IN, AND ROUND
GABR1ELLE M. VASSAL
IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
By the same Author :
I ON AND OFF DUTY IN ANNAM
FROM THE DARDANELLES
OF THE WESTERN FRONT
IN AND ROUND
GABRIELLE M. VASSAL
LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN
I. THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER ... 1-12
II. THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 13- 28
III. THE PENETRATION OF YUNNAN AND THE CONSTRUC-
TION OF THE RAILWAY 29 36
IV. A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN 37-49
V. THE RACES OF YUNNAN 50- 56
VI. APPEARANCE AND DRESS OF THE YUNNANESE . . . 57- 62
VII. OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU 63- 73
VIII. IN THE TEMPLES 74- 84
IX. IN THE SHOPS 85-100
X. YUNNANESE CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE 101-107
XI. AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 108-119
XII. A YUNNANESE VILLAGE 120-130
XIII. THE COPPER TEMPLE 131137
XIV. THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 138-150
XV. A GIRLS' SCHOOL 151-160
XVI. THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 161-175
XVII. THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN . 176-187
Yunnanese Landscape Frontispiece
Map of China xv
Chinese Architecture on a steep Mountain Side 8
Old Bridge over the Imperial Canal ... 9
Sacred Horse from a Tonkinese Pagoda 24
Typical Tonkinese Landscape Buffaloes crossing River 24
Helping my Husband vaccinate Tonkinese Children 24
Between Mongzeu Station and Village 25
The Walls of Mongzeu 25
Street in Mongzeu 25
Kilometer 112 32
The Nam-ti Loop 33
Yunnan Fou in Winter 40
General Tsai 41
Chinese soldiers drilling 41
Buffaloe Carts 56
Triumphal Arch of Hindoo Origin 56
Mann Women 56
Celebrations in Honour of the revolution 57
Wan-tang Falls 72
My Chinese Chair 73
Salt Merchants 73
A typical paved Chinese Street 73
Chinese Inn overhanging a Precipice 80
The Country side near Yunnan Fou 81
On the Canal 88
Street Scenes ... 89
Hero and Heroine in a Chinese Drama. Both roles are taken by men 112
A crowded Street 113
The Scraps of Rag 113
The East Gate of Yunnan Fou 113
A Door of the Copper Temple 136
The Si-Chan-Temples 144
On the Way to the Si-Chan 145
In the Temple of 500 Genii. The Buddha with a long Arm ... 152
The golden Ox 152
In the Garden adjoining the Confucius Temple 152
Girls drilling 153
The North Gate of Yunnan Fou 153
A Review of Chinese Troops 153
The French Consul Wilden and the General Tsai 153
Bridge of the 82 th Kilometre 176
In the high Mountains of Yunnan 177
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Frontiers of Countries
THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER
WHEN the Messageries Maritimes mail boat deposited three
quarters of its passengers at Saigon before continuing
its route to Hongkong and Japan there was great eagerness
shown by army officers and Government officials and per-
haps even more by their wives to know the post to which
they had been ordered. Our long discussions on board
concerning our probable destination were ended here.
My husband found that Haiphong was to be our future
residence and that he was to serve in the military hospital
there. We had hoped to go to Hanoi the capital, but as we
were at least in Tonking which has a far better climate
than Cochinchina, our desires had been partly realized and
we were satisfied. Our best friends who had wished for
Haiphong were sent to Hanoi! Such is fate!
Congratulations and commiserations had been more than
sufficiently indulged in, when the next day we took leave
of the friends who were to remain in Cochinchina and em-
barked on the Annexe steamer for Tonking. Along the coast
of Annam we again deposited co-passengers and by the
time we arrived in Haiphong the number which had started
together from Marseilles had reduced itself to about a dozen.
The cool bright weather which greeted us in Haiphong
sent up my spirits and I found every thing and every body
What a relief after the damp heat of Saigon.
2 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Haiphong is the second largest town in Tonking and its
chief port. There are mail and cargo boats to Hongkong
nearly every day of the week accomplishing the distance
in some 50 hours. Two French, one English and one German
Company own boats on the line. Haiphong is also in na-
vigable communication with Hongay noted for its coal
mines, Moncay and all the region of the Baie d' Along, with
Hanoi, Nam-Dinh, Dap-Cau and with the greater portion
of the Tonkinese Delta through which the Red River and
its tributaries flow.
In 1887, floating docks were built in Haiphong which was
already at that time the chief port of Tonking and Southern
China. As the commercial prosperity of the French Colony
grew, dredging operations were undertaken and whereas
ten years ago the mail boats of the Messageries Maritimes
were often unable to reach the town and obliged to stay a
day or two in the Raie d' Along, they can now come alongside
any day at any tide. Ships of seven metres depth have now
easy access to the port. Dredging is still continued actively
and the Chamber of Commerce in 1910 contracted a new
loan of 2.000.000 francs for the execution of other impro-
vements. The traffic increases yearly (in 1909 it was nearly
2.000.000 tons) and since the line Haiphong- Yunnan Fou
was opened a fresh impetus has been added to the port.
When the Yunnanese realize the tremendous possibilities
of this line and take full advantage of it, Haiphong will
naturally benefit at the same time. It is the only opening
towards the sea in a country as large as France.
As a town, Haiphong is neither picturesque nor interes-
ting. One would hardly know one was in the East. There
is no colour. The native dress is a browny drab the same
shade as their skin, their houses, their fields. The country
all round is absolutely flat. For several weeks, sometimes
months during the winter there is little sun and a drizzle
known as the"crachin"is very frequent. This damp atmos-
THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER 3
phere in winter like the blazing sun in summer, seems to
reduce all, people, houses and vegetation to the same neutral
tint. It is a contrast to the vivid colours in Cochinchina.
The houses are built on European lines; there are few
bungalows, nearly all have one or two storeys, the streets
are well kept, the roads inland in splendid condition. The
town is surrounded by water ; the port is on the Cua Cam
River, on another side is the Song Tarn Bac River which
flows into the Cua Cam, and an artificial canal joins the
Song Tarn Bac to the Cua Cam transforming Haiphong into
a sort of island. There are innumerable ferry boats but
only two bridges which give egress from the town. Nearly
all Europeans live on the island.
Haiphong is on the edge of the Tonkinese delta which
is reputed to be one of the richest rice valleys in the world.
It even vies with Cochinchina and Burma in the production
of rice. And it may not be very long before different mining
industries bring further wealth to the country. The coal
mines of Hongay and Kebao, the zinc mines of "La Borde-
laise" Society are being worked with profit and their out-
put is increasing monthly.
Apart from the French, the foreign element in Haiphong
is small. There are a few British subjects connected with
the Eastern Extention Telegraph Company and different
mining exploits, some Americans attached to the Standard
Oil Company and a few Germans employed by a German
Steamship Company. The "Chartered Bank" established
a bank in 1914. Till then, there was a German, but no
The French community number some 1200 persons while
there are about 9000 Chinese and over 17.000 Tonkinese.
These last, however, live in villages on the outskirts of the
town; in Haiphong itself there are practically only French
and Chinese. The menial occupations such as rickshawmen,
coal carriers and the lower grade servants, are undertaken
4 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
by Tonkinese, but the shops are managed by Chinese, and
it is they who are employed as clerks in the Banks and
business houses, as foremen in works and on the steam
boats, &c. In the native market the vendors are entirely
Tonkinese but they come with their produce from the sur-
rounding villages. This market is the most picturesque
spot in the town. Here one finds animation and local colour
in plenty. The native women deck themselves out in their
best to come there. To their dismal black and yellowish
brown tunics and skirts they have added a bright green
or bright red sash. Their big flat hats which serve them
as umbrellas in winter and sunshades in summer are laid
for the moment on the ground by their side. These enor-
mous structures are very curious but less artistic than the
conical-shaped hats that both men and women wear in
Annam. The women squat on the ground before their
wares. Here one sees baskets of tangerines and oranges
making a blaze of yellow, there, masses of lettuces, peas,
haricot beans, tomatoes, &c., for the benefit of the white
population, and a little further on, baskets of flowers for
offerings in the pagodas. These flowers have a very pleasant
scent but are useless for decorating a room as all the
blossoms have been picked off their stems. For one cent
you will be given four tuberose blossoms and two hibiscus
heads, or three pink roses and two lotus blooms.
Then the stalls containing Chinese infant garments, little
coats, little caps, little shoes, and the toy stalls, make a fine
display of colour.
The coiffeur corner amused us most. The shaver and
the shaved squat opposite each other on a narrow plank
on trestles. If either makes a sudden movement, both men
with razor soap and the whole paraphanalia topple over.
The position is precarious for such a delicate operation. It is
a much more complicated matter to shave a Tonkinese
than a European; attention has not only to be paid to
THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER 5
the lower part of the face but the skin of the forehead must
be shaved also, extra hairs of the eyebrows must be tweaked
out and the ceremony generally includes the cleaning of
But except in this corner of the town there is no real
Both Haiphong and Hanoi are socially far ahead of
provincial towns in France. People entertain far more
frequently. The theatre and cinema which are large in
comparison with the number of the white population are
always full. A theatrical troupe comes out from France
every year and divides its time between the two towns.
It is ambitious and does not only limit itself to operettas
and vaudevilles but gives creditably the well known operas
and the new comedies of the "Comedie francaise". Far
more interest is taken in games here than in France.
Nearly all Europeans play foot-ball or tennis or ride. Good
players and their methods are discussed and games are
a frequent subject of conversation. Even those who do
not themselves take part in any kind of game show enthu-
siasm for their champions, and spectators are never wan-
ting for inter-club matches. This is not always the case
The fashions are followed quite as assiduously as at
home in fact "show" is perhaps too much indulged in.
Women seem to vie with one another in the richness and
variety of their costumes. Economy which is the watch-
word of French women in France loses its hold in the Co-
lonies. Every family has a victoria or governess cart and
mothers and children are to be seen every afternoon dri-
ving out to the zoological garden at Lac-Tray. There are
far more children per family than in France and they keep
well and healthy. One rarely sees the pallid complections
of Saigon. Those who become anaemic and run down in
summer soon pick up with the cool weather in winter.
6 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
In Hanoi social functions are somewhat spoilt by the
importance given to precedence both among Government
officials and Army officers. The French who pride them-
selves on their democratic principles are always conscious
of their rank even when not on duty. The Englishman off
duty, in drawing-room or club, views all men as his equals
and only makes distinctions as regards manners and edu-
cation on the one hand or skill as a player on the other.
In Haiphong, there are more business firms more men
independent of Government and Army control so that this
spirit of hierarchy is less keenly felt than in the Capital.
The summer of the Tonkinese Delta is more trying than
that of Saigon. There are many days when the thermo-
meter goes up to 38 Centigrade in the day and 30 at night.
The French do not fly from the hot season as systematically
as the English and though hill stations are much discussed
in Health reports and newspaper articles, there is little Go-
vernment or private initiative to organize them.
If Frenchmen felt the same necessity however, as the
English in India, to send away their wives and children
during the hot weather, accomodation would naturally be
found. Up to last year the only villas or hotels where any
comforts could be obtained were in two sea-side resorts
Doson 15 miles from Haiphong, and Sampson 15 miles
from Thanh Hoa which is on the railway between Hanoi
and Vinh. Here the sea breezes make the heat more bear-
able and the change of air is certainly of benefit to visi-
tors especially to children, but there is no real difference of
temperature with the rest of the delta.
In 1910, the Yunnan Railway was terminated but few
visitors dared to take advantage of it during the summers of
1911 and 1912 for the country was still in unrest owing to the
recent revolution. My husband therefore sent me to Chapa
during the hottest part of the summer of 1912. This is a
small plateau in the hills above Laokay very near the
THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER 7
Chinese frontier. It was originally an agricultural station
but the climate was found so cool that a hotel was built in
the hopes of attracting visitors. It was just finished when
I went up there. The climb up the rough and steep moun-
tain path from Laokay had to be done on horse-back or
in a chair carried by Chinese coolies and took a whole day.
The climate was cool but damp, continual mountain mists
hid the view and rain sometimes continued for several days
running. It was a very lonely spot. The natives, Manns
and Khas, live in small scattered villages numbering only
half a dozen huts. It was difficult even to find the paths
leading to them. The lack of daily postage and a telegraph
office was what I missed most. Beyond the hotel a Company
of the Foreign Legion were building temporary barracks
but except for this small group of soldiers, their officer, and
the hotel visitors there were no Europeans resident there.
In 1913, a hotel was opened at Tam-Dao in the hills above
Vinh Yen. This spot is not at a great altitude 900 metres
and it is very shut in, being built in the midst of forest-
covered hills. It is possible to look down on one side into
the plain but the steep mountains, towering above on the
other three, prevent the feeling of freedom and life given
by a vast horizon. Few paths have as yet been cut through
the forest so walks and rides are limited. It has the great
advantage however of being within easy reach of Hanoi,
and many residents have built small villas around the
hotel. It is possible, leaving Hanoi in the early morning,
to be at Tam-Dao for lunch. The climate here as at Chapa
is damp with frequent rain and mists but the temperature
is much lower than in the plain and one does not suffer
from the heat. Husbands can join their wives from Satur-
day till Monday and there is constant and quick commu-
nication. It will probably become a favorite summer resort.
Neither of these places can compare however withYunnan
Fou either as regards climate or interest and if the Railway
8 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Company would inaugurate a few night trains so that the
journey might take one and a half instead of three days, there
is no doubt that it would be far the most popular resort
of the three. I spent the summer of 1913 up there. My hus-
band obtained a month's leave and was able to come up
with me. The journey was most interesting, and except for
the terrible heat during the first two days we enjoyed it
The three hours train journey from Haiphong to Hanoi
took us through the centre of the Tonkinese Delta. An
even surface of rice fields stretched away on either side as far
as one could see. Every inch was cultivated. Space seemed
even to be grudged the villages, for they were cramped in-
side high bamboo hedges which hid even the roofs of the
houses. The only buildings visible were a few small native
temples which had been built wherever a mound or por-
tion of uneven ground had made cultivation difficult.
Towards five o'clock we reached the Paul Doumer
bridge which is among the ten longest in the world. The
train was going slowly and as I stood at the open window
gazing down on the river, its iron pillars with their hanging
chains seemed never ending. After passing over one broad
sheet of water we went over dry land again where cattle
and oxen were feeding on grass and small stunted trees.
Then again water lay beneath us and one realized that
this intervening stretch of dry land must be often flooded
and the river arms join. Sampans were lying on the
banks of the river and here and there were groups of native
huts on rafts which rose and sank with the changes in
Soon after, we went over the outskirts of Hanoi, and
looked down into a medley of small native houses with
children running about or squatting in the little square
courtyards. All was drab colour but without the dirty
appearance given by the smoke as in the suburbs of our
CHINESE ARCHITECTURE ON A STEEP MOUNTAIN SIDE
THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER 9
large European towns. Occasionally a Hibiscus hedge with
its big blood-red drooping blossoms or a purple-flowered
Bougainvillia made a pleasant contrast to the dull tones of
huts and people. Attention had evidently been shown to
the few flowering shrubs in the little courtyards but there
was no exuberant vegetation such as one sees in a tropical
Every now and then in singular contrast to these clusters
of small houses and courtyards, we passed over a broad well
made road, as good as any high road round London or
Paris. One looked out involuntarily for motor-cars trams,
&c. on such a high-way, and the shabby wooden rickshaws
and buffaloe carts seemed quite out of place. Sometimes
one saw a small dog-cart driven by a lady in a stylish Paris
hat and by her side a very small native boy in white acting
as groom, or again a minuscule Victoria drawn by two small
but rapid native ponies, the coach man and groom on the
box looking in their livery like two dressed-up monkeys.
But even these appearances of our own civilization hardly
seemed in keeping with such a road.
The native element in Hanoi is in far greater evidence
than in Haiphong. The population numbers some 100.000
and here the Chinese are in the minority and do not enjoy
the same prestige. The Tonkinese quarter of the town is
teeming with life, and local colour is not wanting. There
are whole long streets as in Canton selling the same article
the blue pottery street, the leather sandal street, the em-
broidered silk street, &c. &c. Many of these are vivid in
colouring and are most picturesque and fascinating.
Europeans who, though as numerous as in Haiphong,
represent but a small fraction of the population are grouped
round "le petit lac" in the centre of the town. This little
lake makes Hanoi most attractive and unique. It is not
large about half the size of Regent's Park Lake but the
water is blue and limpid. Standing on small islets which
10 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
emerge just above the level of the water are native temples,
chefs d'oeuvres of Annamese architecture. They are sub-
dued in colouring, and perfect in proportion. One of them
is connected by a narrow picturesque red bridge with
the mainland. Round the lake are some wonderful old
trees whose branches hang over and are reflected in the
transparent water. The French have planted brilliantly
flowering bushes among these trees and covered the gently
sloping banks with grassy lawns which have added to the
charm of the spot. They have also pulled down the native
houses which advanced to the edge of the water, so as to
provide a broad drive the whole way round.
Hanoi is the city of French Government officials. The
Governor General has a palace there as well as at Saigon.
There are splendid shops and a beautiful theatre a small
model of the Paris Opera-House. The broad well kept roads
lined with trees with the big residential houses on either
side, all surrounded by gardens, give an idea of wealth and
comfort. One is only astonished to find the streets so empty,
but this is perhaps due to the town being laid down on al-
most too vast a scale.
We left Hanoi early one morning for Laokay. I wished
that some of the luxury lavished on the building of the
station had been expended on the train accomodation. No
fans and no ice with a temperature of 38 in the shade! At
Yen Bay where we stopped an hour for lunch the train
was left in the midday sun so that when we returned to it,
we gasped for breath. The last four or five hours of this
journey to Laokay was one of the most uncomfortable ex-
periences we ever had in the East. The line too twisted and
turned so much that several passengers were sea-sick.
The scenery was very much the same as between Hai-
phong and Hanoi, ricefields and again ricefields. Occasion-
ally there were broad muddy rivers and large native
towns with the French Resident's house in their midst.
THROUGH TONKING TO THE CHINESE FRONTIER 11
The European-built houses always stood high above the
small Tonkinese dwellings.
Some 60 or 70 kilometres from the frontier the charac-
ter of the country changed. Instead of traversing an abso-
lutely level plain we wound in and out between hillocks
covered with dense tropical vegetation. There were num-
bers of wild hemp trees which much resemble the banana.
They were in flower and the blooms which grow at the ex-
treme top of the straight stems made them look like so
many candles with red flames. A factory for turning these
hemp trees to account has lately been built at Vietry by an
American Company. The cord thus manufactured from
the native hemp is a source of wealth to the Philippine
islands and it is hoped that the same results may be obtai-
Besides this low scrub vegetation the line from time to
time runs through real tropical forest. One is awed as one
attempts to peer in between these huge high trees. All is
darkness and mystery. Nothing stirs. The sun never pene-
trates through the thick foliage and the wind can only effect
the highest branches. It seems impossible for man to cut
his way through such a forest, for not only is the thick
undergrowth extremely dense, but twisting curling creepers
which seize and strangle all they grasp, hang from the top-
most branches making an impenetrable barrier. If we
had less sun here, shaded as we were by the overhanging
trees, the atmosphere was perhaps heavier than before ; we
seemed to be suffocating for want of air, an even more
disagreable sensation than the actual heat of the earlier part
of the day. We looked at our watches every five minutes
longing to reach our destination.
Every now and then we had glimpses of the Red River
to which the line was running almost parallel; the stream
is broad and deep here but the strong current makes
navigation difficult. We occasionally saw sampans how r -
12 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
ever whose owners were willing to risk the dangers of an
accident for the sake of the rapid progress down stream.
When this part of the country was flooded and the line
destroyed in August 1910 even steam launches made their
way up and down to Laokay daily. From Vietry they took
two or three days to go up stream but only a few hours to
descend the same distance.
We reached Laokay towards six o'clock in the evening.
It had a pretty aspect from the train, lying in a hollow
among the hills. The clusters of native huts on either side
of the broad river, the magnificent bridge spanning it, the
European buildings scattered here and there on the higher
ground, were a pleasing contrast after the strange weird
impressions made by the tropical forest. Though it w r as the
last place I should chose to live in owing to its bad climate
and low unhealthy situation, yet it was a welcome sight
that day for it meant that the second stage of our journey
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU
I felt as if I had only just laid down when my husband,
opening the door between our rooms, called to me to get
up. It was 6 o'clock and the train started at 7.
The heat, even at that early hour, was almost unbearable,
it seemed difficult to breathe, one felt one would be shortly
suffocated for want of air. In Haiphong I had never expe-
rienced such oppression as that morning at Laokay and I
pitied the officers on duty in such a place. It is considered
one of the worst climates in Tonking but I daresay many
of them came there by choice for, being a frontier post, they
hoped to see active service.
In spite of turning my fan from side to side to obtain
the full benefit of it as I moved about the room while dres-
sing I was thoroughly tired and running with perspiration
before I was ready. Unable to eat any breakfast we started
at once for the station which was a few steps from the
hotel. On the platform were a number of white dressed
Europeans many of them there for no special reason. This
early hour was the coolest in the day, so by common con-
sent the more sociable portion of the community met at the
station, and watched the departure of the two trains going
East and Wes-t which left within a few minutes of each other.
My husband found colleagues on the platform and began
changing medical opinions with them preventing me from
making the more serious enquiries regarding lunch and ice.
14 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
The train had hardly left the platform when we found
ourselves crossing the bridge over the Nam Ti river and
going through the "Gate of China". This iron bridge 120
metres long passes over the Nam Ti close to where it joins
the Red River. The latter river serves for many miles as a
boundary between French and Chinese territory and on
its French bank lies the military camp of Kocleou. From
this bridge a good idea of the whole district could be ob-
tained. On the river banks below us we could see the native
huts of Annamese on one side and Chinese on the other.
Above our heads on the mountain side were Chinese forts,
apparently so well placed that if their guns were modern
and in working order they could destroy Laokay in a few
minutes. Rehind us was the station and around it the greater
part of the European dwellings, the hotel, the club, the Resi-
dence and Government offices. The clean well kept acade-
mized roads lined with trees around these buildings made
a pleasant contrast to the filth and disorder of the Chinese
and Annamese quarters. In front of us was Hokeou, the
Chinese town proper hardly differing from the rest of Laokay
except that there were more Chinese in the streets. Few
Chinese live in Laokay for it costs them 6/- a head to enter
French territory. Crossing the bridge at the same time as
ourselves on the foot-way close to the rails were numbers
of natives with loaded baskets. There were not only Chinese
and Annamese, but Lolos and Mans, Thos and Khas, and
the variety of colour and costume made the scene most
picturesque. It was the big market day of Hokeou and all
were on their way to it. Resides the regular market every
fifth day customary in most centres of Tonking and China,
a specially large one is held there from time to time, and
on these occasions one meets representatives of every race
in the district. We were very sorry not to have time to visit
it for it is considered a most interesting sight.
Five minutes after leaving Laokay platform, our train
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 15
stopped at Hokeou station for here the Chinese Customs
House officers examined our baggage. We followed a young
Chinese in European dress to the luggage van with our keys
and pointed out our boxes. He asked us if we had anything
to declare. We mentioned some cartridges and some wine.
After enquiring about the quantity he whispered to us to
say nothing about them. If his colleagues heard us mention
these things we should have to open all our belongings and
he did not consider it necessary. We returned to our com-
partment rather surprised at this attitude, but thankful to
have escaped all bother.
A few miles out of Laokay we entered a narrow gorge
and for several hours the line followed the curves of the
Nam Ti keeping quite close to the bed of the river. The
steep hills on either side were forest-covered except here
and there towards the top where one saw crags of bare
gray rock. Occasionally we caught sight of bands of mon-
keys sitting on the stones by the river's edge or swinging
on the branches above it. They had evidently come down
to drink. The water falls and rivulets which add so much
to the charm of the scenery later in the year were all dry
on our way up to Yunnan Fou in the first week of June.
At Lahati, some 70 kilometres from Laokay the gradient
ecame very steep and we began to go through tunnels,
cross bridges over ravines, and skirt precipices.
One had the thrills of half nervous excitement which
one experiences in travelling in Switzerland. How had
engineers dared to conceive a bridge at such a corner,
an embankment on such a slope, how had contractors
dared to undertake the fulfilment of such an enterprise?
In Switzerland for example every facility is given them.
The goodwill of the people, is guaranteed, housing and
provisioning offer little difficulty, unskilled labour is in a
way skilled for all know how to handle shovel and pick.
The workmen are easily procured easy to manage, healthy
16 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
and happy, used to the land and the conditions of work.
The maps of the country are correct, any missing instru-
ment can be procured at a moment's notice, every thing is
within easy reach. But here what a difference! The in-
domitable perseverance which must have been shown by
all to carry the work through, is the upper most thought in
one's mind during those two days travel to Yunnan Fou.
There are pieces of engineering skill for which I have felt
greater wonder and awe but I have never felt more the
pluck of the workers, the daring of those who planned it and
the faith of those who financed it and carried it out. Every-
thing, customs, climate, labour, must have been against
them, apart from the nature of the country.
Lunch was served to us in the train but as we happened
to be going through the best part of the scenery, it was ra-
ther an agitated meal. Not that we could have enjoyed it
much sitting still. No comfortable chairs, no electric fan,
no table-cloth; all the courses which should have been hot
were cold and the cold tepid. The little Annamese boy
waiter placed his dishes one on the top of the other as he
hastened in and out of the compartment; it was not appe-
tising to see your ham squashed under a plate of potatoes
or your cheese flattened out by a dish of fruit. Whenever
the rolls of bread or the forks slipped on to the dirty car-
riage floor he would hurriedly pick them up but still ....
After a little hesitation we made up our minds to eat all
the same but it was easier said than done, for just as you
had a piece of beef on your fork and were putting it into
the salt, the train could disappear into a tunnel and the
complete darkness (for there were no lamps lit) forced you
to abandon your mouthful. And one could not swallow
for some little time after passing through a tunnel. The
smoke rushed in by all the windows choking and blinding
you. Ordinary engine smoke is bad enough but the coal
which is burnt along this railway comes from the mines
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 17
of Yunnan and is full of sulphur. It suffocates you, so that
you can hardly breathe much less swallow dry bread or
Then in the rush of light, as the smoke cleared away
there was invariably a new view to be admired. An exited
call to come and look at something quite different and
more extraordinary than ever drew us from our seats and,
nobody daring to show lack of interest, there was a scramble
to one of the windows. After five minutes of exclamations
of wonder and delight, we squashed down into our places
again, and had to begin by repairing the damage done by
our hasty uprising a glass of water had always been upset,
or somebody's heel had gone into the rice pudding which
had been placed on the floor. With all these mishaps, we
were still at lunch when we went over the most wonderful
bridge of the whole journey. It is at kilometre 111. Looking
ahead a short distance before reaching it, the gorge up
which one is moving seems to come to a full stop. A great
mountain blocks the way. Where will the line pass? Tra-
cing it on ahead, one sees the rails suddenly enter a tunnel
at the foot of this mountain, come out on an iron bridge
100 metres above a roaring torrent, and enter another
tunnel. From there, one sees the line circling up the moun-
tain side opposite till it seems to cross over the top.
As we reached the tunnel we all installed ourselves at
the windows and waited impatiently for the bridge. Hardly
out of the darkness we heard the hollow rattle of this huge
network of metal which stretched up from the valley below.
A man a European was climbing up the iron scaffolding.
He looked like a fly in a large spiders web and gave us an
idea of the immensity of the structure. The main support of
this bridge did not come from below. Two great supports of
iron came straight out from the mountain side like long arms
and joined in the middle of the abyss. The rails had then been
laid upon them. The boldness of the conception thrilled us.
18 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Between two and three we reached the plateau of Mongzeu
and for a time the line was straight with no bridges or tunnels.
This vast plain was covered with rice fields and dotted about
with villages of which the flatroofed houses looked as if
made of mud. From here onwards, it is true, the bricks
were not baked, only sun dried so retained their earthy
colour. Mongzeu which was pointed out to us in the centre
of the plain seemed hardly larger than other villages. This
was our next stopping place, for the French Consul had
invited us to stay a night with him on our way up to
Yunnan Fou. We collected our baggage and left the train
at Dragon Noir which is the nearest station to Mongzeu.
The line skirts the plateau but does not cross it and we had
therefore 6 kilometres journey through the rice fields to
We found an Annamese gendarme awaiting us on the
platform. He had in readiness a horse for my husband and
a chair with 4 Chinese coolies for me.
The path from the station into the plain below was
narrow, stony, and steep, so much so that after 5 minutes
jolting, I preferred to walk till we were on level ground again.
We were surprised that the population of this highly culti-
vated plain should be content with such a high-way. It
was one of the most fertile regions along the line and the
railway served not only for the transport of cereals but for
the out-put of the famous tin-mines which are every day
growing more prosperous. Yet the only means of access to
the station was this rough path. At present, plans are being
made for a line to be constructed between the mines at
Kiotiou and the main railway. When this is done the in-
habitants of Mongzeu hope that a deviation will be made
to include their town, but the Chinese are so desultory in
their dealings, that it may still be long before their wishes
are realized. In the meantime all are content to leave their
rough highway as it is.
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 19
On our return, after 3 months in Yunnan Fou, this fact
no longer struck me as curious. Like the Chinese I had
begun to think that a path or road which had been good
enough for centuries was good enough for the present gene-
ration, and that if packhorses could manage to climb it,
no improvement was necessary. One accustoms oneself so
quickly to the ways of a country that very soon I had ceased
to sigh for a rickshaw, a carriage, or a motor car, and though
I continued to hate the paved roads I could not imagine
anything else. The Chinese never mend or broaden a road,
nor make a new one.
The Mandarins, leaving the station in chairs like myself,
did not seem incommoded by the sudden swerves and
shocks of this mode of conveyance at any rate they re-
mained seated. If they were able to stand such shakings
they were surely perfectly immune from sea sickness.
The horses did not seem to find any difficulty in making
the descent. These small native ponies have the sure-
footedness of the cat or goat and they hardly stumble or
slip on ground where a European horse would not even
venture. The Chinese riders in their blue costumes, with
their round, black and red bead-tassled caps and their red
carpeted saddles made a picturesque group as they descended
the hill in single file. They guided their ponies with a rein
which was fastened to the bit on one side only. They could
pull their steed to the right but not to the left or vice versa.
To stop, they probably had to pull him completely round.
All the ponies had small bells attached to their collarswhich
made a pleasant jingle.
In the plain I mounted in my chair again and the coolies
started off at a quick trot through rice and maize fields.
The sun was still hot and very glaring, more glaring than
in the Delta for the air was dryer and clearer. Then too,
its rays were so slanting that the chair shade above my
head did not protect me. It was curious that at an altitude
20 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
of 1300 metres I should be feeling the sun more than in
Haiphong. I was not in perspiration as I should have been
there and yet I felt more scorched and blinded than usual.
But my discomforts were forgotten in the interest affor-
ded by Chinese life in the fields. The first picture was most
amusing and has remained in my memory. The rice fields
were irrigated by small channels of water which became
wider and deeper where they turned off at right angles. At
one of these corners a woman was kneeling, bending over
the water washing clothes. She scrubbed away at them on
a flat stone. On her back, a baby was tied whose little head
waggled from side to side with her every movement. It did
not seem to object to this curious cradle or rough rocking
for it was fast asleep. The woman before starting operations
had pegged a huge sunshade into the ground behind her
which shaded herself and her infant. It was the big um-
brella which attracted my fancy most. Chinese women are
then more practical than Annamese women and more
thoughtful for their comfort! But would it not have been
simpler still, to fetch water than to carry dirty clothes, a big
umbrella, and a baby into the ricefields. There was not a
native hut within a mile. Nevertheless the woman seemed
contented with her work, her fat red face glowed with pride
as, turning to place her well washed garments on the grass
by her side, we caught a full glimpse of her expression.
She was dressed in blue trousers and tunic; her hair, in
a tight knot at the nape of her neck, was held firm by a
blue enamelled pin.
Groups of women were here and there working in the
rice fields or sitting together chatting, having probably finish-
ed their days task.
About 4 we reached what I first thought was a village
like others we had passed through, till I suddenly caught
sight of a high wall and guessed that this must be Mongzeu.
This is a town of some 15,000 inhabitants with a European
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 21
Colony, nearly all French, of about 60 persons. Mongzeu
unlike Yunnan Fou is an "open port". The maritime customs,
the French Consulate, the French hotel and trading stores,
the railway company's buildings, are all constructed on
territory owned by the French. Customs are collected on
the imports from Tonking chiefly cotton yarn and on
the tin and opium which are the principal exports.
Instead of penetrating the walled enclosure as I expected,
my coolies carried me down a side-street to the right,
and suddenly dropped me in front of a covered porch with
huge double wooden doors at the further side. They were
riddled with holes as large as a penny, which reminded me
that the French Consulate had twice been attacked by the
Chinese who had left the marks of their bullets.
The calls of the coolies brought a Tonkinese gendarme to
a side-door in the porch and we entered into the Consulate
garden. It was at once evident that this garden had been
laid out by a Frenchman. The symmetry of hedges and
flowerbeds, the broad straight gravel paths at right angles
to each other, the small round cemented pond with its foun-
tain, reminded one in a modest way of the large country
house gardens round Paris. The house itself with its two
wings at right angles to the main building was also unmis-
Mr. Flayelle, the Consul, after a few words of welcome,
showed us to our room in the rightwing and we were al-
lowed to refresh ourselves immediatly by a warm bath.
After a cup of tea Mr. Flayelle accompanied us into the
We passed through the great arch-way which led to it
with difficulty for just inside a 'Chinese policeman was car-
rying on a heated discussion with an individual on horse-
back. A crowd had collected and was listening open
mouthed and open eyed. Occasionally the restive pony
backed or dashed a few steps forward scattering the people
22 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
around. It was annoying to understand nothing of the sub-
ject of the quarrel.
