Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 330 pages of information about Across China on Foot.
part of his overland trip because of the fear that his own head might have been chopped off en route, he may increase his wonder to doubt.  The aspect here in Yuen-nan—­politically, morally, socially, spiritually—­is that of another kingdom, another world.  Conditions seem, for the most part, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.  And in his new environment, which may be a replica of twenty centuries ago, the dream he dreamed is now dispelled.  “China,” he says, “is not awaking; she barely moves, she is still under the torpor of the ages.”  And yet again, in the capital and a few of the larger cities, under your very eyes there goes on a reform which seems to be the most sweeping reform Asia has yet known.

Such are the inconsistencies, seemingly unchangeable, irreconcilable in conception or in fact; a truthful portrayal of them tends to render the writer a most inconsistent being in the eyes of his reader.

* * * * *

No one was ever sped on his way through China with more goodwill than was the writer when he left Tong-ch’uan-fu; but the above thoughts were then in his mind.

Long before January 3rd, 1910, the whole town knew that I was going to Mien Dien (Burma).  Confessedly with a sad heart—­for I carried with me memories of kindnesses such as I had never known before—­I led my nervous pony, Rusty, out through the Dung Men (the East Gate), with twenty enthusiastic scholars and a few grown-ups forming a turbulent rear.  As I strode onwards the little group of excited younkers watched me disappear out of sight on my way to the capital by the following route—­the second time of trying:—­

Length of    Height
stage     above sea
1st day—­Che-chi          90 li.    7,800 ft.
2nd day—­Lai-t’eo-p’o     90 li.    8,500 ft.
3rd day—­Kongshan        100 li.    6,700 ft.
4th day—­Yang-kai         85 li.    7,200 ft.
5th day—­Ch’anff-o’o      95 li     6,000 ft.
6th day—­The Capital      70 li     6,400 ft.

My caravan consisted of two coolies:  one carried my bedding and a small basket of luxuries in case of emergency, the other a couple of boxes with absolute necessities (including the journal of the trip).  In addition, there accompanied me a man who carried my camera, and whose primary business it was to guard my interests and my money—­my general factotum and confidential agent—­and by an inverse operation enrich himself as he could, and thereby maintain relations of warm mutual esteem.  They received thirty-two tael cents per man per diem, and for the stopping days on the road one hundred cash.  None of them, of course, could speak a word of English.

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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