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the east shore of the channel which connects the river and lake stands the large and handsome monastery of Hukau, a group of picturesque buildings, of which it is difficult to gather any idea, except that they consist of a tangled mass of upturned roofs covered with gorgeous tilework, and long terraces. This great lake of Poyang is one of the centres of the porcelain manufacture of China, the city of Nam-chang, situated to the east of the lake, being especially famous.
Kiu-Kiang was the next place our steamer stopped at, and here we visited the native town, with its narrow streets, half blocked with long, hanging signboards, and piles of refuse and dirt. Silver-work and pottery are the two artistic manufactures of Kiu-Kiang; and some of the china shops, containing the wares of their own town, as well as those of King-ho-chew and Nam-chang, are by no means to be despised, and for coloring and artistic design the modern artists are but little behind their predecessors, whose works are so much admired in England. Especially lovely are the small snuff-bottles, for some of which, even though modern, very large prices are asked; while for antique specimens the sums demanded and paid are astonishing. A small vase of red porcelain, known as sang de bœuf, sold in America for six thousand dollars a few years ago.
At any spot a Chinese crowd is interesting, and we sat for half an hour or so watching the people streaming past us through the narrow streets. There is, it is said, no nation in the world whose features give more appearance of composure and want of expression than the celestial Chinaman. To guess of what he may be thinking, or whether his thoughts are happy or otherwise, or even if he is thinking at all, I believe to be an impossibility; he wears a mask as impenetrable as iron. The women are the same, except that they smile now and again, more, it seems, because they know it is becoming than from any motive. The female of the Yangtze is preferable to her sisters of the coast, for as a rule she does not, except in the cases of the wives of wealthy men, follow the fashions sufficiently conscientiously to deform her feet, though the large-footed lady as she approaches those of the "lily feet" may overhear such remarks and Dastiness is apparently common all over the world as these: "Look at those two big boats coming along ;" or, "Here come two old ducks,". the boats and ducks referring to the lady in question's natural
sized feet. The subject is a nasty one, and so covered, as a rule, are their cramped ankles with sores, that the removal of the bandages with which the contraction is maintained is a most unpleasant process. The difficulty and discomfort of the victim in getting about, and the hideous waddling gait small feet necessitate, ought, one would think, from common sense to abolish the custom; but the Chinaman wishes to abolish nothing except the European and European influence, and this he finds difficult.
About ten the following morning, nearly three days and a half after leaving Shanghai, we arrived in Hankow, and made fast to one of the many hulks that line the shore along the most respectable portion of the Chinese city.
The most important town on the Yangtze-Kiang, the capital of the province of Hu-peh, the largest centre of the tea trade in the world, Hankow is too well known to need much description. Suffice it to say it is a town of great size, consisting of two distinct portions, the native city and the European concession, which together with the city of Woo-chang on the opposite shore of the Yangtze and the town of Han-yang on the east bank of the Han River, which at this spot joins the main stream, form a group of townships more or less united, and only separated from one another by the two rivers, scarcely to be equalled in Europe. The European concession is the finest, with the exception of Shanghai, in this portion of China. The mansions no other word fully describes them of the merchants are magnificent, and nearly all situated looking over the wide bund, the river-side walk of which is built on the summit of a strong stone embankment, and shaded by umbrageous trees. Here the European babies and their Chinese nurses "most do congregate," and a funny picture they make, not decreased in grotesqueness by the native policemen who perambulate the bund with light, elastic tread, stopping now and again to hold a little conversation, perhaps a little flirtation, with the Chinese nursery-maids.
Hankow boasts several large tea-factories, of which the speciality is the preparing of "brick" or consolidated tea for the central Asian overland route into Russia.