We walked alongside the high fortress wall. There was
a little open space covered with green grass at the foot of
the walls, and here all the little Chinese boys of the town
seemed to have collected to play. There was quarreling,
playing, laughing, fighting, all going on at the same time;
children chasing each other, rolling each other over on the
grass, clambering up the bank which protects the walls on
the interior of the town and sliding down them. Most of
them had laid aside their little tunics and were naked to
The little girls were mostly sitting by their mother's side
on the door steps of their homes. They did not play with
But after a few hundred yards I was obliged to abandon
this interesting stroll and return home. Unprepared for
Chinese pavements I had put on high-heeled evening
slippers and found it impossible to walk. Already tired
with the journey I was incapable of the effort of walking
under such difficulties. After nearly twisting my ankle
twice, 1 gave up the attempt and returned to the Consulate.
The next morning we ventured within the walled city
alone. We strolled about taking photographs and spent
most of our time in trying to persuade children or women
to come out of the shade of the porch or tree under which
they were sitting, that we might get a good snapshot. The
most characteristic groups showing native life, such as wo-
men sowing and chatting on their doorsteps, men squatting
round a tray on the ground and eating promiscuously from
the porcelain bowls of rice and sauces with their chopsticks,
the buying and selling at the small booths were always in
a bad light. The Chinese feel the sun like ourselves and
when no shade is available, they stick up a big umbrella
and sit under that. The strong lights and shadows in such
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 23
a case make a good photo impossible. If you succeed in
dragging them into the full sun they will only stand there
staring and making faces, you cannot force them to go on
with their former occupation in any other place than the
one they have chosen. It is most annoying for the photo-
grapher. It often happens too that they will refuse to be
photographed at all. They hide their faces or turn their
backs or run away, and you have to employ great stealth
or ruse to obtain the view you desire. They will steadily
refuse to tilt back their big hats which shade their faces.
Often there is some child in the group who, understanding
photography and wanting to be in the picture, will place
himself just in front of the lens and completely hide his
parents or companions.
That would not matter if he was a typical Chinese but
these impudent young rascals have always some European
garment upon them-either a tweed cap, or leather shoes
and coloured socks, or even a shabby cast off coat and this
incongruous costume, seen in a photo, would give quite a
wrong idea of the ordinary street-child.
The Chinese streets too, are difficult to photograph. Being
so narrow they are almost entirely in shade, and this is
accentuated by the upper story always projecting beyond
the lower one. But our great regret all the while we were
in Yunnan was not to have brought coloured plates with
us. On coming out East, we had hoped to do wonderful
things with them but in Haiphong we found ourselves in
an almost colourless country. Except for the green of the
ricefields and an occasional sunset, all was drab colour, the
natives, their costumes, their dwellings, the roads, often the
sky itself. Such poor material did not make one feel inclined
to tackle the great difficulties of developing and we had
come without them. But here was colour in plenty. The rosy
cheeks of women and children, the blue costumes touched
up with red or purple, the green and various coloured
24 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
slates and tiles used for the roofs of temples and houses
or as frescoes on either side of the doorway, the bright
paper toys, the rich coloured baskets of fruit, the shining
yellow leather straps and harness, the red carpet saddles
of the packhorses. Wherever one turned in the streets, one
was struck by the variety of colour. Black and white plates
here could give no idea of the aspect of the country.
We returned to lunch at the French Consulate and
early in the afternon took our leave of Mongzeu.
A few hours by rail brought us to Ami-Tcheou where we
were to spend the night. Ami-Tcheou is situated on a
plateau some 100 kilometres square. Rice and the sugar
cane are cultivated. There are also coal mines at the foot
of the surrounding hills. These are worked by the Chinese
who supply the French Railway Company and the sugar-
refining factories near the town with coal.
Though Ami-Tcheou is in a high altitude it is well pro-
tected from cold winds and we noticed many tropical
plants by the side of those of temperate regions. Many
Europeans had vines which were covered with small
grapes and thriving well.
After dinner, we made our way along an unlighted path
into the Chinese walled town which contains some 5000 in-
There seemed to be no public lighting of the streets and
the flicker of the small oil or petrol lamps in the native
booths produced a most mysterious effect. The dogs were
evidently unused to Europeans walking along the streets
at that hour for though they left the Chinese alone, they
came rushing out of doorways to bark at us as we passed.
There was little buying and selling going on, for the
Chinese dislike an exchange of cash after dark fearing to
receive false coin. The restaurants however were full. We
saw shadowy forms round the small tables, some leaning
over their bowls of tea or alcohol, others lying back full
SACRED HORSE FROM A TONKINESK PAGODA.
TYPICAL TONKINESE LANDSCAPE BUFFALOES CROSSING RIVER.
HELPING MY HUSBAND VACCINATE TONKINESE CHILDREN
BETWEEN MONGZEU STATION AND VILLAGE.
THE WALLS OE MONGZEl'.
ITREET IN MONGZEU.
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 25
length on the benches. The story teller at the back of the
room with his high and low intonations seemed wound
up like a machine and as if his voice would never cease.
Every sound and attitude seemed weird and mysterious
in that dim light and I was glad to return to the hotel. We
went straight to bed for we had another early start the next
After leaving Ami-Tch6ou the line enters the gorge of the
Pa Taho a tributary of the Namti. During the morning we
passed by several well cultivated regions plateaux like
those of Mongzeu and Ami-Tcheou but less extensive.
Just after lunch the train stopped and word was passed
along that there had been a land-slide, and as the damage
had not been completly repaired we must walk or proceed
by lorry for a short distance. It was 12 o'clock and I had
just lain down on the seat for a siesta when the sum-
mons came. I rose unwillingly, put on my hat, and stum-
bled out of the train after my husband into the hot sun.
In my sleepy state I felt I had stepped into a pandemo-
nium. All the Chinese coolies of the third and fourth
classes seemed to have gone mad with excitement. They
were hurrying to and fro shouting orders to each other,
cording up their parcels and shouldering them. The lucky
ones who possessed wooden yokes, fixed their belongings
on to them and carried them over their shoulder. They
kept pushing each other, knocking off each other's big hats,
treading on each others cords, tumbling over each others
boxes; each man hindered his neighbours' movements.
They were evidently quite unprepared for this change of
trains and as no coolies had been provided as porters for
the fourth class it was a case of every one for himself, and
chey were seized with panic lest^they should be left behind.
I wended my way as best I could through this excited
crowd, receiving more than my share of pushes, but I had
to hurry in order to keep sight of my husband ahead.
26 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Suddenly, while endeavouring to dodge the corner of a
tin box, carried by a Chinese, I received a great shock. As
he came blundering along, streaming with perspiration,
I jumped aside but instead of landing on the road I jum-
ped into a ditch about a foot deep. Not only that, but I
found myself standing on some living creature ! My horri-
fied exclamation was drowned in the squeal which im-
mediately rent the air. I was standing on a fat black pig !
About a dozen of these animals with their legs tied together
had been laid in this narrow ditch and green branches pla-
ced over them to shade them from the sun. The branches
hiding both pigs and ditch were responsible for my fright.
My husband was waiting for me beside a number of
small trucks which were at the disposal of travellers to
cover the distance between the trains. Each held two per-
sons and when our turn came we sat down on the little
wooden bench. Two Chinese coolies immediately began
to push it along the narrow rails, and from a leasurely trot
broke into a quick run. Then when a final thrust had given
it a good impetus, they jumped on behind us, keeping their
hold by gripping the back of our seat. Is was very danger-
ous to go at such a speed especially with 4 persons aboard
our fragile conveyance. We had no steering gear and only
the coolies feet which they dragged along the ground, to
act as brakes. At every slight curve I thought our last mo-
ment had come. It was wonderful we did not overturn.
At one place the rails ran over a narrow bridge, and the
rattle and hollow sounds as we crossed it were most om-
inous. I was reminded of my feelings in the mountain rail-
ways at Earl's Court and the Magic City and tried to re-
assure myself. There, I had been nervous also, but no acci-
dent had occured.
Our lorry stuck nobly to the rails and we arrived safely
at our destination. At the foot of an embankment the
coolies signalled to us to leave it, and turned it over on the
THROUGH CHINA TO YUNNAN FOU 27
bank. We then had to climb without help the last 50 yards
to where the train was waiting for us. We found all our
small baggage already in our carriage, and after counting
every thing two or three times, we were at liberty to watch
the coolies who were still coming along in single file la-
bouring under their packages. One or two were being
carried in chairs or palanquins.
A few hours later we came upon one of the prettiest
views of our whole journey. We were crossing the highest
part of the Yunnan Plateau along which the line runs
(2000 metres altitude) when a large lake suddenly dis-
closed itself to our left. It was nestling among the hills, its
deep blue water contrasting with the red earth and bright
green of the hillsides. Here and there were trees on its
banks and we could see the hut roofs of small villages on
either side. This still blue sheet of water in this high region
was a delightful picture to look on. It reminded us of the
lake of Geneva, seen from Grillon or les Avants.
We were told that there were hot sulphurous springs here
which the Chinese visited from all the region of Yunnan
Fou. After keeping alongside the Tang Che lake for some
10 kilometres the line descended slightly, and we began to
look out eagerly for the Chinese towers of the Capital,
which we had heard described as characteristic landmarks.
For the first time since leaving Laokay the train kept a
direct course without curves or twists and we were able
to rest a little from the shaking we had all received.
The Yunnan plateau like those of Mongzeu and Ami-
tcheou was highly cultivated ; rice was the main crop when
we passed across in June. We saw numbers of the famous
peachtrees though not in blossom at that moment. Villages
and pagodas were scattered here and there and every hill
or slight elevation was covered with tombs. In the distance
we caught an occasional glimpse of Yunnan Fou lake at
the foot of a high range of mountains.
28 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
At last a number of grey-tiled roofs became visible and
standing above them we saw the Victory towers. In a few
minutes we should be at the end of our journey. In haste
I tried to wipe off some of the smuts from my face and
make myself respectable while my husband collected our
baggage. A few minutes of pushing of trunks and pulling
of valises, of opening this and that basket to thrust into
them articles left on the seats, and we stood at the window
calm and serene as the train came to a stand still. We were
in Yunnan Fou.
THE PENETRATION OF YUNNAN
AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE RAILWAY
THE province of Yunnan which appears in the map of Asia
like a connecting link between India and China serves in
reality as a frontier state between these two great empires
by reason of its configuration. Enclosed by its huge moun-
tain ranges, it has remained shut off from the trade routes
of the world and with no outlet to the sea. For centuries
there were only three means of access to the Yunnan, two
by way of China and one by way of Burmah. France, in /
opening a fourth route through Tonking towards the South,
has transformed entirely the economic conditions of the
country and given it new life.
The northern route joins the great Chinese river, the
Yangtsekiang at Itchang and Sui Fu; it continues towards
the East following the river to Shanghai on the China Sea.
From Sui Fu to Yunnan Fou it is 640 kilometres. Rut only
small junks can ascend the river to Sui Fu, whilst rather
larger boats are stopped at Itchang and steam -boats at
Hankeou. From Hankeou to the Sea it is 2000 kilometres.
The second route also traverses the Chinese states of
Quangsi and Quangtoun. It goes East following the Canton
river by Pese, Nanning and Canton. Many caravans fre-
quent this Pese route. The distance from Yunnan Fou to
Pese by Konangnan is 750 kilometres and the journey takes
23 days. From Pese to Canton it is 1420 kilometres but it
only takes 12 days as 500 kilometres can be done by river.
To transport a ton of merchandise from Yunnan Fou to
Canton by Pese costs about 100 piastres.
30 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
The third route from Yunnan goes west into Burmah.
The Terminus is Bhamo on the Irrawaday. Is is 828 kilo-
metres from Yunnan Fou to Bhamo. This last town is three
days distance by boat and train from the port of Rangoon.
From Yunnan Fou to Bangoon one must reckon to take
from 40 to 45 days.
The route by Bhamo is the British route. Although the
Indian Government has sent missions to explore the East
and the North, it was only by way of Bhamo and Burmah
that any successful penetration into Yunnan was made.
Indeed ;both by sea or by land that is the shortest route
into India. For a long period England seemed, by means
of Bhamo, to hold the key of the Yunnanese plateau. Bail-
ways were planned. One was to go to Koulong-Ferry. Later
expeditions however proved that a railway across the
three frontier rivers was impractible. Lord Curzon, vice-
roy of India, confessed in a speech in 1903 that the hope of
a railway from Burmah to Yunnan must be abandoned.
In this struggle therefore for a sphere of influence, France
was left triumphant with the Southern route which crosses
Tonking to the port of Haiphong. This route was known
to the Chinese from time immemorial but had always been
neglected. It followed the Bed River on which stands the
port of Manhao situated 550 kilometres from the sea and
150 kilometres from the Tonkinese frontier.
During the Mussulman revolt (1855 1864) transport by
the Red River was abandoned by the Chinese because of
the pirates who infested the country. Jean Dupuis who
was in touch with the Imperialists at Yunnan Fou re-
opened the Red River for commerce in 1871. When the
mandarins in Tonking hindered the movements of his flo-
tillas he asked France to intervene (1873). This led to the
establishment of the French in Indo-China. Since that time
the French have pursued their plans of penetration into
Yunnan with remarkable tenacity. Once there, the French
THE PENETRATION OF YUNNAN 31
were in a better position than their rivals and the building
of the railway between Haiphong and Yunnan Fou made ^
their success assured.
Let us follow this struggle through history.
The illustrious Venetian traveller Marco Polo, doubtless
the first European explorer to cross Yunnan, traversed
it from North to South and entered Yunnan Fou which
he called Yachi. This was in 1272. We must wait till the ^
17th Century to find further traces of European explorers.
In 1658 British traders coming from Burmah tried their
fortune on the Eastern frontiers of Yunnan. French and
Italian Jesuits made their way in 1702 from the borders
of Setchouen and Koeitcheou into the interior of the coun-
try. These were Duchatz, Leblanc, Bonjour, Fridelli and
Regis. In 1795 two Britishers, one an officer, Lieutenant
Woods, and one a Doctor Buchanan crossed Yunnan.
Then in 1829 two British exploration parties led by Wil-
cox Boulton and Pemberton Bichardson Grant penetrated
the country from the west. From the same direction
came a succession Englishmen. Hamay in 1835, Dr. Bay-
field 1836, Dr. Griffith 1861, Dr. Clement Williams 1863,
Major Sladen 1868, Henry Cottam 1876.
The penetration of Yunnan from India and Burmah was
not only attempted by the Southern route. Gerard von
Wusthof a Dutchman sailed up the Mekong and reached
Yunnan by Laos (1850) while eleven years later Henri
Mouhot followed his example from Bankok. A French
naval officer Francis Gamier understood the importance
of Yunnanese exploration. A mission was formed with
men such as Delaporte Thorel, Dr. Joubert, de Carne,
Doudart de Legree, of which he was the chief. After many
adventures they reached Yunnan Fou in December 1867.
Afterwards the party went North, crossed the Yangtse,
visited Setchouen and came back to Yunnan by Talifou.
The return to China was made by the East and the party
32 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
met together again in Shanghai in 1868 after two years
A little later British activity showed itself again in the
person of Augustus Raymond Margary who, setting out
from Shanghai, reached Bhamo in the extreme West. He
perished, assasinated by the Chinese. England lost no time
in demanding compensation and sent other missions. The
names of some of the explorers who followed are the
Hon.T. Grosvenor, E. Colborne, Baber, Gill, Cameron, Count
Bela Szechenzi, Dr. Henry Soltau, Stevenson.
In 1868 Jean Dupuis reached Yunnan. He started from
Hankeou, crossed Tonking, passed by Manhao and Mong-
zeu and arrived in Yunnan Fou after two years of travel.
He found there Francis Gamier and Bocher.
In 1882 two Englishman A. B. Colquhom and Wahab
coming from Canton crossed Yunnan on their way to Bur-
mah. Wahab died before they reached their destination.
In 1889-1890 Prince Henri d'Orleans and Bonvalot visited
Yunnan and Tibet, in 1893 Dr. Louis Pichon was sent to
make a study of the country.
From 1895 to 1897 the "mission lyonnaise" travelled all
over the country and brougth back information of the
Prince Henri d'0r!6ans returned to Yunnan in 1895. He
visited in turn Manhao, Mongzeu, Sczemao,Talifou, Atints6
Saviga and the Miskim mountains.
Thus Yunnan, isolated for centuries, succumbed at last
to European influence, thanks to the efforts of a succession
of heroes, French or English, who had vied w r ith each
other in energy and courage. It now remained to mark
out a route to the sea which should make this transfor-
This role fell to France. Her civilizing influence, but just
established in Tonking, was henceforth extended into the
Chinese province of Yunnan.
THE PENETRATION OF YUNNAN 33
The construction of a railway from Laokay to Mongzeu
and Yunnan Fou was by no means easy. Distrust on the
part of the Chinese Government had to be appeased, the
difficulties overcome, which the nature of the country af-
forded, heavy loans had to be contracted, and above all it
was necessary in spite of every sort of difficulty to preserve
an unshaken faith in final success. The enterprise was ^
one worthy to do honour to the genius of the French !
The "Pxailway Company of Indo-China and Yunnan" has
published a detailed narrative of the laying of the line. It
is most interesting reading.
The treaty with China in 1885 provided for railways in
Chinese provinces. Already in 1887 a scheme for Indo-
China in conjunction with Yunnan had been elaborated by
the French Government.
After the China-Japanese war France obtained from Pe-
king, by the treaty of April 10th 1898, the concession of a
railway fromTonking to Yunnan Fou. Two lines were pro-
posed by the engineers, one by the valley of Sin-Chien, the
region of the lakes and Sinz-Hsim, the other by the valley
of Namti, Amitcheou, the valley of Pataho and Yleang.
The former which was first adopted was condemned la-
ter in consequence of the absence of material for construc-
tion and the difficulties of the country. The final scheme
was approved by the Governor General of Indo-China in
January 25th 1904. It was a new one and far more costly
for instead of 90 Millions francs as at first estimated, it
amounted to 158 Million,
The work of construction began at once. In 1905 the
scheme of organisation was completed in spite of the revolt
of native tribes in Kotieou. From 1906 to 1908 there was a
period of great activity. Thirty thousand coolies were at
work at one and the same time. But in 1909 the revolu-
tionary unrest in China reached Yunnan and threatened
the line. The town of Hokeou on the Namti opposite Lao-
34 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
kay fell into the hands of the insurgents. The work was
finished nevertheless and the railway reached Yunnan Fou
on April 1st 1910.
The Yunnan line measures 465 kilometres from Laokay
to Yunnan Fou. It is of one metre gauge with curves of a
minimum radius of 100 metres. The maximum gradient
is 1 in 40 on two sections and 1 in 66 on the remainder of
the line. There are 155 tunnels of a total length of 18 kilo-
metres and nearly 100 bridges of over lOmetres span. Other
works include 3000 masonry culverts and 1500 retaining
The line, after first following a tributary of the Red River,
the Namti, crosses at a height of 1710 metres the basins of
the Red River and Canton River. It then descends to Ami-
tcheou, climbs up the gorge of the Pataho, then of the
Tachento, crosses the high ground which separates the ba-
sins of the Canton River and the Yangtsekiang, and at an
altitude of 2030 metres reaches the plain of Yunnan Fou.
Geologically the railway may be divided into three zones,
the first, from Laokay to Milati consisting of schists and
limestones, the second of Milati with its lake basin of ti-
rassic limestones and the third, beyond Amitcheou, in
which carboniferous rocks predominate.
The difficulties of execution were considerable, for at the
start the line Hanoi-Laokay could not be counted on. It
was a country hostile to foreigners, unhealthy, and without
resources. The work was directed from head quarters at
Mongzeu an open town, which was then 50 days distant
from Hanoi. The descent from Mongzeu was by a road
called the "ten thousand staircases" which passed through
Manhao. It took 30 days to Manhao. From there to Laokay
one could at times travel fairly quickly by boat though at the
risk of getting drowned in the rapids, but to ascend the river
on the return journey it took twenty days. The work at the
mouth of the Namti was the most difficult of all. As if the
THE PENETRATION OF YUNNAN 35
obstructions of nature were not sufficient, to them were ad-
ded terrible epidemics and a deadly malaria which took
toll of thousands of victims. During the five years it was
necessary to recruit a total of 60.700 men. In 1906, 15.000
Chinese and 7000 Annamese were being employed at the
same time, while over 12.000 pack animals were needed.
The work of revictualling alone can be imagined. The fee-
ding of coolies for one year necessitated 6.485.000 kilo-
grammes of rice. Payment was made in piastres which
had to be sent from Tonking. For one month, 500.000 of
these coins were necessary representing a weight of 14.000
The medical service had to face immense responsibilities.
There were ten big ambulances for the conveyance of
10.440 sick natives. Every European was in hospital five
times on an average. Epidemics and sickness were respon-
sible for or carried off 12.000 natives and nearly one hun-
Though the line was less than 500 kilometres in length,
the engineering works necessary were unexampled in their
complexity. It is enough to quote a few figures which are
eloquent of the great work accomplished.
The cuttings required 155.900 cubic metres of excavation
and there are 16.598.531 cubic metres of embankment.
A total of half a million tons of masonry required 9000 tons
of cement. There are 3422 special works on this line, which
means more than seven to a kilometre. Many were re-
markably bold in execution and might serve as models
in Europe and America. Engineers used every modern
technical device but without the intelligent workmen and
perfect tools at the service of great enterprises in other
countries. Some of these works must be mentioned in
The bridge over the Namti which unites Laokay and the
Chinese town of Hokeou is a metallic bridge 120 metres long
36 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
and is the principal means of uniting Tonking and China.
The engineering triumphs all along the gorge of the Namti
follow one another in rapid succession. At kilometre 64
we find a bridge over one of its tributaries, then at kilo-
metre 83 a masonry viaduct of two spans of 10 metres.
The line soon rises on a gradient of 1 in 40 so as to sur-
mount the precipitous cirque where the Namti rushes from
fall to fall for a length of more than 1500 metres. At kilo-
metre 83 there is a steel viaduct of 17 spans of 8 metres.
At 95 another viaduct, at 96 an arched bridge of 10 metres
span at the top Wantang falls, and at kilometre 111
the famous bridge with a three-hinged steel arch of 65 me-
tres span. This was conceived and executed by the engi-
neer Paul Bodin. It is a work of art of which there was no-
thing analogous in the whole world at that epoch.
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN
A very rugged and mountainous country, unnavigable rivers
and great difficulties of access, have all contributed to
make Yunnan an independent province. For a long time
the original populations successfully maintained a state
of isolation which China was unable to penetrate. In the
end, however, they could no longer carry on the struggle
which had lasted for centuries and the country became a
Awaiting the development of the future China, the de-
stiny of Yunnan must of necessity remain mysterious and
It is only during the reign of the Emperor Han Kao Ti
of the Han dynasty that Chinese historians first begin to
discuss the Western regions of China. Yunnan is men-
tioned in their books in 226 B.C.
There were attempts at Chinese intervention in 106 B.C.
and again in the third and eighth centuries A.D. The Chiefs
of some of the independent tribes recognizing the necessity
of union if they wished to resist against China, chose out
and put themselves under the authority of a king. Soldiers
and money were placed at his disposal. The most celebra-
ted of these kings was Kin Lung who fought against China
and took Tonking, after having plundered Hanoi and kil-
led more than 40.000 of its inhabitants.
It was only at the end of the 17th Century that Yunnan
38 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
was conquered by China. This succes was due to General
Wu-San-Kuei who played a great role in the annals of the
country. Having restored the Tartar Dynasty he acquired
extraordinary powers and great credit at the Court of Pekin.
He took advantage of this to extend Chinese domination
into the more distant provinces of the Empire.
Yunnan was pacified by force of arms. It was then a
half barbarous country, little cultivated. Forests covered
the greater part of the land where elephants and tigers
roamed at will. The people were in a state of civilization
far inferior to that of China. They had already however
learnt to make use of the metals of the country and had
manufactured arms. Although lance and sabre were not
uncommon they preferred their bows and arrows.
Wu-San-Kuei pursued the conquest of the country with
skill and method. Allowing the native chiefs a certain in-
dependence he succeeded in opposing one against the other.
He gained the good- will of the people by his sound admi-
nistration and a profound knowledge of their needs. It
was an example of Chinese colonization at its best and was
destined to leave a lasting impression. But the work of Wu-
San-Kuei was not understood in Pekin. Recalled in disgrace,
the General made up his mind to retaliate by leading an
open rebellion. He declared Yunnan independent. It was
not until a few years later that the control of Pekin was
again established in the country.
Since that epoch Yunnan has remained under Chinese
domination, a domination more effective in the towns than
in the mountains but hated everywhere. There have been
The most celebrated insurrection was that of 1856 1873.
It was called the "Mussulman Insurrection" because it was
headed by the Yunnanese Mussulmans who had always suf-
fered at the hands of the Chinese mandarins. Vexatious
measures and cruel laws had alwavs been enforced for their
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN 39
repression. Public worship was forbidden as also the buil-
ding of temples. In certain centres they were herded toge-
ther like cattle.
These Mussulmans were originally connected with a
group of Arab sailors who had landed at Canton in the
7th Century. After having pillaged the suburbs of the town
they had followed in the wake of caravans of merchants
or pirates towards the mountains and had settled in the high
lands of Yunnan. They were calles "Paultes" a name bor-
rowed from the Burmese language the signification of which
is unknown. In other parts of China they were called "Hoi-
hoi" while they themselves claimed the title of "religious-
people" (kia-mum) in opposition to that of pagans. There
are, according to E. Reclus, 20 millions in the whole of
China. Descendants of Tangoutes, Tartars, Onigours and
Arabs, they form in no sense a homogeneous ethnical
group. Whole provinces such as Kousou are Mussulman.
The Rebellion however began in Yunnan. In the north it
only became general four years later, in 1860.
Yunnan and Kousou were laid waste and the struggle,
marked by terrible Asiatic atrocities and savage deeds, lasted
fifteen years. On the Chinese side alone a million men
perished (E. Reclus).
The principal episodes of the Mussulman revolution have
been described by E.Rocherwho was an eye witness of many
of them. Let him serve us as guide in the dramatic history
of this province in which thrilling details are not wanting.
At the beginning of 1856 the opening of a mine attracted
a great many workers to Shits Yang Chang, a Mussulman
district where the Chinese are hated. The latter succeed
nevertheless in taking possession of the best workings and
try to exile the Mussulmans. The struggle begins which
lead to grave disorders and bloodshed in the mine.
The Governor of the province frightened by his respon-
sibilities commits suicide. The Chinese there-upon give vent
40 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
to their most savage instincts and a general massacre of the
Mussulmans is decreed. It begins on May 19th 1856 but is
only partially successful.
The Mussulmans capture Talifou an impregnable citadel
defended by steep mountains and immense lakes. This
ancient capital of seven kingdoms is as splendid and vast a
town as Yunnan Foil.
The defence was organized. The Mussulmans gave the
command to Ma Te Hsung a man who owed his ascen-
dency over his followers to his reputation both for holiness
and wisdom. He had also travelled widely. He had been
on a pilgrimage to Mecca; he could read the verses of the
Koran in Arabic. From his seven years travel in Asia, in
Egypt, and later in Europe, he had brought back a broad
view of life which helped him to a clear understanding of
the men and things of his own country. Ma Te Hsung,
dictator, chose as General, Ma Tsieu who played a consi-
derable part in the Mussulman Revolution. His family had
intended him for the priesthood. He had been a pupil of
Ma Te Hsung who had taught him Arabic. He especially
excelled in all physical exercises and by them had acqui-
red the strength and endurance which served him well in
the hard career of war. A brother whom he loved was kil-
led by the Chinese. This incident filled him with a deadly
hatred of them. When he found himself at the head of an
army of 20.000 men composed chiefly of Mussulmans and
Lolos, no force could at first resist his fanatical soldiers.
They occupied a great number of important towns among
others Ami-Tcheou but they were repulsed before Mong-
zeu and Yunnan Fou.
The country was in the greatest state of anarchy and the
government troops were quite incapable of restoring order
again. When Ma-Tsieu realized this he decided to lay siege
to Yunnan Fou. It was the third time that the unhappy
town had been besieged. No resistance was possible. The
CHINESE SOLDIERS DRILLING.
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN 41
Capital was just about to surrender to Ma-Tsieu who would
then have become master of the situation and incontestable
ruler of the country when a most unexpected action on his
part changed the whole trend of events. Ma-Tsieu betrays
the Mussulmans and goes over to the Government. From
this moment he is the most valuable auxiliary of the Chinese
Imperial party. Henceforth he turns against the people of
his faith and never ceases to be a traitor to them.
Ma-Tsieu, from this time forward, called himself Majulung
a name which became illustrious in his struggle against the
Mussulmans. These had been at first absolutely disconcerted
at the base defection of their general but soon they found
in Tu-Wen-Hsin a successor more worthy of them. Tu-
Wen-Hsing became the true hero of the struggle for Mus-
sulman independence. He died gloriously when all hope
of conquest was lost.
The north of Yunnan was still in the hands of the rebels.
They were solidly intrenched and sometimes sent expedi-
tions against Yunnan Fou. One of these, stronger than most,
at last succeeded in capturing the capital; the viceroy was
put to death and replaced by the dictator Ma Te Hsung. Ma-
julung however, who had been absent during these events,
returns and drives out once more the Mussulman army.
Ma Te Hsung there-upon also betrays the Mussulman cause
and throws in his lot with Majulung. Majulung sends him
North to negotiate terms of peace with the rebels but the
mission was a complete failure and Majulung revenged
himself by laying siege to Talifou. His army repulsed how-
ever with great loss returned to Yunnan Fou.
In Setchouen also and on the boundaries of the province
the independent tribes were in revolt. The situation of the
Government troops was becoming as bad as possible. Ma-
julung, recognizing from his own experience that his sol-
diers were more than ready to pass over to the enemy,
stopped the movement by wholesale executions. The Mus-
42 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
sulmans held the greater part of the country and advanced
on the capital itself.
The Central Government at Pekin was at last roused and,
judging the situation alarming, decided to send re-inforce-
ments and subsidies. A new general, Fu-Sai was named. He
quickly gained renown by the sack of the town of Cheng
Chiang lying on the border of the great lake of Yunnan Fou.
In the annals of this war where atrocities were the com-
mon order of the day, special preeminence must be re-
served for Cheng Chiang. The siege of the town had al-
ready lasted several months when the besiegers conceived
the idea of changing the course of a river to isolate it more
completely. Vanquished thus by famine and unable to
oppose further resistance the defenders fled. They left be-
hind however the women children and aged to the number
of some 6000. They counted perhaps on the pity of the
conquerors for these non-combatants! It was a slow metho-
dical and merciless slaughter such as the Chinese alone know
how to organize. No old mans life was spared. They were
given over to the soldiers who put them to atrocious tortures.
The w r omen and children were also tortured. Many threw
themselves into the wells to escape their executioners. The
viceroy to whom the honour of the capitulation fell, feared
that these excesses might appear blame-worthy at Pekin.
He therefore threw the responsibility for them on the Gene-
rals. These, furious, raised their swords threateningly against
the great mandarin. They were immediately bound hand
and foot and tortured under his eyes. And, according to
Chinese custom, the families of these generals were hunted
down, taken prisoners and put to death.
After fearful struggles, massacres and intrigues, after the
sack of Kuang I and the occupation of Lui An, the last
Mussulman citadel of Yunnan fell into the hand of the Im-
Tali Fou was practically at their mercy when Tu-Wen-
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN 43
Tsieu the hero of independence decided to bring the
struggle to an end. The notorious desertion of Majulung
and Ma Te Hsung had been followed by many others and
the country, ruined, was tired of the war.
Tu-Wen-Hsieu, betrayed by so many followers, sacrificed
himself to save Tali Fou from the horrors of being captured
by storm. The Imperial Government had promised to
spare the town if it surrendered unconditionally. Without
any illusion as to the fate which awaited the members of his
family he put them all to death. Then he dressed himself
in his richest robes and ascended an improvised throne
decorated with curtains of golden yellow which is the em-
blem of sovereign power. The crowd acclaimed him for
a last time and he was borne through the unviolated door
of the Citadel in order to give himself up to Fu-Sai. This
was on January 15th 1873. When the Chinese Governor saw
the procession advancing he could not control his great joy.
He signalled to the chair bearers to stop in order that he
might triumph over the spectacle of the vanquished enemy.
As there was no movement within the chair he himself flung
aside the gold brocade curtains. Tu-Wen-Hsieu was dead.
Before crossing the ramparts of Tali-Fou he had taken a
poison composed of opium vinegar and peacock's dung
which and done its work.
Fu Sai had the corpse decapitated and sent the head
steeped in honey to the ministers at Pekin. In order to get
rid of the other chiefs, Fu Sai invited them to a great ban-
quet, and at a given signal had them all decapitated. Then
to prevent any tendency to create mischief at Tali Fou he
ordered the extermination of the inhabitants. The number
of the victims is estimated at 30.000. Fu Sai did not at-
tempt to minimize the extent of the slaughter. The plun-
der that he is said to have sent to the capital is proof enough
of this 17 heads of the most illustrious chiefs and 24 large
baskets filled with human ears sown together in pairs
44 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
formed the burden of 12 packhorses. Some towns still
showed resistance. Among the most celebrated defenders,
Meng Hua Hsieu deserves mention. When all means of
resistance were exhausted, he ordered furniture, food, grain
and animals to be burnt and the old men, women and
children to be poisoned. Then with his warriors he set
fire to the four corners of the town. Finally they made a
heroic sortie from which none returned. (November 1873.)
Thus the insurrection terminated at the end of 1873 and
it left Yunnan ruined for a long period.
The establishment of the French in Indo-China marks a
new era for Yunnan. China who had hindered their action
in Tonkin still continued to send armed bands and regular
troops from Yunnan. The treaty of June 9th 1886 which
recognized the souzeranity of France in Tonkin had provi-
ded for railway concessions. For some years the French
had possessed important information about Yunnan owing
to their explorers Doudard de Lagree Francis Gamier, De
Laporte, Goubert, Jean Dupuis, Morel, Rocher, &c. The
first study for the Yunnan railways dates from 1887 while
the concession is only given on April 9th 1898.
In June 1898 an anti-foreign movement arose in Mong-
zeu an open port and the residence of the French Consul.
The French Consulate was burnt, the Europeans insulted
and threatened. The telegrams which succeeded in passing
from Mongzeu to Hanoi were of the most alarming nature.
