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Full text of "A woman in China."

A WOMAN 

IN 

CHINA 




NEW TRAVEL BOOKS 



Through Unknown Nigeria. JOHN R. RAPHAEL. 
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T. WERNER LAURIE Ltd. 
8 Essex Street, Strand, London 



A WOMAN IN 
CHINA 



BY 

MARY GAUNT 

1 1 

AUTHOR OF 
'ALONE IN WEST AFRICA," "THE UNCOUNTED COST," ETC. 



LONDON 

T. WERNER LAURIE LTD. 

8 ESSEX STREET, STRAND 



CONTENTS 

/ 
CHAPTER I 

ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 

PAGE 

My grandmother's curios Camels and elephants Dr 
Morrison Chinese in Australia Feared for his 
virtues Racial animosity Great Northern Plain 
A city of silence A land of exile The Holy Sea 
Frost flowers on a birch forest Chaos at Man- 
churia and Kharbin Japanese efficiency A Peking 
dust storm . . . 1-18 

CHAPTER II 

A CITY OF THE AGES 

Chien Men Railway Station Driver Chow" Urgent 
speed in high disdain " Peking dust storm Joys of 
a bath The glories of Peking- The Imperial City 
The Forbidden City Memorial arches The observ- 
atory The little Tartar princess Life in the streets 
Street stalls A mercenary marriage Courtly 
gentlemen J 9-39 

CHAPTER III 

THE WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 

The mud walls of Kublai Khan Only place for a com- 
fortable promenade The gardens on the walls 
Guarding the city from devils The dirt of the 
Chinese The gates The camels In the Chien Men 
The patient Chinese women' The joys of living in 
a walled city A change in Chinese feeling . . 40-55 

vii 



viii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IV 

THE LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 

PAG* 

A forgotten tragedy The troops " Lest We Forget " 
The fortified wall " No low-class Chinese "The 
last thing in the way of insults A respecter of power 
Racing stables Pekin s' 'amuse Chinese gentle- 
man on a waltz Musical comedy The French of the 
Far East Chances of an outbreak No wounded . 56-75 



CHAPTER V 

THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 

A good republican The restricted Empire of the Manchus 
Condign punishment Babylon An adventurous 
Chinaman The entrance to the Forbidden City 
The courtyards of Babylon A discordant and jarring 
note Choirs of priests A living Buddha " The 
Swanee River " The last note in bathos Palace 
eunuchs Out of hand Afternoon tea The funeral 
procession The imperial bier Quaint and strange 
and Eastern 7^-97 



CHAPTER VI 

A TIME OF REJOICING 

The charm of Peking A Chinese theatre Electric light 
The custodian of the theatre Bargaining for a 
seat The orchestra The scenery of Shakespeare 
Realistic gesture A city wall A mountain spirit 
Gorgeous dresses Bundles of towels Women's 
gallery Armed patrols Rain in April The food 
of the peasant Famine The value of a daughter 
God be thanked 98-112 



CONTENTS ix 



CHAPTER VII 

ONE OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD 

PAGE 

Courteous Americans Nankou Pass Beacon towers 
Inaccessible hills " Balbus has built a wall " Tiny 
towns "Watchman, what of the night! " 
Deserted watch-towers Thoughtful Chinese waiter 
Ming tombs Chinese carrying chair Stony way 
Greatest p'ia lou in China Amphitheatre among the 
barren hills Tomb of Yung Lo Trunks of sandal- 
wood trees Enterprising Chinese guard . . . 113-129 

CHAPTER VIII 

TWO CHARITIES 

The manufacturing of the blind " Before born " The 
Rev. Hill Murray " The Message "Geography- 
Marriage A brave little explorer Massacre of the 
blind Deposits of one tael A missionary career 
The charitable Chinese A Buddhist Orphanage 
Invitation to a funeral An intellectual abbot The 
youngest orphan Pity and mercy .... 130-150 

CHAPTER IX 

A CHINESE INN 

The start for Jehol Tuan A Peking cart Chinese roads 
A great highway Chances of camping out 
" Room for ten thousand merchant guests " 
Human occupancy Dust of ages Eyes at the 
window Catering for the journey The Chinese 
chicken, minced 151-163 

CHAPTER X 

THB TUNGLING 

A Peking cart as a cure for influenza Difficulties of a 
narrow road The dead have right of way The 
unlucky women Foot binding " Beat you, beat 
you "Lost luggage" You must send your hus- 
band " Letter-writing under difficulties A master- 
less woman Malanyu Most perfect place of tombs 
in the world 164-183 



* CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XI 

A WALLED CITY 

PA Oft 

Numerous walled towns The dirt of them T'ung Chow 
Romance of the evening light My own little walled 
city The gateways Hospitable landlady Bald heads 
My landlady's room A return present " The 
ringleaders have been executed " Summary Justice 
To the rescue of the missionaries at Hsi An Fu 
The Elder Brother Society Primitive method of 
attack and defence The sack of I Chiin . . . 184-211 

CHAPTER XII 

THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 

The crossing of the Lanho A dust storm Dangers of 
a new inn Locked in Holy mountain Ruined 
city My interpreter A steep hill The barren woman 
Unappetising food The abbot The beggar 
burning incense The beauty of the way . . . 212-226 

CHAPTER XIII 

IN THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 

Etiquette of the Chinese cart Ruined city The building 
of the wall The advice of a mule A catastrophe 
The failing of the Peking cart Beautiful scenery 
Industrious people The posters of the mountains 
Inn yards The heads of the people Mountain 
dogs Wolves A slum people Artistic hands 
" Cavalry "The last pass 227-251 

CHAPTER XIV 

" TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS " 

Missionary compound Prayer Reputed dangers of the 
way The German girl Midwife The Bible as a 
guide " My yoke is easy, My burden is light " A 
harem Helping the sick and afflicted A case of 
hysteria Drastic remedies Ensuring a livelihood 
" Strike, strike " Barbaric war-song The Chinese 
soldier The martyrdom of the Roman Catholic priest 252-272 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER XV 

A VISIT TO THE TARTAR GENERAL 

PAGE 

Hsiung Hsi Ling, Premier of China Preparations for 
a call A cart of State An elderly mule Waiting 
in the gate The yamen Mr Wu, the secretary 
" Hallo, Missus ! " The power of a Chinese General 
" Plenty robber, too much war " Ceremonial 
farewell A cultivated gentleman Back to past ages 
for the night 273-282 

CHAPTER XVI 

A PLEASURE-GROUND OF THE MANCHUS 

A return, call Ceremonies A dog-robbing suit 
Difficulties of conversation A treat for the amah 
The British Ambassador at Jehol in the eighteenth 
century The last stages of decrepitude Glories of the 
park The bronze temple A flippant young Chinese 
gentleman " Ladies' temple " Desolation and dirt 
and ruin " Happiness Hall " Examining a 
barbarian ......... 283-299 

CHAPTER XVII 

THE VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 

Legend of the birth of Ch'ien Lung A valley of temples 
Wells A temple fair Hawking Suicide's rock 
Five hundred and eight Buddhas The Po-Ta-La 
Supercilious elephants Steep steps Airless temple 
The persevering frog Bright-roofed Temple Tea 
at the Temple of the great Buddha The Yuan T'ing 
Ming temple outside Peking 300-320 



CHAPTER XVIII 

IN A WUPAN 

The difficulties of the laundry A friend in need A 
strange picnic party The authority of the parent 
Travelling in a mule litter Rain A frequented 



xii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

highway Yellow oiled paper Restricted quarters 
Dodging the smoke ''What a lot you eat! " 
Charm of the river Modest Chinamen The best- 
beloved grandchild The gorges of the Lanho 
The Wall again Effect of rain on the Chinaman 
The captain's cash -box A gentleman of Babylon 
Lanchou ......... 321-340 

CHAPTER XIX 

A RIVER PORT IN BABYLON 

The question of squeeze Batter fingers for the boatmen 
An array of damp scarecrows Ox carts Pre- 
historic wheels A decadent people Beggars The 
playing of a part A side show Cumshaw . . 341-349 



CHAPTER XX 

THE WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 

The heat of Peking The wall by moonlight Tongshan 
" Your devoted milkman " The eye of the 
mistress A little fort In case of an outbreak The 
Temple of the Sleeping Buddha A runaway bride 
The San Shan An My own temple courtyard The 
missing outfit The Language Officer Friends in 
need 350-368 



CHAPTER XXI 

FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 

An old temple Haunted Wolf with green eyes Lone- 
liness Death of missionaries Fear Sanctuaries 
" James Buchanan " Valiant farmers Autumn 
tints Famous priest Sacrifice of disciples Tree 
conserving Camels at my gate Servants " Cook 
book " Enchanted hills Cricket cages Kindly 
people The fall of Belshazzar Hope for the future 369-390 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Author at the Ming Tombs .... Frontispiece 

Street In Chinese City Facing page 4 

Camels outside South-western Watch-tower, 

Peking . . . ,,4 

A Manchu Woman ...... ,, 14 

The Ha Ta Men from the Wall ... 14 

Guard-house in Imperial City .... ,,22 

A Wall and Gate of the Imperial City . 22 

Watering Streets, Peking .... 28 

Astronomical Instruments .... ,, 28 

Courtyard of Temple of Confucius ... ,,32 

" Lest we forget " ,,32 

Gate on the Wall, Peking 36 

The Ha Ta Men from the Wall ... 36 

Path on Top of Wall, Peking .... ,, 42 

Catapult Stones on the Wall .... ,, 42 

Soldiers on the Wall ,, 46 

Catapult Stone on, the Wall .... 46 

Camels outside the South-western Gate . . ,, 50 

Camels by the Ha Ta Men .... ,, 50 

Inside the Curtain Wall of the Chien Men . ,,54 

Camels outside South-western Wall, Peking . 54 

Entrance to British Legation .... ,,58 

Astronomical Instruments on the Wall . ,, 58 

Ramp leading to top of Tartar Wall ... ,, 64 

German Fort on the Wall .... ,, 64 

South-eastern Watch-tower, Peking ... ,, 70 

A Fort of the British Legation .... ,, 70 

Peking from the Wall in Winter ... ,, 78 

xiii 



xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Entrance to the Forbidden City .... Facing page 78 

A Path in/ the Grounds of the Winter Palace . ,,84 

A Secluded Corner of the Winter Palace . ,,84 

Camels in Morison Street .... ,, 90 

Making Cakes, Street in Peking ... ,, 90 

The Chien Men from the Curtain Wall . ,, 94 

P'ia Lou near the American Legation . ,, 94 

Gilded Shop-front, Peking .... ,, 98 

Corner in Peking ,, 98 

Gathering in Kaoliang for Threshing . ,, 108 

A Threshing-floor ,, 108 

The Great Wall of China ,,114 

Temple in Tomb of Yung Lo . . . . ,, 114 

The Nankou Pass 118 

Gateway in the Wall, Nankou Pass . . . ,, 118 

P'ia Lou at Entrance to Holy Way . . . ,, 122 

Holy Way, Ming Tombs ,, 122 

A Window in a Tower of the Great Wall . ,, 126 

Marble Elephant on the Holy Way ... ,, 126 

Mission to the Blind, Peking .... ,, 132 

Girls at Mission to the Blind .... ,, 132 

Blind Boys coming out of School ... ,, 138 

Blind Boys Playing at " Cat and Mouse " ,, 138 

Missionary Compound, looking West . ,, 146 

Festive Entrance to Buddhist Orphanage . . ,, 146 

Leaving the " Wagons Lits " for the Mountains ,, 154 

A Street Stall ,,154 

Inn Yard, Peking Cart in Foreground . . ,, 162 

Gossiping ,, 162 

Tug-of-war, Buddhist Orphanage ... 174 

Missionary Compound, looking East . . ,, 174 

At foot of Holy Mountain ,, 182 

Entrance to the late Dowager Empress's Tomb ,, 182 

Outside a Walled City 188 

Gate of a Walled City 188 

Dead Gods at Tsung Hua Chou ... ,,196 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xv 

Temple Courtyard at Tsung Hua Chou . . Facing page 196 

North-west corner of Wall, Pao Ting Fu . ,, 200 

A Coolie in the Street, Tsung Hua Chou . ,, 200 

A Temple set in/ the Trees . . . . ,, 212 

Crossing the Lanho . . . , . . ,, 212 

Steps up to the Nine Dragon Temple . ,, 220 

Steps up to the Nine Dragon Temple . . ,, 220 

Entrance to Nine Dragon Temple ... ,, 224 

Carrying Water to Nine Dragon Temple . ,, 224 

Through the Great Wall into Inner Mongolia ,, 230 

Peking Cart Upset ... ... ,, 230 

Inn Yard, Litter with mules waiting to be 

loaded ,, 236 

Inn Yard in the Mountains, My Carts . . ,, 236 

Street in Pa Kou ,, 246 

"Cavalry" ,,246 

Manchu Woman and Child in Missionary 

Compound ...... ,, 262 

Manchu and Chinese Women in Missionary 

Compound ,, 262 

Bridge in Park ,,276 

Emperor's Theatre, Jehol ,, 276 

Pavilions on Bridge across Lake, Jehol . . 280 

A Boat-house in the Park ,, 280 

Lake in Park, Jehol ,, 284 

End of Lake in Park, Jehol .... ,, 284 

Lake in Park, Jehol ,, 288 

Emperor's Bedroom ,, 288 

Golden Mountain and Source of Jehol River . ,, 292 

Mr Wu at the Entrance to the Temple . ,, 292 

Women's Temple, Jehol ,, 296 

" Happiness Hall" ,,296 

Pavilions on Lake, Jehol }> 298 

Women's Bathing-place ,, 298 

Lamaserie ,, 302 

Carts at the Fair 302 

Entrance to Lamaserie ..... M 306 



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Doorway in a Temple in the Valley . . . Facing Page 306 

Temple at the Top of Lamaserie . . . ,, 310 

Farm-house above the Marble Priest . . . ,, 310 

Bright-roofed Temple ,,314 

Corner of Bright-roofed Temple . . . ,, 314 

Yuan T'ing Round-roofed Tibetan Temple , ,, 318 

Ming Temple outside Peking .... ,, 318 

A Raft of Railway Sleepers on the Lanho . ,, 326 

A Mule-litter, by the Lanho .... ,, 326 

A Fair Wind on the Lanho .... ,, 330 

My Boat and Crew ,, 330 

Going to the Dragon Boat Feast ... ,, 338 

Cook Stall .,338 

A Mixed Team ,, 346 

A Wayfarer ,, 346 

The Fort in the Compound at Tongshart . ,, 352 

Entrance to House, Tongshan .... ,, 352 

Place of Tombs below San Shan An ... ,, 358 

Valley of the San Shan An ,, 358 

View from Temple ,, 362 

Place of Tombs below the look-out place . ,, 362 

A Courtyard of the Temple .... ,, 368 

Tiffin at the San Shan An ,,368 

Bridge across Moat, Pao Ting Fu . . . ,, 372 

Curtain Wall of West Gate, Pao Ting Fu ,, 372 

Seated Elephant, Po Ta La . . . . 376 

Marble Priest on Tableland at San Shan An . ,, 376 

Camels at my Gate, San Shan An . . . ,, 380 

Visitors at the San Shan An .... ,, 380 

Cook and Boy, Temple and Courtyard . ,, 384 

The Look-out Place, Abandoned for the Winter , ,, 384 



A WOMAN IN CHINA 



CHAPTER I 

ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 

My grandmother's curios Camels and elephants Dr Morrison 
Chinese in Australia Feared for his virtues Racial 
animosity Great Northern Plain A city of silence A land 
of exile The Holy Sea Frost flowers on a birch forest 
Chaos at Manchuria and Kharbin Japanese efficiency A 
Peking dust storm. 

WHEN I was a little girl and was taken to see my 
grandmother, she set out for my amusement, to be 
looked at but not touched by little fingers, various 
curios brought home by my grandfather from China 
in the old days when he was a sailor in the Honour- 
able East India Company's service ; beautifully 
carved ivory chessmen, a model of a Chinese lady's 
foot about three inches long, dainty mother-of-pearl 
counters made in the likeness of all manner of 
strange beasts, lacquer boxes and ivory balls; 
models of palankeens in ivory, and fans that seemed 
to me, brought up in the somewhat rough-and-ready 
surroundings of a new country, dreams of loveliness. 
The impression was made, I felt the fascination of 
China, the fascination of a thing far beyond me. Like 
the pretty things, so out of my reach it seemed that I 
did not even add it to the list of places I intended to 

I A 



2 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

visit when I grew up, for even then my great desire 
was to travel all over the world ; I was born with the 
wander fever in my blood, but unfortunately with 
small means of satisfying it. As I grew older I used 
to read every travel book I could get hold of, and 
later on when I began to live by my pen I got into 
the habit of gauging my chances of seeing a country 
by the number of books written about it. China, 
judged by this standard, fell naturally into the place 
assigned to it by my grandmother's curios ; for from 
the days of Marco Polo men have gone up and down 
the land, painfully, sorrowfully, gladly, triumphantly, 
and at least half of them seem to have put pen to 
paper to describe what they have seen. Was it 
likely there would be anything left for me to write 
about? 

Then one bright Sunday morning when the sun 
was shining, as he does occasionally shine in England, 
the spirit moved me to go down the Brighton line to 
spend a day with Parry Truscott, a fellow story- 
teller. The unkind Fates have seen to it that I live 
alone, and arriving at Victoria that bright morning 
I felt amiably disposed and desirous of exchanging 
ideas with somebody. In the carriage I had chosen 
were already seated two nicely dressed women, and 
coming along the platform was a porter with hot- 
water bottles. The morning was sharp and the 
opportunity was not to be lost, I turned to them and 
asked them if they would not like a hot-water bottle. 
Alas! Alas! Those women towards whom I had 
felt so friendly evidently did not reciprocate *ny 
feelings. In chilly accents calculated to discourage 
the boldest and I am not the boldest they gave 
me to understand that they required neither the hot- 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 3 

water bottle nor my conversation, so, snubbed, I 
retired to the other side of the carriage and amused 
myself with my own thoughts and the sunshine and 
shadow on the green country through which we were 
passing. Half the journey was done when I saw, 
to my astonishment, a sight that is not often seen in 
the Sussex lanes, a train of camels and elephants 
marching along. It seemed to me something worth 
seeing, and entirely forgetting that I had been put 
in my place earlier in the morning I cried, " Oh, 
look ! Look ! Camels and elephants ! " 

Those two ladies were a credit to the English 
nation. They bore themselves with the utmost pro- 
priety. What they thought of me I can only dimly 
guess, but they never even raised their eyes from 
their papers. Of course the train rushed on, the 
camels and elephants were left behind, and there 
was nothing to show they had ever been there. 
Then I regret to state that I lay back and laughed 
till I cried, and whenever I felt a little better the 
sight of those two studious women solemnly reading 
their papers set me off again. When I got out at 
Hassocks they did not allow themselves to Jook 
relieved, that perhaps would have been expressing 
too much emotion before a stranger who had behaved 
in so eccentric a fashion, but they literally drew their 
skirts around them so that they should not touch 
mine and be contaminated as I passed. 

There is always more than one side to a story ; 
how I should love to hear the version of that journey 
told by those two ladies ; doubtless it would not in 
the faintest degree resemble mine. And yet there 
really were camels and elephants. And so it 
occurred to me why not go to a country and try and 



4 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

write about it, although many had written before. 
If the gods were kind might I not find a story even 
in China. 

Meanwhile one of my brothers had married a 
sister of Dr Morriso^ and I had come into touch 
with the famous Times correspondent, an Australian 
like myself, and when he came to England he used 
to come and see me, and we talked about China. 
When I met him again after my elephant and camel 
experience I asked his opinion, would it be worth my 
while to go to China? 

He was quite of opinion it would, more, he and 
his newly-wedded wife gave me a cordial invitation 
to stay with them, and the thing was settled. I 
decided to go to Peking. Accordingly, on the last 
day of January in the year of Our Lord 1913, I left 
Charing Cross in a thick fog for the Far East. It 
is a little thing to do, to get into a train and be 
whirled eastward. There is nothing wonderful about 
it and yet and yet to me it was the beginning of 
romance. I was bound across the old world for a 
land where people had lived as a civilised people for 
thousands of years before we of the West emerged 
from barbarism, for a country which the new nation 
from which I have sprung regards with peculiar 
interest. Australia has armed herself. Why? 
Because of China's millions to the north. Australia 
has voted solid for a white Australia, and rigidly 
excluded the coloured man. Why? Not because 
she fears the Kanaka who helped to develop her 
sugar plantations, but because she fears the yellow 
man and his tireless energy and his low standard of 
living. 

When I was a child my father, warden of the 




STREET IN CHINESE CITY. 




CAMELS OUTSIDE SOUTH-WEST WATCH TOWER, PEKING. 
(See page 48) 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 5 

goldfield where he was stationed, was also, by virtue 
of his office, protector of the Chinese; and Heaven 
knows the unfortunate Chinese, industrious, hard- 
working men of the coolie class from Amoy and 
Canton, badly needed a protector. Many a time 
have I seen an unfortunate Chinaman, cut and 
bleeding, come to my father's house to claim his 
protection. The larrikins, as we used to call the 
roughs, had stoned him for no reason that they or 
anyone else could understand but only because he 
was a Chinaman. Now I understand what puzzled 
and shocked me then, and what shocks me still. It 
is that racial animosity that is so difficult to explain 
to the home-staying Englishman: that animosity 
which is aroused because, subconsciously, the white 
man knows that the yellow man, in lowering the 
standard of living, will literally take away much of 
the bread and all chance of butter from the com- 
munity in which he has a foothold. 

Here I was going to see the land whence had 
come that subservient, patient, hard-working coolie 
of my childhood. And the wonder of that rush 
across the old world, the twelve days' railway journey 
that takes us from the most modern of civilisations to 
the most ancient it grew upon me as we crossed the 
great northern plain historic ground whereon the 
great battles of Europe have been fought. The 
people in the train were dining, supping, playing 
cards, sleeping, and the cities we passed in the dark- 
ness seemed mere clusters of dancing lights, such 
lights as I have seen after rain on many a hot 
and steamy night in West Africa. When morning 
dawned we had passed Berlin and were slowly leav- 
ing the packed civilisation behind us. A grey low 



6 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

sky was overhead and there were clumps of fir-trees. 
Dirty snow was in the hollows, and there were long, 
straight roads drawn with a ruler as they are in 
Australia, with little bare trees at regular intervals 
on either side, and then again dark fir woods and 
rain everywhere. Soon we had passed the frontier 
and were in Russia, and I felt I could not rush 
through without one glimpse of it, so I stayed one 
little week in Moscow, and I shall always be glad 
I did, though there, for the first time in my life, I 
was in a country where my nationality did not count, 
and it was not a pleasant feeling. But Moscow is 
the city of a dream. I arrived there at night to 
streets all covered with a mantle of snow. The 
many lights shone clear in the keen, cold, windless 
air and the sleighs drawn by sturdy little horses glided 
over the white snow as silently as if they had been 
moving shadows. And when morning came it was 
snowing. Softly, softly, fell the flakes and the city 
was a city of silence, white everywhere, and when 
the sun came out dazzling, sparkling white, only the 
cupolas of the many churches Moscow in the heart 
of holy Russia has sixteen hundred were golden 
or bright blue, or dark vivid green, for the snow 
that hid the brilliant roofs could not lie on their 
rounded surfaces. Above the cupolas are crosses, 
and from the crosses hang long chains, and ever 
and again on the silence rang out the musical clang 
of some deep-toned bell. But it is the silence that 
impresses. The bells were but incidental, trifling 
the silence is eternal. The snow fell with a hush, 
there was no rush nor roar nor crash of storm, but 
every snowflake counted. The little sledges were 
half buried in it, the drivers in their fur-edged caps 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 7 

and blue coats girt in at the waist with a red sash or 
silver embroidered band, shook it out of their eyes 
and out of their great beards and brushed it from 
their shoulders ; in every crevice of the old grey walls 
of the Kremlin it piled up. 

A dream city ! A city of silence ! ! The snow 
reigned, deadening all sound save the insistent bells 
that rang to the glory of God, and the cawing of the 
black and grey crows that were everywhere. What 
have scavenger crows to do in this beautiful city? 
They were there flying round the churches, darting 
down the spotless roads, gathering in little con- 
claves, raising their raucous voices as if in protest 
against the all-embracing silence. They were the 
discordant note that emphasised the harmony. 

Cold, was .there ever such cold? The air 
crackled with it. It cut like a knife, for all its clear 
purity. At every street corner I passed as I drove 
to the railway station were little piles of fir logs, and 
little braziers were burning, glowing red spots of 
brightness where the miserable for a moment might 
warm their hands. 

They say one should leave Moscow in summer to 
cross the Siberian plain, because then there are the 
flowers such flowers and the green trees, and the 
sunshine, and you may see the road the long and 
sorrowful road along which for years the exiles 
have passed. I have heard many complaints about 
the weariness of the journey in winter. There is 
nothing to be seen say the grumblers. For these 
luckless ones I have the sincerest pity. They have 
missed something goodly. I suppose for most of 
us life, as it unfolds itself, is a disappointing thing, 
full of bitterness and worse still of unattainable 



8 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

desires, but of one thing I shall always be glad, that 
I crossed the Siberian plain in the heart of winter, 
and saw it beneath its mantle of spotless snow. 
Possibly I may never see it in summer, but its winter 
beauty is something to be remembered to my dying 
day. 

And yet it is a land of exile. Even in childhood 
I had read of the sufferings of those who have been 
sent there ; and my conception of the land and the 
reality before my eyes as I rushed through it in an 
express train were always starting up in comparison 
with each other. A land of exile, and yet from the 
plains of Eastern Russia in the west to the frozen 
hills round Kharbin in the east it is a lovely land. 
It is a plain, of course a plain thousands of miles 
in extent, and the vastness and the beauty of the 
snow-clad solitudes cry aloud in praise to the God 
Who made them. Overhead, far, far away, is the 
great arch of the deep blue sky, clear, bright, entic- 
ing, delightful, with no threat in its translucent 
depths such as one knows is latent in tropical lands, 
and below is the snow-clad plain, stretching far as 
the eye can see, bathed in the brilliant sunshine. 
From the desert and the mountains in the south it 
stretches away north to the frozen sea ; and from the 
busy towns of the Baltic in the west, in close touch 
with modern civilisation, to the busy toiling millions 
of the East with their own civilisation that comes 
from a dateless antiquity ; and in all those thousands 
of miles it changes its character but little. 

But first there were the Urals. I had looked upon 
them as mountains all my life ; and I saw one even- 
ing only some very minor hills, deep in snow, with 
steep sides covered with a forest of fir and leafless 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 9 

larch, dark against the white background ; next 
morning all trace of them was gone, and we were in 
Asia. On the station platforms were men and 
women, Cossacks of the west, Buriats of the centre, 
Tartars of the east, Christians, Buddhists, Moham- 
medans; there was little difference in outward 
appearance, muffled as they were against the cold 
which was often thirty degrees below freezing-point. 
The men were in long-skirted coats, and the women 
in short petticoats and high boots, so that it would 
have been difficult to tell one from the other save 
that on their heads the men wore fur caps, ragged, 
dirty, but still fur, r while the women muffled them- 
selves in shawls still dirtier. Though they looked 
as if they had not given water a thought from the 
day they were born, I, the daughter of a subtropical 
land, could forgive them. Who could face water in 
such a biting atmosphere ? I sympathised but I did 
not desire to go too close when we passengers 
bundled out for exercise on the station platforms, at 
least most of us did. Some preferred bridge. 

" My God ! my God ! " said an old military man 
with unnecessary fervour. "What are the idiots 
getting out for. I go one no trump, partner. Where 
is my partner? The donkey '11 be slipping and hurt- 
ing himself on those slippery steps next and then 
our four '11 be spoilt," and he looked round for 
sympathy. 

Someone murmured something about seeing 
the country, but he shrivelled him with his 
scorn. 

" Seeing the country ! This is the eleventh time 
I've been across and I never even look out if I can 
help myself. Know better. Oh, here you are, 



10 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

partner," slightly mollified. " I've gone one no 
trump, and there are two hearts against you." 

It was a curious thing to me that most of the 
passengers in that luxuriously equipped train, with 
every comfort for the asking save fresh air, grumbled 
so continuously. It seems to be the accepted thing 
that the traveller who travels luxuriously should 
grumble. Our old soldier considered himself a 
much-injured individual when the attendants did 
not know by instinct when he required lemon and 
tea and when whisky-and-soda ; and the breaking 
up of a game of auction bridge because the tables 
were wanted for dinner reduced him to blackest 
despair. The hordes which through the ages have 
swept, conquering, westwards probably never com- 
plained, their lives were too strenuous, either they 
fought and died and were at peace, or they fought 
and conquered, and small discomforts were swallowed 
up in the joy of victory. It is left to these modern 
travellers flying eastward at a rate that would have 
made the old-time nomads think of witchcraft and 
sorcery to make a fuss about trifles, to complain of 
the discomforts and hardships of the long journey 
across the old world. 

I knew the country. In the days when I was a 
little girl studying my map with diligence I should 
have counted it a joy unspeakable if I had thought 
that ever I should be crossing Siberia; crossing the 
great rivers, the Obi, the Yenesei and the Angara 
that were then as far away and distant to me as the 
river that Christian crossed to gain high Heaven; 
that I should watch the sledges travelling in the 
sunlight along their hard, frozen surfaces, I to whom 
a small piece of ice on a saucer of water, which by 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 11 

luck we might get if there happened to be an 
exceptionally cold night in the winter, was a wonder 
and a delight. I suppose my joy would have been 
tempered could I have known how many years must 
pass over my head before this wonderful thing would 
happen, for in those days five-and-twenty seemed 
extraordinarily old, and I was very sure that at thirty 
life would not be worth living. And I have passed 
that terrible age limit and have missed most things 
I have set my heart upon, but still there are 
moments when life is well worth living. Strange 
and bitter is the teaching of the years bitter but 
kindly, too. 

We passed Irkutsk where East and West meet, a 
great city with church spires and cupolas and build- 
ings overlooking the broad and frozen Angara. We 
raced along by leafless woods, by barren stretches 
of spotless snow, and sometimes the swiftly running 
river was piling up the ice in great slabs and blocks 
and girding and fretting at its chains, and sometimes 
it was flowing free for a few miles, the only flowing 
river in all the long, long journey from the old 
Russian capital. The water was black, and dark, 
and cold, looking far colder than the ice. The duck 
rose, leaving long wakes on the water; then there 
was a little steam, and then a greater steam in the 
clear sunlight, but by the time we reached Lake 
Baikal, the Fortunate Sea, the Holy Sea, the frost 
had gripped the water again, the lake was a sheet of 
white, and the afternoon sun shone on hills snow- 
clad on the eastern side. The hills, hardly worth 
mentioning when one thinks of the great plain 
across which we had come, are down to the very ice 
edge. The great lake, the eighth in the world, is 



12 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

but a cleft in them, and the railway track runs on 
a ledge cut out of the steep hill-side overhanging 
its waters, waters that were now smooth and white 
and hard as marble. Here and there little jetties 
run out; here and there were boats, useless now, 
close against them; here and there were piles of 
wood that would be burned up before the thaw. It 
had been Siberia for days but Baikal struck the true 
Siberian note. 

Here there were convicts too. Some alterations 
or repairs were being carried out on the line, and 
drab-coloured convicts were working at them, 
guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets. Siberia! 
Siberia of the story-teller! On every little point of 
vantage stood a soldier with high fur cap, looking 
out over the men working below him, and they, 
splitting wood, digging holes in the iron-bound 
ground, paused in their labours and lifted their faces 
to the passing train. Did it speak to them of home 
and culture and love and happiness and freedom, or 
were they merely the brutal criminal justly pun- 
ished, and the peasant, poor and simple, here 
because the Government want workers, and that he 
cannot pay his taxes is excuse enough. 

The sun was brilliant but it was cold, bitter cold, 
such cold as I had never dreamed of. Men's breath 
came like solid steam, and the hair on their faces 
was fringed with white hoar-frost. The earth was 
so hard frozen that they were building great fires to 
thaw it before working ; and as the darkness fell the 
flames leapt yellow and red and blue, glowing spots 
of colour against the whiteness and the night. And 
with the night came the full moon high in the clear 
sky, a disc of dazzling silver. The Providence that 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 13 

has guided my wandering footsteps surely gives 
sometimes with a lavish hand; that which I have 
sought earnestly with many tears is not for me, but 
this still moonlight winter's night in Siberia was 
mine, and all the world that we were rushing past 
was fairyland. There was in it nothing sordid, 
nothing unclean, nothing sorrowful. 

And it was still fairyland when I awoke in the 
morning to a brilliant sun shining upon a forest of 
dainty, delicate, graceful birches with every branch, 
every little twig, clothed in sparkling white, for the 
sunbeams were caught and reflected a million times 
on the frost flowers, and the whole forest was a 
thing of beauty and wonder that to see once is to 
remember for a lifetime. It is worth living to have 
seen it. I have seen great rivers and mountains 
and been awed by mighty forests, I have watched 
the thundering surf and listened to the roar of the 
tornado; but this was something quite different. 
Awe was not the predominant feeling, but joy joy 
that such beauty exists, that I was alive to look 
upon it. Behind us lay a long, long trail. We in 
the rushing train represented the onward march of 
a mighty civilisation, but all around us in the 
brilliant winter sunshine lay the limitless plains of 
Siberia, and the birch forest, and the snow, and the 
frost, and the beauty that is not made with hands, 
that defies civilisation, that was before civilisation, 
and we were moved to raise our eyes with the 
psalmist and cry aloud : " How wonderful are thy 
works, O Lord!" 

But I did not appreciate the beauty of the winter 
or the moonlight when they roused me at three o'clock 
in the morning at Manchuria because my luggage 



14 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

had to be examined at the Chinese Customs. The 
scanty lights on the station, the silver moon in the 
heaven above lit up the platform as we passengers 
of the train de luxe made our way to the baggage- 
room along a path between heaped-up frozen snow 
and ice, and the difference in temperature between 
that station platform and the carriages from which 
the hot air gushed was perhaps one hundred degrees. 
The reek from those carriages went up to heaven, 
but the sudden change was cruel. 

Our pessimistic old soldier wailed loudest. " My 
God! My God! this is unbearable!" and I won- 
dered why, because on his way through the world 
he must have encountered worse things than bitter 
cold that has only to be borne for a few minutes. 
Probably that was the reason. If he had had 
something really hard to bear he would very likely 
have said nothing about it. The baggage-room was 
confusion, worse confounded, and nobody seemed 
to know what was being looked for, opium, or arms 
or both. This place is the Port Said of the East, 
and people from all corners of the earth were 
gathered round their belongings. There were 
groups of Chinese with women and children and 
weird bundles ; there were the very latest dressing- 
cases and despatch-boxes from Bond Street and 
Piccadilly; there was a babel of tongues, Russian 
and French and German and English and the 
unknown tongues of Asia. China, China at last, 
and I was within two days of my destination. 

And when the day dawned we had left beautiful 
Siberia behind, and instead there were flat lands, 
deserts of stones and dry earth, with but little snow 
to veil the apparent barrenness, and hills first with 




s2 
5 




ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 15 

scanty trees, but growing more and more barren as 
we approached Kharbin. It looked desolate, cold, 
uninviting. The land may be rich, it is I am told, 
but when I passed there was no outward sign of that 
richness; the covering of beautiful white was gone, 
there was only a patch or two of snow here and 
there in the hollows, and the brilliant sunshine was 
like gleams of light on steel. At Kharbin they 
examined our baggage again why I know not 
and again it was chaos, chaos in the bitter cold with 
the mercury many degrees below freezing-point 
and screeching demons with a Mongolian type of 
countenance, muffled in furs and rags that seemed 
the cast-off clothes of all the nations of the earth, 
hauled the luggage about, pored over tickets and 
made entries in books with all the elaborate effort of 
the unlearned, and finally marked the unhappy boxes 
with great sprawling figures in tar or some such 
compound. 

"Four roubles, twenty kopecks." Why I had to 
pay I know not, that was beyond me, but I was glad 
to get off so lightly, for had they seen fit to ask me 
one hundred roubles, I should have been equally 
helpless. I was thankful to get out of the cold back 
to my warm and evil-smelling coupe. 

And at Ch'ang Ch'un I fairly felt I had crossed 
half the world, and the oldest old world greeted me 
with active winter. I did not know then, as I do 
now, how wonderful a thing is a snowstorm in 
Northern China. Here the snow was falling, fall- 
ing. We had left behind us the great spaces of the 
earth, and come back to agriculture. Through the 
whirling snowflakes, little low-roofed houses, sur- 
rounded with walls of stone with little portholes for 



16 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

guns the Japanese block-houses, for Japan holds 
Manchuria by force of arms alternated with farm- 
houses, with fences of high yellow millet stalks. 
The doors were marked with brilliant red paper with 
inscriptions in Chinese characters upon it a spot 
of brightness amidst the prevailing white that lent 
tone and colour to the picture. 

Here it was that the Russians and the sons of 
Nippon had been at death-grips, and we who were 
in this train realised why the Eastern nation had 
won. At Kharbin and at Manchuria, with things 
managed by Chinese, reigned confusion. That we 
ever emerged with a scrap of luggage seemed to be 
more by good luck than good management. From 
Ch'ang Ch'un to Mukden the little men from the 
islands in the eastern sea run the railway, and they 
know what they are about; everything is in order, 
and everything marches without apparent effort. 
They bought this land with their blood, and they 
are holding it now with the sure grip that efficiency 
gives. 

At Mukden a blizzard was raging, and the old 
Tartar City was veiled in snow. When the snow 
went, the sunshine was bleak and bright, and every- 
where, far as the eye could see, stretched tilled fields, 
bare of every green thing. Flatter and flatter grew 
the land. It was half ice and half earth, and the 
little sledges that were hitherto drawn by ponies 
were now drawn by men. Once we had left behind 
the Siberian fir, there was not a green thing to be 
seen all the way to Peking. The earth of the fields 
was streaked, dark brown and lighter brown; there 
were bare trees with their promise for the future ; 
and once we were in China proper, there were the 



ACROSS THE OLD WORLD 17 

graves graves solitary, and graves in clusters 
just neatly kept little heaps of earth piled up and 
pointed, something like an ant-hill. The air was 
clear and sparkling, the outlook was wide. We 
passed town after town, and where on the Siberian 
border the names of the stations were in Russian and 
Chinese, and so equally unintelligible, here in China 
they were in English and Chinese. 

" Do you like China ? " I asked a Frenchman who 
sat opposite me at tiffin. 

" No," said he frankly. " It is too English." But 
he laughed when I said that naturally I considered 
that a distinct point in the Chinaman's favour. 

A wind rose, and it was as if the brown earth 
were literally lifted into the air. Everything was 
smothered in a dust storm. The atmosphere was 
heavy as a London fog, a fog that had been dried 
by some freezing process. The air was full of dry 
brown particles that shrivelled the skin, and parched 
the lips, and made me weigh in my mind the respec- 
tive merits of a soft, moist air, and a clear and spark- 
ling one. I had left London in a yellow fog that 
veiled the tops of the houses, and lent an air of 
mystery to the street in the near distance^ I arrived 
at Peking in a typical North China dust storm. We 
came through the wall, the wall of the Chinese city, 
that until I had seen the Tartar wall looked grey, 
and grim, and stern, and solid, and I wondered at 
the curved tiled roofs, and the low houses, and the 
great bare spaces that go to make up the city. 

The East at last, the Far East! All across the 
old world I had come ; and here on a bitter cold 
February afternoon, with a wild wind blowing, the 
train drew up outside the Tartar wall, the wall that 

B 



18 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Kublai Khan and the Ming Emperors built in the 
capital city of the civilisation that was old when the 
Roman legions planted their eagles in the marshes 
of the Thames. I had reached China, the land of 
blue skies and of sunshine ; the land of desperate 
poverty and of wonderful wealth ; the land of 
triumph, and of martyrdom, and of mystery. What 
was it going to hold for me ? 



CHAPTER II 

A CITY OF THE AGES 

Chien Men Railway Station Driver Chow" Urgent speed in 
high disdain " Peking dust storm Joys of a bath The 
glories of Peking The Imperial City The Forbidden City 
Memorial arches The observatory The little Tartar 
princess Life in the streets Street stalls A mercenary 
marriage Courtly gentlemen. 

I LOOKED out of the carriage window as the train ran 
through the Chinese city on its way to the Chien 
Men railway station, and wondered what the future 
was going to be like, and I wondered aloud. 

"How will I get on?" 

Opposite me sat an amusing young gentleman 
with a ready tongue. 

" Oh you'll be all right," said he. " The Chinese 

'11 like you because you're fat and o " and then 

he checked himself seeing, I suppose, the dawning 
wrath in my eyes. The Chinese admire fat people 
and they respect the old, but I had not been accus- 
tomed to looking upon myself as old yet, though I 
had certainly seen more years than he had, and as 
for fat well I had fondly hoped my friends looked 
upon it as a pleasing plumpness. With these 
chastening remarks sinking into my soul, we rolled 
into the railway station. 

The railways in China, with a few exceptions, 
have been built by the English or French mostly 

19 



20 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

by the English and are managed to a great extent 
on European lines, so that arriving at the railway 
station in Peking does not differ very much from 
arriving at any other great terminus, save for the 
absence of cabs ; but I imagine there must be differ- 
ences, and that those who run the lines have little 
difficulties to contend with that would not occur on 
the London and North Western for example. 

" DEAR SIR," wrote a stationmaster once to the 
locomotive superintendent " I have, with many 
tears, to call your attention to your driver, Chow, 
who holds urgent speed in high disdain." 

The locomotive superintendent, without any 
tears, investigated the charge against this driver, 
Chow. The line was worked on the staff system. 
No driver could leave a station without giving up 
the staff he had brought in, and receiving the corres- 
ponding one for the next stretch of line. The staff 
to follow the directions is to be handed to the 
driver by the stationmaster, but the stationmaster 
on this, and I expect on many other occasions, for 
the Chinese are past-masters in the art of delegating 
work to someone else, had handed the staff to a 
coolie and gone about his pleasure. Now Chow 
evidently had a grudge against him, for, I fear me, 
no one believed in his altruism. He insisted on the 
strict letter of the law and declined to take the staff 
until it was handed to him by the important man 
himself, and he kept the whole train waiting, while 
that worthy was searched for, and hauled out of the 
particular gambling-house he most affected. When 
the gentleman appeared, furious and angry, on the 
platform, Chow calmly lifted up his staff to effect 



A CITY OF THE AGES 21 

an exchange, and he swore on investigation he had 
forgotten that the end the stationmaster received 
had been reposing for all the long wait upon the 
nearly red-hot boiler ! That the stationmaster burnt 
his fingers is a mild statement of the case. 

There was a wild wind blowing when I stepped 
out of the train and looked around me at the frown- 
ing walls, at least I looked as much as I could, for 
the day was bitterly cold, and most of the ground 
was in the air. A London fog was nothing to it, 
that is soft and still and filthy, this was hard and 
gritty, moving fast and equally filthy, and every 
one of the passengers was desperately anxious to 
exchange the bleak railway station for the warmth 
and comfort and cleanliness to be found between 
four walls. 

I was just as anxious as anybody else, but by the 
time I had collected my luggage the awful facts 
were borne in on me that all the people with whom 
I had made friends on the way across, were rapidly 
departing, and that there was no one to meet me. 
Peking was wonderful, I knew it was wonderful ; 
there were such walls as I had never even dreamt of, 
towering above me, but I was not able to rise above 
the fact that I was in a strange city, among quaint- 
looking people who spoke an unknown tongue, and 
that I did not know where to go. And the Morri- 
sons' invitation had been most cordial. I had 
rejected all offers of help, because I was so sure 
someone from their house would be there to meet 
me, now I seized the last remaining passenger who 
could speak a little Chinese, and, with his help, got 
a hand-cart for my gear, drawn by two ragged men, 
and a rickshaw for myself this man haulage, this 



22 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

cheapness of human labour, made me realise more 
quickly than anything else could have done, that I 
had really arrived in the Eastern world and after 
a little debate with myself I started for Dr Morri- 
son's. I had been asked to stay there, and I felt it 
would be rude to go to the hotel, but as we drove 
through the streets I thought as much as the dust, 
the filthy dust that the violent gusts of wind were 
blowing in my face would allow not of the wonders 
of this new world upon which I was entering, but 
of how I should announce myself to these people 
who apparently were not expecting me. I had such 
a lot of luggage too! 