At Hankow ends the lower Yangtze, which portion of the river may thus be described as the lowest six hundred and fifty miles. For this distance it is seldom under a mile in breadth, and generally
considerably more, and its width is maintained to a great extent yet further up. The principal exports of this portion of the river are tea, silk, rice, hemp, sugar, tobacco, cotton, and many kinds of cereals, all of which testify not only to the industry of the native, but also to the fertility or suitability of the soil and its products.
a Chinese theatre is well worth seeing for once as a curiosity. The scenery, the dresses, and the acting explain nothing; while, to add to the confusion, the constant beating of gongs and letting off of crackers is taking place.
Outside the European concession of Hankow is the race-course, no doubt an excellent one, though unfortunately we did not see it to advantage, as nearly two feet of water over its whole surface gave it an appearance of being more suitable for a regatta than for horse-racing. However, the Europeans get up a wild excitement for their meetings, which, as a rule, are very well managed and most successful.
Across the Han River, which flows into the Yangtze at Hankow from the north, is situated Han-yang, forming one of the three cities of this group. The place is
The native city of Hankow is well worth a visit. It is large, dirty, smelly, and interesting. Some of the shops, notably those in which are sold silks and furs, are very well worth seeing. The shop people are polite, which is more than one can say for the general crowd, and do not seem to care whether one buys anything or not. Perhaps indifferent is a more expressive term for their demeanor than polite. Two rather striking buildings are to be seen in this part of the city, the two large tea-guilds in which the native mer-large, but noticeable only as possessing chants collect to do business. Both are modern buildings, rich in stone and wood carving, with roofs of gorgeous yellow tiles pointing their twisted corners up to the sky, and gaudy with colored pictures and shrines. Some of the work is really good, and one or two of the kakemonos to borrow a Japanese term or wallpaintings, are by no means to be despised as works of art. At one end of the long hall presides a scarlet-and-gold deity of huge proportions, who appears to be issuing from a lady's hanging wardrobe, while on a table in front are bronze incense-jars and ornaments. At the further end of the same half-open court is a stage, where the drama is performed upon certain days.
Any one who is going to China ought to go to see a Chinese play, not a whole one of course, for that might occupy many years of his life, as they are apt to be long. There is said, though I will not vouch for the fact, to be one Chinese play going on that has been in a state of performance for I forget how many centuries. Each actor goes through a scene or two, his natural lifetime probably, and the play will be over I forget when. The second representation will then commence, and it is said that by order of the government it will not be allowed to last over five hundred years. Why the play takes so long is because it is historical, and the various lives of the many emperors are represented, and each life has to be acted in the same length of time as that emperor lived or reigned. We may be very thankful such a thing does not exist in England; imagine a Passion-play in which MethuseJah's life had to be represented and so little incident in it that we know of. But
two fine joss-houses or temples, one ancient and one modern, of which the outline is the best part, - a remark that may refer to a great many of the Chinese temples.
The Han River is itself of no mean size, as will be shown by the fact that it is navigable in summer for no less than six hundred miles. Not far up is situated the great lake of Tung-ting, over two thousand square miles in extent. This lake acts as an overflow for the Han floods, and thus saves an immense tract of country from deluge each year, which would otherwise be the case. It is situated in the province of Hunan, to the natives of which, espe cially the soldiers, the Chinese and European officials put down most of the late rioting, though no doubt secret societies are also much implicated. So many accounts have recently appeared of these Chinese secret societies that the barest mention of them here will suffice. Their strength consists in secrecy and oaths, and their weakness in want of co-operation and amalgamation. To Chinese as well as to European interests they are most dangerous, although, judging from the titles they rejoice in, one would expect them to be as mild as a village readingsociety. What sounds more pure and innocent than the name "The White Lily Society" or "The Society for Gazing on the Moon!" by which it must be by no means taken for granted that they are lunatics. Far from it; these secret societies are the cause of the greatest concern to all lovers of order and peace, both Chinese and Europeans.