The Consul declared that the French w r ould be massacred
if the troops intervened. A few batallions were mobilized
at Laokay but nothing else was done. When the Consul
re-occupied his post the question was raised whether he
should not be given an escort to be re-inforced from time
to time till a little garrison should be formed at Mongzeu.
But the idea was not carried out.
Less than a year later the Chinese emboldened by French
inaction rose again and this time obliged the French to eva-
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN 45
cuate the country and the Consul to leave his post. The
country in which the French, by treaty, had acquired special
rights and where their economic action was considerable,
had perforce to be abandoned for nine months.
In August 1901 the French Consulate was again occupied, s* w%
There was a pretence at official excuses from the Chinese
mandarins and splendid promises were made. No guarantee
for the protection of French colonials was demanded how-
ever nor for the safeguard of vested interests.
A fe\v years later the Yunnan Railway by Namti, Ami-
tcheou, the Potaho vally and Tchang which had been ap-
proved by the Governor General of Indochina on January
25th 1904 was at the point of completion. On April 1th 1910
Haiphong was joined by rail to Yunnan Fou and the line
was in working order along the whole route.
The Chinese Revolution of 1911 which terminated by
the proclamation of the Republic had its effect on Yunnan.
The revolutionary army commanded by General Tsai took
Yunnan Fou. But the new regime w r as established without
stirring up appreciable prejudice against foreigners and
there seemed no sufficient motive for intervention.
From October 30th to November 20th 19H the capital
passed through a troubled period of which the events from
day to day have been recorded by Monsieur Cordier.
The opposition of the Imperial Government w r as almost
nil. The high mandarins conscious of their powerlessness
organized no active resistance. At the last moment the vice-
roy Ly Kinh Che escaped owing to the action of 50 men
of his guard who died to the last man.
General Tsong fell bravely. One of his followers avenged
his death by killing with his own hand three revolutionaries.
He was cut to pieces. The telegraph operators were massa-
cred at their posts Chinese refusing to give up their ma-
chines. The treasurer Ghe, to save his family, left his hiding
place, delivered himself up to the rebels and w r as shot.
46 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Hio-Tai Ye, the Minister of Public Instruction, much
envied on account of his high rank as a Manchou was
forced to commit suicide. Brought dying to the French
hospital he was cured by Dr. Vadon, who later succeeded
in protecting him from the hostile populace. Hia, Com-
missioner of Foreign Affairs, took advantage of the French
Consulate, as did many of his compatriots, to ask for the
right of asylum. Mr. Wilden in spite of threats of fire or
death managed to keep these rights respected.
It needed all the courage and wit of our Consul to save
the viceroy and it was a triumph when he was finally em-
barked for Tonking in a special train and actually saluted
at the station by General Tsai himself. The. other high
Imperial mandarins passed into the revolutionary ranks.
The number of victims in the capital has been estimated
at 200. It appears that the corpses were abandoned in the
street, most with the belly slit up. The liver had disappea-
red. It is still a custom in China to eat the liver of one's enemy.
The neutrality of the railway was not violated thanks to
the energy of the French. One Manchou officer was killed
however in Yunnan Fou station and armed troops were
sent by train to quell the troubles at Mongzeu.
In this town a regiment had revolted. The houses of
Europeans had been looted and burnt. The French Con-
sulate had been fired on by the Chinese. Today traces of
shot may still be seen on the principal outer door.
The situation was more re-assuring at Yunnan Fou owing
to the measures taken by General Tsai. The British and
French Consuls had received notification of the proclama-
tion which made China a Republic, and Yunnan under-
took to keep order and to protect Europeans. On the
night of October 31th an officer was sent officially to the
French Consulate asking in spite of the late hour (it was
one a. m.) for an immediate audience. Mr. Wilden was ill
and could not get up; he was suffering from a wound in the
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN 47
leg. The Chinese officer booted, spurred and armed to the
teeth having put aside his equipment,was at length admitted.
He informed the Consul of the intentions of General Tsai,
adding eloquent declarations and opinions aboutNapoleon I
and the French Revolution.
Who was, then, this General Tsai who seemed capable
of directing events and of playing so leading and great a part
Yesterday but a simple officer under the protection of
the viceroy Ly, he was today Dictator, with all the powers
of Commander in Chief and Viceroy. He is of Hounan
origin and a member of an honourable family. He received
a solid education and during his seven years in Japan he
passed through the high military school of Tokio. On his
return he was made director of the military school of
Songtcheou and it was from there that the viceroy Ly sent
for him to Yunnan to take command of a regiment. At 30
he became general of the 72nd brigade of the 19th division.
His well-known opinions and great personal influence
caused him to be unanimously chosen as the leader of the
revolutionary army of Yunnan. As we have already seen,
the conquest of Yunnan Fou and the overthrow of the
Manchou regime presented no difficulty to him.
The difficulties began when the insurrection had to be
suppressed and a new authority imposed. The soldiers
well disciplined remained so when the capital was taken.
They did not indulge in the excesses which marked the
progress of the revolution in other towns and even in Pekin.
A few Yamens of high mandarins were pillaged but no-
thing more serious occurred. And it is noteworthy that
the security of the Europeans was never threatened in
The Chinese population was at times stirred by agitators
who hoped to fish in troubled waters. The horrors which
night ensue from the intervention of French troops was made
48 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
much of in order to rouse their excitement. Neverthless
no irreparable outrage, took place and calm continued to
reign. Though it was settled to send away all the Euro-
pean w r omen on November 24th it was only for a short
period, and from that time to this the greatest quiet has
prevailed at Yunnan Fou.
Mongzeu did no fare so well for there the troops mutinied.
General Tsai sent for them, w r ith orders to come to the
capital by the winding mountain paths. At each halting
place dangerous leaders were got rid of by summary exe-
cutions. Two Colonels disappeared thus. The rest of the
army was sent off on different pretexts to Setchouen and
The policy of General Tsai who remained unceasingly
on the w r atch, thus the intrigues of his enemies and of the
extreme parties. He has brought to the country an era of
real prosperity. The fidelity of his guards permitted him
to emerge safe and sound on the occasion of the "Arsenal
plot" when a group of soldiers attempted to seize the arms.
The vicetoutou implicated in the affair was given the title
of "Peace-maker of the West" and a flattering mission
which would keep him abroad and out of mischief for a
long time. Above all General Tsai undertook with untiring
energy the re-organization of the army. There are now
actually two divisions fully equipped besides 40.000 men
in the reserves.
The men are well-trained and one division is always in
readinessto take the offensive. The manoeuvres are con-
ducted on Japanese lines. The Yunnanese soldier is dres-
sed as a European. He is of solid appearance, well paid,
and makes an excellent impression.
At Yunnan Fou there is a military school and also an
arsenal where arms and ammunition are manufactured.
The reform of education and developement have been
nowhere pursued with more method and perseverance
A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF YUNNAN. 49
than in Yunnan. There are many kinds of schools and all
frequented by a great number of students. Women, who
were formerly refused, are now also received.
In foreign affairs the personal influence of General Tsai
was also considerable. In order to get rid of contingents
whose loyalty was doubtful and also to save their pay he
organized an expedition to Tibet. It was successfully carried
out and a treaty of peace with the Dalai Lama was signed,
which proved of great advantage to Yunnan.
Setchouen and Kouetcheou were pacified by Yunnanese
troops. One of Tsai's lieutenants was made viceroy of
Setchouen. This province paid for his services by a con-
tribution of 100000 dollars.
Yunnan with its separatist tendencies and its state of in-
dependence might have played an important part in the
South of China during the revolution. But General Tsai
wisely resisted the suggestions of local parties and his own
natural ambitions. In August 1913 he pronounced in fa-
vour of the Central Government and declared himself a
partisan of Yuan-Si-Kai. In the recent struggles between
North and South, his neutrality must have been appreciated.
Yunnan which in the past had proved nothing but an
element of weakness for China, has become, owing to the
wise Government of General Tsai an element of strength
and stability. For Indo-China, the change has been fruitful
of nothing but good, permitting as it does of closer and
more economic relations.
THE RACES OF YUNNAN.
THERE is probably no other country in the world where
so many different races have collected as in Yunnan. Cut
off by high mountain ridges the various plateaux are almost
inaccessible. Unnavigable rivers make invincible obstacles
to man's progress. In early times, various tribes emigrated
from Tibet. Others driven from their land by the Chinese
or the Hindoos took refuge from their oppressors in
Yunnan. These peoples developed for a long time side by
side without intermingling in any way. Each kept its own
language and customs and each remained free and inde-
The first blow to their liberty came from China. It was ine-
vitable that this powerful Eastern neighbour would in pro-
cess of expansion come into collision with these minor
races of Yunnan. Their incursions began twenty centuries
ago but it was not till the l?th Century that a regular cam-
paign was undertaken by General Wu-San-Kuoi. Even to-
^ a y tne Chinese on ty comprise one third of the Yunnanese
population and many of the more ancient tribes have ma-
naged to retain their independence.
There had been nevertheless an attempt at political unity
in the 8th Century when Piloko, gathered under his rule
the six principal Yunnan principalities.
On the western side however all endeavours at penetra-
tion were unsuccessful due probably to the barrier made
THE RACES OF YUNNAN 51
by 3 parallel rivers the Seu-mai-Kai-Kiang, the Salouen
and the Mekong. On the contrary the Thai solidly established
in Yunnan overflowed into Burmah.
At the beginning of the 19th Century there were more
than fifty different races in Yunnan. For the most part the
religion is Buddhism but in many cases it is so deformed as
to be unrecognizable.
A complete study of the Yunnan races would give us a key
to the ethnology of all the yellow races. But the difficulties
are considerable. The observations of explorers and mis-
sionaries do not agree and are made from different stand-
points. A comprehensive study is needed. The Chinese have
produced many reports but they are all either for purposes o f
administration or of a philosophical or literary nature. Eth-
nological research must go hand in hand with the study
of the languages. The great diversity of these however ap-
pals the pioneer.
What is needed is coordination of the records already
The documents which treat of the Yunnanese peoples
are nearly all of recent date. There is also an administrative
report of a Chinese official Che-Fan written about 1807. It
is contained in a chapter of a big work translated into
French by Georges Soulie and Tchang-Yi-Tch6ou. It is
interesting from an ethnological and geographical point of
view. Its title "The subdued Barbarians of Yunnan" is
reminiscent of Ancient Borne to the Chinese as to the
Bomans all foreigners are barbarians.
Che-Fan states of the Ts'ouan barbarians that they re-
semble the Lolos but they do not seem to represent to day
an important element. The Lolos who are also to be found
in the basin of the Black Biver in Tonking are a shy people-
hiding in mountains difficult of access. The numerous
tribes differ one from another. They are a proud, courageous
and independent race presenting many types of good phy-
52 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
sique. The men wear their hair long and pluck out that
of moustache and beard. The women's hair is left free
and unkempt. The Lolos possess sacred books of very early
origin. Wives and daughters of a tributary chief without
male heirs can claim the succession to his power and wealth.
The author names a long-list of Lolo tribes. The princi-
pal division has two branches only white Lolos and black
The Po-Yi, unlike the Lolos inhabit the low and mar-
shy districts. Certain Po-Yi tribes correspond to the Thai
of to-day. The nobles who govern the country dress richly,
their costumes are ornamented with gold and precious
stones. They ignore Chinese writing. Robbery is almost
unknown among Po-Yi, for theft was punished by the death
of the guilty person and all his family. The whole village
underwent capital punishment when it was a case of rob-
bery with violence. The condition of the women was
Other races described by Che-Fan as resembling the Lo-
los are the Wo-Ni, the Mon-Ki and the Pou-La, those as
resembling the Tibetans are the Mo-So, the La-Ma and the
Kou-Tsong. These last are described as the "Stinking
Barbarians" because, according to the author, they are dir-
ty and let forth a disagreable smell. In this race the bro-
thers of a family all marry the same wife and when there
ar six or seven children, the community takes a second wife.
The Ton-Lao and the Pou-Jen represent the Thai sub-
In this medley of widely differing races, there are some
exceedingly primitive types, such as the Ha-La. They are
jet black and hardly look like men. The Ya-Jen again live
in the trees and build no houses. Their hair is red and their
eyes yellow. Their customs are so cruel and savage that
they have drawn on themselves the reprobation of all their
neighbours, and are fast becoming exterminated.
THE RAGES OF YUNNAN 53
Commandant Bonifacy, Georges Soulie, d'Ollones, Cour-
tellemont, Fourias, Vial, Lunet de la Jonquiere have all
published works which throw light on this subject. There
are also published from time to time reports and articles
on behalf of the "Ecole Franchise d'Extreme Orient".
But the most important work on the Yunnan races is
from the pen of an Englishman Davies. We will give a
Davies remarks the absence of geographical unity in the
country and gives it as a reason why all these many peoples
could never be fused into one.
The classification of Davies is based on language though
all the dialects are not yet known. There are however four
great divisions: the Chinese, the Tibet-Burmans, the Tai
and the Mon-Khmer.
Here is the table as Davies give it:
III. Thai or Shan.
Davies describes the principal characteristics of each
Their appearance in Yunnan dates back 2000 years. They
came as soldiers and remained as colonists. Following
their invariable custom, they took wives in the country
54 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
and established a halfcast race which inherited their lan-
guage and habits. The Chinese Empire has always levied
taxes in Yunnan more or less heavy according to the par-
ticular vagaies of its rulers.
II. TlBETO-BuRMAN 7 S.
The Tibetans occupy the territory to the North-West of
Yunnan. They are tall and remarkably strong, and their
skin is brick red. They wear a long garment turned up round
the waist, a soft felt hat or turban and felt boots. The wo-
men's costume varies in different localities. Their dwellings
are well constructed and often have more than one storey.
Barley is their principal article of cultivation though wheat
is also important. They eat it with butter. Their favou-
rite drink is tea. Their distrust of foreigners is extreme.
They are Buddhists. They are a people upon whom Chinese
influences make little impression. s^
The Lo-Los constitute the most populous race of Eastern
China and are largely represented in Yunnan. They are of
good physique and their skin is fair. The most perfect
types are to be found in Setchouen. The typical costume
of the Northern Lo-Los is the felt cloak adopted by men
and women alike as a shelter from the cold and rain.
It is gray and drops from the neck to the knees. The
Lo-Los who live in the mountains of Taliang-Shan bet-
ween the valley of Chien-Chang and the Yangtse are
completely independent and do not recognize Chinese
rule. The Chinese describe them as drunkards and pirates.
But those to be met with in Yunnan are on the contrary
hospitable and of gentle habits. They look upon the Chinese
as hereditary enemies after a long struggle against absorb-
tion by them. In some districts they have copied the
Chinese dress. The women wear a blue petticoat however
under their blue trousers and the tunic has no sleeves.
The general term "Lo-Lo" is not one in use among the
THE RACES OF YUNNAN 55
Lo-Lo tribes themselves. Davies gives the names of their
tribes as the Li-So, the La-Hu, the Wo-Ni, the Asi and the
Maru. These last resemble the Gurkas of India. The Li-
So occupy the Saloven valley. Their villages are almost
inaccessible. They are a peaceful people whereas the La-
Hu who occupy the Mekong valley are agressive. The Wo-
Ni inhabit the mountain regions of Keng-Toung, the Asi
and the La-Shi the country on the Burmese frontier, while
the Marus live along the banks of the Irrawady.
III. THAI OR SHAN.
The Thai or Shan people are very numerous, and oc-
cupy vast territories to the west extending as far as Assam.
In India they have been absorbed by the Hindoos but in
Burmah Siam and Tonking they have remained distinct.
They are to be found in several Chinese provinces and in
the North of Yunnan. The Thai resemble the Chinese of
Canton. For a long time they formed an independent
kingdom which the Chinese called Namchao and of which
Talifou was the capital.
The Thai are small but well made. They are of a distinct
Mongol type with yellow skin. They are a friendly people
but very jealous of their independence. There is a great diver-
sity of costumes, language and habits among the Thai
tribes. Some of their women wear an immensely high tur-
ban. The Thais are generally Buddhist. They live almost
entirely in the valleys. Having driven other tribes into the
mountains they rule supreme in the rich valleys. They
are great rice growers like the Annamese. They are suppo-
sed to have emigrated from Kouang and Fou-Kien.
The Mon-Khmer people comprise the races of the Meo, the
Man, the Min-Chia and the Wa-Palaung, who speak Cam-
bodgian or Khmer and Mon. The two languages, Cambod-
56 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
gian and Mon, belong to the same family. The Mon-
Khmer are the original inhabitants of Southern Yunnan
and Indo-China. They have been absorbed by other races
such as the Lo-Lo and the Annamese.
The M6o came from the Chinese provinces of Koeitcheou
and Hounan, only three or four generations ago. They are
to be found in the South of Yunnan and in Tonking. The
Mo can be recognized by the white petticoat of their
women which is turned up round the waist and descends to
the knees. Both sexes have adopted the dark blue turban.
The women wear big silver earings. Many Meo women
are considered beautiful even by European eyes. They
call themselves "Mong" or "Muong" and only live in the
The Man come from the Chinese frontier. They are to
be found in the South of Yunnan, in Kouangsi and Ton-
king but only in the hilly parts. They are remarkably
The Min Chia are the Lama Yen mentioned by Prince
Henri of Orleans. They inhabit the regions of Talifou and
Lichiangfou. They have adopted the Chinese language and
customs but their women do not deform their feet.
TRIUMPHAL ARCH OF HINDOO ORIGIN.
CELEBRATIONS IN HONOUR OF THE REVOLUTION.
APPEARANCE AND DRESS OF THE YUNNANESE.
THE first thing that strikes the new comer on first seeing
the Yunnanese is their robust and healthy appearance.
Even though one expects a mountain race to be ruddier
and stronger limbed than a people of the plains, we were
hardly prepared for so great a contrast as they presented
to the Tonkinese of the Delta and aboriginal populations of
the lower districts. The vitality and vigour emanating, not
only from the peasants in the villages and fields but even
from those in the filthiest and most over crowded streets of
the capital, called forth our surprise and admiration.
Although their country is so mountainous the Yunnanese
only live on the high plateaux, for they consider the cli-
mate unhealthy under an altitude of 4000 feet. They leave
the valleys between the mountains to the Thans. This deep-
seated prejudice against the lower-lying districts is not al-
together unfounded. There are some valleys such as the
Pai-Ho gorge through which the railway line passes which
are disastrous to the health both of Europeans and natives.
Nevertheless their fears are often exaggerated. Baggage
and chair coolies who have accompanied travellers for
weeks across China coming one day to a certain valley
will desert their master incontinently and return home.
Sometimes they can be persuaded to go into the dreaded
district while daylight lasts but nothing, not even high pay-
ment, will induce them to sleep a night there. Before com-
58 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
plete darkness falls they disappear. This precaution for their
health testified by their adhering thus persistently to the
wonderful climate and dry atmosphere of the high plateaux
makes their manner of life in the walled cities and villages all
the more astonishing. But it is just because the air is so pure
that they can afford to neglect the most primitive rules of
hygiene and yet keep perfectly well and strong. At first sight
the Yunnanese seem clean and neat. The linen tunic in all
shades of dark and light blue, which is the ordinary every day
apparel gives this appearance, but one has only to examine
their clothing in detail to see that the first impression is de-
ceptive. It is as rare to find a Japanese with stained or dirty
clothing as it is rare to see a Yunnanese quite spotless and
immaculate. Though his outer tunic is clean, his underclo-
thing and skin are often encrusted with dirt. The best traits
in the character of the Yunnanese can never attract the
European as would a daily indulgence in a hot bath after the
example of the Japanese. In Japan your rickshaw coolie
will tug from his belt a perfectly clean white square to mop
his brow. In Yunnan, with very few exceptions, not a single
individual from your chair coolie to the mandarin who in
gorgeous costume offers you tea in priceless cups, gives
you a feeling of perfect cleanliness.
The cut of the Chinese garment is the same for rich and
poor with but very slight differences for men and women.
The tunic hangs straight and must never cling to the body,
it is considered bad taste and immodest to show the lines
of the figure. Though the cut is the same for all, the
materials differ, the blue linen of the peasant being replaced
by rich brocades and superbly embroidered silks for the
mandarin. The materials themselves are usually of de-
delicate shades, only in the silk embroidery is there any
The trousers which are wide at the top and narrow at
the ankle are generally of a different shade from the tunic.
APPEARANCE AND DRESS OF THE YUNNANESE 59
White socks are almost universally worn and shoes of thick
felt complete the costume. Men's shoes are generally black,
but women, especially those who have small feet, are sedu-
lous that the best handy work and most showy colours
should be conspicuous in their footgear. Often their shoes
are decorated with little coloured tabs which hang down be-
hind and even an aged, tottering old woman will have these
tabs of crimson or some other noticeable colour to at-
tract attention to the feet. She retains her pride in their
small size to the end.
The ordinary head-dress among the men is the small
round black cap of silk or satin surmounted by a button.
The button may be black or coloured, but one made of
a coral bead is the most usual. These buttons on the larger
mandarin hats show the rank and station of the wearer.
The ordinary coolies and chair-bearers and all those who
work in the fields wear conical shaped hats of plaited straw.
A great many men and all the women go bare-headed in
the streets of Yunnan Fou. They lose nothing of the in-
geniousness of taste by this custom, for all their skill, all the
varieties of style and fancy which might have been lavished
on a hat is spent on their hairdressing and their hair
ornaments. The hair ornaments in vogue are numerous
and are mostly of jewellery or embroidered bands and flow-
ers. Blue tinted jade is perhaps the most popular ornament
and is in the form of a ring round which the chignon is ent-
wined or in dagger-like pins. The embroidered bands are
narrow and stretch from ear to ear across the forehead :
they are black, but embroidered in coloured silks.
Flowers are generally white and are only worn by girls or
by young married women. If no hair ornament is used
the splendour and symmetry of the coiffure makes up for the
lack of jewellery. To insure the stability of the edifice, a
quantity of thick oil is used, making their hair shine, but
diffusing only too often a most unpleasant odour. Hairdres-
60 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
sing employs a large proportion of a woman's time a espe-
cially among the well-to-do, though the operation is not con-
sidered necessary every day. Women also make up enor-
mously and I never grew accustomed to the pink and white
cheeks, reddened lips and darkened eyebrows of the Chi-
nese. I had always imagined "make up" to be a product
only of our own civilisation and was amazed to meet with it
thus in the Far East. But it is an indulgence of Yunnan
Fou quite as much as of Paris or London. Europeans try
to hide the use of cosmetics by putting them on sparingly
and hoping to improve the complexion without much
changing it, but the Yunnanese adorn themselves with such
a perfect pink and white skin that it cannot possibly be mis-
taken for natural colouring.
Over the tunic men sometimes wear a sort of sleeveless
waistcoat generally of satin, and on very special and cere-
monious occasions they, as well as the women, add a very
widesleeved short coat to their costumes. It fastens with
round metal buttons beneath the left arm. This is the garment
of ceremony and in it, however old and shabby it may be,
any individual may meet his superior without a breach of
Among the poorest class of men and women the form
of clothes changes a little. The long straight tunic is replaced
by a shorter coat generally pulled to the waist by a sash
of the same material. In the folds of this sash, the chair
coolie keeps his money and tobacco. It is his pocket. The
material is rough almost like sacking and generally dark
blue. The peasant women who come into Yunnan Fou
every day with their market produce frequently wear red
trousers. Their coats are blue and they often wear two,
one on the top of the other. As they carry their baskets
on their backs strung under their arms, one might think that
the exercise would make them warm enough without extra
clothes. But, as in many other countries, the number of
APPEARANCE AND DRESS OF THE YUNNANESE 61
clothes worn increases with the descent in the social scale.
These peasant women, owing to the shape and quantity of
their clothes, seem to be double the size of those who wear
the ordinary straight tunic which gives a tall and slim ap-
pearance. As I said before, they wear big conical shaped hats
of plaited straw which shield them from the sun and rain,
only differing from the men's by a red crown which lifts
the hat an inch or two above the head.
Naturally amongthese poorer classes, feltshoes are seldom
seen. They go bare-foot or wear sandals of plaited straw.
Those peasant women who have small feet, naturally wear
shoes and socks. I was told that Chinese women never
bared their small feet nor on any account allowed them to
be seen. Several times, however, while in Yunnan Fou, I
surprised a woman washing her feet in the water of the rice
field. Her tiny shoes were placed on the grass by her side
while she dabbled in the water.
Children's clothes are cut like their parents. In the sum-
mer small mites often go naked or wear only one garment,
either the little coat or the trousers. Their trousers are
open at the back and the parts which we hide the most
carefully from the public eye are those which are exposed
among the Chinese. Men have these trousers too, but they
always wear another closed pair in white cotton underneath.
The clothes of beggars differ again from those of the rest
of the community. They wear garments innumerable, in
fact, they look mere bundles of old tattered rags hoisted
on two bare feet. There is not a square inch of material
which is whole, all is in narrow strips. The rags are only
able to remain on the wearer by their number and their
filthy condition which probably holds them together.
Their untidy and dishevelled hair changes their appearance
almost as much as their clothes. The men are unshaven
and their uncut hair hangs over their shoulders. The
women make no attempt at a plait or chignon. The
62 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
disorder of this rough coarse hair is in entire contrast
to the well-oiled shining coils of their compatriots. The
neglect of hair and face is a typical characteristic of beg-
gars, for even the poorest classes patronise the hair-
In China which is famed for its mutual help societies,
even beggars unite themselves in an association. They
form a strong syndicate and earn a livelihood without
difficulty. Every family and every shop is obliged to give
alms when demanded or they will find their door besieged
and themselves harassed till their very trade and movements
are seriously interfered with. For the sake of peace they
are obliged to give the small donation which is expected of
them. Under these circumstances it is not strange that beg-
gars abound in the streets of Yunnan Fou, for the business
is not fatiguing and is profitable. It is true that they are des-
pised and hated and know that they would be hunted down
and driven away without pity at the first sign of a break in
their ranks. But at present only the dogs openly show their
dislike. Growls and barks greet them at every door as they
pass by and the old man with his long staff has sometimes
much ado to prevent himself and his companions from
being bitten. The instinct of dogs horror of the beggar is
the same all over the world.
Throughout Indo-China there is a ban against beggars.
Each village and province is responsible for all its inhabitants
and must provide for the needs of its poor and aged. There
are no vagabonds. The Annamese code is rigorous in this
respect and might serve as an excellent example to many
other countries. It is true that since the French occupation,
there are occasional beggars to be found on the outskirts
of towns, but this is due to the leniency of the French
In Yunnan Fou one sees a couple of beggars in every
OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU.
IT was six o'clock when we were brought to a stand-still
in Yunnan Fou station. The landslide on the line had
made us an hour late. A crowd of Chinese dressed in
various shades of blue were standing behind a railing await-
ing the train's arrival. No doubt this daily event is still a
novelty to many, though the service has now been running
for three years.
We were met by our hotel manager and though it was
only a few minutes walk to the hotel, I was glad to take a
chair for after the joltings twistings and turnings of a whole
day in the train, I felt too unsteady on my legs to walk even
that distance. The residents of Yunnan Fou have wicker-
chairs well made and comfortable with polished metal-
covered bamboo shafts like those one sees in Hong-Kong, but
the chair hirers have not had the initiative to provide such
luxuries for their clients and only the ordinary Chinese
chair is available for visitors. Stepping over the rough
shafts I sat down in the box-like contrivance. The outside
was blue, the top was green and the inside lined with a
bright coloured cretonne with little dirty silk curtains drawn
across the front corners. The windows on either side were
covered with wire netting, and, back and front, the coolies
let down a bamboo lattice screen so that I could scarcely
see anything and felt stifled. At my exclamations they
withdrew the screens again. As they made preparations
64 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
to lift the chair, the rough seat of cord cut into me, but I
did not dare to move for the chair swerved over to the
right then to the left before the coolies had it well balanced
on their necks. They wore very loose indigo trousers coming
down to just below the knee and indigo tunics. One had
his turban twisted round his short cropped hair, the other
wore his round his waist and on his head was a small
dirty battered straw hat, such as a child of two might wear
in England. Both wore sandals of plaited straw. They
formed a great contrast to the chair coolies of residents
who were in uniform and looked quite smart.
We started down a broad road thick with coal dust, with
ugly red-brick villas on either side standing in their own
gardens. I was sorry to be confronted by such an ordinary
spectacle but my disappointment only lasted a few minutes,
for after two or three hundred yards we emerged into a
narrow 7 cobbled street, crowded with squatting merchants,
hurrying pedestrians and packhorses, &c.
A few days later this first little piece of road leading to
the station which had struck me as so banal seemed an
ideal place for a short stroll. No smells, no dirt, no jostling,
no noise, even the coal dust seemed cleanly. The breadth
of the road would have allowed passage for a rick shaw or
even a carriage if such things had existed in Yunnan Foil.
In the Chinese street on the other hand nobody made the
slightest attempt to get out of the way of the chairs, and my
coolies simply pushed against those of light weight nearly
upsetting them, but moved aside for packhorses or men
carrying heavy loads where they themselves would be likely
to receive the worst of the impact.
The hotel was in a narrow cobbled side street where
the traffic was less great, neverthles visitors whose rooms
looked on to it complained that they were waked up in the
early hours of the morning by the caravans of packhorses
and the squeaking of the bullock carts as they passed under
OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU 65
their windows. The hotel was built round a courtyard, in
the middle of which flowers and bushes had been planted
to make a little garden. Our rooms were on the further
side and we looked out on to a parade ground instead of
a street. We were pleased to see this open space and ap-
preciated it still more when we found how very scarce open
spaces were not only within the city but even outside it.
Economy is the great watch-word of the Chinese and eco-
nomy in space is certainly practised as ardently as in
The parade ground was not without disadvantages how-
ever, for between 5 and 6 every morning soldiers arrived
for drill. In Europe one hears only the voice of the officer
as he shouts his commands but Chinese soldiers repeat
the commands in chorus. They mark time with their voices
as energetically as with their feet. I could hardly believe
at first that the cries were human; they resembled rather
the barking of dogs but when I saw the men's wide open
mouths and how their heads and bodies were shaken as
they emitted the sounds, it did not so much astonish me.
When there were a great number of soldiers they divided
up into groups, each group obeying its own officer. The
sounds became then confused and less trying and I soon
learnt to sleep through anything and every thing. It was
interesting to watch them drill. They were trained on the
Japanese method. Some of the new recruits had no idea
of marching or of any disciplined movement whatever. It
is true that they were probably wearing boots for the first
time in their lives. The loose grey cotton trousers and grey
tunics which is the undress uniform of the soldiers could
not have interfered with their movements or felt too un-
familiar after their native dress but probably leather foot
wear embarrassed them a good deal. On their close-crop-
ped heads they wore flat grey peak caps with a star in front
showing the five colours of the Chinese Republican flag.
66 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
The non-commissionned officers smacked their faces,kicked
them, or occasionally hit them with a strap if they were too
stupid or clumsy but without brutality. Such treatment
did not seem to be resented, indeed the soldiers were as
they looked more children than men. Their wide loose
uniforms made them appear small and thickset after the
lithe slim figure given by the native dress. Even their ex-
pressions and colouring seemed changed. Their faces see-
med redder, coarser, more dogged, under the grey peak cap.
The morning after our arrival we started out to explore
our surroundings. We naturally went towards the city
meaning to follow the walls till we should come to one of
the doors. After passing the parade-ground our path took
us between small native houses against which wooden
boards were leaning. Pasted on to them were scraps of
cotton material from which the Chinese costumes are made.
They were of all shades of dirty blue. Strips not more than
an inch wide, tiny shapeless bits not larger than a penny,were
all pasted together carefully and we wondered what this
patchwork could be intended for. We were told that when
the paste was dry, the bits came off in one whole piece and
were then folded and cut up to make the soles of Chinese
shoes. Any one seeing the heaps of filthy rags on a filthy
road as we did would be lest inclined to buy the dainty
wee shoes which attract the visitor in a Chinese town!
They were rags from clothes which had been worn thread-
bare without having ever been washed, and so rotten
that stitches would no longer hold. If a needle and thread
could have kept them together it is certain they would still
have been used for clothes and the economical Chinaman
would not have put them to this last use. Quantities of flies
almost hid these piles of rags and the boards on which they
were pasted. The women were covered with flies too and
also the numberless children playing round in the mud;
the faces of the babies who were too small to drive them
OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU 67
away were black with them. Pigs, fowls and thin melan-
choly looking dogs wandered in and out of the houses and
round the children who laughed and played in happy
ignorance that their homes were not of the best and most
hygienic. One often wonders when in a Chinese town whe-
ther hygiene is really as all important as we make out. These
first homes into which we peeped on my arrival in Yun-
nan Fou gave a shock to my faith in hygiene from which
it has never recovered!
The houses were small, dark (having only the door for
light and air) and filthy. Food, cooking ustensils, wearing
apparel, sleeping contrivances, and the implements with
which they worked for a living, were all mixed up in the ut-
most confusion. Children and animals wandered in and out
among all this litter and their every movement was followed
by a loud buzz, as the flies, disturbed, rose and settled
again. Yet the children were fat and rosy-cheeked, they
were seemingly healthy and happy. The mothers were
strong and broad, and those that were sitting leaning against
the door post nursing their babies looked pictures of con-
tentment. They all evidently had several children; besides
the one in their arms there were others being carried about
on the backs of brothers and sisters. Instead of carrying
them astride on their hips as the Annamese do, the Chinese
tie them on to their backs with broad pieces of dirty cloth
or linen. They cannot therefore see their precious charges.
If the child carrying the baby is romping or the mother wor-
king with it on her back its head is shaken from side to side
till one thinks it will be shaken off its little neck. Worse
still, the head has sometimes disappeared from view alto-
gether and one fears that the little thing must be suffocated.
By the time we had finished our contemplation of the
scene before us, most of the children had left their games
and were standing staring at us. Even one or two women
stopped their occupation and gazed at us. A man came to
68 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
the door smoking a pipe which was at least a yard long
and said something to us. We did not know whether it
was complimentary or the reverse and thought it time to
continue our walk.
A few minutes later a turning to the left showed us one
of the city gates and we turned in that direction. It was
a terraced many-roofed building, the red tiles forming a
contrast to the grey tiles and thatched roofs within the city.