At last the coolies stopped opposite a door 
guarded by two stone lions, and as I got out of 
my rickshaw, entered the porch, and stood outside 
a little green wicket gate, the doorkeeper stepped 
out of his room and looked at me. He was clad all 
in blue cotton and he had an impassive face and 
just enough English for a doorkeeper. 

No, Missie was not at home, he announced calmly. 
"Master?" I asked frantically, but he shook his 
head, Master was out too. Here was a dilemma. 
I would have gone straight to the hotel I had 
discovered Peking boasted, but I feared they might 
think it rude. I made him understand I would 
come in and wait a little, and my luggage, my 
dilapidated luggage, for Kharbin and Manchuria 
had been hard on it, was carried into the courtyard 
of the first Chinese house I had ever seen. But I 
wasn't thinking of sight-seeing then ; I was wonder- 
ing what I should do. I questioned the No. i boy, 
as I subsequently found he was, a pleasant-faced 
little man in a long blue coat or dress, whichever 




GUARD-HOUSE IN IMPERIAL CITY. 








A WALL AND GATE OF THE IMPERIAL CITY 



A CITY OF THE AGES 23 

you please to call it, and a little round silk cap 
suppressing his somewhat wild hair. I learned 
afterwards that some students, enthusiastic for the 
new regime, had caught him the day before and 
shorn off his queue with no skilful hands. It was 
his opinion that Missie was not expecting a guest, 
but he suggested I should come inside and have 
some tea. The thought of tea was distinctly com- 
forting, and so was his attitude. It suggested that 
unexpected guests were evidently received with 
hospitality, and dirty as I felt myself to be, I went 
in and sat down to a meal of tea and cakes. 

" I makee room ready chop chop," announced the 
boy, and I drank tea and ate cakes, wondering 
whether I ought not to stop him, and say he had 
better wait till his mistress came home. And I felt 
so horribly dirty, too. Then there came in a lady 
who also looked at me with surprise. 

She had come to tea with Mrs Morrison, and she 
was quite sure Mrs Morrison was expecting no 
guest. This was awful. I became so desperate 
that nothing seemed to matter, and I went on eating 
cake and drinking tea till presently the No. i boy 
came in again, and calmly announced: 

" Barf ready." 

And I had just been told that my hostess did not 
expect me! 

I looked at the lady sitting opposite me, I looked 
at the boy, and I considered my very dirty and 
dishevelled self. I had not even seen a bath since 
I left Moscow. I had come through the Peking 
streets in a Peking dust storm, and I felt a bath was 
a temptation not to be resisted, wherever that bath 
was offered; so I arose and followed the boy, and 



24 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

presently Mrs Morrison, coming into her own court- 
yard, was confronted by a heap of strange luggage, 
and a boy standing over it with a feather duster, no 
mere feather duster could have coped with the dirt 
upon it, but a Chinese servant would attack a hornet's 
nest with one ; it is his badge of office. He looked 
up at her and remarked, in that friendly and con- 
versational manner with which the Chinese servant 
makes the wheels of life go smoothly for his Missie 
when he has her alone. 

" One piecey gentleman in barf ! " 

She came and knocked at the bedroom door 
when I was doing my hair and feeling much more 
able to face the world, and made me most cordially 
welcome, and, when I was fully dressed and back 
in the drawing-room, Dr Morrison appeared, and 
said he was glad to see me, and no one mentioned 
that my arrival had been unexpected, till a week 
later, when the letter I had written saying by what 
train I was coming, turned up. 

I stayed with Dr Morrison and his pretty young 
wife for close on a fortnight, and they gave me most 
kindly hospitality, and not only did I view the 
wonders of Peking, make some acquaintances and 
friends, but saw just a little of the peculiarities of 
Chinese servants. They are good, there is no 
gainsaying it, but sometimes they did surprise me. 
Dr Morrison has a secretary, young and slim and 
clever, who in the early days of our acquaintance- 
ship was wont very kindly to come over and help 
me in the important matter of fastening up dresses 
at the back. One evening, being greatly in need of 
her assistance, I sent across the courtyard to her, 
and the startled young lady was calmly informed by 



A CITY OF THE AGES 25 

a bland and smiling boy as if it were the most 
natural thing in the world: 

" One piecey gentleman wanchee in he's 
bedroom." 

At first I don't think I appreciated Peking. It 
left me cold, and my heart sank, for I had come to 
write about it, to gain material perhaps for a novel, 
and this most certainly is a truth, you cannot write 
well about a place unless you either love or hate it. 
Still, I have always had a great distaste for dashing 
through a country like an American tourist, and so 
I settled down at the Wagons Lits Hotel, surely the 
most cosmopolitan hotel in the world. 

And then by slow degrees my eyes were opened, 
and I saw. Blind, blind, how could I have been 
so blind ? It makes me troubled. Have other good 
things been offered me in life? And have I turned 
away and missed them? The wonder of what I 
have seen in Peking never palls, it grows upon me 
daily. 

"Walk about Zion and go round about her . . . 
consider her palaces that ye may tell it to the 
generation following." So chanted the psalmist, 
not so much, perhaps, for the sake of future genera- 
tions, but because her beauty and charm so filled 
his soul that his lips were forced to song. "Tell 
the towers thereof, mark ye well her bulwarks." 
Far back in the ages, a nation great and civilised on 
the eastern edge of the plain that stretches half 
across the world, builded themselves a mighty city. 
Peking first came into being when we Western 
nations, who pride ourselves upon our intense 
civilisation, were but naked savages, hunters and 
nomads, and she, spoiled and sacked and looted, 



26 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

taking fresh masters, and absorbing them, Chinese 
and Tartar, Ming and Manchu, has endured even 
unto the present day. To-day, the spirit of the 
West is breathing over her and she responds a little, 
ever so little, and murmurs of change, yet she 
remains the same at heart as she has been through 
the ages. How should she change? She is 
wedded to her past, she can no more be divorced 
from it than can the morning from the evening. 

There is something wonderful and antique about 
any walled city, but a walled city like Peking stands 
alone. The very modern railway comes into the 
Chinese City through an archway in the wall, and 
the railway station, the hideous modern railway 
station, lies just outside the great wall of the Tartar 
City. There are three cities in Peking, indeed for 
the last few years there have been four four 
distinct cities. There is the Imperial City, enclosed 
in seven miles of pinkish red wall, close on twenty 
feet high, and in the Imperial City, the very heart 
of it, behind more pinkish red walls, is the For- 
bidden City, where dwell the remnant of the Manchu 
Dynasty, the baby emperor and his guardians, the 
women, the eunuchs, the attendants that make up 
such a gathering as waited in bygone days on Darius, 
King of the Medes, or Ahasuerus, King of Babylon. 
Here there are spacious courtyards and ancient 
temples and palaces, and audience halls with 
yellowish-brown tiled roofs, extensive lakes, where 
multitudes of wild duck, flying north for the summer, 
or south for the winter, find a resting-place, watch- 
towers and walls, and tunnelled gateways through 
those walls. When through the ages the greatest 
artists of a nation have been giving their minds to 



A CITY OF THE AGES 27 

the beautifying of a city, the things of beauty in that 
city are so numerous that it seems impossible for 
one mind to grasp them, to realise the wonder and 
the charm, especially when that charm is exotic and 
evasive. 

The Imperial City, all round the Forbidden City, 
consists of a network of narrow streets and alleys 
lined with low buildings with windows of delicate 
lattice-work, and curved tiled roofs. Here, hidden 
away in silent peaceful courtyards shaded by gnarled 
old trees, are temples guarded by shaven priests 
in faded red robes. Their hangings are torn and 
faded, the dust lies on their altars, and the scent of 
the incense is stale in their courts, for the gods are 
dead ; and yet because the dead are never forgotten 
in China China that clings to her past they linger 
on. Here are shops, low one-storied shops, with 
fronts richly carved and gilded, streets deep in mud 
or dust, narrow alley-ways and high walls with 
mysterious little doors in them leading into secluded 
houses, and all the clatter and clamour of a Chinese 
city, laden donkeys, mules and horses, rickshaws 
from Japan, glass broughams weirdly reflecting the 
glory of modern London, and blue, tilted Peking 
carts with studded wheels, such as have been part 
and parcel of the Imperial City for thousands of 
years, all the life of the city much as it is outside 
the pinkish red walls, only here and there are carved 
pillars and broad causeways that, if the stones could 
speak, might tell a tale of human woe and human 
weariness, of joy and magnificence, that would 
surpass any told of any city in the world. 

And outside the Imperial City, hemming it in, in 
a great square fourteen miles round, is the Tartar 



28 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

City with splendid walls. Outside that again, form- 
ing a sort of suburb, lies to the south the Chinese 
City with thirteen miles of wall enclosing not only 
its teeming population, but the great open spaces 
and parks of the Temple of Heaven and the Temple 
of Agriculture. But though the Tartar City and 
the Chinese City are distinct divisions of Peking, 
walled off from each other, all difference between 
the people has long ago disappeared. The Tartars 
conquered the Chinese, and the Chinese, patient, 
industrious, persistent, drew the Tartars to them- 
selves. But still the walls that divided them endure. 

The Tartar City is crossed by broad highways 
cutting each other at right angles, three run north 
and south, and three run east and west, they are 
broad and are usually divided into three parts, the 
centre part being a good, hard, well-tended road- 
way, while on either side the soil is loose, and since 
the streets are thronged, the side ways are churned 
up in the summer into a slough that requires some 
daring to cross, and in the winter the dry, cold 
rainless winter, the soil is ground into a powdery 
dust that the faintest breeze raises into the air, and 
many of the breezes of Northern China are by no 
means faint. The authorities try to grapple with 
the evil at regular intervals are stationed a couple 
of men with a pail of muddy water, which with a 
basket-work scoop they distribute lavishly in order 
to try and keep down the rising dust. But the dust 
of Peking is a problem beyond a mere pail and 
scoop. This spattering of water has about as much 
effect upon it as a thimbleful of water flung on a 
raging fiery furnace. 

Still, in spite of the mud and the dust, the streets 





WATERING STREETS, PEKING. 








ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTS. 



A CITY OF THE AGES 29 

are not without charm. They are lined with trees ; 
indeed I think no city of its size was ever b.etter 
planted. When once one has realised how treeless 
is the greater part of China, this is rather surprising. 
For look which way you will from the wall in the 
summer and autumn, you feel you might be looking 
down upon a wood instead of a city ; the roofs of the 
single-storied houses are hidden by the greenery, 
and only here and there peeps out the tiled roof of 
a temple or hall of audience with the eaves curving 
upwards, things of beauty against the background 
of green branches. Curiously enough it is only 
from the walls that Peking has this aspect. Once 
in the network of alley-ways it seems as if a wilder- 
ness of houses and shops were crowding one on top 
of the other, as if humanity were crushing out every 
sign of green life. This is because there is to all 
things Chinese two sides. There is the life of 
the streets, mud-begrimed, dusty, seething with 
humanity, odoriferous, ragged, dirty, patient, hard- 
working; and there is a hidden life shut away in 
those networks of narrow alley-ways. 

There is many a gateway between two gilded 
shop fronts, some black Chinese characters on a red 
background set out the owner's name and titles, 
and, passing through, you are straightway admitted 
irtfo courtyard after courtyard, some planted with 
trees, some with flowering plants in pots because 
of the cruel winter all Chinese gardens in the north 
here are in pots, sometimes with fruit-trees thick 
with blossom or heavy with fruit, and in the paved 
courtyards, secluded, retired as a convent, you find 
the various apartments of a well-arranged Chinese 
house ; there are shady verandas, and dainty lattice- 



80 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

work windows looking out upon miniature land- 
scapes with little hills and streams and graceful 
bridges crossing the streams. But only a favoured 
few may see these oases. For the majority Peking 
must be the wide-open boulevards and narrow hu 
t'ungs, fronted by low and highly ornamental houses, 
and shops so close together that there is no more 
room for a garden or growing green life than there 
is in Piccadilly. True there are trees in these 
boulevards, in Morrison Street, in Ha Ta Men 
Street, in the street of Eternal Repose that cuts 
them at right angles, but they would be but small 
things in the mass of buildings were it not for the 
courtyards of the private houses and temples that 
are hidden behind. 

There are, too, in the streets p'ia lous or memorial 
arches, generally of three archways with tiled roofs 
of blue or green or yellow rising in tiers one above 
the other, put up in memory of some deed the 
Chinese delight to honour. And what the Chinese 
think worthy of honour, and what the Westerner 
delights to honour are generally as far apart, I find, 
as the Poles. In Ha Ta Men Street, however, 
there is a p'ia lou all of white marble, put up by the 
last Manchu Emperor in memory of gallant Baron 
von Kettler, done to death in the Boxer rising, but 
there, I am afraid, Chinese appreciation was 
quickened by European force. 

We are apt to think that European influence in 
China is quite a thing of yesterday, that Baron von 
Kettler was the first man of note who perished in 
the inevitable conflict, and yet, when I looked at 
the eastern wall of the city, I was reminded, with 
a start, that European influence dates long before 



A CITY OF THE AGES 31 

the Boxer time, long before the days of the Honour- 
able East India Company, and many must have 
been the martyrs. There on the eastern wall 
stands the observatory, and clear-cut against the 
bright blue sky are astronomical instruments with 
dragons and strange beasts upon them. They wer 
placed there by the Jesuits in the middle of the 
seventeenth century, and I know that those priests 
could not have attained so much influence without a 
bitter baptism of blood. They stand out as land- 
marks, those orbs and astrolabes, up and down the 
wall, even as they have come down through the 
centuries ; monuments, as enduring as any Chinese 
p'ia lou, of faith and suffering ; but the Jesuits were 
not the first to place astronomical instruments there. 
The Chinese were not barbarians by any means, 
though by some curious freak we Westerners have 
passed them in the race for civilisation, and, as long 
ago as the days of Kublai Khan, they had an obser- 
vatory here by the wall. On the ground below, in a 
tree-shaded courtyard, there is an astrolabe with a 
beautiful bronze dragon for a stand, the dust-laden 
air of Peking has polished and preserved it, so that 
I can see but little difference between it and the 
newer instruments on the platform above newer 
and yet two hundred and fifty years old. 

And beyond the observatory in the north-east 
corner of the city is the Lama Temple, a temple 
with picturesque, yellowish-brown tiled roofs and 
spacious courtyards, in which are quaint old gnarled 
trees, and building after building in that curious 
state that is part beautiful, part slovenly decay, 
ruled over by hundreds of shaven, yellow-robed 
monks among whom, they say, it is not safe for a 



32 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

woman to go by herself. There is the Temple of 
Confucius, with surely the most peaceful courtyard 
in the world, and there are other temples, temples 
with courtyards and weird, twisted coniferous trees 
in them that are hundreds of years old, pagodas, 
and bells, and towers, and to each and all is attached 
many a story. 

Overlooking the great causeway that runs along 
in front of the Forbidden City, west past the south 
main gate, are two towers, one to the north in the 
Forbidden City, and one to the south without its 
walls ; and of these two towers they tell a story of 
tenderness and longing. Hundreds of years ago, 
when the Tartars were first subject to the Ming 
Emperors, part of their tribute had to be one of their 
fairest princesses, who became a member of the 
Emperor's harem. 

The poor little girl's inclinations were not con- 
sidered, not even now is the desire of a woman 
considered in China, and the little Tartar girl was 
bound to suffer for her people. She might or might 
not please the Emperor, but whether she did or not 
the position of one who might share the Emperor's 
bed was so high that she might never again hold 
communion with her own kin. And then there 
came one little Tartar princess, who, finding favour 
with her lord, summoned courage to tell him of her 
love and longing. But there are some rules that 
not even the mighty Emperor of China may abro- 
gate, and he could not permit her ever again to 
mingle with the common herd. One thing only 
could he do, and that he did. He built the northern 
tower looking over the causeway, and the southern 
tower on the other side. On the one tower the poor 



A CITY OF THE AGES 33 

little secondary wife, lonely and weighted by her 
high estate, might stand so that she could see her 
people on the other, and, though they were too far 
apart for caress or spoken word, at least they could 
see each other and know that all was well. 

I do not know whether many of the people who 
throng the streets from morning to night, and long 
after night has fallen, ever give a thought to the 
little Tartar princess. The shops, most of them 
open to the streets, are full, and on two sides of the 
main roadways are set up little stalls for the sale of 
trifles. Curiously enough, and I suppose it denotes 
poverty and lack of home life, about half these stalls 
are given up to the cooking and selling of eatables. 
In Ha Ta Men Street, in Morrison Street, in the 
street of Eternal Repose, that is as if we should 
say in Piccadilly, in Regent Street, and the Hay- 
market, and just outside the gates in the Chinese 
City, on the path that runs between the canal and 
the Tartar wall, you may see these same little stalls. 

Here is a man who sells tea, keeping his samovar 
boiling with shovelfuls of little round hard nodules, 
coal dust made up with damp clay into balls ; here 
is another with a small frying-pan in which he is 
baking great slabs of wheaten flour cakes, and 
selling them hot out of the pan ; here is another with 
an earthenware dish full of an appetising-looking 
stew of meat and vegetables, with a hard-boiled egg 
or two floating on top ; another man has big yellow 
slabs of cake with great plums in them, another has 
sticks of apples and all manner of fruits and vege- 
tables done into sweetmeats. And here as it is 
cooked, alfresco, do the people, the men, for women 
are seldom seen at the stalls, come and buy, and 

c 



84 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

eat, without other equipment than a basin, a pair of 
chop sticks or a bone spoon like a ladle supplied by 
the vendor. 

They sell, and make, and mend Chinese footgear 
at these stalls too ; there is a fortune-teller, one who 
will read your future with a chart covered with hiero- 
glyphics spread out on the bare ground; there is 
the letter-writer for the unlearned; there are primi- 
tive little gaming-tables ; and there are cheap, very 
cheap cigarettes and tobacco of brands unknown in 
America or Egypt. 

I have said there is a lack of home life, and 
thought, like the arrogant Westerner I am, that the 
Chinese do not appreciate it, but only the other day 
I heard a little story that made me think that the 
son of Han, like everyone else, longs for a home 
and someone in it he can call his very own. 

One day a missionary teacher heard an outcry 
behind her, and turning, saw a blind woman, 
unkempt and filthy and whining pitifully. " Oh who 
will help me ? Who will help me ? " she cried, 
shrinking away from the dog that was making dashes 
at the basket she carried for doles. 

The missionary called off her dog, and reassured 
the woman. The dog would not hurt her. He was 
only interested in the food in her basket. "Then," 
said she, " I went on, because I was in a hurry, but 
as I went I thought how horrible the woman looked, 
and that I ought to go back and tell her, 'God is 
Love/" 

So the missionary stopped and talked religion to 
that blind beggar, and told her to come up to the 
Mission Station. She looked after her soul, but 
also, out of the kindness of her heart, she looked 



A CITY OF THE AGES 85 

after her body, and when the beggar was established, 
a woman of means with a whole dollar two shillings 
a week, she realised that God was indeed Love, 
and became a fervent Christian. 

"Clean," I asked, being of an inquiring turn of 
mind, and her saviour laughed. 

" Perhaps you wouldn't call her clean, but it is a 
vast improvement on what she was." 

The woman wasn't young, as Chinese count youth 
in a woman, she wasn't good-looking, she wasn't in 
any way attractive, but she was a woman of means, 
and presently her guardian was embarrassed by an 
offer from a man of dim sight, for the hand and 
heart of her protegee. The missionary was horri- 
fied. The woman was married already. The 
would-be bridegroom, the prospective bride, and all 
their friends smiled, and seemed to think that since 
her last alliance wasn't a real marriage it should be 
no bar. Still the lady was firm, the woman had 
lived with the man for some years and it was a 
marriage in her humble opinion. So the dis- 
appointed candidates for matrimony went their way. 
However, a few weeks later the woman came to her 
guardian with a face wreathed in smiles, "that 
thing," she said, she didn't even call him a man, 
that thing was dead, had died the day before, and 
there was now no reason why she should not marry 
again! There was no reason, and within ten days 
the nuptials were celebrated, and the blind woman 
went to live with her new husband. 

I asked was it a success and the missionary 
smiled. 

" Yes, it is certainly a success, only her husband 
complains she eats too much." 



86 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

I said there were always drawbacks when a man 
married for money ! 

But as a matter of fact the marriage was a great 
success. I saw the happy couple afterwards, and 
the woman looked well-cared for and neat, and her 
husband helped her up some steps quite as carefully 
as any man of the West might have done. Truly 
the Fates were kind to the blind beggar when they 
put her in the way of that missionary. She is far, 
far happier probably than the bride of a higher class 
who goes to a new home, and, henceforward, as 
long as the older woman lives, is but a servant to her 
mother-in-law. True the husband had complained 
his new wife ate too much. But Chinese etiquette 
does not seem to think it at all the correct thing to 
praise anything that belongs to one. And for a 
husband to show affection for his wife, whatever he 
may feel, is a most extraordinary thing. The other 
day a woman was working in the courtyard of a 
house when there came in her husband who had 
been away for close on six months. Did they rush 
at one another as Westerners would have done? 
Not at all. He crossed the courtyard to announce 
himself to his master, and she went on with her 
work. Each carefully refrained from looking at the 
other, because had they looked people might have 
thought they cared for each other. And it is in the 
highest degree indelicate for a husband or wife to 
express affection for each other. 

In truth, once my eyes were opened, I soon grew 
to think that, from the point of view of the sightseer, 
there are few places in the world to compare with 
Peking, and the greatest interest lies in the people 
the crowded humanity of the streets. Of course 




IP 



GATE ON THE WALL, PEKING. 




THE HA TA MEN FROM THE WALL. 



A CITY OF THE AGES 87 

I have seen crowded humanity after London how 
can any busy city present any novelty and yet, 
here in Peking, a new note is struck. Not all at 
once did I realise it; my mind went groping round 
asking, what is the difference between these people 
and those one sees in the streets of London or 
Paris? They are a different type, but that is 
nothing, it is only skin deep. What is it then? 
One thing cannot but strike the new-comer, and 
that is that they are a peaceable and orderly crowd, 
more amenable to discipline, or rather they dis- 
cipline themselves better, than any crowd in the 
world. Not but that there are police. At every 
few yards the police of the New Republic, in dusty 
black bound with yellow in the winter, and in khaki 
in the summer, with swords strapped to their waists, 
direct a traffic that is perfectly capable of directing 
itself; and at night, armed with rifles, mounted 
bands of them patrol the streets, the most law- 
abiding streets apparently in the world. In spite of 
the - swarms of tourists, who are more and more 
pouring into Peking, a foreigner is still a thing to 
be wondered at, to be followed and stared at; but 
there is no rudeness, no jostling. He has only to 
put out his hand to intimate to the following crowd 
that he wishes a little more space, that their com- 
pany is a little too odoriferous, and they fall back at 
once, only to press forward again the next moment. 
Was ever there such a kindly, friendly nation? 
And yet and yet What is it I find wrong? 
They are a highly civilised people, from the Presi- 
dent who reigns like a dictator, to the humble 
rickshaw coolie, who guards my dress from the filth 
of the street. He will hawk, and spit, but he is as 



88 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

courtly a gentleman as one of the bucks of the 
Prince Regent's Court, who probably did much the 
same thing. It dawned upon me slowly. These 
people have achieved that refinement we of the West 
have been striving for and have not attained as yet. 
It is well surely to make perfection an aim in life, 
and yet I feel something has gone from these people 
in the process of refining. Ninety-nine times out 
of a hundred they can be trusted to keep order, 
and the hundredth probably not all the police in 
the capital could hold them. The very rickshaw 
coolies, when they fall out, trust to the sweet reason- 
ableness of argument, even though that argument 
Waste interminable hours. A European, an English- 
man or an American probably, comes hectoring down 
the street no other word describes his attitude, 
when it is contrasted with that of the courteous 
Orientals round him. On the smallest provocation, 
far too small a provocation, he threatens to kick this 
coolie, he swings that one out of the way and, 
instead of being shocked, I am distinctly relieved. 
Here is an exhibition of force, restrained force, that 
is welcome as a rude breeze, fresh from the sea or 
the mountains, is welcome in a heated, scented 
room. These people, even the poorer people of 
the streets, are suffering from over-civilisation, from 
over-refinement. They need a touch of the primi- 
tive savage to make the red blood run in their veins. 
Not but that they can be savage, so savage on 
occasion, the hundredth occasion when no police 
could hold them, that their cruelty is such that there 
is not a man who knows them who would not keep 
the last cartridge in his revolver to save himself 
from the refinement of their tender mercies. 



A CITY OF THE AGES 89 

But I did not make this reflection the first, or 
even the tenth time, I walked in the streets. It was 
a thing that grew upon me gradually. By the time 
I found I was making comparisons, the comparisons 
were already made and my opinions were formed. 
I looked at these strange men and women, especially 
at the small-footed women, and wondered what effect 
the condemning of fifty per cent of the population 
to years of torture had had upon the mental growth 
of this nation, and I raised my eyes to the mighty 
walls that surrounded the city, and knew that the 
nation had done wonderful things. 



CHAPTER III 

THE WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 

The mud walls of Kublai Khan Only place for a comfortable 
promenade The gardens on the walls Guarding- the city 
from devils The dirt of the Chinese The gates The 
camels In the Chien Men The patient Chinese women 
The joys of living in a walled city A change in Chinese 
feeling. 

ARE they like the walls and gates of Babylon, I 
wonder, these walls and gates of the capital city of 
China. I thought so when first I saw them, and 
the thought remains with me still. Behind such 
walls as these surely sat Ahasuerus, King of Baby- 
lon ; behind such walls as these dwelt the thousands 
of serfs who toiled, and suffered, and died, that he 
might be a mighty king. They are magnificent, a 
wonder of the world, and it seemed to me that the 
men of the nation who built them must glory in them. 
But all do not. I sat one day at tiffin at a friend's 
house, and opposite me sat a Chinese doctor, a 
graduate of Cambridge, who spoke English with 
the leisurely accent of the cultivated Englishman, 
and he spoke of these mighty walls. 

" If I had my way," said he, " they should be 
levelled with the ground. I would not leave one 
stone upon another." And I wondered why. They 
shut out the fresh air, he said, but I wondered, in 
my own mind, whether he did not feel that they 

40 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 41 

hemmed the people in, caged and held them as it 
were, in an archaic state of civilisation, that it is 
best should pass away. They can shut out so little 
air, and they can only cage and hold those who 
desire to be so held. 

Kublai Khan outlined the greater part of them in 
mud in the thirteenth century, and then, two hundred 
years after, came the Ming conquerors who faced 
the great Tartar's walls with grey Chinese brick, 
curtailing them a little to the north, and as the 
Mings left them, so are they to-day when the foreign 
nations from the West, and that other Asiatic nation 
from the East, have built their Legations pledges 
of peace beneath them and, armed to the teeth, 
hold, against the Chinese, the Legation Quarter 
and a mile of their own wall. 

Over fifty feet high are these Tartar walls, at 
their base they are sixty feet through, at their top 
they are between forty and fifty feet across, more 
than a hundred if you measure their breadth at the 
great buttresses, and they are paved with the grey 
Chinese bricks that face their sides. As in most 
Chinese cities, the top of the wall is the only place 
where a comfortable promenade can be had, and the 
mile-long strip between the Chien Men, the main 
gate, and the Ha Ta Men, the south-eastern gate 
the strip held by the Legations is well kept ; 
that is to say, a broad pathway, along which people 
can walk, is kept smooth and neat and free from the 
vegetation that flourishes on most of the wall top. 
This vegetation adds greatly to its charm. The 
mud of the walls is the rich alluvial deposit of 
the great plain on which Peking stands, and when 
it has been well watered by the summer rains, a 



42 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

luxuriant green growth, a regular jungle, forces its 
way up through the brick pavement. The top of the 
wall upon a cool autumn day, before the finger of 
decay has touched this growth, is a truly delightful 
garden. 

It was my great pleasure to walk there, for there 
were all manner of flowering green shrubs and tall 
grasses, bound together by blooming morning glory, 
its cup-shaped flowers blue, and pink, and white, and 
white streaked with pink; there were even small 
trees, white poplar and the ailanthus, or tree of 
heaven, throwing out shady branches that afforded 
shelter from the rays of the brilliant sun. They 
are not adequate shelter, though, in a rainstorm. 
Indeed it is very awkward to be caught in a rain- 
storm upon the walls out of the range of the rick- 
shaws, as I was more than once, for in the hot 
weather I could never resist the walls, the only 
place in Peking where a breath of fresh air is to 
be found, and, since it is generally hottest before 
the rain, on several occasions I was caught, return- 
ing drenched and dripping. It did not matter as a 
rule, but once when I was there with a companion 
a more than ordinary storm caught us. We 
sheltered under an ailanthus tree, and as the wind 
was strong, umbrellas were useless. My com- 
panion began to get agitated. 

" If this goes on," said he, " I shan't be able to 
go out to-morrow. I have only one coat." He 
had come up from Tientsin for a couple of days. 
But for me the case was much more serious. I had 
on a thin white muslin that began to cling round my 
figure, and I thought anxiously that if it went on 
much longer I should not be able to go into the 




PATH ON TOP OF WALL, PEKING. 




CATAPULT STONES ON THE WALL. 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 43 

hotel that day! However, the rain stopped as sud- 
denly as it had begun, the sun came out in all his 
fierceness, and before we reached the hotel I was 
most unbecomingly rough dried. 

Things are ordered on the Legation wall, the 
pathway between the greenery runs straight as a die, 
but beyond, on the thirteen miles of wall under 
Chinese care, the greenery runs riot, and only a 
narrow pathway meanders between the shrubs and 
grass, just as a man may walk carelessly from 
station to station ; and sometimes hidden among the 
greenery, sometimes standing out against it, are 
here and there great upright slabs of stone, always 
in pairs, relics of the old fortifications, for surely 
these are all that remain of the catapults with which 
of old the Chinese and Tartars defended their 
mighty city. 

The walls stand square, north and south, and 
east and west, only at the north-west corner does 
the line slant out of the square a little, for every 
Chinese knows that is the only sure way to keep 
devils out of a city, and certainly the capital must 
be so guarded. Whatever I saw and wondered at, 
I always came back to the walls, the most wonder- 
ful sight of a most wonderful city, and I always found 
something new to entrance me. The watch-towers, 
the ramps, the gates, the suggestion of old-world 
story that met me at every turn. In days not so 
very long ago these walls were kept by the Manchu 
bannermen, whose special duty it was to guard 
them, and no other person was allowed upon them, 
under pain of death, for exactly the same reason 
that all the houses in the city are of one story: 
it was not seemly that any mere commoner should 



44 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

be able to look down upon the Emperor, and no 
women, even the women of the bannermen, were 
allowed to set foot there, for it appeared that the 
God of War, who naturally took an interest in these 
defences, objected to women. 

Now little companies of soldiers take the place 
of those old-world bannermen. They look out at 
the life of the city, at their fellows drilling on the 
great plain beyond, at the muddy canal, that is like 
a river, making its way across the khaki-coloured 
plain, that in the summer is one vast crop of kaoliang 
one vivid note of green. Wonderful fertility you 
may see from the walls of the Chinese capital. 
Looking one feels that the rush of the nations to 
finance the country is more than justified. Surely 
here is the truest of wealth. But the soldiers on the 
walls are children. China does not think much of 
her soldiers, and the language is full of proverbs 
about them the reverse of complimentary. " Good 
iron is not used for nails," is one of them, " and good 
men do not become soldiers." How true that may 
be I do not know, but these men seemed good 
enough, only just the babies a fellow-countryman 
talking of them to me once called them. They 
know little of their own country, less than nothing 
of any other. I feel they should not be dressed in 
shabby khaki like travesties of the men of Western 
armies, tunics and sandals and bows and arrows 
would be so much more in keeping with their sur- 
roundings. And yet so small are they, like ants at 
the foot of an oak, that their garb scarcely matters, 
they but emphasise the vastness of the walls on 
which they stand; walls builded probably by men 
differing but little from these soldiers of New China. 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 45 

I photographed a little company one bright day in 
the early spring it is hardly necessary to say it was 
bright, because all days at that season, and indeed 
at most seasons, are brilliantly, translucently bright. 
My little company dwelt in a low building made up 
apparently of lattice-work and paper close to the 
observatory, and evidently word went round that the 
wonderful thing had been done, and, for all the 
charm of the walls, it was not a thing that was often 
done. I suppose the average tourist does not care 
to waste his plates on commonplace little soldiers in 
badly made khaki. When next I appeared with the 
finished picture all along my route soldiers came and 
asked courteously, and plainly, for all I knew not 
one word of their tongue, what the result had been. 
I showed them, of course, and my following grew as 
I passed on. They knew those who had been 
taken, which was lucky, for I certainly could not tell 
t'other from which z and, when I arrived at their little 
house, smiling claimants stretched out eager hands. 
I knew the number I had taken and I had a copy 
apiece. And very glad I was, too, when they all 
ranged up and solemnly saluted me, and then they 
brought me tea in their handleless cups, and I, 
unwashed though I felt those cups were, drank to 
our good-fellowship in the excellent Chinese tea 
that needs neither sugar nor milk to make it 
palatable. 

There were other people, too, on the walls in 
the early springtime, coolies clearing away the dead 
growth that Bad remained over from the past summer. 
It was so light it seemed hardly worth gathering, and 
those gleaners first taught me to realise something 
of the poverty of China, the desperate poverty that 



46 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

dare not waste so much as a handful of dead grass. 
They gathered the refuse into heaps, tied it to each 
end of their bamboos, and, slinging it over their 
shoulders, trudged with it down one of the ramps 
into the city. Ever and again in my peregrina- 
tions, I would come across one of them sitting in 
the sun, going over his padded coat in the odd 
moments he could spare from his toil. For the 
lower-class Chinese understands not the desira- 
bility of water, as applied either to himself or his 
clothes, and, as he certainly never changes those 
clothes while one shred will hold to another, the 
moment must arrive, sooner or later, when his dis- 
comfort is desperate, and something must be done. 
He is like the wonks, the great yellow scavenger 
dogs that haunt the streets of Peking and all 
Chinese cities, he sits down and scratches himself, 
and goes through his clothes. At least that was my 
opinion. A friend of mine who had served for some 
years in the interior with the great company, the 
British and American Tcbacco Company, that, with 
the missionaries, shares the honour of doing pioneer 
work in China, says I am wrong, Chinamen don't 
mind such a little thing as that. 

" Those carters," said he, " in the interior as it 
gets colder just pile one garment on over another, 
and never take anything off, and by February 
phew! If you want to smell a tall smell" I said 
I didn't, the smells of Peking were quite recondite 
enough for me but he paid no attention "you 
just go and stand over the k'ang in a room where 
five or six of them are crowded together." 

And the carters, it seems, are highly respectable, 
sometimes well-to-do men. I felt I had a lot to 




SOLDIERS ON THE WALL. 




CATAPULT STONE ON THE WALL. 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 47 

learn about the Chinese, these men whose ancestors 
had built the walls. 

Of course there are gates in the walls, nine gates 
in all in the Tartar City, great archways with iron- 
studded doors and watch-towers above. I count it 
one of the assets of my life, that I have stood under 
those archways, where for centuries has ebbed and 
flowed the traffic of a Babylonish city, old world still 
in this twentieth century. They are lighted with 
electric light now, instead of with pitch-pine torches, 
but no matter, the grey stones are there. 

The gate of a city like Peking is a great affair. 

Over every archway is a watch-tower, with tiled 

roofs rising tier above tier, and portholes filled with 

the painted muzzles of guns. Painted guns in the 

year of our Lord 1914! So is the past bound up 

with the present in China ! And these are not entirely 

relics of the past like the catapult stones. In the 

year 1900, when the Boxers looted the Chinese 

City, and the Europeans in the Legations north of 

the Tartar wall trembled for their lives, the looters 

burned the watch-tower on the Chien Men, all that 

was burnable of it, and, when peace was restored, 

the Chinese set to work and built their many-tiered 

watch-tower, built it in all the glory of red, and 

green, and blue, and gold, and in the portholes they 

put the same painted cannon that had been there in 

past ages, not only to strike terror into the enemy, 

but also to impress the God of War with an idea of 

their preparedness. And yet there was hardly any 

need of sham, for these gateways must have been 

formidable things to negotiate before the days of 

heavy artillery, for each is protected by a curtain 

wall as high and as thick as the main wall, and in 



48 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

them are archways, sometimes one, sometimes two, 
sometimes three ways out, but always there is a 
great square walled off in front of the gate so that 
the traffic must pause, and may be stopped before 
it passes under the main archway into the city. 
And these archways look down upon a traffic differ- 
ing but little from that which has passed down 
through all the ages. 

Here come the camels from Mongolia, ragged and 
dusty, laden with grain, and wool, and fruit, and the 
camels from the Western Hills, laden with those 
"black stones" that Marco Polo noted seven 
hundred years ago, and told his fellow-countrymen 
they burned for heating purposes in Cambulac. 
You may see them down by the Ha Ta Men prepar- 
ing to start out on their long journey, you may see 
them in the Imperial City, bringing in their wares, 
but outside the south-western gate, by the watch- 
tower that guards the corner of the wall, they are to 
be seen at their best. Here, where the dust is 
heaped high under the clear blue sky of Northern 
China, come slowly, in stately fashion, the camels, 
as they have come for thousands of years. The 
man who leads them is ragged in the blue of the 
peasant, his little eyes are keen, and patient, and 
cunning, and there is a certain stolidity in his 
demeanour; life can hold but few pleasures for 
him, one would think, and yet he is human, he 
cannot go on superior, regardless of outside things, 
as does his string of beasts of burden. The crenel- 
lated walls rise up behind them, the watch-tower 
with its painted guns frowns down upon them, and 
the camels, the cord fastened to the tail of the one 
in front, passing through the nostrils of the one 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 49 

behind, go steadily on. They are like the walls, 
they are older than the walls, possibly they may 
outlive the walls; silently, surely, in the soft, 
heaped-up dust they move ; so they came a thousand 
years ago, two thousand years ago, before the very 
dawn of history. 

These Babylonish gates have for me a never- 
ending attraction. I look and look at the traffic, 
and always find something new. One sunny morn- 
ing I went and sat in the Chien Men, just to watch 
the never-ending throng that made their way back- 
wards and forwards between the Chinese and the 
Tartar Cities. I took up my position in the centre 
of the great square, large as Waterloo Place, 
enclosed by the curtain wall, and the American 
Guard looked down upon me and wondered, for 
they watch the traffic day in and day out, and so 
long as it is peaceful, they see nothing to remark 
upon in it. There are three gates in the curtain 
wall, the one to the south is never opened except 
for the highest in the land to pass through, but from 
the east gate the traffic goes from the Tartar to the 
Chinese City, through the west it comes back 
again, meeting and passing under the great archway 
that leads to the Tartar City. And all day long 
that square is thronged. East and west of the main 
archway are little temples with the golden-brown 
roofs of all imperial temples, the Goddess of Mercy 
is enshrined here, and there are bronze vases and 
flowering plants, and green trees in artistic pots, all 
going to make a quiet little resting-place where a man 
may turn aside for a moment from the rush and roar 
of the city, burn aromatic incense sticks, and invoke 
good fortune for the enterprise on which he is 



50 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

engaged. Do the people believe in the Goddess 
of Mercy, I wonder? About as much as I do, I 
suspect. The Chinaman, said a Chinese to me 
once, is the most materialistic of heathens, believing 
in little that he cannot see, and handle, and explain ; 
but all of us, Eastern or Western, are human, and 
have the ordinary man's desire for the pitiful, kindly 
care of some unseen Power. It is only natural. I, 
too, Westerner as I am, daughter of the newest of 
nations, burned incense sticks at the shrine of 
the Goddess of Mercy, and put up a little prayer 
that the work upon which I was engaged should 
be successful. Men have prayed here through the 
centuries. The prayer of so great a multitude must 
surely reach the Most High, and what matter by 
what name He is known. 

Besides the temples there are little guard-houses 
for the soldiers in the square ; guard-houses with 
delicate, dainty lattice-work windows, and there are 
signboards with theatre notices in Chinese on gay 
red and yellow paper. There are black and yellow 
uniformed military police, there are grey-coated 
little soldiers with just a dash of red about their 
shabby, ill-fitting uniforms, and there are the people 
passing to and fro intent on their business, the 
earning of a cash, or of thousands of dollars. The 
earning of a cash, one would think mostly, looking 
at many a thing of shreds and patches that passes 
by. To Western eyes the traffic is archaic, no 
great motors rush about carrying crowds at once, it 
consists of rickshaws with one or, at most, a couple 
of fares, of Peking carts with blue tilts and a sturdy 
pony or a handsome mule in the shafts, and the 
driver seated cross-legged in front, of longer carts 







CAMELS OUTSIDE THE SOUTH-WESTERN GATE. 




CAMELS BY THE HA TA MEN. 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 51 

with wheels studded, as the Peking carts are, and 
loaded with timber, with lime, and all manner of 
merchandise, and drawn sometimes by three or four 
underfed little horses, but mostly by a horse or mule 
in the shafts and a mule or a donkey so far in front 
one wonders he can exert any influence on the 
traction at all. The rickshaw coolies clang their 
bells, men on bicycles toot their horns, every 
donkey, and most horses and mules, have rings of 
bells round their necks, and everyone shouts at the 
top of his voice, while forty feet up on the wall, a 
foreign soldier, one of the Americans who hold the 
Chien Men, is practising all his bugle calls. 

" Turn out, turn out. Mess, mess," proclaims 
the bugle shrilly above. " Clang, clang, clang," 
ring the rickshaw bells. A postman in shabby blue, 
with bands of dirty white, passes on his bicycle and 
blows his horn, herald of the ways of the West. A 
brougham comes along with sides all of glass, such 
as the Chinaman loves. In it is a man in a modern 
tall hat, a little out-of-date; on the box, are two 
men in grey silk, orthodox Chinese costume, queue 
and all, but alas for picturesqueness they have 
crowned their heads with hideous tourist caps, the 
mafoo behind on the step, hanging on to the roof 
by a strap, has on a very ordinary wideawake, his 
business it is to jump down and lead the horses 
round a corner no self-respecting Chinese horse 
can negotiate a corner without assistance and the 
finishing touch is put by the coachman, also in a 
tourist cap, who clangs a bell with as much fervour 
as a rickshaw coolie. Before this carriage trot out- 
riders. " Lend light, lend light," they cry, which is 
the Eastern way of saying " By your leave, by your 



52 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

leave. My master a great man comes." After the 
coach come more riders. It may be a modern 
carriage in which Tie rides, but the important man in 
China can no more move without his outriders and 
his following, than could one of the kings or nobles 
of Nineveh or Babylon. 

More laden carts come in from the west, and the 
policeman, in dusty black and yellow, directs them, 
though they really need no directing. The average 
Chinese mind is essentially orderly, and never 
dreams of questioning rules. Is there not a stone 
exactly in the middle of the road under the great 
archway, and does not every man know that those 
going east must go one way, and those going west 
the other? What need for direction? An old- 
fashioned fat Chinese with shaven head and pigtail 
and sleeveless black satin waistcoat over his long 
blue coat comes along. He half-smothers a small 
donkey with a ring of jingling bells round its neck, 
a coolie follows him in rags, but that does not 
matter, spring is in the land, and he is nearly hidden 
by the lilac bloom he carries, another comes along 
with a basket strapped on his back and a scoop in 
his hand, he is collecting the droppings of the 
animals, either for manure or to make argol for fuel, 
a stream of rickshaws swerve out of the way of a 
blind man, ragged, bent, old, who with lute in one 
hand and staff in the other taps his way along. 

" Hsien Sheng, before born," he is addressed by 
the coolies directing him, for his affliction brings 
him outward respect from these courteous people. 

In the rickshaws are all manner of people : 
Manchu women with high head-dresses in the form 
of a cross, highly painted faces and the gayest of 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 53 

long silk coats, shy Chinese women, who from their 
earliest childhood have been taught that a woman 
must efface herself. Their hair is decked with 
flowers, and dressed low on the nape of their necks, 
their coats are of soberer colours, and their feet are 
pitifully maimed. " For every small foot," says a 
Chinese proverb, " there is a jar full of tears." The 
years of agony every one of those women must have 
lived through, but their faces are impassive, smiling 
with a surface smile that gives no indication of the 
feelings behind. 

The Chien Men, because it opens only from the 
Tartar to the Chinese City, is not closed, but eight 
o'clock sees all the gates in the twenty-three miles 
of outer wall closed for the night, and very awkward 
it sometimes is for the foreigner, who is not used to 
these restrictions, for neither threats nor bribes will 
open those gates once they are shut. 

