house,
to the number of nine, above the age of childhood was either goitrous or
cretinous, dull of intelligence, mentally verging upon dementia in three
cases, in two of which physical growth had been arrested at childhood.

Rarely during my journey to Burma was I offended by hearing myself
called "_Yang kweitze_" (foreign devil), although this is the universal
appellation of the foreigner wherever Mandarin is spoken in China.
To-day, however, (May 6th), I was seated at the inn in the town of
Chutung when I heard the offensive term. I was seated at a table in the
midst of the accustomed crowd of Chinese. I was on the highest seat, of
course, because I was the most important person present, when a
bystander, seeing that I spoke no Chinese, coolly said the words "_Yang
kweitze_" (foreign devil). I rose in my wrath, and seized my whip. "You
Chinese devil" (_Chung kweitze_), I said in Chinese, and then I assailed
him in English. He seemed surprised at my warmth, but said nothing, and,
turning on his heel, walked uncomfortably away.

I often regretted afterwards that I did not teach the man a lesson, and
cut him across the face with my whip; yet, had I done so, it would have
been unjust. He called me, as I thought, "_Yang kweitze_," but I have no
doubt, having told the story to Mr. Warry, the Chinese adviser to the
Government of Burma, that he did not use these words at all, but others
so closely resembling them that they sounded identically the same to my
untrained ear, and yet signified not "foreign devil," but "honoured
guest." He had paid me a compliment; he had not insulted me. The
Yunnanese, Mr. Warry tells me, do not readily speak of the devil for
fear he should appear.

On my journey I made it a rule, acting advisedly, to refuse to occupy
any other than the best room in the inn, and, if there was only one
room, I required that the best bed in the room, as regards elevation,
should be given to me. So, too, at every inn I insisted that the best
table should be given me, and, if there were already Chinese seated at
it, I gravely bowed to them, and by a wave of my hand signified that it
was my pleasure that they should make way for the distinguished
stranger. When there was only the one table, I occupied, as by right,
its highest seat, refusing to sit in any other. I required, indeed, by
politeness and firmness, that the Chinese take me at my own valuation.
And they invariably did so. They always gave way to me. They recognised
that I must be a traveller of importance, despite the smallness of my
retinue and the homeliness of my attire; and they acknowledged my
superiority. Had I been content with a humbler place, it would quickly
have been reported along the road, and, little by little, my complacence
would have been tested. I am perfectly sure that, by never verging from
my position of superiority, I gained the respect of the Chinese, and it
is largely to this I attribute the universal respect and attention shown
me during the journey. For I was unarmed, entirely dependent upon the
Chinese, and, for all practical purposes, inarticulate. As it was, I
never had any difficulty whatever.

Chinese etiquette pays great attention to the question of position; so
important, indeed, is it that, when a carriage was taken by Lord
Macartney's Embassy to Peking as a present, or, as the Chinese said, as
tribute to the Emperor Kienlung, great offence was caused by the
arrangement of the seats requiring the driver to sit on a higher level
than His Majesty. A small enough mistake surely, but sufficient to mar
the success of an expedition which the Chinese have always regarded as
"one of the most splendid testimonials of respect that a tributary
nation ever paid their Court."

On the morning of May 7th, as we were leaving the village where we had
slept the night before, we were witnesses of a domestic quarrel which
might well have become a tragedy. On the green outside their cabin a
husband with goitre, enraged against his goitrous wife, was kept from
killing her by two elderly goitrous women. All were speaking with
horrible goitrous voices as if they had cleft palates, and the husband
was hoarse with fury. Jealousy could not have been the cause of the
quarrel, for his wife was one of the most hideous creatures I have seen
in China. Throwing aside the bamboo with which he was threatening her,
the husband ran into the house, and was out again in a moment
brandishing a long native sword with which he menaced speedy death to
the joy of his existence. I stood in the road and watched the
disturbance, and with me the soldier-guard, who did not venture to
interfere. But the two women seized the angry brute and held him till
his wife toddled round the corner. Now, if this were a determined woman,
she could best revenge herself for the cruelty that had been done her by
going straightway and poisoning herself with opium, for then would her
spirit be liberated, ever after to haunt her husband, even if he escaped
punishment for being the cause of her death. If in the dispute he had
killed her, he would be punished with "strangulation after the usual
period," the sentence laid down by the law and often recorded in the
_Peking Gazette_ (_e.g._, May 15th, 1892), unless he could prove her
guilty of infidelity, or want of filial respect for his parents, in
which case his action would be praiseworthy rather than culpable. If,
however, in the dispute the wife had killed her husband, or by her
conduct had driven him to suicide, she would be inexorably tied to the
cross and put to death by the "_Ling chi_," or "degrading and slow
process." For a wife to kill her husband has always been regarded as a
more serious crime than for a husband to kill his wife; even in our own
highly favoured country, till within a few years of the present century,
the punishment for the man was death by hanging, but in the case of the
woman death by burning alive.

Let me at this point interpolate a word or two about the method of
execution known as the _Ling chi_. The words are commonly, and quite
wrongly, translated as "death by slicing into 10,000 pieces"--a truly
awful description of a punishment whose cruelty has been
extraordinarily misrepresented. It is true that no punishment is more
dreaded by the Chinese than the _Ling chi_; but it is dreaded, not
because of any torture associated with its performance, but because of
the dismemberment practised upon the body which was received whole from
its parents. The mutilation is ghastly and excites our horror as an
example of barbarian cruelty: but it is not cruel, and need not excite
our horror, since the mutilation is done, not before death, but after.
The method is simply the following, which I give as I received it
first-hand from an eye-witness:--The prisoner is tied to a rude cross:
he is invariably deeply under the influence of opium. The executioner,
standing before him, with a sharp sword makes two quick incisions above
the eyebrows, and draws down the portion of skin over each eye, then he
makes two more quick incisions across the breast, and in the next moment
he pierces the heart, and death is instantaneous. Then he cuts the body
in pieces; and the degradation consists in the fragmentary shape in
which the prisoner has to appear in heaven. As a missionary said to me:
"He can't lie out that he got there properly when he carries with him
such damning evidence to the contrary."

[Illustration: THE DESCENT TO THE RIVER MEKONG.]

In China immense power is given to the husband over the body of his
wife, and it seems as if the tendency in England were to approximate to
the Chinese custom. Is it not a fact that, if a husband in England
brutally maltreats his wife, kicks her senseless, and disfigures her for
life, the average English bench of unpaid magistrates will find
extenuating circumstances in the fact of his being the husband, and will
rarely sentence him to more than a month or two's hard labour?



CHAPTER XIX.

THE MEKONG AND SALWEEN RIVERS--HOW TO TRAVEL IN CHINA.


To-day, May 7th, we crossed the River Mekong, even at this distance from
Siam a broad and swift stream. The river flows into the light from a
dark and gloomy gorge, takes a sharp bend, and rolls on between the
mountains. Where it issues from the gorge a suspension bridge has been
stretched across the stream. A wonderful pathway zigzags down the face
of the mountain to the river, in an almost vertical incline of 2000ft.
At the riverside an embankment of dressed stone, built up from the rock,
leads for some hundreds of feet along the bank, where there would
otherwise have been no foothold, to the clearing by the bridge. The
likin-barrier is here, and a teahouse or two, and the guardian temple.
The bridge itself is graceful and strong, swinging easily 30ft. above
the current; it is built of powerful chains, carried from bank to bank
and held by masses of solid masonry set in the bed-rock. It is 60 yards
long and 10ft. wide, is floored with wood, and has a picket parapet
supported by lateral chains. From the river a path led us up to a small
village, where my men rested to gather strength. For facing us were the
mountain heights, which had to be escaladed before we could leave the
river gulch. Then with immense toil we climbed up the mountain path by
a rocky staircase of thousands of steps, till, worn out, and with
"Bones" nearly dead, we at length reached the narrow defile near the
summit, whence an easy road brought us in the early evening to Shuichai
(6700ft.).

In the course of one afternoon we had descended 2000ft. to the river
(4250ft. above the sea), and had then climbed 2450ft. to Shuichai. And
the ascent from the river was steeper than the descent into it; yet the
railway which is to be built over this trade-route between Burma and
Yunnan will have other engineering difficulties to contend with even
greater than this.

My soldier to-day was a boy of fifteen or sixteen. He was armed with a
revolver, and bore himself valiantly. But his revolver was more
dangerous in appearance than in effect, for the cylinder would not
revolve, the hammer was broken short off, and there were no cartridges.
Everywhere the weapon was examined with curiosity blended with awe, and
I imagine that the Chinese were told strange tales of its deadliness.

Next morning we continued by easy gradients to Talichao (7700ft.),
rising 1000ft. in rather less than seven miles. It was bitterly cold in
the mists of the early morning. But twenty miles further the road dipped
again to the sunshine and warmth of the valley of Yungchang, where, in
the city made famous by Marco Polo, we found comfortable quarters in an
excellent inn.

Yungchang is a large town, strongly walled. It is, however, only a
remnant of the old city, acres of houses having been destroyed during
the insurrection, when for three years, it is said, Imperialists and
Mohammedans were contending for its possession. There is a telegraph
station in the town. The streets are broad and well-paved, the inns
large, and the temples flourishing. One fortunate circumstance the
traveller will notice in Yungchang--there is a marked diminution in the
number of cases of goitre. And the diminution is not confined to the
town, but is apparent from this point right on to Burma.

Long after our arrival in Yungchang my opium-eating coolie "Bones" had
not come, and we had to wait for him in anger and annoyance. He had my
hamper of eatables and my bundle of bedding. Tired of waiting for him, I
went for a walk to the telegraph office and was turning to come back,
when I met the faithful skeleton, a mile from the inn, walking along as
if to a funeral, his neck elongating from side to side like a camel's, a
lean and hungry look in his staring eyes, his bones crackling inside his
skin. Continuing in the direction that he was going when I found him, he
might have reached Thibet in time, but never Burma. I led him back to
the hotel, where he ruefully showed me his empty string of cash, as if
that had been the cause of his delay; he had only 6 cash left, and he
wanted an advance.

This was the worst coolie I had in my employ during my journey. But he
was a good-natured fellow and honest. He was better educated, too, than
most of the other coolies, and could both read and write. His dress on
march was characteristic of the man. He was nearly naked; his clothes
hardly hung together; he wore no sandals on his feet; but round his neck
he carried a small earthenware phial of opium ash. In the early stages
he delayed us all an hour or two every day, but he improved as we went
further. And then he was so long and thin, so grotesque in his gait, and
afforded me such frequent amusement, that I would not willingly have
exchanged him for the most active coolie in China.

[Illustration: INSIDE VIEW OF A SUSPENSION BRIDGE IN FAR WESTERN CHINA.]

On the 9th we had a long and steep march west from the plain of
Yungchang. At Pupiao I had a public lunch. It was market day, and the
country people enjoyed the rare pleasure of seeing a foreigner feed. The
street past the inn was packed in a few minutes, and the innkeeper had
all he could do to attend to the many customers who wished to take tea
at the same time as the foreigner. I was now used to these
demonstrations. I could eat on with undisturbed equanimity. On such
occasions I made it a practice, when I had finished and was leaving the
inn, to turn round and bow gravely to the crowd, thanking them in a few
kindly words of English, for the reception they had accorded me. At the
same time I took the opportunity of mentioning that they would
contribute to the comfort of future travellers, if only they would pay a
little more attention to their table manners. Then, addressing the
innkeeper, I thought it only right to point out to him that it was
absurd to expect that one small black cloth should wipe all cups and
cup-lids, all tables, all spilt tea, and all dishes, all through the
day, without getting dirty. Occasionally, too, I pointed out another
defect of management to the innkeeper, and told him that, while I
personally had an open mind on the subject, other travellers might come
his way who would disapprove, for instance--he would pardon my
mentioning it--of the manure coolie passing through the restaurant with
his buckets at mealtime, and halting by the table to see the stranger
eat.

When I spoke in this way quite seriously and bowed, those whose eyes met
mine always bowed gravely in return. And for the next hour on the track
my men would tell each other, with cackles of laughter, how Mô Shensen,
their master, mystified the natives.

From Pupiao we had a pleasant ride over a valley-plain, between hedges
of cactus in flower and bushes of red roses, past graceful clumps of
bamboo waving like ostrich feathers. By-and-by drizzling rain came on
and compelled us to seek shelter in the only inn in a poor
out-of-the-way hamlet. But I could not stop here, because the best room
in the inn was already occupied by a military officer of some
distinction, a colonel, on his way, like ourselves, to Tengyueh. An
official chair with arched poles fitted for four bearers was in the
common-room; the mules of his attendants were in the stables, and were
valuable animals. The landlord offered me another room, an inferior one;
but I waved the open fingers of my left hand before my face and said,
"_puyao! puyao!_" (I don't want it, I don't want it). For I was not so
foolish or inconsistent as to be content with a poorer quarter of the
inn than that occupied by the officer, whatever his button. I could not
acknowledge to the Chinese that any Chinaman travelling in the Middle
Kingdom was my equal, let alone my superior. Refusing to remain, I
waited in the front room until the rain should lift and allow us to
proceed. But we did not require to go on. It happened as I expected. The
Colonel sent for me, and, bowing to me, showed by signs that one half
his room was at my service. In return for his politeness he had the
privilege of seeing me eat. With both hands I offered him in turn every
one of my dishes. Afterwards I showed him my photographs--I treated him,
indeed, with proper condescension.