The four gate ways of Yunnan Fou are among its highest
buildings; formerly they were fortified and inhabited by
soldiers. All are shut at night except one, so that later we
sometimes had to make a long detour when returning to
our hotel after dining with friends in the city.
Before going through the gate we examined the massive
city walls which are in splendid repair and very high. They
enclose entirely the city which has a circumference of some
four and a half miles. The walls on the inside are banked
up with earth to a few feet below the top.
Under the broad arch of the gate, numbers of coster-
mongers were sitting against the wall in the midst of their
wares. There was a tinker selling old rusty nails, bits of
iron, empty bottles of which I noticed two were odol bottles!,
cracked bowls, &c., there was a baker offering unwholesome
looking cakes and biscuits to passers by, then came a display
of children's toys made of bright coloured paper or card
board little windmills, animals, boxes, dolls, &c. . . and
finally we saw a woman roasting maize by fanning heat
into a few cinders on a stove like a round stone flower pot.
Besides intending buyers haggling with the costermonger,
nearly all passers by paused for a few minutes in the shade
of the arch before venturing into the sun again. They depo-
sited whatever they happened to be carrying in the centre
of the road, buckets of water, planks of wood, bundles of
hay, sacks of grain, while they leisurely mopped their brow.
Then too, these arches are the recognized places for posting
OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU 69
up advertisements or proclamations and boys and men
were continually pushing through to read the Chinese cha-
racters on the long strips of bright red or bright yellow
paper. It was not easy even for us pedestrians to make our
way through all this conglomeration so that when 10 or 15
loaded packhorses came blundering along or two or three
bullock carts the disturbance may be imagined. There are
cries, oaths and a general jostling and overturning of wares,
then, when the caravan has passed, comparative peace
reigns till the same thing happens again.
Once through the arch and in the glare of the sun again
we were really in the city of Yunnan Fou.
Is it possible to give a description of that medley of
narrow rough paved streets, with their tiny narrow shops
so filled with wares that the merchant and his numerous
family hardly finds standing room, streets gay with the blue
tunics and trousers of many men and women pushing and
rubbing against each as they hurry or tarry on their way?
In spite of the narrowness of the streets, there are every
where costermongers with portable bottles or baskets
selling hot cakes, vegetables or fruit in fact any and every
other commodity. Then every shop has two or three nar-
row benches on which passers-by may sit to examine the
wares on the counter for there is not room for them inside.
I sat down on one of these uncomfortable, red-lacquered
benches more than once, for the crowd, the smells, the
noise and the movement were rather overwhelming and
most tiring. Walking, it must be remembered is in itself
no sinecure in a Chinese town. The rough cobbles hurt
your feet and if by chance you wear high heels you may
really endure tortures. It is true that the stones in the
centre of the street are broad and flat flag stones in fact-
hut it is impossible to keep your place on them. This man-
ner of laying down roads flat stones in the middle and
rough uncut ones on either side exist not only in the cities
70 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
but in the country as well. The high roads across China
are exactly the same and no broader. There are too many
people in the street for the Chinese to be able to make way
for you, even if they attempted it, and the continual jostling
is very trying. Besides the ordinary pedestrians, there are
still greater shocks and impacts to be avoided. Strings of men
suddenly come hurtling along with enormous loads and take
up almost all the available space. Many are carrying buckets
of water swinging from a yoke over their shoulders, and
one does not \vish to have the contents poured over ones feet
or dress. These water-carriers move along every quickly
and shout out at every step so that the way should be left
clear for them or as clear as possible. Then there are the
packhorses with loads of grain; these have bells and follow
each other closely. Chairs take less room as the} 7 are narrow
but they too move so quickly that one often has only just
time to jump aside. None of these obstacles however hinder
a free and easy gait so much as the stones. Your eyes must
be continually on the ground which is most annoying
when there is so much of interest to see all around. The
dirt too diminishes the pleasure of such a walk: on either
side of the street there is a gutter filled with thick black
fluid which flows slowly or is quite stagnant. It is true
that in every street there are bright blue boxes for rubbish
like those one sees for waste paper in our own large towns,
but the habit of throwing all and every thing into the gutter
is still too strong for the hard working house-wife and
The smell arising from these gutters may be imagined:
it is far worse even than that arising from the restaurants
or from the shops where dyeing, fur-cleaning or leather
working are in progress.
Another great nuisance of the street is the flies. In many
of the shops they were as bad as in the rag street we had
previously visited outside the town. All the dishes in the
OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU 71
Chinese Restaurants were covered with them, in spite of
the exertions of some children to keep them off with a
bundle of feathers attached to a stick. It was the same in
the butchers' shops and in the cereal shops where sacks of
grain were exposed, and the dishes of dried fruit in the
grocery shops were so black with them it was impossible
to see what lay beneath.
They did not trouble us much, having better pasture else
where but the sight of them and the sound of their buzzing
was sufficiently disagreable in itself.
Occasionally at a street corner we came upon what was
a really refreshing sight baskets upon baskets of peaches
and apples. They were not small or anaemic looking fruits
such as one might perhaps expect amidst such filthy surroun-
ding but great big peaches with the bloom on them and of
splendid colouring. The apples were small but never have
I seen redder or more tempting-looking ones. Every one
was eating peaches, the men walking along the streets,
those serving in the shops, the children playing in the gut-
ter; so cheap were they that every one night eat his fill. It
was curious to see the ragged beggars eating peaches which
a European hostess might have been proud to see on her
table. Besides the peaches and apples there were big purple
egg plants, baskets of scarlet chillies and tomatoes, delicately
fresh white cabbages like enormous round balls, the outside
leaves having been peeled off.
The mass of colour at these fruits stalls was as great a
pleasure to the eyes as was their scent to the nostrils.
Suddenly I declared that I could walk no further and
seated myself on a narrow wooden trestle outside an apo-
thecary's shop. Then we discovered we had no idea of the
way we had come nor of our way back. My husband left
me to reconnoitre and returned in a few minutes not with
definite information but with a chair and two bearers
which was even more welcome. I sat down in it with
72 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
a sigh of relief and it was hoisted on to their shoulders.
We did not know the Chinese for "hotel" or "station" or
anything else but we knew they would take us to some
European centre either one of the consulates or a hotel
or even a private house where we could enquire the way.
I begged my husband to let them take the lead. After half
an hour's rapid movement up one street and down another
they suddenly stopped and put my chair down. What? had
they been merely wandering about indefinitely? They had
started off so confidently that we had felt assured that they
had been taking us to a particular destination. Apparently
we were wrong! We had now absolutely no idea what
direction to take and we resolved to try our luck at one of
the police boxes which are placed at certain street corners
every hundred yards or so. At these corners are to be seen
Chinese officials in uniform meting out justice and settling
disputes among buyers and sellers. They are mostly sur-
rounded by a large crowd who, white listening to the quarrel,
entirely obstruct the road. The policeman never seems
to notice this, at any rate he makes no effort to disperse
them, in fact he his quite ready to hear all the opinions
preferred by the onlookers. His judgement will probably
be based on the opinion of the majority. It is somewhat
absurd to see this youth of 18 or 20 appealed to by venerable
fathers of families or excited women. Not only is his deci-
sion accepted in the matter of 2 or 3 cents for the sale of
goods, but apparently also in family dramas.
The flat-faced, red-checked, expressionless personage to
whom by signs we indicated we had lost our way, gazed at
us tranquilly. He did not even attempt to answer us in his
own tongue. He contented himself with some remark,
probably a contemptuous one, to his nearest neighbour.
His attitude was neither hostile nor insulting, neither even
intimidated or curious simply one of complete indiffe-
rence. Our situation and difficulties were entirely without
MY CHINESE CHAIR.
A TYPICAL PAVED CHINESE STREET.
OUR FIRST DAY IN YUNNAN FOU 73
interest to him. Seeing that a crowd was beginning to
collect round us, we gave up hope of getting help from that
quarter and pursued our way. A few minutes later to our
great good fortune we met an Annamese whom we stopped
What a relief 'to hear again the French jargon of this
He directed the coolies who at once with grunts of assent
made off at such a quick trot that I was afraid that my next
misfortune would he to lose my husband! However we
arrived at the hotel safely and together, and were thankful to
sit down to lunch in a large, quiet, clean dining room. What
a contrast it presented to all we had seen that morning!
IN THE TEMPLES.
THE most noted temple within the walls of Yunnan Fou is the
temple of Confucius and this we visited a day or two after
our arrival. At the time we were unacquainted with the geo-
graphy of the town and were loth to go in chairs as the streets
were of such absorbing interest. The chief hotel boy an
Annamese , solved our difficulty by offering us his wife
Ti Ba, as guide.
Ti-Ba had already been in the country several years and
was familiar not only with the Annamese quarter but with
every corner of the town.
The Annamese who have settled in Yunnan Fou have
shown common sense and discrimination in the choice ot
their place of residence; for the greater part they have congre-
gated in South street where is the only European-made road,
a broad one with large, high shops. It is outside the city walls
and in a busy throughfare. After a month or two in Yunnan
Fou I was increasingly pleased to go down this street and
look again on the brown tunics,black trousers and turbans of
the Tonkinese women. How often in Tonking I had deplored
the lack of colour in costume and landscape, brown earth,
brown huts, brown costumes, brown fields, brown every-
thing, yet here in the midst of the bright colours and con-
trasts of the Chinese town, in spells of home-sickness it was
a relief to look on the familiar dull drab costumes which
reminded me of Haiphong. One does not see any very poor
IN THE TEMPLES 75
among the Tonkinese: they all seemed to be of the upper
mercantile class mostly tailors, shoe-makers &c., and the
men were all in European khaki dress with leather boots.
Just as the Chinese seem to be superior to the general run of
the native population in Haiphong so the Tonkinese here
seemed superior to the Chinese.
Ti-Ba pointed us out the homes of her friends as we went
by and was saluted by all her acquaintances. She spoke
French and Chinese as well as her native Annamese tongue
and she turned out a most capable guide. Her explanations
to some of our puzzled enquiries were, if true, curious and
amusing. We asked her why the cats had collars and were
chained up like dogs. There was one in every shop and
generally miauling piteously. Though fat and well kept they
were very ordinary animals of no intrinsic value. The poor
creatures though habitually attached in that manner did
not appear to have become accustomed to their captivity.
How the owners could endure the unceasing miauling
which almost drowned conversation I do not know. We
Europeans should find no 'noise more nerve-racking in a
crowded room of small dimensions but the Chinese seem
The silent morose-looking dogs which infested the town
were free on the contrary; in our opinion they should
have been chained up rather than the cats. Ti Ba's expla-
nation was that cats acted as charms to the merchant who
possessed them; good cats bringing their owner good and
plentiful custom. The older a cat, the more efficient was it in
bringing good luck to the merchant. To test the truth of
her words we told her we wanted to buy a certain cat and
made her ask the price. For a time the owner would name
no price, then valued his talisman at 60 dollars. After
much discussion we managed to bring the sum down to
40 but no lower. We abandoned our attempt at barter,
convinced that there w r as some truth in Ti-Ba's expla-
76 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
nation for a Chinaman will sell almost anything to make
After turning up one street and down another all of which
looked to us absolutely alike with no particular landmarks,
we came to the Temple of Confucius. There was an open
space in front of the doorway where a number of packhorses
were being loaded and unloaded. We walked up the steps
and through the open doors and found ourselves in the first
courtyard. Every pagoda and large private house boasts of
several courtyards. This emphasizes the contrast to the
streets, where every inch of space is utilized. The pagodas
do not resemble our churches and cathedrals ; instead of one
big building there are several with divinities in each. We
just glanced into the little rooms on either side of the
courtyard and nothing particular arousing our interest
we made our way to the central building. It was dark and
cool inside but we were disappointed to find it nearly empty.
There was one single Buddha behind a piece of wire netting
in a corner, but the whole place had evidently been neglected
for a long time. Our Chinese guide with Ti-Ba for inter-
preter informed us that during the Bevolution in 1911 the
temple had been pillaged and all the Buddhas beheaded.
The ancient cult was apparently unpractised and all that
remained of former glories were one or two bronze incense
burners which had evidently resisted destruction and been
too heavy to carry away. The carved columns and the cei-
ling with its highly coloured and ornamented beams and
rapture were all that had been left intact of the actual in-
teral structure. We asked if we might mount the stair-case
which we noticed in one corner. We wished at least to take
the opportunity of seeing the view, for this temple was one
of the highest buildings in the town. The Chinaman called
out orders and soon a little girl appeared with a big key. She
preceded us up the stairway and when we came to a trap
door tried to undo the padlock. Her efforts were unavailing
IN THE TEMPLES 77
and she was obliged to call her mother or one of her many
female relations. The mother hobbled up the stairs with
difficulty for her feet, or rather the stumps where her feet
should have been, prevented any ease of movement. In
Yunnan Fou nearly all women have small feet, not only
the rich who afford the luxury of servants and who lead
an absolutely lazy life, but even the poorer classes and the
peasants. It astonished us that women engaged in manual
labour should have crippled themselves thus.
The mother also failed to unlock the door and was follo-
wed by another woman and by the time the door had
been pushed back and we had passed through we had
seen all the members of the family. From the verandah
where we now found ourselves we clambered up another
staircase to he top-most story. The little square room
with its one gilded Buddha had as neglected an appear-
ance as the rooms below. Not even the remains of flow-
ers or tapers offered to the deity were to be seen. The
verandah surrounding the room gave us a splendid view of
the town, the lake, the canal and hills beyond. Ti-Ba
pointed out to us different landmarks but except for the
Chinese Governor's palace which was at the top of an incline
it was difficult to distinguish one building from another.
The maze of uniform gray roofs looked all the same size
and all the same height nor could one see many of the
streets, so narrow were they. We learnt a little of the geo-
graphy of the town by means of the principal doors which
are big buildings, those to the North, South, East, and West,
being easily distinguishable by their many reddish gray-
We noticed just below us a garden with splendid high
trees and received permission to visit it. We were told that
it adjoined the former residence of the Governor but had
been abandoned at the time of the Bevolution. Our little girl
guide led us through the big double doors and we found
78 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
ourselves in a once well kept but still fascinating garden
surrounded by high walls. Except for one or two flower-
ing shrubs there were no flowers of any sort but anything
that grows seeme like a miracle inside a Chinese town and
even the dark masses of weeds and stinging nettles attracted
us. It was difficult to distinguish between the path and the
beds for though the former were paved, high weeds had
sprung up every where between the flags. In the middle
of the garden was a small pond with a round Chinese
bridge stretching across it. The pond was dry and the bridge
half destroyed but when all was in order it must have been
a beautiful spot resembling the best of the Japanese gardens.
The tall and ancient trees were now all that was left of
former glories. There was nothing to be seen in the resi-
dence itself, it was damp dark and neglected; this Chinese
Trianon which had seen so many fetes and gaieties during
the rule of past vice-roys was now desolate.
In contrast to this pagoda with its few Buddhas was the
temple of the five hundred genii which we visited the next
day outside the town. The number was correct, there were
at least five hundred plaster figures all crowded into two
small rooms. The temple itself was large, built round an
open square but all the Buddhas had been crowded together
in rows round the walls of two adjoining rooms. Those
of the lower rank were sitting on or leaning against land-
creatures, those above on fishes or sea monsters. The wall
behind them represented the waves of the sea. One did
not notice at once the upper row as they were placed on a
broad sort of shelf and it was only by placing onself against
the opposite wall that one got a full view.
All the types and physical characteristics of the Chinese
to be seen in the street were reproduced here, some of them
really life-like, others very exaggerated for instance eye-
brows falling below the waist, arms stretching up to the sky.
Nearly all had white faces and long drooping moustaches
IN THE TEMPLES 79
but the costume colours were never the same nor two atti-
tudes alike. Most figures probably represented certain ideas
such as fecundity, honoured old age, learning, but we could
not guess the meaning of many peculiar positions or under-
stand all the emblems held by them on their knees.
The sudden apparition of this mass of life-size figures
as one Centered the temple was most striking. There was
nothing artistic or picturesque about the straight rows but
they certainly made an impression on one's mind not to
be quickly effaced.
The fish pagoda attracted me more than any other temple
inside the town. As far as one could judge it could also boast
of a great popularity among the Chinese. This was not
surprising when we were told that the divinities here were
evoked in cases of sterility. The fish pagoda is thus named
because it is built on a pond or rather a small lake which
teems with carp and gold fish. Visitors and pilgrims after
their devotions before the altar never fail to go and sit or
kneel on the semi-circular stone seat overlooking the water
and gaze down over the balustrade at the myriads of fish.
Here one finds the inevitable old woman with her stall
and for a cent you can buy a big round biscuit and for a
sapek a handful of tiny dried flowers. The fish prefer
these flowers if they are flowers to anything else and
when a handful is thrown to them (being very light they
spread out over a large surface) all we could see was a
mass of wide, black, open mouths. The carp is never eaten
by the Chinese; it is a bold and very strong fish, capable
of swimming upstream and probably for this reason has
become symbolic of the male child. As in Japan and
Annam fish play a great part in children's fetes and brightly
coloured paper fishes which can be illuminated inside at
night are their principle toy and are carried triumphantly
about on a stick by all youngsters on certain days in the
year. This pond in certain seasons is covered with lotus
80 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
flowers which makes it more picturesque than ever. When
we were there they were not in bloom but the big leaves
covered a large portion of the water.
The courtyard of this pagoda was pretty and well kept;
small bushes, some flowering, some cut into the shapes of
dragons, cocks, &c., were planted here and there, and the
whole of one wall was covered with trailing nasturtiums. The
small well-proportioned pagoda in the centre with its green-
tiled roof coming down low and turning up again at the
corners was very picturesque. I like this architectural cha-
racteristic of the Chinese temple roofs. On the slanting
cretes there were small animals in porcelain or earthen
ware dogs, dragons, elephants, &c. all attached by a chain
to the sort of weather-cock in the centre.
I went inside. I expected to see women at their devotions
but during the few minutes that 1 stood there, only two
Chinamen followed each other in, and after lighting tapers
and pushing them into the sand of the incense burner on
the altar they prostrated themselves before it. The deity
was very much like the plaster Virgin with a child in her
arms one sees in the poorer Roman Catholic churches in
France. Neither of the two men belonged to the lower
classes, both were well dressed with little satin jackets over
their long tunics. I could not help wondering as I watched
them what circumstances had brought them there. Had
their first born died, had they been married some time and
begun to despair of having children, or was it that only
daughters had been born and they were still awaiting sons?
For it is only sons who can carry on the ancestral cult.
What tragedies might not be taking place in the homes of
these men. A childless woman is always to be pitied but in
China more than in any other country. The young Chinese
girl as soon as she is married goes to her husband's home,
and there she becomes the servant and drudge of her mo-
ther-in-law and often passes many unhappy years. Where
IN THE TEMPLES 81
there are several daughters-in-law, continual squabbles arise
over questions of interest as well as over domestic affairs
and one is often singled out to bear the brunt of all quarrels
and disputes. If one of the women is childless it will natu-
rally be she, and the worst treatment as well as the most
bitter reproaches will be her lot. What good is she if she has
no children? Pity is showered on her husband till he
himself, even though he has at first loved his young wife,
begins to take the general view and tires of his efforts to
Many cases are known to the missionaries where young
wives have commited suicide so tortured have they been
by the other women in their husband's home. Her parents
and family seem unable to alter such a state of affairs and
often mothers, having been through such a period them-
selves, regard it as the inevitable lot for their daughter also,
and only offer whispered sympathy making no attempt to
interfere. If the girl dies or commits suicide, both families
hush up the scandal, the parents only demanding a rich
funeral as compensation for their daughter's life.
Another curious temple which we visited quite close to
the hotel was the Pagoda of the Golden Ox. It was quite
a small temple in a narrow side-street and the ox which
was life-size nearly filled all the available space. Needless to
say it was not of gold but of bronze and not much more
like an ox than like any other four-footed animal.
There were several rich Chinese making the tour of the
temple at the same time as ourselves and they seemed very
interested looking at it from all sides and patting it all over.
The side rooms round the temple had all been put to
practical uses. In one, a class for tiny boys was being held;
in another men were spinning and through the air thick
with fluff I saw Buddhas in a corner pushed there out of the
way. I wanted to walk across and look at them but the dust
and fluff choked me and I backed into the open air again.
82 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Another room was a dwelling in which a large family re-
A temple of a totally different type from those I have
described was shown to me by a lady missionary near
the North Gate. It was built in a copse of pine trees at the
bottom of the slope along which the north wall runs. It
was a pretty spot and well chosen to commemorate the
officers and soldiers killed during the Revolution. Formerly
it contained tablets to soldiers who had fallen during the
Franco-Chinese war but they have recently been removed
to make place for those of these later heroes. The temple
is vast and most sobre in appearance. No Buddhas or
deities of any sort were to be seen in the principal buil-
ding. The great bronze incense-burner in front of the
altar was the only ornament besides the coloured tablets
nailed to the wall. The courtyards were well paved and
the rooms on either side looked exceptionally clean, tidy
and well kept. There were however no trees or flowers to
enliven their almost too severe and symetrical appearance.
Fortunately one could see the green branches of the pine-
trees above the walls and could even enjoy their scent, a
welcome relief within the walls of a Chinese city.
On leaving the temple we climbed a stony path leading
to the North Gate. This gate built on the crest of one of
the many lime-stone ridges in the province boasts one of
the best views in or near the town.
We stood for a minute admiring the landscape on that
clear evening, the green sea of paddy fields at our feet
broken only by the straight, gray, stone-paved Chinese roads
and the winding lines of trees which border the canals.
Tiny white specks on the distant hills bordering the plain
on every side we knew to be the white-washed walls of
pagodas. We went through the gate and followed a little
path to the right which runs along outside the wall. The
slope descending into the paddy fields is covered with the
IN THE TEMPLES 83
green mounds of ancient graveyards interspersed here and
there hy a number of fantastically shaped lime-stone blocks
springing as it were out of the ground. We came almost im-
mediately upon the graves of the soldiers the tablets to Whan
we had seen in the temple below. Instead of mounds, stone
slabs had been placed flat on the ground with the inscription
in black Chinese characters running down the middle. This
spot on the crest of the ridge close to the wall of the town
had evidently been chosen as a place of honour.
Most temples in Yunnan Fou appear to be frequented
by the poorest classes only, the richer Chinese visiting them
rather with the object of sight seeing than of worship. But
this temple was patronized by all classes even by the ad-
It was the only one which I visited in or round Yunnan
Fou where conviction and sincerity were apparent in the
those who came there. As a rule both the men and women
we saw sitting on the pagoda steps or eating in one of the
side rooms were there merely for the pleasure of the ex-
cursion. Others, in trouble through poverty, domestic
affairs or illness, after having tried all other remedies had
come to burn incense before the altar and offer a sacrifice
of bananas, eggs or a portion of whatever they possessed
in the hope of relief. The Chinese have no real faith in
the deities of their temples nor in the efficacy of genu-
flexions nor of burning prayers (slips of coloured paper in-
scribed with Chinese characters) but they feel that at any
rate these things can do no harm and wish to be on the safe
side. They desire to appease spirits and genii in case they
chance to exist and might wreak vengeance upon them.
But they are at bottom incredulous and only fulfil such
rites through long custom just as we might avoid crossing
our knives, walking under a ladder or sitting down thirteen
to a meal.
It was a pleasure to observe that at least one temple
84 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
was visited for other motives than self-gain and self-protec-
tion. Pilgrims coming from far and near had no thought
but that of honouring their dead when they approached
the edifice in the pine trees under the North Gate. And
when they afterwards climbed the hill and made their way
to the graves of their heroes they seemed full of reverence
and respect. The silent groups standing round these
stone slabs reminded me of scenes I had so often witnessed
in Japan where the deeds and deaths of national patriots
are as faithfully commemorated as those of their own an-
IN THE SHOPS.
A GREAT many visitors to Yunnan Fou spend most of their
time in the shops in quest of rare trinkets, old porcelains, fine
ivories, &c. &c. Not being a connoisseur in such things my-
self, these shopping expeditions did not interest me particul-
arly unless I had the opportunity to watch others bargaining
over their "finds". The first time I accompanied my hus-
band and one of his friends they were in search of opium
pipes. Since opium smoking was forbidden in China, these
pipes are not exposed to the view of passers-by. They are
still to be found in all shops selling curios but the merchant
keeps them wrapped up in a ragged cloth in some corner
and will only show them to you at your express desire.
With many precautions he unknots his dirty cloth and
glances furtively around while you look at them. He hand-
les them tenderly and mentions their cost in a whisper.
It was hard to guess if this attitude was genuine or simply
assumed as an excuse to run up the price. One merchant
even refused to show us his pipes in the shop and led us
up some narrow dirty stairs into his bedroom. It was so
tiny we could not stand up straight, and there were no
chairs so we were not very comfortable.
The buyers in their enthousiasm were not aware of our
discomfort as they discussed the genuineness of the silver
mounting on this pipe, the worth of the jewels ornamen-
ting that one, the date of a third. When they had finally
86 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
settled on their proposed purchases there came the still
longer process of bargaining, the pretence of leaving the
shop, the frequent return, the repetition of the whole trans-
action from beginning to end. The experienced buyer
is careful not to let the merchant know the exact object
he wishes to possess till he has bargained over some other
one, for if the salesman guesses your fixed determination
he will stick to his original price. Bargaining with a China-
man is a most complicated business but would be thoroughly
amusing w r ere it not so long and if the spectator could be
comfortably seated and in the fresh air during the procee-
I had time while listening to questions and answers to
examine every corner of that little upstairs bedroom but
there was such a conglomeration of objects I do not re-
member half I saw. The principal piece of furniture was
the plank bed; it had no mattress only one or two dirty
ragged blankets and it was covered in by a dirty dark blue
mosquito curtain. Whether the curtain was really to guard
against mosquitoes I do not know. Rather I should imagine
it was a protection from the air. The Chinese evidently
do not like fresh air (one need only glance at their window-
less houses to know that) and certainly that thick untrans-
parent mosquito curtain would guard the sleeper well
in that direction. I say sleeper but if all the children and
youths I had seen huddled in the little shop down stairs
belonged to this man's family there were probably many
sleepers for that small bed. Perhaps other beds were put
up at night and a few slept on the floor but space was ex-
tremely limited even for that arrangement. Of course the
shop below must have made a second bedroom as soon as
it was shut to customers.
I continued my inspection. Near the bed was a small table
heaped with curios, dirty brass ornaments, glass beads, jade
or imitation jade trinkets, &c. all covered with dust and
IN THE SHOPS 87
rust. Underneath were rolled up kakemonos. I unrolled
one or two making not only my hands dirty but also my
sleeves and dress with the dust which spluttered out. Here
were depicted the usual musty-coloured flowers and leaves
all mixed up without any artistic arrangement; here
again a queer looking bird on a single branch, Japanese style,
but without the pleasing Japanese colouring. Any amount
of Buddhas too. Buddha alone under a tree with some small
nondescript animal in the back ground, Buddha with his
servants or friends who are always shorter and thinner than
himself, Buddha riding, &c. In all he w r as represented with
a big belly and white beard. Then there were again pictures
containing a great many figures in symmetrical order. The
one I bought showed 20 figures all like Buddha, with beards
and mostly sitting in the same posture on identical Chinese
chairs. They are in three rows; behind the rear rank are
clouds behind the second is a Chinese screen, and between
that and the third are clouds again. The whole is painted
in black and white except for a few touches of red. There
is a round red sun in the right hand top corner. One old man
has the same bright red hair and beard as the sun and a few
figures have small touches of red on their costumes. It is
really a very ugly picture. The evening before my husband
had to leave Yunnan Fou I found him in my bedroom on a
chair which he had placed on my writing-table. He was
hanging up three kakemonos he had bought me in order to
hide from view some wonderful red and white complexioned
damsels with auburn hair, advertisements sent to the
hotel by the Greek owner of the principal shop in Yunnan
Fou. My husband's choice had been happier than my
own and before long I became quite fond of these speci-
mens of Chinese art. One represented two Chinese mai-
dens in long flowing robes, their hair drawn tightly away
from their foreheads and twisted into rolls on the tops of
their heads except for two dark strands which hung down
88 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
over either shoulder. Neither dress nor coiffure were those
adopted by the Chinese of today, possibly it was a former
mode. One girl carried flowers and an instrument like a
hoe the other a vase. Both wore earings, had taper-like
fingers and enormously long nails. The delicate colouring
was attractive too, it was entirely in pink, pale blue and
gray without a touch of pure black or white. Since then I
have searched for other types of female beauty but have not
succeeded in finding any. This subject which chiefly inspi-
res our artists, seems without effect on the Chinese. Another
picture, chosen by my husband for its colouring, was of an
old man with head forced down into his shoulders painted
entirely in the same shade of red. The third, at first sight, loo-
ked very much like the biblical picture of the three wise men
bringing presents to the Infant Jesus who is in the arms of
his mother with Joseph standing behind. On further exami-
nation one finds that it is a man and not a woman holding
the baby, but it is curiously interesting to find the five figures
are in adoration before the Child. The back ground of this
picture is black and has neither border nor the strip of co-
loured silk which one sees so often pasted on the paper
above the painting. The colours, very pure greens and reds
stand out well against this dark blackground.
I did not find anything so attractive as these in the
shop of the China-man in question though before the
opium pipes had been paid for I had unrolled some 30
or 40 scrolls. I next looked at some narrow embroidered
silk bands, pieces taken from the wide sleeves of rich
Chinese women's costumes but though some of them were
beautifully worked I could not screw up my courage to buy
anything so dirty. The silks were not washable and there
is no Pullar in Yunnan or Tonking. We were also shown
embroidered squares taken from the back and front of the
mandarins' costumes. They were in pairs but unfortunately
one was always cut in half. I bought one pair in order to
IN THE SHOPS 89
make a little hand bag. I simply bound round the two
squares with gold cord and kept them flat with two little
bamboo sticks; it made a very useful bag to wear with even-
ing dress. These squares are generally so richly embroidered
in gold thread as to hide the foundation of silk or satin
and therefore, if dirty, as they all certainly are, the stains are
at least not visible. I could not have bought anything to be
worn as personal apparel after seeing our merchant hunt
the things out from a heap of clothing poked under the bed.
My husband was now anxious to look at the ordinary
metal pipes which all Chinese men and women smoke from
time to time during the day. These were fortunately down-
stairs and avoiding as best we could the dried herbs and
other objects hanging from the beams of the ceiling, we let
ourselves one by one through the trap door and down the
ladder into the shop below.
I seated myself outside on one of the trestles and leaned
over the one-foot-wide counter w r here the pipes had been
placed. They were practically all the same shape and size
but of every kind of metal and design. There were silver
gilt, silver copper, nielle, blue enamel, &c. some dinted and
battered in, others almost new, all of different times and
epochs. These pipes hold a large thimbleful of water but
only a small pinch of tobacco. I had already smoked one
while at the Mongzeu Consulate but had failed to under-
stand the satisfaction derived from two whiffs of tobacco.
Not caring for smoking in any case the two whiffs were
quite enough for me but for those who are fond of it, it must
be tantalizing to find your pipe finished almost before it is
begun. To continue you must again fill the tiny bowl re-
served for tobacco, again strike a match and often replenish
the little receptacle with water. Possibly it is the sound of
the gurgling water as they inhale that the smokers enjoy.
It may be amusing for them but it had an irritating effect
on my nerves.
90 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Before a final choice was made even the pipes in use by
the merchant and his family had been offered for sale.
There are generally two or three hanging on nails at the
entrance of a house or shop which are smoked promis-
cuously by each and sundry. I asked for a pipe which was
new and had never been used but that they did not possess.
In Yunnan Fou one can buy costumes, porcelains, ivories,
pictures in all states and conditions but if one asks for a
specimen of anything which comes direct from the maker
and which has been in no one's possession before, there is
Pipes at length purchased, we continued our way down
the narrow paved street. Some streets are more picturesque
and brightly coloured than others. The round wooden pillars
which support the over-hanging roof are often painted black
with the name of the merchant in gold characters. If the posts
are painted red the characters are in black. There are also
narrow wooden black planks nailed over every shop, or red
papers pasted to the door the characters on them probably
advertizing some merchandise to be found inside. The
roofs come down low and turn up at the corners. Where
they turn up the beams underneath are visible and these
are painted with complicated designs in green, blue, red and
white. Looking down a straight narrow street all these
brilliantly coloured corners are visible at the same time
and with the red and gold of the pillars and blue costumes
of the passers-by help to present a gay picture. Never-
theless one must not compare the aspect of these streets
with those in Japan. What a contrast! It is the difference
between cleanliness and squalor. The daintiness, the neat-
ness of Japanese shops and houses and people whether
rich or poor is undreamt of here. The delight one feels in
those little Japanese wooden buildings where everything is
or looks new, is an unknown experience in China. One may
be extremely interested in a Chinese street and shops but
IN THE SHOPS 91
they cannot exercise the charm and fascination of those in
Japan. And probably if a great fire could suddenly devastate
a Chinese town as it can and does in Japan, it would again
be built within fortress walls, the houses would be re-con-
structed on the same lines as before and the dirt, squalor,
smells and noise would be renewed immediately. Even the
best shops in Yunnan Fou, those containing curios worth
over 1000 dollars are not much cleaner and neater than
others. It is the same small ten foot square shop with a
narrow counter in front and two or three tables between
which, in spite of being very narrow, one has much ado
to squeeze in order to examine the different curios. Some-
times there is another small shop at the back and the
merchant will take you across a tiny open courtyard into
a similar room crowded w r ith porcelains, brasses, vases,
jade ornaments, &c. Those of greatest value are always
in glass cases. Although one sees women in these shops
they never serve customers nor do they seem to know
any thing about the wares or value of the curios. They
are different from the Annamese women who have good
business heads and are capable of striking a much better
bargain than their men folk. Chinamen greatly appreciate
this capacity and those living in Indochina almost inva-
riably marry Annamese women.
In the small courtyard there was always a Chinese wo-
man washing, nursing a baby or sewing but she evidently
took little interest in the sale of goods. By her side a cat
chained up like the one in the shop was generally miauling.
The noise never seemed to disturb her, though it nearly
drove me mad during the short time we were in the shop.
