Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Across China on Foot.
source of independence and safety.  The more simple they lived the more secure their future, because they were less at the mercy of surprises and reverses.  In adversity these people would not act like nurslings deprived of their bottles and their rattles, but would, by virtue of their common simplicity, probably be better armed for any struggles.  I do not desire the life for myself, but the ethics of their simple living cannot but be recommended.  Multitudes possess in China what multitudes in the West pursue amid characteristic hampering futilities of European life.  We would aspire to simple living, and the simplicity of olden times in manners, art and ideas is still cherished and reverenced; but we cannot be simple or return to the simplicity of our forefathers unless we return to the spirit which animated them.  They possessed the spirit of real simplicity.  And this same spirit the Chinese possess to-day; but they are minus the incomparable features of healthful civilization, inward and outward, of which our forebears were masters.  Our ways to-day are not their ways, and their ways not our ways; but one cannot but realize as he moves among them that with a happy infusion of the spirit of their simplicity into the restlessness of our modern life our wearied minds would dream less and realize more of the true simplicity of simple living.

* * * * *

To a man the village of T’ai-p’ing-p’u turned out early on the Monday morning to express regrets that my departure was at hand.  When, in parting with this people who had done all in their power to make my comfort complete, I threw a handful of cash to some little children standing wonderingly near by, general approval was expressed, and elaborate felicities anent my beneficence exchanged by the ear-ringed Lolo women.  A short apron hung down over their blue trousers, and as I passed out of their sight, they admired me and gossiped about me, with their hands under their aprons, in much the same manner as their more enlightened sisters of the wash-tub gossip sometimes in the West.

It was a beautiful spring morning; the sweet song of the birds pierced through the noise of the rolling river below, the air was fragrant and bracing, and as I left and commenced the rocky ascent leading again to the mountains, the barks of some fierce-disposed canines, who alone objected to my presence among the hill-folk, died away with the rustle of the leafage in a keen north wind.

One of my men was poorly, the solitary element to disturb the equanimity of our camp.

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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