On the 10th we crossed the famous River Salween (2600 ft.). Through an
open tableland, well grassed and sparsely wooded, we came at length to
the cleft in the hills from which is obtained the first view of the
river valley. There was a small village here, and, while we were taking
tea, a soldier came hurriedly down the road, who handed me a letter
addressed in Chinese. I confess that at the moment I had a sudden
misgiving that some impediment was to be put in the way of my journey.
But it was nothing more than a telegram from Mr. Jensen in Yunnan,
telling me of the decision of the Chinese Government to continue the
telegraph to the frontier of Burma. The telegram was written by the
Chinese operator in Yungchang in a neat round hand, without any error of
spelling; it had come to Yungchang after my departure, and had been
courteously forwarded by the Chinese manager. The soldier who brought it
had made a hurried march of thirty-eight miles before overtaking me, and
deserved a reward. I motioned Laotseng, my cash-bearer, to give him a
present, and he meanly counted out 25 cash, and was about to give them,
when I ostentatiously increased the amount to 100 cash. The soldier was
delighted; the onlookers were charmed with this exhibition of Western
munificence. Suppose a rich Chinese traveller in England, who spoke no
English, were to offer Tommy Atkins twopence halfpenny for travelling on
foot thirty-eight miles to bring him a telegram, having then to walk
back thirty-eight miles and find himself on the way, would the English
soldier bow as gratefully as did his perishing Chinese brother when I
thus rewarded him?

We descended by beautiful open country into the Valley of the Shadow of
Death--the valley of the River Salween. No other part of Western China
has the evil repute of this valley; its unhealthiness is a by-word. "It
is impossible to pass," says Marco Polo; "the air in summer is so impure
and bad and any foreigner attempting it would die for certain."

The Salween was formerly the boundary between Burma and China, and it is
to be regretted that at the annexation of Upper Burma England did not
push her frontier back to its former position. But the delimitation of
the frontier of Burma is not yet complete. No time could be more
opportune for its completion than the present, when China is distracted
by her difficulties with Japan. China disheartened could need but little
persuasion to accede to the just demand of England that the frontier of
Burma shall be the true south-western frontier of China--the Salween
River.

There are no Chinese in the valley, nor would any Chinaman venture to
cross it after nightfall. The reason of its unhealthiness is not
apparent, except in the explanation of Baber, that "border regions,
'debatable grounds,' are notoriously the birthplace of myths and
marvels." There can be little doubt that the deadliness of the valley is
a tradition rather than a reality.

By flights of stone steps we descended to the river, where at the
bridge-landing, we were arrested by a sight that could not be seen
without emotion. A prisoner, chained by the hands and feet and cooped in
a wooden cage, was being carried by four bearers to Yungchang to
execution. He was not more than twenty-one years of age, was
well-dressed, and evidently of a rank in life from which are recruited
few of the criminals of China. Yet his crime could not have been much
graver. On the corner posts of his cage white strips of paper were
posted, giving his name and the particulars of the crime which he was so
soon to expiate. He was a burglar who had escaped from prison by killing
his guard, and had been recaptured. Unlike other criminals I have seen
in China, who laugh at the stranger and appear unaffected by their lot,
this young fellow seemed to feel keenly the cruel but well-deserved fate
that was in store for him. Three days hence he would be put to death by
strangulation outside the wall of Yungchang.

[Illustration: THE RIVER SALWEEN, THE FORMER BOUNDARY BETWEEN CHINA AND
BURMA.]

Another of those remarkable works which declare the engineering skill of
the Chinese, is the suspension bridge which spans the Salween by a
double loop--the larger loop over the river, the smaller one across the
overflow. A natural piece of rock strengthened by masonry, rising from
the river bed, holds the central ends of both loops. The longer span is
80 yards in length, the shorter 55; both are 12ft. wide, and are formed
of twelve parallel chain cables, drawn to an appropriate curve. A rapid
river flows under the bridge, the rush of whose waters can be heard high
up the mountain slopes.

None but Shans live in the valley. They are permitted to govern
themselves under Chinese supervision, and preserve their own laws and
customs. They have a village near the bridge, of grass-thatched huts and
open booths, where travellers can find rest and refreshment, and where
native women prettily arrayed in dark-blue, will brew you tea in
earthenware teapots. Very different are the Shan women from the Chinese.
Their colour is much darker; their head-dress is a circular pile formed
of concentric folds of dark-blue cloth; their dress closely resembles
with its jacket and kilt the bathing dress of civilisation; their arms
are bare, they have gaiters on their legs, and do not compress their
feet. All wear brooches and earrings, and other ornaments of silver
filigree.

From the valley the main road rises without intermission 6130 feet to
the village of Fengshui-ling (8730 feet), a climb which has to be
completed in the course of the afternoon. We were once more among the
trees. Pushing on till I was afraid we should be benighted, we reached
long after dark an encampment of bamboo and grass, in the lonely bush,
where the kind people made us welcome. It was bitterly cold during the
night, for the hut I slept in was open to the air. My three men and the
escort must have been even colder than I was. But at least we all slept
in perfect security, and I cannot praise too highly the constant care of
the Chinese authorities to shield even from the apprehension of harm one
whose only protection was his British passport.

All the way westward from Yunnan City I was shadowed both by a
yamen-runner and a soldier; both were changed nearly every day, and the
further west I went the more frequently were they armed. The
yamen-runner usually carried a long native sword only, but the soldier,
in addition to his sword, was on one occasion, as we have seen, armed
with the relics of a revolver that would not revolve. On May 10th, for
the first time, the soldier detailed to accompany me was provided with a
rusty old musket with a very long barrel. I examined this weapon with
much curiosity. China is our neighbour in Eastern Asia, and is, it is
often stated, an ideal power to be intrusted with the government of the
buffer state called for by French aggression in Siam. In China, it is
alleged, we have a prospective ally in Asia, and it is preferable that
England should suffer all reasonable indignities and humilities at her
hands rather than endanger any possible relations, which may
subsequently be entered into, with a hypothetically powerful neighbour.

On my arrival in Burma I was often amused by the serious questions I was
asked concerning the military equipment of the Chinese soldiers of
Western Yunnan. The soldier who was with me to-day was a type of the
warlike sons of China, not only in the province bordering on Burma, but,
with slight differences, all over the Middle Kingdom. Now, physically,
this man was fit to be drafted into any army in the world, but, apart
from his endurance, his value as a fighting machine lay in the weapon
with which the military authorities had armed him. This weapon was
peculiar; I noted down its peculiarities on the spot. In this weapon the
spring of the trigger was broken so that it could not be pulled; if it
had been in order, there was no cap for the hammer to strike; if there
had been a cap, it would have been of no use because the pinhole was
rusted; even if the pinhole had been open, the rifle would still have
been ineffective because it was not loaded, for the very good reason
that the soldier had not been provided with powder, or, if he had, he
had been compelled to sell it in order to purchase the rice which the
Emperor, "whose rice he ate," had neglected to send him.

An early start in the morning and we descended quickly to the River
Shweli.

[Illustration: THE RIVER SHWELI AND ITS SUSPENSION BRIDGE.]

The Salween River is at an elevation of 2600 feet. Forty-five li further
the road reaches at Fengshui-ling a height of 8730, from which point, in
thirty-five li, it dips again to the River Shweli, 4400 feet above sea
level. There was the usual suspension bridge at the river, and the
inevitable likin-barrier. For the first time the Customs officials
seemed inclined to delay me. I was on foot, and separated from my men by
half the height of the hill. The collectors, and the underlings who are
always hanging about the barriers, gathered round me and interrogated me
closely. They spoke to me in Chinese, and with insufficient deference.
The Chinese seem imbued with the mistaken belief that their language is
the vehicle of intercourse not only within the four seas, but beyond
them, and are often arrogant in consequence. I answered them in English.
"I don't understand one word you say, but, if you wish to know," I said,
energetically, "I come from Shanghai." "Shanghai," they exclaimed, "he
comes from Shanghai!" "And I am bound for Singai" (Bhamo);--"Singai,"
they repeated, "he is going to Singai!"--"unless the Imperial
Government, suspicious of my intentions, which the meanest intelligence
can see are pacific, should prevent me, in which case England will find
a coveted pretext to add Yunnan to her Burmese Empire." Then, addressing
myself to the noisiest, I indulged in some sarcastic speculations upon
his probable family history, deduced from his personal peculiarities,
till he looked very uncomfortable indeed. Thereupon I gravely bowed to
them, and, leaving them in dumb astonishment, walked on over the bridge.
They probably thought I was rating them in Manchu, the language of the
Emperor. Two boys staggering under loads of firewood did not escape so
easily, but were detained and a log squeezed from each wherewith to
light the likin fires.

A steep climb of another 3000 or 4000 feet over hills carpeted with
bracken, with here and there grassy swards, pretty with lilies and
daisies and wild strawberries, and then a quick descent, and we were in
the valley of Tengyueh (5600ft.). A plain everywhere irrigated, flanked
by treeless hills; fields shut in by low embankments; villages in
plantations round its margin; black-faced sheep in flocks on the
hillsides; and, away to the right the crenellated walls of Tengyueh. A
stone-flagged path down the centre of the plain led us into the town. We
entered by the south gate, and, turning to the left, were conducted into
the telegraph compound, where I was to find accommodation, the clerk in
charge of the operators being able to speak a few words of English. I
was an immediate object of curiosity.



CHAPTER XX.

THE CITY OF TENGYUEH--THE CELEBRATED WUNTHO SAWBWA--SHAN SOLDIERS.


I was given a comfortable room in the telegraph offices, but I had
little privacy. My room was thronged during all the time of my visit.
The first evening I held an informal and involuntary reception, which
was attended by all the officials of the town, with the dignified
exception of the Brigadier-General. The three members of the Chinese
Boundary Commission, which had recently arranged with the British
Commission the preliminaries to the delimitation of the boundary between
Burma and China, were here, disputing with clerks, yamen-runners, and
chair-coolies for a sight of my photographs and curiosities. The
telegraph Manager Pen, Yeh (the magistrate), and a stalwart soldier
(Colonel Liu), formed the Commission, and they retain hallowed
recollections of the benignity of the Englishmen, and the excellence of
their champagne. Colonel Liu proved to be the most enlightened member of
the party. He is a tall, handsome fellow, fifty years of age, a native
of Hunan, the most warlike and anti-foreign province in China. He was
especially glad to see a foreign doctor. The gallant Colonel confided to
me a wish that had long been uppermost in his heart. From some member,
unknown, of the British Commission he had learnt of the marvellous
rejuvenating power of a barbarian medicine--could I get him some?
_Could I get him a bottle of hair-dye?_ Unlike his compatriots, who
regard the external features of longevity as the most coveted attribute
of life, this gentleman, in whose brain the light of civilisation was
dawning, wished to frustrate the doings of age. Could I get him a bottle
of hair-dye? He was in charge of the fort at Ganai, two days out on the
way to Bhamo, and would write to the officer in charge during his
absence directing him to provide me with an escort worthy of my
benefaction.

One celebrity, who lives in the neighbourhood of Tengyueh, did not
favour me with a visit. That famous dacoit, the outlawed Prince of
Wuntho--the Wuntho Sawbwa--lives here, an exile sheltered by the Chinese
Government. A pure Burmese himself, the father-in-law of the amiable
Sawbwa of Santa, he is believed by the Government of Burma to have been
"concerned in all the Kachin risings of 1892-1893." A reward of 5000
rupees is offered for his head, which will be paid equally whether the
head be on or off the shoulders. Another famous outlaw, the Shan Chief
Kanhliang, is also believed to be in hiding in the neighbourhood of
Tengyueh. The value of _his_ head has been assessed at 2000 rupees.

Tengyueh is more a park than a town. The greater part of the city within
the walls is waste land or gardens. The houses are collected mainly near
the south gate, and extend beyond the south gate on each side of the
road for half a mile on the road to Bhamo. There is an excellent wall in
admirable order, with an embankment of earth 20ft. in width. But I saw
no guns of any kind whatever, nor did I meet a single armed man in the
town or district.

Tengyueh is so situated that the invading army coming from Burma will
find a pleasant pastime in shelling it from the open hills all around
the town. This was the last stronghold of the Mohammedans. It was
formerly a prosperous border town, the chief town in all the fertile
valley of the Taiping. It was in the hands of the rebels till June 10th,
1873, when it was delivered over to the Imperialists to carnage and
destruction. The valley is fertile and well populated, and prosperity is
quickly returning to the district.

There is only one yamen in Tengyueh of any pretension, and it is the
official residence of a red-button warrior, the Brigadier-General
(_Chentai_) Chang, the successor, though not, of course, the immediate
successor, of Li-Sieh-tai, who was concerned in the murder of Margary
and the repulse of the expedition under Colonel Horace Browne in 1875. A
tall, handsome Chinaman is Chang, of soldierly bearing and blissful
innocence of all knowledge of modern warfare. Yungchang is the limit of
his jurisdiction in one direction, the Burmese boundary in the other;
his only superior officer is the Titai in Tali.

