Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Across China on Foot.
ladies, seemingly of the easiest virtue, overhauled my bedclothes unblushingly.  The murmuring noise of the vast expectant New Year multitude died off gradually, like the retreating surge of a distant sea, and the hot motionless atmosphere in my room, with eleven people stepping on one another’s toes in the cramped area, became more and more weightily intensified.  The husband of one of the women—­a miserable, emaciated specimen for a Shan—­came forward, asking whether I could cure his disease.  I fear he will never be cured.  His arm and one side of his body was one mass of sores.  Before it could be seen four layers of Chinese paper had to be removed, one huge plantain leaf, and a thick layer of black stuff resembling tar.  I was busy for some thirty minutes dressing it with new bandages.  I then gave him ointment for subsequent dressings, whereupon he put on his coat and walked out of the room (leaving the door open as he went) without even a word of gratitude.

The Chinese pride themselves upon their gratitude.  It is vigorous towards the dead and perhaps towards the emperor (although this may be doubted), but as a grace of daily life it is almost absent.  I have known cases where missionaries have got up in the middle of the night to attend to poisoning cases and accidents requiring urgent treatment, have known them to attend to people at great distances from their own homes and make them better; but never a word of thanks—­not even the mere pittance charged for the actual cost of medicine.


[Footnote BD:  The Chinese name for the Shan.]

[Footnote BE:  Vide Yuen-nan, the Link between India and the Yangtze, by Major H.R.  Davies.—­Cambridge University Press.]


Two days from Burma. Tropical wildness induces ennui. The River Taping. At Hsiao Singai. Possibility of West China as a holiday resort from Burma. Fascination of the country. Manyueen reached with difficulty. The Kachins. Good work of the American Baptist Mission. Mr. Roberts. Arrival at borderland of Burma. Last dealings with Chinese officials. British territory. Thoughts on the trend of progress in China. Beautiful Burma. End of long journey.

I was now two days’ march from the British Burma border.  The landscape in this district was solemn and imposing as I trudged on again, very tired indeed, after a day’s rest at Chiu-ch’eng.  In the morning heavy tropical vapors of milky whiteness stretched over the sky and the earth.  Nature seemed sleeping, as if wrapped in a light veil.  It attracted me and absorbed me, dreaming, in spite of myself; ennui invaded me at first, and under the all-powerful constraint of influences so fatal to human personality thought died away by degrees like a flame in a vacuum; for I was again in the East, the real, luxurious, indolent East, the true land of Pantheism, and one must go there to realize the indefinable sensations which almost make the Nirvana of the Buddhist comprehensible.

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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