Chinese women are no more sensitive to noise and smell
than the men. The courtyard of these better shops was also
quite evidently the dressing room. In one corner a small
square enamelled basin was nailed to the wall with a small
mud-coloured towel hanging beside it. We compared this
92 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
idea of cleanliness with that existing in Japan where every
household poor or rich possesses a large wooden bath in
which master and servant may indulge in a hot bath every
day of their lives.
The shops which interested me most in Yunnan Fou
were those selling Chinese robes. I spent hours trying on
silk and satin coats which might be turned to account for
ordinary wear. The women's coats with their wide sleeves
were too short to be of use for any thing but opera cloaks
and I turned my attention chiefly to the men's long nar-
row tunics. For the fashion of that time they wanted very
little alteration and I examined the entire stock of many a
The Chinese shopman in spite of his great commercial
reputation seems always loth to show you his goods.
When you want to buy a tunic he will pull out one from
a shelf behind him, spread it out before you and then lean
back idly watching you while you examine it. He really
seems to think we Europeans capable of buying just the
one he shows us without seeing others! We were often so
irritated at having to ask for, almost demand each one
singly, that we felt tempted to abruptly leave the shop. How
different from the European shopman who immediately
displays not only his whole stock of the article you demand
but often a great many other things besides; he tempts you
to buy not only by his manner of showing off his goods
and his own admiration of them, but by means of contrast.
The Chinaman will never show you all at the same time.
As soon as you have tried on a coat and discarded it, he
will carefully fold it up again and put it away. Comparison
is therefore impossible. Nearly all these coats had already
been worn and many of them were dirty or stained. It
was extremely difficult to find coats which were entirely
new. It is only after a customer has made a purchase and
paid for it that the Chinaman begins to take some interest
IN THE SHOPS 93
in him. He then shows articles newer and better but when
you wish to make a fresh selection he refuses outright.
My only other purchase in Yunnan Foil besides coats
and furs was an umbrella.
It suddenly occured to me that if I possessed one of those
big red oil-skin umbrellas I should be able to keep it. Shortly
before leaving England an aunt had asked me what I should
like for a present and I had answered "an umbrella which
could not be lost". She had sent me three by return of
post, but two had disappeared before I even arrived in the
East. The Chinese manufacture would perhaps bring me
better luck. I hoped that on my return to Haiphong,
people who had once seen it would never forget it and
would send it back when I left it in their houses. Natives
would hardly dare to steal so unique an article nor would
my friends care to borrow it. If really I had found an um-
brella which could be neither lost, borrowed nor stolen I
was making an invaluable investment and I ventured into
an umbrella shop. There were only two sorts, the blue oil-
skin and the red oil-skin. They were all of the same shape,
size and weight. I chose a red one. On a dismal rainy day
it would mean at least one bright spot in the gray sur-
roundings and atmosphere.
In Japan one is almost consoled for a shower of rain by
the pretty sight of all the yellow umbrellas suddenly shooting
up. The parasols of Japan are of all the colours of the rain-
bow and even the ordinary yellow umbrella with the black
swerves of Japanese characters on one side is a pleasure to
look at. I remember seeing a number of small Japanese
children leaving a primary school. The sweep of yellow
which suddenly hid the road as the umbrellas were held
daintily aloft seemed to lighten the atmosphere. What a
contrast to the effect produced in England when a crowd
is caught in the rain. The Chinese umbrella is not as daintj r
as the Japanese but it is certainly preferable to the black
94 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
cotton European article and J was very pleased with my
There are many shops and booths for the sale of green
earthen-ware in Yunnan Fou ; bowls, large and small pots,
vases, &c. From a distance they look rather attractive but
in one's hands the defects are immediately visible for the
surface is rough and uneven. They are not made in the
town but come from a neighbouring village and one often
meets packhorses laden with them along the road leading
from the North Gate.
Yunnan Fou is a centre for distributing salt and tea, and
every day one sees caravans of packhorses leaving the town
with blocks of rock-salt roped on to their backs. The salt
is formed into great round even blocks about a yard across
and a foot high but it is never seen like that. The block is
cut into 4 quarters and in that shape it is carried or dis-
played in the shop with black and red characters painted
on it. For a long time I puzzled my head over what this
white substance could be that every where caught my eye.
The coiffeur shops interested us vastly. They were always
full, in fact two or three Chinese were usually sitting on
a bench just outside awaiting their turn. The profession of
hair-dressing and shaving was entirely revolutionized when
two years ago the Chinese all had their pig tails cut off.
Possibly the new generation of hair-dressers has hardly had
time to be trained.
Chinaman, instead of leaning back in a comfortable arm
chair to undergo the operation of shaving, bends forward;
he sits on a low bench, his feet on a foot-stool and his head
supported by a sort of towel-horse arrangement on which
he leans his forehead. As his arms and shoulders are
completely hidden by a cloth which is wound round him
and only the head and neck thus balanced is to be seen, he
looks as if he might be awaiting the executioner. It is evi-
dently a most trying position, for when the shampooing and
IN THE SHOPS 95
shaving or hair-cutting is finished, the hair-dresser mas-
sages his customers back, arms, and neck, probably to
bring back the circulation. Children hate having their
heads shaved and must generally be held still by force; they
scream with all their might the whole time.
Women were never to be seen in these shops. Their
hair-dressing is probably done in private by their sisters
or mothers. I often wished I could see the process.
The shampoo and shave was usually followed by a cleans-
ing of the ears. It is wonderful to see the number of dif-
ferent instruments the Chinese possess for this performance.
They remind one of a dentist's outfit. The Chinese evi-
dently does not object to his ears being touched and pulled
about for he sits without moving a muscle during the hour
or so that the operation takes. The coiffeur perches him-
self on the narrow bench by his side and balances himself
in a squatting position. It makes a curious picture.
The restaurants and tea-houses were also interesting.
The men sitting smoking and sipping at their little bowls
of tea or alcohol looked as if they intended remaining there
till doomsday. Even those at the same table seldom spoke
to each other. All seemed to be in a state of quiet content.
Many Chinese were perched on their narrow benches like
monkeys on a branch, others had their legs stretched along
it and leant their backs against the wall but most were
sitting with elbows resting on the table bending over their
beverage. In one corner of the tea room there was always
a huge kettle kept continually on the boil by a few live
cinders. Never have I seen such kettles as in Yunnan Fou.
One person alone could certainly not lift them, even to tilt
them forward to fill smaller receptacles required a whole
man's strength. The small kettles which were filled from
the large one on the fire were taken from table to table to
make fresh tea and fill up the bowls.
The story-teller is the great feature of Yunnanese tea-
96 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
houses. He stands or sits on a little platform at the back
of the room and tells his tales with many dramatic gestures
and intonations. It is he who is often responsible for the
popularity of certain restaurants. The Chinese who are
so enthusiastic over the drama naturally appreciate the
story-teller also. One often hears him far down the street.
He sometimes engages a man with a wooden drum to
accompany him and bang on his instrument at certain
intervals. This is to punctuate his narrative and to em-
phasize his most telling sentences which might otherwise
pass unperceived. The drumming stands also for applause.
The hearers themselves never show their appreciation ex-
cept by a very occasional smile. They are none the less
evidently interested for they listen attentively and never
interrupt by talking among themselves.
Most stories are about the supernatural spirits of the
earth and air, genii, magical signs, &c. but there are also
dramatic, sentimental and humourous recitals.
The story-teller must possess the strongest larynx and
lungs for he never seems to stop for breath. And he does
not talk in an ordinary tone, making dramatic effects by
pitching his voice a little lower or higher as we should
do or by speaking slower or faster; he seems wound up
like a clock; the shouting, the guttural sounds, the long
drawling sentences follow each other mechanically.
At certain hours but especially towards evening these
restaurants become more lively, for a stove is brought just
outside the entrance and dishes of all sorts and kinds are
prepared for the evening meal. Cooks evidently like to
display their dexterity publicly and perhaps too they count
on attracting customers by the appetizing smells they
The Chinaman is said to be the best cook in the world. He
is supposed to be able to vary his dishes indefinitely even
in a country where comestibles are very limited. If there
IN THE SHOPS 97
are no cattle or sheep in the region, he will turn you out a
hundred dishes from fowl or goat and would deceive you
into the belief that you were eating a juicy slice of sirloin of
beef or leg of mutton, if you did not know the impossibi-
He also has an artistic way of serving up dishes so as to
spare you the monotony which jades the appetite. He is
also most economical and nothing is wasted. Naturally
however the benefit goes into his own pocket rather than
into his master's.
Valuable a cook as he is to the European, to his own
country-men he is still more so. Cooking to him is an art
as well as a profession.
Though the restaurant produces such a great variety
of dishes for the choice of his customers, there seem
to be some which are needed for every meal. I often used
to peep into the saucepans and bowls as I passed down the
street or stand for a minute and watch the frying of patties
Of course there was always rice and this often of varying
qualities; the very white rice probably cost a tenth of a
farthing more than that which was reddish coloured. Then
there was always a long white jelly-like substance in the
shape of a bar of scrubbing soap on a wooden board. In spite
of its tumbly texture it was always cut into fine even slices.
Soup made with meat or vegetables looking and smelling
very much like our own product was always steaming
in one of the saucepans, and often in an earthenware
jar of cold water a number of hard-boiled hens' or ducks'
eggs were lying. Then too there was fish ready cut up
for frying or boiling. All sorts of maccaroni-like sub-
stances and a great variety of cooked green herbs or
vegetables filled a number of bowls on a shelf. A little of
one or another was put round the rice for those who de-
manded it. Some of the baked cakes looked quite appe-
98 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
tizing; they were made with rice flour and sugar. I was
occasionally tempted to buy a square of almond rock for
one cent. It had very much the same taste as our own
confections, though the Chinese use monkey nuts instead
Hanging inside the restaurant to a line strung across the
room were generally a number of ducks, dried and pressed
out as flat as the palm of one's hand, also sausages of all
sizes and colours. It must be remembered that Chinese
do not mind eating any dead animal, be it horse, dog, or
cat, and it is immaterial to them whether it reached its end
by disease or old age. Of course their universally favorite
meat food is pig as is the case with all the people of the
East. Yunnan Fou is celebrated for its hams and every
visitor took one back to his friends in Tonking. The
Yunnanese seem to like mutton nearly as well as pork
and it is not very much more expensive for them.
Meat is sold by weight, whereas fruit and vegetables
are valued by handling and smelling. The Chinese have
a curious weighing machine which is held in the hand. It
is a thin metal bar with a hook on either end. The meat
is hung on one hook the weights on the other and one fre-
quently sees several anxious pairs of eyes intently watching
the up and down movements of the instrument. It seems
as if it would be most easy for the merchant to trick his
customers by not holding the bar exactly in the centre, but
as a rule buyers are as wary as sellers, and it must be be-
lieved that they could not continue the custom if cheating
was possible. A Chinese would kill himself for a cent so
that a few grams more or less is a question of vital impor-
tance. Fowls are always weighed alive and the cackling,
twisting, struggling, animal is hung with its legs tied on the
All Chinese merchants seem to keep written accounts.
In the small shops there is always a man bending over a
IN THE SHOPS 99
big thin-leaved unbound book. By his side is the Chinese
calculating machine, and every now and then he stops in
his writing to push the wooden or porcelain balls up and
down the metal rods.
The booths and costermongers, who have no permanent
roof, have their accounts done by professional scribes whom
one sees here and there sitting in the street at a tiny high
table under a big umbrella. They generally wear spec-
tacles and their demeanour is rigid, grave and imposing.
Passers-by glance at the learned scribe with respect and
seem to feel it an honour to speak to him. The children
are bold who dare look over his shoulder and watch him
The shops, except those selling food and drinks, show little
animation after sunset. Both sellers and buyers are so dis-
trustful and suspicious that they prefer the full light of day
for business dealings. The merchant probably keeps a
special stock of stained or faded goods which he will try
and pass off on the unwary customer with the help of arti-
ficial light and it is certain that many buyers reserve their
bad coins for dark hours. Electricity installed by a Ger-
man firm has been in use in Yunnan Fou for two years and
many of the better Chinese shops have taken advantage
of it. Some however do not apparently like modern improve-
ments and have stuck to their little evil-smelling petroleum
lamps. These are difficult to keep alight in the open
air, where there is always a slight breeze, and the top of
the globe has to be protected from draughts by paper shades
ingeniously contrived. Many merchants have not even
tried anything so civilized in artificial lighting as petroleum
and have retained their little oil lamps. These resemble
small kettles which are hung up by a string where they are
needed. The flame comes from the spout but the light that
it gives out is less clear than that of a candle. These oil
lamps are principally used in fruit and vegetable shops
100 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
and in restaurants. Those selling the more modern inven-
tions, alarm clocks, watches, soap, pictures of beautiful
ladies in feathered hats or low-necked dresses, leather foot
wear, pens and pencils, tooth-brushes, &c. are lighted by
The three systems of lighting side by side give a curious
aspect to the Yunnan Fou streets. Though little selling
takes place after dark, shops shut very late. Work goes
on until the early hours of the morning, the spinning,
weaving, enamel-work, embroidery, painting or whatever
the inmates profession may be, continues as steadily as
during the day. This custom originated in the fear of rob-
bers. Merchants preferred to keep guard during the night
and only felt safe to sleep at dawn. For this reason shops
are still closed when the sun is already high and there are
special police regulations specifying the hours that they
must open. As the rules are not observed, it is not rare to see
the police arousing merchants and making them start bu-
siness by force. All Eastern people, Japanese, Chinese, An-
namese rise and go about their various occupations at day
break so that Yunnan Fou presents an anomaly in this re-
spect. Of course opium smoking which was formerly wi-
dely indulged in in this centre of the opium trade, ma} 7
have also had its influence.
Walking through the streets as late as 8 and 9 a.m. I
have often seen a Chinaman opening his door and making
his first appearance into the light and air. His first action
is to place a small earthenware terra-cotta bowl on the
threshold, fill it with water and squatting over it rub his
face with his hands then his arms and neck. No sponge,
soap, or towel, seem to be necessary for the ordinary every
day toilet. Then he takes down his shutters arranges his
shop and the daily routine with its haggling and bargaining
YUNNANESE CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE.
THE claims of etiquette are more severe in the East than
in the West and in Yunnan, as throughout all China, the
ceremonies attending an event of any importance are of
even more consequence than the event itself. A Chinese
will die content if everything appertaining to his funeral
is ready and if he knows that all rites will be properly per-
formed, whereas, if his coffin is not finished or if he is
away from his family and home he will be in despair, doing
all he can to prolong life.
The Chinese proverb that the dead rule the living and
that the most important thing in life is to die and be buried
in a proper manner and one befitting a man's rank is en-
graved on the soul of every Yunnanese. One day my hus-
band accompanied Dr. Qui, the Annamese doctor of the
French hospital to the bedside of a mandarin. The patient
announced at once that he was going to die that day. He
spoke calmly and quietly without a trace of fear or any
other emotion. My husband at once explained that some-
thing could be done for him and talked of oxygen and in-
jections of cafeine, hoping to reassure him. But neither the
mandarin nor his family needed comfort or consolation.
They asked, however, how long he might prolong life with
medical help and when they heard it was only a question
of hours, or a day or two at most, they all shook their heads
at the idea. No, all was ready for his death, the family had
102 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
collected to say good-bye to him, there was no reason to
put off the last moment if no hope of renewed vigour re-
mained. Dr. Qui was not astonished at this attitude, for he
had had long experience of it among the Annamese,but my
husband who was accustomed to that clinging to life to the
last which is natural to Europeans, was struck with ad-
miration. The man died a few hours later talking quietly
to his family and giving last directions about the ceremo-
nies to be held after his death.
The soul of a dead man is supposed to pass into the ance-
stral tablet which is the most precious possession of every
Chinese family and hangs above the family altar. His name
is reverently inscribed underneath those of his father and
grandfather in black characters on the narrow red board.
The day of an important funeral is not fixed by rules of
hygiene or convenience. Like so many other Chinese
ceremonies the date is decided by professional fortune-
tellers who declare that such a day is a "good" or
"bad" day. The family listens to such counsels respect-
fully and obeys implicitly, for "Chance" plays an impor-
tant part in the life of the Chinese. A wedding day is thus
determined also, and if well chosen will bring happiness,
prosperity and above all, plenty of children to the young
couple. The particular day of his birth is most important
to a Chinese, for the knowledge that he has been favoured
by Providence or the reverse will affect all his acts and
ambitions for life.
The day of his death, if unlucky, may be redeemed by per-
spicacity and wisdom in the choice of the day of interment.
In the case of the mandarin, of whom mention has been
made, it was fixed for three or four days after his death.
This was unfortunate for us, for his home being in close
proximity to the hotel, we had the full benefit of the Chinese
fiddles and tom-toms which did not cease night or day, till
his body had left the house. To our unaccustomed ears,
YUNNANESE CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE 103
there seemed no melody in the performance and the mono-
tonous scraping of the strings was most trying. Occasion-
ally the wails of women rose above all other sounds mak-
ing a weird impression in the middle of the night.
One meets many funeral processions in the streets of
Yunnan Fou but this was the most important I had seen.
It must have been a "lucky day" for funerals, as I had al-
ready met four when I chanced upon this one. Above the
medley of pedlars' stalls, of packhorses, of hurrying pedes-
trians whose predominant colour was blue, one became
aware of red, white and multicoloured draperies carried
aloft. As a rule these processions attract little attention from
the passer-by, but in this case the sound of pipes and drums
was so deafening, the apparata so numerous that fresh faces
kept appearing at every shop door to gaze open-mouthed
upon it. Nevertheless it did not occur to the ordinary pe-
destrian to make way by standing on one side; the first
coolies in the procession had literally to push their way
through the crowded street. All carried banners, blue red
or white inscribed with gold characters. They were follo-
wed by four coolies carrying, by means of poles over their
shoulders, a high erection of white draperies and cording.
There were round slabs of cardboard or wood covered with
white linen and boards with white frills round them super-
posed one above the other with white netting in between.
Folio wing, was another high scaffolding of the same sort, only
with red ornamentations. The third carried little dummy
figures on wires made of cardboard or paper which swayed
to and fro with the movements of the coolies. I counted
twenty-five of these curious erections before the coffin
came into sight. They did not differ much in size or shape,
some resembled a Noah's Ark, others a doll's house, others
a Punch and Judy show. The last coolies carried a life-size
picture, probably a portrait of the defunct. Walking along-
side were men carrying Chinese squibs which they let off
104 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
one at a time at regular intervals. One was dropped close
to me and exploding at my feet, made me start, much to
the amusement of the onlookers. Interspersed between the
different items of the procession were drums and pipes
which let forth weird sounds, a style of music which appa-
rently accompanies all great ceremonies, weddings and
The red lacquered coffin was on an open catafalque.
There were no flowers, but it was draped with red and
white banners. The chief mourners, consisting of three
young men, followed the coffin. They were dressed entirely
in white and were bending nearly double as they walked,
never lifting their heads or eyes. Saliva trickled from their
mouths. Two friends walking very erect on either side
of each mourner, supported him by passing their arms
beneath his armpits. They must have sustained almost
his entire weight or he could not have kept up this position,
a sign to the world of prostrate grief.
Behind the relations came walking two and two a num-
ber of students in blue tunics and trousers of very bad Eu-
ropean cut. I imagine they were pupils of the defunct or
perhaps they were simply friends of the sons. Last of all
came a number of chairs, all closely shut, from which is-
sued the usual wailings. Now and again I caught sight of
the white powdered face of some girl through the wire net-
ting of the chair and I was relieved to see that her ex-
pression was hardly in keeping with the doleful sounds
which kept breaking from her. Her bright eyes were glan-
cing here and there and she was evidently noting with plea-
sure the interest that the procession was arousing. From
her closed cage, she could naturally see us better than we
could see her.
It is in a similar chair that the bride goes to her future
home. After many official visits of the future bridegroom
YUNNANESE CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE 105
and of his parents to her home, and the presentation of the
traditional wedding presents, the bride finally goes to the
house of her parents-in-law where the last ceremony takes
place. This consists chiefly in prostrations of the bride to
her husband and his parents indicative of her entire sub-
mission to their will. For strange as it may seem it is not
the character of her husband that will make or mar her
happiness so much as that of his mother. It is she who
will rule the household and the slightest fault or misde-
meanour of her daughter-in-law will be severely punished.
Only when a son is born will her lot be improved. The
only woman for whom a man is supposed to show the
slightest consideration and whom he does not look down
upon as his absolute inferior is his mother, and she by years
of submission to men, just because they are men, rarely
exercises her will even on her sons. Those women there-
fore who have suffered in bitterness of spirit from sup-
pression and tyranny vent all their pent-up feelings of
rebellion and spite on their daughters-in-law. They in their
turn do the same.
During the marriage ceremony, if the girl happens to sit
on a lappet of her husband's coat it is a sign that she will
govern rather than be governed. Such like superstitions
are often corroborated by fact for the Chinese believe in
them so firmly that they are unconsciously influenced by
Etiquette and superstitions take not only a predominant
part in such important ceremonies as weddings and fune-
rals, but in the smaller events of everyday life.
In Yunnan Fou I had the good fortune to be included
in an invitation together with the wives of the British and
French Consuls to dinner at the Governor's palace. At
5 o'clock when our friends was just about to begin tennis
we women in our evening dresses, were packed into
chairs with many admonitions as to how to behave and
106 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
what to say. Just as we were starting a red paper was
brought to the Consulate. Mr. Wilden opened it and told
us it was our invitation to the Palace ! I was astonished for
we had had one already, had accepted it and were practi-
cally on the way there. It occurred to me that perhaps
we w r ere late and this was to hurry us forward. But no!
It appeared it was mere etiquette to repeat the invitation
at the last moment.
Our chair coolies flew through the narrow streets with
us. They shouted out and knocked people aside more
peremptorily than ever, for were we not on our way to their
much-feared and much-respected Governor. They evi-
dently aspired to let everybody know our destination and
the honour which had been shown us.
We naturally did not see General Tsai nor any other
high Government official. Even those Chinese in continual
touch with Western manners and customs and who seem
to fall in with them easily have not adopted the one of di-
ning with their wives in public.
I was solemnly introduced to all the ladies present before
we sat down to our meal. The whole ceremony was very
slow, very pompous and would have been very dull except
for the novelty of it.
All the ladies were in their best and richest clothes, but
the colours were sombre with no bright touches except in
the embroidery. I think we were more at ease than our
hosts, in spite of the fact that it was rather we than they who
would be liable to make mistakes. I had been to Chinese
dinners before and knew a little what to expect in the way
of food, but never had I seen so many and varied dishes
as here. They seemed never ending and though at first I
had let few pass without tasting, I was obliged to give up
even the pretence of eating towards the end for the meal.
Conversation was desultory and as only one lady might
talk at a time, it was not easy to ask the questions I wished
YUNNANESE CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE 107
and to converse in the same manner as in a tete a tete.
And naturally a slow labouring interpreter is a great
The one assigned to me and who stood behind my chair
evidently thought that, being a new-comer, I did not know
what to say nor how to express myself and I am sure he
added many superfluous adjectives and so rounded off my
sentences that he did not at all translate my thoughts. I could
tell this from the answers he reproduced, but nevertheless
politeness obliged me to smile and nod at my neighbour
as if I had understood and agreed with her. True under-
standing as between Europeans of different nationalities
The most interesting incident of the evening was the in-
troduction to us of the second wife of General Tsai. She
was a Yunnanese and presented to him by the people of
Yunnan Fou when he became Governor of the province
after the Revolution. His first and legal wife had her sum-
moned just after we had sat down to dinner. She came in
with downcast eyes, either embarrassed by our presence
or fearful of her co-partner. She was not invited to sit
down and only stayed in the room a few minutes for Ma-
dame Tsai No. 1., after we had all stared at the poor wo-
man, signed to her that she might disappear again. A few
weeks after this dinner, the tables were apparently turned,
for we heard that Madame Tsai No. 2. was in great favour,
and that her predecessor was on her way to Honan to
make a prolonged stay at her father's house.
We left the Governor's palace about nine, thankful to
stretch our legs again after three hours at table on hard
Chinese chairs. The last, half hour, like the first, was spent
in making speeches of welcome and thanks the same
things said over and over again in different words.
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE.
THE Chinese are as enthusiastic play-goers as we ourselves.
It is perhaps their favourite mode of entertainment. All towns
of any size boast one or more theatres and in the villages,
the temples, being the largest buildings, are put at the dis-
posal of the strolling troupes of actors who frequent every
corner of the Empire. The Chinese spectator does not
demand all the scenic effects to which we are accustomed
so that stages can be improvised without difficulty. Even
in the best theatres, there is practically no scenery, little
furniture and no effects from coloured lights.
We require that every detail of staging and costume shall
be correct to be capable of being illusioned but the Chinese
are content with the gesture and words of the actors. They
have more imagination presumably and are consequently
able to create the right atmosphere of the piece without
the help of superfluous details.
Plays are often acted too in private houses. A host will
entertain his guests by engaging a troupe of actors and giving
a performance during or after dinner. Towards the middle
of the meal which is served at small tables, he passes round
a list of plays and asks his guests to choose one of them.
When the piece has been decided on, the curtain goes up
and the diners from their tables watch the performance
while they continue to taste and sip the interminable dishes
and drinks which are served to them.
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 109
Shortly after the curtain has gone up it is customary to
admit the public to the back of the room. As soon as the
doors are open an eager crowd presses in and stands there
open-eyed and open-mouthed till the last word has been
They make a more appreciative audience than the blase
over-fed guests. This mode of allowing the public to witness
theatricals in private houses (privacy is not as with us a
most prized luxury) accounts for the small number of
theatres existing among a people whose histrionic taste is
so developed. The Chinese get the benefit of such plays in
all sorts of places and are thus able to indulge in their
favorite pastime without going to the theatre.
The pieces written for the stage are innumerable. For
centuries Chinese authors have devoted their talents in this
direction. The drama has tempted them more than any
other kind of literature. Some periods have naturally pro-
duced more than others. The subjects are very various but
perhaps the most popular one has always been that of filial
piety. This is the theme of Pi-Pa-Ki generally considered
the best known play in China.
It is curious that a people who are so enthusiastic over
dramatic art should despise actors. Yet they are consi-
dered by far the lowest class in China. Open contempt is
shown to all who belong to this profession and they are
nowhere admitted to the ordinary social life. It is true
that the actors themselves seem to hold themselves as a
class apart, and neither in dress nor in manners to con-
form to ordinary usage. They seem to be intentionally
eccentric. But perhaps this is natural among those who
lead a wandering life for they have lost the essential cha-
racteristic of their race the permanent hearth and home.
We Western peoples, who think nothing of changing
our place of residence, find it difficult to understand that clin-
ging to one exact spot, one particular roof. For the Chinese
110 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
it seems impossible to carry on their family life except in
the home of their ancestors.
At one time women acted as well as men, but those who
did so were classed with prostitutes. They were considered
beneath contempt. Then a century or two ago they were
forbidden to act at all: it was considered not only immoral
for the women themselves but also immoral for the spec-
tators to hear virtuous words and witness virtuous deeds
through the medium of characters so much despised in
real life, the idea no doubt being that such worthless
women should not be the means of inspiring sympathy
and exhorting to piety.
It was naturally a terrible blow to dramatic art to give
women's roles to young men and boys. How could one
sex express all the sentiments and feelings of the other?
No man understands the heart and mind of a woman so
how could he thrill an audience with emotions of which
he knows nothing? No such acting could be convincing.
Probably however, China has not a long way to go on
the road to civilization before she allows her women to
take up the profession again.
We were delighted when soon after our arrival in Yunnan
Fou, we were able to get an idea of the Chinese theatre for
ourselves. One day the British Consul suggested that we
should make up a party and go there. We accepted the
proposal with alacrity.
Yunnan Fou boasts two theatres, the most important
being situated in a sort of public garden near the South
Gate. This garden is a favorite resort by day as well as in
the evening for though there are no flowers or caged
animals, there is space and quiet and thus a relief from
the streets. A number of tea-houses and restaurants of the
better sort, scattered here and there, also attract many vi-
sitors. Some of the tea-houses are quite picturesque; in-
stead of being entirely open to the public gaze there are
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 111
trellises covered with climbing plants in front of the veran-
dah which lend a little privacy. Flowers in pots stand on
the ledges of the balcony or are grouped at either side of
the entrance making the restaurant look like a small
The largest building in the garden is the theatre. Before
entering, permission had been asked that we might all sit
together in the same box, for in a Chinese theatre men and
women are separated. Our party consisting of the British
and French Consuls and their wives, the Italian Consul,
and ourselves arrived together at the theatre entrance.
We had difficulty in finding our way through the me!6e of
chairs and coolies who blocked the doors. For a space of
some twenty yards the utmost confusion reigned. Chairs
were locked together by their shafts, coolies were pushing
each other and quarelling. The light was dim for though
many of the coolies carried lanterns which they held aloft
for the benefit of their masters, these were pretty rather
However we finally collected our forces and showing our
long slips of papers (tickets and programmes) to a blue
robed, spectacled, Chinese, in a little box-office, we were
led up a bare wooden staircase.
The box of honour which was allotted to us was unfor-
tunately just over the orchestra, if one can call an orchestra
a collection of 4 men making as much noise as possible, on
a drum, and other instruments. For me the din they made
completely spoilt the evening. For one thing it gave me a
headache and for another it was absolutely impossible to
hear any remark among ourselves or the explanations with
which our interpreter occasionally enlightened us. Chinese
comedies and dramas are not concluded in one performance
as with us. Sometimes they last two or three days. And one
must not expect to follow the story closely (that is not the
aim of authors, actors or audience). It is a curious fact
112 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
that the language is not always understood by those Chinese
who only rarely go to the theatre.
The scene being played when we entered was that of a w r o-
man pleading before a tribunal. Staging, as I said before, is of
very little consequence in the eyes of the Chinese and the law-
court was represented by a long table behind which sat the
judges. That was the only piece of furniture. There were no
mats on the bare wooden floor, no curtains round the walls
to represent wings and hide the entrances and exits. The
doors on to the stage were often carelessly left open and one
caught a glimpse of a crowded room where numbers of
actors were dressing and undressing.
The woman in flowing robe, probably some former mode
of Chinese dress, was throwing herself into every attitude
before the silent implacable judge. Her cheeks were bright
red, her figure lithe and supple, her black oiled hair was
coiled up in wonderful fashion, she had long-nailed, white,
taper-like fingers. Her quick and agile movements as she
begged for mercy or indignantly denied the crime of which
she was accused were astonishing when her dress, swinging
aside, disclosed to us her tiny feet. They w r ere not more than
three inches long and though perhaps not smaller than
many others we had seen, yet no one possessed of such
small extremities who did not hobble along like a cripple.
Then I remembered that no Chinese woman is ever
allowed on the stage and that this must be a man taking
a woman's part. I enquired how the small feet were
engineered and was told that men who wish to train for
woman's roles must learn to walk, run, skip, and dance on
the tips of their toes like ballet dancers. The little Chinese
shoe is fixed on the wearer's toe and his heel is cleverly cam-
ouflaged. The greatest skill and agility is required to spring
about and twist and turn with the feet in such an unnatural
The effort demanded of the body, arms, legs, fingers and
HERO AND HEROINE IN A CHINESE DRAMA.
BOTH HOLES ARE TAKEN BY MEN.
A CROWDED STREET.
THE SCRAPS OF RAG.
THE EAST-GATE OF YUNNAN FOU.
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 113
head which were all in movement at the same time, was
equalled moreover by that demanded of the voice and lungs.
The language of the stage is not the language of the street.
Unnatural voices, shrieking, speaking though the nose,
guttural sounds in the throat, are their principle modes of
expression, and all is done with such energy that they some-
times look as if they would burst themselves.
This woman, evidently accused of the theft of a parcel
which was placed on the table before the judge, became
frenzied in her protestations of innocence. She blinded and
deafened us by her extravagant gestures and high pitched
tones. The judge remained unmoved however. He sat
with unchanging expression, looking like one of the temple
Buddhas. His puffy, whitened face, thick eyebrows and long
drooping moustaches resembled exactly one of the deities
in the pagoda of the 500 genii. He did not appear to take
any interest in the criminal nor even the witnesses for
the prosecution defence, a whole string of whom continu-
ally came and went off the stage. He must have finally
condemned the prisoner for an executioner suddenly ap-
peared who \vith a dagger cut her throat. During her death
agony she leant against a man, who turned and rounded his
back to support her. After remaining motionless in this po-
sition for a few seconds, the blood streaming from her throat,
she was gently let down to the ground by her supporter
who disappeared. I gathered he was not a character of the
piece but some sort of stage dummy supposed to be invisible.
The Court of justice is a favourite stage topic in Chinajust
as suicide is in Japan. Both are the result of the desire for
revenge, men or women who are determined to punish or
be even with their enemies. A Chinese prefers to go to law
in order to ruin his enemy, a Japanese prefers to kill him
and commit suicide. When a Chinese borrows money from
his master, friends, or family, it is generally either for a
funeral or for taking a case to law. He does not seem to
114 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
mind that the suit may prove a pecuniary loss to him so
long as he can bring his enemy to book, expose his evil
deed, and triumph over him in public. While I was staying
at the British Consulate at Yunnan Fou, a man employed
in the office asked for a month's leave.
To go to Chang Lu.
To bring a law suit against an enemy who has defrau-
Of how much?
But you will spend more than that to go to Chan Lu ?
Yes, but it must be done.
How much will it cost you, journey and law suit included ?
Over 100 dollars.
Have you that amount?
I have borrowed it.
At what percentage?
Fifteen per cent.
But will you be able to pay it back?
I do not know.
You will be ruined.
I must punish my enemy. He has defrauded me.
But you will lose time and money and gain nothing in
I must be revenged on my enemy.
And if he cannot pay you? If he does not possess thirty
I will take his house, his food, his field.
Suppose he has none of those things?
I will take from him all he has.
But you will spend 100 dollars when at the most you
will get thirty and perhaps not that?
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 115
And in spite of all arguments, the man stuck to his deter-
mination and went off the next week with his borrowed
I never heard the end of the story. But he very probably
was not back in a month and so lost his situation as well
as his money.
