Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Across China on Foot.

In twenty-five minutes we had a three-course meal (all out of the same pot, but no matter), and onwards to our destination we fed royally.  In parting with the men after our safe arrival at Chung-king, we left with them about seven-eighths of the picul—­and were not at all regretful.

I should not like to assert—­because I am telling the truth here—­that our boat was bewilderingly roomy.  As a matter of fact, its length was some forty feet, its width seven feet, its depth much less, and it drew eight inches of water.  Yet in it we had our bed-rooms, our dressing-rooms, our dining-rooms, our library, our occasional medicine-room, our cooking-room—­and all else.  If we stood bolt upright in the saloon amidships we bumped our heads on the bamboo matting which formed an arched roof.  On the nose of the boat slept seven men—­you may question it, reader, but they did; in the stern, on either side of a great rudder, slept our boy and a friend of his; and between them and us, laid out flat on the top of a cellar (used by the ship’s cook for the storing of rice, cabbage, and other uneatables, and the breeding-cage of hundreds of rats, which swarm all around one) were the captain and commodore—­a fat, fresh-complexioned, jocose creature, strenuous at opium smoking.  Through the holes in the curtain—­a piece of sacking, but one would not wish this to be known—­dividing them from us, we could see him preparing his globules to smoke before turning in for the night, and despite our frequent raving objections, our words ringing with vibrating abuse, it continued all the way to Chung-king:  he certainly gazed in disguised wonderment, but we could not get him to say anything bearing upon the matter.  Temperature during the day stood at about 50 degrees, and at night went down to about 30 degrees above freezing point.  Rains were frequent.  Journalistic labors, seated upon the upturned saucepan aforesaid, without a cushion, went hard.  At night the Chinese candle, much wick and little wax, stuck in the center of an empty “Three Castles” tin, which the boy had used for some days as a pudding dish, gave us light.  We generally slept in our overcoats, and as many others as we happened to have.  Rats crawled over our uncurtained bodies, and woke us a dozen times each night by either nibbling our ears or falling bodily from the roof on to our faces.  Our joys came not to us—­they were made on board.

The following are the Gorges, with a remark or two about each, to be passed through before one reaches Kweifu:—­


Ichang Gorge 16 miles First and probably one
of the finest of the

Niu Kan Ma Fee 4 miles An hour’s journey after
(or Ox Liver coming out of the
Gorge) Ichang Gorge, if the
breeze be favorable;
an arduous day’s
journey during high
river, with no wind.

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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