The telegraph office adjoins the City Temple and Theatre of Tengyueh. At
this time the annual festival was being celebrated in the temple.
Theatrical performances were being given in uninterrupted succession
daily for the term of one month. Play began at sunrise, and the curtain
fell, or would have fallen if there had been a curtain, at twilight. Day
was rendered hideous by the clangour of the instruments which the
blunted senses of Chinese have been misguided into believing are
musical. Already the play, or succession of plays, had continued fifteen
days, and another thirteen days had yet to be endured before its
completion. Crowds occupied the temple court during the performance,
while a considerable body of dead-heads witnessed the entertainment from
the embankment and wall overlooking the open stage. My host, the
telegraph Manager Pen, and his two friends Liu and Yeh, were given an
improvised seat of honour outside my window, and here they sat all day
and sipped tea and cracked jokes. No actresses were on the stage; the
female parts were taken by men whose make-up was admirable, and who
imitated, with curious fidelity, the voice and gestures of women. The
dresses were rich and varied. Scene-shifters, band, supers, and friends
remained on the stage during the performance, dodging about among the
actors. There is no drop curtain in a Chinese theatre, and all scenes
are changed on the open stage before you. The villain, whose nose is
painted white, vanquished by triumphant virtue, dies a gory death; he
remains dead just long enough to satisfy you that he _is_ dead, and then
gets up and serenely walks to the side. There is laughter at sallies of
indecency, and the spectators grunt their applause. The Chinaman is
rarely carried away by his feelings at the theatre; indeed, it may be
questioned if strong emotion is ever aroused in his breast, except by
the first addresses of the junior members of the China Inland Mission,
the thrilling effect of whose Chinese exhortations is recorded every
month in _China's Millions_.

The Manager of the telegraph, to show his good feeling, presented me
with a stale tin of condensed milk. His second clerk and operator was
the most covetous man I met in China. He begged in turn for nearly every
article I possessed, beginning with my waterproof, which I did not give
him, and ending with the empty milk tin, which I did, for "Give to him
that asketh," said Buddha, "even though it be but a little." The chief
operator in charge of the telegraph offices speaks a little English, and
is the medium by which English messages and letters are translated into
Chinese for the information of the officials. His name is Chueh. His
method of translation is to glean the sense of a sentence by the
probable meaning, derived from an inaccurate Anglo-Chinese dictionary,
of the separate words of the sentence. He is a broken reed to trust to
as an interpreter. Chueh is not an offensively truthful man. When he
speaks to you, you find yourself wondering if you have ever met a
greater liar than he. "Three men's strength," he says, "cannot prevail
against truth;" yet he is, I think, the greatest liar I have met since I
left Morocco. Indeed, the way he spoke of my head boy Laotseng, who was
undoubtedly an honest Chinese, and the opinion Laotseng emphatically
held of Chueh, was a curious repetition of an experience that I had not
long ago in Morocco. I was living in Tangier, when I had occasion to go
to Fez and Mequinez. My visit was arranged so hurriedly that I had no
means of learning what was the degree of personal esteem attaching to
the gentleman, a resident of Tangier, who was to be my companion. I
accordingly interrogated the hotel-keeper, Mr. B. "What kind of a man is
D.?" I asked. "Not a bad fellow," he replied, "if he wasn't such a
blank, blank awful liar!" On the road to Wazan I became very friendly
with D., and one day questioned him as to his private regard for Mr. B.
of the hotel. "A fine fellow B. seems," I said, "very friendly and
entertaining. What do you think of him?" "What do I think of him?" he
shouted in his falsetto. "I _know_ he's the biggest blank liar in
Morocco." It was pleasant to meet, even in Morocco, such a rare case of
mutual esteem.

My pony fared badly in Tengyueh. There was a poor stable in the
courtyard with a tiled roof that would fall at the first shower. There
were no beans. The pony had to be content with rice or paddy, which it
disliked equally. The rice was _1-1/2d._ the 7-1/2lbs. There was no
grass, Chueh said, to be obtained in the district. He assured me so on
his honour, or its Chinese equivalent; but I sent out and bought some in
the street round the corner.

Silver in Tengyueh is the purest Szechuen or Yunnanese silver. Rupees
are also current, and at this time were equivalent to 400 cash--the tael
at the same time being worth 1260 cash. Every 10 taels, costing me
_30s._ in Shanghai, I could exchange in Tengyueh for 31 rupees. Rupees
are the chief silver currency west from Tengyueh into Burma.

On May 31st I had given instructions that we were to leave early, but my
men, who did not sleep in the telegraph compound, were late in coming.
To still further delay me, at the time of leaving no escort had made its
appearance. I did not wait for it. We marched out of the town
unaccompanied, and were among the tombstones on the rise overlooking the
town when the escort hurriedly overtook us. It consisted of a
quiet-mannered chairen and two soldiers, one of whom was an impudent cub
that I had to treat with every indignity. He was armed with a sword
carried in the folds of his red cincture, in which was also concealed an
old muzzle-loading pistol, formidable to look at but unloaded. This was
one of the days on my journey when I wished that I had brought a
revolver, not as a defence in case of danger, for there was no danger,
but as a menace on occasion of anger.

Rain fell continuously. At a small village thronged with muleteers from
Bhamo we took shelter for an hour. The men sipping tea under the
verandahs had seen Europeans in Bhamo, and my presence evoked no
interest whatever. Many of these strangers possessed an astonishing
likeness to European friends of my own. Contact with Europeans, causing
the phenomena of "maternal impression," was probably in a few cases
accountable for the moulding of their features, but the general
prevalence of the European type has yet to be explained. "My conscience!
Who could ever have expected to meet _you_ here?" I was often on the
point of saying to some Chinese Shan or Burmese Shan in whom, to my
confusion, I thought I recognised a college friend of my own.

Leaving the village, we followed the windings of the River Taiping,
coasting along the edge of the high land on the left bank of the river.

[Illustration: THE SUBURB BEYOND THE SOUTH GATE OF TENGYUEH. (Stalls
under the Umbrellas.)]

Rain poured incessantly; the creeks overflowed; the paths became
watercourses and were scarcely fordable. "Bones," my opium-eating coolie
with the long neck, slipped into a hole which was too deep even for his
long shanks, and all my bedding was wetted. It was ninety li to Nantien,
the fort we were bound to beyond Tengyueh, and we finished the distance
by sundown. The town is of little importance. It is situated on an
eminence and is surrounded by a wall built, with that strange spirit of
contrariness characteristic of the Chinese, and because it incloses a
fort, more weakly than any city wall. It is not more substantial nor
higher than the wall round many a mission compound. Some 400 soldiers
are stationed in the fort, which means that the commander draws the pay
for 1000 soldiers, and represents the strength of his garrison as 1000.
Their arms are primitive and rusty muzzle-loaders of many patterns;
there are no guns to be seen, if there are any in existence--which is
doubtful. The few rusty cast-iron ten-pounders that lie _hors de combat_
in the mud have long since become useless. There may be ammunition in
the fort; but there is none to be seen. It is more probable, and more in
accordance with Chinese practice in such matters, that the ammunition
left by his predecessor (if any were left, which is doubtful) has long
ago been sold by the colonel in command, whose perquisite this would
naturally be.

The fort of Nantien is a fort in name only--it has no need to be
otherwise, for peace and quiet are abroad in the valley. Besides, the
mere fact of its being called a fort is sufficiently misleading to the
neighbouring British province of Burma, where they are apt to picture a
Chinese fort as a structure seriously built in some accordance with
modern methods of fortification.

I was given a comfortable room in a large inn already well filled with
travellers. All treated me with pleasant courtesy. They were at supper
when I entered the room, and they invited me to share their food. They
gave me the best table to myself, and after supper they crowded into
another room in order to let me have the room to myself.

Next day we continued along the sandy bed of the river, which was here
more than a mile in width. The river itself, shrunk now into its
smallest size, flowed in a double stream down the middle. Then we left
the river, and rode along the high bank flanking the valley. All paved
roads had ended at Tengyueh, and the track was deeply cut and jagged by
the rains. At one point in to-day's journey the road led up an almost
vertical ascent to a narrow ledge or spur at the summit, and then fell
as steeply into the plain again. It was a short-cut, that, as you would
expect in China, required five times more physical effort to compass
than did the longer but level road which it was intended to save. So
narrow is the ridge that the double row of open sheds leaves barely room
for pack mules to pass. The whole traffic on the caravan route to Burma
passes by this spot. The long bamboo sheds with their grass roofs are
divided into stalls, where Shan women in their fantastic turbans, with
silver bracelets and earrings, their lips and teeth stained with
betel-juice, sit behind the counters of raised earth, and eagerly
compete for the custom of travellers. More than half the women had
goitre. Before them were laid out the various dishes. There were pale
cuts of pork, well soaked in water to double their weight, eggs and
cabbage and salted fish, bean curds, and a doubtful tea flavoured with
camomile and wild herbs. There were hampers of coarse grass for the
horses, and wooden bowls of cooked rice for the men, while hollow
bamboos were used equally to bring water from below, to hold sheaves of
chopsticks where the traveller helped himself, and to receive the cash.
Trade was busy. Muleteers are glad to rest here after the climb, if only
to enjoy a puff of tobacco from the bamboo-pipe which is always carried
by one member of the party for the common use of all.

Descending again into the river valley, I rode lazily along in the sun,
taking no heed of my men, who were soon separated from me. The broad
river-bed of sand was before me as level as the waters of a lake. As I
was riding slowly along by myself, away from all guard, I saw
approaching me in the lonely plain a small body of men. They were moving
quickly along in single file, and we soon met and passed each other.
They were three Chinese Shan officers on horseback, dressed in Chinese
fashion, and immediately behind them were six soldiers on foot, who I
saw were Burmese or Burmese Shans. They were smart men, clad in loose
jerseys and knickerbockers, with sun-hats and bare legs, and they
marched like soldiers. Cartridge-belts were over their left shoulders,
and Martini-Henry rifles, carried muzzle foremost, on their right. I
took particular note of them because they were stepping in admirable
order, and, though small of stature, I thought they were the first armed
men I had met in all my journey across China who could without shame be
presented as soldiers in any civilised country.

They passed me, but seemed struck by my appearance; and I had not gone a
dozen yards before they all stopped by a common impulse, and when I
looked back they were still there in a group talking, with the officers'
horses turned towards me; and it was very evident I was the subject of
their conversation. I was alone at the time, far from all my men,
without weapon of any kind. I was dressed in full Chinese dress and
mounted on an unmistakably Chinese pony. I rode unconcernedly on, but I
must confess that I did not feel comfortable till I was assured that
they did not intend to obtrude an interview upon me. At length, to my
relief, the party continued on its way, while I hurried on to my
coolies, and made them wait till my party was complete. I was probably
alarmed without any reason. But it was not till I arrived in Burma that
I learnt that this was the armed escort of the outlawed Wuntho Sawbwa,
the dacoit chief who has a price set on his head. The soldiers' rifles
and cartridge-belts had been stripped from the dead bodies of British
sepoys, killed on the frontier in the Kachin Hills.

My men, when we were all together again, indicated to me by signs that
I would shortly meet an elephant, and I thought that at last I was about
to witness the realisation of that story, everywhere current in Western
China, of the British tribute from Burma. Sure enough we had not gone
far when, at the foot of a headland which projected into the plain, we
came full upon a large elephant picking its way along the margin of the
rocks--a remarkable sight to my Chinese. Its scarlet howdah was empty;
its trappings were scarlet; the mahout was a Shan. It was the elephant
of the Wuntho Prince--a little earlier and I might have had the
privilege of meeting the dacoit himself. The elephant passed
unconcernedly on, and we continued down the plain of sand to the village
of Ganai, where we were to stay the night.

It was market-day in the town. A double row of stalls extended down the
main street, each stall under the shelter of a huge umbrella. Japanese
matches from Osaka were for sale here, and foreign nick-nacks, needles
and braid and cotton, and Manchester dress stuffs mixed with the
multitudinous articles of native produce. This is a Shan town, but large
numbers of native women--Kachins--were here also with their ugly black
faces, and coarse black fringes hiding their low foreheads. Far away
from the town an obliging Shan had attached himself to us as guide. He
was dressed in white cotton jacket and dark-blue knickerbockers, with a
dark-blue sash round his waist. He was barelegged, and rode as the
Chinese do, and as you would expect them to do who do everything _al
reves_, with the heel in the stirrup instead of the toe. His turban was
dark-blue, and the pigtail was coiled up under it, and did not hang down
from under the skull cap as with the Chinese. When I rode into the town
accompanied by the guide, all the people forsook the market street and
followed the illustrious stranger to the inn which had been selected for
his resting-place. It was a favourite inn, and was already crowded. The
best room was in possession of Chinese travellers, who were on the road
like myself. They were dozing on the couches, but what must they do when
I entered the room but, thinking that I should wish to occupy it by
myself, rise and pack up their things, and one after another move into
another apartment adjoining, which was already well filled, and now
became doubly so. Their thoughtfulness and courtesy charmed me. They
must have been more tired than I was, but they smiled and nodded
pleasantly to me as they left the room, as if they were grateful to me
for putting them to inconvenience. They may be perishing heathen, I
thought, but the average deacon or elder in our enlightened country
could scarcely be more courteous.

Ganai is a mud village thatched with grass. It is a military station
under the command of the red-button Colonel Liu, whom I met in Tengyueh.
The Colonel had earned his bottle of hair-dye. He had written to have me
provided with an escort, and by-and-by the two officers who were to
accompany me on the morrow came in to see me. As many spectators as
could find elbow-room squeezed into my room behind them. Both were
gentlemanly young fellows, very amiable and inquisitive, and keenly
desirous to learn all they could concerning my honourable family. Their
curiosity was satisfied. By the help of my Chinese phrase-book I gave
them all particulars, and a few more. You see it was important that I
should leave as favourable an impression as possible for the benefit of
future travellers. More than one of my ancestors I brought to life again
and endowed with a patriarchal age and a beard to correspond. As to my
own age they marvelled greatly that one so young-looking could be so
old, and when, in answer to their earnest question, I modestly confessed
that I was already the unhappy possessor of two unworthy wives, five
wretched sons, and three contemptible daughters, their admiration of my
virtue increased tenfold.