Though revenge is the principal reason for which a Chinese
goes to law, many seem to be fascinated by the atmosphere
of a law-court and will engage in a suit for the mere pleasure
of the mise en scene. To hear a judge and jury decide in his
favour in front of the whole world is perhaps the greatest
moment of triumph in the life of a Chinese. The difficulties
of borrowing the necessary funds, of seeking out and coach-
ing the witnesses, of bribing those who can influence the
issue of the proceedings, seem only to add to his ardour.
It is not surprising then, that this national characteristic
should be represented on the stage and arouse enthusiasm
in the spectators.
After this scene the piece seemed to change, and in spite
of the explanations of Amah whom the British Consul's wife
had brought with her, we could find no connection with
what had gone before. Amah was so excited that her Eng-
lish was incomprehensible and so anxious was she not to
miss a word of what was passing that she broke off in the
middle of every sentence. Her face was nearly as red as
that of the painted actress and she amused us with her un-
restrained laughter at the jokes, and her convulsive clutch-
ings at her chair when all did not run smoothly with the
The interest now turned on two married couples, one
woman plotting to kill her husband with the help of the
other man who was her lover. The wife first drugged her
husband, making him drink alcohol into which she had
poured some sort of poison. When he had fallen forward
on to the table, she called in her lover who was waiting
116 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
behind a small screen which represented the adjoining
room, and together they killed him and dragged him off
Then came a whole series of incidents, murders, suici-
des, men with whips, jailors with prisoners, more tribunals,
the abandoned wife being a tragic figure and taking part in
This medley of incidents and the numbers of characters
introduced one after another gave the impression of a bad
dream. As in a nightmare, one strained to understand in-
comprehensible things and to put straight inextricable ele-
ments of confusion.
Our attentions were continually distracted from the
stage by the theatre attendants who from time to time
passed in front of us offering refreshments. As soon as we
entered, bowls of tea had been served to us and these
were replenished every five minutes by a small Chinese
boy with a large kettle who ran along a small ledge on the
outside of the boxes. If he had not had the physique of a
tight-rope walker he would have assuredly fallen on the
heads of the audience below. We were offered not only
tea but dried prunes, plums, raisins of all sorts and seve-
ral kinds of small nuts or almonds. I tasted nearly
everything paying no attention to my husband's frowns
and wilfully, ignoring the fact that these dainties must have
been touched and fingered by numerous hands. Some of
the plums were quite good.
The Chinese audience interested us greatly. One balcony
opposite us, divided into boxes, was entirely filled by women.
They seemed mostly young women and there were many
girls and small children. The whole of the parterre was
taken by men. They were more excited and enthusiastic
than the women, laughed louder, stood up oftener and evi-
dently grasped the various situations much more quickly.
Suddenly there was a movement which seemed to elec-
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 117
trify all the audience and looking towards the stage I
saw the woman who had murdered her husband throw
herself off a high table on to the floor. Around her were
standing hideous men with all sorts of weapons and queer
instruments. They were rejoicing at her fall. They danced
round her with wild antics and triumphant cries, entirely
loathsome in their savage glee.
The meaning of this weird and gruesome picture sud-
denly dawned upon me, the wicked woman of the story
had commited suicide and thrown herself into Hell. These
inhuman-looking monsters were devils of the nether world.
From this moment till the end of the evening a series of
tortures followed each other continuously, each one always
worse than the last. This was the part of the performance
that the audience looked forward to most eagerly and ac-
counted for that wave of excitement I had noticed.
It was awful to think, as we watched this horrible scene,
that these very tortures had been inflicted by the Chinese
not only in times past, but that, during the revolution, such
atrocities had taken place in this very town only two years
before. And they had not moreover been confined to vic-
tims of their own race; Europeans too had endured these
things. This thought filled me with a hatred of the Chinese
that I had not felt before. And the gloating of the spec-
tators over the realistic scene was even more disgusting
than the actual tortures. Their attitude was a proof that
cruelty was inherent in their nature. If war again broke
out the same methods would be employed: death by tor-
ture would await all who fell into their hands.
If the Chinese fail to be altogether convincing in their love
scenes or family quarrels, they make their tortures as life-
like as possible. We saw men stripped and beaten while
they shrieked for mercy, others bound hand and foot and
thrown on to boards covered with sharp nails. How they
simulated the blood pouring from every wound I do not
118 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
know. Then there were others whose tongues were cut out
before being tortured and the silent writhing of the victims
was worse than their shrieks. Men were crucified or cut to
pieces inch by inch. First the nose was sliced off and flung
aside, then the ears, the eyes followed suit, &c. &c.
My husband kept saying to me "Don't look just now.
Don't look" but though I continually turned away in hor-
ror, the scene had a horrible fascination and I glanced to-
wards the stage every few seconds in spite of myself.
Even children were tortured. Fires were lit and when
the flame sprang up high in sudden gusts, tiny mites en-
tirely naked were passed from hand to hand from the
wings to the man in charge of the fire who dropped them
in. Though perhaps the children were not actually scor-
ched or burnt, the torture to them was evident; one could
see how terrified they were and how they shrank and threw
themselves back as they reached the flames. But their strug-
gles were useless; the huge brawny man, a hideous-looking
monster, mercilessly held them for a second above the fire
and they disappeared from sight. I think what seemed to
us to be a solid mass of flame was probably only a narrow
line of fire, a circle or semi-circle which flared up for a
minute at a time and gave out little heat. Any how they
were not burnt for it was the same two or three children
who were brought back to the wings and passed along
again and again. That they did not accustom themselves to
the ordeal was very clear, yet nobody protested at these small
mites acting in such a scene. It was a wicked performance.
There were other tortures of children which I hid from
my eyes, it was enough to see them standing naked, white
and motionless tied to a stake. I could not look further.
Some men were cut open and disembowelled before
they were killed. Yard and yards of entrails were pulled
across the stage. The torturers as well as the victims them-
selves were covered with blood.
AN EVENING IN THE CHINESE THEATRE 119
I had seen pictures of all the tortures practised by the
Chinese in one of the temples close to the town. All along
the wall on one side, behind a row of plaster Buddhas, were
depicted those inflicted on men, on the opposite wall, those
inflicted on women. They were painted with much detail
and in bright colours human victims cut in half with a
saw, ground down by a mill stone, thrown to wild animals,
tied to the top of a stake and slowly burnt by a fire beneath.
Thus I was not altogether unprepared for the scenes before us.
But I could stand no more. I felt sick and asked my hus-
band to take me away. We were followed by the rest of
our party. The crowd below who had been at first much
interested in our gestures of approval or disapproval did
not even notice our exit. They were mostly standing, strain-
ing forward lest they should miss a single detail of the
scene before them. Their eager, cruel expressions, their
glistening eyes feasting on the scene of blood, was as hor-
rifying as the performance itself.
We had stayed however, as we heard next day, almost
to the end of the act. A few decapitations finished the
evening. Men were forced down on their knees, their
necks placed over blocks of w r ood and their heads severed
by a single stroke of the executioner's sword. The bodies
rolled in one direction, the heads in another, a most my-
stifying and clever trick.
We had all of us seen enough however and did not re-
gret having missed this final act. I vowed it should be my
first and last visit to an Oriental theatre. We heard later
that the particular performance we had seen was rare, al-
most unique in Chinese theatrical annals and that we ought
to consider ourselves extremely lucky to have seen it!!
A YUNNANESE VILLAGE.
THE Yunnan Fou Plateau like the other plateaux of the
province was formerly a vast lake. It is on these ancient
lake beds, which are of extraordinary fertility that all the
towns and large Yunnanese villages are to be found.
These great stretches of flat land of which every corner
is cultivated support nearly the whole of the Yunnanese
population. The rough and sterile mountain-sides are
left to the Shans and other aboriginal races.
When travelling across the province and for days seeing
nothing but precipitous slopes and rocky river-beds, a pla-
cid lake whose banks team with life or the even surface
of a plateau bearing on its vast bosom a town and many
villages comes as a most agreable surprise.
The Yunnanese manage to produce two or three crops
a year; in summer the whole plateau is one huge rice-field,
in winter cereals are for the most part grown.
I had expected to see poppy fields round Yunnan Fou,
for this district was at one time more famed for its opium
than any other part of China, but for several years now
the law has been so drastically enforced that there re-
mains no sign of the cultivation of the forbidden drug. On the
arrival of General Tsai as Governor of the province at the
time of the Revolution, the last fields were stamped down
and destroyed by his troops. It is said however that since
his departure for Pekin poppy-seed has again been sown
in small quantities in well-hidden spots.
A YUNNANESE VILLAGE 121
No rivers run across the Yunnan Fou plateau. It is irri-
gated by canals which, centuries ago, must have been cut
along the beds of tiny streams for they are never straight
but wander in and out across the even surface of the plain.
The banks of these canals catch the eye, for they stand 5 or
6 feet high and are planted with pine or cypress trees. Here
we liked best to ride, for the little path on the top of the
bank was not stone-paved like the high roads and the trees
gave us welcome shade. Our coolies and mafous by ener-
getic signs always protested against our following such a
path for naturally it was never the shortest or most direct.
A Chinese cannot understand our dislike to his national
paved roads; the stumbling of his steed is no discomfort
The villages round Yunnan Fou all lie along these canals.
Wells have nevertheless to be dug, for during a short period
before the summer rains, many of the canals dry up. They
are seldom used however, except as a resting place for the
We found these Yunnanese villages most picturesque and
an absolute contrast to those in Annam or Tonking. In
the Tonkinese delta a village is recognized by thick high
bamboo hedges and groups of betel-nut palms. No huts
are visible from the outside and even when you penetrate
through the village door which is little more than a hole in
the hedge, the low thatched roofs are very unnoticable. Nor
do the children playing round their homes attract attention ;
their little naked bodies or drab coloured clothes are lost
in their surroundings.
The Yunnanese village is surrounded by a mud brick
wall, and all the houses are made also of mud bricks.
Narrow passages serve as streets and though many large
courtyards separate groups of houses there are few open
spaces. It is the inhabitants themselves who make the
Yunnanese village picturesque. The red cheeks of women
122 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
and children their bright coloured clothes, their manner
of grouping themselves at their doorway, their attitudes
as they nurse their babies talk, sow, or wash, engage one
to stop and peep into every courtyard. There are no trees
or bushes either round the villages or inside the walls, the
green foliage of Annamese villages is absolutely wanting.
They spring up in the midst of the even surface of rice-
fields like a small ant-hill in the short grass. If it was not
for the pines and cypresses overhanging the canal along
which nearly all houses stand, there would be no vegetation
at all. But it is just this stream of water with its trees on
either side which is the chief characteristic of the villages
on the Yunnan Fou plateau. On one of our first rides we
came to a village on a canal path where all the inhabi-
tants seemed to be occupied on its banks. The canal was
deep, and here and there stone steps ancient and worn,
evidently centuries old ran down to the water. Men and
children were mounting and descending these staircases
carrying their wooden buckets which they had filled with
Further on were women washing clothes scrubbing away,
apparently without soap, at shapeless looking garments.
Again were children washing rice and maize in baskets,
or scraping the mud off potatoes and other vegetables.
Some were having a bath at the same time. Horses were
being watered where the bank was less steep and at one
spot I even saw two men looking like immovable statues
silently fishing with rod and line.
In the centre of the village was a broad round unrailed
bridge, very old, very picturesque. These round bridges
in the form of a big cart-wheel are always an attractive
feature in China. They seem to be the favorite resort of
those who can enjoy a little idleness, here the men come
to smoke and meditate, the women with their babies and
girls with their sowing who want to chat together. The
A YUNNANESE VILLAGE 123
children prefer to be on the canal edge, with their hands
and feet dabbling in the water and splashing each other.
Instead of taking us across this bridge our guide led us
a little further down the village where we found one con-
sisting of two planks of wood. Probably he feared to dis-
turb those sitting there, or perhaps he was curious to see
how we should comport ourselves on horse back at such
a juncture. If so, he must have been disappointed for we
all passed over without hesitation or comment though as
regards myself I trembled with nervousness. On the further
side the villagers had built their houses close up to the
banks leaving a margin of less than a foot wide for passers-
by. As we happened to meet a buffalo with a small boy on
its back just at this spot, the stupidity of such lack of space
was brought home to me. If I tried to pass the monster,
either my pony or the buffalo must be forced down the
bank probably my pony and perhaps not untouched by
those enormous horns which for me seemed to fill the
whole horizon. I hesitated to turn round on the narrow
path lest my steed should start a fight with the pony behind,
besides it might have the effect of obliging the whole caval-
cade chairs included, to turn round too. On the whole I pre-
ferred facing the obstacle to having it at my heels. As I
was in the fore-front I shouted out in English to the
child to take his animal down the banks and emphasized
my words with ferocious signs. I knew very well by ex-
perience that these children can manage their charges with-
out danger or difficulty. What was my relief when the child
obeyed and even improved upon my orders. He turned the
bulky animal completely round and made it retrace its
steps at a jog-trot. This was done by a mere twist by the
little hand of the rope attached to the beast's nostrils.
Neither in Tonking nor China are these domesticated
buffaloes really dangerous.. Though they do not like a white
man and scent him a long distance off they are easily con-
124 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
trolled by a native child whom they know. Nevertheless
one of these monsters at close quarters is a somewhat
Before we were out of the village our narrow canal path
was entirely blocked by bundles of rough fire-wood which
were being loaded into a sampan. I turned therefore to the
right through a village street so narrow that I could touch
the low doors of the houses on either side with my stirrups.
Women and children on the thresholds looked up at us in
surprise; they were not used to seeing Europeans in their
obscure alley. The economy of space in a town bounded by
fortress walls one can understand but why this crowding to-
gether in a village merely surrounded by ricefields? The
Chinese love to live herded together, and privacy and quiet
which are so essential to our comfort do not appeal to them
at all. Having no nerves and the way one's chair coolies
sleep is sufficient evidence of that happy omission in their
anatomy they do not mind the noise nor the discomfort
which is entailed by living one on the top of the other. A
Chinese can sleep in any and every position whether sitting
on a small stone with no support to his head, or lying full-
length on a narrow bench or the balustrade of a bridge.
It is all the same to him whether he be exposed to the
full sun, or with no protection on a cold night, he sleeps
as heavily. He may be surrounded by a mass of bark-
ing dogs, native squibs may be exploding like so many
guns at his door he is not disturbed. No shouting in his
ear could ever wake my chair coolie, it was only a shake
or a whack with a stick which could arouse him. This capa-
city for sleep is the only thing for which I envy the Chinese.
What strength it would give to us if we could sleep like that.
In the open spaces between the village streets were
round stacks of hay covered with straw thatch. They were
so close together that it was with great difficulty we could
pass between them. If there was a free spot of ground avai-
A YUNNANESE VILLAGE 125
lable, be sure a woman would immediately employ it for
spreading out her clothes or laying out her paddy to dry
or for beating out the grain from the stalks. For this latter
purpose by the way, they used long sticks of which the bot-
tom half was firm and the top half turned round on itself
coming down with force on the dry stalks.
Nowhere round Yunnan Fou are bricks baked artificially.
All the huts are built with sun-dried bricks which keep their
natural mud colour. If seemed to me astonishing that walls
thus made should not crumble or fall down of their own
weight but probably owing to the very dry climate at this
high attitude, they seem to resist well.
As in Indochina it is principally the women who are
employed in the rice- fields. It is they quite as often as the
men, who are to be seen working the water-mill which
draws the water from the canal to irrigate the fields. They
stand by couples pushing the handles to and fro from early
morning to late evening. The ploughing of the fields, which
is only started when they are flooded and the water has
softened the earth, is done by the men. It requires more
than a woman's strength to keep the clumsy plough at the
proper angle and at the same time direct the movements
of the buffaloe which drags it. Fortunately buffaloes are a
domesticated animal in the East for one ^cannot imagine
horses plodding up and down in the deep mud and water.
Buffaloes are never so happy as rolling in wet mud so that
the slow movement to and fro, with the water often up to
their knees is no uncongenial task to them.
The rice is always sown closely in one corner of a field,
and when some ten inches high is planted out shoot by
shoot. This is women's work and when we first arrived
in Yunnan Fou we could never go beyond the walls
without seeing rows of women in the fields, up to their
knees in mud, pushing down the shoots into the soft earth.
Most of these women wore red cotton trousers and as they
126 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
bent low over their task one could only see their rounded
backs and their big straw hats. It gave the impression of a
row of en ormous scarlet stalked mushrooms in a sea of green.
They rarely raised their heads except to take fresh bund-
les of shoots from a child who fetched them at intervals
from the sown patch of emerald green. If, however, during
that momentary pause, one of them happened to catch
sight of us she would draw the attention of her companions.
Then they would all stand upright and stare and laugh at
us, making jocular remarks to us or about us. Their faces
were nearly as red as their trousers with heat and exertion.
When we had passed by and they had exhausted their
stock of comments on our general bearing and appearance,
they would give themselves a last stretch and continue
their task. The children, whom their mothers had brought
to the field with them, remained on the dikes between the
fields. Some of them were looking after the buffaloes not
in use for ploughing and preventing them eating the young
rice. In Tonking little girls are often in charge of these
monster animals and it is really curious to see a small mite
under ten years old sitting fearlessly on the buffalo's back
with her bare legs dangling over the rough grey hide. Some-
times she lies full length along its back and sleeps in this
position balancing herself instinctively as the buffalo moves
slowly along munching the grass. Yet in some ways they are
much more timid than the boys and if my husband and
I, on an excursion, called to a group of children it was
only the boys who would come forward. If we then drew
attention to the girls in the back ground or beckoned to
them, they would immediately take to their heels with or
without their buffaloes. When we told the boys to fetch
the girls they only laughed.
But in Yunnan as in Annam, it is only the boys who look
after the buffaloes. They certainly like their task for it
gives them a free and out-of-door life. From sun-rise to
A YUNNANESE VILLAGE 127
sun-set they are in the open, leading their charges to the
best patches of grass in the neighbourhood driving them
into the shade of the trees when the sun is hot and to
the water in the evening. All day long they play hide and
seek, scampering in and out between the grey monsters or
they sleep on their backs or they lie and dream on the
grass at their feet. In the evening the}' strip, throwing aside
their little trousers and tunics and accompany their charges
into the water. The animals obey them with as much do-
cility as if these mites of children with their little canes
could hurt them through their thick hide. The children
enjoy their bath as much as the buffaloes and on hot days
remain for hours in the water.
The baby buffaloes in their gambles sometimes stray from
the rest of the herd and the children then imitate the shrill
snort of the mother and bring them back without the trouble
of going to fetch them. It is only just before dusk that the
children, tired out, drive them back to the village.
Buffaloes are the only animals for which the Chinese
really seem to have any affection or to which they give
proper care. Horses, dogs and cats are not only uncared
for, but are often needlessly tortured.
Probably girls are not to be seen with the buffaloes in
China because, owing to their bandaged feet, they are not
capable of any duties which call for activity. In Yunnan, it is
not only the wealthy classes who indulge in this crushing of
the feet, the poorest country peasants do it too. In fact from
what I saw in the girls' schools in Yunnan Fou, it is to the
more educated classes that any effort to change the custom is
due. It is towards the age of six or seven that the little feet are
bound up so that what should be the best years of youth, those
in which all active movement, all play, is an immeasurable
pleasure, are the saddest for them. Not only can they not
enjoy all the delights of their age but they suffer continu-
ally. To run about the fields with their brothers is natur-
128 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
ally impossible. When they are able to walk again with-
out too much pain, they can only do so as cripples. What
a contrast is there between the stiff movements of the
women working laboriously in the fields in Yunnan and
the free, supple, easy ones of those in Tonking.
In Tonking the marketing is almost wholly done by
women: it is their chief and favourite occupation for it gives
them liberty and independence. They are glad to escape
the supervision of the mother-in-law and join their friends.
The long trudge with the heavy baskets is a pleasure to
them for as they trot along in single file they can chat
. freely and without restraint, and they have no foot-gear
like the Chinese nor corsets like Europeans to hamper
their movements. Then too they are past masters in the
art of bargaining and love to exercise it in the sale of their
produce. The Chinese woman is far inferior in this re-
spect, and whereas a Tonkinese husband leaves all finan-
cial concerns to his wife, in Yunnan she is not even consul-
ted. Here the men predominate in the market and the
women one sees act merely as beasts of burden. To them
is denied the pleasurable excitement of bargaining. China-
men living in Tonking recognize the superiority of the
women there and often marry Tonkinese wives.
The Yunnanese woman if inferior to the Tonkinese in
organization and financial concerns is more industrious
with her fingers and more thrifty. A Yunnanese, unless
carrying a baby, is eternally sewing or washing. Every-
garment of her family is mended till it is threadbare and
when the stitches will no longer hold, the rags are turned
to some other account. As in the matter of food, nothing
is allowed to be wasted. Economy thrift and industry are
inherent in men and women alike. The extravagant, gam-
bling propensities and idleness of which Tonkinese women
are often accused is practically unknown here.
It is not rare in Yunnan to see four generations of a family
A YUNNANESE VILLAGE 129
employed at the same task. Children of four or five years
old can accomplish such work for instance as the picking
of tea or the shelling of cotton. It has been noticed that in
districts where children at an early age are able to cover
the cost of the rice which feeds them, there is much less
Chinese children have no organized games with fixed
rules like ours. Toys such as tops, shuttle-cocks and espe-
cially those made of coloured paper such as lanterns and
kites abound. Flying a kite is as popular a pastime with the
old as with the young and one may often see men of middle
age in the fields vying with each other in the height they can
send them. They show the greatest keenness and eagerness
over every movement of their coloured toy in the air.
Children who mix with Europeans and join in their
games such as tennis or billards become quickly expert.
Yunnanese villages seem to be free on the whole from
petty thefts. This is probably due to the severity of the
punishments for robbery which were till recently out of
all proportion to the damage done. Also householders take
infinite care of their property trusting nobody and allowing
nothing out of their sight. The loss of a few handfuls of
straw or a bundle of fire-wood drives a Yunnanese quite
beside himself. If it is impossible to discover the culprit
either by his own investigation or with the help of the village
authorities he indulges in what is called " reviling the street ".
He stands at his door or perhaps on the roof of his house
and curses with the utmost vehemence the man, woman
or child who has robbed him.
His whole vocabulary, every oath or invective in the
Chinese language is summoned to his aid. The family, an-
cestors and posterity of the culprit are alike condemned and
consigned to the same fate.
The first time I was a witness of such a scene, I thought
the man standing on his roof screaming, and pouring forth
130 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
such a torrent of words and at the same time gesticulating
so violently was a mad-man. He certainly must have been
mad for the moment, for it needed more than ordinary hu-
man strength to maintain a tirade so vociferous. All his
vocal chords seemed about to burst and every muscle was
at its highest tension. His face was red, his eyes starting out
of his head, his clothes in disorder. A crowd which grew and
dispersed, and grew again watched him from a little distance.
Occasionally two men would smile at each other as they
nodded disdainfully in his direction but on the whole even
the impassive, immovable China-man seemed impressed
and looked nervous and uncomfortable.
To me it was a terrifying sight. He must surely have
lost all his money or perhaps his home, to have worked
himself into this mad passion. I could hardly believe that
the whole explanation was that a few square yards of maize
from one of his lields had been cut down and carried off
during the night. It is natural that a man whose whole life
is engrossed in gaining or saving a cent will not submit to
being robbed without a protest, but still. . . .
I was told that occasionally women act in the same man-
ner. The scene must then be even more distressful. To see
these quiet little villages one would hardly believe such
upheavals possible. The groups of women on their door-
steps, the children playing in the courtyard, the low mur-
mur of the men as they smoke and chat convey a so alto-
gether different atmosphere. One seldom heard a raised
voice or saw an angry gesture.
As a matter of fact such outbursts are the exception, the
atmosphere of calm and peace the rule.
THE COPPER TEMPLE.
THE Copper Temple is considered the monument of great-
est interest in the neighbourhood of Yunnan Fou. The first
excursion of new arrivals generally takes them there.
The Si-Chan temple is famed for its site, that of the 500
genii for the originality of its plaster Buddhas, the Rock
pagoda for its frescoed walls, but none can compare with
the Copper Temple in beauty of construction and harmony
It is a work of art. Not only has discrimination and ar-
tistic feeling been show r n in the choice of the site the natural
beauties of which are in keeping with the building, but the
architectural value is high and workmanship is of the best.
I visited this temple 4 or 5 times while at Yunnan Fou,
spending the afternoon under the trees beneath its walls,
and I got to know it well.
The first time my husband and I went there, it was with
a party staying in the hotel. We decided to go on horse-
back though several of the ladies had never ridden before.
This led to a very late start as, being unused to their bor-
rowed costumes, they all needed help to dress. Their put-
ties had to be put on for them and when at last they were
ready, it took time and skill to mount them on their ponies.
There were sudden shrieks and screams for help and because
one wretched pack-horse took a step forward, its rider was
immediately persuaded that she had a too fresh or unsafe
mount and demanded an exchange. Ho\vever the leaders
132 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
of the party showed a firm front and, as soon as we all had
hands on reins and feet in stirrups, a start was made. The
men did their best to divide themselves up among the wo-
men in case we wanted help, but as we were obliged to go
in single file and some pack-horses preferred following
certain others, this arrangement was somewhat difficult to
We could naturally only go at a snail's pace on the stone-
paved road which twisted and turned through the rice-
fields so that even the least skilled among us managed
to keep our seats and even to carry on a desultory conver-
sation, though with eyes always fixed on the horses head.
Once as we reached a canal bank one of the men thought-
lessly put his pony to the trot. Consternation and cata-
strophe! For the two ponies behind must needs follow and
soon their fair riders were keeping their seats by clinging
round their ponies necks! It was a terrifying moment for
us all and the air was rent with screams. As soon as the
foremost pony came to a stand however, the others did
likewise and nobody was any the worse.
One pack-horse, mounted by a young girl, suddenly,
without warning, turned off the canal path down the bank
into the water and began to drink. Mademoiselle tugged at
the reins with such insistence that she nearly slipped over
the animal's head. Finding that her efforts were of no
avail she called out piteously for help. She was told to sit
still and let the pony finish its drink which it was appar-
ently determined to do. Realizing that no terrible accident
was going to happen she took the advice and a moment
later the pony lifted its head and quietly joined its fellows.
In spite of many such-like vicissitudes we eventually arri-
ved at the foot of the forest-covered hill on which the
Copper Temple stands. The ponies were relieved of their
saddles, tied up with any cords or straps at hand and left
THE COPPER TEMPLE 133
We had now to mount three flights of steps which led
up in a straight line to the pagoda. There was another path
much less steep up which it would have been possible to
ride, but we did not know of it at the time and in any case
it would have been a pity to miss the sight of this straight
stone stairway, overhung by trees, which continued up and
up as far as the eye could see. There were stone archways
from time to time, all differing one from another and more
or less artistic. In the alcoves, on either side of these roofed
archways, were highly-coloured ferocious-looking plaster
Buddhas which we examined with exaggerated interest
while regaining our breath. The last three archways are
known as the Doors of Heaven. At each one we thought
we must have surely finished our ascent. The last opened
on to a courtyard embellished by a number of statues, most
of them Genii of Thunder with the beaks and feet of birds.
Immediately opposite us was a little pavilion, a sort of
entrance-porch to the temple itself. The nearer the shrine,
the more careful became the workmanship and the richer
the materials used. Here the paving- stones were whitish
gray and highly glazed. The little alcoves which contained
on one side, a big bronze gong and on the other, an iron flag
had distinct artistic merit. The stone railing round the
Copper pagoda was finely sculptured and the steps leading
up to il were of marble. These steps were divided midway
by a beautiful sculptured dragon cut from a single marble
slab. On ascending them we found ourselves on the terrace
of the pagoda. In front of the big door was a huge black
stone incense burner of beautiful proportions and highly
polished. The temple itself is wrought of Copper, black and
gold, and all finely sculptured. From foundation to roof,
everything is of copper, porch, altar, pillars, and walls.
The innermost shrine is about twelve feet by eight feet
quite small in comparison with the outer temples and
sanctuaries surrounding it. It dates from the reign of the
134 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Emperor Ts'oung Cheng of the Ming Dynasty about the
middle of the 17th Century. The general who designed
and built it, intended to live there as a bonze when his
career in the army ended. But as so often happens in China,
the display of his wealth, necessitated by the construction
of the temple, created him enemies. He was denounced to
the Government who, fearing he would become too power-
ful, had him beheaded. The reason given was that the temple
was an imitation of one in Peking the forbidden city.
The interior of the temple is small and dark just standing
room for a single person. No light enters but by the double
doors in front. The altar extends from one side to the other
and it is impossible to see distinctly or touch the sacred
objects or the medley of offerings of present and past gene-
rations which are arranged behind it. By craning one's
neck, one manages to get a glimpse of a tortoise and a ser-
pent, supposed to have been modelled out of the liver and
intestines of a prince, whose statue stands in the middle
of the altar.
As usual with these Chinese temples the interior was
most disappointing; the promise held out by the exterior
being quite unfulfilled. There was moreover for us Eu-
ropeans no religious atmosphere whatever.
We wandered round the courtyard again admiring its
roof, its little marble staircases, its parapet over which
small Chinese boys were idly leaning. Every view of it was
beautiful. Two trees standing behind it, their gnarled and
crooked branches showing their great age, served to enhance
its beauty. They were covered with pink blossoms and the
ground beneath was red with fallen petals.
After lunch, spread out on a long table in one of the
side temples we made our way on to the w r ooded hill-side
and from there into the fields beyond. On the grassy
slopes we found quantities of Edelweiss, the flowers being
larger and with longer stalks than those in the Swiss Alps.
THE COPPER TEMPLE 135
Having gathered a few we began to descend the hill, re-
turning by the fields instead of the way we had come.
As we neared the spot where the ponies were tethered we
heard a neighing and galloping. We hastened our steps and
1 shall never forget the sight that met our eyes. At least
eight of the ponies had got loose and were fighting like wild
animals. They reared up on their hind legs and struck at
each other with their fore feet. They bit at each other
furiously and some had blood running down their necks.
They were not neighing in the usual manner, it was more like
the shrill squealing of pigs. Some of them had their legs
entangled in cords which hampered their movements. All
the mafous but one had disappeared. It was a most unnerv-
ing spectacle the first few moments of this pandemonium.
A fight between tigers or boars or other wild animals would
have made far less impression on me. But I had never
imagined these ponies capable of such viciousness or of
such shrieks. I felt like shrieking myself to drown the
noise. The men had rushed forward at once to the nearest
fighting horses and tried to catch hold of their ropes but it
was impossible to approach. They ran the risk of being
either kicked or having the ponies fall on the top of them.
They fetched sticks and tried to separate them but if they
succeeded in driving one pony away, the others only pur-
sued it and the fight began again 50 yards away. If one
of the men did manage to seize a rope he was immediately
dragged along the ground and in a moment obliged to let
go again. All this time my own pony was still tied up
but now seeing two fighting animals approaching him, I
rushed to unloose him and take him to a place of safety.
He had been lent me for the day and I could not let him
be damaged. I had undone the rope and was leading him
away up the fields when he suddenly gave a furious neigh,
sprang backwards, wrenching the rope from me and there
was my pony too in the midst of the m16e! I hid my face
136 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
in my hands. I did not dare to look at what might happen.
The rest of the party had now arrived and one poor lady
was in the greatest distress at seeing her pet pony with
blood on his neck and side in fierce fight. She ventured
dangerously near calling out piteously Becon, Becon,
Becon; on ordinary occasions he answered to his name
and followed her like a dog but now he ignored her enti-
rely. Her husband soon after brought her crying to
where we women were standing at a distance in a helpless
At last some of the ponies evidently grew tired of the fight
and, moving away, began to munch grass as if nothing had
happened. They were immediately caught and led to a safe
distance. Finally all were secured but we were still so agi-
tated that we hardly dared approach them and all declared
we would rather walk home. However the men would not
hear of our doing any such thing and we were commanded
to hunt out our saddles and bridles for these too were all
in confusion. Needless to say no one recognized their own.
Some could hardly distinguish which pony they had ridden.
If the start out had been difficult it may be imagined what
the preparations for the return were like. Our one and
only mafou was quite unable to saddle and bridle all those
ponies and in any case he was too terrified to do anything
right. We were all trembling. Even the men had their ner-
ves on edge, and many were bruised and scratched, but they
set to work to tighten girths and adjust stirrups, consoling
and scolding the women in turn. Finally we were all
mounted and a move was made towards home.
The return journey was a subdued one. Once safely at
the hotel, I think we all came to the conclusion that large
parties on horse-back were a mistake, and that the beauties
of Nature as well as the interesting features of ancient
Chinese temples could be better appreciated with one or
two companions only. Our succeeding visits to the Copper
THE COPPER TEMPLE
Temple were peaceful and without incident and though a
little later, we looked back on our first excursion there with
much amusement, we did not try the experiment of a
large party again.
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN.
YUNNAN Fou is situated on a plateau surrounded by hills.
It is difficult to realize that you are at a height of 6000 feet
as no glimpse is obtainable into valley or plain below you.
Excursions too are always planned with the idea of reach-
ing the bordering heights. The Chinese have built their
temples in the prettiest corners of the hills and have left
the trees standing for a certain distance round them, the
result being that wherever one finds a temple, one also finds
a sweet smelling pine forest or a shady mossy wood where
one may rest.
It is a constant custom to set the wooded mountain
slopes on fire, for the threefold purpose of freeing pasture
for buffaloes or planting a little maize or simply for the
sake of the charcoal.
The neighbourhood of these temples is ideal for picnics;
not only can you lie full length on the grass under the trees
when lunch has been disposed of, but if it rains you can
shelter within the pagoda itself and have your meal
there, the bonze on guard being always ready to provide
you with water and wood if you wish to boil eggs or
The Si-Chan is the most famous temple near Yunnan Fou
as regards its position. It is built high up on a precipitous
mountain side overhanging the beautiful Yunnan lake.
This mountain lake is in itself one of the great sights of the
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 139
province. It is rather a long and tiring excursion and un-
fortunately during the first fortnight while my husband
was still with me, I was not feeling well enough for the
rather arduous climb. The magnificent climate however
was so invigorating, that before a month was up I was
able to join a party from the hotel.
