The following were to be stages:—
1st day—Ts’eo-ma-k’ang 80 li. 2nd day—Uein-ch’uan hsien 120 " 3rd day—Li-shih-ch’ang 105 " 4th day—Luchow 75 " 5th day—Lan-ching-ch’ang 80 " 6th day—Lan-chi-hsien 75 " 7th day—Sui-fu 120 "
In my plainest English and with many cruel gestures, four miles from the town, I told a man that he narrowly escaped being knocked down, owing to his extremely rude persistence in accosting me and obstructing my way. He acquiesced, opened his large mouth to the widest proportions, seemed thoroughly to understand, but continued more noisily to prevent me from going onwards, yelling something at the top of his husky voice—a voice more like a fog-horn than a human voice—which made me fear that I had done something very wrong, but which later I interpreted ignorantly as impudent humor.
I owed nothing; so far as I knew, I had done nothing wrong.
“Hi, fellow! come out of the way! Reverse your carcass a bit, old chap! Get——! What the—— who the——?”
“Oh, master, he wantchee makee much bobbery. He no b’long my pidgin, d—— rogue! He wantchee catch one more hundred cash! He b’long one piecee chairman!”
This to me from my boy in apologetic explanation.
Then, turning wildly upon the man, after the manner of his kind raising his little fat body to the tips of his toes and effectively assuming the attitude of the stage actor, he cursed loudly to the uttermost of eternity the impudent fellow’s ten thousand relatives and ancestry; which, although it called forth more mutual confidences of a like nature, and made T’ong (my boy) foam at the mouth with rage at such an inopportune proceeding happening so early in his career, rendering it necessary for him to push the man in the right jaw, incidentally allowed him to show his master just a little that he could do. The man had been dumped against the wall, but he was still undaunted. With thin mud dropping from one leg of his flimsy pantaloons, he came forward again, did this chair coolie, whom I had just paid off—for it was assuredly one of the trio—leading out again one of those little wiry, shaggy ponies, and wished to do another deal. He had, however, struck a snag. We did not come to terms. I merely lifted the quadruped bodily from my path and walked on.
Chung-king people treated us well, and had it not been for their kindness the terrible three days spent still in our wu-pan on the crowded beach would have been more terrible still.