I remember on one occasion a young fellow, who 
had lingered too long among the delights of the 
city, found himself, one pleasant warm summer 
evening, just outside the Shun Chih Men as the 
gates of the Chinese City were closing. He wanted 
to get back to his cottage at the race-course but the 
guardians of the gate were obdurate. " It was an 
order and the gates were closed till daylight next 
morning." He could not climb the walls, and even 
if he could, the two ponies he had with him could 
not. He probably used up all the bad language at 
his command, if I know anything about him, and 
he grew more furious when he recollected he had 
guests coming to dinner. Then he began to 
think, and remembered that the railway came 
through the wall. Inspection showed him that there 



54 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

were gates across it, also fast closed, and here he 
got his second wind, and quite a fresh assortment of 
bad language, which was checked by the whistle of 
an approaching train. Then a bright idea occurred 
to him. Where a train could go, a pony could go, 
and he stood close to the line in the darkness, 
instructed his mafoo to keep close beside him, and 
the moment the train passed, got on to the line and 
followed in its wake, regardless of the protests 
of raging gatekeepers. He got through the gate 
triumphantly, but then, alas, his troubles began, for 
the railway line had not been built with a view to 
taking ponies through the wall. There were rocks 
and barbed wire, there were fences, and there were 
mud holes, and his guests are wont to relate how as 
they were sitting down to table under the hospitable 
guidance of his No. i boy, there arrived on the 
scene a man, mud to the eyes it was summertime 
when there is plenty of mud in the country round 
Peking and silent, because no profanity of which 
he was capable could possibly have done justice to 
his feelings. Such are some of the joys of living in 
a Babylonish city. 

When I had sat an hour in the gate I rose to go, 
and the rickshaw coolie and I disagreed as to the 
fare. A rickshaw coolie and I never did agree as 
to the fare. Gladly would I pay double to avoid a 
row, but the coolie, taken from the Legation Quarter 
of Peking where the tourists spoil him, would 
complain and try to extort more if you offered him 
a dollar for a ten-cent ride, therefore the thing was 
not to be avoided. I did not see my way to getting 
clear, and a crowd began to gather. Then there 
came along a Chinese, a well-dressed young man. 










INSIDE THE CURTAIN WALL OF THE CHIEN MEN. 




I A 



CAMELS OUTSIDE SOUTH-WESTERN WALL, PEKING. 



WALLS AND GATES OF BABYLON 55 

His long petticoats of silk were slit at the sides, he 
had on a silken jacket and a little round cap. He 
wore no queue, because few of the men of his 
generation, and of his rank wear a queue, and he 
spoke English as good as my own. 

"What is the matter?" I told him. "How 
much did you pay him?" "Forty cents." "It is 
too much," said he, and he called a policeman, and 
that coolie was driven off with contumely. But it 
marked a wonderful stride in Chinese feeling that a 
Chinese should come to the assistance of a foreigner 
in distress. Not very long ago he would have 
passed on the other side, scorning the woman of the 
outer barbarians, glad in his heart that she should be 
" done " even by one so low in the social scale as a 
rickshaw coolie, a serf of the great city these ancient 
walls enclose. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 

A forgotten tragedy The troops" Lest We Forget "The 
fortified wall " No low-class Chinese " The last thing in 
the way of insults A respecter of power Racing stables 
Pekin s' amuse Chinese gentleman on a waltz Musical 
comedy The French of the Far East Chances of an out- 
break No wounded. 

" AT Canton a few years since," wrote Sir George 
Staunton, recording the visit of the first British 
Ambassador to the Emperor of China in 1798, "an 
accident happened which had well-nigh put a stop 
to our foreign trade. Evils of every kind fraught 
with this tendency are to be apprehended, and ought 
to be particularly guarded against, especially by a 
commercial nation. On some day of rejoicing in 
firing the guns of one of those vessels which navi- 
gates between the British settlements in India and 
Canton, but not in the employment of the East 
India Company, two Chinese, in a boat lying near 
the vessel, were accidentally killed by the gunner. 
The crime of murder is never pardoned in China. 
The Viceroy of the Province, fired with indignation 
at the supposed atrocity, demanded the perpetrator 
of the deed, or the person of him who ordered it. 
The event was stated in remonstrance to be purely 
accidental but the Viceroy, supposing it to have been 
done from a wicked disposition, still persisted in his 

56 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 57 

demand, and to assure himself of that object, he 
seized one of the principal supercargoes. The other 
factories being alarmed, united themselves with the 
English as in a common cause, and seemed disposed 
to resist the intentions of the Viceroy who on his 
part arranged his troops on the banks of the river to 
force a compliance. It was at last deemed expe- 
dient on principles of policy, to give up the gunner 
with scarce a glimmering of hope that his life would 
be spared." 

Later on in a casual footnote he records that their 
worst fears had been realised, and the unfortunate 
gunner, given up, let us hope, not so much from 
motives of policy as to save the supercargo, had been 
done to death. 

That incident, to my mind, explains the Legation 
Quarter of Peking to-day. Of course the Legation, 
in its present form, dates only from the Boxer rising, 
but the germ of it was there when the merchants 
of the assembled nations felt themselves compelled 
to sacrifice the careless gunner "from motives of 
policy." One hundred and twenty years ago the 
Western nations were only a stage removed from 
the barbaric civilisation the Chinese had reached two 
or three thousand years before, but still they were 
moving onward, and they felt they must combine if 
they would trade with this rich land, and yet protect 
their subjects and their goods. And so they did 
combine, and there arose that curious state of affairs 
between the foreigners and the people of the land 
that has held for many years, that holds in no other 
land, and that has crystallised in the Legation 
Quarter of Peking. 

Suppose in London all the great nations of the 



58 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

earth took a strip of the town, extending say from 
Marble Arch to Hyde Park Corner, and from Park 
Lane to Bond Street, held it and fortified it heavily, 
barring out the inhabitants, not wholly, but by 
certain regulations that prevented them having the 
upper hand. The thing is unthinkable, yet that is 
exactly what has happened in Peking. Against the 
Tartar wall, from the Chien Men to the Ha Ta Men, 
the nations have taken a parallelogram of ground all 
but a mile square, they have heavily fortified it, on 
three sides they have cleared a broad glacis on which 
no houses may be built, and they have there a body 
of troops with which they could overawe if not hold 
all the town. 

No man knows exactly how many men the 
Japanese have, but supposing they are on a par with 
the other nations, there are at least two thousand 
five hundred men armed to the teeth and kept at 
the highest pitch of perfection in the Legation 
Quarter. Living there is like living in an armed 
camp. You cannot go in or out without passing 
forts or guns, in the streets you meet ammunition 
wagons, baggage wagons, Red Cross wagons, and 
at every turn are soldiers, soldiers of all the Euro- 
pean nations that have any standing at all, soldiers 
from America, soldiers from Japan; they are doing 
sentry-go at the various Legations, they are drilling, 
they are marching, they are shooting all day long. 
In one corner of the British Legation they keep un- 
touched a piece of the old shot- torn wall of 1900 
and painted on it, in big black letters, is the legend, 
" Lest We Forget," a reminder always, if the nations 
needed a reminder, of the days of 1900, of the 
terrible days that may be repeated any time this 




ENTRANCE TO BRITISH LEGATION. 




ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTS ON THE WALL. 

(Seepage 31) 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 59 

peace-loving nation drifts into an anti-foreign out- 
break. I was going to write it is almost insulting, 
but it is insulting, and this armed Legation Quarter 
must be in truth cruelly galling to the better-class, 
educated Chinese. They must long to oust these 
arrogant men from the West and their neighbour 
from the East, who thus lord it over them in the 
very heart of their own city. Even the wall, the 
great Tartar wall built first by Kublai Khan, and 
finished by the Ming conquerors, comes under 
foreign domination from the Ha Ta Men to the 
Chien Men. The watch-tower over the Ha Ta Men 
is still in the hands of the Chinese, and like most 
things Chinese is all out of repair. The red lacquer 
is cracked, the gold is faded, the grass grows on the 
tiled roofs, in the winter dried-up and faded, in the 
summer lush and green, and for all the Chinese 
soldiers hold it, it is desolate and a thing of the past. 
But a hundred yards or so to the west, is the German 
post. Always are armed men there with the eagle 
on their helmets, always an armed sentry marches 
up and down, keeping watch and ward. No great 
need for them to hold the Ha Ta Men, their guns 
dominate it, and below in the town the French hold 
carefully the fortified eastern side of the Legation 
Quarter. The centre of that strip of wall, held by 
the Japanese, is marked by an iron fence called, I 
am told, a "traverse." There is a gate in it, and 
across the path to that gate, so that it may not be 
so easily got through, is built up a little wall of brick 
the height of a man. In the summertime the grass 
grows on it green and fresh, and all the iron bars of 
that fence and gate are wreathed in morning glory. 
The Japanese are not so much in evidence as the 



60 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

efficient Germans or the smart Americans, but I am 
told they are more than keen, and would gladly and 
effectually hold the whole wall would the other 
nations allow them. At the Chien Men, the western 
end of the mile-long strip of wall are the Americans, 
tall, lean, smart, capable men in khaki, with slouch 
hats turned up at the sides, clean-shaven faces and 
the sound in their voices that makes of their English 
another tongue. In the troubles of 1912, when fires 
were breaking out all over the city, and every 
foreigner fled for safety to his Legation, Uncle Sam, 
guarding the western end of the wall overlooking 
those Legations, seized the beautiful new watch- 
tower on the Chien Men, his soldiers established 
themselves there, and they hold it still. It domin- 
ates their Legation they say with reason, for their 
own safety they must hold it, and the Chinese 
acquiesce, not because they like it, but because they 
must. Periodically representations come in, all is 
quiet now, the Americans may as well give up the 
main gate, or rather watch-tower, for they do not 
hold the main gate, only the tower that overlooks it. 
But the answer is always the same, it overlooks their 
Legation, they must hold it. They have a wireless 
telegraph post there and a block-house, and the regu- 
lations for the sentry, couched in cold, calm, official 
language, are an insult to the friendly nation that 
gives them hospitality, or would be so, if that nation 
had not shown itself incapable of controlling the 
passions of its own aroused people. The sentry 
clad in khaki in summer, in blue in winter, marching 
up and down by the watch-tower, magnificent in its 
gorgeous Eastern decorations of blue, and green, and 
red, and barbaric gold, must report at once anything 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 61 

unusual taking place in the gate below, any large 
gathering of Chinese, any unusual commotion, but 
above all upon that wall, that wall that belongs to 
them and is the wall of their capital city, he must not 
allow, without a permit, any Chinese. The word- 
ing of the order runs, " No low-class Chinese," but 
the definition of low class is left to the discretion of 
the soldier, and he is not likely to risk a reproof from 
those in authority over him by being too lax. With 
my own eyes have I seen a Chinese, well-dressed 
in European clothes, turned back by the sentry 
from the ramp when he would have walked upon the 
wall. He looked surprised, he was with European 
friends, the order could not apply to him, but the 
sentry was firm. He had his orders, " No Chinese," 
and without a special permit he must see them 
carried out. It seemed cruel, and unnecessarily 
humiliating, but on the central ramp are still the 
places where the Americans, seeking some material 
for a barricade, fighting to save themselves from a 
ghastly death, tore out the bricks from the side of 
the great wall. Other nations beside Britain, write 
in their actions, if not on their walls : " Lest We 
Forget! " The lower-class Chinese probably do not 
mind the prohibition. It is considered bad manners 
for a Chinaman to walk upon the wall, because 
he thereby overlooks the private houses below, but 
in these Says of the New Republic possibly good 
manners are not so much considered as formerly, 
and since the Chinese have never been allowed upon 
the wall they probably do not realise that thirteen 
miles of it are free to them, if they care to go there. 
Some few I know do, because I have met there men 
gathering the dried vegetation for fuel, and I have 



62 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

seen one or two beggars, long-haired, filthy men in 
the frowsiest of rags, but the first have probably got 
permission from the soldiers, and the latter, seeing 
foreigners there, have most likely been tempted by 
the hope of what to them is a lavish dole, and, finding 
no harm happen, have come again. I may be 
wrong, of course, but I hardly think death can have 
much terror for the Chinese beggar, life must hold 
so very little for him. Those who, having dared 
their own portion of the wall with impunity, find 
the foreign mile still a forbidden place to them, 
probably put it in the same category as the For- 
bidden City, and never realise that it is the outlander, 
the outer barbarian, and not their own Government 
that shuts them off. 

But the holding of that wall by an armed force, 
that dominates both the Chinese and the Tartar 
Cities, seems to me the very greatest thing in the 
way of insults. Some day when the Chinese are a 
united nation, powerful as they ought to be, they 
will awake to that insult, and the first thing they will 
do will be to clear their wall from foreign inter- 
ference. Meanwhile, as I sit in a courtyard of a 
temple of the Western Hills, drinking in the 
sparkling air of September, looking at the lovely 
blue sky peeping through the dark green branches 
of the temple pines, as I sit and write this book, I 
think gratefully of that loose-limbed, lissom, athletic, 
young American soldier who, with rifle across his 
shoulder, is doing sentry-go upon the wall. The 
German is there too, the stiff, well-drilled, military 
German, but my heart goes out to the man who is 
nearer akin, and whose speech is not unlike that of 
the people of my own land. It seems to me I am 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 63 

safe here, alone among the Chinese, because of those 
soldiers. There are those who will say I am wrong, 
that the Chinese are always courteous, and that they 
like me because of the money I put into their 
pockets. And that is true enough too. I have 
found the very rickshaw coolie a finished, courteous 
gentleman in his manner towards me, and I have 
received many little acts of kindness which could 
but come from a kindly heart, with no thought of 
profit behind it; but still, deep down at the bottom 
of my heart, I know that the Chinese, more than 
any man on earth perhaps, respects power, and the 
Legation Quarter, and the holding of that wall, are 
an outward manifestation of power that reaches far 
and keeps me safe here in my mountain temple. 
The gods here by my side are dead, who fears or 
respects the gods, Spanish chestnuts are stored 
beside their altars, but the foreign soldiers on 
the wall are a fact there is no getting over. It 
impresses those in authority, and the fiat goes forth, 
permeating through all classes, " The foreigner is 
not to be touched under any circumstances what- 



ever." 



On this wall come the foreign community to 
exercise and promenade in the cool of the evening 
in summer, or to enjoy the sunshine at midday in 
winter, and here all the soldiers and sailors of the 
various nationalities foregather. There is no other 
place in all Peking where one can walk with com- 
fort, for the Chinese as a nation, have no idea of 
the joy of exercise. They have put it out of the 
power of their women to move save with difficulty, 
and that a man should take any pleasure in violent 
exercise seems to them absurd. To walk when he 



64 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

can ride in a rickshaw, or mount a donkey, would 
argue something- wrong in his mental outlook, so 
it happens that, in all the great city, there are 
only the streets of the Legation Quarter and the 
wall where walking exercise can be indulged in. 
The streets of the Quarter are the streets of an 
uninteresting, commonplace town, but the wall 
overlooking the two cities is quite another matter. 
Here the part of the foreign community that does 
not ride takes its exercise, and foregathers with its 
kind. 

The foreign quarter is not always thinking of the 
dangers it is guarding against. That it thinks also 
a great deal of its amusement, goes without saying. 
I have observed that this is a special characteristic 
of the Briton abroad. At home the middle-class 
man or woman is chary of pleasure, taking it as 
if it were something he had hardly a right to ; but 
abroad he seizes eagerly the smallest opportunity 
for amusing himself, demanding amusement as 
something that hardly compensates him for his exile 
from his native land. So it has come that I, a 
looker-on, with less strong bonds than those from 
the Old Country binding me to my father's land, 
fancy that these exiles have in the end a far better 
time than the men of the same class who stay 
at home. I am apt to have no pity for them 
whatever. 

One thing is certain, people keep horses here in 
Peking who could not dream of such a luxury in 
England. True, they are only ponies fourteen 
hands high, but a great deal of fun can be got out 
of pony racing. And racing-stables are a feature of 
the Quarter. Not that they are in the Quarter. 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 65 

On the plain, about five miles to the west of the 
city, lies the little race-course, and dotted about 
within easy distance of this excellent training-ground 
are the various training-stables for the ponies. The 
China pony comes from Mongolia, where close 
watch and ward is kept over him, and neither mares 
nor stallions are exported. 

"HI could only get hold of a mare," sighs the 
young racing man, but he sighs in vain. Mean- 
while he can indulge in the sport of kings cheaply. 

" I've joined another fellow in a racing-stable," 
said a man to me, soon after my arrival in Peking, 
and I looked upon him with something of the awe 
and respect one gives to great wealth. I had not 
thought he was so well off. He saw my mistake 
and laughed. 

"The preliminary expenses are only thirty 
pounds," he went on, " and I don't intend they shall 
be very heavy. We can have good sport at a 
moderate cost." Of course moderate cost is an 
elastic term, depending on the purse of the speaker, 
but in this case I think it meant that men of very 
ordinary means, poor exiles who would live in a 
six-roomed flat with a couple of maidservants in 
England, might have a good time without straining 
those means unduly. 

A race-meeting in Peking has peculiarities all its 
own. Of course it is only the men from the West 
who would think of a race-meeting. The Chinese, 
except at the theatre, do not amuse themselves in 
crowds. 

The Spring Meeting took place early in May, 
and the description of it should come a little later 
in my book, but it seems to fall naturally into 





66 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

the story of the doings of the Legation Quarter. 
Arrangements were made with the French railway 
running to Hankow to stop close to the course, and 
put the race-going crowd down there. There was 
no other means of getting there, except by riding ; 
for driving in a country where every inch of ground, 
save a narrow and rough track, is given over to the 
needs of agriculture, is out of the question. That 
spring race-meeting the day was ideal. There was 
the blue sky overhead, the brilliant sunshine, a 
gentle breeze to temper it, the young kaoliang was 
springing, lush and green, in the fields, and the 
ash-trees that shelter the race-course were one 
delicate tender green. A delicious day. Could 
the heart of man desire more? Apparently the 
foreign residents of Peking did not desire more, for 
they turned out, men, women, and children. And 
then I saw what a handful of people are these 
foreigners who live in the capital of China and 
endeavour to direct her destinies, for save and 
except the missionary element, most of the other 
foreigners were there, from his Britannic Majesty's 
representative to the last little boy who had joined 
a hong as junior clerk at a hundred dollars a month, 
and felt that the cares of Empire were on his 
shoulders. They were mostly British, of course, 
the foreign trade of China long may it be so is 
mostly in British hands ; and there were representa- 
tives of every other great nation, the Ministers 
of France, Germany, Russia, of Italy, Austria, 
Spain, Belgium, Holland, and Japan, everyone 
but America, for America was busy recognising 
the Chinese Republic, and the other nations were 
smiling, and wondering why the nation that prides 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 67 

itself on being the champion of freedom for the 
people, was being the first to recognise what is, 
virtually, a despotic rule. 

The little course, a mile round, is marked out with 
leafy ash-trees, the grand-stand was charming with 
lilac bloom purple and white, and banksia roses, 
fragrant as tender memories. It was shaded by 
p'engs mats raised high on scaffolding, so that 
pleasant shade might not interfere with the cool 
breeze, and here were the women of the community, 
the women of well-to-do people, gay in dainty toilets 
from London and Paris ; the men were in light 
summer suits, helmets and straw hats, for summer 
was almost upon us. Tiffin, the luncheon of the 
East, was set in the rooms behind, decorated with 
miniature flags of all nations, made in Japan, and 
wreathed with artificial flowers, though there was 
a wealth of natural blossom around the stand out- 
side. There is a steward's room and the weighing- 
room in one tiny building with a curved roof of 
artistic Chinese design, and all the ponies are 
walked about and saddled and mounted where every 
interested spectator can see them. And every spec- 
tator on that sunny May day was interested, for the 
horses, the sturdy Chinese ponies, were, and always 
are, owned and ridden by the men of the company, 
men whom everybody knows intimately. For these 
Peking race-meetings are only amateur, and though, 
occasionally, a special pony may change hands at 
two thousand dollars two hundred pounds the 
majority are bought and sold under two hundred 
dollars twenty pounds and yet their owners have 
much joy and pride in them. 

Surely it is unique, a race-meeting where all the 



68 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

civilised nations of the earth meet and fraternise in 
simple, friendly fashion, taking a common pleasure 
in small things. 

"They're off!" Mostly the exclamation was in 
English, but a Russian-owned horse, ridden by a 
Cossack rider, won one race, and was led proudly 
up to the weighing-room by a fair lady of his own 
people, and was cordially applauded, for the 
winner was always applauded, no matter what his 
nationality. 

The horses, coming out to parade, were each led 
by their own mafoo, who managed to look horsey 
in spite of a shaven head, long queue, and pro- 
nounced Chinese features. Up and down they led 
the ponies, up and down, and when at last the 
precious charges must be resigned, a score of them 
squatted down just where they could get the best 
view of the race, and doubtless each man put up a 
little prayer to the god he most affected, that the 
pony that carried his money might come in first. 

When we were not watching the saddling, or the 
parade, or the race, or the weighing-in, we were 
listening to a Chinese band, Sir Robert Bredon's 
band, with a Chinese conductor, playing selections 
from all the modern Western music. It might have 
been where in the world might it not have been? 
Nowhere but in Peking in the heart of China surely, 
for there, just beyond the limit of the course, were 
long strings of camels bound for coal to the Western 
Hills, marching steadily, solemnly, tirelessly, as 
they marched in the days of Marco Polo, and a 
thousand years before the days of Marco Polo, 
and all round the course, crowding every point of 
vantage were a large concourse of Chinese, people 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 69 

of the working and middle classes, clad mostly in 
blue, the women with bound feet from the farms 
near by, the men and the children very likely from 
further afield, but all unchanging as the camels 
themselves, eagerly watching the foreigners' sports. 
They are not allowed to come into the enclosure, 
every mafoo and attendant wears a special badge, 
and even Chinese of the better class may come 
only by special invitation of some member. These 
interested folk, who have no friends among the 
foreigners may not even go into the enclosure, 
where the " Tommies " and bluejackets, men from 
England and America, France, Japan, and all the 
countries of the earth crowded in the gay sunshine 
making high holiday. Nevertheless the Orientals 
surrounded the course. They got upon the mounds 
of earth that are at the back and looked from that 
vantage-point not only at the races but at the foreign 
devils at their tiffin and afternoon tea. Their own 
refreshment was provided by hawkers selling cakes 
and sweetmeats, just outside the forbidden ground, 
and Peking carts and donkeys waited round to take 
them back to their homes. There were even 
beggars there, beggars with long, unkempt hair, 
wrapped in a single garment of sackcloth, ragged, 
unwashed, unkempt, the typical beggars of China, 
for no one knows better than they when money is 
being lightly handled, and as the bright sunny day, 
the gorgeous spring day of Northern China drew 
slowly to a close doubtless even they, whom every 
man's hand was against, gathered in a few stray 
cash. I hope they did. Such a very little makes 
so much difference in China. 

The sun sank slowly to the west in the translucent 



70 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

sky, the ponies in the saddling paddock were walked 
slowly up and down in the long shadows of the ash- 
trees, and the country was beautiful with the soft 
regret of the dying day as we walked back through 
the fields of kaoliang to the railway station, we, the 
handful of people who represented the power and 
majesty of the Western world. The mighty walls 
of an older civilisation frowned down upon the train 
this thing of yesterday the last rays of the setting 
sun lighted up all the glory of the red and gold of 
the Chien Men watch-tower and we were in the 
Legation Quarter once more, with armed sentries at 
the gates, and the American soldier upon the wall 
sounding the bugle call for the changing guard. 

I come from a country where every little township 
considers a race-course as necessary as a cemetery. 
I have been to many many race-meetings, but this 
one in Peking, where the men of the land are so 
barred out that no one of Chinese descent may 
belong to the Club or even ride a race, stands out 
as unique. It has a place in my mind by itself. It 
was so expressive of the attitude of the Powers who 
watch over China. Peking, the Peking of the 
Legations had been amusing herself. The National 
Assembly was in an uproar, the Premier was openly 
accused of murder, the Loan was in anything but a 
satisfactory state, everyone feared that the North 
and the South would be at each other's throats 
before the month was out, the air was full of rumours 
of wars, but the English-speaking community love 
racing, the other nations, from their Ministers 
downwards, had fallen into line, and Peking, foreign 
Peking, did itself well. 

And I wondered, I wondered much what the 



SOUTH-EASTERN WATCH-TOWER, PEKING, 



i. sTL 




A FORT OF THE BRITISH LEGATION. 



LEGATION QUARTER OP PEKING 71 

Chinese thought of it all. It is very, very difficult, 
so men tell me who have lived in China long, and 
speak the language well, to get at the bottom of the 
Chinese mind, to know what they really do think of 
us. The Chinese gentleman is so courteous that 
as far as possible he always expresses the opinion 
he thinks you would like to hear, and the Chinese 
woman, even if she be of the better classes, with 
very few exceptions is unlearned and ignorant as 
a child, indeed she is worse than a child of the 
Western nations, for the child is at least allowed to 
ask questions and learn, while all her charm is 
supposed to depend upon her subservience and her 
ignorance. As I stood on the race-course that day, 
and many a time as I sat in the lounge of the Wagons 
Lits Hotel the European hotel of the Legation 
Quarter where all tourists visiting Peking come, 
where the nations of the world foregather, and East 
meets West as never before perhaps in the world's 
history have they met, I have wondered very much 
indeed what the East, the portly middle-aged China- 
man with flowing silken robes and long queue thinks 
of us and our manners and customs. He was 
accompanied perhaps by a friend, or perhaps by a 
lady in high collar and trousers with a little son, 
the crown of the child's head shaven, and the 
remaining hair done in a halo of little plaits tied up 
with string, yellow, red, or blue, and he watched 
gravely either the dancing, or the conversation, or 
the conjurer, or whatever other amusement the 
"Wagons Lits" had for the time being set up. 
Again and again have I watched him, but I could 
never even make a guess at what he thought. 
Probably it was anything but complimentary. 



72 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

" The men dressed for dinner," said a Chinese 
once, describing an evening he had spent among 
foreigners; "then the order was given and the 
women stripped," that is took off their wraps when 
the music began, only everything is "ordered" in 
China, " and each man seized a woman in his arms. 
He pushed her forward, he pulled her back," 
graphic illustrations were given, "he whirled round 
and round and she had no will of her own. And it 
was all done to horrible music." 

Everything is in the point of view, and that is 
how, at least one Chinese gentleman saw a waltz. 
I used to wonder what he said of the musical comedy 
that from time to time is presented by a wandering 
company in the dining-room of the Wagons Lits 
Hotel. They displayed upon a tiny crowded stage, 
for the edification of Chinese and foreigners alike, 
for the room was crowded with Chinese both of the 
old and of the new order, such a picture of morals 
as Europeans take as a matter of course. We know 
well enough that such scenes as are depicted in 
" The Girl in the Taxi " are merely the figments of 
an exuberant imagination, and are not the daily 
habits of any class either in London or Paris. But 
what do the Chinese think? All things are neces- 
sary and good, I suppose, but some are difficult to 
explain. Thirteen years ago the Boxer tragedy, 
now the musical comedy full of indecencies scarcely 
veiled. 

Truth to tell, it was a very interesting thing for 
a new-comer like me to sit in that hotel watching 
the people, and listening to the various opinions so 
freely given by all and sundry. From all parts of 
the world people come there, tourists, soldiers, 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 78 

sailors, business men, philanthropists men who 
were working for the good of China, and men who 
were ready to exploit her. And then the opinions 
as to the safety of the Europeans in China that were 
expressed! Here, in the security of the Legation 
Quarter, I collected those opinions as I wanted to 
go into the interior, and I was by no means anxious 
to risk my life. 

To arrive at any decision was very difficult. In 
the Treaty Ports there may be some unanimity, but 
once outside it seemed that every man had his own 
particular opinion of China and the Chinese, and 
all these opinions differed widely. 

" Safe," said a man who had fought through the 
Boxer trouble ; " safer far than London. They had 
to pay then, and they won't forget, you can take 
your oath of that." 

" Like living on a volcano," said another. " No, 
I shall never forget the Boxer trouble. That's the 
kind of thing that is graved on your mind with hot 
irons. Do it again? Of course they'll do it again. 
A docile people, I grant you, but they're very 
fiends when they're aroused. They're emotional, 
you know, the French of the Far East, and when 

they let themselves go " He paused, and I 

realised that he had seen them let themselves go, 
and no words could describe the horror of it. 
"Would I let my wife and children live in one of 
the hu t'ungs of Peking? Would I? How would 
they get away when the trouble commenced ? " 

The chances are they couldn't get away. The 
hu t'ungs of Peking are narrow alley-ways running 
out from the main thoroughfares, and the houses 
there are built, Chinese fashion, round courtyards 



74 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and behind blank walls, hidden away in a nest of 
other buildings, and the difficulty of getting out and 
back to the armed Legation Quarter, when a mob 
were out bent on killing, would be enormous. 

"A Debt Commission spells another anti-foreign 
outbreak, and we're within an ace of a Debt Com- 
mission," said another man thoughtfully; "and if 
there is a row and things look like going against us, 
I keep one cartridge in my revolver for myself." It 
does not seem much when I write it down, such 
things have I heard carelessly said many a time 
before, but when I, a foreigner and a solitary woman, 
was contemplating a trip up-country, they had a 
somewhat sinister sound. 

On the other hand again and again have I heard 
men scout all idea of danger, men who have been 
up and down the country for years. And yet but 
yesterday, the day before I write these words, a man 
looked at his pretty young wife, she was sweetly 
pretty, and vowed vehemently, " I would not leave 
my wife and child alone for a night in our house 
just outside the Quarter for anything on earth. If 

anything did happen and it might " and he 

dropped his voice. There are some things that will 
not bear thinking about, and he had seen the looting 
of Nanking and the unfortunates who had died when 
they took the Woosung Forts. " We went to look 
after the wounded," said he, " and there weren't 
any wounded. The savage Northern soldiery had 
seen to that." And those whom they mutilated 
were their own people! What would they do to a 
foreigner in the event of an anti-foreign outbreak ? 

" Are you afraid ? " I asked a man who certainly 
lived far enough away in the city. 



LEGATION QUARTER OF PEKING 75 

He looked at me curiously, as if he were going 
to say there was nothing to be afraid of, and then he 
changed his mind. 

" Perhaps I am when I think of it," said he ; " but 
then you see, I don't think of it." 

And that is the average attitude, the necessary 
attitude, because no man can perpetually brood over 
the dangers that might assail him. Certain pre- 
cautions he takes to safeguard himself, here are the 
nations armed to the teeth in the heart of a friendly 
country, and for the rest Quien sabe? 

And I talked with all men, and while I was 
making preparations to go into the interior, had the 
good-fortune to see a quaint and curious pageant 
that took me back to Biblical days and made me 
remember how Vashti the Queen was cast down, 
and the beautiful Esther found favour in the sight 
of her lord, and how another tragic Hebrew Queen, 
going down to posterity with a name unjustly 
smirched and soiled, had once painted her face and 
tired her head, and looking out of the window had 
defied to the death her unfaithful servant. " Had 
Zimri peace who slew his master ? " 



CHAPTER V 

THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 

A good republican The restricted Empire of the Manchus 
Condign punishment Babylon An Adventurous Chinaman 
The entrance to the Forbidden City The courtyards of Baby- 
lon A discordant and jarring note Choirs of priests A 
living Buddha " The Swanee River " The last note in 
bathos Palace eunuchs Out of hand Afternoon tea The 
funeral procession The imperial bier Quaint and strange 
and Eastern. 

THE Dowager- Empress of China, the unloved wife 
and widow of the late Emperor, died, so they gave 
out to the world, on the 22nd February, 1913, the 
day I arrived in China. As Empress, just one of 
the women of the Court chosen to please the ruler 
and to bear him children, his consort in China never 
seems to have had any particular standing. This 
Empress was overshadowed by her aunt, the great 
Dowager-Empress whom all the world knew, but 
once the Emperor was dead, as one of the guardians 
of the baby Emperor she came into a certain amount 
of power, for the position of Dowager- Empress 
seems to be an official one as, since her death, 
another woman who has never been wife to an 
Emperor has been appointed to the post. 

The power has gone from the Manchus, but China 
is wedded to her past, nothing passes, so even the 
Chinese Republic, the men who barely a year before 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 77 

had ousted the Empress from her high estate, united 
in doing her honour at her obsequies. 

" She was the best republican of us all," said a 
Chinese gentleman, learned in the lore and civilisa- 
tion of the West, " for she freely gave up her position 
that China might be free." 

It was a pretty way of putting it, but to me it seems 
doubtful whether anyone in over-civilised China 
trammelled with many conventions, is free, and it is 
hardly likely that a woman bred to think she had 
attained the most important position in the world 
that can fall to a woman's lot, would give it up freely 
for the good of a people she knew absolutely nothing 
about. All the Manchus rule over now are the 
courtyards and palaces of the Forbidden City, and 
there they are supreme. It is whispered that only a 
week before the day of which I write, a man was 
there beaten to death for having stolen something 
belonging to the dead Empress. So much for the 
love of the Manchus for freedom and enlightenment. 
It carries one back to the Middle Ages further, to 
Babylon. 

They slew there mercilessly, and they also feasted 
so did the representatives of the dead Empress 
hold high festival in her honour. 

" The King made a feast unto all the people that 
were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great 
and small, seven days, in the Court in the garden of 
the King's palace. 

"Where were white, green, and blue hangings 
fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver 
rings and pillars of marble, the beds were of gold 
and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and 
white, and black marble. 



78 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

"And they gave them drink in vessels of gold 
. . . and royal wine in abundance, according to the 
state of the King." 

So Ahasuerus the King entertained his people of 
Babylon, when Vashti the Queen fell, and of Baby- 
lon only could I think when, first I entered the 
Forbidden City. 

Standing on the walls of Peking, a city of the 
plain, you look down upon twelve square miles of 
grey-tiled roofs, the roofs of one-storied houses 
hidden in the summertime by a forest of trees, but 
in the heart of the city are high buildings that stand 
out not only by reason of their height but because 
the roofs of golden-brown tiles, imperial yellow, 
gleam and glow in the sunlight. This is the For- 
bidden City where has dwelt for hundreds of years 
the Emperor of China, often he must have been the 
only man in it, and always it was closed to all save 
the immediate following of the Son of Heaven. 

I never realised till I came to Peking that this 
forbidden ground was just as much an object of 
curiosity to the Chinese as it would have been to 
any European nation. 

" I went in once," said a Chinese gentleman to 
me, "when I was a young man." He was only 
forty then. 

" Were you invited ? " 

" No, no. I went secretly. I wanted to see what 
it was like." 

"But how?" 

" I got the dress of a eunuch and I slipped in early 
one morning, and then, when I got in, I hardly dared 
move or breathe for fear someone should find me 
out. Then when no one took any notice of me I 





PEKING FROM THE WALL IN WINTER. 




ENTRANCE TO THE FORBIDDEN CITY. 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 79 

walked about and saw everything I could, but the 
last hour was the worst, I was terrified at the thought 
that I might not be able to get out." 

" And if you had been caught ? " 

He looked grave even then at the remembrance 
of that bygone desperate adventure. 

" Oh death, certainly." 

"Death?" 

" Yes, a long and lingering death," and the 
thought of what he had escaped twenty years ago, 
was on his face. 

I looked at him with interest, a tall stout China- 
man with his hair cut short in the modern fashion, 
a long grey robe of silk reaching to his feet, and a 
little short black sleeveless jacket over it. He did not 
look, pleasant as he was, as if he would ever have 
dared anything, but then I have never thought of 
any Chinaman as likely to risk his life without hope 
of gain, and to risk it for mere curiosity as a man of 
my own people might have done! It was throwing 
a new light on the Chinese. I rather admired him 
and then I found he was Eastern after all. 

We talked of Yuan Shih K'ai, and he, being of 
the opposition party, expressed his opinion freely, 
and, considering all things, very boldly about 
him. 

" He has eighteen wives," said he shaking his head 
as if this was the unpardonable sin in a man who 
desired to imitate the manners and customs of the 
West. 

I repeated this to a friend, and he burst out laugh- 
ing. " Why the old sinner," said he, " what's he 
throwing stones for? He's got seventeen and a half 
himself!" 



80 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

So it seems it will be some time before forbidden 
cities on a small scale will be out of fashion in China. 

And still, in these days of the Republic, the For- 
bidden City of the Manchus dominates Peking. 

It was thrown open for three days to all who could 
produce a black paper chrysanthemum with five 
leaves, red, yellow, blue, black, and white, fastened 
to a tab of white paper with a mourning edge and an 
inscription in Chinese characters. The foreigners 
had theirs from their Legations, and the Chinese 
from their guilds. And those Chinese there are 
many of them who are so unlucky as to belong to 
no guild, Chinese of the humbler sort, were shut out, 
and for them there was erected on the great marble 
bridge in front of the southern entrance, a pavilion 
of gorgeous orange silk enclosing an altar with offer- 
ings that stood before a picture of the dead Empress, 
so that all might pay their respects. 

I pinned my badge to the front of my fur coat, 
for it was keen and cold in spite of the brilliant sun- 
shine, and went off to the wrong entrance, the 
eastern gate, where only princes and notables were 
admitted. I thought it strange there should be no 
sign of a foreigner, but foreigners in Peking can 
be but as one in a hundred or less, so undismayed, 
I walked straight up to the gate, and immediately a 
row of palace servants clad in their white robes of 
mourning, clustered before the sacred place. They 
talked and explained vehemently, and with perfect 
courtesy, but they were very agitated, and though I 
could not understand one word they said, one thing 
was certain, admitted I could not be there. So I 
turned to the southern gate and there it seemed all 
Peking was streaming. 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 81 

It was like China that we might not go in the 
direct way. 

There is a great paved way through the Imperial 
City alongside a canal that runs between marble- 
lined banks, but on the principal bridge that crosses 
it was erected the orange silk pavilion for the poorer 
classes, and we, the wearers of the black chrysan- 
themum, hundreds and thousands and ten thousands 
of us, had to turn off to the right and go along by the 
tall, pinkish red walls till we came to the great arch- 
ways in the walls, five great archways filled in with 
doors studded with great brazen knobs. Usually 
they were fast shut, but they were open to-day, 
guarded by soldiers in full-marching order, soldiers 
of the New Republic in modern khaki looking out 
of the picture, and there streamed into the tunnel- 
like entrance as curious a crowd as ever I set eyes 
upon. All must walk, old and young, great and 
lowly, representatives of the mighty nations of the 
world and tottering Chinese ladies swaying like 
"lilies in the wind" upon their maimed feet, only 
one man, a Mongol Prince, an Incarnation of a 
Buddha, a living Buddha, was borne in in a sedan 
chair. But every other mortal had to walk. The 
tunnels must always be gloomy, and, even on that 
cold day, they struck chill after the brilliant sunlight, 
and they are long, for the walls, just here, are 
about ninety feet through, so might the entrances 
have been in the palace of Ahasuerus the King. The 
courtyard we first entered had a causeway running 
right across it of great hewn stones, hewn and laid 
by slave labour, when all men bowed before the Son 
of Heaven, hundreds of years ago. They are worn 
in many places now, worn by the passing of many 

F 



82 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

feet, and still more worn are the grey Chinese bricks 
that pave the courtyard on either side. It is a great 
courtyard of splendid proportions. In front of us 
frowned more high walls of pinkish red, topped by 
the buildings that can be seen all over Peking, 
temples or halls of audience with golden-brown tiled 
roofs that gleamed in the sunlight, and on either side 
were low buildings with fronts of lattice-work rather 
fallen into disrepair. They might have been used 
as guard-houses or, more probably, were the quarters 
of the six thousand or so of eunuchs that the dignity 
of the ruler required to attend upon him. There 
were a few trees A leafless then in March, but there 
was nothing to spoil the dignity and repose of every 
line. A great mind surely conceived this entrance, 
and great must have been the minds that kept it so 
severely simple. If it be the heart of a nation then 
do I understand. The people who streamed along 
the causeway, who roamed over the worn brick 
pavement, had, as a rule, delicate, finely formed 
hands though they were but humble craftsmen. If 
the hands of the poorest be so fine, is it any wonder 
that the picked men of such a people, their very 
heart, conceived such a mighty pile? There were 
more, longer and gloomier tunnels, admitting to a 
still greater courtyard, a courtyard that must be at 
least a quarter of a mile across, with the same cause- 
way of worn stones that cry out the tale of the suffer- 
ings of the forgotten slaves, who hewed them and 
dragged them into place, the same grey pavement 
of bricks, the same tall smooth red walls, crowned 
over the gateway with temples, rising one story after 
another till the tiled roof cuts the sky. And through 
a third set of tunnels we came into a third courtyard, 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 83 

the courtyard where the obsequies were being held. 
The third courtyard was spacious as Trafalgar 
Square, and round three sides was a wide raised 
platform of stone reached by broad and easy ramps, 
and all across it ran a canal held in by marble banks, 
crossed by graceful bridges, and every one of the 
uprights, made of white marble, was crowned by a 
figure that I took for the representation of a flame ; 
but those, who know, tell me it is meant to represent 
a cloud, and is part of the dragon symbolism. When 
marble is the medium by which so light a thing as a 
cloud is represented it must be very finely done 
indeed, when one outside the national thought, such 
as I, sees in that representation a flame. Two 
colossal bronze monsters with grinning countenances 
and curly manes, conventional lions, mounted on 
dragon-carved pedestals, stand before the entrance 
to the fourth temple or hall of audience, and here 
was what the crowd had come to see, the light- 
hearted, cheerful, merry crowd, that were making 
high holiday, here was the altar to the dead. 

Overhead were the tiled roofs, and of all the 
colours of the rainbow surely none could have been 
chosen better than the golden brown of those tiles 
to harmonise with the clear blue of the glorious sky 
above it, no line to cut it could have been so appro- 
priate as the gentle sweep of the curve of a Chinese 
roof. There was a little grass growing on the roofs, 
sere and withered, but a faint breeze just stirred its 
tops, and it toned with the prevailing golden brown 
in one glorious beauty. Where else in the world 
could one get such an effect? Only in Australia 
have I seen such a sky, and there it was never 
wedded to such a glow of colour as that it looks down 



84 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

upon in Peking. The men who built this palace in 
a bygone age, built broadly, truly, for all time. 

And then, it was surely as if some envious spirit 
had entered in and marred all this loveliness no, 
that would be impossible, but struck a discordant and 
jarring note that should perhaps emphasise in our 
minds the beauty that is eternal for all the front of 
that temple, which as far as I could see was pinkish 
red, with under the eaves that beautiful dark blue, 
light blue, and green, that the Chinese know so well 
how to mingle, was covered with the most garish, 
commonplace decorations, made for the most part of 
paper, red, violent Reckitt's blue, yellow, and white. 
From every point of vantage ran strings of flags, 
cheap common little flags of all nations, bits of 
string were tied to |the marble clouds, and they 
fluttered from them, and the great wonderful bronze 
lions contrived to look coy in frills that would not 
have disgraced a Yorkshire ham. The altar on the 
northern platform was hidden behind a trellis-work 
of gaily coloured paper, and there were offerings 
upon it of fruit and cakes in great profusion, all set 
out before a portrait of the late Empress. On 
either side were two choirs of priests, Buddhists and 
Taoists in gorgeous robes of red and orange. What 
faith the dead Empress held I do not know, but the 
average Chinese, while he is the prince of material- 
ists, believing nothing he cannot see and explain, 
has also a keen eye to the main chance, and on his 
death-bed is apt to summon priests of all faiths so 
as to let no chance of a comfortable future slip ; but 
possibly it was more from motives of policy than 
from any idea of aiding the dead woman that these 
representatives of the two great faiths of China were 




A PATH IN THE GROUNDS OF THE WINTER PALACE. 




A SECLUDED CORNER OF THE WINTER PALACE. 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 85 

summoned. On the right^ behind a trellis-work of 
bright paper, one choir sat in a circle, beat gongs, 
struck their bells and intoned; and on the left, 
behind a like trellis-work, the other choir knelt before 
low desks and also solemnly intoned. Their Mon- 
golian faces were very impassive, they looked neither 
to the right nor the left, but kept time to the cease- 
less beat of their leader's stick upon a globe of wood 
split across the middle like a gaping mouth emblem- 
atical of a fish and called mu yii or wooden fish. 
What were they repeating? Prayers for the dead? 
Eulogies on her who had passed? Or comfort for 
the living? Not one of these things. Probably 
they were intoning Scriptures in Tibetan, an un- 
known tongue to them very likely, but come down 
to them through the ages and sanctified by thousands 
of ceaseless repetitions. 