We started at 8 o'clock one morning M r and M me L., their
son Raymond, M r D. and myself. M r and M me L. went in
chairs with four coolie-bearers each, the rest on horse-
back. I took also my own chair and coolies in case of
being tired and into this w r e heaped coats rugs cameras, &c.
Another coolie carried our lunch, packed in two big bas-
kets slung over his shoulders, while a boy from the hotel
and two mafous were taken to look after our not too docile
There are two kinds of native ponies for hire. The first
is a thin small knock-kneed animal like the poorest sort
of pack-horse, which looks as if its back would break when
you mounted it. In spite of its sorry appearance however,
it will carry you to your destination and back in safety
without your needing to touch the bridle, as long as it can
just follow another pony nose to tail or its mafou. It can-
not trot or gallop and, if deprived of its mafou, would pro-
bably lose all motive power, lie down and die. Such a
mount has its advantages for people who have never been
accustomed to riding and who prefer almost any means of
locomotion to a chair.
The other kind of native pony is larger and stronger,
holding its head up, is lively, capable of galloping and
trotting but so obstinate that unless you immediately
on mounting show your determination to be master, you
may have a most disagreeable ride. For these ponies too,
wish to follow their mafous or prance along in single file.
They enjoy a fight and, given an opportunity, will kick or
bite their neighbour or try to gallop after some quiet harm-
140 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
less horse tethered in a field, or peaceably munching grass
by the road-side.
On the present occasion, no sooner were chairs, coolies,
horses, and mafous, well underway than the inevitable fight
for mastery began. We were now off the cobbled pavement
and on one of the dike paths which wind in and out all
over the plain of Yunnan Fou. These paths are five or six
feet above the rice fields and are shaded with pines which
make riding pleasant. The canal path on which we found
ourselves would just allow two horses to go abreast, so I
pulled up mine and waited for M r D. to come alongside.
His pony however came to a stand-still as soon as mine
did and neither persuasion nor whip had any effect. It
twisted and turned now nearly throwing its rider into the
canal now into the rice-field, then it plunged into the hind
legs of my pony which began kicking and nearly succeeded
in throwing me. Finally I pulled my pony behind that of
M r D. and when a fresh start was made, managed with my
rather less obstinate animal to get alongside his. Once in
the position you w r ish it is easy to keep there. During
these performances the mafou always tries to interfere and
makes voluble explanations, but he is worse than useless
as he never understands what you want, and if he did, his
sympathies would be with the ponies rather than their
riders. You therefore order him out of the way behind you,
with the result that when really you do need him, he is not
to be found. For instance, if you chance to meet a number
of pack-horses on the narrow path, as is often the case,
you need him to drive them into the rice fields or your
fiery steed will certainly try to kick each one as it passes.
As we approached the lake, the dike which we were
following grew to a canal. Every now and then we over-
took sampans which were being towed along. Most of them
carried a number of children who squalled among the
motley baggage, while the adults with ropes round their
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 141
waists were struggling to drag the boat through the shallow
water and mud. This shallow water was being still further
diminished by the pumping machines which were in action
on either side of the canal to irrigate the rice fields.
These curious contrivances, somewhat resembling a ladder-
twelve or fifteen feet long, act like a tread mill dragging the
water upwards slowly but surely. It is worked by one or
two natives who alternately push and pull two stick-like
handles. This instrument is never seen in Annam. There,
the natives use a simple scoop or bucket supported by ropes
from a tripod. From the dikes to the rice fields the distance
would have been too great for this method here.
These pumping machines are working from early morn-
ing till dusk and one night we even saw one or two still
going by the light of the moon. As a rule, work ceases at
sunset, and these clumsy wooden ladder-like instruments
are lifted up, and carried home on the two mens' shoulders.
After skirting miles of ricefields and many villages we
had our first glimpse of a blue stretch of water. A mountain
lake is more fascinating than one at sea level and we
pushed forwards eagerly towards the hamlet which was to
be our place of embarkation. Chairs and horses stopped
at a humble little pagoda. The pagodas take the place of
hotels in Chinese villages. They are always the best buil-
dings in the villages and provide the most comfortable
resting place for travellers. The bonze in charge is always
ready to open a side room for you, where you may fix up
an improvised bed, and so take a siesta in the midst of
Buddhas and incense burners. He will also provide you
with hot water or anything else at his disposal. We did
no more than glance round the courtyard of this parti-
cular pagoda, for our day's pilgrimage had hardly begun.
But we did just allow ourselves time to take a few sprigs
of a lovely purple flower growing on a tree there. The
blossoms were rather like a horse chestnut in shape and
142 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
were in their prime: they made a magnificent show of co-
lour against the sombre-looking pagoda.
Finding it was another five minutes or so to the spot
where our boat was awaiting us, I decided to mount my
pony again and proceeded to lead him across a one plank
bridge. In the middle I felt a sudden tug at the reins
of which I fortunately let go. The awkward animal had
missed its footing and fallen into the water. The pond was
not deep and he dragged himself out quickly but he was
covered with a thick coating of mud and my saddle also
which was worse. I left him to the mercies of the mafou
hoping to find him clean again on my return and continued
my way on foot lucky to have escaped with a splashing,
for had I held on to the reins, I should have hardly escaped
being pulled into the pond too.
We reached the boat, which was anchored a few yards
from the shore, by means of a sampan. There were offers
in plenty to carry us across the narrow strip of water and
these being declined, at least six or seven sampans simul-
taneously demanded to transport us. We quickly stepped
into one, to avoid quarrels and recriminations and were
pushed alongside our boat.
There was plenty of animation at this corner of the lake.
The sampans trading up and down the canal make a stop
there and ferry boats ply between here and the further
side carrying the people and their wares to market. One
big ferry-boat was just ready to start. It seemed quite full
up with men and women who were squatting among their
big baskets, many of the women with children in their
arms. As each fresh arrival with his load mounted the
plank to embark, one wondered where he was to find
standing room much less a place for his baskets; but after
a few groans and expostulations, he always managed to
squat down somewhere and in his turn to disappear among
the mass of baskets and big round hats.
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 143
So long as there was hope of more passengers the ferry-man
would refuse to make a start, for time and punctuality had
no value for him when it was a question of a few cents.
I mentioned economy as being the motto and watchword
of the Chinese but economy of time must be excepted.
It is a well known fact that coolies, even after a long days'
work, will go miles out of their way for the sake of getting
a meal one cent cheaper.
The boat on which we embarked was one lent us by the
French Consulate. It was painted white and had a little
cabin with a table and four berths. We seated ourselves
on deck and resolved to have lunch and siesta on board
before beginning our climb. It was supposed to be a cross-
ing of nearly three hours, so that by having our meal dur-
ing that time instead of waiting to reach the pagoda, we
should be less rushed later and also give ourselves an oc-
cupation. Not that we were dull a minute. Before we were
a hundred yards from the shore, M r D. in climbing on to
the upper deck, dropped his leather sheathed knife out of
his belt into the water. He called out to the rowers but
they merely looked blank, so he stepped along the out-
side edge of the boat balancing himself by a little wooden
rail which ran along the deck. Suddenly this rail broke
and he fell into the water. Fortunately it was not deep and he
was able not only to recover his sheath which was floating
but also the knife which had fallen out and had sunk. He
clambered into the boat again and a discussion started as
to how he should dry his clothes. M r L. offered his trou-
sers if we w r ould excuse his sitting, in his pants, but after
many other suggestions, it was decided that he should take
off his wet things and put on M me L.'s travelling coat, which
she had brought with her in case of cold. He soon reap-
peared in our midst therefore in an elegantly-cut grey
coat which gave him a waist and the figure of a woman.
But his bare feet in plaited sandals and half a dozen safety-
144 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
pins modestly closing up the gaps between the buttons down
the front rather spoilt the general effect.
And he was not single in his misfortune, for not long after
Raymond somehow managed to get drenched and had to
retire for an hour or so while his clothes dried.
Our boat followed a channel between shoals and masses
of bushes and weeds which showed above the surface, for
we were crossing the lake right at the Southern end, where
it was more like a series of ponds than an even sheet
of water. Not that it was the less pretty or picturesque for
that. The water was covered with white flowers like flakes
of snow, the blossoms just floating on the surface with no
stalks or leaves showing. The hills all round the lake were
bare and uninhabited but here and there one saw a pagoda
perched on a rock or in a dip surrounded by trees. The
red paths winding up to them, as well as those leading
down into these hollows looked most enticing and made
us long to explore them. There were villages dotted all
round the lake, towards one of which we were making our
way at the foot of the Si-Chan.
Halfway across the lake we began to distinguish the group
of pagodas we were about to visit. They were built one
above the other on the steep hill side and the last and
highest, to the right of the others, was cut in the rock itself
and overlooked a sheer precipice of some thousand feet.
Though we could not see the path nor the stone steps
leading up to them because of the trees, we realized by
their position the steep climb awaiting us. And it was a
At 11. M r D. and Raymond being once more clothed
and dry, we sat down to lunch in the little cabin. Before
we had finished we had reached the opposite bank, but we
allowed ourselves an hour's siesta and only went ashore
at 2 P.M.
A few hundred yards along the narrow, muddy, slippery
ON THK WAY TO THK SI-CHAN.
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 145
dikes between the rice fields and we found ourselves at
the door of the village.
These entrance doors to a village are sometimes very
picturesque and often curiously ornamented with stone
dragons or other animals. Those of us with cameras
"snapped" this one, Raymond making us wait in the hot
sun while he climbed on the top or placed himself in ex-
traordinary positions with the object of making our sou-
venirs more realistic.
As soon as we were out of the village we came upon the
first flight of steps. Broad and winding, in the midst of the
high grass and over-shadowed by pines, they formed a pretty
picture. But we were not allowed to dally for meditation
thereon, for M r D. was pushing on ahead and urging us
forward, reminding us how many steps there were (1000 1
think) and that our time was limited. This flight was followed
by a little winding path, then more steps, another path,
then a door, then more stairs, and here we were at a small
pagoda or shrine. Before we had climbed twenty minutes
we had all found it necessary to divest ourselves of some
part of our clothing and had given it to the coolie, who was
already burdened with a number of thick coats and scarves
in case of our feeling chilly at our journey's end. Conversa-
tion turned on the luxury of douches and dry clothes, on
the delights of ice and fans, in fact we might again have
been in the plains of Tonking.
Reaching a small pagoda about a quarter of the way up,
where there was an opening in the trees and a view of the
lake, we were told we might have ten minutes rest. I seated
myself on the stone 'parapet of the verandah and looked
into the valley. The blue water of the lake was shimmer-
ing below us and the fishing sampans were mere specks
on the great expanse. Just below us a number of boats
were slowly advancing in line probably drawing along a
huge fishing net. Every boat was possessed of a bundle of
146 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
bamboo sticks, the tapping together of which we could
distinctly hear, a proceeding no doubt intended to frighten
the fish into the net. We could see the channel we had
followed in crossing the lake and the little village where we
Thetrees around us prevented us from seeing Yunnan Fou
and the distant hills; it was necessary to climb still higher
if we were to get a really extensive view.
But once seated it was an effort to make a fresh move
and it was only when every one else had disappeared round
the next turning, that I found the energy to jump from my
perch. I had nearly caught them up when I heard a smash
of glass and groans of despair. I guessed instinctively what
had happened, dashed up the last steps two at a time and
immediately realized my worst fears! The thermos contain-
ing our precious tea was broken and all had disappeared
but a tiny trickle which M r D. was endeavouring to catch
in a cup. When the flask refused to yield another drop, five
pairs of anxious eyes gazed at the small cup. One of us, I for-
get who, was afraid of the bits of broken glass so it had only
to be shared among four. Somehow it managed to go twice
round and expressing ourselves greatly refreshed by these
few drops, we continued our way with renewed strength.
We explored each passing shrine probably erected to
encourage Si-Chan pilgrims but nothing in them particular-
ly attracted our notice. There were always two or more
plaster Buddhas with fiercely staring eyes, huge bellies, and
outstretched arms, a few half burnt tapers in an incense
burner, and two or three round wicker stools left carelessly
here and there.
Finally we came to the principal Si-Chan pagoda which
was practically the end of our climb. It was quite a big build-
ing with a broad terrace in front supported by a high solid
stone wall. From here we had a splendid and extensive
view. The light was admirable and even the details of the
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 147
villages and hills beyond the lake could be clearly distin-
guished. No cloud, no haze to blurr our vision, it was a
day, and of such there are many in Yunnan Fou, when all
the details of nature were distinct in the soft yet strong clear
light. The dryness of the climate accounts for this clear atmo-
sphere. The lake extended to the right as far as we could
see, encircling the foot of the range of hills on which we
stood. It is never very broad but is very long.
The roofs of Yunnan Fou were distinctly visible and the
Chinese towers and the Governor's residence stood out
above the rest. We tried to localize the position of different
pagodas we had visited in the neighbourhood of Yunnan
Fou, but we could never agree as to which was which even
with the help of field glasses and guide books, and we had
no resident of the country to whom to appeal. It was im-
possible to take a Chinese as arbitrator as he would not
have understood our pronunciation of the Chinese names.
When the provisionsbasket had twice nearly fallen over
the parapet, w r e gave up looking at the view and turned our
attention to the pagoda. It was evidently a favorite resort
of the richer Chinese. A number were chatting and smok-
ing in one corner. At another table four or five were play-
ing cards. The onlookers seemed as interested as the players
themselves. Naturally I could not grasp in so short a time
how r their game was played, but I could see that they
arranged their cards (little narrow slips of horn printed
with red or black characters) according to suits and that
they held about ten or twelve at the beginning of the deal.
They were playing for quite high stakes evidently as silver
pieces continually passed from hand to hand. Only sapeks
are seen among the gamblers in the streets or on country
paths as they throw their dice. The noise and excitement
which accompanies such street gambling were absent here.
The only exclamations came from the on-lookers, the
players themselves were silent.
148 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
During our inspection of the premises we came upon
real bed-rooms containing beds these had no mattresses
but plenty of rugs and blankets: here and there a man was
lying fast asleep.
What amused us very much at this pagoda were the antics
of a monkey chained to the parapet. It was a big, strong
animal whose fury one would not like to arouse if it had
been at liberty. As it was not free to revenge itself for
insults, the biscuits which we slowly dealt out to it were
accompanied by a good deal of teasing. Our "boy" had
unpacked our provision basket and suggested we should
here partake of our bread, ham, and other refresments that
we had brought with us, but we preferred to wait till the
end of our journey, for the last and most wonderful part
of our excursion was still in store. We therefore simply
drank the little bow r ls of Chinese tea which the bonze had
had served to us, (very unpalatable because there was no
sugar and naturally no milk and it reminded us of the de-
licious beverage we had lost in the valley) and proceeded
on our way. From here the path was cut out of rock, over-
hanging a sheer precipice. We could only walk very slowly
for sometimes it even became a tunnel with little windows,
and was so narrow, that one had to squeeze oneself through
or bend low to pass. Then again it would open out into a
sort of verandah with a narrow edge of rock left for a
parapet. We had been told that some people felt dazed and
unsteady during these last hundred yards or so but none
of us experienced any feeling of this sort, for everywhere
there was some sort of jagged rock which acted as a barrier
and gave a feeling of security. At the end of this path we
came to the last little pagoda, built on a small round open
space cut out from under an overhanging rock. A huge
highly-coloured Buddha with two other idols occupied the
interior and if they were the deities guarding all within
their view, their protection extended over a large part of
THE PAGODA OF THE SI-CHAN 149
the province. On the outer rock above, overhanging the
precipice, was a niche and in it was enshrined another
Buddha, but it was only by leaning with our backs against
the parapet and looking straight up-wards that we could
see it, and we should never have discovered it if the hotel
boy had not pointed it out to us as one of the sights. How
it had been possible to place it in such a position was
a wonder, though we well knew how willingly Chinese
workmen would risk their lives even at such a task for a
few pieces of silver.
Here, leaning against the broad parapet (it was agreed
that no one should sit on it as it made the rest of us un-
happy and nervy) and sitting on the step of the shrine, we
eat boiled eggs bread and peaches. Empty bottles and tins
for which we had no further use, together with a salad bowl
which the boy had broken, were then thrown over the
precipice into the depth below. Never had I been at such
a height and it made me hold my breath as the objects
went hurtling down through the seemingly never-ending
We had all put on coats before sitting down, for we con-
gratulated ourselves on the thought that we should here
be fanned by the wind coming from the snow-covered
peaks of Tibet. We hoped we might have seen them but
had to be content with the sight of the road leading to
Burma. It was distinctly visible all the way up the mountain
side opposite. The fatigue and heat from which we had
suffered in our ascent were already forgotten. I am ashamed
to relate that we all cut our names in some corner of this
wonderful rock. M r D. even made a drawing of the French
flag thus inciting me to draw the British one on a still large
scale. After this vandalic proceeding we started on our
downward journey. We reached the boat with aching
knees and very thirsty, where, reclining in the little cabin,
a glass of Saint Galmier was doled out to each. It was the
150 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
last bottle and was divided with the greatest exactitude by
M r D. For those who desired it, he added a few drops of
red wine pouring it so dexterously that it floated on the
top. It is curious that colour should add to the pleasure of
taste but for me it certainly does.
When rested, we again perched ourselves on the small
deck of the boat to enjoy to the full the perfect evening. As
the sun descended lower and lower, the lake and hills
changed colour from moment to moment. From blue they
turned to purple, from purple to a rich red and at a certain
moment there was a wonderful contrast between the fore-
most slopes, lighted up by the last rays of sun, where every
detail was still visible and the distant hills in shade which
stood black against the glorious colours of the sky. It was
a sunset worthy of the day; as long as any light lasted the
purity of the atmosphere was undiminished.
Once ashore the three of us who were on horse-back
started off at a quick trot; we did not wish to be caught
on the narrow canal path in complete darkness. Unfor-
tunately there was no moon. We had to slow down before
our arrival in the town as our ponies stumbled at every
step. But as soon as we reached the dimly lighted streets
we trotted again, scattering pedestrians right and left and
arrived at the hotel with such a clatter that all our friends
who were quietly dining rushed to the door to meet us. So
triumphant was our bearing that they might well have
assumed that the Si-Chan had never been climbed before.
A GIRLS' SCHOOL.
IN visiting the different temples of Yunnan Fou and the
neighbourhood, I had often noticed that one or more of the
ante-rooms had been set aside for teaching purposes. Small
tables or desks had displaced the deities and other objects
of cult and classes for children were being held.
It is curious to see this enthousiasm for a more modern
education gripping the people, particularly when it leads
to such use being made of ancient places of worship, which
stand for all the most sacred traditions of the race. And
yet throughout China such changes are taking place. Learn-
ing and scholarship have, as is well known, been most
highly prized by the Chinese from earliest times. Success
in examinations has always been esteemed above wealth
or power, not only by scholars but by the community at
large. Many cases are known where men have continued
to enter for examinations till the age of 70 or 80. To study
is the highest ambition of a great proportion of the popu-
It is not surprising therefore that since the Revolution
the Chinese Government and Municipal authorities should
have tried to modernize their schools and enable this
desire for knowledge, formerly only enjoyed by the richer
classes, to be within the limits of all.
Yet in the pagodas I only saw classes for boys. Were
they doing nothing for girls? Co-education as might be
152 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
supposed has never been tried in China. I was told that
many girls' schools had been started in Yunnan Fou but
though I very much wanted to visit one of them I did not find
it so very easy. None of the European residents from whom
I sought information seemed to know anything of them.
One day I was taken to call on a Chinese lady, M me Chang,
by the British Consul's wife and here, thought I, was my
opportunity. M me Chang had been educated in America
where she had taken a degree and when we were shown
into her drawing room the most conspicuous objects on
the walls were framed portraits of herself and husband in
University cap and gown, together with various certifi-
cates. She spoke English like an English-woman and I
rejoiced in the idea that she might perhaps be my guide.
Being herself a teacher in a school of mechanics, I thought
she would be interested in the education question and
might even be pleased to have the opportunity to show off
one of her country's schools.
While sipping our Chinese tea which had been brought
in by a young girl in small bowls with the saucer placed
on the top, (you are supposed not to remove the saucer,
but tip it up just enough to give your lips room on the
edge of the cup to enable you to drink), I ventured to turn
the conversation on to the subject of schools and make
I was rather taken aback when M me Chang, though a
member of this extremely polite if not sincere Eastern
race, immediately cut me short by saying that the schools
of Yunnan Fou did not interest her at all and that she did
not approve of the lines on which they were run. What was
wrong with them? She gave many reasons but her real
grievance against them was that nearly all the teachers
had been educated in Japan. She maintained that the stu-
dents, men and women, who had been educated in Japan
returned with a most superficial knowledge and that
IN THK TKMPLE OF 500 GKNjI. THE BUDDHA WITH A LONC. AMM-
IN THIv C.AKDKN ADJOINING THI-: CONI- T'CITS TKMPI,!-:.
(HRJ.S PRIM. INT..
THE NORTH GATE OF YUNNAN FOU.
A REVIEW OF CHINESE TROOPS.
I IIH FHKNCH CONSUL M. WILDKN
AND (JENERAL TSAI.
A GIRLS' SCHOOL 153
whereas she and her husband had studied so many years
in America for certain diplomas, those considered of equal
value could be obtained in so many months in Japan. She
also spoke bitterly of the students who brought back with
them an unlimited admiration for things Japanese and
spread foreign ideas broadcast. Japanese methods were
not suitable, she insisted, for the Chinese and this cult of
all appertaining to Japan was blinding the country to the
fact that these neighbours were their greatest enemies.
Her emphatic views on the subject lasted till we got up
to go. I wondered what she thought of General Tsai who
had received his military training in Japan and who was
imparting such training to his troops.
As we took leave she did for a minute remember the
origin of this heated tirade and said that if I still desired
to visit a school, I had better ask the British or French
Consul to apply to the Minister of Education for a permit.
As I did not want to trouble anyone further for so small a
matter, I gave up all idea of realizing my wish and was
therefore all the more pleased when M r Cordier, himself
the head of a French school in Yunnan Fou, offered to
take me to see what he called the Chinese " Ecole Normale ".
It was the principal girls' school in the town and the trai-
ning centre for future teachers.
He had never visited it himself but one of his Chinese
aquaintances being a relative of the Principal, obtained
permission without the need of applying to the Board of
Our young Chinese guide spoke French, while M r Cordier
spoke French, English, and Chinese, so that language pre-
sented no difficulties. The school was in the centre of the
town. To the casual passerby, it did not differ from other
houses and I was rather disappointed to find no distinguish-
ing marks when coolies set down our chairs at the entrance.
We went up some steps, passed between two rooms like
154 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
offices with glass windows and doors through which Chinese
secretaries or doorkeepers (it is annoying to be so unfamiliar
with a people as not to be able to recognize from their
clothes and manner the strata of society to which they
belong) stared at us curiously. Crossing a courtyard we
were taken into a small room almost filled by a long
narrow table. We all three sat down on the same side of
it and a minute later a big, fat-faced, heavily-built richly-
dressed Chinese appeared. He bowed to us, we bowed to
him and he sat down opposite us.
Then it was a man and not a woman at the head of this
big girls' school? And was this the type of the Chinese
scholar? I was astonished having expected a pale, thin,
round shouldered individual, emaciated by overstudy and
care-worn by the responsibilities of his position. Instead
of being sombrely and poorly clad, he was dressed in a
blue silk tunic with circle designs and a rich black satin
jacket. His slow pompous manner, his swollen heavy
eyelids, almost hiding his eyes, denoted the man fond of
good living rather than one seeking to disentangle the
philosophical problems of this life.
Bowls of tea had immediately been placed in front of
us on our arrival and I was just going to drink to fill up
a gap in the conversation when I thought I had better first
ask M r Cordier if I might do so with propriety. He replied
to my whisper that it was not yet the moment so I leant
back again on my hard Chinese chair. I did not want to
offend our imposing host by a breach of etiquette.
He did not offer a single remark and answered all our
questions in monosyllables. How many girls were there?
A thousand. M r Cordier whispered to me that all Chinese
figures must be divided by two. What ages were they?
From 8 to 18. Were they all paying pupils? Yes. Then they
were of the richer classes? No, they were of all stratas
A GIRLS' SCHOOL 155
No remarks or opinions or interesting facts could be
dragged from this fat, silent, impassive, expressionless per-
sonage. 1 learnt later that though in charge of the school
he was not a teacher. He organized and directed but took
no classes. His attitude of indifference was thus partly ex-
plained. The position was probably a sinecure which he
had obtained during the changes in the Government at the
time of the Revolution. No information being forthcoming,
we made a move at the first possible moment for our tour
round the class rooms. It was evident we must glean what
we could from our own observation.
The class rooms did not differ very much from those in
the West. They were big, airy, white-washed rooms, with
windows open, and a small raised platform at one end
with a large black-board for the teacher. There were
about 50 girls in each class all sitting at small desks. When
we entered they all stood up, bow r ed ceremoniously and
sat down again. While we were there the Professor
gained little of their attention. He was giving a lesson in
drawing and combining with it one on physiology. He
wore huge broad-brimmed spectacles, which gave him a
severe expression, but his voice was quiet and slow and he
was evidently not so terrible as he looked. He was drawing
a man's face on the black board when we came in. Instead
of making one oval stroke for the outlines of the cheeks
as we should do in a rough drawing, he made two, thus
showing the high cheek bones of the Chinese instead of
curved eyebrows he made straight oblique ones. With a
few strokes he evolved an unmistakable oriental. He dressed
his figure in the hat and robe of a mandarin of bygone
days. While drawing the head he dilated on the brain and
its connection with the eyes, ears, &c., so that it was
rather more than a simple drawing lesson. The children
copied the figure on their books, most exactly and dexter-
ously for, using brush and Chinese ink, they could not
156 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
correct a stroke when once made as could the Professor
who was drawing in chalk. They were not taught to hold
their brush European fashion. They grasped it with all
four fingers the thumb upwards and held it straight instead
of slanting and, what would be an insuperable difficulty to
us, they had no support for their wrists. I turned back
some of the leaves of their books and looked at former
drawings. They were very much after the style of ours but
instead of the well remembered swan, cat, and horse, there
was a buffalo, a lizard, a round-backed pig, a Chinese sol-
dier and naturally the Chinese Republican flag.
When the figure on the black-board had been finished, the
teacher, calling out the name of some girl, asked questions.
The child stood up, blushing (till that moment I had never
known that an oriental could blush) but never seemed to
answer correctly in spite of the whispers of her companions
on every side. The scene reminded me of my own school
days when I used so to strain my ears for any help which
might possibly emanate from my friends, that I quite forgot
to depend on myself for the answer. Other pupils were
called on, but, probably abashed by our presence, they
were in every instance sarcastically told to sit down again
and the question was passed on.
All the girls were dressed in the same fashion though
shades and materials differed. Blue was the almost uni-
versal colour. They wore narrow trousers coming down
to just above the ankles which were in all cases bound
round with white bands like putties. Their shoes were of
all colours and many were richly embroidered. Whereas
we take a pride in the ornamentation of collar, cuffs, &c.,
appendages which seem most to strike the eye, the Chinese
woman puts her best stitchery into her footgear. Even in
this school where there were comparatively few deformed
feet (there ought to have been none considering the age
of the children and that the law prohibiting the custom
A GIRLS' SCHOOL 157
had been passed several years before), pretty shoes were
much in evidence. The little wide jackets, which hung
down in straight lines to just below the waist, were made
with narrow sleeves and little up standing collars like those
of a military uniform.
Their mode of hair-dressing interested me most of all.
It was the elaborate neatness of their coiffures that gave
them all such a clean and tidy appearance. Among all
those girls there was not one who had a hair out of place.
In all cases it was plastered down as with a wet brush and
plaited into a pigtail or two pigtails behind. These plaits
were tied with majenta coloured wool, both quite close to
the head and at the ends. Sometimes a strand of this wool
might be plaited into the pigtail.
Yet in spite of the uniformity of these plaits, there were
a hundred ways of arranging the hair in front and few
were alike. Sometimes it was pulled back straight from
the forehead equally all over the head with no parting,
sometimes it was parted down the middle sometimes down
the side. All partings were as straight as possible with the
hair brushed absolutely smoothly away from them. Several
had a piece of hair taken from one side above the ear and
brushed smoothly across the top of the forehead to above
the other ear. This was probably in imitation of the head-
band which so many girls and women wear in the streets
but which were quite absent from the school. Some girls
had fringes which were so straight and even, that they
resembled wigs. Sometimes, two partings formed a V
starting from the crown and coming to a point at the temp-
les, sometimes there were even more than tw r o partings
and each piece of hair, thus taken up, was brushed in a
different direction. It would have been impossible to re-
construct such elaborate and complicated designs every
day and, after examining these coiffures, one could readily
understand the use of the porcelain pillow and other devices.
158 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
It is necessary that one hair-dressing should be made to
last several days.
In another class the children were having a writing lesson
and beautiful characters were being inscribed one under
the other all down the copy book. We only saw one woman
teacher in all the classes we visited. She was evidently
in charge of the youngest children. Some were quite tiny
mites but they looked as serious as the elder children.
They were having an arithmetic lesson I think, as we saw
European figures among the Chinese characters on the
board. The young Chinese teacher had probably been
educated in Japan, as her hair was puffed out in front and
arranged in soft rolls on the top of the head, instead of in
the tight chignon at the back of the neck in the ordinary
Chinese fashion. She was also wearing a black satin skirt
instead of tunic and trousers.
The last room we visited was evidently the class-room
of the eldest girls, those being trained as teachers. Here the
pigtail was replaced by a tight chignon. The lecture was
listened to with the greatest attention and our intrusion
hardly attracted notice. Most girls were taking notes,
not dictated notes, but independent ones of facts they
wished to remember. The small complicated but very
neat characters, taken down quickly in ink, were in strik-
ing contrast to the rough, untidy pencil notes, which the
average English girl of the same age jots down during a
After this we went to see a gymnastic class which was
being held in a cement-covered courtyard. About 40 girls
were drilling under an instructor. It was really quite
amusing to watch them but I do not know from what,
country they had borrowed their system of drill. They
marched in couples keeping time by singing in monotonous
tones and formed their many evolutions according to the
changes of tune. Occasionally the teacher gave a command
A GIRLS* SCHOOL 159
and counted one, two, three, four but the interruption
evidently confused them, and if not left to themselves, they
were apt to go wrong. It was a drill they knew by heart.
They were not taught to hold themselves erect and many of
them marched with rounded shoulders or heads down.
As a physical exercise it could hardly have been very
useful. The girls with crippled feet, even in this slow march,
had trouble in keeping up with their companions and ne-
cessarily held themselves still less well.
On our return from this display I noticed a room where
a number of girls were peeping out through latticed win-
dows. In answer to my questioning glance, the Principal in-
formed us that they were girls who had been naughty and
had been locked in there as a punishment. I was truly
amazed that these neat, studious, serious-looking children
were capable of either mischief or inattention. I had
taken it for granted that Eastern keenness after knowledge
and the respect for scholarship would be enough to sub-
due high spirits, without recourse to measures of discipline
but from what I now gathered, their behaviour did not
differ so very materially from that of European children.
They often laughed and talked and squabbled in class and
tricks were even played on their teachers. I felt quite
Our leave-taking lasted several minutes. The compli-
ments which M r Cordier heaped on the Principal, punctu-
ated here and there by ceremonious bows, (I tried to join
in the bows but invariably came in a little late as I did not
understand what was being said) had all to be reciprocated.
This great man had no intention of allowing himself to be
outdone in politeness of language. All the Chinese adjec-
tives denoting admiration and gratitude must have been
exhausted when we at last descended the steps and entered
It had been an interesting morning. What had surprised
160 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
me most was to see men instead of women teachers, but
I was reminded that the modern educational movement
only started after the Revolution and there had naturally
been no time to train Chinese women. In a few years they
will probably have supplanted the men in the schools
Of course the number of boys schools in Yunnan Fou
is far greater than that for girls but what country even
in Europe has ever done as much for its women as its men?
As equality cannot be expected for some time to come, the
Yunnanese have a right to be justly proud of their "Ecole
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU.
No true idea of Yunnan Fou would be given without
mention of the social life of the European Colony. Whether
his stay is short or long a visitor leaves there feeling almost
overwhelmed by the hospitality shown him.
The first we heard of Yunnan Fou after our arrival in
Tonking was in connection with the kindness and cordial-
ity of the French Consul and his wife. Their name was
already at that time familiar to us. As soon as we had
settled down at our hotel in Yunnan Fou my husband paid
an early call, and thereafter we were welcome at the French
Consulate any afternoon we liked to go. M. and M me Wilden
kept open house and tennis and bridge were in full swing
from the middle of the afternoon till dinner time. The
French, British, and Italian Consuls live in Chinese houses
inside the town. No house in Yunnan Fou has a real gar-
den, at least not the kind that the French or English would
regard as such. Space is limited within a walled city;
nevertheless if houses were built on the same system as
ours it would be possible to lay one out. Instead of de-
signing their homes with a regard for compactness and
convenience, the Chinese distribute the rooms here there
and everywhere and all entirely separate one from another.
They build not in height but in length and breadth. For
the European it is a curious experience to have to go a
considerable distance from dining room to drawing room
162 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
or from bedroom to bathroom. I have not discovered a
house yet where you can go into every room under cover.
Though sometimes rooms run from one into another, more
often a courtyard intervenes. Indeed there may be several
courtyards which one has to cross and recross many times
a day. If it is raining one must go all round under the
shelter of the verandah roof. The courtyards are often made
bright by one or two beds of flowers and a few small trees,
but though sometimes very pretty they never give the idea
of a garden such as we understand it because of the high
walls all round. One has a feeling of being shut in, which
is the antithesis of what an English garden is meant to con-
vey. In England we always want to hide our boundaries
and give an idea of distance. If Chinese houses were built
in height and all the courtyards thrown into one and the
walls pulled down, there would be ample space. Such im-
provements are out of the question however, as foreigners
are only allowed to rent and never to buy their residences,
and the Chinese grandees would never permit the slightest
change in their property.
The French Consulate is however an exception and can
boast of quite a large garden as well as its courtyards.