Opposite Hankow is the city of Woochang, in which, with the exception of a
Although the inhabitants of Woo-chang have not a reputation as being lovers of peace and order, we passed through their city without molestation, the lively abuse which was hurled at us not in the least disturbing our peace of mind, and the vehemence with which the incomprehensible curses were showered did little but
few missionaries, no Europeans reside. Burmah, and wandering through the prov. We spent a day in visiting this curious ince of Yunnan found an opportunity upon city, under the auspices of an excellent his arrival at this spot of exhibiting his guide whom the consul at Hankow pro-artistic skill. Near this dagoba formerly cured for us. Although six hundred miles stood a handsome pagoda, built of wood, of river lie between Hankow and the sea, and standing upon a stone pedestal; but the river is over a mile in breadth at this the wooden structure was destroyed by fire part. We crossed over in a sailing-boat, some few years ago. dodging amongst the craft that almost cover the river at this part, so many are there. At a rough landing-stage we stepped ashore, and proceeding at first by a squalid quarter of the city, and then by streets in better repair, found ourselves amongst a collection of temples known as the Hoang-ho-loo, or the Yellow Crane temples. They are a very dirty and much-amuse. out-of-repair collection of buildings, boasting little of any beauty, except for the handsome stone steps and several fine terraces, from which one obtains a panorama of the river and the cities of Hankow and Han-yang on the opposite side; while at one's feet for Hoang-ho-loo is on the side of a steep hill-lies the great town of Woo-chang. Looking down upon a Chinese city one can gain but little idea of anything except its size; the narrow streets are rendered all the narrower, if not completely invisible, by the overhanging roofs, which entirely obstruct any view of the houses themselves. But in this case the river, dotted with its many boats, and all the hum and stir of riverlife, added a charm to what otherwise would have been a none too striking picture. The parting junks, gay with flags and wreathed in the smoke of the godpropitiating crackers, the beating of gongs and drums, and the cries of the natives themselves from boat to boat, filled the air with a strange medley of sound.
The fat little gods, who sit complacently in their dirty shrines, and smile or frown, as the case may be, from the grimy depths of the temples, seem to have been almost deserted by worshippers, although in one or two cases a devotee had brought a long, scented taper, which still glowed before the altar, filling the temple with heavy smoke. One image represents a worthy Chinaman dead or in bed, it is difficult to say which. The face is cleverly wrought in wax, and the figure is richly dressed, and lying out full length under a glass case. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Hoang-ho-loo is a stone dagoba of very Burmese design, bearing upon its bas-relief sculptures of elephants, and thus, except for some of the Ming tombs at Nanking, unique upon the Yangtze River. No doubt the artist had studied in
During our stay at Hankow we visited a duck-farm. The process of keeping the ducks is very simple. A large wooden shed stands near the edge of the river, where the owner of the farm or an employee spends the night with his feathered friends. There must have been several thousands of ducks in the farm we visited. Before sunrise the door of the shed is opened, and out run the ducks, scrambling one over the other into the river, where they spend the day feeding. As soon as sunset approaches, from all parts of the river they come, for they wander far amongst the rushes and islands during the day, and there is still more hurry and scurry to get into the shed than there was to get out at dawn. The reason is simple. Immovable by the door sits the Chinaman, a long cane in his hand, and woe betide the last duck to enter, for down on its back comes the long bamboo with a paininflicting thud. In this way punctuality is ensured amongst the ducks. We once passed a whole farm on the move. The owner was seated in a small boat, and his ducks swam on ahead. The Celestial spent his time between paddling his boat down-stream and then letting it glide on, while he with his cane punished the lag. gers, and so kept up the pace in a marvellous way. Pork and duck seem to be the staple food of the Chinaman, varied now and again by fish, frogs, and locusts. Puppy-dog and birds'-nest soup are also partaken of, but rather as luxuries than as the common articles of food.
The breeding of ducks is practised to an enormous extent on the Yangtze, and this, together with fishing, constitutes one of the principal occupations of the river-villager; for on the low land, so liable to floods, but little grows, while on these very inundations, so ruinous to all other labor, the fisherman and the duck-farmer thrive.