The officers left me after this, but till late at night I held _levées_
of the townsfolk, our landlady, who was most zealous, no sooner
dismissing one crowd than another pressed into its place. The courtyard,
I believe, remained filled till early in the morning, but I was allowed
to sleep at last.

A large crowd followed me out of the town in the morning, and swarmed
with me across the beautiful sward, as level as the Oval, which here
widens into the country. No guest was ever sped on his way with a
kindlier farewell. The fort is outside the town; we passed it on our
left; it is a square inclosure of considerable size, inclosed by a mud
wall 15 feet high; it is in the unsheltered plain, and presents no
formidable front to an invader. At each of the four corners outside the
square are detached four-sided watch-towers. No guns of any kind are
mounted on the walls, and there are no sentries; one could easily
imagine that the inclosure was a market-square, but imagination could
never picture it as a serious obstacle to an armed entry into Western
China. The river was well on our right. The plain down which we rode is
of exceeding richness and highly cultivated, water being trained into
the paddy-fields in the same way that everywhere prevails in China
proper. Buffaloes were ploughing--wearily plodding through mud and water
up to their middles. We were now among the Shans, and those working in
the fields were Shans, not Chinese. Ganai, Santa, and other places are
but little principalities or Shan States, governed by hereditary
princelets or Sawbwas, and preserving a form of self-government under
the protection of the Chinese. There are no more charming people in the
world than the Shans. They are courteous, hospitable, and honest, with
all the virtues and few of the vices of Orientals. "The elder brothers
of the Siamese, they came originally from the Chinese province of
Szechuen, and they can boast of a civilisation dating from twenty-three
centuries B.C." So Terrien de Lacouperie tells us, who had a happy
faculty of drawing upon his imagination for his facts.

Under the wide branches of a banyan tree I made my men stop, for I was
very tired, and while they waited I lay down for an hour on the grass
and had a refreshing sleep. While I slept, the rest of the escort sent
to "_sung_" me to Santa arrived. Within a few yards of my resting place
there is a characteristic monument, dating from the time when Burma
occupied not only this valley but the fertile territory beyond it, and
beyond Tengyueh to the River Salween. It is a solid Burmese pagoda,
built of concentric layers of brick and mortar, and surmounted with a
solid bell-shaped dome that is still intact. It stands alone on the
plain near a group of banyans, and its erection no doubt gained many
myriads of merits for the conscience-stricken Buddhist who found the
money to build it. All goldleaf has been peeled off the pagoda years
ago.

It was a picturesque party that now enfiladed into the wide stretch of
sand which in the rainy season forms the bed of the river. Mounted on
his white pony, there was the inarticulate European who had discarded
his Chinese garb and was now dressed in the æsthetic garments of the
Australian bush; there were his two coolies and Laotseng his boy, none
of whom could speak any English, the two officers in their loose Chinese
clothes, mounted on tough little ponies, and eight soldiers. They were
Shans of kindly feature, small and nimble fellows, in neat
uniforms--green jackets edged with black and braided with yellow, yellow
sashes, and loose dark-blue knickerbockers--the uniform of the Sawbwa of
Ganai. They were armed with Remington rifles, carried their cartridges
in bandoliers, and seemed to be of excellent fighting material. All
their accoutrements were in good order.

Now we had to cross the broad stream, here running with a swift current
over the sand, in channels of varying depths that are frequently
changing. For the width of nearly half a mile at the crossing place the
water was never shallower than to my knee, nor deeper than to my waist.
We all crossed safely, but, to my tribulation, the soldier who was
carrying my two boxes tripped in the deepest channel and let both boxes
slip from the carrying pole into the water. All the notes and papers
upon which this valuable record is founded were much damaged. But it
might have been worse. I had a presentiment that an accident would
happen, and had waded back to the channel and was standing by at the
time. But for this the papers might have been floated down to the
Irrawaddy and been lost to the world--loss irreparable!

The sun was very hot. I laid out my things on the bank and dried them.
Long and narrow dugouts, as light and swift as the string-test gigs of
civilisation, paddled or poled, were gliding with extraordinary speed
down the channel near the bank. Riding then a little way, we dismounted
under a magnificent banyan tree, one of the finest specimens, I should
think, in the world. Ponies and men were dwarfed into Lilliputians under
the amazing canopy of its branches. A number of villagers, come to see
the foreigner, were clambering like monkeys over its roots, which
"writhed in fantastic coils" over half an acre. Their village was hard
by, a poor array of mud houses; the teak temple to which we were
conducted was raised on piles in the centre of the village. The temple
was lumbered like an old curiosity shop with fragmentary gods and torn
missals. Yet the ragged priest in his smirched yellow gown, and shaven
head that had been a week unshaven, seemed to enjoy a reputation for no
common sanctity, to judge by the reverence shown him by my followers,
and the contemptuous indifference with which he regarded their
obeisance. He was club-footed and could only hobble about with
difficulty--an excuse he would, no doubt, urge for the disorder of his
sanctuary. To me, of course, he was very polite, and gave me the best
seat he had, while Laotseng prepared me a bowl of cocoa. Then we rode
along the right bank of the river, but kept moving away from the stream
till in the distance across the plain at the foot of the hills, we saw
the Shan town of Santa, the end of our day's stage.

Native women, returning from the town, were wending their way across the
plain--lank overgrown girls with long thin legs and overhanging mops of
hair like deck-swabs. They were a favourite butt of my men, who chaffed
them in the humorous Eastern manner, with remarks that were, I am
afraid, more coarse than witty. Kachins are not virtuous. Their customs
preclude such a possibility. No Japanese maiden is more innocent of
virtue than a Kachin girl.



CHAPTER XXI.

THE SHAN TOWN OF SANTA, AND MANYUEN, THE SCENE OF CONSUL MARGARY'S
MURDER.


It was market day in Santa, and the accustomed crowd gathered round me
as I stood in the open square in front of the Sawbwa's yamen. I was hot
and hungry, for it was still early in the afternoon, and the attentions
of the people were oppressive. Presently two men pushed their way
through the spectators, and politely motioning to me to follow them,
they led me to a neighbouring temple, to the upper storey, where the
side pavilion off the chief hall was being prepared for my reception. My
quarters overlooked the main court; the pony was comfortably stabled in
the corner below me. Nothing could have been pleasanter than the
attention I received here. Two foreign chairs were brought for my use,
and half a dozen dishes of good food and clean chopsticks were set
before me. The chief priest welcomed me, whose smiling face was
good-nature itself. With clean-shaven head and a long robe of grey, with
a rosary of black and white beads hung loosely from his neck, the kind
old man moved about my room giving orders for my comfort. He held
authority over a number of priests, some in black, others in yellow, and
over a small band of choristers. Religion was an active performance in
the temple, and the temple was in good order, with clean matting and
well-kept shrines, with strange pictures on the walls of elephants and
horses, with legends and scrolls in Burmese as well as in Chinese.

Towards evening the Santa Sawbwa, the hereditary prince (what a
privilege it was to meet a prince! I had never met even a lord before in
my life, or anyone approaching the rank of a lord, except a spurious
Duke of York whom I sent to the lunatic asylum), the _Prince_ of Santa
paid me a State call, accompanied by a well-ordered retinue, very
different indeed from the ragged reprobates who follow at the heels of a
Chinese grandee when on a visit of ceremony. The Sawbwa occupied one
chair, his distinguished guest the other, till the chief priest came in,
when, with that deep reverence for the cloth which has always
characterised me, I rose and gave him mine. He refused to take it, but I
insisted; he pretended to be as reluctant to occupy it as any Frenchman,
but I pushed him bodily into it, and that ended the matter.

A pleasant, kindly fellow is the Prince; even among the Shans he is
conspicuous for his courtesy and amiability. He was a great favourite
with the English Boundary Commission, and in his turn remembers with
much pleasure his association with them. Half a dozen times, when
conversation flagged, he raised his clasped hands and said "Warry
_Ching, ching_!" and I knew that this was his foolish heathen way of
sending greeting to the Chinese adviser of the Government of Burma. The
Shan dialect is quite distinct from the Chinese, but all the princes or
princelets dress in Chinese fashion and learn Mandarin, and it was of
course in Mandarin that the Santa Sawbwa conversed with Mr. Warry. This
Sawbwa is the son-in-law of the ex-Wuntho Sawbwa. He rules over a
territory smaller than many squatters' stations in Victoria. He is one
of the ablest of Shans, and would willingly place his little
principality under the protection of England. He is thirty-five years of
age, dresses in full Chinese costume, with pigtail and skullcap, is
pock-marked, and has incipient goitre. He is polite and refined, chews
betel nut "to stimulate his meditative faculties," and expectorates on
the floor with easy freedom. I showed him my photographs, and he
graciously invited me to give him some. I nodded cheerfully to him in
assent, rolled them all up again, and put them back in my box. He knew
that I did not understand.

We had tea together, and then he took his leave, "Warry _Ching, ching_!"
being his parting words.

As soon as he had gone the deep drum--a hollow instrument of wood shaped
like a fish--was beaten, and the priests gathered to vespers, dressed in
many-coloured garments of silk; and, as evening fell, they intoned a
sweet and mournful chant.

The service over, all but the choristers entered the room off the
gallery in which I was lying, where, looking in, I saw them throw off
their gowns and coil themselves on the sleeping benches. Opium-lamps
were already lit, and all were soon inhaling opium; all but one who had
rheumatism, and who, lying down, stretched himself at full length, while
a brother priest punched him all over in that primitive method of
massage employed by every native race the wide world over.

In the City Temple some festival was being celebrated, and night was
turbulent with the beating of gongs and drums and the bursting of
crackers. Long processions of priests in their yellow robes were passing
the temple in the bright moonlight. Priests were as plentiful as
blackberries; if they had been dressed in black instead of yellow, the
traveller might have imagined that he was in Edinburgh at Assembly time.

In the morning another escort of half a dozen men was ready to accompany
me for the day's stage to Manyuen. They were in the uniform of the Santa
Sawbwa, in blue jackets instead of green. They were armed with rusty
muzzle-loaders, unloaded, and with long Burmese swords (_dahs_). They
were the most amiable of warriors, both in feature and manner, and were
unlike the turbaned braves of China, who, armed no better than these
men, still regard, as did their forefathers, fierceness of aspect as an
important factor in warfare (_rostro feroz ao enemigo!_)--an illusion
also shared in the English army, where monstrous bearskin shakos were
introduced to increase the apparent height of the soldiers. The officer
in command was late in overtaking me. As soon as he came within
horse-length he let down his queue and bowed reverently, and I could see
pride lighting his features as he confessed to the honour that had been
done him in intrusting such an honourable and illustrious charge to the
mean and unworthy care of so contemptible an officer.

The country before us was open meadow-land, pleasant to ride over, only
here and there broken by a massive banyan tree. Herds of buffaloes were
grazing on the hillsides. The mud villages were far apart on the margin
of the river-plain, inclosed with superb hedges of living bamboo.

Thirty li from Santa is the Shan village of Taipingkai. It was
market-day, and the broad main street was crowded. We were taken to the
house of an oil-merchant, who kindly asked me in and had tea brewed for
me. Earthenware jars of oil were stacked round the room. The basement
opened to the street, and was packed in a moment. "_Dzo! Dzo!_" (Go!
go!) cried the master, and the throng hustled out, to be renewed in a
minute by a fresh body of curious who had waited their turn.

Then we rode on, over a country as beautiful as a nobleman's park, to
the town of Manyuen. Every here and there by the roadside there are
springs of fresh water, where travellers can slake their thirst. Bamboo
ladles are placed here by devotees, whose action will be counted unto
them for righteousness, for "he that piously bestows a little water
shall receive an ocean in return." And, where there are no springs, neat
little bamboo stalls with shelves are built, and in the cool shelter
pitchers of water and bamboo cups are placed, so that the thirsty may
bless the unknown hand which gives him to drink.

Manyuen--or, to use the name by which it is better known to foreigners,
Manwyne--is a large and straggling town overlooking the river-plain. It
was here that Margary, the British Consular Agent, was murdered in 1875.
I had a long wait at the yamen gate while they were arranging where to
send me, but by-and-by two yamen-runners came and conducted me to the
City Temple. It was the same temple that Margary had occupied. Many
shaven-pated Buddhist priests were waiting for me, and received me
kindly in the temple hall. A table was brought for me and the only
foreign chair, and Laotseng was shown where to spread my bedding in the
temple hall itself. And here I held _levées_ of the townspeople of all
shades of colour and variety of feature--Chinese, Shan, Burmese, Kachin,
and hybrid. The people were very amiable, and I found on all sides the
same courtesy and kindliness that Margary describes on his first visit.
But the crowd was quiet for only a little while; then a dispute arose.
It began in the far corner, and the crowd left me to gather round the
disputants. Voices were raised, loud and excited, and increased in
energy. A deadly interest seemed to enthral the bystanders. It was easy
to imagine that they were debating to do with me as they had done with
Margary. The dispute waxed warmer. Surely they will come to blows? When
suddenly the quarrel ceased as it had begun, and the crowd came smiling
back to me. What was the dispute? The priests were cheapening a chicken
for my dinner.

