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Title:      An Australian in China
Author:     G.E. Morrison
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Edition:    1
Language:   English
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Title:      An Australian in China
Author:     G.E. Morrison




AN AUSTRALIAN IN CHINA

BEING THE NARRATIVE OF A QUIET JOURNEY ACROSS CHINA TO BURMA

BY GEORGE ERNEST MORRISON M.B., C.M. Edin., F.R.G.S.

FIRST PUBLISHED 1895



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

CHAPTER II. FROMHANKOW TO WANHSIEN, WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF CHINESE WOMEN
AND THERAPIDS OF THE YANGTSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER IX. MAINLY ABOUT CHINESE DOCTORS

CHAPTER X. THE JOURNEY FROM CHAOTONG TO TONGCHUAN

CHAPTER XI. THE CITY OF TONG CHUAN, WITH SOME REMARKS UPON INFANTICIDE

CHAPTER XII. TONGCHUAN TO YUNNAN CITY

CHAPTER XIII. AT YUNNAN CITY

CHAPTER XIV. GOLD, BANKS, AND TELEGRAPHS IN YUNNAN

CHAPTER XV. THE FRENCH MISSION AND THE ARSENAL IN YUNNAN CITY

CHAPTER XVI. THE JOURNEY FROM YUNNAN CITY TO TALIFU

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

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

CHAPTER XIX. THEMEKONG AND SALWEENRIVERS--HOW TO TRAVEL IN CHINA

CHAPTER XX. THE CITY OF TENG-YUEH--THE CELEBRATED WUNTHOSAWBWA--SHAN
SOLDIERS

CHAPTER XXI. THE SHAN TOWN OF SANTA, ANDMANYUEN, THE SCENE OF CONSUL
MARGARY'S MURDER

CHAPTER XXII. CHINA AS A FIGHTING POWER--THEKACHINS--AND THE LAST STAGE
INTO BHAMO

CHAPTER XXIII. BHAMO, MANDALAY, RANGOON, AND CALCUTTA



ILLUSTRATIONS.

MOSTLY FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY MR. C. JENSEN OF THE IMPERIAL CHINESE TELEGRAPHS.


THE AUTHOR IN WESTERN CHINA

THE AUTHOR'S CHINESE PASSPORT

ON A BALCONY IN WESTERN CHINA

THE RIVER YANGTSE AT TUNG-LO-HSIA

MEMORIAL ARCHWAY AT THE FORT OF FU-TO-KUAN

CHUNGKING, FROM THE OPPOSITE BANK OF THE YANGTSE

A TEMPLE THEATRE IN CHUNGKING

ON THE MAIN ROAD TO SUIFU

CULTIVATION IN TERRACES

SCENE IN SZECHUEN

OPIUM-SMOKING

A TEMPLE IN SZECHUEN

LAOWATAN

THE OPIUM-SMOKER OF ROMANCE

PAGODA BY THE WAYSIDE, WESTERN CHINA

THE BIG EAST GATE OF YUNNAN CITY

VIEW IN YUNNAN CITY

SOLDIERS ON THE WALL OF YUNNAN CITY

THE PAGODA OF YUNNAN CITY, 250 FEET HIGH

THE VICEROY OF Two PROVINCES

THE AUTHOR'S CHINESE NAME

THE GIANT OF YUNNAN

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

SNOW-CLAD MOUNTAINS BEHIND TALIFU

MEMORIAL IN A TEMPLE NEAR TALIFU

THE DESCENT TO THE RIVER MEKONG

INSIDE VIEW OF A SUSPENSION BRIDGE

THE RIVER SAL WEEN

THE RIVER SHWELI AND ITS SUSPENSION BRIDGE

THE SUBURB BEYOND THE SOUTH GATE OF TENGYUEH

CHINESE MAP OF CHUNGKING

ROUGH SKETCH-MAP OF CHINA AND BURMA





AN AUSTRALIAN IN CHINA



CHAPTER I.


INTRODUCTORY--MAINLY ABOUT MISSIONARIES AND THE CITY OK 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 nim 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 pounds, 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 etrangeres 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.

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, Kweichou, 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 fiend," 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 2ist,
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:--

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

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.

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.

The sum of 14,000 cash is tobe 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.

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 tow-path 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 Fenghsiang Gorge the "Windbox Gorge"
where the mountains nave 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. Kueichou 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
viseed 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 boat-hooks 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 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 hyper-pyretic
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 bodyof 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 mission 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 mid-day 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 Kueichou-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 hill-sides 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 tow-rope, 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 tow-line 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.



CHAPTERIV.


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.

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. "Us 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 Charge 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 Charge 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. Signer
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.

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 it 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,
Fuh-kien, 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 opiurn-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.

Pere 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 difficultes_,
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. i.)

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.

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 loth, 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, senor?"

"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.

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 mainroad. 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 (1_s_. 9_d_.).

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, rilled 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 tow-rope 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.



CHAPTERVI.