And the people came, passed up the steps, bowed 
by the direction of the usher in European clothes 
three times to the dead Empress's portrait, and the 
altar, were thanked by General Chang, the Military 
Commandant, and passed on by the brightly clad 
intoning priests down into the crowd in the great 
courtyard again. It was weird to find myself taking 
part in such a ceremony. Stranger still to watch the 
people who went up and down those steps. In all 
the world surely never was such an extraordinary 
funeral gathering. I am very sure that never shall 
I attend such another. There was such a mingling 
of the ancient and the blatantly modern. To the 
sound of weird, archaic, Eastern music the living 
Buddha, clad all in yellow, in his yellow sedan chair, 
borne by four bearers in dark blue with Tartar caps 
on their heads, made his reverence, and was followed 



86 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

by a band of Chinese children from some American 
mission school, who, with misguided zeal sang fer- 
vently at the top of their shrill childish voices 
" Down by the Swanee River " and " Auld Lang 
Syne," and then soldiers in modern uniform of 
khaki or bright blue were followed by police officers 
in black and gold. The wrong note was struck by 
the " Swanee River," the high officials dwelt upon it, 
for the Chinese does not look to advantage in these 
garbs, he looks what he is^ makeshift, a bad imita- 
tion, and the jarring was only relieved when the 
Manchu princes came in white mourning sheepskins 
and black Tartar caps. They may be dissolute and 
decadent, have all the vices that new China accuses 
them of, but at least they looked polished and 
dignified gentlemen, at their ease and in their place. 
It does not matter, possibly. The President once 
said that to petition for a monarchy was an act of 
fanaticism worthy of being punished by imprison- 
ment, and so the old order must in a measure pass ; 
even in China, the unchanging, there must come, it 
is a law of nature, some little change, and when I 
looked at the bows and arrows of the Manchu guard 
leaning against the wall I realised that it would be 
impossible to keep things as they were, however 
picturesque. Still khaki uniforms, if utilitarian, are 
ugly, and American folk-songs, under such condi- 
tions, struck the last note in bathos, or pathos. It 
depends on the point of view. 

On the white paper tabs, attached to our black 
chrysanthemums, was written something about the 
New Republic, but it might have been the spirit of 
the Empress at home, so cheerful and bent on 
enjoyment was the crowd which thronged the 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 87 

courtyard. The bands played, sometimes Eastern 
music, strange and haunting, sometimes airs from 
the European operas, there were various tents 
erected with seats and tables, and refreshments were 
served, oranges, and ginger, and tea, and cakes of 
all kinds, both in the tents and at little altar-like 
stands dotted about the courtyard even at the very 
foot of the pedestals of the great conventional lions. 
And the people walked round looking at everything, 
peeping through every crevice in the hopes of seeing 
some part of the palace that was not open to them, 
chatting, laughing, greeting each other as they 
would have done at a garden-party in Europe. 
There were all sorts of people, dressed in all sorts 
of fashions. New China looked at best common- 
place and ordinary in European clothes ; old China 
was dignified in a queue, silken jacket and brocaded 
petticoat, generally of a lighter colour; Manchu 
ladies wore high head-dresses and brilliant silken 
coats, blue or pink, lavender or grey, and Chinese 
ladies tottered along on tiny, bound feet that 
reminded me of the hoofs of a deer, and the most 
fashionable, unmarried girls wore short coats with 
high collars covering their chins, and tight-fitting 
trousers, often of gaily coloured silk, while the older 
women added skirts, and the poorer classes just 
wore a long coat of cotton, generally blue, with 
trousers tightly girt in at the ankles, and their 
maimed feet in tiny little embroidered shoes. 
European dress the Chinese woman very seldom 
affects yet, and their jet black hair, plastered 
together with some sort of substance that makes 
it smooth and shiny, is never covered, but flowers 
and jewelled pins are stuck in it. Occasionally I 



88 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

did on this day you will see a woman with a black 
embroidered band round the front of her head, but 
this, I think, denotes that she is of the Roman 
Catholic faith, for the Roman Catholics have been in 
China far longer than any other Christian sect, and 
they invented this head-dress for the Chinese woman 
who for ages has been accustomed to wear none, 
because of the Pauline injunction, that it was a 
shame for a woman to appear in a church with her 
head uncovered. Old China did not approve of a 
woman going about much at all, and here at this 
funeral I heard many old China hands remarking 
how strange it was to see so many women mingling 
with the throng. It marked the change ; but such a 
very short time back, such a thing would have been 
impossible. 

There were numbers of palace eunuchs too 
keepers of the women who, apparently, may now 
show their faces to all men, and they were clad all 
in the mourning white, with here and there one, for 
some reason or other I cannot fathom, in black. 
The demand for eunuchs was great when the 
Emperor dwelt, the one man, in the Forbidden City 
surrounded by his women, and they say that very 
often the number employed rose to ten thousand. 
Constantly, as some in the ranks grew old, fell sick, 
or died, they had to be replaced, and, so conserva- 
tive is China, the recruits were generally drawn from 
certain villages whose business it was to supply the 
palace eunuchs. Often, of course, the operation 
was performed in their infancy, but often, very often, 
a man was allowed to grow up, marry, and have 
children, before he was made ready for the palace. 

" Impossible," I said, " he would not consent 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 89 

then. Never." And my informant laughed piti- 
fully. " Ah," said she, " you don't know the struggle 
in China. Anything for a livelihood." 

Some of the eunuchs wanted their photographs 
taken, and I was willing enough if they would only 
give me room. I wanted one in white, but they 
desired one in black, either because he was the most 
important or the least important, I know not which, 
and they sat him on a stone that had been a seat 
perhaps when Kublai Khan built the palace ; and 
the keeper of the women, the representative of the 
old cruel past, that pressed men and women alike 
into the service of the great, looked in my camera 
sheepish as a schoolboy kissed in public by his 
maiden aunt. 

There were coolies, too, in the ordinary blue 
cotton busy about the work that the entertaining of 
such a multitude necessarily entails, and everyone 
looked cheerful and happy, as, after all, why should 
they not, for death is the common lot, and must 
come to all of us, and they had seen and heard of 
the dead Empress about as much as the dweller in 
Chicago had. They were merely taking what she, 
or her representatives, gave with frank goodwill, 
and enjoying themselves accordingly. 

Against the walls they kept putting up long scrolls 
covered with Chinese characters, sentences in praise 
of the virtues of the Empress, and sent, as we would 
send funeral wreaths, to honour the dead, and 
presently a wind arose and tore at them and they 
fluttered out from the walls like long streamers, and 
as the wind grew wilder, some were torn down 
altogether. But that was on the afternoon of the 
second day, when worse things happened. 



90 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

I went down to the Forbidden City after tiffin, 
and behold, outside the great gates, looking up 
longingly and murmuring a little, was a great 
crowd that grew momentarily greater. The doors, 
studded with brazen nails, were fast closed, and 
little parties of soldiers with their knapsacks upon 
their backs were evidently telling the crowd to keep 
back, and very probably, since it was China, the 
reason why they should keep back. The reason 
was, of course, lost upon me, I only knew that, 
before I realised what was happening, I was in the 
centre of a crushing crowd that was gradually 
growing more unmanageable. A Chinese crowd is 
wonderfully good-natured, far better-tempered than 
a European crowd of a like size would be, but when 
a crowd grows great, it is hardly responsible for its 
actions. Besides, a Chinese crowd has certain 
little unpleasant habits. The men picked up the 
little children, for the tiniest tots came to this great 
festival, and held them on their shoulders, but they 
coughed, and hawked, and spit, and wiped their 
noses in the primitive way Adam probably did 
before he thought of using a fig-leaf as a pocket 
handkerchief, and at last I felt that the only thing 
to be done was to edge my way to the fringe of the 
press, because, even if the doors were opened, it 
would have seemed like taking my life in my hands 
to go into one of those tunnels with their uneven 
pavements in such a crush. Once down it would 
be hopeless to think of getting up again. 

After a time, however, they did open the doors, 
and the people surged in. When all was clear I 
followed, and once inside heard how the people in 
the great courtyard, in spite of police and soldiers, 




CAMELS IN MORRISON STREET. 




MAKING CAKES, STREET IN PEKING. 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 91 

had swarmed up and threatened by their rush, the 
good-natured, purposeless rush of a crowd, to carry 
away offerings, altar, choirs and decorations, and, 
very naturally, those in authority had closed the 
doors against all new-comers until the people had 
been got well in hand again. It had taken some 
time. Before the altar was a regular scrimmage, 
and after the crowd had passed it left behind it, 
shoes, and caps, and portions of its clothing which 
were thrown back into the courtyard to be gathered 
up by those who could recognise their own property. 
By the time I arrived things were settling down. 
We had to wait in the second courtyard, and the 
women, Chinese ladies with their little aching feet, 
and Manchus in their high head-dresses sat them- 
selves down on the edge of the causeway, because 
standing on pavement is wearisome, and there 
waited patiently till the doors were opened, and 
inside everything was soon going again as gaily as 
at an ordinary garden-party in Somerset. 

" Do you like Chinese tea ? " asked a Chinese lady 
of me in slow and stilted English. I said I did. 

"Come," said she, taking my hand in her cold 
little one, and hand in hand we walked, or rather I 
walked and she tottered, across to one of the great 
pavilions that had been erected, and there she sat 
me down and a cup of the excellent tea was brought 
me, and every one of the Chinese ladies present, 
out of the kindly hospitality of her heart towards the 
lonely foreigner, gave me, with her own fair and 
shapely little hands, a cake from the dish that was 
set before us by a white-clad servant. Frankly, I 
wished they wouldn't be so hospitable. I wanted 
to say I was quite capable of choosing my own cake, 



92 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and that I had a rooted objection to other people 
pawing the food I intended to eat, but it seemed it 
might be rude, and I did not wish to nip kindly 
feelings in the bud. And then, as the evening 
shadows drew long, I went back to my hotel, sorry 
to leave the Forbidden City, glad to have had this 
one little glimpse of the strange and wonderful that 
is bound to pass away. 

The Empress died in February, in March they 
held this, can we call it lying-in-state, but it was not 
till the 3rd of April that her funeral cortege moved 
from the Forbidden City, and the streets of Peking 
were thronged with those who came to pay her 
respect. Did they mourn? Well, I don't know. 
Hardly, I think, was it mourning in the technical 
sense. The man in the street in England is far 
enough away from the king on the throne, but in 
China it seems as if he might inhabit a different 
sphere. 

The sky was a cloudless blue, and the bright 
golden sunshine poured down hot as a July day in 
England, or a March day in Australia, there was 
not a wisp of cloud in the sky ; in all the five weeks 
that I had been in China there had never been the 
faintest indication that such a thing was ever 
expected, ever known, but at first the brilliancy had 
been cold, now it was warm, the winter was past, 
and from the great Tartar wall, looking over the 
Tartar City the city that the Mings conquered and 
the Manchus made their own the forest of trees 
that hid the furthest houses was all tinged with the 
faintest, daintiest green; and soon to the glory of 
blue and gold, the blue of the sky and the gold of 
the sunshine, would be added the vivid green that 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 93 

tells of the new-born life. And one woman who 
had held high place here, one sad woman, who had 
missed most that was good in fife, if rumours be 
true, was to be carried to her long home that 
day. 

The funeral procession started from the Eastern 
Gate of the Forbidden City, came slowly down the 
broad street known now as Morrison Street, turned 
into the way that passes the Legations and runs 
along by the glacis whereon the conquering Western 
nations have declared that, for their safety, no 
Chinese shall build a house, the Europeans call it 
the Viale d'ltalia, because it passes by the Italian 
Legation, and the Chinese by the more eupho- 
nious name of Chang an Cheeh the street of 
Eternal Repose a curious Commentary on the 
fighting that went on there in 1900, into the Chien 
Men Street, that is the street of the main gate 
through which it must go to the railway station. 

It seemed to me strange this ruler of an ancient 
people, buried with weird and barbaric rites, was to 
be taken to her last resting-place by the modern 
railway, that only a very few years ago her 
people, at the height of their anti-foreign feeling, 
had wished to oust from the country root and 
branch. But since the funeral procession was going 
to the railway station it must pass through the Chien 
Men, and the curtain wall that ran round the great 
gate offered an excellent point of vantage from 
which I, with the rest of the European population, 
might see all there was to be seen. And for this 
great occasion, the gate in the south of the curtain 
wall, the gate that is always shut because only the 
highest in the land may pass through, was open, 



94 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

for the highest in the land, the last of the Manchu 
rulers, was dead. 

I looked down into the walled-in space between 
the four gateway arches, as into an arena, and the 
whole pageant passed below me. First of all 
marching with deliberate slowness, that contrives to 
be dignified if they are only carrying coals, came 
about twenty camels draped in imperial yellow with 
tails of sable, also an imperial badge hanging from 
their necks. The Manchus were a hunting people, 
and though they have been dwellers in towns for 
the last two hundred and fifty years the fact was not 
forgotten now that their last ruler had died. She 
was going on a journey, a long, long journey; she 
might want to rest by the way, therefore her camels 
bore tent-poles and tents of the imperial colour. 
They held their heads high and went noiselessly 
along, pad, pad, pad, as their like have gone to and 
fro from Peking for thousands of years. Mongol, 
or Manchu, or son of Han, it is all the same to the 
camel. He ministers to man's needs because he 
must, but he himself is unchanging as the ages, fixed 
in his way as the sky above, whether he bears grain 
from the north, or coal from the Western Hills, or 
tents and drapery for an imperial funeral. Then 
there were about fifty white ponies, without saddle 
or trapping of any kind, each led by a mafoo clad 
in blue like an ordinary coolie. The Peking carts 
that followed with wheels and tilts of yellow were of 
a past age, but, after all, does not the King of Great 
Britain and Ireland on State occasions ride in a 
most old-world coach. And then I noticed things 
came in threes. Three carts, three yellow palan- 
keens full of artificial flowers, three sedan chairs 




In 







THE CHIEN MEN FROM THE CURTAIN WALL. 
(See page 93) 




LOU NEAR THE AMERICAN LEGATION. 
(See page 60) 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 95 

also yellow covered, and all around these groups 
were attendants clad in shimmering rainbow muslin 
and thick felt hats, from the pointed crown of which 
projected long yellow feathers. Slowly, slowly, the 
procession moved on, broken now and again by 
bands of soldiers in full marching order. There 
was a troop of cavalry of the Imperial Guard they 
told me, but how could it be imperial when their 
five-coloured lance pennons fluttering gaily in the 
air, clearly denoted the New Republic ? There was 
a detachment of mounted police in black and yellow 
the most modern of uniforms there were more 
attendants in gaily coloured robes carrying wooden 
halberds, embroidered fans, banners, and umbrellas, 
and the yellow palankeens with the artificial flowers 
were escorted by Buddhist lamas in yellow robes 
crossed with crimson sashes, each with a stick of 
smouldering incense in his hand. In those palan- 
keens were the dead woman's seals, her power, the 
power that she must now give up. I could see the 
smoke, and the scent of the incense rose to our 
nostrils as we stood on the wall forty feet above. 
Between the various groups, between the yellow 
lamas who dated from the days of the Buddha long 
before the Christ, between the khaki-clad troops and 
the yellow and black police, things of yesterday, 
came palace attendants tossing into the air white 
paper discs. The dead Empress would want money 
for her journey, and here it was, distributed with a 
lavish hand. It was only white paper, blank and 
soiled by the dust of the road, when I picked it up a 
little later on, but for her it would serve all purposes. 
The approach of the bier itself was heralded by 
the striking together of two slabs of wood by a 



96 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

couple of attendants, and before it came, clad all in 
the white of mourning, the palace eunuchs who had 
guarded her privacy when in life; a few Court 
attendants in black, and then between lines of khaki- 
uniformed modern infantry in marching order, the 
bier covered with yellow satin, vivid, brilliant, 
embroidered with red phoenixes that marked her 
high rank the dragon for the Emperor, the phoenix 
for his consort. The two pieces of wood clacked 
together harshly and the enormous bier moved on. 
It was mounted on immense yellow poles and borne 
by eighty men dressed in brilliant robes of varie- 
gated muslin, red being the predominating colour. 
They wore hats with yellow feathers coming out of 
the crown, and they staggered under their burden, 
as might the slaves in Nineveh or Babylon have 
faltered and groaned beneath their burdens, two 
thousand years ago. 

Out of the northern archway came the camels and 
the horses, the soldiers, the lamas, the eunuchs, out 
came all the quaint gay paraphernalia umbrellas, 
and fans, palankeens, and sedan chairs, and banners 
and slowly crossed the great courtyard, the arena ; 
a stop, a long pause, then on again, and the southern 
gate swallowed them up, again the clack of the strips 
of wood, and the mighty bier, borne on the shoulders 
of the Babylonish slaves. Slowly, slowly, then it 
stood still, and we felt as if it must stay there for 
ever, as if the eighty men who upheld it must be 
suffering unspeakable things. Once more the clack 
of the strips of wood, and the southern archway in 
due course swallowed it up, too, with the few halber- 
diers and the detachment of soldiery who completed 
the procession. 



THE FUNERAL OF AN EMPRESS 97 

Outside the Chien Men was the railway station, 
the crowded people crowded like Chinese flies in 
summer, and that is saying a great deal were 
cleared away by the soldiers, the bier was lifted on 
to a car, the bands struck up a weird funeral march, 
the soldiers presented arms, the lama priests fell on 
their knees, and then very, very slowly the train 
steamed out of the station, and the last of the Manchu 
Empresses was borne to her long home. 

Was it impressive I asked myself as I went down 
the ramp? And the answer was a little difficult to 
find. Quaint and strange and Eastern, for the 
thing that has struck me so markedly in China was 
here marked as ever. It was like the paper money 
that was thrown with such lavish generosity into the 
air. Amongst all the magnificence was the bizarre 
note that discordant touch of tawdriness. Beneath 
the gorgeous robes of the attendants, plainly to be 
seen, were tatters and uncleanliness, the soldiers in 
their ill-fitting uniforms looked makeshift, and the 
police wanted dusting. And yet and again I must 
say and yet, for want of better words behind it all 
was some reality, something that gripped like the 
haunting sound of the dirge, or the stately march of 
the camels that have defied all change. 



CHAPTER VI 

A TIME OF REJOICING 

The charm of Peking A Chinese theatre Electric light The 
custodian of the theatre Bargaining for a seat The 
orchestra The scenery of Shakespeare Realistic gesture A 
city wall A mountain spirit Gorgeous dresses Bundles of 
towels Women's gallery Armed patrols Rain in April 
The food of the peasant Famine The value of a daughter 
God be thanked. 

THE Legation Quarter in Peking, as I was reminded 
twenty times a day, is not China, it is not even 
Peking, but it is a pleasant place in which to stay ; 
a place where one may foregather and exchange 
ideas with one's kind, and yet whence one may go 
forth and see all Peking; more, may see places 
where still the foreigner is something to be stared 
at, and wondered at, and where the old, unchanging 
civilisation still goes on. Ordinarily if you would 
see something new, something that gives a fresh 
sensation, it is necessary to go out from among your 
kind and brave discomfort, or spend a small fortune 
to guard against that discomfort, but here, in Peking, 
you who are interested in such things may see an 
absolutely new world, and yet have all the comforts, 
except reading matter, to which you have been 
accustomed in London. It was no wonder I 
lingered in Peking. Always there was something 




GILDED SHOP-FRONT, PEKING. 




CORNER IN PEKING PAWNSHOP. 



A TIME OF REJOICING 99 

new to see, always there was something fresh to 
learn, and at any moment, within five minutes, I 
could step out into another world, the world of Marco 
Polo, the world the Jesuit Fathers saw when first 
the Western nations were beginning to realise there 
were any countries besides their own. 

There are people I have heard them who 
complain that Peking is dull. Do not believe them. 
But, after all, perhaps I am not the best judge. As 
a young girl, trammelled by trying to do the correct 
thing and behave as a properly brought up young 
lady ought, I have sometimes, say at an afternoon 
call when I hope I was behaving prettily, found 
life dull, but since I have gone my own way I have 
been sad sometimes, lonely often, but dull never, 
and for that God be thanked. But Peking, I think, 
would be a very difficult place in which to be really 
dull. 

It is even possible to go to the theatre every night, 
but it is a Chinese theatre and that will go a long 
way. Nevertheless, I felt it was .a thing I should 
like to see ; so one evening two of my friends took 
me to the best theatre that was open. The best was 
closed for political reasons they said, because the 
new Government, not as sure of itself as it would like 
to be, did not wish the people to assemble together. 
This was a minor theatre, a woman's theatre; that 
is one where only women were the actors, quite a 
new departure in the Celestial world, for until about 
a year before the day of which I write, no woman 
was ever seen upon the stage, and her parts, as they 
were in the old days in Europe, were taken by men 
and boys. Even now, men and women never appear 
on the stage together, never, never do the sexes 



100 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

mingle in China, and the women who act take the 
very lowest place in the social scale. 

One cold night in March three rickshaws put 
us down at an open doorway in the Chinese City 
outside the Tartar wall. The Chinese the greatest 
connoisseurs of pictures do not as yet think much of 
posters, though the British and American Tobacco 
Company is doing its best to educate them up to 
that level, so outside this theatre the door was not 
decorated with photographs of the lovely damsels to 
be seen within, clad in as few clothes as the censor 
will allow, but the intellects of the patrons were 
appealed to, and all around the doors were bright 
red sheets of paper, on which the delights offered 
for the evening were inscribed in characters of 
gold. 

We went along a narrow passage with a floor of 
hard, beaten earth, and dirty whitewashed walls on 
either side, along such a passage I could imagine 
went those who first listened to the sayings of 
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The light was dim, 
the thrifty Chinaman was not going to waste the 
precious and expensive light of compressed gas 
where it was not really needed, and from behind the 
wall came the weird strains of Chinese music. There 
appeared to be only one door, and here sat a fat and 
smiling Chinese, who explained to my friends that 
by the rules of the theatre, the men and women 
were divided, and that I must go to the women's 
gallery. They demurred. It would be very dull 
for me, who could not understand a word of the 
language, to sit alone. Could no exception be made 
in my favour? The doorkeeper was courteous as 
only a Chinese can be, and said that for his part, 



A TIME OF REJOICING 101 

he had no objection ; but the custodian of the theatre, 
put there by the Government to ensure law and 
order, would object. 

I wanted badly to stay with these men who could 
explain to me all that was going on, so we sent for 
the custodian, another smiling gentleman, not quite 
so fat, in the black and yellow uniform of the military 
police. He listened to all we had to say, sym- 
pathised, but declared that the regulations must be 
carried out. My friends put it to him that the 
regulations were archaic, and that it was high time 
they were altered. He smilingly agreed. They 
were archaic, very ; but then you see, they were the 
regulations. He was here to see that they were 
carried out, and he suggested, as an alternative, that 
we should take one of the boxes at the side. The 
question of sitting in front was dismissed, and we 
gave ourselves to the consideration of a box for 
which six dollars, that is twelve shillings English 
currency, or three dollars American, were demanded. 
We demurred, it seems you always question prices in 
China. We told the doorkeeper that the price was 
very high, and that as we were sitting where we did 
not wish to sit, he ought to come down. He did. 
Shades of Keith and Prowse ! Two dollars ! 

We went up some steep and narrow steps of the 
most primitive order, were admitted to a large hall 
lighted by compressed gas in Cambulac! here in 
the heart of an ancient civilisation surrounded by 
galleries with fronts of a dainty lattice-work of 
polished wood, such as the Chinese employ for 
windows, and we took our places in a box, humbly 
furnished with bare benches and a wooden table. 
Just beneath us was the stage, and the play was in 



102 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

full swing actors, property men, and orchestra all 
on at once. It was large and square, raised a little 
above the people in the body of the hall and sur- 
rounded by a little low screen of the same dainty 
lattice-work. At the back was the orchestra, com- 
posed only of men in ordinary coolie dress dark 
blue cotton with long queues. There were casta- 
nets, and a drum, cymbals, native fiddle, and various 
brazen instruments that looked like brass trays, and 
they all played untiringly, with an energy worthy of 
a better cause, and with the apparent intention it 
couldn't have been so really of drowning the actors. 
Yet taken altogether the result was strangely quaint 
and Eastern. 

The entertainment consisted of a number of little 
plays lasting from half an hour to about an hour. 
There were never more than half a dozen people 
on the stage at once, very often only two in the play 
altogether, and what it was all about we could only 
guess after all, for even my friends, who could speak 
ordinary Chinese fluently, could not understand 
much that was said. Possibly this was because 
every actor, instead of using the ordinary conversa- 
tional tone, adapted as we adapt it to the stage, 
used a high, piercing falsetto that was extremely un- 
natural, and reminded me of nothing on this earth 
that I know of except perhaps a pig-killing. Still 
even I gathered something of the story of the play 
as it progressed, for the gestures of these women, 
unlike their voices, were extremely dramatic, and 
some of the situations were not to be mistaken. 
Scenery was as it was in Shakespeare's day. It was 
understood. But for all the bare crudity, the dresses 
of the actors which belonged to a previous age, 



A TIME OF REJOICING 103 

whether they were supposed to represent men or 
women, were most rich and beautiful. The general, 
with his hideously painted face and his long black 
beard of thread, wore a golden embroidered robe 
that must have been worth a small fortune ; a soldier, 
apparently a sort of Dugald Dalgety, who pits him- 
self against a scholar clad in modest dark colours, 
appeared in a blue satin of the most delicate shade, 
beautifully embroidered with gorgeous lotus flowers 
and palms ; and the principal ladies, who were really 
rather pretty in spite of their highly painted faces 
and weird head-dresses, wore robes of delicate love- 
liness that one of my companions, whose business it 
was to know about such matters, told me must have 
been, like the general's, of great value. The comic 
servant or country man wore a short jumper and a 
piece of white paper and powder about his nose. 
It certainly did make him look funny. The dignified 
scholar was arrayed all in black, the soldier wore the 
gayest of embroidered silks and satins, the land- 
lady of the inn or boarding-house, a pleasant, smiling 
woman with roses in her hair and tiny maimed feet, 
had a pattern of black lace-work painted on her fore- 
head, and when the male characters had to be very 
fierce indeed, they wore long and flowing beards, 
beards to which no Chinaman, I fear me, can ever 
hope to attain, for the Chinaman is not a hairy man. 
When a gallant gentleman with tight sleeves which 
proclaimed him a warrior, and a long beard of bright 
red thread which made him a very fierce warrior 
indeed, snapped his fingers and lifted up his legs, 
lifted them up vehemently, you knew that he was 
getting over a wall or mounting his horse. You 
could take your choice. A mountain, the shady 



104 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

side of it, was represented by one panel of a screen 
which leaned drunkenly against a very ordinary 
chair, giving shelter to a very evil spirit with a dress 
that represented a leopard, and a face of the grim- 
mest and most terrifying of those animals. 

This was a play that required much property to 
be displayed, for a general with a face painted all 
black and white and a long black beard, with his 
army of five, took refuge behind a stout city wall 
that was made of thin blue cotton stuff supported on 
four bamboo poles, and this convenient wall marched 
on to the stage in the hands of a couple of stout 
coolies. A wicked mountain spirit outside the walls 
did terrible things. Ever and again flashes of fire 
burst out after his speech, and I presume you were 
not supposed to see the coolie who manipulated that 
fire, though he stood on the stage as large as any 
actors in the piece. 

It is hard, too, talking in that high falsetto against 
the shrieking, strident notes of the music, so naturally 
the actors constantly required a little liquid refresh- 
ment, and an attendant was prompt in offering tea 
in tiny round basins; and nobody saw anything 
incongruous in his standing there with the teapot 
handy, and in slack moments taking a sip him- 
self. 

The fun apparently consisted in repartee, and 
every now and then, the audience, who were silent 
and engrossed, instead of applauding spontan- 
eously, ejaculated, as if at a word of command, 
" Hao ! " which means " Good ! " 

That audience was the best-behaved and most 
attentive I have ever seen. It consisted mostly of 
men, as far as I could see L of the middle class. 



A TIME OF REJOICING 105 

They were packed close together, with here and 
there a little table or bench among them ; and up 
and down went vendors of apples, oranges, pieces 
of sugar-cane, cakes and sweetmeats. 

There were also people who supplied hot, damp 
towels. A man stood here and there in the audience, 
and from the outer edge of the theatre, came hurtling 
to him, over the heads of the people, a bundle of these 
towels. For a cent or so apiece he distributed them, 
the members of the audience taking a refreshing 
wipe of face and head and hands and handing the 
towels back. When the purveyor of the towels had 
used up all his stock, and got them all back again, 
he tied them up into a neat bundle, and threw them 
back the way they had come, receiving a fresh stock 
in return. Never did a bundle of towels fail in 
reaching its appointed place, and scores of cents 
must the providers have pocketed. For the delight 
of ventilation is not appreciated in China, and to say 
that theatre was stuffy is a mild way of putting it. 
The warm wet towel must have given a sort of 
refreshment. They offered us some up in the digni- 
fied seclusion of our box, but we felt we could sustain 
life without washing our faces with doubtful towels 
during the progress of the entertainment. Tea was 
brought, too, excellent Chinese tea, and I drank it 
with pleasure. I drink Chinese tea without either 
milk or sugar as a matter of course now; but that 
night at the Chinese theatre I was only trying it and 
wondering could I drink it at all. 

Opposite us was the women's gallery, full of 
Chinese and Manchu ladies, with high head- 
dresses and highly painted faces. The Chinese 
ladies often paint their faces, but their attempts at 



106 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

decoration pale before that of the Manchus, who put 
on the colour with such right goodwill that every 
woman when she is dressed in her smartest, looks 
remarkably like a sign-board. The wonder is that 
anyone could possibly be found who could admire 
the unnatural effect. Someone, I suppose, there is, 
or it would not be done, but no men went near the 
women's gallery that evening. It would have been 
the grossest breach of decorum for a man to do any 
such thing, and the painted ladies drank their tea 
by themselves. 

Somewhere about midnight, earlier than usual, 
consequent, I imagine, upon the disturbed state of 
the country, the entertainment ended with a perfect 
crash of music, and the most orderly audience in 
the world went out into the streets of the Chinese 
City, into the clear night. Only in very recent 
years, they tell me, have the streets of Peking been 
lighted. Formerly the people went to bed at dusk, 
but they seem to have taken very kindly to the 
change, for the streets were thronged. There were 
people on foot, people in rickshaws, people in the 
springless Peking carts, and important personages 
with outriders and footmen in the glass broughams 
beloved by the Chinese ; and there were the military 
police everywhere, now at night with rifles across 
their shoulders. Here, disciplining this most 
orderly crowd, they struck me as being strangely 
incongruous. I wondered at those police then, and 
I wonder still. What are they for? Whatever the 
reason, there they were at every few yards. Never 
have I had such a strange home-coming from a 
theatre. Down on us forty feet high frowned the 
walls built in past ages, we crossed the Beggars' 



A TIME OF REJOICING 107 

Bridge of glorious marble, we went under the mighty 
archway of the Chien Men, and we entered the 
Legation Quarter guarded like a fortress, and I 
went to bed meditating on the difference between a 
Chinese play and a modern musical comedy. They 
have, I fancy, one thing in common. They are 
interesting enough to see for the first time, but a little 
of them goes a long way. 

I went to bed under a clear and cloudless sky, 
and the next morning, to my astonishment, it was 
raining. I have, of course, seen rain many, many 
times, and many, many times have I seen heavier 
rain than fell all this April day in Peking, but never 
before, not even in my own country where ram is the 
great desideratum, have I seen rain better worth 
recording. 

It was indeed this April day rain at last! 

" To everything there is a season," says the 
preacher, and the spring is the time for a little rain 
in Northern China. In England people suppose it 
rains three hundred and sixty days out of the three 
hundred and sixty-five, except in Leap Year when 
we manage to get in another rainy day, but as a 
matter of fact, I believe the average is about one 
hundred and fifty wet days in the year, with a certain 
number more in which clouds in the sky blot out 
the sunshine. In the north of China, on the other 
hand, there had been, to all intents and purposes, no 
cloud in the sky since the summer rains of 1912, till 
this rain in April which I looked out upon. Is not 
rain like that worth recording? Still more do I feel 
it is worth recording when I think of what that day's 
rain, that seemed so little to me, meant to millions 
of people. All through the bitter cold winter the 



108 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

country lay in the grip of the frost, but the sun 
reigned in a heaven of peerless blue, and the light 
was brilliant with a brilliancy that makes the sun- 
shine of a June day in England a poor, pale thing. 
The people counted for their crops on the rain that 
would come in due season, the rain in the spring. 
March came with the thaw, and the winds from the 
north lifted the loose soil into the air in clouds 
of dust. But March passed alternating brilliant 
sunshine and clouds of dust, and there was never a 
cloud in the sky, never a drop of moisture for the 
gasping earth. April came would it go on like 
this till June? Rain that comes in due season is 
necessary to the crops that are the wealth, nay the 
very life of Northern China. 

From the beams of the peasant's cottage hang the 
cobs of corn, each one counted ; in jars or boxes is 
his little store of grain, millet just bird-seed in 
point of fact he has a few dried persimmons per- 
haps and nothing else. Twice a day the house- 
wife measures out the grain for the meal she knows, 
the tiniest child in the household knows exactly how 
long it will last with full measure, how it may be 
spun out over a few more dreary, hunger-aching 
days, how then, if the rain has not come, if the 
crops have failed, famine will stalk in the land, 
famine, cruel, pitiless, and from his grip there is no 
escaping. 

Think of it, as I did that April day in Peking, 
when I watched the rain pelting down. Think of 
the dumb, helpless peasant watching the cloudless 
blue sky and the steadily diminishing store of grain, 
watching, hoping, for the faintest wisp of white 
cloud that shall give promise of a little moisture. 




GATHERING IN KAOLIANG FOR THRESHING. 








A THRESHING FLOOR. 



A TIME OF REJOICING 109 

They tell me, those who know, that the Chinaman 
is a fatalist, that he never looks so far ahead, but do 
they not judge him with Western eyes? True he 
seldom complains, but he tills his fields so carefully 
that he must see in imagination the crops they are 
to produce, he must know, how can he help knowing, 
that if there be no harvest, there is an end to his 
home, his family, his children ; that if perchance his 
life be spared, it will be grey and empty, broken, 
desolate, scarce worth living. Every scanty posses- 
sion will have to be sold to buy food in a ruinously 
high market, even the loved children, and no one 
who has seen them together can doubt that the 
Chinese deeply love their children, must go, though 
for the little daughter whose destination will be a 
brothel of one of the great cities, but two dollars, 
four pitiful shillings, may be hoped for, and when 
that is eaten up, the son sold into slavery will bring 
very little more. To sell their children sounds 
terrible, but what can they do? Some must be 
sacrificed that the others may have a chance of life, 
and even if they are not sacrificed, their fate is to 
die slowly under the bright sky, in the relentless 
sunshine. This is the spectre that haunts the 
peasant. This is the thing that has befallen his 
fathers, that has befallen him, that may befall 
him again any year, that no care on his part 
can guard him from, that the clear sky for ever 
threatens. 

" From plague, pestilence and famine, Good Lord 
deliver us." 

Does ever that Litany to the Most High go up 
in English cathedral with such prayerful fervour, 
such thorough realisation of what is meant by the 



110 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

supplication, as is in the heart of the peasant mother 
in China, carefully measuring out the grain for the 
meal. Only she would put it the other way. " From 
famine, and the plague and pestilence that stalk in 
the wake of the famine, oh pitiful, merciful God 
deliver us ! " 

And when I took all this in, when I heard men 
who had seen the suffering describe it, was it any 
wonder that I rejoiced at the dull grey sky, at the 
sound of the rain on the roof, at the water rushing 
down the gutters. 

On the gently sloping hill-sides of Manchuria, 
where they grow the famous bean, the hill-sides that 
I had seen in their winter array, on the wide plains 
of Mongolia, where only the far horizon bounds the 
view, and you march on to a yet farther horizon 
where the Mongol tends his flocks and herds, and the 
industrious Chinaman, pushing out beyond the pro- 
tecting wall, has planted beans and sown oats, in 
Honan, where the cotton and the maize and the kao- 
liang grow, all along the gardens and grain-fields of 
Northern China, had come the revivifying rain. 
The day before, under the blue sky, lay the bare 
brown earth, acres and acres, miles and miles of it, 
carefully tilled, nowhere in the world have I seen 
such carefully tilled land, full of promise, but of 
promise only, of a rich harvest. Then, not hoped 
for so late, a boon hardly to be prayed for, welcome 
as sunshine never was welcome z came the rain, six 
hours steady rain, and the spectre of famine, ever 
so close to the Chinese peasant, for a time drifted 
into the background with old, unhappy, long- 
forgotten things. Next morning on all the khaki- 
coloured country outside Peking was a tinge of 



A TIME OF REJOICING 111 

green, and we knew that a bountiful harvest was 
ensured, knew that soon the country would be a 
beautiful emerald. The house-mother, the patient, 
uncomplaining, ignorant, Chinese house-mother, 
might fill her pot joyfully, the house-father might 
look at his little daughter, with the red thread twisted 
in her hair, and know, that for a year at least, she 
was safe in his sheltering arms, for the blessed rain 
had come, God given. 

Peking in the rain is an uncomfortable place. It 
is built for the sunshine. The streets of the city 
were knee-deep in mud, the hu t'ungs were impas- 
sable for a man on foot unless he would be mud up 
to the knees, for there had been six hours solid down- 
pour, and every moment it continued was worth 
pounds to the country. What was a twenty-five 
million loan with its heavy interest, against such a 
rain as this? More than one hundred thousand 
people were affected by the downpour, were glad 
and rejoicing that day at the good-fortune that had 
befallen them. This mass of human beings, at the 
very lowest computation had considerably more than 
twenty-five million pounds rained down upon it in 
the course of six hours. There came with that rain, 
that blurred the windows of my room, prosperity for 
the land, and, for a time at least, peace, for peace 
and good harvests in China are sometimes inter- 
changeable terms. What did it matter to Northern 
China at that moment that the nations were bicker- 
ing over the loan, that America was promising, 
Britain hesitating, Russia threatening ? What did it 
matter whether Emperor, President, or Dictator, was 
in power? What did it matter that the national 
representatives hesitated to come to the capital? 



112 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

What did it matter what mistakes they made ? What 
does the peasant tilling his field, the woman filling 
her cooking-pot know about these things? What 
do they care ? A mightier factor than these, a greater 
power than man's had stepped in. God be thanked, 
in China that day it rained. 



CHAPTER VII 

ONE OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD 

Courteous Americans Nankou Pass Beacon towers Inaccessible 
hills " Balbus has built a wall " Tiny towns " Watch- 
man, what of the night? " Deserted watch-towers - 
Thoughtful Chinese waiter Ming Tombs Chinese carrying 
Chair Stony way Greatest p'ia lou in China Amphitheatre 
among the barren hills Tomb of Yung Lo Trunks of 
sandal-wood trees Enterprising Chinese guard. 

WHEREVER I might wander in China, and with the 
rumours of war that were in the air, it looked as 
if my wanderings were going to be somewhat 
restricted, to one place I was bound to wander, 
and that was the Great Wall of China. Even in the 
days of my grandmother's curios, I had heard about 
that, one of the wonders of the world, and I could 
never have left China without seeing it. 

" You can do it in a couple of days," said the young 
man, who had chastened me gently when first I 
entered Peking. " I'm going up on Tuesday. 
You'd better come along. The poet's coming too," 
he added. 

The poet, a real live poet, who thought a deal 
more about his binding than his public, was like me 
I think, he did not like seeing places in crowds, and 
at first he did not give us much of his society. 
There was also a millionaire, an American million- 
aire, his little wife, his big daughter, and his angular 

113 H 



114 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

maiden sister. They had an observation-car fixed 
on to the train, and the guard came along and said 
that if we ordinary travellers, who were not million- 
aires, cared to come in the car, the millionaire would 
be very pleased. 

I have travelled so much by myself that the 
chance of congenial company once in a way was 
delightful, but I did feel we ought not to have taken 
the train to the Nankou Pass. A mule litter, or a 
Peking cart would have been so much more suitable. 
However, it is as well to be as comfortable as 
possible. 

From the north came China's foes, the sturdy 
horsemen from Mongolia, the mountain men from 
the Manchurian Hills, and because the peaceful, 
industrious inhabitants of the rich, alluvial plains 
feared greatly the raiders, they, just at the Nankou 
Pass, where these inaccessible hills might be passed, 
built watch-towers and kept ward. There they 
stand, even to this day, upon jutting peaks where 
the pass opens into the plain, grey stone watch- 
towers with look-outs and slits for the archers, and 
beacon-towers which could flash the fiery warning 
that should rouse the country to the south. For 
thirteen miles we went up the pass, the cleft that the 
stream, babbling cheerfully now in April over its 
water- worn rocks, has carved for itself through the 
stony hills, and its weird beauty never palls. 

Always there were the hills, broken to pieces, 
tossed together by the hand of a giant, there were 
great clefts in them, vistas looking up stony and 
inaccessible valleys, gullies that are black as if a 
burning fiery furnace had been set in their midst, 
little pockets where the stream widened and there 






THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. 

(See Page 1 16) 




TEMPLE IN TOMB OF YUNG LO. 

(Seepage 124) 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 115 

was a patch of green pasture, some goats grazing, a 
small, neat farm-house and fruit-trees, pink and 
white, almond, peach, or pear, a wealth of blossom. 
On every patch of those barren hill-sides where a 
tree might grow, a tree a fruit-tree because the 
Chinaman is strictly utilitarian, had been planted; 
only here and there, over the sacred graves of China, 
there was a patch of willow, tender with the delicate 
dainty green of early spring. 

Always in China there are people ; and here there 
were tiny towns packed together on ledges of the 
eternal hills, with the fruit-trees and the willows 
that shade the graves, and there were walls walls 
that stretch up to the inaccessible portion of the 
hills, where only a goat might climb, and no invad- 
ing army could possibly pass. So numerous were 
these walls that my cheery young friend suggested 
that if ever a village head-man had a little spare 
time on his hands he remarked: "Oh, I say, here's 
a fine day and plenty of stones, let's go out and build 
a wall." And then next day the villagers in the 
next hamlet looking out said, " By Jove, Balbus, no 
Wong, has built a wall. We can't be beat." But I 
don't think in the old days the villagers on those 
hills ever took life quite as lightly as that. 

Over and over again it is repeated, the watch- 
towers on the hills and the strips of wall running 
down into the valley, walls with wide tops on which 
companies of archers might stand, protected by a 
breast-work slit for arrows, with a wall behind again 
to which they might retire if they were beaten, 
making the space between hard to hold, even for a 
victorious enemy. Always there were the walls and 
watch-towers as we went on up the valley, telling 



116 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

in their own way, the story of the strenuous lives of 
the men who lived here in the old days. 

Down the mule track these walls command came 
an endless company of people, wandering along, 
slowly, persistently, as they have wandered since 
the dawn of history. They had mules, and donkeys, 
and horses muzzled so that they cannot eat the 
tufts of herbage by the roadside laden with grain, 
and hides, and all manner of merchandise. There 
were blue-coated coolies trudging along with 
bamboos across their shoulders, their heavy loads 
dangling from either end ; and there were laden 
camels, the ragged dromedaries from Mongolia, long 
lines of them, picking their way among the stones 
along the road by the side of the stream. The 
camels, and the walls, and the watch-towers go 
together, they enhance the wonder and the charm of 
this road to the Great Wall. 

Up and up we went, up the valley, past the great 
archway where is the Customs barrier even to-day, 
and on, higher and higher, deeper into the hills, 
till ahead, crowning them, climbing their steepest 
points, bridging their most inaccessible declivities, 
clear-cut against the blue sky, I saw what I had come 
out to see, one of the wonders of the world, the Great 
Wall of China! Here among the stony, arid hills, 
that anywhere else in the world would be left to the 
rock-doves and the rabbits, we came upon a piece 
of man's handiwork that for ages has cried aloud to 
those who have eyes to see, or ears to hear, of the 
colossal industry of China, nay of more than that, 
of the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the 
community. On and on went the Wall, up and up 
and up, cliinbing steadily, falling, climbing again, 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 117 

and again dropping into the valleys. There were 
watch-towers and a broad highway along its top; 
here stood the sentries, who kept ceaseless watch 
and ward looking ever for the invader, whether he 
came in countless array, a conquering army, or in 
small raiding bands that might take toll of the rich 
crops to the south, steal a few women, or hold a 
wealthy squire up to ransom. 