The temple was built on teak piles, and teak pillars supported the
triple roof. It was like a barn or lumber room but for the gilt Buddhas
on the altar and the gilt cabinets by its side, containing many smaller
gilt images of Buddha and his disciples. Umbrellas, flags, and the
tawdry paraphernalia used in processions were hanging from the beams.
Sacerdotal vestments of dingy yellow--the yellow of turmeric--were
tumbled over bamboo rests. When the gong sounded for prayers, men you
thought were coolies threw these garments over the left shoulder,
hitched them round the waist, and were transformed into priests, putting
them back again immediately after the service. Close under the tiles was
a paper sedan-chair, to be sent for the use of some rich man in heaven.
Painted scrolls of paper were on the walls, and on old ledges were torn
books in the Burmese character, which a few boys made a pretence of
reading. Where I slept the floor was raised some feet from the ground,
and underneath, seen through the gaping boards--though previously
detected by another of the senses--were a number of coffins freighted
with dead, waiting for a fit occasion for interment. Heavy stones were
placed on the lids to keep the dead more securely at rest. The lucky
day for burial would be determined by the priests--it would be
determined by them as soon as the pious relatives had paid sufficiently
for their fears. So long, then, as the coffins remained where they were,
they might be described as capital invested by the priests and returning
heavy interest; removed from the temple, they ceased to be productive.

As is the case in so many temples, there is an opium-room in the temple
at the back of the gilded shrine, where priests and neophytes, throwing
aside their office, can while away the licentious hours till the gong
calls them again to prayers.

In the early morning, while I was still lying in my pukai on the floor,
I saw many women, a large proportion of whom were goitrous, come to the
hall, and make an offering of rice, and kneel down before the Buddha. As
time went on, and more kept coming in, small heaps of rice had collected
in front of the chief altar and before the cabinets. And when the women
retired, a chorister came round and swept with his fingers all the
little heaps into a basket. To the gods the spirit! To the priests the
solid remains!

It was in Manyuen, as I have mentioned, that Margary met his death on
February 21st, 1875. He had safely traversed China from Hankow to Bhamo,
had been everywhere courteously treated by the Chinese and been given
every facility and protection on his journey. He had passed safely
through Manyuen only five weeks before, and had then written: "I come
and go without meeting the slightest rudeness among this charming
people, and they address me with the greatest respect." And yet five
weeks later he was killed on his return! Even assuming that he was
killed in obedience to orders issued by the cruel Viceroy at Yunnan
City, the notorious Tsen Yü-ying, and not by a lawless Chinese
train-band which then infested the district and are believed by Baber to
have been the real murderers, the British Government must still be held
guilty of contributory negligence. Margary, having passed unmolested to
Bhamo, there met the expedition under Colonel Horace Browne, and
returned as its forerunner to prepare for its entry into China by the
route he had just traversed. The expedition was a "peace expedition"
sent by the Government of Burma, and numbered only "fifty persons in
all, together with a Burmese guard of 150 armed soldiers."

Seven years before, an expedition under Major Sladen had advanced from
Burma into Western China as far as Tengyueh; had remained in Tengyueh
from May 25th to July 13th, 1868; had entered into friendly negotiations
with the military governor and other Mohammedan officials in revolt
against China; and had remained under the friendly protection of the
Mohammedan insurgents who were then in possession of Western China from
Tengyueh to near Yunnan City. "To what principles," it has been asked,
"of justice or equity can we attribute the action of the British in
retaining their Minister at the capital of an empire while sending a
peaceful mission to a rebel in arms at its boundaries?"

The Mohammedan insurrection was not quelled till the early months of
1874. And less than a year later the Chinese learned with alarm that
another peaceful expedition was entering Western China, by the same
route, under the same auspices, and with the identical objects of the
expedition which had been welcomed by the leaders of the insurrection.

The Chinese mind was incapable of grasping the fact that the second
expedition was planned solely to discover new fields for international
commerce and scientific investigation. Barbarians as they are, they
feared that England thereby intended to "foster the dying embers of the
rebellion." No time for such an expedition, a peaceful trade expedition,
could have been more ill-chosen. The folly of it was seen in the murder
of Margary and the repulse of Colonel Horace Browne, whose expedition
was driven back at Tsurai within sight of Manyuen. And this murder,
known to all the world, is the typical instance cited in illustration of
the barbarity of the Chinese.

China may be a barbarous country; many missionaries have said so, and it
is the fashion so to speak; but let us for a moment look at facts.
During the last twenty-three years foreigners of every nationality and
every degree of temperament, from the mildest to the most fanatical,
have penetrated into every nook and cranny of the empire. Some have been
sent back, and there has been an occasional riot with some destruction
of property. But all the foreigners who have been killed can be numbered
on the fingers of one hand, and in the majority of these cases it can
hardly be denied that it was the indiscretion of the white man which was
the exciting cause of his murder. In the same time how many hundreds of
unoffending Chinese have been murdered in civilised foreign countries?
An anti-foreign riot in China--and at what rare intervals do
anti-foreign riots occur in its vast empire--may cause some destruction
of property; but it may be questioned if the destruction done in China
by the combined anti-foreign riots of the last twenty-three years
equalled the looting done by the civilised London mob who a year or two
ago on a certain Black Monday played havoc in Oxford-street and
Piccadilly. "It is less dangerous," says one of the most accurate
writers on China, the Rev. A. H. Smith, himself an American missionary,
"for a foreigner to cross China than for a Chinese to cross the United
States." And there are few who give the matter a thought but must admit
the correctness of Mr. Smith's statement.

On May 17th I was on the road again. The fort of Manyuen is outside the
town, and some little distance beyond it the dry creek bends into the
pathway at a point where it is bordered with cactus and overshadowed by
a banyan tree. This is said to be the exact spot where Margary was
killed.



CHAPTER XXII.

CHINA AS A FIGHTING POWER--THE KACHINS--AND THE LAST STAGE INTO BHAMO.


We now left the low land and the open country, the pastures and meadows,
and climbed up the jungle-clad spurs which form the triangular dividing
range that separates the broad and open valley of the Taiping, where
Manyuen is situated, from the confined and tropical valley of the
Hongmuho, which lies at the foot of the English frontier fort of
Nampoung, the present boundary of Burma. Two miles below Nampoung the
two rivers join, and the combined stream flows on to enter the Irrawaddy
a mile or two above Bhamo.

No change could be greater or more sudden. We toiled upwards in the
blazing sun, and in two hours we were deep in the thickest jungle, in
the exuberant vegetation of a tropical forest. We had left the valley of
the peaceful Shans and were in the forest inhabited by other "protected
barbarians" of China--the wild tribes of Kachins, who even in Burma are
slow to recognise the beneficent influences of British frontier
administration. Nature serenely sleeps in the valley; nature is
throbbing with life in the forest, and the humming and buzzing of all
insect life was strange to our unaccustomed ears.

A well-cut path has been made through the forest, and caravans of mules
laden with bales of cotton were in the early stages of the long
overland journey to Yunnan. Their bells tinkled through the forest,
while the herd boy filled the air with the sweet tones of his bamboo
flute, breathing out his soul in music more beautiful than any bagpipes.
Cotton is the chief article of import entering China by this highway.
From Talifu to the frontier a traveller could trace his way by the
fluffs of cotton torn by the bushes from the mule-packs.

The road through the forest reaches the highest points, because it is at
the highest points that the Chinese forts are situated, either on the
road or on some elevated clearing near it.

The forts are stockades inclosed in wooden palisades, and guarded by
_chevaux de frise_ of sharp-cut bamboo. The barracks are a few native
straw-thatched wooden huts. Perhaps a score or two of men form the
garrison of each fort; they are badly armed, if armed at all. There are
no guns and no store supplies. Water is trained into the stockades down
open conduits of split bamboo. To anyone who has seen the Chinese
soldiers at home in Western China, it is diverting to observe the
credence which is given to Chinese statements of the armed strength of
Western China. How much longer are we to persist in regarding the
Chinese, as they now are, as a warlike power? In numbers, capacity for
physical endurance, calm courage when well officered, and powers
unequalled by any other race of mankind of doing the greatest amount of
labour on the smallest allowance of food, their potential strength is
stupendous. But they are not advancing, they are stationary; they look
backwards, not forwards; they live in the past. Weapons with which their
ancestors subdued the greater part of Asia they are loath to believe
are unfitted for conducting the warfare of to-day. Should Japan bring
China to terms, she can impose no terms that will not tend towards the
advancement of China. Victories such as Japan has won over China might
affect any other nation but China; but they are trifling and
insignificant in their effect upon the gigantic mass of China. Suppose
China has lost 20,000 men in this war, in one day there are 20,000
births in the Empire, and I am perfectly sure that, outside the
immediate neighbourhood of the seat of operations, the Chinese as a
nation, apart from the officials, are profoundly ignorant that there is
even a war, or, as they would term it, a rebellion, in progress.
Trouble, serious trouble, will begin in China in the near future, for
the time must be fast approaching when the effete and alien dynasty now
reigning in China--the Manchu dynasty--shall be overthrown, and a
Chinese Emperor shall rule on the throne of China.

At a native village called Schehleh there is a likin-barrier. The yellow
flag was drooping over the roadway in the hot sun. The customs officer,
an amiable Chinese Shan, invited me in to tea, and brought his pukai for
me to lie down upon. Like thousands of his countrymen, he had played for
fortune in the Manila lottery. Two old lottery tickets and the prize
list in Chinese were on one wall of his room, on the other were a number
of Chinese visiting cards, to which I graciously permitted him to add
mine.

Soldiers accompanied me from camp to camp, Chinese soldiers from
districts many hundreds of miles distant in China. Some were armed, some
were unarmed, and there was equal confidence to be reposed in the one as
in the other; but all were civil, and watched me with a care that was
embarrassing.

At the first camp beyond Schehleh the gateway was ornamented with
trophies of valour. From two bare tree-trunks baskets of heads were
hanging, putrefying in the heat. They were the heads of Kachin dacoits.
And thus shall it be done with all taken in rebellion against the Son of
Heaven, whose mighty clemency alone permits the sun to shine on any
kingdom beyond his borders. Kachin villages are scattered through the
forest, among the hills. You see their native houses, long bamboo
structures raised on piles and thatched with grass, with low eaves
sloping nearly to the ground. In sylvan glades sacred to the _nats_ you
pass wooden pillars erected by the roadside, rudely cut, and rudely
painted with lines and squares and rough figures of knives, and close
beside them conical grass structures with coloured weathercocks. Split
bamboos support narrow shelves, whereon are placed the various
food-offerings with which is sought the goodwill of the evil spirits.

The Kachin men we met were all armed with the formidable _dah_ or native
sword, whose widened blade they protect in a univalvular sheath of wood.
They wore Shan jackets and dark knickerbockers; their hair was gathered
under a turban. They all carried the characteristic embroidered Kachin
bag over the left shoulder.

The Kachin women are as stunted as the Japanese, and are disfigured with
the same disproportionate shortness of legs. They wear Shan jackets and
petticoats of dark-blue; their ornaments are chiefly cowries; their legs
are bare. Unmarried, they wear no head-dress, but have their hair cut in
a black mop with a deep fringe to the eyebrows. If married, their
head-dress is the same as that of the Shan women--a huge dark-blue
conical turban. Morality among the Kachin maidens, a missionary tells
me, is not, as we understand the term, believed to exist. There is a
tradition in the neighbourhood concerning a virtuous maiden; but little
reliance can be placed on such legendary tales. Among the Kachins each
clan is ruled by a Sawbwa, whose office "is hereditary, not to the
eldest son, but to the youngest, or, failing sons, to the youngest
surviving brother." (Anderson.) All Kachins chew betel-nut and nearly
all smoke opium--men, women and children. Goitre is very prevalent among
them; in some villages Major Couchman believes that as many as 25 per
cent. of the inhabitants are afflicted with the disease. They have no
written language, but their spoken language has been romanised by the
American missionaries in Burma.

We camped within five miles of the British border at the Chinese fortlet
of Settee, a palisaded camp whose gateway also was hung with heads of
dacoits. A Chinese Shan was in command, a smart young officer with a
Burmese wife. He was active, alert, and intelligent, and gave me the
best room in the series of sheds which formed the barracks. I was made
very comfortable. There were between forty and fifty soldiers stationed
in the barracks--harmless warriors--who were very attentive. At
nightfall the tattoo was beaten. The gong sounded; its notes died away
in a distant murmur, then brayed forth with a stentorian clangour that
might wake the dead. At the same time a tattoo was beaten on the drum,
then a gun was fired and the noise ceased, to be repeated again during
the night at the change of guard. All foes, visible and invisible, were
in this way scared away from the fort.

Hearing that I was a doctor, the commandant asked me to see several of
his men who were on the sick list. Among them was one poor young fellow
dying, in the next room to mine, of remittent fever. When I went to the
bedside the patient was lying down deadly ill, weak, and emaciated; but
two of his companions took him by the arms, and, telling him to sit up,
would have pulled him into what they considered a more respectful
attitude. In the morning I again went to see the poor fellow. He was
lying on his side undergoing treatment. An opium-pipe was held to his
lips by one comrade, while another rolled the pellet of opium and placed
it heated in the pipe-bowl, so that he might inhale its fumes.

In the morning the officer accompanied me to the gate of the stockade
and bade me good-bye, with many unintelligible expressions of good will.
His eight best soldiers were told off to escort me to the frontier,
distant only fifteen li. It was a splendid walk through the jungle
across the mountains to the Hongmuho. We passed the outlying stockade of
the Chinese, and, winding along the spur, came full in view of the
British camp across the valley, half-way up the opposite slope. By a
very steep path we descended through the forest to the frontier fort of
the Chinese, and emerged upon the grassy slope that shelves below it to
the river.