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
Tali-fu. 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
Pere Beraud, 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 "trop materialistes" 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. Pere Moutot has been
twenty-three years in China--six years at the sacred Mount Omi, and
seventeen years in Suifu; Pere Beraud 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 eternellement.

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 'idolaters 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 mat-seller. 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 anaemic 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,
anaemic, 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.

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 Takwan-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
Takwan-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 half-penny. 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. "No. kaishuilai" (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, 7_d_. for nearly seven miles; but my friend
the convert, who arranged these things, considered that between the 5_d_.
he offered and the 7_d_. 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.

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 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 dear-ness. 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 (107 lbs.), 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 (432 lbs.). 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 400 lbs. 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 240 lbs. to 264 lbs. Gill
constantly saw "little boys carrying 120 lbs." Bundles of calico weigh
fifty-five catties each (73.5 lbs.), 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 200 lbs. Gill met coolies carrying
logs, 200 lbs. in weight, ten miles a day; and 200 lbs., the Consul in
Chungking told me, is the average weight carried by the cloth-porters
between Wanhsien and Chen-tu, 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
facades 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.

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 (1.25_d_.) the catty (1.33 lb.), 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 (6.66 lbs.) costs thirty-five cash (less than one penny), it now
costs no 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
yato-ws; 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 Etrangeres 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 air. 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:--

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.

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.

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.

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

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 bloodletting 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. Fain 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 no 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
4_s_. 6_d_. each for the no 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 a'l 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.

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 ric 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" (_Chen 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"
(_Chen Shen_), 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" (_Shen_); 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. Eugene 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 mends 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 Shogun 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, Pere 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 ofthe French priests in Chinahehas 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
orphelinat of little girls, ramassees 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 6_s_. 9_d_. each (2.25 taels), one tael (3_s_.) 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 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
(3.33 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 Kongshan
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.

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 Etrangeres 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.
Pere 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.


ATYUNNAN 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 via 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,
via 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 Gree 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 Chung-king, 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, Pere Dedeken.

Another famous missionary traveller, Pere 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. Tomme, 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 Yesutang. 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 "thick-neck," 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 super-intendent 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 (Momein), 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.

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.



CHAPTERX IV.


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 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 _blase _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 "uncivilized country"; whose civilization
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 Chung-king, 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 Moet 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 eclat 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.

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 facade 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, Pere 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 proteges; 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."

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
7.5 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 powderfactory isoutsidethecity, near thenortheastern angle ofthe
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 Pere Verbiest in 1682, who blest the cannon, and gave to
each the name of a saint." "A female saint!" says Hue.

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 surfer 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),
Tong-chuan (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.

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."

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 pounds 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 (7_d_.), each man to carry
seventy catties (93 lbs.), 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 (9_s_.), instead of the hong price of 7_s_.
9_d_., and loads of fifty catties instead of seventy catties. I offered
to refund them 100 cash each (2.5_d_.) a day for every day that they had
been delayed in Yunnan and, in addition, I promised them a reward of five
mace each (1_s_. 6_d_.) 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
365. 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.

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 levees 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 Tong-chuan, born of
parents of ordinary stature; he is 7ft. 1in. in his bare feet, and
weighs, when in condition, 27st. 6 lb. 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 7_s_. 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 Tai-ping 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, arid 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 _levee_ 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 Peng Yu-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.

Midway between Shachiaokai and Pupeng 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 Pupeng, 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 depreciatory,
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 Chinamen 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 Mo."

"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 o'
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 un-irequented. We were accompanied by a
muleteer who knew the way, by his sturdy son of twelve, and his two pack
horses. By mid-day 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
unlocked 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.


THECITYOFTALI--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.

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. Halfway 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, Hsia-kwan 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
Hsia-kwan, 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
halfway, 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
_aperitif _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 7_d_. 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 Mahommedan 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, Port
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 24_s_. 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
(12_s_.) 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--Yung-chang, 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.

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 pound. 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 Huang-lien-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. Today,
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 splended 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 to the house, and was out again in a moment brandishing a
lone 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."

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

Today, 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 tea house 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
toft, 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.

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 inn-keepen 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 Mo 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
loth 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 southwestern 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,

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.

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 TEN GYUEH--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 Kanh-liang, 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 loth, 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. Yung-chang 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 other
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 1.5_d_. the 7.5 lbs. 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 30_s_. 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 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.

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 shortcut, 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 phrasebook 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 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 _levees
_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 fiver. Mounted on his
white pony, there was the inarticulate European who had discarded his
Chinese garb and was now dressed in the aesthetic 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 Liliputians 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 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. Earthen-Ware 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 levees 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
Yu-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
headdress 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 Mo, 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 _dak _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 3_s_. My entire journey from Shanghai to Bhamo cost less than
20 pounds sterling, including my Chinese outfit. Had I travelled
economically, I estimate that the journey need not have cost me more than
14 pounds. 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 11_d_. were worth 13_d_. in Bhamo. For some
curios which I purchased in the interior for 2 pounds 5_s_. I was offered
when I reached civilisation 14 pounds. 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 12_s_; 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, etc. 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 dais 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 Muller;
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
hardworking, 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.



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