"Watchman, what of the night? What of the 
night? Is the road clear to the north? Hist! 
Hist! What is that beneath the loom of the hills? 
What is the sound that comes up on the wind ? " 

" There are always dark shadows in the loom of 
the hills, and it is only a stone falling down the 

gully." 

"Ah, but the dark shadows have hidden a band 
of Manchurian archers, and the stone might be 
loosened by the hoof of a Mongol pony. Watch- 
man! Watchman, what of the night? What of the 
night?" 

That was the way I felt about it as, having got 
out of the train, and taken a chair, we made our way 
through the desolate country to the Nankou Pass, 
and I, forgetting all else, stood gazing my fill at the 
Wall I had heard about ever since I was a little child. 
Dreaming of what it must have been in the past, I 
forgot, for the moment, the present, and the passing 
of time. I was alone, as the poet wished to be, 
and then a high-pitched voice brought me to this 
present day again. 

" Say Momma," said the millionaire we thought 
he was a millionaire because of the observation-car, 
but he may have been just more ordinarily well- 
to-do than a writer of books "where's Cora?" 



118 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

" Search me," said Momma placidly. 

He didn't search her, perhaps because, seeing 
she was but five feet and small and thin at that, he 
did not think it likely that Cora, who was a buxom 
young person close on six feet, could possibly be 
concealed anywhere about her person. 

The maiden aunt pointed an accusing finger up 
the rough, grass-grown stones that make the top of 
the Wall. 

" Skipping like a young ram," she snorted, and 
then all three raised their voices, and those old- 
world rocks rang with shouts of "Cora! Cora! ! 
Cora! ! !" 

I trembled for the poet's feelings, if he were 
anywhere within range, but after all, in their own 
way and time, I dare say the keepers of the Wall 
were just as commonplace. My companion, who 
was steadily making his way up the Wall beside 
Cora, turned at the ear-piercing yells, looked at 
his watch, spoke to the girl, and came slowly back 
while she quickened her pace for a moment, as if 
determined to get over the other side of the hill, 
whatever happened. 

" The young gentleman has the most sense," 
opined Momma. 

" She'll come now he's turned," said the maiden 
aunt acidly, and even though she did come, down 
across the rough stones, by the ruined watch-towers, 
I felt the insinuation was unjust. 

Those watch-towers are empty now, deserted and 
desolate. No thoughtful captain, weighed down 
with responsibility, looks through their arched 
windows, no javelin men stand on the stone steps, 
no sentry tramps along peering out to the north. 




THE NANKOU PASS. 




GATEWAY IN THE WALL, NANKOU PASS. 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 119 

The Wall is tumbling into disrepair, the grass and 
weeds grow up between the stones, and the wonder 
of the world is a mighty ruin, stately even in its 
decay, for never again beneath the sun will such 
another wall be built. Look at it climbing up those 
hills, cutting the blue sky, bridging the gullies, and 
think of the tears, and sweat, and blood, that went 
to the building of it ! That foundations may be well 
and truly laid, so says tradition, they must be laid on 
a living human being. It is one way of saying that 
on sacrifice our lives are based, that for every good 
thing in life something of value must be given ; so 
to the building of the Wall, that was to hold China 
safe, went hundreds and thousands of lives, and its 
upkeep and its watching cost more than we can well 
imagine. 

We went back to the Ching Er Hotel at Nankou, 
the little hotel close to the railway and plunged once 
more into modern life for, unpretentious and kept 
by Chinese as it is, it still represented the present 
day. It is just one big room, divided into a hall 
and many little rooms by so many sheets of paper, 
so that the man in the room in front may whisper 
and nothing be lost upon the man in the room at 
the back, six rooms away, while to have a bath is 
a matter of public interest, for the smallest splash 
can be heard from one end of the building to the 
other. 

Nevertheless, I shall always have friendly feelings 
towards that little hotel, where they lodged me so 
hardly, and fed me so well. 

They considered one in every way, too. The 
poet had evidently not been troubled by the family 
affection of the millionaires, he walked back from the 



120 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Wall, and was so full of enthusiasm he forgave my 
presence, came to me as I sat at dinner and, 
covered with the dust of the way as he was, stood, 
and just as I should expect of a poet, waxed eloquent 
on the glories he had seen. The Chinese waiter, 
with shaven head and long blue smock, let him go 
on for a few minutes, then he took him gently and 
respectfully by the sleeve. 

" Vash," he said solemnly, without the ghost of a 
smile on his face ; " vash," and the poet came to 
earth with a laugh. We both laughed. 

" Well, yes," he said looking at his dust-begrimed 
person. " I suppose I had better wash. Ill be 
back in a moment. May I sit at your table ? " 

And next day I went to see the Ming Tombs. 

St Paul's and Westminster are set in the heart of 
a mighty city, ever by the peaceful dead sounds the 
clamour of the living, yet the living forget, in spite 
of the daily reminder they forget. In China, where 
graves dot every field, and are part and parcel of 
the lives of the people, they bury the honoured dead 
far apart from the rush and roar of everyday life, 
and they never forget. The Nankou Pass is two 
hours from Peking, and the tombs of the Ming 
Emperors are nine miles from the Nankou Pass, 
set in the very heart of the hills. The entrance to 
the pass is barren and lonely enough, but the extra 
nine miles is like journeying into the wilderness 
where the scapegoat, burdened with the sins of the 
community, was driven by the Israelites. It is a 
long, long nine miles over a stony mule track where 
only a donkey, a pony, or a chair can go, and yet 
here centuries ago, when it was ten times farther 
away, China buried her dead, the men who sat on 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 121 

the Dragon Throne, and bridged for the nation the 
gap that lies between mortal men and high Heaven. 
It is lonely now when the roadway of the West 
brings Nankou close to the capital, it must have 
been unspeakably lonely in the days before the 
opening of the railway. A chair seemed to me the 
only way to get there, a chair borne by four blue- 
clad coolies with queues wrapped round their shaven 
heads, and while my companion rode a pony, in a 
chair I swung over the stony narrow track away 
towards the hills. The hills were rugged and 
barren, the same hills that the Wall crossed; on 
their stony sides no green thing could ever grow, 
and they were brown, and pink, and grey, and when 
a white cloud gathered here and there in the far- 
away blue sky, the shadows lay across them in great 
purple patches. And the road was stony, barely 
to be seen, impossible for wheeled traffic, even the 
primitive wheeled traffic of Northern China. I 
doubt even if a wheelbarrow could have gone along 
it. I doubted often whether the heaps of stones on 
the slope could possibly be a road, but the coolies 
seemed to know, and went steadily on, changing the 
pole from one shoulder to the other so often that it 
gave me a feeling of brutality that I should use 
such a means of locomotion. The only person who 
was comfortable was I. 

My companion rode beside me sometimes. He 
felt himself responsible for my well-being, and it 
was good to be looked after. 

"Are you all right?" 

All right! If the country round was desolate, 
the sunshine was glorious, the air, the clear, dry air 
of Northern China was as invigorating as cham- 



122 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

pagne, and I knew that I could go on for ever and 
feel myself much blessed. The Ming Tombs were 
but an excuse ; it was well and more than well to be 
here in the open spaces of the earth, to draw deep 
breaths, to feel that neither past nor future mattered ; 
here beneath the open sky in the golden sunshine 
swinging along, somewhere, anywhere, I had all I 
could ask of life. 

And always it was a stony way. Sometimes the 
coolies climbed up a bank of loose stones that 
slipped and rolled away as they passed, sure-footed 
as goats, sometimes the stones were piled on either 
side and a sort of track meandered in between, 
sometimes they were scattered all over the plain in 
such masses that even the industrious Chinese 
seemed to have given up the task of clearing them 
away as hopeless, and had simply tilled the land in 
between. For this was no uninhabited desert, deso- 
late as it seemed. Always we came across little 
stone-built hamlets, there were men and women 
working in the fields, and rosy-cheeked children 
stood by the wayside and waved their little hands 
to the passing stranger. There would be the sound 
of bells, and a string of mules or donkeys came 
picking tjieir way as soberly as the coolies them- 
selves, and left much to themselves by their ragged 
drivers. They looked of the poorest, these people, 
men and women clad much alike in dirty blue that, 
torn here and there, let out the cotton-wool which 
padded it for winter warmth. 

Probably they knew nothing, nothing of the world 
beyond their little dusty, stony hamlets, they prayed 
perhaps for the rain that should moisten their dusty, 
stony fields, and give them the mess of meal, the 




P IA LOU AT ENTRANCE TO HOLY WAY. 




HOLY WAY MING TOMBS. 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 123 

handful of persimmons that is all they ask of Fate, and 
they watched the few strangers who came to visit the 
tombs, and perhaps never even wondered what the 
outside world might be like, if it gave to those who 
lived there anything more than fell to the lot of the 
humble dwellers on the road to the Ming Tombs. 

And at last in the pleasant noontide we came to 
the p'ia lou at the entrance, the greatest p'ia lou in 
China, that land of p'ia lous, and standing there I 
realised, not only the beauty of the archway, but the 
wonder of the place the Mings had chosen to be 
theirs for all time. It is a great amphitheatre among 
these barren hills. St Paul's or Westminster could 
not hold these tombs, for Hyde Park might be put 
in this valley and yet not half fill it ; and round it, 
set against the base of the hills, in great courts 
enclosed in pinkish-red walls, the counterpart of 
those round the Forbidden City, and planted with 
cypress and pine, are the various tombs. A magni- 
ficent resting-place, truly! And the dignity is 
enhanced by the desolate approach. Through the 
p'ia lou is the famous Holy Way, the avenue of 
marble animals, of which all the world has so often 
heard. What mystic significance had the marble 
elephant and the camel, the kneeling horse and the 
sedate scholar? Possibly they had no more than 
the general suggestion that all things did honour to 
the mighty dead laid away in their tombs. A paved 
way runs between them, paved with great blocks of 
marble brought from the hills, placed there in 
bygone ages by the hands of slaves, sweating and 
struggling under their loads, or possibly by men 
just exactly like the men who were bearing me, men 
slaves in all but name, who each day must earn a 



124 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

few pence or go under in the pitiful struggle for life. 
The paved way that runs on for three miles is worn 
and broken, the grass comes up between the blocks, 
the bridges are falling into disrepair, but these 
things are trifles in the face of the amphitheatre set 
among the eternal hills, the blue sky and the sun- 
shine, these are a memorial here, a memorial that 
makes the work of men's hands but a small thing. 

Nevertheless that work is very wonderful. No 
one, I suppose, except he were making Chinese art 
or antiquities a special study, would visit every tomb 
in turn. It would take a week, and we, like the 
majority of visitors, contented ourselves with that 
of Yung Lo, the principal one. And here is a 
curious thing worth noting, a thing that possibly 
would happen nowhere else in the world, showing 
how irrevocably China feels herself bound to the 
past. The Ming Emperor was a Chinese, and the 
Republic that has just overthrown the Manchu 
Dynasty, is also Chinese, so as a mark of respect, 
they have repaired, after a fashion, this, the tomb 
of the greatest of the Ming Emperors. That is to 
say oh China! they have whitewashed the marble, 
painted the golden-brown tiled roof of the temple, 
and swept and garnished the great audience hall. 

A tomb in China reminds me in no way of death. 
We entered through a door studded with heavy 
brazen knobs a grass-grown courtyard, where were 
trees, pine and cypress. We went along a paved 
way, and before us was a building with a curved 
roof, with the tiles broken here and there ; it was set 
on a platform reached by flights of marble steps, or 
rather the flights of steps were on either side, while 
in the centre was a ramp on which was beautifully 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 125 

carved in relief the dragon, the sign of Empire, 
and the horse, which I have heard some people 
say is the sign of good-fortune. On the platform, 
through all the cracks in the marble, violets were 
forcing their way, making a purple carpet under the 
golden sunshine. We crossed to a hall, which is 
surely most wonderful. The light was subdued a 
little, and the hall that contains in its centre the 
memorial tablet of red and gold is as magnificent 
in its proportions as York Minster. The roof is 
supported by trunks of sandal-wood trees, smooth, 
straight, and brown, they run sixty feet up to the 
roof, and after more than five hundred years the air 
is heavy with the sensuous scent of them. Where 
did they get that sandal-wood, those trunks all of 
such noble proportions? They must have cost an 
immense sum of money, for they never grew in 
Northern China. 

Another courtyard is behind this hall of audience, 
where is a marble fountain, whitewashed, and a 
spring that is supposed to cure all ills of the eyes, 
and a door apparently leading into a hill-side, behind 
which is a grove of cypress trees. The door being 
opened, we entered a paved tunnel which led 
upwards to a chamber in the heart of the hill, 
whence two more ramps led still upwards, one to 
the right and the other to the left, into the open air 
again. Here the coffin was placed in the mound 
through the top of the ramp. The stones with 
which the ramps were paved were worn and slippery, 
the angle was steep, the leaves from the trees out- 
side had drifted in, and the effect was strange and 
weird. Nowhere else but in China could such a 
thing be. And right on top of the mound, over the 



126 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

actual grave, is another memorial tablet to the dead 
Emperor, looking away out over the valley to the 
stony hills, that are the wall which hedges off this 
sacred place from the outside world. 

And Yung Lo, the Emperor, died in the first 
half of the fifteenth century. How many people in 
England know or care, where Henry V. lies buried? 

The evening was falling when we went back by 
the stony mule path, by the little stony villages, 
where the mothers were calling their children in 
from the fields, and the men were gathering at the 
meeting-places for the evening gossip. Of what 
did they talk? Of the Emperor dead in his tomb 
hundreds of years ago ? Of the New Republic away 
in the capital? The Emperor seemed somehow 
nearer to the village people. There was the sound 
of quaint, tuneless, Eastern music, and sitting with 
the sun on his sightless face, surrounded by a 
listening little crowd, was a blind musician holding 
across his knees a sort of lute. The people turned 
and watched as the strangers and the aliens passed, 
and the musician thrummed on. Light or dark was 
the same to him. The clouds piled now in the 
western sky, and the stony land looked unutterably 
dreary in the gathering gloom, the coolies must 
have been weary, but they went steadily on, chang- 
ing the chair pole from one shoulder to the other. 
Tne slopes that had been hard to scramble up were 
harder to scramble down, but they made no com- 
plaint. This was their work, and the night was 
coming when they might rest. The night was 
coming fast, but we were nearing the end of our 
journey. The hills looked cold, and gloomy, and 
threatening, and then the heavy clouds above them 





w 

E'-a 

to ^ 

o < 

3> 

w <. 

s - 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 127 

broke, and through them burst the setting sun in all 
the glory of silver, and purple, and ruddy gold. 
Down on the barren hills, like a benediction, fell 
his last rays, telling of hope for the morrow, and we 
turned into the yard of the little inn, and the coolies 
bowed themselves to the ground, one after the other, 
because they got a pitiful little over and above their 
hard-earned wages. 

And the next day we went back to Peking, back 
through the pass. 

The Ching Er Hotel provided tiffin on the train, 
curried chicken and mutton chops, some form of 
cakey pudding, cheese, and bread and butter, all 
excellent in its way and we were all so amiable, 
even the poet had come down from the clouds and 
joined us, that we only laughed when we found we 
were expected to pile all these good things on one 
plate, and do it quickly before the train left! 

As we were eating it, the guard came round and 
collected one dollar and ninety cents extra apiece, 
because we had ridden on the observation-car. We 
paid, and said hard things about the millionaire, but 
a little more knowledge of ways Chinese has con- 
vinced me we accused him unjustly. I feel sure 
that enterprising and observant guard took stock of 
us, saw that we did not know the American, and 
collected, for the benefit of a highly intelligent, and 
truly deserving Chinese railway official. 

We seldom think of the Chinaman with the 
glamour of romance, but this Nankou Pass is well- 
calculated to upset all our former ideas, and give us a 
setting for China such as might apply to barbaric 
Italy or Provence of the Middle Ages, only and it 
is well to remember, what we barbarians of the West 



128 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

are apt to forget that in China, things have always 
moved in mightier orbits, that where there were ten 
men in the Western world, you may count a 
hundred in China, for a hundred a thousand, for a 
thousand ten thousand. 

What must the Nankou Pass have been like on 
some bitter night in winter, when the stars were like 
points of steel, and the stream was frozen in a grip of 
iron, and the still air was keen, and hard, and cold, 
with the bitter, biting sting of the northern winter? 
When the fires blazed in the beacons on the hill- 
sides, flinging their ruddy light, their message of 
fear and warning. The keepers of the Wall were 
failing, the Mongol hordes were pouring over the 
barrier, and it behoved every man who saw that 
ruddy glare to arm and come to the keeping of the 
Pass, to die in its guarding. They died and they 
held it, and they died and the invaders flung their 
bodies to the wolves and the crows, and swept on 
and took the country beyond for their own. 

But the country to the south is China, China of 
the ages and she absorbs nations, Mongol or 
Manchu, or men from her western borders A and 
makes them one with herself. 

This is the message I read in the Nankou Pass. 
I have changed my mind again and again, and 
generally I do not believe what I read that day. 
But it was firmly impressed on me then. China is 
not dead. The spirit that conceived and built that 
mighty Wall is a living thing still. All down the 
Pass, alongside the age-old mule track, runs a new 
road, a road of the West, a railway, planned, and 
laid, and built entirely by Chinese without any 
Western help except such as the sons of China got 



ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS 129 

for themselves in the schools of America and Eng- 
land. And it is not only well and truly laid, as well 
as, and better than, many a Western railway, but 
behold the spirit of China has entered in, the spirit, 
not of her poor, struggling for a crust of bread, a 
mess of meal, but the spirit of the men who con- 
ceived and planned the Wall, the beautiful Lama 
Temple, or the spacious courtyards and glorious 
palaces of the Forbidden City. They have built 
embankments and curves, tunnels and archways that 
are things of beauty, and glorious to look upon, as 
surely never was railway before. They have built, 
and it is saying a great deal, a railway that is worthy 
of the Nankou Pass. They are the lineal descend- 
ants of the men, who, two thousand years ago, built 
the Great Wall. Hail and all hail! 

And then a railway man talked to me. The rail- 
way might be beautiful, but it was costly beyond all 
excuse. The best of the ideas had come from 
Europe, certainly these highly civilised, these over- 
civilised people might be trusted to see and make 
a beautiful thing, the question was, could they be 
trusted to manage a railway as a railway should be 
managed? He thought not. They had somehow 
lost force. Well, we shall see. One thing seems 
certain, between us Westerners and the Chinese, is 
a great gulf fixed. We look across and sometimes 
we wonder, and sometimes we pity, and sometimes 
we admire, but we cannot understand. 



CHAPTER VIII 

TWO CHARITIES 

The manufacturing of the blind " Before born " The Rev. 
Hill Murray " The Message " Geography Marriage A 
brave little explorer Massacre of the blind Deposits of one 
tael A missionary career The charitable Chinese A 
Buddhist orphanage Invitation to a funeral An intellectual 
abbot The youngest orphan Pity and mercy. 

THE blind musician I had seen playing to the village 
folk with the setting sun, that he could not see, on 
his face, remained in my mind. Why especially, I 
do not know, for it is a common enough sight in 
China. Terrible as is the affliction, the Chinese, by 
their insanitary habits, more or less manufacture their 
blind. The cult of the bath is not theirs yet, they 
live, apparently happily, amongst filthy surround- 
ings, they neglect the eyes of the new-born child, 
they suffer from smallpox, and ophthalmia, and the 
barber with his infected razor shaves, not only close 
round the outside, but with the laudable intention of 
making all clean and neat, as far down as he can get 
round the delicate inside of the eyelid. The result 
one may see any day in the streets of Peking, or any 
Chinese town. A beggar in China is always a 
horrible-looking object. He belongs to a guild. 
His intention is to attract pity, and it would seem 
to him going the wrong way about it, to begin by 
being neat and clean. Besides, though many people 

130 



TWO CHARITIES 131 

in China are neat, I suspect very few of them are 
what we arrogant Westerners would describe as 
clean, and among a dirty people, the blind beggar 
stands out, pre-eminent, as the filthiest creature I 
have ever seen. On the roadside, again and again 
in a country place where many people are passing, I 
have seen a half-naked man, who looked as if he 
had never since his birth even looked at water, clad, 
or rather half-clad, in filthy rags with raw red sores 
where his eyes should have been. He was so 
horrible, so ghastly a specimen of humanity that he 
seemed almost beyond pity. And yet a blind person 
always receives a certain amount of respect and con- 
sideration from the Chinese, even from the poorest 
Chinese. Never in his hearing would the roughest 
rickshaw coolie call him " Hsia Tze " that is " Blind 
man." That would be discourteous. Though he 
be only a beggar, forlorn, hungry, unkempt, he is 
still addressed by all passers as " Hsien Sheng," 
" Before Born," a title of respect that is given to 
teachers, doctors, and men of superior rank and 
age. 

Hard though, in spite of the respect that is paid 
them, must be the lot of those who are handicapped 
by the loss of sight. It Is hard in any land, but in 
China, where even among those in full possession of 
their senses, there are hundreds of thousands just 
on the verge of starvation, the touch needed to send 
a man over the brink is very, very slight indeed. 
Not even the close family ties of the Chinese can 
help them much, for where the strongest suffer, the 
weak must go to the wall. And there are very few 
crafts open to the blind man. He may be a story- 
teller, or a fortune-teller, or a musician, I cannot 



132 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

imagine what he would do if his talents did not run 
in those lines, and even then he is dependent upon 
the doles of a people who have very, very little to 
give away, and naturally guard that little carefully. 
Once blind there is nothing more to be done. The 
beautiful blue sky of China, the golden sunshine 
have gone, and in its place there is the darkness, 
warm sometimes, bitter cold sometimes, the envelop- 
ing darkness that means for so many helplessness 
and starvation, often at the very best semi-starvation, 
borne with the uncomplaining stoicism of the 
Chinese. 

Now once upon a time a man stood upon the 
Beggars' Bridge in Peking, outside the walls of the 
Tartar City, selling Bibles, and noticed as everyone 
must do, the number of blind who passed by. Was 
there none to pity, asked the Rev. Hill Murray, 
none among all those who had devoted their lives to 
bringing the Gospel to the heathen to help? 

"What?" said some. "When you know that 
already the Chinese declare we missionaries take the 
children for the sake of making medicine of their 
eyes, will you give colour to the accusation by setting 
up a mission to the blind ? " And then, when he 
still persisted, " They need us, they need us," they 
said : " Since you are so keen, why don't you do it 
yourself?" 

To him it was " The Message." Why should he 
not do it himself? And there and then he set to 
work. It was years ago. What the cost, what the 
struggle, I do not know. I only know that one 
sunny April day wandering round Peking in a hu 
t'ung in the east of the Tartar City I came upon the 
house, or rather, for it is all done Chinese fashion, 





MISSION TO THE BLIND, PEKING. 




GIRLS AT MISSION TO THE BLIND. 



TWO CHARITIES 133 

the nest of little houses with their courtyards and 
little gardens, that is the Mission to the Blind. 

The Rev. Hill Murray is gone to his rest, but his 
wife and daughters keep up the Mission, waiting for 
the time when his young son, away in England train- 
ing, shall be ready to take his place. Fifty pupils, 
boys and girls, the missionaries send in from the 
various stations, and here they are taught, taught 
to read and write according to the Braille system, 
taught to play musical instruments, and prepared 
for being preachers, which of course the mission- 
aries consider the most important avocation of all. 
I, in my turn, am only concerned that the unfor- 
tunate should be happy, or as happy as he can be 
under the circumstances, and I should think that the 
preacher, the man who feels himself of some impor- 
tance in spite of his affliction, competent to instruct 
his fellows in what, to him, is a matter of deep 
moment, has possibly the best chance of happiness. 
The girls are taught much the same as the boys, and 
in addition to knit, and such household work as they 
are capable of. 

It seemed to me sad, when I went there one bright 
sunny morning, that these young things should be 
for ever in the dark, but I am bound to say it was 
only my thoughts that were sad. The girls came 
laughing into the front courtyard with their knitting 
in their hands to see see, save the mark! 'the 
stranger, and have their photographs taken. The 
sun, the golden sun of April, streamed down on the 
stone-paved courtyard, all the plants in pots were in 
bloom, and the girls, dressed in Chinese fashion, 
made deep obeisance in the direction they were told 
I was. All around were the quaint roofs, dainty 



134 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

lattice-work windows, and Eastern surroundings of 
a Chinese house, and the girls were grave at first, 
because they were being introduced to an older 
woman, and one whom they thought was their 
superior, therefore they thought it was not fitting 
they should laugh and talk, but when I remarked 
on their gravity, Miss Murray, shepherding them, 
laughed. 

" Oh they are very happy. They don't feel their 
lot, not yet at any rate. They are proud because 
they have learned so much. They can read and 
write, they can knit, and they have learned 
geography." 

Geography seemed a great asset, and presently, 
they, when they knew they might, were laughing and 
talking, and saying how proud they were to have 
their photographs taken. They sat there knitting, 
and even while they talked, did exactly what they 
were told, for like all Chinese, they have a great 
sense of the fitting. On one occasion a friend 
brought in a gramophone and set it going for their 
amusement. 

" I could have shaken them all," said Miss Murray, 
" they received the funniest sallies in solemn silence," 
and when the entertainer was gone, she reproached 
them, " You never even smiled." 

A dozen eager voices responded. " Oh but it 
was so hard not to laugh. We wanted to so much, 
but we thought it would not be right. It was so 
hard." 

The lot of all women in China is hard; doubly 
hard, it seemed to me, must the lot of these poor 
little girls be, cut off from the only hope of happiness 
a Chinese woman has, the chance of bearing a son. 



TWO CHARITIES 135 

" And they can never marry," I said sorrowfully to 
Miss Murray. 

There came a smile into her bright young eyes. 
" Oh, I don't know. Some of them may. They 
are so very well-educated, and the Chinese admire 
education, and in a Chinese household, where there 
are so many people to do the work, a blind wife 
would not be so useless. Only the other day we 
heard of the marriage of one of our girls." 

And I looked at them again with other eyes, and 
hoped there were many households that would like 
a wife for their son who knew geography. 

We went from the outer to the inner courtyard, a 
rock garden where, in true Chinese fashion, are set 
out plants and rockeries, a little winding river with 
a stone bridge across it, a miniature lake there is 
no water in it now and many creeping plants hiding 
the stones. It is a charming spot, but naturally the 
blind are not allowed to go there by themselves. It 
is too dangerous. However, on one occasion, one 
curious little boy objected to these restrictions, and 
went on an exploring expedition on his own account. 
Groping about in the darkness, he fell into the river, 
which has steep cement sides, and out of that he 
could not get. You would think that he would have 
yelled lustily to call attention to his predicament, but 
that is not the Chinese way. He had disobeyed, 
Fate was against him, and he must suffer, and there 
he lay the livelong day without a murmur, and not 
till they called the roll in the evening, was his 
absence discovered, and a search for him instituted. 
Even that lesson was not sufficient, for once again 
he was missing, and once again he was discovered 
fallen into one of the many traps of the rock garden. 



136 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

It was unexplored country to him, and he was willing 
to risk much to see what it was like. 

In the parts of the house with which they are 
familiar they can all run about, up and down steps, 
and in and out of courtyards and down passages as 
easily as people with sight. The boys came out of 
their class-rooms where they learn to read, and write, 
and sing, and play the harmonium, and raced about 
much as other boys in other lands would do. 

They have two meals a day one in the morning 
and one at four o'clock in the afternoon, and as muc a 
tea and bread at other times as they care to have. 
Mrs Murray apologised for the dampness of the 
stones of the dining-room floor. It is a Chinese 
house, and stone floors are not a sign of poverty. 
These stones are damp because at twelve o'clock the 
boys come and pour themselves out cups of tea, 
and naturally they make a mess. The cook is busy, 
he cannot be with them always. For this charity is 
run on very simple lines, and the people who see 
are very few. There is the cook and the house- 
coolie, a woman for the girls, a doorkeeper, frail and 
old, he may be seen standing just outside the door 
in the picture of the hu t'ung, and a couple of men 
who attend to the making of the Braille books, for 
their making and binding requires the attention of 
someone with sight. But with these exceptions, the 
blind have it all to themselves ; they learn, and they 
play, and they eat by themselves. 

In one of the pictures I have taken, the boys have 
come out of school and are playing cat and mouse. 
All join hands in a circle, and one boy creeping in 
and out softly is chased by another. How they 
manage it in their darkness I don't know, but they 



TWO CHARITIES 187 

chattered, and laughed, and shouted happily though 
what they said of course I did not know. They 
are all, boys and girls alike, dressed in the ordinary 
blue cotton of the country ; the boys had their hair 
cut short, for nowadays the queue, that most curious 
of fashions in the dressing of hair, is going out. The 
girls were also dressed like the peasants, with their 
trousers neatly drawn in at the ankles and their 
smooth, straight hair drawn back and plaited in a 
tail down the back, much like an English schoolgirl ; 
the little ones though, have their heads shaven in 
front, very ugly, but in conformation with Chinese 
custom, which always shaves part at least of the 
little one's head. 

In the courtyard where the boys were playing, 
was a rocking-horse, a dilapidated and battered toy 
without either tail, or mane, or eyes. And this toy 
is pathetic, when you know its history. It was 
bought with the pennies saved by Mr Hill Murray's 
children. They, too, out of their small store, 
wanted to do something for the blind ; and the blind 
children, immediately it came into their possession, 
took out its eyes. They were not going to have the 
rocking-horse spying on them when they could not 
see themselves. 

They all wisely live in native fashion. Their food 
is the food of the well-to-do lower classes, plenty of 
bread, steamed instead of being baked, and plenty 
of vegetables and soup, with just a little meat in it ; 
the food to which they have been accustomed, and 
which they like best. Their beds, I have tried to 
depict one, are just the ordinary k'ang, a stone plat- 
form to hold three in summer, and five in winter. 
Under it is a small fireplace where a fire can be built 



138 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

to warm it, above, it is covered with matting, and 
each boy spreads his own bed of quilted cotton, 
which is rolled up in the daytime. 

I would have thought that the Mission to the Blind 
was so good and great a thing that it could rouse no 
bitter feelings in any breast. It has for its object 
the succouring of those whom the Chinese them- 
selves treat with great respect, yet so fanatical was 
the Boxer outbreak, that in the hu t'ung outside the 
Mission, forty of the pupils and their teachers, help- 
less in their affliction, were done to death by those 
who would have none of the Westerner and his 
works, even though those works were works of 
mercy. 

More often, perhaps, in China than anywhere in 
the world where I have been, am I reminded of the 
passage in Holy Writ that tells how as the Man of 
Pity came nigh unto Jericho a certain blind man 
sat by the wayside begging. And, hearing the multi- 
tude pass by, he asked what it meant, and they told 
him, " Jesus of Nazareth passeth by." We may not 
give sight to the blind nowadays, but if we walk in the 
streets of Peking, and then turn in to the Mission 
to the Blind with its kindly care for the helpless, and 
its brightening of darkened lives, we know that that 
man who stood on the Beggars' Bridge pitied, as 
his Master had pitied before him. All that he could 
do he has done, and those who have come after him 
have followed faithfully in his footsteps, can any 
man do more ? I think not. Truly I think not. 

" What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee ? " asked 
the Lord of the World of the blind beggar. 

And he said, " Lord that I may receive my sight." 

Those who charge themselves with the care of the 




BLIND BOYS COMING OUT OF SCHOOL. 




BLIND BOYS PLAYING "CAT AND MOUSE. 1 



TWO CHARITIES 189 

blind may not give so royally now. Theirs is the 
harder part, they tend and care with unfailing 
patience, untiring diligence, and then they stand, 
and wait. 

I was so lost in my admiration for the Mission to 
the Blind, that I began to think and to say, that 
missionary enterprise, which I had always thought 
should turn its attention to its own people, was at 
least justified in this land of China, where no pro- 
vision was made for the sick and afflicted, and where 
charity was unknown. I said it very often, and 
every foreigner approved, until at last, there came 
one or two who promptly showed me the utter folly 
of drawing deductions when I didn't know anything 
about the facts. 

The foreigner in China is divided into two camps. 
He is either missionary or he is anti-missionary. 
Both sides are keen on the matter. And, of course, 
there are always two sides to every question, as the 
little girl saw whose sympathies went out to the poor 
lion, who hadn't got a Christian. 

China needs medical missionaries, needs them as 
badly as the city slums of London or New York; 
and China is going to get them, for there are 
thousands of people who think a deal more of the 
state of the soul of the materialistic Chinaman than 
they do of the starving bodies, and more than starved 
intellects of the slum children of a Christian land. 
Formerly the missionary had a worse time than he 
has now. He came among a people who despised 
him, and more than once he suffered martyrdom, 
and even when there was no question of martyrdom, 
some of the regulations he submitted to must have 
been unpleasant. Unwisely I think, for you can 



140 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

never make a European look like a Chinaman, the 
powers that ran the missionary societies, decided 
that the missionary must wear Chinese dress, even 
to the shaven head and the queue behind. A 
hatchet-faced Scot with a fiery red pigtail, they say 
was an awesome sight, certainly calculated to impress 
the Celestial, though whether in the way the new- 
comer intended I should not like to say. The 
growing of a proper queue was, of course, a question 
of months, and the majority of missionaries began 
their career with a false one. A story is told of one 
luckless young man in Shanghai who lost his, and 
went about his business for some little time unaware 
of the fact. When he did discover his loss he went 
back on his tracks, searching for it at all the places 
he had visited. At last he arrived at the Hong- 
Kong and Shanghai Bank, and there, pinned high 
on the wall, was his missing property, and attached 
to it by some facetious clerk was the legend in great 
letters that all might read : " Deposits of one tael not 
accepted here ! " For the benefit of the uninitiated, 
one tael is a sum of money, varying with the price of 
silver, from half-a-crown to three shillings. 

But those days are gone by. Nowadays mission- 
ary societies are wiser, and the medical missionaries 
are pleasant, cheerful, hard-working men and women 
doing an immense amount of good among the suffer- 
ing poor, so kindly, so thoughtful are they that I 
grudge their services to the heathen when I think how 
many of the children, aye and those who are not 
children, in the mean streets of the great cities of the 
West need their services. They trouble themselves 
about the souls of the people too, and the example of 
kindly lives must be good. Again I grudge it all to 



TWO CHARITIES 141 

the Oriental, though I have come to realise that there 
are many ways of doing good in the world. I do 
occasionally feel that the missionaries are a little 
too strenuous in inculcating prayer and praise, and 
exhorting to a virtue that is a little beyond the 
average mortal. The caring for both bodies and 
souls can certainly be overdone. However I dare 
say it all works right in the end, and I, who do 
nothing, should be the last to judge. Still sometimes 
I could not but remember the picture of the two 
babies discussing the situation, the fat, plump baby, 
and the thin, miserable, scrawny one. 

Said the thin baby : " How do you manage to keep 
so fat? My milk's sterilised, and the milkman's 
sterilised, and even the cart's sterilised, and yet 
look at me," and he stretched out his thin, starved 
hands. 

" Ah, so's mine," said the fat baby serenely, " but, 
when no one's looking, I climb down and get a chew 
at the corner of the floor-rug, and get enough bacteria 
to keep a decent life in me ! " 

Listening to the talk of the missionaries, hearing 
of the foolishness of smoking, the wickedness of 
alcoholic drinks, and various forms of sinfulness, I 
have rather hoped, and more than suspected, that the 
converts sometimes got down and had a chew at the 
corner of the floor-rug when no one was looking. 

Not that many of the missionaries don't endeavour 
to live up to their own moral code, many of them do, 
and many of them lead lives of abnegation and self- 
denial. We all know that the missionary of the 
Church of Rome gives up everything, and expects 
never again to see his country once he enters the 
mission-field, and many of the China Inland Mission- 



142 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

aries, except in the matter of celibacy, run them close. 
Their pay is very, very small, no holidays can be 
counted upon, and their lives are isolated and lonely. 
Even the American missionary, who is far better 
paid, gives up his own individuality. The ministers 
earn more, I believe, than they would in their own 
country, because people give gladly to missions, 
while at home the minister's salary is often a burning 
question. " Far fields are ever fair," but a clever 
surgeon who is kept hard at it from dawn to dark, 
once the Chinese appreciate him, certainly receives 
far less than he could earn working for himself. He 
is given a comfortable home, he may marry and have 
children without a qualm, for, for every child twenty 
pounds a year is allowed till he is of age ; the societies 
see to it that a six weeks' holiday is given every year, 
and a year's furlough every seven years with passage 
paid home for wife and children. No business firm 
could afford to make more comfortable provision for 
its employees. 

In China, service is cheap and good, the food and 
the cooks both excellent, and the climate, at least 
in the north, exhilarating and delightful. But the 
missionaries do their duty, and do it well, and they 
are pioneers of Western civilisation. In their wake 
comes trade, though that is the last thing the 
majority of them think about. The only trouble for 
the American missionary seems to me the danger 
that hangs over every dweller in China a danger 
they share with every other foreign resident. It is 
hard to think of danger when one looks at the 
courteous, subservient Chinese, but Sir Robert 
Hart put it succinctly : " Anything may happen at 
any time in China." And for all the New Republic, 



TWO CHARITIES 148 

and for all the fair promise, his words are still 
worthy of attention. 

" Do you really think," said R. F. Johnston, the 
well-known writer on things Chinese, " that the 
Chinese knew nothing about charity till it was 
preached to them by Christian missionaries ? " 
I intimated that such had been my faith. 
" The Chinese," said he, a little indignantly, " are 
one of the most charitable peoples on earth." 

And then he told me what I, a stranger and 
ignorant of the language, might have gone years 
without learning. To begin with, family ties are far 
stronger in China than in European countries, and a 
man feels himself bound to help his helpless relatives 
in a way that would seem absurd to the average 
Christian, and in addition there are numerous 
societies for helping those, who, by some mischance, 
have no one upon whom they can depend. There 
are societies for succouring the sick, societies for 
looking after orphans, and other kindly institutions. 
There are even societies for paying poor folks' fares 
across ferries! There certainly are a good many 
rivers in China, but this society I must admit strikes 
me as a work of supererogation. I don't think much 
merit can really attach to the subscribers, for the 
majority of poor folks I have seen would be so 
much better for walking through the river, clothes 
and all. 

However, we have a good few foolish charities of 
our own, and even if the Chinese charities do not 
cover all the ground, we must remember that China 
is, in so many things, archaic; and these charities 
run on archaic lines are naturally shocking to men 
steeped in the sanitary lore of the West, 



144 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

We have only to read the novels of Charles 
Dickens and Charlotte Bronte to see a few flaws in 
the way the chanties of the Early Victorian era were 
administered ; what would we think if we could take 
a peep into thetlazar-house of the Middle Ages yet 
there were kind hearts, I doubt not, in the Middle 
Ages and China, with her overflowing population, 
is yet in the matter of charity where we were some 
time about the reign of the seventh Henry. Could 
we expect much ? 

" Would you like to see a Buddhist Orphanage ? " 
asked Mr Johnston. 

I said I would, and he promised to take me to 
one they were trying to run on Western lines. 

It was a pleasantly warm Sunday, with a wind 
blowing that lifted the filthy dust of Peking from 
the roadways, and flung it in our faces. We inter- 
viewed first two rickshaw coolies with a view to 
ascertaining whether they knew where we wanted to 
go, or rather he interviewed them, for I have no 
Chinese. They swore they did, by all their gods. 
Still he looked doubtful. 

"Why don't you take them?" said I, feeling 
mistakenly that nowhere else in the town could the 
dust and the wind be quite so bad as just outside the 
Wagons Lits Hotel. 

" Because I want to find out if they really know 
where we want to go. They always swear they do, 
for fear of losing the job." 

However, at last we set out with rickshaw coolies 
who seemed to have a working knowledge of the 
route we wished to follow, and we went through 
the Chien Men into the Chinese City, and away to 
the west through a maze of narrow alley-ways, hung 



TWO CHARITIES 145 

with long Chinese signs, past the closely packed, 
one-storied shops where they sold china and earthen- 
ware, cotton goods and food-stuffs, lanterns, and 
rows of uninteresting Chinese shoes. The streets 
of course were thronged. There were rickshaws, 
laden donkeys, broughams with Venetian shutters to 
shut out the glare, the clanging bell and outrider to 
tell that some important man was passing, mules, 
camels, men on foot with or without burdens, with 
bamboos across their shoulders and loads slung from 
them, and some few women tottering along on 
maimed feet. And every man was giving his opinion 
on things in general to the universe at the top of 
his voice. 

" How I wish I could understand what they were 
saying," I said to my companion once, when the 
exigencies of the way brought our rickshaws side 
by side. 

He laughed. " Sometimes it's as well you 
shouldn't." And then he corrected himself lest I 
should have got a wrong impression. " No, on the 
whole they are very polite to each other." 

Once we came upon a man with a packet of 
papers in his hand. He was standing upon some- 
thing to raise him a little above the passing crowd, 
and distributing the papers not to everyone, but 
apparently with great discrimination. Both of us 
were deemed worthy of a sheet, and I wondered 
what on earth the hieroglyphics could mean. It 
was an invitation to a funeral, my cicerone informed 
me, the next time we were in speaking distance. 
Some woman, who had been working for a broader 
education for women, had died, and her friends were 
going to mark their appreciation of her labours by 

K 



146 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

a suitable funeral. So is the change coming to 
China. 

As we went on the houses grew fewer, there were 
open spaces where kaoliang and millet were being 
reaped, for this, my second charity, I visited in 
September, the grey walls of the city rose up before 
us, and still there was no sign of the monastery. 
Our men were panting, the sweat was running down 
their faces and staining their thin coats, still they 
dragged us on, never dreaming of using the tongues 
Nature had given them to lighten their labours. To 
ask the way would have been to show the foreigner 
in the rickshaw that they had not known it in the 
first instance, and that would be to lose face. 

But one of the foreigners had grasped that 
already, and he insisted on the necessary inquiries 
being made, and presently we had gone back on 
our tracks and were at the monastery, being received 
by the abbot who had charge of it, and a tall 
Chinese, who spoke German, and was deeply inter- 
ested in the Orphanage. 

It was the great day of the year, for they were 
having their annual sports. Over the entrance 
gateway was a magnificent decoration to mark the 
event. The place was built Chinese fashion, with 
many courtyards and low-roofed houses round them, 
and we were led from one courtyard to another until 
at last we arrived at a large courtyard, or rather 
playground. Here were the monks and their 
charges, and a certain number of spectators who 
had been invited to see the show, all men, for men 
and women do not mingle in China, and the next 
day the entertainment would be repeated with 
women only as spectators. I received a warm 





Q u 

If 



TWO CHARITIES 147 

invitation to come again, but I felt that once would 
be enough. We sat down on a bench with a table in 
front of us, a boy was told off to keep us supplied 
with tea, and I had leisure to look around me and 
see what manner of people were these among whom 
I had come. 

There are thirty monks here, and they have 
charge of two hundred and fifty orphans whom they 
teach to read and write, and all the useful trades, 
give them, in fac^ a good start in the world, and 
the best of chances to earn their own living. The 
bright sunshine was everywhere, the walls in a 
measure shut out the wind and the dust, and the 
sports were in full swing. At the upper end of 
the ground, in a room overlooking the play, sat the 
abbot and some of his subordinates. They wore 
loose gowns of some dark material girt in at the 
waist, their only ornament, if ornament it could be 
called, was a rosary, and head and face were abso- 
lutely bare of hair. The abbot from a neighbouring 
monastery was introduced to me too, a man with a 
pleasant, thoughtful, cultured face and the most 
beautiful milk-white teeth. I was sorry I could not 
speak to that man. I felt somehow as if we might 
have met on a plane where nationalities and race 
count for little ; but that would have been due to 
his culture and broadmindedness, not to mine. 

Then there were the orphans. They were fat, 
well-fed looking little chaps dressed in unbleached 
calico trousers, and coats of the very brightest blue 
I have ever seen. Each wore on his breast, as a 
mark of the festive occasion, a bright pink carnation, 
and every head was shaven as bare as a billiard ball. 
They looked happy and well, but to my Western 



148 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

eyes that last sanitary precaution, as I suppose it 
was, spoiled any claim they had to good looks. 
They ran races, they jumped about in sacks, they 
picked up hoops, they stood in clusters of six and 
sang in shrill young voices, weird and haunting 
songs that I was told were patriotic and full of hope 
for China. The three first in the races had their 
names proclaimed in black characters on white flags 
that were carried round the grounds, and there and 
then received their prizes, a handkerchief or some 
such trifle. 