There are a few bamboo huts on the sward, and here the Chinese guard
left me; for armed guards are allowed no further. I was led to the ford,
my pony plunged into the swift stream, and a moment or two later I was
on British soil and passing the Sepoy outpost, where the guard, to my
great alarm, for I feared being shot, turned out and saluted me. Then I
climbed up the steep hill to the British encampment, where the English
officer commanding, Captain R. G. Iremonger, of the 3rd Burma Regiment,
gave me a kind reception, and congratulated me upon my successful
journey. He telegraphed to headquarters the news of my arrival. It was
of no earthly interest to anybody that I, an unknown wanderer, should
pass through safely; but it was of interest to know that anyone could
pass through so easily. Reports had only recently reached the Government
that Western China was in a state of disaffection; that a feeling
strongly anti-foreign had arisen in Yunnan; and that now, of all times,
would it be inexpedient to despatch a commission for the delimitation of
the boundary. My quiet and uninterrupted journey was in direct conflict
with all such reports.

The encampment of Nampoung is at an elevation of 1500 feet above the
river. It is well exposed on all sides, and has been condemned by
military experts. But the law of fortifications which applies to any
ordinary frontier does not apply to the frontier of China, where there
is no danger whatsoever. The palisade is irregularly made, and is not
superior, of course, to any round the Chinese stockades.

The houses are built of bamboo, are raised on piles, and thatched with
grass. A company of the 3rd Burma Regiment is permanently stationed here
under an English officer, and consists of 100 men, who are either Sikhs
or Punjabis, all of splendid stature and military bearing. A picket of
six men under a non-commissioned native officer guards the ford, and
permits no armed Chinese to cross the border.

There are numbers of transport mules and ponies. In the creek there are
plenty of fish; the rod, indeed, is the chief amusement of the officers
who are exiled on duty to this lonely spot to pass three months in turn
in almost uninterrupted solitude. There is a telegraph line into Bhamo,
and it is at this point that connection will be made with the Imperial
Chinese Telegraphs.

At the ford from fifty to one hundred loaded pack-animals, mostly
carrying cotton, cross into China daily. A toll of six annas is levied
upon each pack-animal, the money so collected being distributed by the
Government among those Kachin Sawbwas who have an hereditary right to
levy this tribute. The money is collected by two Burmese officials, and
handed daily to the officer commanding. No duty is paid on entering
Burma. Chinese likin-barriers begin to harass the caravans at Schehleh.

Beautiful views of the surrounding hills, all covered with "lofty forest
trees, tangled with magnificent creepers, and festooned with orchids,"
are obtained from the camp. All the country round is extremely fertile,
yielding with but little labour three crops a year. Cultivation of the
soil there is none. Fire clears the jungle, and the ashes manure the
soil; the ground is then superficially scratched, and rice is sown.
Nothing more is done. Every seed germinates; the paddy ripens, and,
where one basketful is sown, five hundred basketfuls are gathered. And
the field lies untouched till again covered with jungle. Thus is the
heathen rewarded five-hundred-fold in accordance with the law of Nature
which gives blessing to the labour of the husbandman inversely as he
deserves it.

In the evening the officer walked down with me to the creek, where I
bathed in the shadow of the bank, in a favourite pool for fishing. As we
crossed the field on our return, we met the two Burmese
tribute-gatherers. They had occasion to speak to the officer, when,
instead of standing upright like a stalwart and independent Chinaman,
they squatted humbly on their heels, and, resting their elbows on their
knees in an attitude of servility, conversed with their superior. How
different the Chinaman, who confesses few people his superior, and none
of any race beyond the borders of China!

From Nampoung to Bhamo is an easy walk of thirty-three miles. This is
usually done in two stages, the halting place being the military station
of Myothit, which is fourteen miles from Nampoung. On leaving Nampoung,
an escort of a lance-corporal and two soldiers was detailed to accompany
me. They were Punjabis, men of great stature and warlike aspect; but
they were presumably out of training, for they arrived at Myothit, limp
and haggard, an hour or more after we did. There is an admirable road
through the jungle, maintained in that excellent order characteristic of
military roads under British supervision. My Chinese from time to time
questioned me as to the distance. We had gone fifteen li when Laotseng
asked me how much farther it was to Santien (Myothit). "Three li," I
said. We walked ten li further. "How far is it now?" he asked. "Only
five li further," I replied, gravely. We went on another six li, when
again he asked me: "Teacher Mô, how many li to Santien?" "Only eight
more li," I said, and he did not ask me again. I was endeavouring to
give him information in the fashion that prevails in his own country.

At Myothit we camped in the dâk bungalow, an unfurnished cottage kept
for the use of travellers. The encampment is on the outskirts of a
perfectly flat plain, skirted with jungle-clad hills and covered with
elephant grass. Through the plain the broad river Taiping flows on its
muddy way to the Irrawaddy. One hundred sepoys are stationed here under
a native officer, a Sirdar, Jemadar, or Subadar (I am not certain
which), who called upon me, and stood by me as I ate my tiffin, and, to
my great embarrassment, saluted me in the most alarming way every time
my eye unexpectedly caught his. I confess that I did not know the
gentleman from Adam. I mistook him for an ornamental head-waiter, and,
as I regarded him as a superfluous nuisance, I told him not to stand
upon the order of his going but go. I pointed to the steps; and he went,
sidling off backwards as if from the presence of royalty. Drawing his
heels together, he saluted me at the stair-top and again at the bottom,
murmuring words which were more unintelligible to me even than Chinese.

During the night our exposed bungalow was assailed by a fearful storm of
wind and rain, and for a time I expected it to be bodily lifted off the
piles and carried to the lee-side of the settlement. The roof leaked in
a thousand places, rain was driven under the walls, and everything I had
was soaked with warm water.

Next day we had a pleasant walk into Bhamo, that important military
station on the left bank of the Irrawaddy. We crossed the Taiping at
Myothit by a bridge, a temporary and very shaky structure, which is
every year carried away when the river rises, and every year renewed
when the caravans take the road after the rains.

Bhamo is 1520 miles by land from Chungking; and it is an equal distance
further from Chungking to Shanghai. The entire distance I traversed in
exactly one hundred days, for I purposely waited till the hundredth day
to complete it. And it surely speaks well of the sense of responsibility
innate in the Chinese that, during all this time, I never had in my
employ a Chinese coolie who did not fulfil, with something to spare, all
that he undertook to do. I paid off my men in Bhamo. To Laotseng I gave
400 cash too many, and asked him for the change. At once with much
readiness he ranged some cash on the table in the form of an abacus,
and, setting down some hieroglyphics on a sheet of paper, he worked out
a calculation, by which he proved that I owed _him_ 400 cash, and,
therefore, the accounts were now exactly balanced. For my own expenses I
gave him 1175 cash in Tengyueh and 400 more in Bhamo, so that my entire
personal expenses between two points nine days distant from each other
were rather more than _3s._ My entire journey from Shanghai to Bhamo
cost less than _£20_ sterling, including my Chinese outfit. Had I
travelled economically, I estimate that the journey need not have cost
me more than _£14_. Had I carried more silver with me, I would still
further have reduced the total cost of my tour. The gold I bought in
Yunnan with my surplus silver, I sold in Burma for 20 per cent. profit,
the rupees which I purchased in Tengyueh for _11d._ were worth _13d._ in
Bhamo. For some curios which I purchased in the interior for _£2 5s._ I
was offered when I reached civilisation _£14_. Without doubt the journey
across China is the cheapest that can be done in all the world.

I was sorry to say good-bye to my men, who had served me so faithfully.
And I cannot speak more highly of the pleasure of my journey than to
declare that I felt greater regret when it was finished than I ever felt
on leaving any other country. The men all through had behaved admirably,
and it is only fair to add that mine was the common experience of
travellers in far Western China. Thus a very great traveller in China
and Thibet (W. W. Rockhill), writing in the _Century_, April, 1894, on
the discomforts of his recent journey, says:

"But never a word of complaint from either the Thibetans or my Chinese.
They were always alert, always good-tempered, always attentive to me,
and anxious to contribute to my comfort in every way in their power. And
so I have ever found these peoples, with whom I am glad to say, after
travelling over 20,000 miles in their countries, I have never exchanged
a rough word, and among whom I think I have left not one enemy and not a
few friends."

Two days after their arrival in Bhamo my three men started on their
return journey to Talifu. They were laden with medicines, stores,
newspapers, and letters for the mission in Tali, which for months had
been accumulating in the premises of the American Mission in Bhamo, the
missionary in charge, amid the multifarious avocations pertaining to his
post, having found no time to forward them to their destination to his
lonely Christian brother in the far interior. And, had I not arrived
when I did, they could not have been sent till after the rains. A coolie
will carry eighty pounds weight from Bhamo to Tali for _12s._; and I
need hardly point out that a very small transaction in teak would cover
the cost of many coolies. Besides, any expenditure incurred would have
been reimbursed by the Inland Mission. My three men were pursued by
cruel fate on their return; they all were taken ill at Pupiao. Poor
"Bones" and the pock-marked coolie died, and Laotseng lay ill in the
hotel there for weeks, and, when he recovered sufficiently to go on to
Tali, he had to go without the three loads, which the landlord of the
inn detained, pending the payment of his board and lodging and the
burial expenses of his two companions.



CHAPTER XXIII.

BHAMO, MANDALAY, RANGOON, AND CALCUTTA.


The finest residence in Bhamo is, of course, the American mission.
America nobly supports her self-sacrificing and devoted sons who go
forth to arrest the "awful ruin of souls" among the innumerable millions
of Asia, who are "perishing without hope, having sinned without law."
The missionary in charge told me that he labours with a "humble heart to
bring a knowledge of the Saving Truth to the perishing heathen among the
Kachins." His appointment is one which even a worldly-minded man might
covet. I will give an instance of his methods. This devoted evangelist
told me that a poor woman, a Kachin Christian, in whose welfare he felt
deep personal interest, was, he greatly feared, dying from
blood-poisoning at a small Christian village one hour's ride up the
river from Bhamo; and he had little doubt that some surgical
interference in her case would save her life. I at once offered to go
and see her. I had received great kindness from many American
missionaries in China, and it would give me great pleasure, I said, if I
could be of any service.

The missionary professed to be grateful for my offer, but, instead of
arranging to go that afternoon, named seven o'clock the following
morning as the hour when he would call for me to take me to the village.
At the time appointed I was ready; I waited, but no missionary came.
There was a slight drizzle, sufficient to prevent his going to the sick
woman but not sufficient to deter him from going to market to the
Irrawaddy steamer, where I accidentally met him. So far from being
abashed when he saw me, he took the occasion to tell me what he will, I
know, pardon me for thinking an inexcusable untruth. He had written, he
said, to the poor woman telling her, dying as he believed her to be, to
come down to Bhamo by boat to see me.

In Bhamo I stayed in the comfortable house of the Deputy Commissioner,
and was treated with the most pleasant hospitality. To my regret, the
Deputy Commissioner was down the river, and I did not see him. He is
regarded as one of the ablest men in the service. His rise has been
rapid, and he was lately invested with the C.I.E.--there seems, indeed,
to be no position in Burma that he might not aspire to. In his absence
his office was being administered by the Assistant Commissioner, a
courteous young Englishman, who gave me my first experience of the Civil
Service. I could not but envy the position of this young fellow, and
marvel at the success which attends our method of administering the
Indian Empire. Here was a young man of twenty-four, acting as governor
with large powers over a tract of country of hundreds of square miles--a
new country requiring for its proper administration a knowledge of law,
of finance, of trade, experience of men, and ability to deal with the
conflicting interests of several native races. Superior to all other
authorities, civil and military, in his district, he was considered fit
to fill this post--and success showed his fitness--because a year or two
before he had been one of forty crammed candidates out of 200 who had
taken the highest places in a series of examinations in Latin, English,
mathematics, &c. With the most limited experience of human life, he had
obtained his position in exactly the same way that a Chinese Mandarin
does his--by competitive examination in subjects which, even less than
in the case of the Chinese, had little bearing upon his future work; and
now, like a Chinese Mandarin, "there are few things he isn't."

On the face of it no system appears more preposterous; in its results no
system was ever more successful. The Assistant Commissioner early learns
self-reliance, decision, and ability to wield authority; and he can
always look forward to the time when he may become Chief Commissioner.

There is a wonderful mixture of types in Bhamo. Nowhere in the world,
not even in Macao, is there a greater intermingling of races. Here live
in cheerful promiscuity Britishers and Chinese, Shans and Kachins, Sikhs
and Madrasis, Punjabis, Arabs, German Jews and French adventurers,
American missionaries and Japanese ladies.

There are many ruined pagodas and some wooden temples which, however, do
not display the higher features of Burmese architecture. There is a
club, of course; a polo and football ground, and a cricket ground.
Inside the fort, among the barracks, there is a building which has a
double debt to pay, being a theatre at one end and a church at the
other, the same athletic gentleman being the chief performer at both
places. But, at its best, Bhamo is a forlorn, miserable, and wretched
station, where all men seem to regard it as their first duty to the
stranger to apologise to him for being there.

The distinguished Chinese scholar and traveller, E. Colborne Baber, who
wrote the classic book of travel in Western China, was formerly British
Resident in Bhamo. He spoke Chinese unusually well and was naturally
proud of his accomplishment. Now the ordinary Chinaman has this feature
in common with many of the European races, that, if he thinks you cannot
speak his language, he _will_ not understand you, even if you speak to
him with perfect correctness of idiom and tone. And Baber had an
experience of this which deeply hurt his pride. Walking one day in the
neighbourhood of Bhamo, he met two Chinese--strangers--and began
speaking to them in his best Mandarin. They heard him with unmoved
stolidity, and, when he had finished, one turned to his companion and
said, as if struck with his discovery, "the language of these foreign
barbarians sounds not unlike our own!"

