An Australian in China - Being the Narrative of a Quiet Journey Across China to Burma
by George Ernest Morrison
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* * * * * Transcriber's Note: Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document. Macrons are shown as ō and ū

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






























Mostly from Photographs by MR. C. JENSEN of the Imperial Chinese Telegraphs.




































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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During the time I was in China, I met large numbers of missionaries of all classes, in many cities from Peking to Canton, and they unanimously expressed satisfaction at the progress they are making in China. Expressed succinctly, their harvest may be described as amounting to a fraction more than two Chinamen per missionary per annum. If, however, the paid ordained and unordained native helpers be added to the number of missionaries, you find that the aggregate body converts nine-tenths of a Chinaman per worker per annum; but the missionaries deprecate their work being judged by statistics. There are 1511 Protestant missionaries labouring in the Empire; and, estimating their results from the statistics of previous years as published in the Chinese Recorder, we find that they gathered last year (1893) into the fold 3127 Chinese—not all of whom it is feared are genuine Christians—at a cost of L350,000, a sum equal to the combined incomes of the ten chief London hospitals.

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

Dwelling in well-deserved comfort in and around the foreign settlement, there are members of the London Missionary Society, of the Tract Society, of the Local Tract Society, of the British and Foreign Bible Society, of the National Bible Society of Scotland, of the American Bible Society; there are Quaker missionaries, Baptist, Wesleyan, and Independent missionaries of private means; there are members of the Church Missionary Society, of the American Board of Missions, and of the American High Church Episcopal Mission; there is a Medical Mission in connection with the London Missionary Society, there is a flourishing French Mission under a bishop, the "Missions 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, Kweichow, and Yunnan, available for one year from the date of issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The passage-money agreed upon is 28,000 cash (L2 16s.), which includes all charges.

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

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

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


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.



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

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

We had left the province of Hupeh. Kweichou is the first prefectural city that the traveller meets in Szechuen; for that reason my laoban required me to give him my passport that he might take it ashore and have it 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.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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.


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


"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. "Ils perdront et leur temps et leur argent." Monsieur Haas has helped to make history in his time. The most gentle-mannered of men, he writes with strange rancour against the perfidious designs of Britain in the East. In his diplomatic career Monsieur Haas suffered one great disappointment. He was formerly the French 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. Signor A—— was also recalled, but did not go because the order was not accompanied with the customary cheque to defray the cost of his passage. His services to England were rewarded, and he retained his engagement as Manager of the Flotilla Company; but he lost his appointment as the Representative of Italy—an honourable post with a dignified salary paid by the Italian Government in I.O.U.'s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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. 1.)

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

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

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

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

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

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