It was interesting not so much for the sports 
themselves, those may be better seen in any well- 
regulated boys' school, but because this is the first 
time such efforts have been made in China, and 
made by the Chinese themselves. That a man 
should take any violent exercise, unless he were 
absolutely obliged, that he should have any ideal 
beyond looking fat, and sleek, and well-fed, is 
entirely contrary to all received Chinese ideas, and 
must mark a great step in their advancement. 

And then they brought me the youngest orphan, 
a wee, fat boy of eight, and though he looked well, 
he seemed much younger. Probably he was. As 
I understand it, the Chinese counts himself a year 
old in the year he is born, and the first New Year's 
day adds another year to his life, so that the child 
born on the last day of the old year, would on New 
Year's Day, be two years old! There is something 
very lovable about a small child, and there was 
about this little smiling chap, though he was unbe- 
comingly dressed in coat and trousers of unbleached 
calico, and his head was shaven bare. He held out 
his hand to me when he was told, bowed low when 



TWO CHARITIES 149 

I gave him a little piece, a very little piece, of money, 
and then trotted across the grounds to where a 
young monk was looking on at the show. He 
caught hold of the monk's robe, and nestled against 
him, and the man put down a tender hand and 
caressed him. No child of his own, by his vows, 
would he ever have, but he was a tender father to 
this little lonely waif. A waif? He was well-fed, 
he was suitably clad, and here I saw with my own 
eyes he had tenderness, could any child have had 
more? Could men do more? And again I say, as 
I said when I looked at the Mission to the Blind, I 
think not. Very surely I think not. At least one 
of these monks was giving what no Westerner could 
possibly give to a child of an alien race, that 
tenderness that softens and smooths life. "They 
brought young children to Him, that He should 
touch them . . . and He took them up in His arms, 
put His hands upon them, and blessed them." 

These monks profess a faith that was old when 
Christianity was born, but they are carrying out as 
faithfully as ever did any follower of Christ His 
behests. What matter the creed? What matter 
by what name we call it? Away in this old Eastern 
city here, they are preaching, in deeds, the gospel 
of love and kindness, and no man can do more. 

We are apt to think that charity and pity are 
attributes of the Christian faith only but that is to 
insult the many good and holy men of other faiths. 
I am not scorning the kindness and self-sacrifice of 
the Christian missionary, but it is better, where it 
is possible, that charity and pity for the Chinese 
should come from those of their own race. For, 
however tender and kind an alien may be, he still 



150 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

stands outside, and the recipient to a certain extent 
is necessarily alone. Therefore am I doubly grate- 
ful to Mr Johnston for taking me to this Orphanage, 
where I could see how good the Chinese could be 
to the waifs and strays of their own people. 

Pity and mercy belong not to the Western nations 
alone. They come from the Most High, and are 
common to all His people, Christian missionary 
selling Bibles, and pitying the blind upon the 
Beggars' Bridge, or Buddhist monk taking to his 
heart the little forsaken child in the monastery of an 
older faith in the Chinese City. For such love as 
that we find in the world we, who look on, can only 
bow our heads and give thanks. 



CHAPTER IX 

A CHINESE INN 

The start for Jehol Tuatk A Peking cart Chinese roads A 
great highway Chances of camping out " Room for ten 
thousand merchant guests "Human occupancy Dust of 
ages Eyes at the window Catering for the journey The 
Chinese chicken, minced. 

THERE were two places that I particularly wanted 
to go to when I could make up my mind to tear 
myself away from the charms of Peking. One was 
the Tungling, or Eastern Tombs, the tombs where 
the great Empress-Dowager and most of the 
Manchu Emperors were buried, and Jehol, the 
Hunting Palace of the Manchus, away to the north 
in Inner Mongolia, or on the outermost edge of the 
Province of Chihli, for boundaries are vague things 
in that out-of-the-way part of the world. I won- 
dered if I could combine them both, if instead of 
coming back to Peking after visiting the tombs I 
might make my way over the mountains to Jehol. 
With that end in view I instituted inquiries, only to 
find that while many people knew a man, or had 
heard of several men who had been, I never struck 
the knowledgeable man himself. The only thing 
was to start out on my own account, and I knew 
then I should soon arrive at the difficulties to be 
overcome, not the least of them was two hundred 



152 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and eighty miles in a Peking cart. The only draw- 
back to that arrangement was that if I didn't like 
the difficulties when I did meet them, there could 
be no drawing back. They would have to be 
faced. 

Accordingly I engaged a servant with a rudi- 
mentary knowledge of English. When the matter 
we spoke of was of no importance, such as my 
dinner, I could generally understand him, when it 
was of importance, such as the difficulties of the 
way, I could not, but I guessed, or the events them- 
selves as they unfolded became explanatory. This 
gentleman was a small person with noble views on 
the subject of squeeze, as it pertained to Missie's 
servant, and he wore on state occasions a long black 
coat of brocaded silk, slit at the sides, and on all 
occasions the short hairs that fringed the shaven 
front of his head stood up like a black horsehair 
halo. He was badly pock-marked, very cheerful, 
and an excellent servant, engineering me over diffi- 
culties so well that I had to forgive him the squeeze, 
though in small matters I was occasionally made 
aware I was paying not double the price, but seven 
times what it ought to have been. However one 
buys one's experience. He was my first servant 
and I paid him thirty dollars a month, so I was 
squeezed on that basis. A six months' stay in 
China convinced me I could get as good a servant 
for fifteen dollars a month, and feel he was well 
paid. 

His name was Tuan, pronounced as if it began 
with a " D," and he engaged for me two Peking carts 
with a driver each, and two mules apiece. One was 
for myself and some of my luggage, the other took 



A CHINESE INN 158 

my servant, my humble kitchen utensils, and the 
rest of my baggage; and one Sunday morning 
in May, it is hardly necessary to say it was sunny, 
because a dull morning in May in Northern China 
is an exception hailed with joy, the carts appeared 
at the door of the " Wagons Lits," and we were 
ready to start. At least everything was ready but 
me. I ached in every limb, and felt sure that I was 
just beginning an attack of influenza. What was 
to be done? I longed with a great longing for my 
peaceful bed. I did not want to go venturing forth 
into the, to me, unknown wilds of China, but I had 
engaged those carts at the rate of seven dollars a 
day for the two, and I felt that I really could not 
afford to linger. Possibly the fresh air might do 
me good. At any rate, I reflected thankfully, as I 
climbed into the foremost cart, no active exertion 
was required of me. And that only shows how 
remarkably little I knew about a Peking cart. A 
man and a girl of my acquaintance rose up early in 
the morning to accompany me the first ten miles on 
donkeys, we had tiffin together beneath the shade 
of some pine-trees in a graveyard, and then they 
wished me good-bye, and I started off with the 
comfortable feeling that arises from the parting 
good wishes of kind friends. 

Now a Peking cart is a very venerable mode of 
progression. When our ancestors were lightly- 
dressed in woad, and had no conception of any 
wheeled vehicle, the Chinese lady was paying her 
calls sitting in the back of a Peking cart, the seat of 
honour under the tilt, well out of the sight of the 
passers-by, while her servant sat in front, the place 
of comfort, if such a word can be applied to anything 



154 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

pertaining to a Peking cart, for in spite of its long 
and aristocratic record if there is any mode of pro- 
gression more wearying and uncomfortable I have 
not met it. It is simply a springless board set on 
a couple of wheels with a wagon tilt of blue cotton, 
if you are not imperial, over it, and a place for heavy 
luggage behind. The Chinaman sits on the floor 
and does not seem to mind, but the ordinary 
Westerner, such as I am, packs his bedding and all 
the cushions he can raise around him, and then 
resigns himself to his fate. It has one advantage 
people will tell you, it has nothing to break in it, 
but there are moments when it would be a mighty 
relief if something did break, for if the woodwork 
holds together, as it tosses you from side to side, 
you yourself are one sore, bruised mass. No, I 
cannot recommend a Peking cart, even on the 
smoothest road. 

And the roads in China are not smooth. We all 
know the description of the snakes in Ireland, 
" There are no snakes," and if in the same manner 
could be described the roads in China, blessed 
would the roads in China be, but as China is a 
densely populated country there are so-called roads, 
upon which the people move about, but I have 
seldom met one that was any better than the sur- 
rounding country, and very, very often on this 
journey did I meet roads where it was ease and 
luxury to move off them on to the neighbouring 
ploughed field. The receipt for a road there in the 
north seems to be : Take a piece of the country that 
is really too bad to plough or to use for any agricul- 
tural purposes whatever, that a mountain torrent, 
in fact, has given up as too much for the water, 







1 1 










LEAVING THE WAGONS LITS FOR THE MOUNTAINS. 




A STREET STALL. 



A CHINESE INN 155 

upset a stone wall over it, a stone wall with good 
large stones in it, take care they never for a moment 
lie evenly, and you have your road. 

Leaving Peking for the Eastern Tombs you go 
for the first two or three hours along a paved way 
of magnificent proportions, planned and laid out as 
a great highway should be. The great stones 
with which it is paved were probably put there 
by slave labour, how many hundred years ago I do 
not know, but the blocks are uneven now, some 
of them are gone altogether, though how a huge 
block of stone could possibly disappear passes my 
understanding, and whenever the carter could, he 
took tHe cart down beside the road, where at least 
the dust made a cushion for the nail-studded wheels, 
and the jarring and the jolting were not quite so 
terrible. 

It takes as long to get beyond the environs of 
Peking in a cart as it does to get out of London in 
a motor-car. First we passed through the Baby- 
lonish gate, and the great walls were behind us, 
then, outside the city, all looking dusty, dirty, 
and khaki-coloured in the brilliant sunshine, were 
numerous small houses, and the wayside was lined 
with booths on which were things for sale, green 
vegetables and salads looking inviting, if I could 
have forgotten the danger of enteric, unappetising- 
looking meat, bones, the backbones of sheep from 
which all flesh had been taken, eggs, piles of cakes 
and small pies, shoes, clothes, samovars, everything 
a poor man in a primitive community can possibly 
require, and along the roadway came an endless 
array of people, clad for the most part in blue 
cotton, men walking, men with loads slung from a 



156 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

bamboo across their shoulders, donkeys laden with 
baskets, with sacks of grain, with fat Chinese on 
their backs, with small-footed women being trans- 
ported from one place to another; there were Peking 
carts, there were mules, there were ponies ; and this 
busy throng is almost the same as it was a couple 
of thousand years ago. I wondered ; could I have 
taken a peep at the outskirts of London in the days 
of Elizabeth of happy memory, would it not have 
been like this? But no. The sky here is bright 
and clear, the sunshine hot, and the faces of the 
moving crowd are yellow and oriental. This 
crowd is like the men who toiled round the quarries 
of Babylon or Nineveh, and it is perhaps more 
satisfied with itself and its position in the universe 
than any like company of people anywhere in the 
world. That impression was forced upon me as I 
sfayed in Peking, it grew and grew as I got farther 
away from the great city, and out into the country. 
But it was a long, long while before I could feel 
I was really in the country. There was the khaki- 
coloured land, there were the khaki-coloured houses 
built of mu3 apparently, with graceful, tiled roofs, 
and blue-clad people everywhere, and everywhere 
at work. Always the fields were most beautifully 
tilled, there were no fences, the Chinese is too 
civilised to need a fence, and when you see stone 
walls it is only because, since they can't be dropped 
off the planet into space, the stones must be dis- 
posed of somehow, here and there the kaoliang was 
coming up like young wheat, in vivid green patches 
that were a relief from the general dust, and occa- 
sionally there were trees, willow or poplar or fir, 
delightful to look upon, that marked a graveyard, 



A CHINESE INN 157 

and then, just as I was beginning to hope I was out 
in the country, a walled town would loom up. 

And in the dusk of the evening we stopped and 
met for the first time the discomforts of a Chinese 
inn. 

We had started rather late, and I had spent so 
much time bidding farewell to my friends, that we 
did not reach the town we had intended to, but put 
up at a smalt inn in a small hamlet. This, my first 
inn was, like most Chinese inns, a line of one-storied 
buildings, built round the four sides of a large 
courtyard. Mixed up with the rooms were the 
stalls for the beasts, the mules and the little grey 
donkeys, with an occasional pony or two, and the 
courtyard was dotted with stone or wooden mangers. 
In the pleasant May weather there was no need to 
put all the beasts under cover, and there were so 
many travellers there was not room in the stalls for 
all the beasts. 

It was all wonderfully Eastern. I remembered, 
I could not but remember, how once there arrived 
at such an inn a little company, weary and tired, 
and " so it was, that while they were there, the days 
were accomplished that she should be delivered. 
And she brought forth her first-born son, and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a 
manger: because there was no room for them in 
the inn." 

I thought of that little company as the Peking 
cart jolted over the step that is on the threshold of 
all Chinese doors no one considers comfort in 
China, what is a jolt more or less, a Peking cart will 
not break and I found myself in the courtyard^, 
and a trestle was brought for me to get down from 



158 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

the cart. I might have jumped, I suppose, but 
one hundred li, about thirty miles, had left me stiff 
and aching in every limb. My head ached too with 
the influenza, and when I inspected the room 
offered for my accommodation, I only wished 
drearily that there had been no room in this par- 
ticular inn, and that I might have slept out in the 
open. 

But that first day as I went across the plain, that 
while there were no hills upon it rose slowly towards 
the hills, I realised that in China, there is not the 
charm of the open road, you may not sleep under 
the sky, you must put up at an inn, you would as 
soon think of camping out in one of the suburbs 
of London. Indeed you might easily find more 
suitable places for camping about Surbiton or 
Richmond than you would among the sterile hills 
or cultivated valley bottoms of Northern China. I 
hoped against hope for three days. I had a com- 
fortable sleeping-bag and the nights were fine, it 
seemed it would be so simple a thing to camp a little 
off the roadside, even though I had no tent, and that 
first night, when I smelled the smell of the rooms, 
rank and abominable, and reeking of human occu- 
pancy, I envied my mules, and said that as I got 
farther into the country I could certainly sleep 
outside. 

" Room for ten thousand merchant guests," said 
the innkeeper in characters of black on red paper 
over his door, and unless those merchants were 
very small indeed, I am sure I don't know where 
he proposed to put them. I remembered with a 
shudder, that one man of my acquaintance had said : 
"What I cannot stand is the perpetual tramp, 



A CHINESE INN 159 

tramp, all night," and I had my suspicions that the 
guests were small on this occasion, and I feared 
lest they were going to be catered for. There were 
also notices in the effective red and black that the 
landlord would not be responsible for any valuables 
not confided to his care, and exhorting the guests 
to be careful of fire. And it seemed to me, as 
I looked at the rotting thatch and the dubious 
grey walls, that a fire in this inn would be the very 
best thing that could happen to it. You see I was 
specially particular this first night. I thought the 
next inn might be better. I had a good deal to 
learn. " The tiger from the Eastern Hills and the 
tiger from the Western Hills," says the Chinese 
proverb, " are both the same." So everywhere a 
Chinese inn is about as bad as it can be. They are 
mostly used by carters, and well-to-do people always 
go to temples, when they are available. There 
wasn't a temple about here, and I didn't know I 
could have lodged there had there been one, so I 
resigned myself to the inevitable, and wondered 
with all the energy that was left in me what adverse 
fate had set me down here. I might have gone 
back, of course. In a way I was my own mistress ; 
but after all, we none of us own ourselves in this 
world. I had a book to write, and material for that 
book was not to be got by staying comfortably in 
the Wagons Lits Hotel, and therefore I very reluct- 
antly peeped into a room from which clouds of dust 
were issuing, and which smelt worse than any place 
I had ever before thought of using as a bed-chamber 
and dining-room combined. The dust was because 
I had impressed upon the valued Tuan that I must 
have a clean room, so he had importantly turned 



160 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

two coolies on to stir up the dust of ages, a 
thousand years at least, I should say, there seemed 
no end to it, and I wondered, in addition to the 
merchant guests, what awful microbes were being 
wakened out of their long sleep. Left alone, they 
might have been buried so deep that they might not 
have come high me ; but he was giving them all a 
chance. After all it was only fair, a foreign woman 
did not visit a Chinese inn every day of the week. 
After more dust than I had ever seen before all at 
once, had come out of that room, I instructed water 
to be brought and poured on things in general, and, 
when the turmoil had quieted down a little, I went 
in and inspected my quarters. 

They all bear a strong family resemblance to one 
another, the rooms of these Chinese inns. I always 
tried to get one that opened directly on to the court- 
yard, as giving more chance of air. The Chinese, as 
a rule, have not much use for fresh air. Tuan, had 
he had his way, would have shut the door fast, as 
being more correct and private, and then I should 
have been in an hermetically sealed room, lighted all 
along the courtyard side by a most dainty lattice- 
work window covered with white tissue paper, or 
rather tissue paper that had once been white. It 
had been well-smoked during the winter, and a 
considerable quantity of the dust that had been so 
industriously stirred up, had lodged there. But air 
I must have, so I had the paper stripped off from 
the top of the window as far down as my desire 
for privacy would allow. Below, the more daring 
spirits, who had assembled to see the foreign 
woman, wetted their fingers and poked them softly 
through the bottom part of the window; and then 



A CHINESE INN 161 

an eye appeared, so that it really seemed at first as 
if I might as well have been comfortable and had all 
the paper off. I went outside, and let it plainly 
be seen that I was very angry indeed, and then 
Tuan, who had a great idea of my dignity, or rather 
of his dignity, which was as nothing if I was of no 
consequence, put one of the " cartee men " on guard, 
and once more I retired to my uncomfortable 
lodging. It had a stone floor, being quite a superior 
sort of inn, the poorer sort have only beaten earth, 
there were two wooden chairs of dark wood, high, 
with narrow and uncomfortable seats, a table, also 
uncomfortably high, and of course, the k'ang. 
Most people know all about the k'ang now, but this 
was my first introduction to it as a working piece of 
furniture. It is a platform of stone about two feet 
high, so constructed that a small fire lighted under- 
neath, and a very small fire it is, carries the warmth, 
by a system of flues, all over it. It is covered 
generally with matting, and on it is always a k'ang 
table, a little table about eighteen inches square and 
a foot higfT, and, though this is not intentional, 
covered with the grease of many meals. 

I looked doubtfully at the k'ang this first day. It 
seemed to me I could not lodge in such a place, and 
I wished heartily that I had left the describing of 
China to some more hardened traveller. There 
was a grass mat upon it, hiding its stoniness, and I 
had powdered borax sprinkled over it, about half a 
tin of Keating's followed, though I am told the 
insects in China rather like Keating's, and only then 
did I venture to have my bed set up. Alongside 
was placed my india-rubber bath, the gift of a friend, 
and every night of that journey did I thank her with 

L 



162 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

all my heart, it was so much nicer than my old 
canvas bath, and making sure that the " cartee man " 
was still on guard I proceeded to wash and undress 
and creep into my sleeping-bag. 

At only one Chinese inn where I stayed could 
food for the traveller be had, and that was, I think, 
only because it combined the functions of inn- 
keeping and restaurant. In any case, of course, 
the foreign traveller would not think of eating 
Chinese food, and I, like everyone else, provided 
my own. I brought with me rice, tea, and flour. 
Tuan cooked for me on an absurd little charcoal 
stove upon which I might have succeeded in boiling 
an egg. With the exception of those few stores, I 
lived off the country, buying chickens and eggs, 
onions, and hard little pears ; Tuan doing the 
buying, charging me at a rate that made me wonder 
how on earth the " Wagons Lits " managed to board 
and lodge its guests at i a day. I used to think 
that, for sheer toughness, the palm might be given 
to the West African chicken, but I withdraw that 
statement, he isn't in it alongside the Chinese. 
We used to buy small birds about the size of a 
pigeon, But an elderly ostrich couldn't have been 
tougher. My teeth, thank Heaven, are excellent, 
but the Chinese chicken was too much for them. I 
then saw why Tuan had provided a chopper for 
kitchen use, he called it " cookee knife," and the 
fiat went forth I would have no more chicken 
unless it was minced. 

But that first night I couldn't look at chicken, I 
couldn't even laugh at the woodeny pears and rice 
which were the next course. I declined everything, 
lay in bed and drank tea, the wind came in through 




INN YARD, PEKING CART IN FOREGROUND. 




GOSSIPING. 



A CHINESE INN 163 

the open lattice-work, guttered my candle and then 
blew it out, and I, first hot, and then cold, and 
always miserable, stared at the luminous night sky, 
cut into squares by the lattice-work of the window, 
was conscious of every bone in my body, and 
wondered if I were not going to be very ill indeed. 



CHAPTER X 

THE TUNGLING 

A Peking cart as a cure for influenza Difficulties of a narrow 
road The dead have right of way The unlucky women 
Foot binding ** Beat you, beat you " Lost luggage 
" You must send your husband " Letter- writing under 
difficulties A masterless woman Malanyu Most perfect 
place of tombs in the world. 

BUT I wasn't. As a rule I find I worry myself 
unnecessarily in life. Either a thing can be altered, 
or it can't. If it can't there's an end to the matter, 
worrying doesn't mend it. I had come here of my 
own free will it wasn't nice, but there was nothing 
to do but make the best of it. In the morning if I 
wasn't very happy I was no worse, and to go back 
that weary journey to Peking would only be to make 
myself ridiculous. Therefore I arose with the sun, 
and a nice, bright cheerful sun he was, looked at my 
breakfast, drank the tea and was ready to start. All 
the hamlet watched me climb into my cart A I felt 
I couldn't have walked a step to save my life, and we 
rumbled over that steep step, and were out in the 
roadway again. 

It is not the best way to view a country from a 
Peking cart, for the tossing from side to side is apt 
to engender a distaste for life and to encourage a 
feeling that nothing would really matter if only the 
cart would come to a standstill for a moment. Add 
to that the aching head of influenza and that morn- 

164 



THE TUNGLING 165 

ing I began to pity not only myself but my publisher, 
for I began to fear he was going to lose money on 
me. It was Byron, I think, who considered that 
Providence or somebody else who shall be nameless 
always took care of publishers, and that is the reason 
perhaps why I have come to the opinion that a trip in 
a Peking cart is really the best cure for influenza. 
Had I gone to bed and had someone kind and nice 
to wait upon me and bring me the milk and soda 
and offer the sympathy my soul desired, I should 
probably have taken a fortnight to get well; as it 
was, out in the open air from dawn to dark, three 
days saw the end of my woes, and even at the worst 
I was able to sit up and take a certain amount of 
interest in passing events. 

Gradually, gradually, as we went on we seemed to 
forget the great city that absorbed all things, and 
the surroundings became more truly countrified. 
The road, when it was not stones, was deep sand 
with deep, deep ruts worn by the passing of many 
carts, and it stretched over just as great a portion of 
the country as the people would allow. Flat it was, 
flat, and all along the way were little villages and 
hamlets. There was no temptation to walk, for it 
was very rough indeed, just the worn road and the 
edge of the tilled fields, tilled as surely never before 
in the world were fields tilled, and they stretched 
away to the far distant blue hills. Occasionally the 
road sank deep between them, and as it was very 
narrow the traffic question was sometimes trouble- 
some. On this day we met a country cart, a longer 
cart than the Peking cart, covered in with matting 
and drawn by a mule and a couple of donkeys. 
Manifestly there was not room for the carts to pass 



166 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and I wondered what would happen for, for either of 
us, laden as we were, to go backwards would have 
been difficult. I was requested to get out, which I 
did reluctantly, my carts were drawn so close against 
the bank that the right wheels were raised against 
it, and then they tried to get the other cart past. 
No good, it would not go. About a dozen men all 
in dirty, very dirty blue, with pointed hats of grass 
matting, looking as if they had stepped off old- 
fashioned tea caddies, came and took an intelligent 
interest, even as they might have done in Stafford- 
shire, but that didn't make the carts any smaller, and 
then they decided to drive the country cart up the 
bank into the field above. They tried and tried, 
they lashed that unfortunate mule and the donkeys, 
but with all their pulling it was too heavy, up the 
bank it would not go. Chinese patience was exem- 
plified. But it was the mule and the donkeys that 
really displayed the patience. I climbed the bank, 
sat on a stone and watched them, and did not like to 
give my valuable advice, because these men must 
have been driving carts along these roads all their 
lives, and presumably must know something about 
it, while never in my life had I handled a team con- 
sisting of two donkeys and a mule. At last when 
they got an extra hard lashing and fell back, con- 
quered once more, poor brutes, by the weight, I 
rose up and interfered. I did not request I 
ordered. They were to take the two foremost mules 
from my carts and hitch them on to the other cart. 
My foremost mule protested, he evidently said he 
had never been associated with donkeys before ; but 
in two minutes they had got that cart to the higher 
level, and we were free to go on our way, Why 



THE TUNGLING 167 

they did not do it without my ordering I am sure I 
do not know, for as a rule I had no authority over 
the carts, they went their own way I was merely a 
passenger. 

Once more that day the narrow way was blocked, 
this time by a funeral. The huge coffin was borne 
by ten straining men, and there was no parleying 
with it, the dead have right of way in China, and 
out of the way we had to get. We backed with diffi- 
culty till the bank on one side was a little lower, and 
then up we went till we were on the cultivated land, 
drove on till we were ahead of the corpse, and then 
down again into the roadway once more. 

In China, as far as I have been, you never get 
away from the people, this country was far more 
thickly populated than the country round London, 
for I have walked in Surrey lanes and found no one 
of whom to ask a question, while here there were 
always people in sight. True, here were no leafy 
lanes such as we find in Surrey and Kent, but the 
whole country lay flat and outstretched till it seemed 
as if nothing were hidden right up to the base of 
the far away hills. The days were getting hot and 
the men were working in the fields stripped to the 
waist, while most of the little boys were stark naked, 
pretty little lissom things they were, too, if they had 
only been washed ; and the little girls, for all 
clothing, wore a square blue pocket-handkerchief put 
on corner-wise in front, slung round the neck and tied 
round the waist with a bit of string ; but farther on, 
in the mountain villages, I have seen the little girls 
like the little boys, stark naked. Only the women 
are clothed to the neck, whatever the state of the 
thermometer. Always there were houses by the 



168 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

wayside, and many villages and hamlets, and the 
women sat on the doorsteps sewing, generally it 
seemed to me at the sole of a shoe, or two of them 
laboured at the little stone corn mills, that were in 
every village, grinding the corn, the millet, or the 
maize, for household use. Sometimes a donkey, 
and a donkey can be bought for a very small sum, 
turned the stone, but usually it seemed that it was 
the women of the household who, on their tiny feet, 
painfully hobbled round, turning the heavy stone 
and smoothing out the flour with their hands, so that 
it might be smoothly and evenly ground. 

Poor women! They have a saying in China to 
the effect that a woman eats bitterness, and she 
surely does, if the little I have seen of her life is 
any criterion. As I went through the villages, in 
the morning and evening, I could hear the crying 
of children. Chinese children are proverbially 
naughty, no one ever checks them, and I could not 
know why these children were crying, some prob- 
ably from the pure contrariness of human nature, 
but a missionary woman, and a man who scorned 
missionaries and all their works both told me that, 
morning and evening, the little girls cried because 
the bandages on their feet were being drawn more 
tightly. Always it is a gnawing pain, and the only 
relief the little girl can get is by pressing the calf of 
her leg tightly against the edge of the k'ang. The 
pressure stops the flow of blood and numbs the feet 
as long as it is kept up, but it cannot be kept up 
long, and with the rush of blood comes the increase 
of pain a pain that the tightening of the bandages 
deepens. 

" Beat you, beat you," cries the mother taking a 



THE TUNGLING 169 

stick to the little suffering thing, " you cry when I 
bind your feet." For a Chinese woman must show 
no emotion, above all she must never complain. 
This, of course, is a characteristic of the nation. 
The men will bear much without complaining. 

I never grew accustomed to it. The pity and the 
horror of it never failed to strike me, and if the 
missionaries do but one good work, they do it in 
prevailing on the women to unbind their feet, in 
preventing unlucky little girls from going through 
years of agony. 

There is no mistaking the gait of a woman with 
bound feet. She walks as if her legs were made of 
wood, unbending from the hip downwards to tne 
heels. The feet are tiny, shaped like small hoofs 
about four inches long, encased in embroidered 
slippers, and to walk at all she must hold out her 
arms to balance herself. When I was laughed at 
for my "pathetic note," and was told I exaggerated 
the sufferings of the women, I took the trouble to 
inquire of four doctors, three men and one woman, 
people who came daily in contact with these women, 
and they were all of one opinion, the sufferings of 
the women were very great. The binding in girl- 
hood was not only terribly painful but even after 
the process was finished the feet were often diseased, 
often sore and ulcerated, and at the very best the 
least exertion, as is only natural, makes them ache. 

" Try," said one doctor, " walking with your toes 
crushed under your sole, the arch of your foot 
pressed up till the whole foot is barely four inches 
long, and you can only walk on your heel, and see 
if you do not suffer suffer in all parts of your body. 
They say," he went on, " that while there are many 



170 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

peaceful, kindly old men among the Chinese, every 
woman is a shrew. And I can well believe it. 
What else could you expect? Oh women have a 
mighty thin time in China. I don't believe there is 
any place in the world where they have a worse." 

If anyone doubts that this custom presses heavily 
on the women, let him ask any doctor who has 
practised much among the Chinese how many legs 
he has taken off because the neglected sores of 
ulcerated, bound feet have become gangrenous and 
a danger to life. 

" It really doesn't matter," said another doctor I 
knew well, " a Chinese woman is just as well with 
a pair of wooden legs as with the stumps the binding 
has left her!" 

As a rule I did not see the beginnings, for 
though the women go about a little, the small girls 
are kept at home. But once on this journey, at a 
poor little inn in the mountains, among the crowd 
gathered to see the foreign woman were two little 
girls about eight or nine, evidently the innkeeper's 
daughters. They were well-dressed among a ragged 
crew. Their smocks were of bright blue cotton, 
their neat little red cotton trousers were drawn in 
at their ankles, and their feet, in tiny embroidered 
shoes, were about big enough for a child of three. 
There was paint on their cheeks to hide their piteous 
whiteness, and their faces were drawn with that 
haunting look which long-continued pain gives. As 
they stood they rested their hands on their com- 
panions' shoulders, and, when they moved, it was 
with extreme difficulty. No one took any notice of 
them. They were simply little girls suffering the 
usual agonies that custom has ordained a woman 



THE TUNGLING 171 

shall suffer before she is considered a meet play- 
thing and slave for a man. A woman who would 
be of any standing at all must so suffer. Poor little 
uncomplaining mites, they laughed and talked, but 
their faces, white and strained under the paint, 
haunted me the livelong night, and I felt that I who 
stood by and suffered this thing was guilty of a 
wicked wrong to my fellows. 

And foot binding may result in death. There 
was a child whose father, a widower, not knowing 
what to do with his little girl, an asset of small value, 
sold her to a woman of ill repute. The little slave 
was five years old, but as yet, her feet had not been 
bound. Her mistress of course took her in hand 
and bound her feet, so that she might be married 
some day. But her feet being bound did not exempt 
small Wong Lan from her household duties. Every 
morning, baby as she was, she had to get up, kindle 
the fire, and take hot water to her mistress, who, in 
her turn, did not give the attention they required 
to the poor little feet. With feet sore, ulcerated and 
dirty, she went about such household duties as a 
little child could do, till they grew so bad she could 
only lie about and moan, and was a nuisance to the 
woman who had taken her. At last a man living 
in the same courtyard had pity on her. He was a 
mason and had worked at the great hospital the 
foreigners had set up just outside the walls of the 
city where they lived, and he took her in his arms, 
a baby not yet seven, and brought her to the doctor. 
She had cried and cried, he said, and he thought she 
would die if she were left. The doctor when he 
took her thought she was going to die whether she 
were left or not. There and then he took a pair of 



172 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

scissors, snapped two threads and one foot was off, 
still in its filthy little slipper. The whole leg was 
gangrenous and they nursed the baby up for a week 
till she was strong enough to have the leg amputated 
at the hip. She grew better, though the doctor 
shook his head over her. The missionaries decided 
they had better keep her, and as she recovered, they 
set about getting her crutches. A Chinese woman 
evidently begins to be self-conscious very soon, for 
the mite cried bitterly when they wanted to measure 
her. The Chinese have a great horror of any 
deformity, and she thought she would be an object 
of scorn if she went about on crutches, and everyone 
could see she had only one leg. Her idea was that 
she should sit all day long on the k'ang, and then 
it would be hidden. However, her guardians pre- 
vailed, and presently she was hopping about the 
missionary compound, and being a pretty, taking 
little girl soon found friends who forgot, or what 
was more important, taught Her to forget, that she 
was crippled. Someone gave her a doll, and with 
this treasure tucked under her arm, she paid visits 
from one house to the other, happy as the day was 
long, petted by Chinese and foreigners alike. But 
the doctor who had shaken his head over her at first 
was right. The poison was in her system, and in a 
little over six months from the day she was brought 
in to the hospital she died. Poor little mite! For 
six months she had been perfectly happy. The man 
who had brought her in made her a coffin, the aliens 
who had succoured and cared for her laid her there 
with the doll she had been so proud of in her arms, 
and told all the Chinese who had known her they 
might come and say a last farewell. They came, 



THE TUNGLING 173 

and then oh curious human nature! someone 
stole the poor little makeshift doll from the dead 
baby's arms ! 

Of course cruelty to children is a sin that is met 
with in countries nearer home, is, in fact, more 
common in Christian England than in heathen 
China. This was a death that was attributable to 
the low value that is set on the girl child and to the 
cruel custom of binding the feet. 

And not hundreds and thousands but millions of 
women so suffer. The practice, they say, is dying 
out among the more enlightened in the towns, but 
in the country, within fifteen miles of Peking, it is in 
full swing. Not only are these " golden lilies " con- 
sidered beautiful., but the woman with bound feet is 
popularly supposed to care more for the caresses of 
her lord, than she with natural feet. Of course, a 
man may not choose his wife, his mother does that 
for him, he may not even see her, but he can, and 
very naturally often does, ask questions about her. 
The question he generally asks is not : " Has she a 
pretty face?" but: "Has she small feet?" But if 
he did not think about it, the women of his family 
would consider it for him. 

A woman told me, how, in the north of Chihli, the 
custom was for the women of the bridegroom's 
family to gather round the newly arrived bride who 
sat there, silent and submissive, while they made 
comments upon her appearance. 

" Hoo ! she's ugly ! " Or worst taunt of all, " Hoo ! 
What big feet she's got ! " 

Many will tell you it is not the men who insist 
upon bound feet, but the women. And, if that is 
so, to m,e it only deepens the tragedy. Imagine 



174 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

how apart the women must be from the men, when 
they think, without a shadow of truth, that to be 
pleasing to a man, a woman must be crippled. The 
women are hardly to be blamed. If they are so 
ignorant as to believe that no woman with large 
feet can hope to become a wife and mother, what 
else can they do but bind the little girls' feet? 
Would any woman dare deprive her daughter of all 
chance of wifehood and motherhood by leaving her 
feet unbound? Oh the lot of a woman in China is 
a cruel one, civilised into a man's toy and slave. I 
had a thousand times rather be a negress, one of 
those business-like trading women of Tarquah, or 
one of the capable, independent housewives of Keta. 
But to be a Chinese woman ! God forbid ! 

It seems very difficult to make a Chinaman under- 
stand that a woman has any rights, even a foreign 
woman, apart from a man. I remember being par- 
ticularly struck with this once at Pao Ting Fu, the 
capital of Chihli, a walled town about three hours 
by rail from Peking. I lost a third of my luggage 
by the way, because the powers that be, having 
charged me a dollar and a half for its carriage, 
divided it into three parts, and by the time I had 
discovered in what corner the last lot was stowed, 
the train was moving on, and I could only be com- 
fortably sure it was being taken away from me at 
the rate of twenty miles an hour. However, the 
stationmaster assured Dr Lewis, the missionary 
doctor with whom I was living, that it should be 
brought back by the next day. 

Accordingly, next day, accompanied by a coolie 
who spoke no English, I wended my way to the 
railway station and inquired for that luggage. The 








TUG-OF-WAR, BUDDHIST ORPHANAGE. 

( See page i.; t S) 




MISSIONARY COMPOUND, LOOKING EAST. 



THE TUNGLING 175 

coolie had been instructed what to say, and I thought 
they would simply bring me into contact with my 
lost property. I would pay any money that was due, 
and the thing would be finished. But I had not 
reckoned on my standing, or want of standing, as a 
woman. 

Nobody could speak a word of English. In the 
course of five minutes I should say, the entire station 
staff of Pao Ting Fu stood around me, and vocifer- 
ously gave me their views on the weather and the 
latest political developments for all I know. If it 
was about the luggage I was no wiser. Some were 
dressed in khaki, some in dark cloth with uniform 
caps, and most had the wild hair that comes to the 
lower classes with the cutting off of the queue. 
There were about a dozen of them with a few idlers 
in blue cotton, patched, dirty, faded, and darned, 
and some of these wore queues, queues that had 
been slept in for about a week without attention, 
and they were all quite anxious to te nice to the 
foreign woman, and took turns in trying to make 
her understand. In vain. What they wanted I 
could not imagine. At last a lane opened, and I 
guessed the vociferating crowd were saying : " Here 
is the very man to tackle the situation." There came 
along a little man in dark cloth who stood before me 
and in the politest manner laid a dirty, admonitory 
finger upon my breast. He had a rudimentary 
knowledge of English but it was very rudimentary, 
and I remembered promptly that this was a French 
railway. 

" Parlez-vous Franfais?" said I, wondering if my 
French would carry me through. 

He shook his head. As a matter of fact English, 



176 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

pidgin- English, is the language of China, when 
another tongue is wanted, and my new friend's 
English was not at all bad what there was of it. 
Though why I should go to their country and expect 
these people to understand me I'm sure I do not 
know. 

" Your luggage is here," said he very slowly, 
emphasising every word by a tap. 

" Thank Heaven," I sighed, " take me to it," but 
he paid no heed. 

' You " and he tapped on solemnly " must 
send your husband." 

This was a puzzler. " My husband," I said 
meekly, " is dead." 

It looked like a deadlock. It was apparently 
impossible to deliver up her luggage to a woman 
whose husband was dead. Everybody on the plat- 
form, including the idlers, made some suggestion to 
relieve the strain, and feeling that it might help 
matters, I said he had been dead a very long time, 
I was a lonely orphan and I had no brothers. They 
probably discussed the likelihood of my having any 
other responsible male belongings and dismissed it, 
and the man, who knew English, returned to the 
charge. 

"Where do you stay?" and he tapped his 
way through the sentence. 

"At Dr Lewis's." I felt like doing it singsong 
fashion myself. 

" You must tell Lu Tai Fu to come." 

" But," I remonstrated, " Dr Lewis is busy, and 
he does not know the luggage." 

There was another long confabulation, then a 
brilliant idea flashed like a meteor across the crowd. 



THE TUNGLING 177 

" You must go back and write a 
letter," and with a decisive tap my linguist friend 
stood back, and the whole crowd looked at me as 
much as to say that settled it most satisfactorily. 

I argued the matter. I wanted to see the luggage. 

" The luggage is here " tapped my friend, 
reproachfully, as if regretting I should be so foolish 
" you must go back write one piecey 
letter." 

"I'll write it here," said I, and after about a 
quarter of an hour taken up in tapping, I was con- 
ducted round to the back of the station, an elderly 
inkpot and a very, very elderly pen with a point like 
a very rusty pin were produced, but there was no 
paper. Everyone looked about, under the benches, 
up at the ceiling, and at last one really resourceful 
person produced a luggage label of a violent yellow 
hue, and on the back of that, with some difficulty, 
for as well as the bad pen, there was a suspicion of 
gum on the paper, I wrote a letter to " Dear Sir" 
requesting that responsible individual to hand over 
my luggage to my servant, I signed my name with 
as big a flourish as the size of the label would allow, 
and then I stood back and awaited developments. 

Everybody in the room looked at that valuable 
document. They tried it sideways, they tried it 
upside down, but no light came. At last the 
linguist remarked with his usual tap : 

" No can read." 

Well, I could read English, so with great 
empressement and as if I were conferring a great 
favour, I read that erudite document aloud to the 
admiring crowd, even to my own name, and such 
was the magic of the written word, that in about two 

M 



178 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

minutes the lost luggage appeared, and was handed 
over to my waiting coolie! Only when I was gone 
doubt fell once more upon the company. Could a 
woman, a masterless woman, be trusted? they ques- 
tioned. And the stationmaster sent word to Lu 
Tai Fu that he must have his card to show that it 
was all right ! 

If a woman counted for so little in a town where 
the foreigner was well Known, could I expect much 
in out-of-the-way parts. I didn't expect much, 
luckily. The people came and looked at me, and 
they were invariably courteous and polite, with an 
old-world courtesy that must have come down to 
them through the ages, but they did not envy, I felt 
it very strongly at bottom they were contemptuous. 
As I have seen the lower classes in an Australian 
mining town, as I myself have looked upon a stranger 
in an outlandish dress in the streets of London, so 
these country people looked upon me. It was just 
as well to make the most of a show, because their 
lives were uneventful, that was all. 

It began to get on my nerves before I had done, 
this contemptuous curiosity. I don't know that I 
was exactly afraid, but I grew to understand why 
missionaries perish when the people have all appa- 
rently been well-disposed. These people would not 
have robbed me themselves, but had I met any of 
the robbers I had been threatened with in Peking, 
I am sure not one of them would have raised even 
a finger to help me, they would not even have 
protested. I was outside their lives. 

And at last, at Malanyu, the hills that at first had 
loomed purple on the horizon, fairly overshadowed 
us, and I had arrived at the first stage of my 



THE TUNGLING 179 

journey, the Tungling, or Eastern Tombs. We did 
forty miles that day over the roughest road I had 
gone yet, and thankful was I when we rumbled 
through the gates of the dirty, crowded, little town. 

We put up at the smallest and filthiest inn I had 
yet met. Chinese towns, even the smallest country 
hamlet, are always suggestive of slums, and Malanyu 
was worse than usual, but I slept the sleep of the 
utterly weary, and next morning at sunrise I had 
breakfast and went to see the tombs. I went in 
state, in my own cart with an extra mule on in front, 
I seated under the tilt a little back, and my servant 
and the head " cartee man " on the shafts ; and then 
I discovered that if a loaded cart is an abomination 
before the Lord, a light cart is something unspeak- 
able. But we had seen the wall that went round 
the tombs the night before, just the other side of 
the town, so I consoled myself with the reflection 
that my sufferings would not be for long. 

When the Imperial Manchus sought a last resting- 
place for themselves they had the whole of China 
to choose from, and they took with Oriental disregard 
for humbler people ; but saving grace they chose 
wisely though they chose cruelly. They have taken 
for their own a place just where the mountains begin, 
a place that must be miles in extent. It is of rich 
alluvial soil swept down by the rains from the hills, 
and all China, with her teeming population, cannot 
afford to waste one inch of soil. The tiniest bit of 
arable land, as I had been seeing for the last three 
days, is put to some use, it is tilled and planted and 
carefully tended, though it bear only a single fruit- 
tree, only a handful of grain, but here we entered a 
park, waste land covering many miles, wasted with 



180 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

a royal disregard for the people's needs. It lay in 
a great bay of the hills, sterile, stony, rugged hills 
with no trace of green upon them, hills that stand 
up a perfect background to a most perfect place of 
tombs. I had thought the resting-place of the 
Mings wonderful, but surely there is no such place 
for the honoured dead as that the Manchus have set 
up at the Eastern Tombs. 

Immediately we entered the gateway, the cart 
jolting wickedly along a hardly defined track, I found 
myself in a forest of firs and pines that grew denser 
as we advanced. Here and there was a poplar or 
other deciduous tree, green with the greenness of 
Maytime, but the touch of lighter colour only empha- 
sised the sombreness of the pines and firs that, with 
their dark foliage, deepened the solemnity of the 
scene. Through their branches peeped the deep 
blue sky, and every now and again they opened out 
a little, and beyond I could see the bare hills, 
brown, and orange, and purple, but always beautiful, 
with the shadows chasing each other over them, and 
losing themselves in their folds. Spacious, grand, 
silent, truly an ideal place for the burial of Emperors 
and their consorts is hidden here in the heart of 
mysterious, matter-of-fact China, and once again I 
was shown, as I was being shown every day, another 
side of China from the toiling thousands I saw in the 
great city and on the country roads. 