In Bhamo I had the pleasure of meeting the three members of the Boundary
Commission who represented us in some preliminary delimitation questions
with the Chinese Government. A better choice could not have been made.
M. Martini, a Frenchman, has been twenty years in Upper Burma, and is
our D.S.P. (District Superintendent of Police). Mr. Warry, the Chinese
adviser to the Burmese Government, is one of the ablest men who ever
graduated from the Consular Staff in China; while Captain H. R. Davies,
of the Staff Corps, who is on special duty in the Intelligence
Department, is not only an exceptionally able officer, but is the most
accomplished linguist of Upper Burma. These were the three
representatives.

I sold my pony in Bhamo. I was exceedingly sorry to part with it, for it
had come with me 800 miles in thirty days, over an unusually difficult
road, at great variations of altitude, and amid many changes of climate.
And it was always in good spirit, brave and hardy, carrying me as surely
the last twenty miles as it had the first twenty. Yet, when I came to
sell it, I was astonished to learn how many were its defects. Its
height, which was 12.3 in Nampoung, had shrunk three days later to 11.3
in Bhamo. This one subaltern told me who came to look at the pony with
the view, he said, of making me an offer. Another officer proved to me
that the off foreleg was gone hopelessly; a third confirmed this
diagnosis of his friend, and in a clinical lecture demonstrated that the
poor beast was spavined, and that its near hind frog was rotten, "as all
Chinese ponies' are," he added. One of the mounted constabulary, a smart
officer, fortunately discovered in time that the pony was a roarer;
while the Hungarian Israelite who lends help on notes of hand,
post-obits, personal applications, and other insecurities, and is on
terms of friendly intimacy with most of the garrison, when about to make
an offer, found, to his great regret, that the pony's hind legs were
even more defective than the fore. The end of it was that I had to sell
the pony--for what it cost me. I am indebted to the Reverend Mr.
Roberts, of the American Baptist Mission, for helping me to sell my
pony. Mr. Roberts has a pious gift for buying ponies and selling
them--at a profit. He offered me 40 rupees for my pony. I mentioned this
offer at the Bhamo Club, when a civilian present at once offered me 50
rupees for the pony; he did not know the pony, he explained, but--he
knew Roberts.

In a steamer of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company I came down the river
from Bhamo to Mandalay. When I left the Commissioner's bungalow, the
entire staff of the establishment and of some neighbouring bungalows
assembled to do me honour, creeping up to me, and with deep humility
carrying each an article of my possessions from my room down to the
porch. There were the _dhobie_ and _bearer_, the waterman with his
goatskin waterbag, the washerman who washed my blue Chinese garments as
white as his own, the _syce_ who did not collect grass, the cook who
sent me ten bad eggs in three days, and the Christian Madrasi, the
laziest rascal in Bhamo, who early confessed to me his change of faith
and the transformation it had effected in the future prospects of his
soul. There was the Burmese watchman, and the English-speaking Burmese
clerk, and the coolie who went to the bazaar for me, and many others.
They lined the stairs as I came out, and placed their hands reverently
to their foreheads when I passed by. It was pleasant to see such
disinterested evidence of their good will, and my only regret was that I
could not reward them according to their deserts. But to the Chinese
coolie who was grinning to see my paltry outfit carried by so many
hands, and who gathered together all I possessed and swung off with it
down past the temples to the steamer landing in the native city, I gave
a day's pay, and cheerfully--though he then asked for more.

In Mandalay I was taken to the club, and passed many hours there reading
the home papers and wandering through its gilded halls. Few clubs in the
world have such a sumptuous setting as this, for it is installed in the
throne-room and chambers and reception-halls of the palace of King
Theebaw.

In the very centre of the building is a seven-storeyed spire,
"emblematic of royalty and religion," which the Burmese look upon as the
"exact centre of creation." The reception-hall at the foot of the
throne is now the English chapel; the reading-room with its gilded daïs
where the Queen sat on her throne, with its lofty roof, its pillars of
teak, and walls all ablaze with gilding, was the throne-room of
Theebaw's chief Queen.

Mandalay is largely Chinese, and on the outskirts of the city there is a
handsome temple which bears the charming inscription, so characteristic
of the Chinese, "enlightenment finds its way even among the outer
barbarians."

There is a military hospital with two nursing sisters, highly trained
ladies from Bart.'s. Australians are now so widely distributed over the
world that it did not surprise me to find that one of the two sisters
comes from Melbourne.

From Mandalay I went by train to Rangoon, where I lived in a pretty
villa among noble trees on the lower slope of the hill which is crowned
with the famous golden pagoda, the "Shway-dagon," the most sacred temple
of Indo-China. We looked out upon the park and the royal lake. I early
went to the Intelligence Department and saw Major Couchman. In his
office I met the chief Chinese interpreter, a Chinaman with a rare
genius for languages. He is a native of Fuhkien province, and, of
course, speaks the Fuhkien dialect; he knows also Cantonese and
Mandarin. In addition, he possesses French, Hindustani, Burmese, Shan,
and Sanscrit, and, in an admirable translation which he has made of a
Chinese novel into English, he frequently quotes Latin. Fit assistant he
would make to Max Müller; his services command a high salary.

The Chinese in Rangoon are a predominating force in the prosperity of
the city. They have deeply impressed their potentiality upon the
community. "It seems almost certain," says a great authority, perhaps
_the_ greatest authority on Burma--J. G. Scott (Shway Yoe)--"that in no
very long time Burma, or, at any rate, the large trading towns of Burma,
will be for all practical purposes absorbed by the Chinese traders, just
as Singapore and Penang are virtually Chinese towns. Unless some
marvellous upheaval of energy takes place in the Burmese character, the
plodding, unwearying Chinaman is almost certainly destined to overrun
the country to the exclusion of the native race."

The artisans of Rangoon are largely Chinese, and the carpenters
exclusively so. The Chinese marry Burmese women, and, treating their
wives with the consideration which the Chinaman invariably extends to
his foreign wife in a foreign country, they are desired as husbands even
above the Burmans. Next to the British, the only indispensable element
in the community is now the Chinese.

The best known figure in Burma is the Reverend John Ebenezer Marks,
D.D., Principal of the St. John's College of the S.P.G. Dr. Marks has
been thirty-five years in Burma, is still hale and hearty, brimful of
reminiscences, and is one of the most amusing companions in the world. I
think it was he who converted King Theebaw to Christianity. His school
is a curiosity. It is an anthropological institute with perhaps the
finest collection of human cross-breeds in existence. It is away out
beyond the gaol, in large wooden buildings set in extensive playgrounds.
Here he has 550 students, all but four of whom are Asiatics of fifteen
different nationalities--Chinese, Karens, Kachins, Shans, and a varied
assortment of Hindoos and Malays, both pure and blended with the native
Burmese. All the different races represented in Burma have intermarried
with the native Burmese, and the resulting half-breeds have crossed
with other half-breeds. Most of the better class Eurasian boys
(European-Asian) are educated here, some being supported by their
fathers, some not. The former Dr. Marks ingeniously calls after their
mothers; the latter, who have been neglected, retain the names (when
they are known), of their fathers. It is amusing to meet among the
latter the names of so many brave Englishmen who, in the earlier days
when morals had not attained the strictness that now characterises them,
gallantly served their country in Burma.

No woman in the world is more catholic in her tastes than the Burmese.
She bestows her loves as variously as the Japanese. She marries with
equal readiness Protestant or Catholic, Turk, Infidel, or Jew. She
clings cheerfully to whichever will support her; but above all she
desires the Chinaman. No one treats her so well as the Chinaman. If she
is capable of experiencing the emotion of love for any being outside her
own race, she feels it for the Chinaman, who is of a cognate race to her
own, is hard-working, frugal, and industrious, permits her to live in
idleness, and delights her with presents, loving her children with that
affection which the Chinaman has ever been known to bestow upon his
offspring. The Chino-Burmese is not quite the equal of his father, but
he is markedly superior to the Burmese. The best half-caste in the East
is, of course, the Eurasian of British parentage. Englishmen going to
Burma are, as a rule, picked men, physically powerful, courageous,
energetic, and enterprising; for it is the possession of these qualities
which has sent them to the East, either for business or in the service
of their country. And their Burmese companions--of course I speak of a
condition of things which is gradually ceasing to exist--are all picked
women, selected for the comeliness of their persons and the sweetness of
their manners.

After a stay of two or three weeks in Rangoon, I went round by the
British India steamer to Calcutta. Ill fortune awaited me here. The
night after my arrival I was laid down with remittent fever, and a few
days later I nearly died. The reader will, I am sure, pardon me for
obtruding this purely personal matter. But, as I opened this book with a
testimony of gratitude to the distinguished surgeon who cut a spear
point from my body, where nine months before it had been thrust by a
savage in New Guinea, so should I be sorry to close this narrative
without recording a word of thanks to those who befriended me in
Calcutta.

I was a stranger, knowing only two men in all Calcutta; but they were
friends in need, who looked after me during my illness with the greatest
kindness. A leading doctor of Calcutta attended me, and treated me with
unremitting attention and great skill. To Mr. John Bathgate and Mr.
Maxwell Prophit and to Dr. Arnold Caddy I owe a lasting debt of
gratitude. And what shall I say of that kind nurse--dark of complexion,
but most fair to look upon--whose presence in the sick room almost
consoled me for being ill? Bless her dear heart! Even hydrochlorate of
quinine tasted sweet from her fingers.


THE END.

[Illustration: CHINESE MAP OF CHUNGKING.]



INDEX.


  Adridge, Dr., of Ichang, 10

  d'Amade, Capt., in Yunnan, 150

  Ancestral worship, 67

  Anderson, Dr. J., cited, 274, 277

  Anpien, 79

  Anti-foreign riots, 9, 54, 268

  Arsenal in Yunnan, 175

  Augustine mission, 6


  Baber, E. C., cited, 51, 90, 239, 267;
    in Yunnan, 149;
    in Bhamo, 285;
    on distances, 187

  Ball, Dyer, cited, 113, 224

  Baller, Rev. F. W., cited, 113

  Banks and banking, 95, 96, 163, 164

  Barrow, Sir John, cited, 101, 110, 191

  Béraud, Père, of Suifu, 63, 65

  Bhamo (Singai), 279-287

  Bible Christian mission, in Chaotong, 99;
    in Tongchuan, 121

  Blakiston, Capt., cited, 173

  Blodget, Rev. Dr., cited, 123

  Boell, M., of _Le Temps_, in Yunnan, 150

  Bonvalot, G., in Yunnan, 149

  Bridges, some notable, 26, 83, 85, 118, 186, 233, 240, 242

  Broomhall, B., cited, 66, 67

  Browne, Col. Horace, 246, 267, 268

  Bugs in China and Spain, 55, 56

  Burdon, Bishop, cited, 123


  Cameron, Dr., missionary traveller, 213

  Cantonese, 207;
    in Australia, 222-224

  Caravans of cotton, 226, 271

  Carruthers, A. G. H., assistant commissioner of customs, Chungking, 51

  Cash currency of China, 161, 162

  Chairen, the policeman of China, 77, 190

  Chang-chen Nien, Brigadier-General, Tengyueh, 181, 246

  Chang Chi Tung, the viceroy, 3, 4

  Chang-show-hsien, 33

  Chang Yan Miun, the giant of Yunnan, 184, 185

  Chaochow, 200

  Chaotong, the city of, 97-116;
    its converts, 178

  Chehki, 137

  Ch'en, merchant prince, 29, 30

  Chennan-chow, 192

  Chentu, city, 62;
    river, 62

  Chiang, telegraph clerk, Yunnan, 168

  China Inland Mission, in Hankow, 6;
    in Wanhsien, 27-29;
    in Chungking, 49;
    in Suifu, 65, 73, 75;
    in Yunnan, 177;
    in Tali, 213-216;
    results in Yunnan province, 178;
    in China generally, 180;
    its teaching, 65-71

  Chinese, in Australia, 222-224;
    in Burma, 288-290

  Chinese, avarice, 79;
    benevolence, 29;
    beauty of women, 13;
    cards, visiting, 181, 182;
    characters, reverence for, 170;
    courtesy, 255;
    desire to have children, 197, 198;
    etiquette, 230;
    friendliness, 140;
    good nature, 117;
    gratitude, 27, 28;
    inaccuracy, 99;
    indifference to pain, 104,
      to sound, 74, 169;
    irreverence, 195;
    justification by works, 169;
    kindness to children, 113, 290;
    laughter, 195;
    love at first sight, 153-155;
    politeness, 196, 197, 201, 255;
    respect for old age, 117, 198;
    thoughtfulness, 189;
    true felicity, 180;
    wonderful memory, 167, 168

  Chipatzu, 22

  Chueh, telegraph operator and interpreter, 248

  Chungking, city of, 34-39

  Chuhsing-fu, 187

  Clarke, Mr. G. W., missionary traveller, 213

  Clarke, Marcus, cited, 210

  Coal on the Yangtse, 32

  Coffins in China, 92, 137, 265

  Colquhoun, A. R., in Yunnan, 150

  Conversion, instances of rapid, 179

  Converts, in China, 5;
    Wanhsien, 28;
    Chungking, 49;
    Suifu, 65;
    Chaotong, 99;
    Tongchuan, 121;
    Yunnan City, 177;
    Yunnan Province, 178, 179;
    Talifu, 214