The commonest means of taking fish is by a circular net hanging on the end of a long pole, acting on the same principle as the water-raising shadouf of the Nile-that is to say, the pole can be raised or lowered by a single man, the whole working on a lever. A considerable number of fish are thus easily secured; and wherever the bank of the river is suitable, they are to be found, scarcely a hundred yards apart, and often much nearer.
After a few days' stay in Hankow, where we were most kindly entertained by Mr. Lay, chief commissioner of Chinese customs, we again embarked, this time on a much smaller steamer, to pursue our way farther into central China. Amongst the passengers on this our new boat were the French sisters, whose cruel treatment by the natives at I-chang a few months ago caused such a feeling of indignation throughout Europe. Six girls, who had just come from their convent, to whom everything was a novelty and a pleasure, whose knowledge of the world was nil, and who looked forward to the hard work before them with the zeal that only religion can give, it was indeed sad to read how, injured, they had fled for their lives to a Chinese temple, and there received protection. The mother superior, who was escorting these novices as far as I-chang, there to be put under the charge of a Catholic missionary bishop, returned after her work was accomplished to Ceylon, and thus escaped the persecution.*
Between Hankow and I-chang, a distance of between three and four hundred miles, a few considerable towns are passed. The first of these is Se-too, where there was some excitement on the occasion of our stopping there, caused by picking up a worthy mandarin, who was brought alongside in a gilded gunboat, to the music of drums and trumpets and the loud explosions of crackers. The craft in which the noble was travelling was of a peculiar kind of the usual circus type, only over the gilded dragon, from whose mouth red painted flames were issuing, and which formed the bow of the boat, issued an antiquated bronze cannon. There were the usual number of flags and decorations. The crew, however, were very smart-a well-drilled, neatly dressed body of men accounted for by the fact that our new passenger was a "lord high admiral," or something of the sort.
At places the deep channel ran so • Since writing the above I read in Lord Connemara's letter to the Times that this mother superior was at I-chang during the riots.
closely under the mud-banks as to allow the villagers to pelt us with stones and mud, screaming at us the while; but the stones did no damage, and the mud fell harmlessly into the river, and as to their screaming, it amused us. There are comparatively few steamers on this part of the river, as only two small boats are employed in the navigation from Hankow to I-chang, so that one passes perhaps on an average of once a week. In these upper reaches of the river these steamers do not proceed by night, but anchor at sunset. So irregular is the river in its ways, that often where in the course of the last journey there may have been eight or ten fathoms of water, there would be found a week later only a very few feet, insufficient to allow the steamer to pass over, and necessitating the discovery of some new and deeper channel.
The next town passed was a long, straggling place, by name Ho-hin, of no importance or beauty. Close above this town we anchored for the night, and the following morning spent two or three hours off Sha-sze, a city of some importance, as being the outlet for the trade of Kinchowfu, situated a few miles inland. Sha-sze, as seen from the river in a shower of rain, is about as depressing a looking place as one can well imagine. The houses are built in no regular streets, but stand scattered in disorder on the steep, muddy banks, a few brick buildings of the native merchants but adding to the appearance of decay of the wooden houses. Yet, judging from the enormous number of junks lying along the river's edge, and at anchor in the stream, the trade must be very considerable indeed. There is but one redeeming feature to the town as seen from the river, for we did not land, and that is a rather superior, seven-storied pagoda, which stands at its eastern end. Painted white, and with little alcoves containing statues, it looks in better condition than many of the pagodas of China.