Dotted about in this great park, with long vistas 
in between^ are the tombs. They are enclosed in 
walls, walls of the pinkish red that encloses all 
imperial grounds, generally there is a caretaker, and 
they look for all the world like comfortable houses, 
picturesque and artistic, nestling secluded and away 



THE TUNGLING 181 

from the rush and roar of cities, homes where a man 
may take his well-earned rest. The filthy inn at 
which I stayed, the reeking little town of Malanyu, 
though it is at the very gates, is as far-removed from 
all contact with the tombs as are the slums of Notting 
Dale from the mansions in Park Lane, or the sordid, 
mean streets of Paddington from the home of the 
King in Buckingham Palace. The birds, the 
innumerable, much-loved birds of China sang in the 
trees their welcome to the glorious May morning, 
and the only thing out of keeping was my groaning, 
jolting, complaining Peking cart and the shouts of 
the " cartee man " assuring the mules, so I have been 
told, that the morals of their female relatives were 
certainly not above suspicion. 

Here and there, among the trees, rose up marble 
pillars tall and stately, carved with dragons and 
winged at the top, such as one sees in representa- 
tions of Babylon and Nineveh, there was a marble 
bridge, magnificent, with the grass growing up 
between the great paving-stones that here, as every- 
where in China, seem to mark the small value that 
has been put on human flesh and blood, for by 
human hands have they been placed here, and the 
uprights are crowned by the symbolic cloud form, 
caught in the marble. This bridge crosses no 
stream. It is evidently just a manifestation of 
power, the power that crushes, and beyond it is an 
avenue of marble animals. There they stand on 
the green sward, the green sward stolen from the 
hungry, curving away towards the p'ia lou stand, as 
they have stood for many a long year, horses, 
elephants, fabulous beasts that might have come out 
of the Book of Revelations, guarding the entrance 



182 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

to the place of rest. They are not nearly so magni- 
ficent as the avenue at the Ming Tombs, they are 
only quaintly Chinese, it is the winged pillars, the 
silence, the sombre pine and fir-trees, and the ever- 
lasting hills behind that give them dignity. 

And now Tuan became very important. I began 
to feel that he had arranged the whole for my benefit, 
and was keeping the best piece back to crown it all. 
We came to a piece of wild country and I was re- 
quested to get out of the cart. Getting out of the 
cart where there was no place to step was always a 
business. I was stiff from the jolting, felt disin- 
clined to be very acrobatic, and Tuan always felt it 
his bounden duty to stretch out his arms to catch me, 
or break my fall. He was so small, though he was 
round and fat, that he always complicated matters 
by making me feel that if I did fall I should certainly 
materially damage him, but it was no good protest- 
ing, it was the correct thing for him to help his 
Missie out of her cart, and he was prepared to perish 
in the attempt. However, here was a soft cushion 
of fragrant pine needles, so I scrambled down with- 
out any of the qualms from which I usually suffered. 
We had come to a halt for a moment by the steep 
side of a little wooded hill where a narrow footpath 
wound round it. Just such a modest little path 
between steep rising ground one might see in the 
Surrey Hills. It invites to a secluded glen, but 
no cart could possibly go along it, it is necessary to 
walk. I turned the corner of the hill and lo! there 
was a paved way, a newly paved way, such as I have 
seldom seen in China. The faint morning breeze 
stirred among the pine needles, making a low, 
mysterious whispering, and out against the back- 





1? 



*fl 



THE TUNGLING 

ground stood, a splash of brilliant, glowing colour, 
the many roofs of golden-brown tiles that cover the 
mausoleum of the great woman who once ruled over 
China, the last who made a stand, a futile stand, 
against foreign aggression, and now a foreigner and 
a woman, unarmed and alone, might come safely 
and stand beside her tomb. 

Perhaps that was the best way to view it, at any 
rate inside I could not go, for the key I discovered 
was at Malanyu, and it would have taken me at 
least half a day to go back and get it. Besides I 
don't think I wanted to go inside. I would not for 
the world have spoilt the memory that remains in my 
mind by any tawdry detail such as I had seen at the 
younger Empress's funeral. It was just a little 
spoilt as it was by my boy, who came along mysteri- 
ously and pointed with a secret finger at the custodian 
of the tomb, who had not the keys. 

" Suppose Missie makee littee cumshaw. Sup- 
pose my payee one dollar." 

And I expect the man did get perhaps sixty cents, 
because Tuan was bent on impressing on these 
people the fact that his Missie was a very important 
woman indeed. 

It was worth it^ it was well worth it. 

They say that the old in China "is passing away. 
" Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that 
bringeth good tidings." Will they sweep away 
these tombs and give this land to the people? I 
hope not, I think not, I pray not. The present in 
China is inextricably mixed up with the past. " Oh 
Judah keep thy solemn feast, perform thy vows." 
Sometimes it is surely well that the beautiful should 
be kept for a nation, even at great cost. 



CHAPTER XI 

A WALLED CITY 

Numerous walled towns The dirt of them T'ung Chou 
Romance of the evening light My own little walled city 
The gateways Hospitable landlady Bald heads My land- 
lady's room A return present" The ringleaders have been 
executed " Summary justice To the rescue of the 
missionaries at Hsi An Fu The Elder Brother Society- 
Primitive method of attack and defence The sack of I 
Chun. 

OH that first walled city! It was the first of many 
walled cities, many of them so small that it did not 
take us more than a quarter of an hour to cross from 
gate to gate ; but to enter one and all was like open- 
ing a door into the past, into the life our forbears 
lived before the country I was born and brought up 
in was ever thought of. When I was a little girl, 
I cherished a desire to marry a German baron, a 
German baron of the Middle Ages, who lived in a 
castle, and 1 could not help thinking, as the influenza 
left me and I regained my powers of thought, that 
here were the towns of my German baron's time 
dirt and all. In my childhood I had never thought 
of the dirt, or perhaps I had not minded. One 
thing is certain, in the clean land of my childhood 
I never realised what the dirt that comes from a 
packed population, from seething humanity, can be 
like. The Chinese live in these crowded towns for 

184 



A WALLED CITY 185 

the sake of security of security in this twentieth 
century for even still, China seems to be much 
in the condition of Europe of the Middle Ages, 
safety cannot be absolutely counted upon inside the 
gates of a town, but at least it is a little safer than 
the open country. 

We passed through Tung Chou when the soft 
tender evening shadows were falling upon battle- 
ments and walls built by a nation that, though 
it is most practical, is also one of the most poetical 
on earth; we passed through Chi Chou when the 
shadows were long in the early morning, and in 
the sunlight was the hope of the new-born day. 
Through the gate was coming a train of Peking 
carts, of laden donkeys, of great grain carts with 
seven mules, all bound for the capital in the south. 

I remember these two perhaps because they were 
the first of many walled towns, but Tsung Hua Chou 
will always remain in my memory as my own little 
walled city, the one that I explored carefully all by 
myself, and, when I think of a walled town, my 
thoughts always fly back to that little town, three- 
quarters of a mile square, at the foot of the hills that 
mark the limit of the great plain of China proper. 

It was Tuan's suggestion we should stay there. 
I would have lingered at the tombs, but he was 
emphatic. 

" Missie want make picture. More better we 
stop Tsung Hua Chou. Fine picture Tsung Hua 
Chou." 

There weren't fine pictures at Tsung Hua Chou. 
He had struck up a great friendship with the 
"cartee man," and, perhaps, either he or the " cartee 
man " had a favourite gaming-house, or a favourite 



186 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

singing girl in the town. At any rate we went, and 
I, for some hardly explainable reason, am glad we 
did. 

The road from the tombs was simply appalling. 
The hills frowned down on us, close on either side, 
high and steep and rugged, but the rough valley 
bottom, up which we went, was the wildest I was to 
see for a long time. To say I was tossed and jolted, 
is to but mildly express the condition of affairs. I 
sat on a cushion, I packed my bedding round me, 
and with both my hands I held on to the side of 
the cart, and if for one moment I relaxed the 
rigidity of my aching arms, my head or some other 
portion of my aching anatomy, was brought into 
contact with the woodwork of the cart, just in the 
place I had reckoned the woodwork could not 
possibly have reached me. There were little 
streams and bridges across them, which I particu- 
larly dreaded, for the bridges were always roughly 
paved, but it was nobody's business to see that the 
road and the pavement met neatly, and the jolt the 
cart gave, both getting on and getting off, nearly 
shook the soul out of my body. I thought of 
walking, for our progress was very slow, but in 
addition to the going being bad, the mules went just 
a little faster than I did, three and a half miles an 
hour to my three, and I felt there was nothing for 
it but to resign myself and make the best of a bad 
job. Not for worlds would I have lingered an 
hour longer on that road than I was absolutely 
obliged. And yet, bad as it was, it was the best 
road I had till I got back to Peking again. There 
may be worse roads than those of China, and there 
may be worse ways of getting over them than in a 



A WALLED CITY 187 

Peking cart, but I do trust I never come across 
them. 

We entered the gates of the city as the evening 
shadows were growing long, and as usual, I was 
carried back to the days of the Crusaders or farther 
still to Babylon as we rumbled under the arched 
gateway, but inside it was like every other town 
I have seen, dirty, sordid, crowded, with uneven 
pavements that there was no getting away from. 
Within the curtain wall, that guarded the gate, there 
were the usual little stalls for the sale of cakes, big, 
round, flat cakes and little scone-like cakes, studded 
with sesame seed, or a bright pink sweetmeat ; there 
were the sellers of pottery ware, basins and pots 
of all sorts, and the people stared at the foreign 
woman, the wealthy foreign woman who ran to two 
carts. It is an unheard-of thing in China for a 
Chinese woman to travel alone, though sometimes 
the foreign missionary women do, but they would 
invariably be accompanied by a Chinese woman, 
and one woman would not be likely to have two 
carts. One thing was certain however, my outfit 
was all that it should have been, bar the lack of a 
male protector. It bespoke me a woman of wealth 
and position in the eyes of the country folk, and the 
people of the little towns through which I passed. 
It is possible that a mule litter might have enhanced 
my dignity; but after all, two Peking carts was 
very much like having a first-class compartment all 
to myself. 

There were no foreigners, that I could hear of, 
in Tsung Hua Chou. The missionaries had fled 
during the Boxer trouble, and never come back, 
so that I was more of a show than usual, though 



188 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

indeed, in all the towns I passed through I was a 
show, and the people stared, and chattered, and 
crowded round the carts, and evidently closely 
questioned the carters. 

They tell me Chinese carters are often rascals, 
but I grew to like mine very much before we parted 
company. 

They were stolid men in blue, with dirty rags 
wrapped round their heads to keep off the dust, and 
I have no reason to suppose that they affected water 
any more than the rest of the population, whereby 
I perceive, my affections are not so much guided by 
a desire for cleanliness as I had once supposed. 
They both had the hands of artists, artists with very 
dirty nails, so it may be a feeling of brotherhood 
had something to do with my feelings, for I am 
hoping you who read will count me an artist in a 
small way. What romance they wove about me, 
for the benefit of the questioning people, I don't 
know, but the result of their communications was 
that the crowd pressed closer, and stared harder, 
and they were evil-smelling, and had never, never 
in all their lives been washed. I ceased to wonder 
that I ached all over with the jolting and rumbling 
of the cart:, I only wondered if something worse had 
not befallen me, and how it happened that these 
people, who crowded round, staring as if never in 
their lives had they seen a foreign woman before, 
did not fall victims to some horrible pestilence. 

For once inside Tsung Hua Chou I saw no 
beauty in it, for all the romantic walls outside. 
The evil-smelling streets we rumbled through to the 
inn were wickedly narrow, and down the centre hung 
notices in Chinese characters on long strips of 




OUTSIDE A WALLED CITY. 




GATE OF A WALLED CITY. 



A WALLED CITY 189 

paper white and red, and pigs, and children, and 
creaking wheelbarrows, and men with loads, blocked 
the way. But we jolted over the step into the 
courtyard of the inn at last, quite a big courtyard, 
and quite a busy inn. This was an inn where they 
apparently ran a restaurant, for as I climbed stiffly 
out of my cart a servant, carrying a tray of little 
basins containing the soups and stews the Chinese 
eat, was so absorbed in gazing at me he ran into 
the " cartee man," and a catastrophe occurred which 
was the occasion of much bad language. 

The courtyard was crowded. There were blue- 
tilted Peking carts, there were mules, there were 
donkeys, there were men of all sorts ; but there was 
only one wretched little room for me. It was very 
dirty too, and I was very tired. What was to be 
done? 

" Plenty Chinese gentlemen sleep here," declared 
Tuan, and I could quite believe it. At the door of 
every lattice-windowed room that looked out on to 
that busy courtyard, stood one, or perhaps two 
Chinese of the better class long petticoats, shaven 
head, queue and all each held in his hand a long, 
silver-mounted pipe from which he took languid 
whiffs, and he looked under his eyelids, which is 
the polite way, at the foreign woman. The foreign 
woman was very dirty, very tired, and very uncom- 
fortable, and the room looked very hopeless. The 
" cartee men " declared that this was the best inn in 
the town, and anyhow I was disinclined to go out 
and look for other quarters. Then there came 
tottering forward an old woman with tiny feet, one 
eye and a yellow flower stuck in the knot at the 
back of her bald head. China is the country of bald 



190 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

women. The men, I presume, would not mind it 
very much, as for so long they have shaven off at 
least half their hair, but the women certainly must, 
for if they can they dress their dark hair very 
elaborately. And yet have I seen many women, 
like this innkeeper's wife, with a head so bald that 
but a few strands of hair cover its nakedness, yet 
those few poor hairs are gathered together into an 
arrangement of black silk shaped something like a 
horn, and beside it is placed a flower, a rose, a pink 
oleander blossom, or a bright yellow flower for 
which I have no name. That flower gives a finish 
to a sleek and well-dressed head, when the owner 
has plenty of hair, but when she has only the heavy 
horn of silk, half a dozen hairs, and the rest of her 
bald pate covered with a black varnish, it is a poor 
travesty. When a girl marries, immediately after 
her husband has lifted her veil and she is left to the 
women of his family they pluck out the front hairs 
on her forehead, so as to give a square effect, and 
the hair is drawn very tightly back and gathered 
generally into this horn. I suspect this heavy horn 
is responsible for the baldness, though an American 
of my acquaintance declares it is the plucking out of 
the hairs on the forehead. " The rest of the hair," 
says he, " kinder gets discouraged." 

This innkeeper's wife was very kindly. She said 
I should not sleep in that room, I should have her 
room, and she would go to her mother's. The 
mother was a surprise to me. I hope when I am as 
old as she looked I shall have a mother to go to. 

Now I do not as a rule embrace my landlady. 
In England I couldn't even imagine myself feeling 
particularly kindly towards a dirty little woman clad 



A WALLED CITY 191 

in a shirt and trousers of exceedingly dirty blue 
cotton, but the intention was so evidently kind and 
hospitable, I knew not a word of her tongue, and 
was by no means sure the valued Tuan would 
translate my words of thanks properly, so I could 
but take both her very dirty little hands in mine, 
clasp them warmly, and try and look my thanks. 
Then I inspected her room. It was approached 
through an entrance where lime was stored, it was 
rather dark, and it was of good size, though on one 
side was stacked a supply of stores for the restaurant. 
Chinese macaroni, that looks as if it were first cousin 
to sheet gelatine, stale eggs and other nondescript 
eatables. There was a k'ang, of course, quite a family 
k'ang, and there was a large mirror on one wall. I 
had forgotten my camp mirror, so I looked in it 
eagerly, and the reflection left me chastened. I 
hadn't expected the journey to improve my looks, 
but I did hope it had not swelled up one cheek, and 
bunged up the other eye. I felt I did not want to 
stay in the room with that mirror, but there were 
other things worse than the mirror in it. The 
beautiful lattice-work window had apparently never 
been opened since the first cover of white tissue 
paper had been put on it, and the smell of human 
occupancy there defies my poor powers of descrip- 
tion. The dirty little place I had at first disdained, 
had at least a door opening on to the comparatively 
fresh air of the courtyard. I told Tuan to explain 
that while I was delighted to see her room, and 
admired everything very much in it, nothing would 
induce me to deprive her of its comforts. She 
certainly was friendly. As I looked in the chasten- 
ing mirror, I, like a true woman, I suppose, put up 



192 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

a few stray locks that the jolting cart had shaken 
out of place, and she promptly wanted to do my 
hair herself with a selection from an array of 
elderly combs with which she probably dressed her 
own scanty locks. That was too much. I had to 
decline, I trust she thought it was my modesty, and 
then she offered me some of the macaroni. I tried 
to say I had nothing to give in return and then Tuan 
remarked, "As friend, as friend." So as a friend, 
from that little maimed one-eyed old woman up in 
the hills of China, I took a handful of macaroni and 
had nothing to give in return. I hope she feels as 
friendly towards me as I shall always do towards 
her. 

It is not always that the difficulty of giving a 
return present is on the foreign side, sometimes it 
is the Chinese who feel it. I remember a traveller 
for a business house telling me how on one occasion 
he had gone to a village and entertained the elders at 
dinner, giving them brandy which they loved, and 
liqueurs which seemed to the unsophisticated village 
fathers ambrosia fit for the gods. The next day, 
when he was about to take his departure, a small 
procession approached him and one of them bore 
on a tray a little Chinese handleless cup covered 
with another. They said he could speak Chinese, 
so there was no need for an interpreter, that he had 
given them a very good time, they were very grate- 
ful, and they wished to make him a present by 
which he might remember them sometimes. But 
their village was poor and small. It contained 
nothing worth his acceptance, and after much con- 
sultation, they had come to the conclusion that the 
best way would be to present him with the money, 



A WALLED CITY 193 

so that he might buy something for himself when 
he came to Peking or some other large town. 
Thereupon the cup was presented, the cover lifted 
off, and in the bottom lay a ten cent piece, worth 
about twopence halfpenny. Probably it seemed 
quite an adequate present to men who count their 
incomes by cash of which a thousand go to the 
dollar. 

I don't think my landlady minded much my 
declining the hospitality of her room. Possibly she 
only wished me to see its glories, and presently she 
brought to the little room I had at first so despised, 
and now looked upon, if not as a haven of rest, at 
least as one of fresh air, a couple of nice hard wood 
stools, and a beautifully carved k'ang table thick with 
grease. 

" Say must make Missie comfortable," said Tuan 
with the usual suggestion he had done it himself. 

And those stools were covered, much to my 
surprise, with red woollen tapestry, and the pattern 
was one that I had seen used many a time in a little 
town on the Staffordshire moors, where their busi- 
ness is to dye and print. And here was one of the 
results of their labours, a "Wardle rag," as we used 
to call them, up among the hills of Northern China. 

I was too tired to do anything but go to bed that 
night as soon as I had had my dinner. I had it, as 
usual, on the k'ang table, the dirt shrouded by my 
humble tablecloth, and curious eyes watched me, 
even as I watched the trays of full basins and the 
trays of empty ones that were for ever coming 
and going across the courtyard. 

Next morning my friendly landlady brought to 
see me two other small-footed women, both smoking 

N 



194 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

long pipes, women who said, through Tuan, their 
ages were forty and sixty respectively, and who 
examined, with interest, me and my belongings. 
They felt my boots so much, good, substantial, 
leather-built by Peter Yapp, that at last I judged 
they would like to see what was underneath, and 
took off a boot and stocking for their inspection, and 
the way they felt my foot up and down as if it were 
something they had never before met in their lives, 
amused me very much. At least at first it amused 
me, and then it saddened me. Though they held 
out their own poor maimed feet, they did not return 
the compliment much as I desired it. They took 
me across the courtyard into another room where, 
behind lattice-work windows, that had not been 
opened for ages, were two more women sitting on 
the k'ang, and two little shaven-headed children. 
These were younger women, tall and stout, with feet 
so tiny, they called my attention to them, that it did 
not seem to me possible any woman could support 
herself upon them. My boy was not allowed in, so 
of course I could not talk to them, could only smile 
and drink tea. 

These two younger women, who were evidently 
of superior rank, had their hair most elaborately 
dressed and wore most gorgeous raiment. One was 
clad in purple satin with a little black about it, and 
the other, a mere girl of eighteen, but married, for 
her hair was no longer in a queue, and her forehead 
was squared, wore a coat of pale blue silk brocade 
and grass-green trousers of the same material. 
Their faces were impassive, as are the faces of 
Chinese women of the better class, but they smiled, 
evidently liked their tortured feet to be noticed, gave 



A WALLED CITY 195 

me tea from the teapot on the k'ang table, and then 
presently all four, with the gaily dressed babies, 
tottered out into the courtyard, the older women 
leading the toddling children, and helping the 
younger, and, with the aid of settles, they climbed 
into two Peking carts, my elderly friends taking 
their places on the outside, whereby I judged they 
were servants or household slaves. 

"Chinese wives," said Tuan, but whether they 
were the wives of one man, or of two, I had no 
means of knowing. The costumes of the two 
younger were certainly not those in which I would 
choose to travel on a Chinese road in a Peking cart, 
but the Chinese have a proverb : " Abroad wear the 
new, at home it does not matter," so they probably 
thought my humble mole-coloured cotton crepe, 
equally out of place. 

And when they were gone I set out to explore the 
town. 

It was only a small place, built square, with two 
main roads running north, and south, and east, and 
west, and cutting each other at right angles in the 
heart of it. They were abominably paved. No 
vehicle but a springless Peking cart would have 
dreamt of making its way across that pavement, but 
then probably no vehicle save a cart or a wheel- 
barrow in all the years of the city's life had ever 
been thought of there. The remaining streets were 
but evil-smelling alley-ways, narrow in comparison 
with the main ways which, anywhere else, I should 
have deemed hopelessly inadequate, thronged as 
they were with people and encroached upon by the 
shops that stood close on either side. They had no 
glass fronts, of course, these shops, but otherwise, 



196 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

they were not so very unlike the shops one sees in 
the poorer quarters of the great towns in England. 
But there was evidently no Town Council to regu- 
late the use to which the streets should be put. The 
dyer hung his long strips of blue cloth half across 
the roadway, careless of the convenience of the 
passer-by, the man who sold cloth had out little 
tables or benches piled with white and blue calico 
I have seen tradesmen do the same in King's Road, 
Chelsea the butcher had his very disagreeable 
wares fully displayed half across the roadway, the 
gentleman who was making mud bricks for the 
repair of his house, made them where it was handiest 
in the street close to the house, and the man who 
sold cooked provisions, with his little portable 
kitchen and table, set himself down right in the 
fairway and tempted all-comers with little basins of 
soup, fat, pale-looking steamed scones, hard-boiled 
eggs or meat turnovers. 

This place, hidden behind romantic grey walls, 
at which I had wondered in the evening light, was 
in the morning just like any other city, Peking 
with the glory and beauty gone out of it, and the 
people who thronged those streets were just the 
poorer classes of Peking, only it seemed there were 
more naked children and more small-footed women 
with elaborately dressed hair tottering along, 
balancing themselves with their arms. I met a 
crowd accompanying the gay scarlet poles, flags, 
musical instruments and the red sedan chair of a 
wedding. The poor little bride, shut up in the 
scarlet chair, was going to her husband's house and 
leaving her father's for ever. It is to be hoped she 
would find favour in the sight of her husband and 




DEAD GODS AT TSUNG HUA CHOU. 




TEMPLE COURTYARD AT TSUNG HUA CHOU. 



A WALLED CITY 197 

her husband's women-folk. It was more important 
probably, that she should please the latter. 

The bridal party made a great noise, but then all in 
that town was noise, dirt, crowding, and evil smells. 
The only peaceful place in it was the courtyard of 
the little temple close against the city wall. Out- 
side it stand two hideous figures with hands flung out 
in threatening attitude, and inside were more figures, 
all painted in the gayest colours. What they meant 
I have not lore enough to know, but they were very 
hideous, the very lowest form of art. 

There was the recording angel with a black face 
and the open book after all, the recording angel 
must often wear a black face and there was the 
eternal symbol that has appealed through all ages 
to all people, and must appeal one would think 
above all, to this nation that longs so ardently for 
offspring, the mother with the child upon her knee. 
But they were all ugly to my Western eyes, and the 
only thing that charmed me was the silence, the 
cleanliness, and the quiet of the courtyard, the 
only place in all the busy little city that was at 
peace. 

When I engaged Tuan I had thought he was to 
do all the waiting upon me I needed, but it seems I 
made a mistake. The farther I got from Peking 
the greater his importance became, and here he 
could not so much as carry for me the lightest wrap. 
His business appeared to be to engage other people 
to do the work. There was one dilapidated wretch 
to carry the camera, another the box with the plates, 
and yet a third bore the black cloth I would put over 
my head to focus my pictures properly. It was not 
a bit of good protesting, two minutes after I got rid 



198 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

of one lot of followers, another took their place, and 
as everyone had to be paid, apparently, I often 
thought, for the pleasure of looking at me, I 
resigned myself to my fate. 

Accompanied by all the idlers and children in 
the town I climbed the ramp on to the walls, which 
are in perfect order, three miles round and on the 
top from fifteen feet to twenty broad. That ramp 
must have been always steep, the last thing a 
Chinese ever thinks about is comfort, steep almost 
as the walls themselves, and everywhere the stones 
are gone, making it a work of difficulty to climb to 
the top. Tuan helped me in approved Chinese 
fashion, putting his hand underneath my elbow, and 
once I was there the town was metamorphosed, it 
was again the romantic city I had seen from the 
plain in the evening light. Now the early morning 
sunlight, with all the promise of the day in it, fell 
upon graceful curved Chinese roofs and innumer- 
able trees, dainty with the delicate vivid verdure 
that comes in the spring as a reward to a country 
where the winter has been long, bitter, and iron- 
bound. 

The walls of most Chinese cities are built square, 
with right angles at the four corners, but in at least 
two that I have been in, T'ung Chou and Pao Ting 
Fu, one corner is built out in a bow. I rather 
admired the effect at first, till I found it was a mark 
of deepest disgrace. There had been a parricide 
committed in the town. When such a terrible thing 
occurs a corner of the city wall must be pulled down 
and built out ; a second one, another corner is 
pulled down and built out, and a third likewise ; but 
the fourth time such a crime is committed in the 



A WALLED CITY 199 

luckless town the walls must be razed to the ground. 
But such a disgrace has never occurred in any town 
in the annals of Chinese history, those age-long 
annals that go back farther than any other nation's, 
for if a town should be so unlucky as to have 
harboured four such criminals within its walls they 
generally managed, by the payment of a sum of 
money, to get a city that had some of its corners 
still intact to take the disgrace upon itself. 

I strongly suspect too, that it is only when the 
offender is in high places that his crime is thus 
commemorated, for I have only heard of these two 
cases, and yet as short a while ago as 1912 there 
was a terrible murder in Pao Ting Fu that shocked 
the town. It appeared there was an idle son, who 
instead of working for his family, spent all his time 
attending to his cage bird, taking it out for walks, 
encouraging it to sing, hunting the graves outside 
the town for insects for it. His poor old mother 
sighed over his uselessness. 

" If it were not for the bird ! " said she. 

The young blood in China, it seems, goes to the 
dogs over a cage bird, a lark or a thrush, as the 
young man in modern Europe comes to grief over 
horse-racing, so we see that human nature is the 
same all the world over. This Chinese mother 
brooded over her boy's wasted life, and one day when 
he was out she opened the cage door and the bird 
flew away. 

When he came in he asked for the bird and she 
said nothing, only with her large, sharp knife went 
on shredding up the vegetables that she was putting 
into a large cauldron of boiling water for supper. 
He asked again for the bird. Still she took no 



200 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

notice, and he seized her knife and slit her up into 
small pieces and put her into the cauldron. He 
was taken, and tried, and was put to death by slicing 
into a thousand pieces yes, even in modern China 
but they did not think it necessary to pull down 
another corner of the city wall. Possibly they felt 
the disgrace of a bygone age was enough for Pao 
Ting Fu. 

The corners of the walls of Tsung Hua Chou 
were as they were first built, rectangular, and the 
watch-towers at those corners and over the four 
gates from the distance looked imposing, all that 
they should be, but close at hand I saw that they 
were tumbling into ruins, the doors were fallen off 
the hinges, the window-frames were broken, all was 
desolate and empty. 

" Once the soldier she watch here," said my boy, 
whose pronouns were always somewhat mixed 

"Why not now? " 

" No soldier here now. She go work in gold 
mine ninety li away. Gold mine belong Plesident." 

Tuan had got as far as the fact that a President 
had taken the place of the Manchu Emperor, but I 
wondered very much whether the inhabitants of 
Tsung Hua Chou had. I meditated on my way 
back to a Missie's inn " on the limitations of the 
practical Chinese mind that because it is practical, 
I suppose, cannot conceive of the liberty, equality, 
and fraternity that a Republic denotes. The Presi- 
dent, to the humble Chinese in the street, has just 
taken the place of the Emperor, he is the one who 
rules over them, his soldiers are withdrawn. That 
there was a war in Mongolia, a rebellion impending 
in the south, were items of news that had not reached 




NORTH-WEST CORNER OF WALL, PAO TING FU. 




A COOLIE IN THE STREET, TSUNG HUA CHOU. 



A WALLED CITY 201 

the man in the street in Tsung Hua Chou who, feeling 
that the soldiers must be put to some use, concluded 
they were working in the President's gold mine 
ninety li away. 

A foreigner went to a Chinese tailor the other day 
to make him a suit of clothes, and he found occasion 
to complain that the gentleman's prices had gone 
up considerably since he employed him last. The 
man of the scissors was equal to the occasion, and 
explained that, since " revelations," so many Chinese 
had taken to wearing foreign dress, he was obliged 
to charge more. 

" You belong revolution ? " asked the inquiring 
foreigner, anxious to find out how far liberty, 
fraternity, and equality had penetrated. 

The tailor looked at him more in sorrow than in 
scorn. How could he be so foolish. 

" I no belong revelation," he explained carefully, 
as one who was instructing where no instruction 
should have been necessary. The thing was self- 
evident, " I belong tailor man." 

When the revolution first dawned upon the 
country people all they realised when they realised 
anything at all was that there was no longer an 
Emperor, therefore they supposed they would no 
longer have to pay taxes. When they found that 
Emperor or no Emperor taxes were still required 
of them, they just put the President in the Emperor's 
place. I strongly suspect that if the greater part 
of the inhabitants of my walled city were to be 
questioned as to the revolution they would reply like 
the tailor : " No belong revolution, belong Tsung 
Hua Chou!" 

But in truth the civilisation of China is still sq 



202 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

much like that of Babylon and Nineveh, that it is 
best for the poor man, if he can, to efface himself. 
He does not pray for rights as yet. He only prays 
that he may slip through life unnoticed, that he may 
not come in contact with the powers that rule him, 
for no matter who is right or who is wrong bitter 
experience has taught him that he will suffer. 

We do not realise that sufficiently in the West 
when we talk of China. We judge her by our own 
standards. The time may come when this may be 
a right way of judging, but it has not come yet. 
Rather should we judge as they judged in the days 
of the old Testament, in the days of Nineveh and 
Babylon, when the proletariat, the slaves, were as 
naught in the sight of God or man. 

A man told me how in the summer of 1912, 
travelling in the interior, he came to a small city in 
one of the central provinces, a city not unlike Tsung 
Hua Chou, like indeed a thousand other little cities 
in this realm of Cathay. The soldiers quartered 
there had not been paid, and they had turned to and 
looted the town. The unwise city men, instead of 
submitting lest a worse thing happen unto them, had 
telegraphed their woes to Peking, and orders had 
come down to the General in command that the ring- 
leaders must be executed. But no wise General is 
going to be hard on his own soldiers. This General 
certainly was not. Still justice had to be satisfied, 
and he was not at a loss. He sent a body of 
soldiers to the looted shops, where certain luckless 
men were sadly turning over the damaged property. 
These they promptly arrested. The English on- 
looker, who spoke Chinese, declared to me solemnly 
these arrested men were the merchants themselves, 



A WALLED CITY 203 

their helpers and coolies. That was nothing to the 
savage soldiery. There had to be victims. Had 
not the order come from the central government. 
Some of the men, there were twenty in all, they beat 
and left dead on the spot, the rest they dragged to 
the yamen. The traveller, furious and helpless, 
followed. Of course the guilt of the merchants was 
a foregone conclusion. They never execute anyone 
who does not confess his guilt and the justice of his 
sentence in China, but they have means of making 
sure of the confession. Presently out the unfor- 
tunate men came again, stripped to the waist, with 
their arms tied up high behind them, prepared, in 
fact, for death. The soldiers dragged them along, 
they protesting their innocence to unheeding ears. 
Their women and children came out, running 
alongside the mournful procession, clinging to the 
soldiers and to their husbands and fathers, and 
praying for mercy. They tripped and fell, and the 
soldiers, the soldiers in khaki, pushed them aside, 
and stepped over them, and dragged on their 
victims. The traveller followed. No one took 
any notice of him, and what could he do, though his 
heart was sore, one against so many. Through 
the narrow, filthy streets they went, past their own 
looted shops. They looked about them wildly, but 
there was none to help, and before them marched 
the executioner, with a great sharp sword in his 
hands, and always the soldiers in modern uniform 
emphasised the barbarity of the crime. Presently 
they had distanced the wailing women and were 
outside the walls, but the foreign onlooker was still 
with them. 

" And one was a boy not twenty," he said with 



204 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

a sharp, indrawn breath, wiping his face as he told 
the ghastly tale. 

They knelt in a row, just where the walls of 
their own town frowned down on them, and one by 
one the executioner cut off their heads. The death 
of the first in the line was swift enough, but, as he 
approached the end of the row the man's arm grew 
tired and he did not get the last two heads right off. 

" I saw one jump four times," said the shocked 
onlooker, " before he died." 

And then they telegraphed to Peking that order 
had been restored, and the ringleaders executed. 

Since I heard that man's story, I always read that 
order has been restored in any Chinese city with a 
shudder, and wonder how many innocents have 
suffered. For I have heard stories like that, not of 
one city, or told by one man, but of various cities, 
and told by different men. The Chinese, it seems 
to me, copy very faithfully the European news- 
papers, the great papers of the Western world. 
Horrors like that are never read in a Western paper, 
therefore you never see such things reported in the 
Chinese papers. After all they are only the prole- 
tariat, the slaves of Babylon or Nineveh. Who 
counted a score or so of them slain? Order has 
been restored, comes the message for the benefit of 
the modern world, and in the little city the bloody 
heads adorn the walls and the bodies lie outside to 
be torn to pieces by the wonks and the vultures. 

And when I heard tales like this, I wondered 
whether it was safe for a woman to be travelling 
alone. It is safe, of course, for the Chinaman, 
strange as it may sound after telling such tales, 
is at bottom more law-abiding than the average 



A WALLED CITY 205 

European. True, he is more likely to insult or rob 
a woman than a man, because he has for so long 1 
regarded a woman as of so much less consequence 
than a man, that when he considers the matter he 
cannot really believe that any nation could hold a 
different opinion. Still, in all probability, she will 
be safe, just as in all probability she might march 
by herself from Land's End to John o' Groats 
without being molested. She may be robbed and 
murdered, and so she may be robbed and murdered 
in China. The Chinese are robbed and murdered 
often enough themselves poor things. Also they 
do not surfer in silence. They revenge themselves 
when they can. 

A man travelling for the British and American 
Tobacco Company, he was a young man, not yet 
eight-and-twenty, told me how, once, outside a 
small walled town, Ke came upon a howling mob, 
and parting them after the lordly fashion of the 
Englishman, who knows he can use his hands, he 
saw they were crowding round a pit half filled with 
quicklime. In it, buried to his middle, was a 
ghastly creature with his eyes scooped out, and the 
hollows filled up with quicklime. 

" If I had had a pistol handy," said the teller of 
the tale, " I would have shot him. I couldn't have 
helped myself. It seemed the only thing to put him 
out of his misery, but, after all, I think he was past 
all feeling, and I wonder what the people would 
have done to me ! " 

They told him, when he investigated, that this 
man was a robber, that he had robbed and murdered 
without mercy, and so, when he fell into their 
hands, they had taken vengeance. 



206 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Was that Babylon, or Nineveh, I wondered? 
Since such things happen in China one feels that 
the age of Babylon and Nineveh has not yet gone 
by. Talk with but a few men who have wandered 
into the interior, and you realise the strong necessity 
for these walled towns. 

When the rumour of the slaughter of the 
Manchus, and the killing in the confusion of eight 
Europeans at Hsi An Fu in Shensi in October 
1911, reached Peking, nine young men banded 
themselves together into the Shensi Relief Force, 
and set out from the capital to relieve the mission- 
aries cut off there. One of these young men it was 
my good fortune to meet, and the story of their 
doings, told at first hand, unrolled for me the leaves 
of history. They set out to help the men and 
women of their own colour, but as they passed west 
from Tai Yuan Fu, again and again, the people of 
the country appealed to them to stop and help them. 
The Elder Brother Society, the Ko Lao Hui were 
on the warpath, and, with whatever good intentions 
this society had originated, it was, on this way from 
Tai Yuan Fu to Hsi An Fu, nothing less than a band 
of robbers, pillaging and murdering, and even the 
walled cities were hardly a safeguard. Village after 
village, with no such defences, was wrecked, burned, 
and destroyed, and their inhabitants were either slain 
or refugees in the mountains. And the suffering 
that means, with the bitter winter of China ahead of 
them, is ghastly to think of. They died, of course, 
and those who were slain by the robbers probably 
suffered the least. 

"What could we do? What could we possibly 
do?" asked my informant pitifully. 



A WALLED CITY 207 

At last they came to Sui Te Chou, a walled city, 
and Sui Te Chou was for the moment triumphant. 
It had driven off the robbers. The Elder Brother 
Society had held the little city closely invested. 
They had built stone towers, and, from the top of 
them, had fired into the city, and at the defenders 
on the walls, and, under cover of this fire from the 
towers, they had attempted to scale the battlements. 
But the people on the walls had pushed them down 
with long spears, and had poured boiling water 
upon them, and, finally, the robbers had given way, 
and some braves, issuing from the south gate had 
fallen upon them, killing many and capturing thirty 
of them. It was a short shrift for them, and a 
festoon of heads adorned the gateway under which 
the foreigners passed. 

But, though victorious, the braves of Sui Te Chou 
knew right well that the lull was only momentary. 
They were reversing tEe Scriptural order of things, 
and beating their ploughshares into swords. The 
brigands would be back as soon as they had rein- 
forcements, the battle would be to the strong and it 
would indeed be " Woe to the Vanquished ! " 

"We could not help them. We could not," 
reiterated the teller of the tale sadly ; " we just had 
to go on." 

It was old China, he said, let us hope the last of 
old China. In that town were English missionaries, 
a man and his wife, another man and two little 
children, members of the English Baptist Church, 
dressed in Chinese dress, the men with queues. 
These they rescued, and took along with them, and 
glad were they to have two more able-bodied men 
in the party, even though they were counterbalanced 



208 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

by the presence of the woman and two children, fof 
everywhere along the track were evidences of the 
barbaric times in which they lived. Human heads 
in wicker cages were common objects of the way- 
side, and the wolves came down from the mountains 
and gnawed at the dead bodies, or attacked the sick 
and wounded. Old China was a ghastly place that 
autumn of 1911, during the "bloodless" revolution. 
Chung Pu they reached immediately after it had 
been attacked by six hundred men. 

"I had to kick a dog away that was gnawing at 
a dead body as we led the lady into a house for 
the night," said the narrator. " I could only implore 
her not to look." 

But at I Chun things were worse still. They 
reached it just as it had fallen into the hands of the 
Elder Brother Society, and they began to think they 
had taken those missionaries out of the frying-pan 
into the fire. I Chiin is a walled city up in the 
mountains of Shensi, and the only approach was by 
a pathway so narrow that it only allowed of one mule 
litter at a time. On one side was a steep precipice, 
on the other the city wall, and along that wall came 
racing men armed with matchlocks, spears, and 
swords, yelling defiance and prepared, apparently, 
to attack. The worst of it was there was no turning 
that litter round. They halted, and the gate ahead 
of them opened, and right in the centre of the gate- 
way was an ancient cannon with a man standing 
beside it with a lighted rope in his hand. Turn the 
litter and get away in a hurry they could not. 
Leave it they could not. There was seemingly no 
escape for them. It only wanted one of those 
excited men to shout "Ta, Ta," and the match 



A WALLED CITY 209 

would have been applied, and the ancient gun would 
have swept the pathway. Then the leader of the 
band of foreigners stepped forward. He flung away 
his rifle, he flung away his revolver, he flung away 
his knife, and he stood there before them defence- 
less, with his arms raised modern civilisation 
bowing for the moment before the force of Babylon. 
It was a moment of supreme anxiety. Suppose 
the people misunderstood his actions. 

"We scarcely dared breathe," said the story- 
teller. Every heart stood still. And then they 
understood. The man with the lighted rope 
dropped it, and they beckoned to the strangers to 
come inside the gates. 

It required a good deal of courage to go inside 
those gates, to put themselves in the power of the 
Elder Brother Society, and they spent an anxious 
night. The town had been sacked, the streets ran 
blood, the men were slain, their bodies were in the 
streets for the crows and the wonks to feed on, and 
the women well women never count for much in 
China in times of peace, and in war they are the 
spoil of the victor the Goddess of Mercy was 
forgotten those days in I Chiin. All night long the 
anxious little party kept watch and ward, and when 
day dawned were thankful to be allowed to proceed 
on their way unmolested, eventually reaching Hsi 
An Fu and rescuing all the missionaries who wished 
to be rescued. 

" It was exciting," said my friend, half apologising 
for getting excited over it. " It was the last of old 
China. Such things will never happen again." 

Exciting! it thrilled me to hear him talk, to know 
such things had happened barely a year before, to 

o 



210 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

know they had happened in this country. Would 
they never happen again ? I was not so sure of that 
as I went through walled town after walled town, 
as I looked up at the walls of Tsung Hua Chou. 
This was the correct setting. To talk in friendly, 
commonplace fashion to people who lived in such 
towns seemed to annihilate time, to bring the past 
nearer to me, to make me understand, as I had 
never understood before, that the people who had 
lived, and suffered, and triumphed, or lived, and 
suffered, and fallen, were almost exactly the same 
flesh and blood as I was myself. 

Back at the inn my friend the landlady brought 
me her little grandson to admire. He was a jolly 
little unwashed chap with a shaven head, clad in an 
unwashed shift, and I think I admired him to her 
heart's content. It was evidently worth having been 
born and lived all the strenuous weary days of her 
hard life to have had part in the bringing into the 
world of that grandson. His little sister in the blue- 
cornered handkerchief, looking on, did not count 
for much, and yet she had her own feelings, for 
when I clambered into my cart and was just 
rumbling over the step I was startled by a terrified 
childish outcry. Looking back, I saw that a little 
serving-maid, a slave probably, was running after 
my cart with the small son and heir in her arms, 
making believe to give away the household treasure 
to the foreign woman, with grandmother and subor- 
dinates looking smilingly on. Only the little 
sister, who was not in the secret, was shrieking 
lustily in protest. 

I had been thinking of the cities in the plain of 
Mesopotamia! And this carried me back to the 



A WALLED CITY 211 

days of my own childhood and the hills round 
Ballarat! Many and many a time in my young 
days have I seen the household baby offered to the 
"vegetable John," and the small brothers and sisters 
shrieking a terrified protest. " They would be 
good, and love baby, and never be cross with him 
any more." Here was I taking the place of the 
smiling, bland, John Chinaman of my childhood. 
After all human nature is much the same all the 
world over, on the sunny hills of Ballarat, or in a 
walled city at the foot of the mountains in Northern 
China. If we could but bridge the gulf that lies 
between, I expect we should have found it just 
exactly the same on the banks of the Euphrates and 
beneath the walls of Babylon. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE NlfrE DRAGON TEMPLE 

The crossing of the Lanho A dust storm Dangers of a mew 
inin Locked in Holy mountain Ruined city My inter- 
preter A steep hill The barren woman Unappetising food 
The abbot The beggar Burning incense The beauty of 
the way. 

WE were fairly in the mountains when we left Tsung 
Hua Chou. As we crawled along slowly, and I 
trust with dignity, though dignity is not my strong 
point, I looked up to the hills that towered above us, 
almost perpendicular they seemed in places, as if 
the slope had been shorn off roughly with a blunt 
knife, and I saw that one of these crags, that must 
have been about a thousand feet above the valley 
bottom, anyhow it looked it in the afternoon sun- 
light, was crowned by buildings ; and not feeling 
energetic, nobody does feel energetic who rides for 
long in a Peking cart, I thanked my stars that I had 
not to go up there. I thought if it were the most 
beautiful temple in the world I would not go up that 
mountain to visit it. Which only shows that I did 
not reckon on my Chinese servant. There may be 
people who can cope single-handed with the will 
of a Chinaman. I can't. I know now that if my 
servant expresses a desire for a thing, he will only 
ask, of course, for what is perfectly correct and good 

212 




A TEMPLE SET IN THE TREES. 
(See page 307) 




CROSSING THE LANHO. 
(See page 213) 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 213 

for his Missie, he will have it in the end, so it is no 
good struggling ; it is better to give in gracefully at 
first. 