Even after many visits there I found these courtyards
most puzzling, and never knew my way once inside the
entrance gates. The first time I went alone without my hus-
band, and my chair coolies had swung me through the open,
black, wooden doors on which were painted two fantastic
highly-coloured ferocious-looking gods of the hearth, I did
not recognize my where-abouts at all. They carried me
through one courtyard which I at first conceived to be my
destination and imagined they were going to put me down,
but continued under an arch into another. There I saw
other chairs and other bearers and was relieved there had
been no mistake and that I was right so far. I extracted
myself slowly from my chair, and wondered whether I
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 163
ought to cross that third courtyard to the left or go down
this little passage to the right. It hardly looked a suitable
entrance for it was dark and narrow. Of course I could
have asked the Annamese boy who came out of his little
sentinel box and saluted all visitors as they passed, but he
had seen me so often he naturally thought I knew the way,
and I was ashamed to confess my ignorance. I took even-
tually the narrow passage and was thankful, after peeping
cautiously round the corner, to find myself not in a bed-
room, kitchen, or stable, but on a square gravelled terrace
where a number of visitors were already gathered round
the tea and bridge tables. This terrace was quite pretty and
was less shut in than in most Chinese houses. On two sides
was the house itself with one door leading into the dining
room and the other at right angles into the drawing room.
The high wall on the third side was hidden by trees, and
from the fourth side where we were sitting we looked
down on to the cement tennis court. This was also sur-
rounded by walls but the one at the further end, though
high, did not hide the distant hills.
The French Consulate is built on a slope in the centre
and almost on the highest point of Yunnan Fou, so that
from the terrace, which is several feet above the tennis
court, one obtained quite a good view beyond the wall.
The oppressive, prison-like feeling, common to visitors
with no experience of Chinese towns, was therefore quite
absent here. One evening in particular I remember the
perfect enjoyment which this view gave me.
M me Wilden had, on this occasion, invited me to remain
behind and dine with them and moreover made me the wel-
come offer, after a long afternoon's tennis, of a bath and a
change. She lent me one of her beautiful Chinese peignoirs,
amber-coloured satin lined with light blue silk and a little
lace colorette. When ready I went down stairs and lay in
a long chair on the terrace while she herself went to dress.
164 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
The sun was setting and I shall never forget the slow
changes in the sky, colours coming and going, each one
always more beautiful than the last. All spread their radi-
ance on the hills. At the last, as the sun sank below the
horizon, only the outline of the hills remained visible and
it stood out black and rigid against the light beyond. The
little Chinese boys, who are always employed to pick up
the balls at tennis, and who had been busy putting away
net and rackets and arranging the chairs on the terrace in
symmetrical order (it required two children per chair) had
now disappeared and quiet and silence reigned: not a voice
was to be heard, not a breath of wind stirred the leaves of
the trees and shrubs. With that glorious sky and that
wonderful stillness, how incredible did it seem that within
a hundred yards of us there should be those crowded
streets and homes teaming with life, and ugly with noise
By the time my host and hostess joined me the last
glimmer of the sunset was disappearing. The electric lights
distributed among the trees were now switched on and it
was settled we should dine out there on the terrace. An-
other wonderful spectacle was in store for us. Before
dinner was ended the moon was at its height, and so power-
ful were its rays through the pure clear atmosphere that
the electric globes became mere little yellow balls in the
trees whose light was wasted.
M rae Wilden had put on a costume such as is worn by
the wife of an Annamese mandarin black satin trousers
and bright blue silk tunic and our oriental costumes helped
to make us feel in complete harmony with our surroundings
and the soft, pure, radiance of the night. On our departure
the night was so lovely that we wished to walk part of the
way home but finding that my costume was attracting too
much attention from the Chinese in the street, I thought it
better to enter my chair again.
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 165
It was only after getting to know M r Wilden as a host and
a friend that I heard of his exploits as a hero. I knew that
he had been decorated with the Legion d'honneur at the
age of 20 but had never heard exactly why. On the evening
to which I have refered above I was told the story. When
the Boxer troubles broke out in 1900, he was in Pao Ting
Fou, capital of Petchili, as interpreter to the Franco-
Belgian Railway Company which was then constructing a
line between Pekin and Hankeou. He had passed through
the "Ecole des Langues Orientales" in Paris and had only
recently arrived in China. As soon as the revolt started,
Pao Ting Fou became isolated; the Boxers surrounded the
town and the Europeans found their lives threatened. It
was then that M r \Vilden with two engineers of his Company
M r Chemin Dupontes and M r de Rotron decided to make
a dash for the coast. They warned the Europeans of their
danger and offered to try to take them through to safety.
All the white employes of the Company with their wives
and children accepted their offer and prepared for a retreat.
The English and American missionaries however refused
to leave the town and put themselves and their families
under the protection of the Viceroy. Thus the little pary
was obliged to start off without them.
The railway line having been cut by the Boxers it was de-
cided to try and make their escape by boat, sailing down the
Pei Ho. One boat containing five Europeans went astray and
it became known later that it had fallen into the hands of
the Boxers. All the occupants were killed and one man
saw his wife tied to a tree and tortured before being himself
decapitated. In parenthesis let me say that during this revolt
those who knew the true character of the Chinese made
up their minds to die rather than fall into their hands.
Cases are known of men who, when all hope was lost, and
capture inevitable, killed those dear to them and committed
168 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
the examination for admission into the ministry of Foreign
Affairs and was sent as a vice-consul to China. His thorough
knowledge of Chinese, his tact energy and initiative, pro-
cured him rapid advancement. It is rare for so young a
diplomat to occupy the position which he now holds.
Yunnan Fou is the most important French Consular post
in China, the only one which ranks higher is that of Chinese
Minister in Pekin.
I mentioned above, that besides a French Consul, there is
also in Yunnan Fou a British and an Italian Consul. The
British Consul M r Fox and his wife had only been there
six months on our arrival but they had had time to become
extremely popular not only with the British Colony but
with the whole European community. Their pretty dining-
room, one side of which was entirely open on to a small
garden courtyard, will be long remembered by many friends
who have passed delightful afternoons and evenings there.
"Bridge" was not only in great vogue there on Tuesday
afternoons but the game was also very popular at the
French Consulate while the more energetic guests were
These gatherings for "Bridge" and tennis made Yunnan
Fou unique for a visitor. A splendid climate, an interesting
native town, a treasure house for curio-hunters, good ex-
cursions were already more than a fugitive from the hot
plains had a right to expect but he found also the most
pleasant and hospitable society.
On Sundays there was a deviation from the usual pro-
gramme. Picnics were the order of the day and parties
used to start out from the British and French Consulates and
from the French hospital, in chairs, on foot, on horseback to
see some pagoda in the neighbourhood. There we would
find a long table spread on the verandah and despite the
Buddhas staring at us from ,the dark pagoda, and native
men and children doing the same from the corners of the
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 169
courtyards below, we would sit down to enjoy our well-
earned tiffin and the beautiful view which met our eyes in
every direction. The climate of Yunnan Fou is wonder-
fully stimulating to the appetite and this is enhanced by
the variety of good things to be found there. The province
seems to produce most things in abundance. We visi-
tors from Hanoi and Haiphong appreciated greatly all the
European vegetables and fruit which the provinces of the
delta can only grow for five months of the year. And we
appreciated still more the pleasure of meals in the open
air, to be followed by that of lying down under the pines
to sleep, or read, or chat in under-tones. Lying on the
short grass or moss, gazing up at the blue sky through the
green branches and inhaling the scent of the pines, all that
we had lately endured from a stifling atmosphere seemed
an impossibility. Had we imagined that heat which no
fans could relieve, that continual perspiration, and that
awful torture of a five minutes walk in the midday sun?
I had the good fortune to be in Yunnan Fou on July 14 th ,
the great national fete-day of the French. It was celebrated
at the French Consulate in a style worthy of their innate
sense of the fitness of a great occasion and not only the
French Colony but all other Europeans were invited to
join in the festivities.
On that morning, M r Wilden, in his Consular uniform,
reviewed the French and Annamese police who form the
guard of the Consulate and later received the Chinese
authorities and the members of the French or foreign Co-
lony who came to offer congratulations. A toast proposed
by M r Wilden and seconded by General Tsai was drunk to
the French President.
All the French residents and many of the Chinese had
decorated their houses for the occasion and the French flag
was hoisted beside the Chinese flag on the Palace of the
170 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
In the evening there was a reception at the Consulate.
I suppose there were about 50 Europeans there, and every-
body expressed astonishment to find we were so numerous.
Perhaps it was the largest number of white people ever
assembled before in this part of China since the French
railway had been inaugurated. Of course a few like myself
were visitors to the town but the greater part were residents
of Yunnan Fou or on the railway. No one absented them-
selves from the fete who could possibly be present. All
the representatives of the commercial houses were there,
English, French, German, American, the British director of
the Chinese telegraph Company; the Danish director of the
Chinese Customs; the Scotch director of the Chinese Postal
services; an Alsatian, who was director of the French
Post. Then there were the men connected w r ith the French
School, the French Hospital and the Railway Company, &c.
Besides these, there were Protestant and Roman Catholic
missionaries. It might be thought it would be no easy task
to entertain so many nationalities with their differences of
language and custom, but the popularity of host and hostess
smoothed away any such difficulties and the evening was
a great success. The concert in which much real and
varied talent was displayed, followed by recitations and a
play, was much enjoyed by an appreciative audience. A
group of uninvited guests gazing through the trellised win-
dow of the pretty little stage were as enthusiastic as those
of us who were seated in front of the footlights. A number
of small native boys and a few chair coolies had dared to
make their way into the courtyard and creeping up to the
window were watching the performance open-eyed and
open-mouthed. Their shaved or close-cropped heads, their
dirty little blue tunics and their little yellow faces peering
in from the darkness, contrasted sharply with the pretty
evening dresses and graceful movements of the performers
who were in the full light of the stage.
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 171
The concert was followed by a dance. General Tsai and
M r Chang were present, but as mere spectators. They sat
in armchairs and gazed impassibly at the whirling couples,
nodding assent to any remark that was made to them but
proffering no criticism. How I longed to be able to talk
Chinese and drag an opinion about our mode of amusing
ourselves from the silent, observant, young General. Or
still more would I have liked to overhear the discussion
which must surely have ensued with the Governor of the
town, when at two o'clock they, like ourselves, had taken
leave of our host and hostess. But whatever criticisms they
made, I am sure they would not have missed their evening,
and had enjoyed it as much as we ourselves.
Another very pleasant evening in Yunnan Fou was pro-
vided by the manager of the Chinese customs, a young
Scotchman, who gave a moonlight dinner party on the lake.
We met at six o'clock at the appointed place on the banks
and in two small launches were rowed out to a Chinese
house-boat. The Chinese are very fond of spending a holi-
day on these house-boats, and large families with bag and
baggage will often sleep, eat, drink, and smoke, on them
in perfect content for a week or so. There are several
anchored in different parts of the lake. They are unwieldy,
shapeless Looking vessels viewed from outside, more like
a big room built on a raft than any thing else. Inside they
are elaborately decorated, all the woodwork being painted
in brilliant colours with the patterns and designs usually
seen on the pagoda roofs. The one to which we were invited
contained two rooms, the first big with windows all round
where we dined and another smaller one which was used
as a kitchen. We sat down 20 to dinner. Petroleum lamps
were hung over the table, and round about Chinese lan-
terns swung to and fro and were reflected on the water.
I love big Chinese lanterns, especially the bright red and
bright yellow ones with their black or dark red swerving
172 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
Oriental characters. Every one knows how these Chinese
characters can make the simplest board or paper look
attractive and artistic.
After dinner those who felt inclined paddled about in
sampans but some of us, myself included, felt perfectly
happy just reclining at ease and looking over the moon-lit
water and toward the hills beyond. The steep precipice of
the Si-Chan was plainly visible, though the temples them-
selves could not be seen.
Everybody regretted when 11 o'clock came and it was
time to return. It was one of those calm peaceful nights
when it seems wicked to shut one's self into any enclosed
space and miss the ever-changing beauties around. Why
not reserve for sleep those dreary, cold, or windy nights of
which there are so many and enjoy to the full with wake-
ful senses those which give so much peace and pleasure!
But such thoughts are found eccentric and must not be
expressed, and we were all rowed back to shore.
Half way to Yunnan Fou, I suddenly found that I was
separated from the rest of the party. My chair coolies
were carrying me in a different direction. Then I remem-
bered that I was the only person living outside the town
and the South Gate, to which they were making their way,
would mean a long detour for me. I did not therefore stop
my coolies though I had not taken leave of any of the party
not even of my host. For a little time our paths were al-
most parallel and I watched the long snake of Chinese
lanterns curving in and out between the rice fields. The
chairs of residents are provided with 3 or 4 lanterns each,
so that this line of 60 or 70 shining coloured globes made
a most striking effect as it wended its way across the moon-
lit plain. My chair, being hired, had no lanterns so that
while I could see them they could not see me, and very
soon they too were lost to view. I passed along a canal bank
which I remembered and then through a village. It might
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 173
have been deserted for years. Not even a dog barked, all
doors were tightly shut and nothing giving an idea of work
and life was to be seen. The Chinese are so afraid of being
robbed that even their cumbersome pumping machines
are not left outside at night. All instruments of labour,
all animals, even the wood for fuel are crammed into the
tiny home which is not large or airy enough for the family
alone. The silence and the black shadows in the brilliant
moonlight made a weird impression on me. I did not re-
cognize this village. Was it because it had looked different
by day light or because my coolies had crossed it by dif-
ferent streets or was I being . . . ?
I grew nervous, and went hot and cold all over and just
then they suddenly stopped and, muttering to each other,
deposited my chair on the ground. Where was I? No, as-
suredly I had never passed through this village before!
My worst fears were suddenly confirmed ; they had taken
me out of my way to rob me or kill me! If I shrieked with
all my might, the rest of the party were too far away to
hear me, and I felt sure that the closed doors of these Chi-
nese huts would never open before daylight. Even if they
did, the people might not help me but take the part of
my coolies. In a broken voice I said "Qui Qui" (Quick)
the only word I knew in Chinese. The coolie in front of
me muttered but did not move. What on earth was the
coolie behind doing? Determined to know the worst I re-
solutely got out of my chair and looked behind. He was
squatting on the ground arranging his sandal! Two minutes
later I was being carried out of the village on to the canal
path again. I had been many times assured that Europeans
are perfectly safe in Yunnan and these chair coolies who,
by the way had been in my service a month, had been care-
fully chosen for me and were responsible for my safety.
Yet these facts had been powerless to ease my fears during
those few minutes. How stupid to allow myself to suffer
174 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
so unnecessarily! And yet however much I reason with
myself I know the same thing will happen again on the
next occasion ! I did not meet a single person till I arrived
in the town. Even in my own street, leading to one of the
principal gates, not a human being was visible right or left
while I waited for a response to my banging at the closed
door of the Hotel. The Chinese do not care about moon-
light strolls, that is evident.
The last three weeks of my stay in Yunnan Fou were spent
at the British Consulate. Besides the pleasure of living again
with my own countrymen and under my own flag my am-
bition of residing in a Chinese house was realized.
I loved my little bed room and bath room with their
white papered walls. The sloping ceilings were white pa-
pered also, making a pleasing contrast with the black pain-
ted beams. The windows were low and long, and had the
usual wooden trellis-work seen in all Chinese houses. There
saw a broad ledge for flower-pots and I enjoyed the beauty
of chrysanthemums, zinnias, nasturtiums and balsams and
at the same time the scent of violets and lilies. In Yunnan
Fou tropical plants thrive side by side with those of a
My windows looked out on to a square stone-paved court-
yard. Opposite was the big drawing room, to the right the
Consul's Office, to the left other bedrooms and dressing
rooms and a dining room. There were four staircases run-
ning down into the courtyard. The big dining room and
little garden to which I have alluded earlier and where re-
ceptions were held were quite apart from this building.
With so many doors and so many staircases I was always
making mistakes and used to send Amah my hostess's faith-
ful Chinese maid into gurgles of laughter. An Annamese
woman will never laugh and rarely smile and the sight
and sound of such merriment in a native compensated me
amply for the annoyance arising from my errors.
THE EUROPEAN COLONY OF YUNNAN FOU 175
The only parts of a Chinese house which did not meet
with my approval were the doors. They opened in the
middle like those of a cuphoard but had no handles or
locks. They were secured by a kind of clumsy wooden
bolt or iron loop on the inside but though nobody could
then enter, there was always a crack down the middle.
Sometimes I found Amah peeping in to see if her knocking
at that moment would inconvenience me!
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN.
THE Great War 19141918 ended, the question of the
Pacific comes once again to the fore. Once again the eyes
of the World are fixed on China, while the United States
and Japan are comparing the growth of their Military and
Of Western Nations, England and France are those most
interested in the study of Asiatic problems. The French
in Indo-China are well placed to fill an important role.
Certain Frenchmen of authority have sought to spread the
idea that France should be content with Africa. Their con-
tention was summed up in the formula: "Lachons 1'Asie,
But what niggardly and short-sighted aspirations in colo-
nial affairs! If the phrase has been repeated recently it
has at least been the means of eliciting a declaration from
the French Government which will dissipate all future
misunderstanding. In the Chamber of Deputies on June
29 th 1920 Monsieur Albert Sarraut, Colonial Minister and
late Governor-General of Indo-China eloquently proclaimed
the integrity of the French Colonies.
" Le temps n'est plus de 1'ancienne politique mercantile,
de 1'ancienne politique d'exploitation, je dirai meme des
erreurs de la politique d'assimilation. A ces formules,
nous avons, depuis un temps assez long, substitue' la
formule plus heureuse de la politique dissociation qui
IN THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF YUNNAN
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN 177
considere les colonies non pas comme de simples d6-
bouches commerciaux, non pas comme de simples
marches ou Ton va vendre une pacotille en 6change
d'epices ou de denrees precieuses. Les colonies sont
aujourd'hui des entiles vivantes, des creations d'huma-
nit. Ce qui fait la beaute meme de 1'ideal francais et
de 1'oeuvre de colonisation francaise, c'est que, consi-
derant comme des freres plus jeunes les races qui ne
sont pas soumises a sa tutelle, la France les prend par
la main pour les conduire vers un autre avenir; elle les
associe non pas seulement au partage des-bienfaits, des
fruits et des beneTices, mais aussi aux obligations morales
par quoi elles prennent conscience le leurs devoirs vis a
vis de nous pour la garde et la commune defense du
Au lendemain des heures tragiques, ou toutes nos
colonies ont donne, sans compter, le sang de leurs fils,
et ou 1'Indo-Chine, pour sa part, a envoye ici plus de
120.000 volontaires et alors que les bateaux qui partent
de France rapatrient vers la terre natale des Annamites
mutiles, converts de cicatrices, ou les cercueils de ces
braves qui, comme notre cher Do Hun Vi, ont donn6 un
si glorieux exemple aux vivants, il est deplorable qu'une
voix; meme solitaire, puisse s'elever pour conseiller a
la France de vendre a Fencan, comme un betail, les fils
d'Asie qui sont venus pour combattre pour elle.
Et puisqu'aussi bien 1'occasion m'en est ainsi donnee,
il faut qu'une bonne fois pour toutes, et tres haut ici, pour
que chacun 1'entende, il soit r6pondu par une denegation
formelle du Gouvernement a ces commerages ou a ces
campagnes du dedans ou du dehors qui tendent a laisser
croire que la France peut vendre ses colonies! La France
ne vend pas, n'a pas a vendre ses colonies! La France
ne fait pas ce metier!"
The influence of France in Asia has been strengthened
178 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
rather than diminished by the War. The prestige of her
victory together with her friendship with England insure
considerable advantages for a long time to come. She will
regain in Yunnan the leading position which is due to her
owing to the country's proximity to Indo-China and the
sacrifices which she has made in its interests. Japan's
dreams of direct control must vanish. As for Germany's
hold on various commercial enterprises, it is for ever broken
and France will never permit to revive, whatever the new
form may be. Before the war there were many German
firms at Yunnan such as a cartridge factory, an electric light
Company and a very active business in connection with
consular representation. It was on Yunnan Fou that the
Germans relied for spreading disorder and rebellion
throughout Indo-China. They were only partially success-
ful. In 1918 at Binh and Hoang mo near Moncay there
was a small rising in which Madame Pivet and Monsieur
Leibrecht were carried off as hostages. This incident re-
minded one of the darker times at Tonking but the move-
ment was not followed up and the Indo-Chinese population
gave proof of their loyalty. In Laos too, German Officers
with a small following succeeded for a time in holding
part of the country by means of a line of trenches near the
The Japanese had considerably increased their influence
in Yunnan as in the other provinces of China during the
war. In 1916 they sent some officers there as instructors
and technical advisers, without however attempting to in-
terfere with French control. It must be remembered that
General Tsai was pro-Japanese and had received encourage-
ment from his friends in Tokio during his campaigns in
Setchouen and Tibet. And the position of Japan is still very
strong in Yunnan.
France has quite recently obtained permission to send
a French Military Mission there. Its work cannot fail to be
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN 179
extremely useful. It is much to be desired too that other
hospitals should be built like the one at Yunnan Fou which
makes French science admired and respected.
France cannot dissociate herself from the future of
Yunnan. She must follow its movements both economic
and political, for they have by no means yet attained any
degree of stability. Yunnan is the most independent pro-
vince of China, and would be a danger to Indo-China if it
was completely detached from the Confederation for it
would certainly become a centre of unrest and anarchy.
During the European war Yunnan served more than once
as the battle ground between the various armies of China.
In the early part of 1917 the Yunnanese commanded by
General Tcheng Kiong Ming was defeated by the army of
the North. On April 11 th however they gained a victory at
Tienpe. On August 31 st 1917 Yunnan with the provinces
of Kouang and Koueitcheou became incorporated with the
Southern or Canton Government which recognised Sun
Yat Sen as President. It has been said that it is Japanese
loans which enable the Civil War to continue. The North
seems now to have the stronger military force. The struggle
will doubtless only end when the Great Powers intervene.
Just lately (June 1920) we were told that hostilities had
broken out afresh and that a rebel army was marching on
Pekin. Europe should follow events attentively for it might
be the origin of another anti-foreign movement like that
of the Boxers.
China has not escaped the universal upheaval which
has followed the great War 19141918. The Peace Con-
ference in assigning Chantung to the Japanese has dis-
pleased the Chinese who have refused to sign the Versailles
Treaty. As a result of this policy, we might see them, victims
as they deem themselves of European and American de-
ception, forming a panasiatic movement under the direction
of Japan. China is undoubtedly too weak to be dangerous
180 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
for some time to come but one must not forget that it is
the most populous country in the world with its 400 million
inhabitants spread over a surface of 11 million square kilo-
metres. It is the richest in minerals. Their first Dynasty
goes back to 2200 B. c. and their history has no parallel.
Though the past weighs heavily on China she is never-
theless in process of an evolution which will radically
transform her and build up again her national unity.
China has been a Republic since February 1 st 1912. The
reforms in administration, education and legislation have
produced extraordinary results. The building of railways
goes on apace. In 1914 a French Company obtained per-
mission to lay down the Chu Ling Yu line which would
connect the port Yantcheou(Kouangtoun)withYunnan Fou
and another which would cross the Yangtse at Sui Fou and
thus connect Yunnan Fou with Tchonng Rung. The War
interrupted many undertakings and among them the
"German Transcaucasian", a line for which M. Duboscq
was responsible and which was to go from Tchengtou in
Setchouen through Hankeou to Canton.
China is then an essential factor in the near future of
the world. The struggle for the Pacific will be a struggle
for China. China, while following her own destiny, needs
nevertheless the help of such foreign powers as England
America and France both to carry out her great economic
enterprises and to instruct her in modern science. What
a prodigious field of activity where the treasures wasted
in war might have been so much better employed! With no
ulterior motive of domination each friendly power must
localise its efforts. France who has great interests in Indo-
China and who has already given proof of her capacity to
collaborate with the Southern provinces must be respon-
sible for Yunnan.
The future of the province is bound up with that of Indo-
China. They have a common destiny by reason of their
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN 181
geographical position and of the railway in the making of
which France has turned the natural lie of the land to the
advantage of both countries.
The natural resources of Yunnan are not well known.
The following table gives an idea of her export of metals
shipped at Haiphong.
Antimony 2.800 pecules 410 pecules
Copper 400 103
Lead 13.236 10.237
Mercury 34 46
Tin 115.293 185.634
Zink 10.012 1.933
Between Yunnan and Hongkong exports amounted to
13.684 tons in 1917 and 10.801 tons in 1918.
The circulation in francs from Indo-China to Yunnan
amounted to 79 millions in 1916 and 98 millions in 1917.
Between Yunnan and Hongkong transactions in minerals,
metals, and skins, amounted to a sum of 13 million francs
Yunnan is taking its full share in the expansion of foreign
commerce which is so notable a feature in China since the
War. In 1918 it registered its high water mark.
The mining industry of Yunnan is also developing rapidly.
Most of the Chinese tin goes to Hongkong where it is ana-
lysed. In 1916 the value of Yunnan tin was a million gold
dollars. By 1917 it was three times as much while during
the first nine months of 1918 tin worth 13 million dollars
(gold) arrived at Honkong. England and America have sent
out engineers to prospect and competition is keen. The
famous tin mines of Kocleou, near Mongzeu, are being
worked by Americans. When the French authorities of Indo-
China remonstrated on this account with the Chinese
Government, the answer came back that although the French
might certainly claim prior rights according to the Agree-
182 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
ment of 1917, they had never made use of their advantageous
position. The same thing applies to the silver mines of Tang
Yueh where the Chinese have been forced to employ other
engineers than French. If France is not to lose all her mining
prerogatives here, she must hasten to reserve for herself the
direction of the copper mines as well as the coal and antimony
mines which still remain unworked.
The results of the first mining enterprises were disappoint-
ing. A reaction has now set in however and there is no
lack of encouraging signs. But methodical research is in-
dispensable and for this purpose a laboratory of mineralogy
has now been set up at Mongzeu.
Important hydraulic works have been undertaken by the
French both for land irrigation and for electrical purposes.
Here are openings for French activity and it would be
well to attract towards the French schools in Tongking the
many young Chinese students who will be the engineers
of the future. It is these men who will later inspire their
country with new life and ideas. At present they tend to
flow into the schools and colleges at Hongkong.
If France means to maintain the first place in Yunnan
which is her right, she will have to strive for it more and
more. International commerce in China is ever on the in-
crease and if France fails to profit by her influence in Indo-
China and by the rights granted her in the treaties in the
last twenty years, she will soon be out-distanced.
China is attracting the capital and energy not only of all
European nations but also of Japan. England and America,
no sooner freed from one dangerous rival, are immediately
recognising another in the Japanese whose influence
through her penetration into China has extended greatly
during the war.
With its 400 million inhabitants China is the greatest
market in the world. It is a country of rapidly changing
and of unlimited needs. Its industrial future is assured
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN 183
owing to its considerable mining wealth. It is estimated
that there is enough coal in China to provide for the whole
world for ten centuries.
The home policy of China has not regained its normal
equilibrium. Anxiety as to the results of the continual in-
ternal disorders would in most cases be discouraging to big
enterprises, but what looks to us as serious agitation does
not greatly disturb the mass of the Chinese people. It is
all on the surface. It would need far more than this to
create a real upheaval, though the struggle between North
and South is always on the verge of breaking out again and
though Bolshevistic influences are making themselves felt
The schism between North and South still exists and
Canton sets itself constantly in opposition to Peking. In de-
fiance of the President of the Chinese Republic Hsiw Chew
Tchang whose head quarters are at Peking, the president
of the Canton Parliament, Sun Yat Sen acts as the chief
of the confederated provinces of the South. No hostilities
are in progress in the present year, 1921, but the hopes which
were expressed lately of a definite understanding between
the two Chinas have not yet been realised.
The conference for this purpose at Shanghai was not
successful. In addition to this latest rivalry, the provinces
of the South are continually fighting among themselves and
it is indeed only by taking advantage of these quarrels that
Sun Yat Sen can maintain his authority. Kouang Si is al-
ways at war with Kouang Toung. The leaders of the Yun-
nan Koueitcheou group are aiming to transfer the seat of
Government from Canton to Yunnan Fou. At the present
moment Setchouen is at war with Yunnan and Koueitcheou.
To complicate matters still more Sun Yat Sen has entered
into relations with Lenin and has sent an ambassador to
Soviet Russia. Doubtless the new Communists of Russia
and those of China who uphold the communistic ideas of
184 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
centuries have many characteristics in common but cer-
tainly the former have not reached the standard of the latter.
While the South continues to be troubled by struggles
between province and province, the North is at present
quiet. Will this peace last? One cannot say. Many occa-
sions for discord exist between the different military chiefs
who share the real power, a power which is merely sup-
ported by the bayonet. The Mandchou party is now in
power. That of the Anfou Club or the pro-Japanese has been
defeated and its chief Touan Tsi Jouei has retired, giving
place to Marshal Tchang Tso Lin governor of the three
Mancheou provinces. This man, a highway robber in his
youth still remains in Moukden but it is said that he intends
one day to march to Peking and to restore the monarchy.
Even supposing he elects to remain quiet, there may be
trouble still from General Tsao Kouen his illustrious partner
who helped him to the presidency of the Aufou Club. Tsao
Kouen resides near Peking at Pao Ting Fou and might ar-
rive first upon the scene. Moreover in the next general elec-
tions he hopes to take office as Vice- President of the Repu-
blic, a fact with which Marshal Tschang Tso Lin is not at
all pleased. The smallest spark might set the powder alight.
The president Hsiw Chew Tchang and the Peking Govern-
ment would be alike helpless to prevent military rebellions
and save the country from bloodshed. They cannot even
attempt a show of opposition to the plans of Sun Yat Sen
in the South.
The present quiet which reigns in China is mainly due to
the disastrous drought in the northern provinces. A telegram
on March 28, 1921 announced that in the province of Chen-
Si 50000 inhabitants have died of famine.
Among the nations claiming a share of influence in China,
Russia may play an important part. In spite of the troubled
period through which she herself is passing, good relations
have always been maintained between the two countries.
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN 185
The Soviet Government has constituted a "Repubic of the
Far East" in Siberia between Lake Baikal and the Pacific
and given it almost complete independence. Its present
High Commissioner, Yunin, is very active and is negotiat-
ing treaties at Peking which are most advantageous to the
The zone of French influence is in South China. French
methods give greater hope of peace and security than those
of Russia in the North. French influence is especially strong
in Yunnan as we have already said, owing to its proximity
to Indo-China and to the railway which joins them. The
separatist movement in Yunnan also helps to unite them.
Yunnan has always shown great independence in her atti-
tude towards China. She hates the mandarins forced upon
her by Peking or Canton. She resents the intrusion of
Chinese from other provinces. During her long history
Yunnan has struggled continually for freedom. When Mon-
sieur Doumer was Governor-General of Indo-China, there
were attempts to unite Yunnan to the French Colony. For
the climate of Yunnan, thanks to its high situation, is not
unlike that of France and would well suit the French race.
Moreover they could have settled there without detriment
to the scanty native population. In 1900 Monsieur Doumer
was ready to.occupy Yunnan. The consent of all the foreign
consuls had been obtained. He then referred the project
to his Government who, however, raised the objection that
there would be difficulty in overcoming the Chinese forces
in Yunnan as nearly all the French troops in the Far East
were at that time at Peking. As a matter of fact the objection
did not hold good; the Governor-General knew the value
and number of the Chinese soldiers in Yunnan for in order
to keep them quiet it was he who was paying them.
Times have changed. In the last twenty years, China has
undergone the most important evolution in her history and
her outlook is transformed. France too does not now seek
186 IN AND ROUND YUNNAN FOU
territorial expansion. She is content with a policy of in-
fluence and a commercial understanding.
France has always been in sympathy with a western edu-
cation for China. During the last century she did much to
attract Chinese students to her country while, among
Frenchmen, the study of Chinese art and literature was
much in vogue. Greater intimacy would be a mutual gain
for each country. Monsieur Painleve's mission in China
was very successful. First hundreds and now thousands of
young Chinese students have been entering French schools
and universities, and they are quickly imbibing not only
her methods but her spirit.
Long before the war France already had flourishing in-
stitutions in China. Legendre in Tchoung King, Dupuy
in Canton,Vadon and Le Dentu in Yunnan Fou, increased
her influence. The hospitals of Yunnan Fou and Mongzeu
have done their part in raising her prestige. A number
of German educational institutions are now also being taken
over by the French.
Certain military schools at Peking, Tientsien, Tsi Nan
Fou, Makin had engaged Germans to train young officers
for the army. Count Rex, the ex-German ambassador at
Peking succeeded in making the German language obliga-
tory in Chinese universities; he encouraged the foundation
of Chino-German schools, providing grants through banks
and commercial houses. One of these schools was opened
at Tcheng Tou in Setchouen, which borders on Yunnan.
In Kiaw Tcheou a German Colony, German instruction
was not surprising but it was strange to find such a school
on the French concession of Shanghai. It was first a
hospital, then a school of medicine was added, and later an
industrial school which trained engineers for electrical
railways and mines. This school has been specially referred
to in the Versailles treaty. Germany is to give it up to the
French and Chinese Governments.
THE FUTURE OF YUNNAN 187
In China, the power given by education cannot be over-
rated. The respect due to the master is on an equality with
that given to parents. France recognises this fact and is wise
in her desire to attract to her schools and colleges in Indo-
China and France Chinese youth from whom the govern-
ing class will later be recruited. The advantages of her
moral influence are far-reaching for French prestige is
already preponderant in South China and as the Yunnan
railway extends reaching the banks of the Yang Tse Kiang
at Sin-Fou and Tchoung King her sphere of influence will
follow in its wake. When the line is completely finished it
will join up the gulf of Tonking, Petchili, and the Yellow
Sea and branches to the North will draw the commerce
of Tali and Semao.
A great future is then open to Yunnan. The foregoing
glimpse at the political situation shows Yunnan already
in no unfavourable position. When, with the help of Indo-
China, she is no longer commercially isolated but united to
the rest of the world by her railways, she may indeed beco-
me the most important province of China and Yunnan Fou
aspire to supplant Canton as the capital of Southern China.
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