One of the most interesting features of this part of the Yangtze is the great embankment which protects the country on the north side of the river from inundation. It is a great work of earth and stone, showing no little skill and an enormous amount of labor in its construction. On its summit runs the highroad from Hankow, or rather Han-yang, the suburb across the Han River, to I-chang, viâ Sha-sze. The road and embankment does not altois carried as nearly as possible in a straight gether follow the course of the river, but line. The system with which some Chi
nese State works are carried out is well | making up for the poorness of her handiexemplified in this case, for every hundred work below, has embellished this portion yards or so along the road stands a stone of the river with more than its due share bearing a number or mark, so that should of picturesqueness. The river narrows, any portion become damaged by flood or and the hills on either side take peculiar otherwise, the authorities in whose depart- conical forms as one passes through the ment it lies to repair know the exact spot Tiger's Teeth Gorge. Here and there to which workmen must be despatched. some strange freak of nature is displayed. In one place it is a fine archway of natural rock, through which one can catch a glimpse of scenery beyond. How delightful is the change, one can imagine. No longer the mud-banks and the tall rushes; now rocks are to be seen, and mountains and cliffs. As one proceeds, the mountains take a pyramidal form—some being so symmetrical that, were it not for their great size, one would believe the hand of man had helped to shape them. On the summit of one, over two thousand feet above the river's surface, can be seen a Buddhist monastery.
One of the sights to be seen upon the Yangtze steamers is the "China saloon," formed by the lowest of the tier of decks, and closed in by high bulwarks-the tier above forming its roof; so that, with the exception of the engine-room, the China saloon occupies the whole size of the steamer. Round the bulkheads and along the centre are arranged berths one above the other; but bedding and all such things are brought by the native passengers, who, being great travellers, and in spite of their hatred of the foreigners, do not disdain his steamboats, and crowd in great numbers on to these ships. Sometimes many hundreds are on board at one time. The sickly smell of opium which pervades these saloons is most unpleasant, to which the savor of John Chinaman himself adds a piquancy not altogether to be appreciated. Yet in spite of this it is well worth while to visit one of these places, and see the Celestial en voyage. A thousand queer things we saw in our voyages on the Yangtze in the way of human beings and their belongings. A great number travel with birds, to which the natives are most devoted. The cages are built of cane, and are in many cases marvels of art and workmanship. The favorite bird is the Chinese or Tientsin nightingale, whose notes, partly natural and partly owing to training, are almost the most exquisite, if not the most, of all singing birds. Early in the morning before dawn, a native pilot whose cabin was near mine could be heard whistling to his nightingale, the bird repeating after him. It had already learnt the song-notes of two different birds. The facility with which they pick up and remember not only the notes of other birds, but even tunes whistled to them by man, or else the perseverance of those who teach them, I know not which, is marvellous. Needless to say, they fetch a very high price-the Chinese themselves outbidding the Europeans in their offers for a good specimen.
A few hours before reaching I-chang, one sees the last of the plains and their dreariness; and from this point almost to the Yangtze's source, its course is through wild, mountainous country. The banks become hilly, and it is as if nature, in
Turning a slight bend in the river, I-chang comes into sight, and with it more clay-banks for it is on the summit of a wall of stiff mud that the town is situated. The place is prettier to look at than most of the native towns, on account of the many fantastic temples to be seen; but here there is no European quarter, and accordingly no trees. The Christian residents of I-chang can be almost counted on one's fingers. We have a consul, who is there at times. There are two or three Europeans in the customs service of the Chinese emperor, and a handful of missionaries, and possibly one or two others.
At present I-chang is the terminus of steamboat traffic; for although by treaty rights European-owned steamers may proceed as far as Chung-king, some hundreds of miles further up, yet to the present time the government has successfully prevented this being carried out, and the matter has never been much pushed, as the navigation of the rapids in any but the flood season would be extremely diffi cult and dangerous. One or two steamers were built for the purpose of navigating the river between I-chang and Chungking; but rather than permit their being made use of, they were purchased by the native government. So up to the present day all navigation above I-chang that is to say, above a spot about eleven hundred miles up the river- has to be carried on by native sailing craft.
Our arrival at the town was rendered most entertaining by the disembarking of our "high admiral passenger, whose dull blue clothes were now exchanged for the