On the afternoon of the same day two Chinese emissaries came to make a visit of inspection, and in the evening we steamed out of the port, flying the American colours, with nothing of course to fear at the moment. On arriving at Talienwan we found the bay full of shipping. Four large transports were already engaged in the work of embarkation, and another arrived after we did. The warships presented a gallant array, twelve in all, belonging, with two or three exceptions, to the North Coast Squadron. There were four torpedo-boats in addition. The most powerful vessels were the Chen-Yuen and the Ting-Yuen, barbette ships, English-built, I think, of 7280 tons. The King-Yuen and Lai-Yuen were two barbette ships of smaller tonnage—2850. Then came the Ping-Yuen, of 2850 tons, a coast-defence armour-clad; a turret-ship, the Tsi-Yuen, of 2320 tons; the Chih-Yuen, Ching-Yuen, Kwang-Kai and Kwang-Ting, all of 2300 tons, deck-protected cruisers; and the Chao-Yung and Yang-Wei, each of 1400 tons, unprotected cruisers.
I have forgotten to say that we took a Chinese agent on board at Tientsin for the trip. He was alleged to be able to speak English, but rarely indeed was his jargon intelligible. I asked him to translate the names of the Chinese warships, but this was a task far beyond the linguistic capacity of my friend Lin Wong. I understood him to say that it would require “too muchee words” to render in our prosaic tongue the amount of poetic imagery concentrated in the expressions “Chih-Yuen,” or “Kwang-Kai.” Of what the names mean I am in ignorance still.
We were speedily boarded by a boat from the flagship, to the officer of which Lin Wong gave an account of his stewardship, and we received directions to draw up to the landing-stage in turn and receive our human freight. The troops were still arriving from the roads to Talien and Kinchou. They seemed for the most part an undisciplined lot, and came streaming on board in no particular order; here and there a mounted officer directing with shouts, gestures, and blows too, the movements of the surging masses that crowded along the water-side. The number embarked I reckoned at about 18,000. There was also a large quantity of military stores to be shipped, and busy enough we were. In the evening I had a glimpse of Admiral Ting, who had been ashore and was returning to his ship. His barge passed close alongside the Columbia. I saw a young-looking man, very pleasant in expression and manner; altogether what we should call highly gentlemanly in appearance. It is well known that he expiated his failures by suicide after the final ruin of Wei-hai-wei.