  Cooke, G. W., cited, 46, 176

  Coolies' enormous loads, 90, 91

  Couchman, Major, cited, 274;
    in Rangoon, 288

  Crockery, 118, 119

  Customs, China Inland (likin-barriers), 21, 48, 97, 118, 242, 272, 277

  Customs, Imperial Maritime, 13, 25, 35-38


  Davenport, Dr. Cecil, medical missionary, Chungking, 49

  Davies, Capt. H. R., Bhamo, 285

  Davis, Sir J. F., cited, 57

  Dedeken, Père, of Kuldja, 150

  De Gorostarza, Père, Provicaire in Yunnan, 172

  De Guignes, cited, 140

  Distances in China, 141, 278

  Doctors in China, 107-110; mule-doctor, 145

  Doolittle, Rev. Justus, cited, 69, 130, 170

  Doudart de la Grée, in Yunnan, 149

  Douglas, R. K., cited, 127

  Dudgeon, Dr. J., cited, 112, 130

  Du Halde, cited, 90, 108, 176

  Dymond, Rev. Frank, missionary, Chaotong, 98, 99


  Eclipse of the Sun, 125, 126

  Edkins, Rev. Dr. J., cited, 130

  Eitel, Rev. Dr. E. J., cited, 129

  Excoffier, Père, of Yunnan, 146


  Famine in Chaotong, 99;
    in Tongchuan, 127;
    on the way to Yunnan, 137-144

  Fan-yien-tsen, 82

  Farrar, Ven. Archdeacon, cited, 191

  Feng-hsiang, Gorge, 21, 30

  Fengshui-ling, 240

  Feng-tu-hsien, 33

  Fenouil, Monseigneur, of Yunnan, 171, 172

  Fraser, Consul E. H., Chungking, 45

  Fuchou, 33

  _Fungshui_, 157, 175

  Fung-yen-tung, 205

  Fu-to-kuan, fort of, 52


  Ganai, Shan town, 254-256

  Gates of a Chinese city, 174

  Geary, H. Grattan, cited, 43

  Giles, H. A., cited, 129

  Gill, Mr. Hope, missionary, Wanhsien, 27

  Gill, Capt. W., cited, 17, 90

  Girls in China, 13, 14, 139, 140;
    bought, 155;
    sold, 100, 101;
    price of, 100

  Goitre, 101, 145, 155, 185;
    its prevalence, 227, 228

  Gold, on the Yangtse, 23;
    in Yunnan, 158-160

  Graham, Mr., missionary, Yunnan, 177, 219

  Grosvenor Mission in Yunnan, 149

  Guinness, Miss G., cited, 213


  Haas, M., 42-44

  Hankow, the city of, 3-8

  Hanyang, 3

  Heads of criminals, 192;
    of dacoits, 273, 274

  Hirth, Dr. F., Commissioner of Customs, 40

  Hobson, H. E., cited, 31

  Hokiangpu, 222

  Hongmuho, 270, 275-277

  Hosie, A. M., cited, 17;
    in Yunnan, 149

  Hsiakwan, 200, 219, 221

  Hsintan rapids, 15

  Huanglien-pu, 226;
    goitre at, 228

  Huc, Abbé, cited, 176


  Iangkai, 144

  Ichang, 9

  Infanticide in China, 129, 130;
    in Chaotong, 101;
    in Tongchuan, 129

  Inquirers at Wanhsien, 28;
    Yunnan, 177;
    Tali, 215

  Iremonger, Capt. R. G., Nampoung, 275


  Jensen, Mr. C., in Yunnan, 147;
    experiences in China, 156, 157;
    on distances, 187;
    to construct line to Burma, 238

  Jesuit Missionaries in China, 123, 173, 176

  John, Rev. Dr. Griffith, cited, 130


  Kachins ("protected barbarians"), 254, 259, 270, 273, 274

  Kanhliang, Shan chief, 245

  Kaw Hong Beng, Private Secretary to Viceroy, 4, 5

  Kiangti, 117

  Kong-shan, 141

  Kueichow on the Yangtse, 18

  Kuhtsing, its converts, 178

  Kung Chao-yuan, Minister to Great Britain, 73

  Kung-t'-an-ho, 33

  Kweichou-fu, 21


  Lacouperie, Terrien de, cited, 257

  Lanchihsien, 60

  Laokai, 148, 159

  Laowatan river, 79; town, 85

  Lay, G. T., cited, 13, 45

  Leitoupo, 139

  Lenz, F. G., in Yunnan, 150, 151

  Li Han Chang, in Yunnan, 149

  Li Hung Chang, 72, 149;
    on opium, 46, 190

  _Ling chi_, 69, 231, 232

  Li Pi Chang, Telegraph Manager, Yunnan, 151-153, 181, 184

  Li-Sieh-tai, of Tengyueh, 246

  Little, A. J., cited, 13, 122;
    in Chungking, 51

  Little river, 40, 44, 52

  Liu, Colonel, of Chinese Boundary Commission, 244, 245, 255

  Liu, the Viceroy, 72

  Lockhart, Dr. W., cited, 28, 130

  Loh-Ta-Jen, Chentai at Ichang, 9

  London Missionary Society, Hankow, 6;
    Chungking, 49

  Lorain, Père, Procureur in Chungking, 50

  Luchow, 60

  Lu-feng-hsien, 186

  Luho, 187


  MacCarthy, Justin, cited, 210

  MacGowan, Rev. Dr. D. J., cited, 130

  Maire, Père, of Tongchuan, 133

  Mander, S. S., cited, 47, 191

  Manyuen (Manwyne), 264-269

  Marco Polo, cited, 238;
    in Yunnan, 149

  Margary, A. R., cited, 266;
    in Yunnan, 149, 246;
    his murder, 264-269

  Marks, Rev. Dr. J. E., 289, 290

  Martin, Rev. Dr. W. A. P., cited, 67, 170

  Martini, M. (D.S.P.), in Bhamo, 285

  Mason, Rev. G. L., cited, 28

  Mateer, Rev. C. W., cited, 28, 140

  Meadows, T. T., cited, 113, 154

  Medhurst, Rev. W. H., cited, 87 (wrongly written "Meadows"), 197

  Medhurst, Sir W. H., cited, 5, 45, 108

  Medicines in China, 83, 107-110

  Mekong river, 221, 233, 234

  Mencius, cited, 198

  Methodist Episcopalian Mission, 40, 54

  Michie, A., cited, 124

  Missionaries, success in China, 5;
    numbers in Hankow, 6

  Missions Étrangères de Paris, 6, 64, 65, 105, 122, 146, 171

  Mi Tsang Gorge, 17

  Mohammedans, and opium, 112;
    in Chaotong, 113, 114;
    near Tongchuan, 128;
    in Tali, 216;
    insurrection, 145, 185, 187, 203;
    superiority, 216;
    the milkman, 217

  Momien (Tengyueh), the city of, 243-249

  Money, changing, 95;
    remittance of, 95

  Morgan, C. L., cited, 66, 70

  Morphia, imported, 48, 49

  Moule, Bishop, cited, 130

  Moutot, Père, Provicaire in Suifu, 63, 65

  Muirhead, Rev. W., cited, 123

  Mungtze, 148-150, 159

  Myothit (Santien), 278, 279


  Nampoung, encampment, 270, 275-278

  Nantien, fort of, 250, 251


  Opium, imports and exports of, 46-48;
    in Hankow, 3;
    in Chungking, 45;
    in Suifu, 72, 73;
    demoralising influence of, 41;
    ---- refuge, Chungking, 41;
    ---- ports, 33;
    poisoning by, 111, 112, 212;
    my chairbearers and, 94;
    my coolie and, 219;
    appeal for suppression, 190, 191

  d'Orleans, Prince Henri, cited, 148;
    in Yunnan, 149


  Parricide in China, 69

  Pearson, Prof. C. H., cited, 186, 224

  _Peking Gazette_, cited, 53, 169, 231

  Pen, telegraph manager, Tengyueh, 244

  Pêng Yü-lin, high commissioner, cited, 192

  Pidgin-English, 3, 9, 18

  Piercy, Rev. G., cited, 191

  Ping-shan-pa, 13

  Pits for the dead, 133

  Plague, bubonic, in Yunnan, 213

  Pollard, Rev. S., missionary, Tongchuan, 121

  Poppy, 37, 57, 78, 84, 118, 142;
    surreptitiously grown, 46

  Post-offices, 95, 96

  Prisons in China, 209-211

  Punishments in China, 103, 104, 136, 239

  Pupêng, 193

  Pupiao, 236;
    my men die at, 281


  Reade, Charles, cited, 209

  Reed, Miss M., cited, 191

  Reid, Rev. G., cited, 41, 192

  "Rice Christians," 6

  Roberts, Rev. Mr., missionary, Bhamo, 286

  Rockhill, W. W., cited, 280, 281


  St. Thomas, visit to Suifu, 65

  Salween river, 237-240

  Santa, Shan town, 259-263

  Schehleh, 272, 277

  Scott, J. G., cited, 287, 289

  Sengki-ping, 84

  Settee, fort of, 274, 275

  Shachiaokai, 192

  Shang-kwan, 204

  Shans, 240, 252, 254, 256-269

  Shih-pao-chai, 32

  Shuichai, 234

  Shweli river, 242

  Silver in Yunnan, 161, 163;
    in Tengyueh, 249

  Singai (Bhamo), 218

  Sladen, Major, 267

  Small feet, 14, 101, 153

  Small-pox, 212, 213

  Smith, Rev. A. H., cited, 41, 269

  Smith, Rev. John, missionary, Talifu, 202, 209, 214, 219

  Smith, Mr. Stanley P., his rapid conversion of a Chinaman, 279

  Soldiers, their weapons, 234, 241, 249;
    fierceness of aspect, 263;
    courage, 271

  "Squeezing" in China, 151, 152

  Stead, W. T., cited, 152

  Suicide by opium, 111;
    land of, 111, 112

  Suifu, the city of, 62-75

  Sutherland, Rev. Dr. A., cited, 123, 173

  Swinburne, A. C., cited, 14

  Szechuen, "country of the clouds," 82;
    population, 186;
    contrasted with Yunnan, 85-88;
    Catholic stronghold, 64


  Taipingkai, Shan town, 263

  Taiping-pu, 226

  Taiping river, 246, 250, 252, 258, 278, 279

  Tak-wan-hsien, 92, 94, 96

  Tak-wan-leo, 92

  Talichao, 234

  Talifu, the city of, 202-219;
    its converts, 178

  Tanto, 82

  Taoshakwan, 86

  Tao[=u]en, 116

  Tawantzu, 92

  Taylor, Rev. Dr. J. Hudson, cited, 46, 67, 68, 70, 179;
    on opium, 46;
    on ancestral worship, 67;
    Chinese in lake of fire, 67, 68

  Tchih-li-pu, 86

  Telegraph, in Yunnan, 147;
    in Tali, 208;
    in Yungchang, 234;
    in Tengyueh, 243-248;
    system of telegraphing Chinese characters, 166-168;
    telegraphic transfers, 95, 159

  Tengyueh (Momien), the city of, 243-249

  "Term question," 122, 123

  Theatre in Tengyueh, 246, 247

  Tommé, M., in Yunnan, 150

  Tongchuan, the city of, 120-134;
    its converts, 178

  Tonquin, 148, 149

  Tragedy of the Tali valley, 220, 221

  Tremberth, Rev. Mr., missionary, Chaotong, 101

  Tsen Yü-ying, the cruel Viceroy, 267

  Tung-lo-hsia, 35

  Turner, Rev. F. Storrs, cited, 46

  Tu Wen Hsiu, the Mohammedan Sultan, 203


  Ullathorne, Bishop, cited, 210


  Vial, Père, of Yunnan, 150

  Voltaire, cited, 173

  Von Richthofen, cited, 90


  Wanhsien, the city of, 24-31

  Warren, Consul Pelham, of Hankow, 8

  Warry, Mr., Chinese adviser to the Burmese Government, 229, 261, 285

  Wherry, Rev. J., cited, 123

  Widows, virtuous, 52, 53, 78

  Williams, Rev. Dr. S. Wells, cited, 47, 110, 126, 197, 267

  Williamson, Rev. Dr. A. W., cited, 70, 223

  Wong, banker in Yunnan, 163-166

  Wong-wen-shao, the Viceroy, 180, 181

  Woodin, Rev. S. F., cited, 66, 179

  Woolston, Miss S. H., cited, 14

  Wuchang, 3

  Wuntho Sawbwa, 245, 253, 254

  Wushan Gorge, 20

  Wushan-hsien, 20


  Yangki river, 221

  "_Yang kweitze_", 18, 25, 228, 229

  Yanglin, 145

  Yangpi, 224

  Yang Yu-ko, Imperialist general, 203, 204

  Yeh, of the Chinese Boundary Commission, 224

  Yehtan rapid, 19

  Yenwanshan, 193

  Ying-wu-kwan, 193

  Yuenchuan, 60

  Yungchang, the city of, 234, 235

  Yunnan, the city of, 147-183;
    its converts, 177;
    the province of, 85-88;
    its converts, 178

  Yunnanhsien, 196

  Yunnan Yeh, 193

[Illustration: ROUGH SKETCH-MAP OF CHINA AND BURMA SHOWING AUTHOR'S
ROUTE FROM SHANGHAI TO RANGOON.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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