As we neared a river, the Lanho, or I suppose I 
should say the Lan, for " ho " means a river, the 
clouds began to gather for the first time since I had 
set out on my journey, and it seemed as if it were 
going to rain. 

" Must make haste," said Tuan looking up at the 
grey sky with the clouds scurrying across it, and 
making haste in a Peking cart is a painful process. 

By the time we arrived at the river-banks it was 
blowing furiously, and a good part of the country, 
as always seems to be the case in China when the 
wind blows, was in the air. The river, wide and 
muddy and rather shallow, was flowing swiftly along, 
and the crossing-place was just where the valley was 
widest, and there was a large extent of sand on 
either bank, so there was plenty of material for the 
wind to play with. It used it as if it had never had 
a chance before and was bound to make the most 
of it. There were many other people on that sandy 
beach, there were other Peking carts, there were 
laden country carts with their heavily studded wheels 
cut out of one piece of wood, looking like the wheels 
Mr Reed puts on his prehistoric carts in Punch, 
there were laden donkeys and mules, there were all 
the blue-clad people in charge of the traffic, and 
there were tiny restaurants, rough-looking shacks 
where the refreshment of these people was provided 
for. They weren't refreshing when I arrived, the 
wind was blowing things away piecemeal, and every 
man seemed to be grabbing something portable, or 
putting it down with a stone upon it to anchor it. 



214 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

" Must make haste," said Tuan again, as he helped 
me out of the cart, and the wind got under my coat, 
tore at my veil, and succeeded in pulling down some 
of my hair. 

We had got beyond the region of bridges, I 
suppose in the summer the floods come down and 
sweep them away, and everybody was crossing on a 
wupan, a long, shallow, ffat-bottomed boat that had 
been decked in the middle to allow of carts being 
taken across. The mules were taken out, and the 
carts with the help of every available man about, 
except the fat restaurant-keeper, were got on the 
boat. 

" Must make haste," repeated Tuan, distributing 
with a liberal hand my hard-earned cents. I used to 
think a cent or two in China didn't matter, but I 
know by bitter experience they mount up. 

And then just as we were all ready, my leading 
mule, a fawn-coloured animal of some character, 
expressed his disapproval of the mode of transit by 
a violent kick, and broke away. The dust was 
blowing in heavy clouds, but every now and then I 
could see through the veil a dozen people racing 
after him, while he kicked up his heels in derision, 
and in a fashion of which I should not have thought 
any beast that had brought a Peking cart so far 
over such roads was capable. Then a brilliant 
idea occurred to the younger "cartee man." He 
decided to mount the white mule that led the other 
cart. This was a meek-looking beast who I pre- 
sume always did exactly as he was told ; but a worm 
will turn, and to be ridden after all the long journey 
was more than even he would stand. With a buck 
and a kick he got rid of the "cartee man," and then 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 215 

there were two mules careering about in the wild dust 
storm. It looked highly probable that they would 
take advantage of their liberty to go back to Peking, 
and I crossed that river wondering very much how 
I was to get any farther on my journey, and whether 
lost mules were a part of the just expenditure expected 
of a foreign woman. After about two hours, how- 
ever, they were brought in, the fawn-coloured mule 
as perky as ever, but the white one so depressed by 
his only taste of freedom that he never recovered as 
long as I had the pleasure of his acquaintance. 

Before we were on our way again the dust storm 
had subsided, and I was shaking the mountains, or 
the Gobi Desert, or whatever it was, out of the folds 
of my clothes and out of my hair and eyes, and Tuan 
was once more urgent. 

" Must make haste. 55 

But it was no good, we had lost too much time, we 
could not possibly reach the little town we had 
planned to reach, and before the sun set we turned 
into the yard of a little hostelry in a small mountain 
hamlet underneath the holy mountain that was 
crowned with the temple I had been looking at all 
the afternoon. 

And then to my joy I found that this place was 
clean, actually clean!! Two notes of exclamation 
do not do proper justice to it. The yard bore little 
traces of occupation, the room I was shown into had 
a new blue calico curtain at the door, it was freshly 
whitewashed, a clean mat was on the k 5 ang, the wood 
that edged it was new, and there was clean tissue 
paper over the lattice-work of the windows. The 
floor, of course, was only hard, beaten earth, but 
that did not matter. I would sit on the k'ang, and 



216 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

besides this place smelt of nothing but whitewash. 
I rejoiced exceedingly as I had the paper torn 
off the top of the window to let in the fresh 
air, but Tuan looked at it from another point of 
view. 

" Must take care," said he, " this new inn. ' Cartee 
man ' no know she. Must take care," and he looked 
so grave that I wondered what on earth was the 
penalty I ran the risk of paying for cleanliness. 

They evidently were afraid, for all the luggage, 
which as a rule stayed strapped on the carts in the 
inn yard, was taken off and brojught in. I was 
worth robbing, for I had about seven-and-twenty 
pounds in dollars in my black box, and that, judging 
by what I saw, would have bought up all the 
villages between Jehol and Peking. However, it 
was no good worrying about it, however agitated 
Tuan might be. Besides, anyhow he was some- 
thing of a coward, all Chinese servants are, it seems 
to me. 

His fear didn't seem to last very long, for pres- 
ently he came bustling in, all excitement. 

I was brushing my hair to try and get some of the 
dust out of it, and reflecting there was possibly some 
reason in so many Chinese women being bald. It 
must be much easier to keep a hairless head free 
from dust. 

" Missie, Missie, innkeeper man, she say my 
Missie come in good time. Nine Dragon Temple," 
he pointed upwards, and I knew with a sinking heart 
he meant the one I had watched all day and decided 
that to it I would not go, "open one time for ten 
day, never in year open any more," and he looked 
at me to see his words sink in. They sank in right 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 217 

enough. I knew I was going there, but still I 
protested. 

" I cannot walk up that mountain." 
" No walk, Missie no walk, can get chair." 
Still I struggled. " It will cost too much money." 
" Three dollars, Missie, can do. Not spend much 
monies," and he looked at me as much as to say I 
would never let three dollars, about six shillings, 
stand between me and a wonder that was only open 
for ten days in the year, especially when I had 
arrived on the auspicious day. 

" But what will you do, Tuan, I really cannot 
afford a chair for you," for I knew my follower on 
every occasion, even when I should have walked 
made a point of riding. He looked at me, but I 
suppose he saw I had reached the limit of my for- 
bearance. His chest swelled out virtuously. 
" I strong young man, I walk." 
I made another effort. u But the bottom of the 
mountain is a good way off, how shall I get there ? " 
" I talkee ' cartee man/ he takee Missie two 
dollars." 

It was mounting up. I knew it would. 
" But who will look after our things here ? " 
"One piecey 'cartee man' stop," said he airily. 
So it was all arranged and I was booked for the 
Nine Dragon Temple whether I liked it or not. 
Then there was the night to consider in this new inn, 
the safety of which Tuan had doubted. In my room 
were all my possessions, including the black box 
with the money in it, and I looked at the door and 
saw to my dismay that there was no fastening on the 
inside. 

" I take care Missie," said Tuan loftily, and then 



218 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

proceeded to instruct me in the precautions he had 
taken. 

" Innkeeper man ask how long Missie stay and I 
say pVaps five day, p'r'aps ten day. No tell true." 
No tell true indeed, lor I had every intention of 
leaving next day even if I did have to go up to the 
mountain temple in the morning. 

Again I looked at the rough planks of the door 
coming down to the earthen floor, and decided I 
would draw my heavy box across it, and I said so 
to Tuan. 

But he was emphatic, " I take care Missie," I 
wonder if he would have done so had there really 
been any danger. Then he bid me good night and, 
going outj drew the door to after him and proceeded 
to lock it on the outside ! I presume he put the key 
in his pocket. Some papers have honoured me by 
referring to me as a " distinguished traveller," and I 
have had hopes of being elected to the Royal 
Geographical Society! For a moment I thought of 
calling him back indignantly, and then I thought 
better of it. "A man thinks he knows," says the 
Chinese proverb, " but a woman knows better." 

The window was frail and all across the room, and 
I knew I could break the lattice-work if I wanted to, 
so could the thief for that matter, so I slept peace- 
fully, the sleep of the utterly weary, and the inn- 
keeper proved an honest man after all. 

And next day, after breakfast, just as the sun was 
rising, I started for the Nine Dragon Temple, The 
peak which it crowned stood out from the rest like 
a very acute triangle. They say the camera cannot 
lie, I only know I did not succeed in getting a photo- 
graph of that mountain that gave any idea of its 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 219 

steepness. Its slopes, faintly tinged with green and 
dotted with fir-trees, fell away like the sides of a 
house from the narrow top that was crowned with 
buildings. It was just one of the many holy moun- 
tains that are scattered over China^ and it seemed to 
me, looking up, that nothing but a bird could reach 
it. But still I had to try. All the country was 
bathed in the golden rays of the sun as I climbed 
into the cart, and we made our way through a ruined 
city that must once have been very rich and pros- 
perous. Only the poorest of the poor apparently 
lived among the ruins, and we went through a ruined 
gateway where no man watched now, and over half- 
tilled fields, to the supplementary temple at the 
bottom of the mountain. 

Here Tuan blossomed forth wonderfully. Up 
till now he had only been my servant, a most impor- 
tant servant but still a servant, now he became, on 
a sudden, that much more important functionary, my 
interpreter. 

A solemn old gentleman in a dark-coloured robe 
with a shaven head received me with that perfect 
courtesy which it is my experience these monks 
always show, escorted me into a large room with a 
k'ang on one side and a figure of a god, large and 
gorgeous, facing the door. He asked me my age, 
as apparently the most important question he could 
ask it is rather an important factor in one's life 
and then when I was seated on the k'ang, with my 
interpreter, in his very best clothes of silk brocade, 
on the other, a variety of cakes in little dishes were 
set on the k'ang table beside me, and a small shaven- 
headed little boy who I was informed was called 
" Trees " was set to pour out tea as long as I would 



220 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

drink it. I was so amused at the importance of 
Tuan. Not for worlds would I have given him away 
as he sat there sipping tea and nibbling at a piece 
of cake ; and I wonder still what he thought I thought. 
Did he fear I should call him to account for sitting 
down as if he were on terms of equality with me? 
Did he think I was a fool, or was he properly grate- 
ful that I allowed him this little latitude? At any 
rate, except in the matter of squeeze, he always 
served me very well indeed, and there is no doubt 
my dignity was enhanced by going about with a real, 
live interpreter. The priest could not know what a 
very inadequate one he was. 

Presently they came and announced that the chair 
was ready. 

" Put on new ropes," announced my interpreter 
pointing out the lashings to me. The chair was 
fastened to a couple of stout poles and four coolies, 
they might have been own brothers to the ones I 
had at the Ming Tombs, lifted it to their shoulders 
and we were off. All the people who dwelt in the 
little hamlet that clustered round the temple at the 
foot of the mountain, hoary-headed old men, little, 
naked children, small-footed women, peeped out 
and looked at the foreign woman as she passed on 
her pilgrimage up the steep and narrow pathway, 
the first foreigner that had passed up this way for 
some years, and probably the only one who would 
pass up this year. It took a good many people to 
get me up, I noticed, it wouldn't have been Tuan if 
it hadn't. There was his all-important self of course, 
there was a man carrying my camera, another one 
carrying my umbrella and a bundle of incense sticks, 
there were various minor hangers-on in the shape of 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 221 

small boys, and there were, of course, my four chair 
coolies. 

A Chinese chair is a most uncomfortable thing 
anyway, and this had exaggerated the faults of its 
kind. Always it is so built that there is not seat 
enough, while the back seems specially arranged to 
pitch the unlucky occupant forward. It is bad enough 
in the ordinary way going up a mountain, and a 
very steep mountain, it is anathema, and coming 
down it is beyond words. And this mountain was 
steep, its looks had not belied it ; never have I gone 
up such a steep place before, never, I devoutly hope, 
shall I go up such a steep place again. The moun- 
tain fell away, and I looked out into space on either 
side. I could see hills, of course, away in the far 
distance, with a greaT gulf between me and them, 
rounded, treeless hills with just a faint touch of green 
upon them, and the trees on my own mountain, firs 
and pines with an occasional poplar, green and fresh 
with the tender green of Maytime, stood up at an 
acute angle with the hill-side above, and an obtuse 
angle below. The air was fresh, and keen, and in- 
vigorating, and in the green grass grew bulbs like 
purple crocuses, wild jessamine sweetly scented, and 
delicate blue wild hyacinths, that in Staffordshire 
they call blue bells. I remember once in a delight- 
ful wood in the Duke of Sutherland's grounds near 
Stoke-on-Trent, that most sordid town of the Black 
Country, seeing the ground there carpeted with just 
such blossoms as I saw here on the holy mountain 
in China. 

Up we went and up. There were stone steps put 
together without mortar, all the way, and there were 
platforms every here and there, where the weary 



222 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

might rest, and because the hill was so steep, these 
platforms were generally made by piling up stones 
that looked as if a touch would send them rolling to 
the bottom of the mountain, a step and one would 
be over oneself, for there were no barriers. It was 
twelve li, four miles up, and the way was broken by 
smaller temples dedicated to various gods, among 
them one to the goddess who takes pity on barren 
women. This one was half-way up the mountain, 
and here we met a small-footed woman toiling along 
with the aid of a stick. Half-way up that cruel 
mountain she had crawled on her aching feet, and 
every day she would come up, she told us, to burn 
incense at the shrine. And she looked old, old. It 
would be a miracle indeed, I thought, if she bore 
that longed-for child. Hope must be dying very 
hard indeed. And yet she must have known. Poor 
thing, poor weary woman, what was the tragedy of 
her life? Children, one would think, were a drug 
in the market in China, they swarm everywhere. I 
burned an incense stick for her and could only hope 
the God of Pity would answer her prayer, and take 
away her reproach before men. 

Up and up and up, and so steep it grew I was 
fain to shut my eyes else the sensation that I would 
fall off into space would have been too much for me. 
From the doorways of the wayside temples we passed 
through we looked into space, and the mountains at 
the other side of the valley seemed farther away than 
ever. A cuckoo called and called again " Cuckoo ! 
Cuckoo ! " As we waited once a coolie passed with 
a bamboo across his shoulder from which were slung 
two very modern kerosene tins Babylon and 
America meeting and they told me there was no 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 223 

water on the mountain, every drop had to be carried 
up; and then the men took up the poles on their 
shoulders and tramped on again, and every time 
they changed the pole from one shoulder to the 
other I felt I would surely fall off into the valley, 
miles below. Up and up and up, they were stream- 
ing with perspiration, and at last when it seemed to 
me we had arrived at the highest point of the world, 
and that it was very like a needle-point, they set 
down my chair at the bottom of the flight of steps 
that led up to the entrance to the main temple, and 
the abbot and a crowd of monks stood at the top to 
greet me. 

They swarmed everywhere, it was impossible to 
estimate their numbers, young men and old, all with 
shaven heads and dark, rusty red robes, and then 
others, blind, and halt, and maimed, evidently pen- 
sioners on their bounty. It seemed to me it could 
hardly be worth while to climb up so steep a place 
for the small dole that was all the monks had it in 
their power to give. It must have been so little, so 
little. They showed me the shrine, a poor little 
shrine to one who had seen the wonders of the Lama 
Temple in Peking. I took a picture of the abbot 
standing in front of it, and they showed me their 
kitchen premises, where were great jars of vegetables 
salted and in pickle, and looking most unappetising, 
but that apparently, with millet porridge, was all 
they had to live on. 

It was crowded, it was dirty, it was shabby, but 
there were great stone pillars, eighteen of them, that 
they told me had been brought from a great distance 
south of Peking, and had been carried up the moun- 
tain in the days of the Mings, long before there were 



224 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

the steps, which were only put there a little over a 
hundred years ago quite recently for China. How 
they could possibly get them up even now that there 
are four miles of steep stone steps I cannot possibly 
imagine. Babylon ! Babylon ! ! I shut my eyes 
and saw the toiling slaves, heard the crack of the 
taskmaster's whip, and the hopeless moan of the man 
who sank, crushed and broken, beneath the burden. 

The abbot bowed himself courteously over a gift 
of thirty cents which Tuan, and I am sure he would 
not have understated it, said was the proper cum- 
sHftw, and I bade them farewell and turned to go 
down that hill again. The thought of it was heavy 
on my soul. Outside was a beggar, men are close 
to starvation in China. The wretched, forlorn 
creature, with wild hair and his nakedness hidden 
by the most disgusting rags, had followed my train 
up all those four steep miles in the hope of a small 
gift. For five cents he too bowed himself in deepest 
gratitude. It was a gift I was ashamed of, but the 
important interpreter considered he had the right to 
regulate these things, and he certainly led me care- 
fully on all other occasions. Then I looked at my 
chair and I looked at the steep steps down which we 
must go. How could I possibly manage it without 
getting giddy and pitching right forward, for going 
down would be much worse than coming up had 
been. And then the men showed me that I must get 
in and be carried down backwards. 

Would they slip? I could but trust not. I was 
alone and helpless, days, and they must have known 
it, from any of my own people. They might easily 
have held me up and demanded more than the three 
dollars for which they had contracted, but they did 



THE NINE DRAGON TEMPLE 225 

not. Patient, uncomplaining, as the Babylonish 
slaves to whom I had compared them, they carried 
me steadily and carefully from temple to temple all 
the way down, and at every altar we stopped I sat 
and looked on, and Tuan burned incense sticks, the 
officiating priest, he was very poor, dirty and shabby, 
struck a melodious gong as the act of adoration was 
accomplished and Tuan, in all his best clothes, knelt 
and knocked his head on the ground. I wondered 
whether I, too, was not acquiring merit, for my 
money had bought the incense sticks, and my money, 
it was only a trifling ten cents, paid the wild-looking 
individual, with torn coat and unshaven head, who 
carried them up the mountain. 

Oh, but I had something something that I 
cannot put into words for my pains ; the something 
that made the men of five hundred years before build 
the temple on the mountain top to the glory of God, 
my God and their God, by whatever Name you 
choose to call Him. It was good to sit there looking 
away at the distant vista, at the golden sunlight on 
the trees and grass 2 at the shadows that were creep- 
ing in between, to smell the sensuous smell of the 
jessamine, and if I could not help thinking of all I 
had lost in life, of the fate that had sent me here to 
the Nine Dragon Temple, at least I could count 
among my gains the beauty that lay before my eyes. 

And when I reached the bottom of the mountain 
in safety, I felt I had gained merit, for the men who 
had carried me so carefully were wild with gratitude, 
and evidently called down blessings upon my head, 
because I gave them an extra dollar. It pleased 
me, and yet saddened me, because it seemed an 
awful thing that twenty-five cents apiece, sixpence 

p 



226 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

each, should mean so much to any man. Their 
legs ached, they said. Poor things, poor things. 
Many legs ache in China, and I am afraid more often 
than not there is no one to supply a salve. 

So we came back to the little mountain inn in the 
glorious afternoon, and the people looked on us as 
those who had made a pilgrimage, and Tuan climbed 
a little way down from his high estate. He set 
about getting me a meal, the eternal chicken, and 
rice, and stewed pear, and I looked back at the 
mountain I had climbed and wondered, and was 
glad, as I am often glad, that I had done a thing I 
need never do again. 

Was there merit? For Tuan, let us hope, even 
though I did pay for the incense sticks, for me, well 
I don't know. On the mountain I was uplifted, 
here in the valley I only knew that the view from 
the high peak, the vista of hill and valley, the green- 
ness of the fresh grass on the rounded, treeless hills, 
and the greenness of the springing crops in the 
valley, the golden sunshine and the glorious blue 
sky of Northern China, the sky that is translucent 
and far away, was something well worth remember- 
ing. Truly it sometimes seems that all things that 
are worth doing are hard to do. 



CHAPTER XIII 

IN THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 

Etiquette of the Chinese cart Ruined city The building of the 
wall The advice of a mule A catastrophe The failing of 
the Peking cart Beautiful scenery Industrious people 
The posters of the mountains Inn yards The heads of the 
people Mountain dogs Wolves A slum people Artistic 
hands " Cavalry "The last pass. 

AND now we were on the very borders of China 
proper. The road was simply awful, very often 
just following the path of a mountain torrent. 
Always my cart went first, and however convenient 
it sometimes seemed for the other cart to take first 
place, it never did so. Suppose we turned down a 
narrow path between high banks and found we were 
wrong and had to go back, the second cart would 
make the most desperate effort and get up the 
bank rather than go before me. Such is Chinese 
etiquette, and like most rules and customs when one 
inquires into the reason of them, there is some 
sense at the bottom of it. A Chinese road is as a 
rule terribly dusty and the second cart gets full 
benefit of all the dust stirred up. 

The day after we had been to the Nine Dragon 
Temple we passed through the Great Wall at Hsing 
Feng K'ou, another little walled city. We had 
spent the night just outside the ruined wall of an old 
city, a city that was nearly deserted. There were 

227 



228 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

the old gateways and an old bell tower, even an old 
cannon lying by the gate, but more than half the 
people were gone, and those who remained were 
evidently poor peasants, living there I should say 
because building material was cheap, and eking 
out the precarious existence of the poor peasant all 
over China. The hills were very close down now 
and the valleys very narrow, and on a high peak 
close to the crumbling walls was the remains of a 
beacon tower. Here by the border they had need 
to keep sharp watch and ward. I suppose they 
have nothing to fear now, or perhaps there is 
nothing to take, but in one ruined gateway I passed 
through they were tending swine, and in another 
they were growing melons. At least it would never 
be worth the raiders while to gather and carry away 
the insipid melon of China. 

The Wall is always wonderful. It was wonderful 
here even in its decay. The country looked as if 
some great giant had upheaved it in great flat slabs, 
raising what had been horizontal almost into the 
perpendicular. It would have been impossible I 
should have thought for any man, let alone an 
invading army, to cross there ; there were steep 
grassy slopes on one side, on the other the precipice 
was rough and impassable, and yet, on the very top 
of the ridge, ran the wall, broken and falling into 
decay in some places. I do not wonder that it has 
not been kept in repair, what I wonder is that it was 
ever built. Tradition says they loaded goats with 
the material and drove them to the top of the hills, 
but it seems to me more likely they were carried 
by slaves. All the strenuous past lived for me 
again as the sunlight touched the tops of the watch- 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 229 

towers and I saw how carefully they were placed to 
command a valley. And that life is past and gone, 
the Manchus have conquered and passed away, and 
the Mongols well the Mongols they say, when 
they come in contact with the Chinese, always beat 
them, and yet it is the Chinese who, pushing out 
beyond the Wall, settle on and till the rich Mongol 
pasture lands. There is now no need of the Wall, 
for the Chinese, the timid Chinese have gone 
beyond it. 

Inner Mongolia they call this country beyond the 
Wall, and worse and worse got the road, sometimes 
it was between high banks, sometimes on a ledge of 
the hills, sometimes it followed the course of a 
mountain torrent, but always the general direction 
was the same, across or along a valley to steep and 
rugged hills, hills sterile, stony, and forbidding, 
and through which there seemed no possible way. 
There was always a way to the valley beyond, but 
after we passed the Wall I considered it possible only 
for a Peking cart, and by and by I came to think it 
was only by supreme good luck that a Peking cart 
came through. There was a big brown mule in the 
shafts of my cart, and the fawn mule led, so far 
away that I wondered more than once whether he 
had anything to do with the traction at all, or 
whether it was only his advice that was needed. 
He was a wise mule, and when he came to a 
jumping-off place, with apparently nothing beyond 
it, he used to pause and look round as much as to 
say: 

"Jeewhicks!" you couldn't expect much refine- 
ment from a Chinese mule, "this is tall No 
can do." 



230 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

The carter would jump down from his place on 
the tail of the shaft. He would make a few remarks 
in Chinese, which, I presume, freely translated 
were: 

" Not do that place ? What're yer givin' us ? 
Do it on me J ed." 

Then the fawn-coloured mule would return to his 
work with a whisk of his tail which said plainly as 
words : 

" Oh all serene. You say can do. Well, I ain't 
in the cart, I ain't even drawing the cart, and I 
ain't particular pals with the gentleman in the shafts, 
so here goes." 

And the result justified the opinion of both. We 
did get down, but it seemed to me a mighty narrow 
squeak, and I was breathless at the thought that the 
experience must be repeated in the course of the 
next hour or so. At first I was so terrified I decided 
I would walk, then I found it took me so long one 
mountain pass finished off a pair of boots and there 
were so many of them I decided I had better put my 
faith in the mules if I did not wish to delay the outfit 
and arrive at Jehol barefoot. But I never went up 
and down those passes without bated breath and a 
vow that never, never again would I trust myself in 
the mountains in a Peking cart. Still I grew to 
have infinite faith in the Peking cart. I was 
bruised and sore all over, and I found the new 
nightgowns and chemises in my box were worn into 
holes with the jolting, but I believed a Peking cart 
could go anywhere, and then my confidence received 
a rude shock. 

We came to a stony place, steep and stony 
enough in all conscience, but as nothing to some of 







THROUGH THE GREAT WALL INTO INNER MONGOLIA, 




PEKING CART UPSET. 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 231 

the places we had passed over, where there had 
been a precipice on one side and a steep cliff on the 
other, and where to go over would certainly have 
spelled grave disaster, but here there was a bank at 
either side and the fawn-coloured mule never even 
looked round before negotiating it. Up, up went one 
side of the cart, but I was accustomed to that by this 
time, up, up, the angle grew perilous, and then over 
we went, and I was in the tilt of the cart, almost on 
my head, and the brown mule in the shafts seemed 
trying to get into the cart backwards. I didn't 
see how he could, but I have unlimited faith in the 
powers of a Chinese mule, so, amidst wild yells 
from Tuan and the carters, I was out on to the hill- 
side before I had time to think, and presently was 
watching those mules make hay of my possessions. 
They didn't leave a single thing either in or on that 
cart, camera, typewriter, cushions, dressing-bag, bed- 
ding, all shot out on to what the Chinaman is pleased 
to consider the road, even the heavy box, roped on 
behind, got loose and fell off, and the mule justified 
my expectations by, in some mysterious way, break- 
ing the woodwork at the top of the cart and tearing 
all the blue tilt away. It took us over an hour to 
get things right again, and my faith in the stability 
of a Peking cart was gone for ever. 

We were right in the very heart of the mountains 
now, and the scenery was magnificent, close at hand 
hills, sterile and stony, and behind them range after 
range of other blue hills fading away into the bluer 
distance. Day after day I looked upon a scene that 
would be magnificent in any land, and here 
in China filled me with wonder. Could this be 
China, practical, prosaic China, China of the ages, 



232 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

this beautiful land? And always above me was 
the blue sky, always the golden sunshine and the 
invigorating, dry air that reminded me, as I have 
never before been reminded, of Australia. 

But, however desolate and sterile the hills, and 
they seldom had more than an occasional fir-tree 
upon them, in the valleys were always people and 
evidences of their handiwork in the shape of wonder- 
fully tilled fields. There are no fences, the China- 
man does not waste his precious ground in fences, 
but between the carefully driven furrows there is 
never a weed, and all day long the people are 
engaged turning over the ground so that it will not 
cake, and may benefit by every drop of moisture 
that may be extracted from the atmosphere. A 
little snow in the winter, a shower or two in April, 
and the summer rains in July or August, are all this 
fruitful land requires for a bountiful harvest, but I 
am bound to say it is fruitful only because of the 
intense care that is given to it. No one surely but 
a Chinese peasant would work as these people 
work. In every valley bottom there is, according 
to its size, a town, perhaps built of stones with 
thatched roofs, a small hamlet, or at least a farm- 
house, enclosed either behind a neat mud wall or 
a more picturesque one of the yellow stalks of the 
kaoliang. And the people are everywhere, in the 
very loneliest places far up on the hills I would see 
a spot of blue herding black goats or swine, and on 
parts of the road far away from any habitation, when 
I began to think I had really got beyond even the 
ubiquitous Chinaman, we would meet a forlorn, 
ragged figure, an old man past other work or a small 
boy with a bamboo across his shoulders and slung 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 233 

from it two dirty baskets. With scoop in hand he 
was gathering the droppings of the animals with 
which to make argol for fuel, for enough wood is not 
to be had, and in this respect so industrious are the 
Chinese that their roads are really the cleanest I 
have ever seen. 

There were strangely enough here, in the heart 
of the mountains, signs of foreign enterprise, for 
however desolate the place might seem, sooner or 
later we were sure to come across the advertisements 
of the British American Tobacco Company. There 
they would be in a row great placards advertising 
Rooster Cigarettes, or Peacock Cigarettes or Purple 
Mountain Cigarettes, half a dozen pictures, and then 
one upside down to attract attention. I never saw 
the men who put them there, and I hate the blatant 
advertisement that spoils the scenery as a rule. 
Here I greeted them with a distinct thrill of pleasure. 
Here were men of my race and colour, doing 
pioneering work in the out-of-the-way corners of the 
earth, and I metaphorically made them a curtsy and 
wished them well, for no one knows better than I 
do the lonely lives they lead. But they are bringing 
China in touch with the outside world. 

By and by we came to a place where carts were 
not seen, the people were wiser than I, but there 
was a constant stream of laden mules and donkeys 
bringing grain inside the wall. Long before I 
could see them I could hear the jingling of the 
collar of bells most of them wore, and in an inn yard 
we always met the train and saw them start out 
before us in the morning, though we were early 
enough, I saw to that, often have I had my breakfast 
before five o'clock, or coming in after we did in the 



234 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

dusk of the evening. I objected to travelling in the 
dusk. I felt the roads held pitfalls enough without 
adding darkness to our other difficulties. 

The inns grew poorer and poorer as we got deeper 
into the mountains but always I found in those inn 
yards something interesting to look at. By night I 
was too weary to do anything but go to bed, but I 
generally had my tiffin in a shady spot in a corner 
of the yard and watched all that was going on. The 
yard would be crowded with animals, mules, and 
donkeys, and always there were people coming and 
going, who thought the foreign woman was a sight 
not to be missed. There have been missionaries 
here or in Chihli for the last hundred years, so they 
must have seen foreign women, but the sight cannot 
be a common one judging by the way they stared. 
There would be well-to-do Chinamen riding nice- 
looking donkeys, still more prosperous ones borne 
in litters by a couple of protesting mules, and in 
every corner of the yard would be beasts eating. 
And all these beasts of burden required numerous 
helpers, and the hangers-on were the most dilapid- 
ated specimens of humanity I have ever seen, not 
nearly so sure of a meal, I'm afraid, as the pigs 
and hens that wandered round scavenging. There 
would be an occasional old woman and very, very 
seldom a young one with large feet marking her as 
belonging to the very poorest class, but mostly they 
were men dressed in blue cotton, faded, torn, ragged, 
and yet patched beyond recognition. 

" Patch beside patch is neighbourly," says an old 
saw, " but patch upon patch is beggarly." The poor 
folks in the inn yards not only had patch upon 
patch, but even the last patches were torn, and they 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 235 

looked far more poverty-stricken than the children 
who played about this pleasant weather wearing only 
their birthday dress. But they all had something 
to do. An old man whose bald head must have 
required little shaving and whose weedy queue was 
hardly worth plaiting, drew water from the well, 
another who had adopted the modern style of dress- 
ing the hair gathered up the droppings of the 
animals, a small boy with wild hair that no one had 
time to attend to, and clad in a sort of fringe of rags, 
drove away the hideous black sow and her numerous 
litter when she threatened to become a nuisance, and 
from earliest dawn to dark there were men cutting 
chaff. The point of a huge knife was fixed in the 
end of a wooden groove, one man pushed the fodder 
into its position and another lifted the knife by its 
wooden handle and brought it down with all his 
strength. Then he lifted it, and the process was 
repeated. I have seen men at work thus, in the 
morning before it was light enough to see, I have 
seen them at it when the dusk was falling. There 
do not seem to be any recognised hours for stopping 
work in China. And all the heads of these people 
were wild. If they wore a queue it was dirty and 
unplaited, and the shaven part of their heads had 
a week's growth of bristles, and if they were more 
modern in their hair-dressing, their wild black hair 
stuck out all over the place and looked as if it had 
originally been cut by the simple process of sticking 
a basin on the head and clipping all the hairs that 
stood out round it. But untidy heads of hair are 
not peculiar to the inn yard, they are common enough 
wherever I have been in China. There were always 
innumerable children in the yard, too, with heads 



236 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

shaven all but little tails of hair here and there, 
which, being plaited stiffly, stood out like the head- 
gear of a clown, and there were cart men and donkey 
men, just peasants in blue, with their blouses 
girt round their waists. There were the guests, 
too, petticoated Chinese gentlemen, squires, or 
merchants, or well-to-do farmers, standing in the 
doorways looking on, and occasionally ladies, 
dressed in the gayest colours, with their faces 
powdered and painted, peeped shyly out, half 
secretively, as if they were ashamed, but felt they 
must take one look at the foreign woman who walked 
about as if she were not ashamed of the open day- 
light, and was quite capable of managing for herself. 
Sometimes I was taken to the women's quarters, 
where the women-folk of the innkeeper dwelt, and 
there, seated on a k'ang, in a room that had never 
been aired since it was built, I would find feminine 
things of all ages, from the half-grown girl, who in 
England would have been playing hockey, to the old 
great grandmother who was nursing the cat. They 
always offered me tea, and I always took it, and they 
always examined my dress, scornfully I am afraid, 
because it was only of cotton, and wanted to lay 
their fingers in the waves of my hair, only I drew 
the line at those dirty hands coming close to my 
face. At first it all seemed strange, but in a day I felt 
as if I had been staying in just such inns all my life. 
The farther one wanders I find the sooner does 
novelty wear off. As a little girl, to go fifty miles 
from my home and to have my meals off a different- 
patterned china gave me a delightful sense of 
novelty, and to sleep in a strange bed kept me awake 
all night. Now in an hour oh far less nothing 




INN YARD LITTER WITH MULES WAITING TO BE LOADED. 




INN YARD IN THE MOUNTAINS MY CARTS. 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 287 

feels new, not even the courtyard of a Chinese 
mountain inn. 

I have never seen so many people with goitres. 
The missionaries at Jehol told me it was very much 
dreaded, and that the people brought the affliction 
upon themselves by flying into violent passions. I 
doubt very much whether that is the origin of the 
goitre ; but that it is very much dreaded, I can quite 
believe. For not only does a goitre look most un- 
sightly, but the unfortunate possessor must always 
keep his head very straight, for if he lets it drop for- 
ward, even for a moment, he closes the air passages, 
and is in danger of suffocating. I have heard it is 
brought on by something in the water. Water, of 
course, I never dared drink in China. I saw very 
pleasant, clear-looking, liquid drawn up from the 
wells in those inn courtyards in closely plaited 
buckets of basket-work, but I never ventured upon 
it. I always remembered Aunt Eliza : 

" In the drinking well 

Which the plumber built her, 
Aunt Eliza fell. 
We must buy a filter." 

Aunt Eliza's cheerful, if somewhat callous, 
legatees had some place where they could buy a 
filter, I had not, besides, I am sure, all the filters in 
the world could not make safe water drawn from a 
well in a Chinese inn yard, so I drank tea, which 
necessitates the water being boiled. 

The Chinese build their wells with the expectation 
of someone, not necessarily Aunt Eliza, coming to 
grief in them. On one occasion a man of my 
acquaintance was ordering a well to be made in his 
yard, and he instructed the well-sinker that he need 



238 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

not make it, as the majority of Chinese wells are 
made, much wider at the bottom than at the top. 
But the workman shook his head. 

He must make it, he said, wide enough at the 
bottom for a man or woman, they are the greatest 
offenders to turn round if he flung himself in. He 
might change his mind and want to get out again, 
and if a body were found in a well not roomy enough 
to allow of this change of mind, he, the builder, 
would be tried for murder. 

This thoughtful consideration for the would-be 
suicide, who might wish to repent, is truly Chinese. 
Personally I doubt very much whether anyone would 
take the trouble to investigate the bottom of a well. 
There might easily be something very much worse 
than Aunt Eliza in it. Presumably she was a well- 
to-do, and therefore a clean old lady, while the 
frequenters of those yards were beyond description. 

The people in the little towns, and more especially 
those in the lonely farm-houses which looked so 
neat and well-kept in contrast with the ragged, dirty 
objects that came out of them, kept a most hand- 
some breed of dogs. Sometimes they were black 
and white, or grey, but more often they were a 
beautiful tawny colour. They were, apparently, of 
the same breed as the wonks that infest all Chinese 
towns, but there was the same difference between 
these dogs and the wonks as there is between a 
miserable, mangy mongrel and the pampered beast 
that takes first prize at a great show. Indeed, I 
should like to see these great mountain dogs at a 
show, I imagine they would be hard to beat. They 
looked very fierce, whether they are or not I don't 
know, because I always gave them a wide berth, and 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 289 

Tuan, the cautious, always shook his head when 
one came too close, called to someone else with a 
stick to drive it away, and murmured his usual 
formula : " Must take care." They told me there 
were wolves among these mountains, and I can quite 
believe it, though I never saw one. In the dead of 
winter they are fierce and dangerous, and much 
dreaded. They come into the villages, steal the 
helpless children, will make a snap at a man in pass- 
ing and inflict terrible wounds. A Chinaman will 
go to sleep in all sorts of uncomfortable spots, and 
more than one has been wakened by having half 
the side of his face torn away. Of such a wound as 
this the man generally dies, but so many are seen 
who have so suffered, and gruesome sights they are, 
that the wolves must be fairly numerous and exceed- 
ingly bold. They take the children, too, long before 
the winter has come upon the land. There was a 
well-loved child, most precious, the only son of the 
only son, and his parents and grandparents being 
busy harvesting they left him at home playing 
happily about the threshold. When they came back, 
after a short absence, they found he had been so 
terribly mauled by a wolf that shortly after he died, 
and the home was desolate. And yet these wolves 
are very difficult to shoot. 

" I have never seen one," a man told me. " Again 
and again, when I was in the mountains, the 
villagers would come complaining of the depreda- 
tions of a wolf. I could see for myself the results of 
his visit, but never, never have I found the wolf. 
It seems as if they must smell a gun." 

When first I heard of the wolves I laughed. I 
was so sure no beast of prey could live alongside 



240 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

a Chinaman, the Chinaman would want to eat 
him. 

" They would if they could catch him," said my 
friend, " but they can't, though the majority of the 
population are on the look-out for him. There is 
nothing of the hunter about the Chinaman." 

" Meat! " said a wretched farmer once, rubbing his 
stomach, when the missionaries fed him during a 
famine. He couldn't remember when he had tasted 
meat, and not in his most prosperous year had he 
had such a feast as his saviours had given him then. 
"How much do you make a year?" asked the 
missionary. 

He thought a little and then he said that, in a good 
year, he perhaps made twelve dollars, but then, of 
course, all years were not good years. But we, on 
our part, must remember that these people belong to 
another age, and that the purchasing power of the 
dollar for their wants is greater than it is with us. 

Very, very lonely it seems to me must these 
mountain villages be when the frost of winter holds 
the hills in its grip, very shut out from the world were 
they now in the early summer, and very little could 
they know of the life that goes on within the Wall, let 
alone in other lands. Indeed there are no other 
lands for the Chinese of this class, this is his country, 
and this suffices for him, everybody else is in outer 
barbarism. 

Steeper and steeper grew the hills, more and more 
toilsome the way, and the people, when we stopped, 
looked more and more wonderingly at the stranger. 
At one place, where I had tiffin, I shared the room 
and the k'ang, the sun was so hot and there was 
no shade, so I could not stay outside, with six women 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 241 

of all ages, two had babies that had never been 
washed, two had hideous goitres, and all had their 
hair gathered into long curved horns at the back. 
There was also on the floor, a promising litter of 
little pigs, and three industrious hens. The women's 
blue coats were old, torn, patched, soiled, and yet 
oh the pity of it, these women, who had to work 
hard for their living, work in the fields probably, had 
their feet bound. One had not, but all the rest were 
maimed. Two of them had their throats all bruised, 
and I wondered if they had been trying to hang them- 
selves as a means of getting away from a life that had 
no joy in it, but I afterwards found that with two 
coins, or anything else that will serve the purpose, 
coins are probably rather scarce, they pinch up the 
flesh and produce these bruises as a counter-irritant, 
and, ugly as it looks, it is often very effective. 

These should have been country people, if ever 
any people belonged to the country, and then, as I 
looked at them, the truth dawned on me. There 
are no country people in the China I have seen, as 
I from Australia know country people, the men of 
the bush. They yes here in the mountains, are 
a people of mean streets, a slum people, decadent, 
the very sediment of an age-long civilisation. I 
said this to a man who had lived long in China and 
spoke the language well, and he looked at me in 
surprise. 

"Why," he said, "they all seem to me country 
people. The ordinary people of the towns are just 
country yokels." 

But we meant exactly the same thing. I looked 
at the country people I had known all my life, the 
capable, resourceful pioneers, facing new conditions, 

Q 



242 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

breaking new ground, ready for any emergency, the 
men who, if they could not found a new nation, must 
perish ; he was looking at the men from sleepy little 
country villages in the old land, men who had been 
left behind in the race. And so we meant exactly 
the same thing, though we expressed it in apparently 
opposing terms. These people are serfs, struggling 
from dawn to dark for enough to fill their stomachs, 
toiling along a well-worn road, without originality, 
bound to the past, with all the go and initiative 
crushed out of them. As their fathers went so must 
they go, the evils that their fathers suffered must 
they suffer, and the struggle for a bare existence is 
so cruelly hard, that they have no hope of improving 
themselves. 

It was all interesting, wonderful, but I do not think 
ever in the world have I felt so lonely. I longed 
with an intense longing to see someone of my own 
colour, to speak with someone in my own tongue. 

I don't know that I was exactly afraid, and yet 
sometimes when I saw things that I did not under- 
stand, I wondered what I should do if anything did 
happen. Considering the way some people had 
talked in Peking, it would have been a little surprising 
if I had not. Once we came upon a place where the 
side of the road was marked with crosses in whitewash 
and I wondered. I remembered the stories I had 
heard of the last anti-Christian outbreak, and I 
wondered if those crosses had anything to do with 
another. It all sounds very foolish now, but I 
remember as cross after cross came into view I was 
afraid, and at last I called Tuan and asked him what 
they meant. 

" Some man," said he, " give monies mend road, 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 248 

puttee white so can see where mend it." And that 
was all ! But what that road was like before it was 
mended I cannot imagine! 

At last, after a wearying day's journey of one 
hundred and twenty li, or forty miles, over the 
roughest roads in the world, we came in the evening 
sunlight upon a long line of grunting, ragged camels 
just outside a great square gate enclosed in heavy 
masonry, and we were at Pa Kou, as it is spelt by 
the wisdom of those who have spelled Chinese, but 
it is pronounced Ba Go. It is a city or rather a long 
street, twenty li or nearly seven miles long, and the 
houses were packed as closely together in that 
street as they are in London itself. The worst of 
the journey, Tuan told me, was over. There was 
another range of mountains to cross, we had been 
going north, now we were to go west, it would take 
us two days and we would be in Jehol. 

And here, for the first time, the authorities took 
notice of me. The first inn we stopped at was dirty, 
and Tuan went on a tour of inspection to see if he 
could not find one more to his Missie's liking, and 
I sat in my cart and watched the crowded throng, 
and thought that never in my life had I been so 
tired I ached in every limb. If the finding of an 
inn had depended on me I should simply have gone 
to sleep where I was. At last it was decided there 
was none better, and into the crowded and dirty yard 
we went, and I, as soon as my bed was put up, had 
my bath and got into it, as the only clean place there 
was, besides I was too tired to eat, and I thought I 
might as well rest. 

But I had been seen sitting in the street, and the 
Tutuh of the town, the Chief Magistrate, sent his 



244 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

secretary to call upon the " distinguished traveller " 
and to ask if she, Tuan, who never could manage the 
pronouns, reported it as " he/' had a passport. The 
" distinguished traveller " apologised for being in bed 
and unable to see the great man's secretary, and sent 
her servant I noticed he put on his best clothes, so 
I suppose he posed as an interpreter to show she 
had a passport all in order. He came back looking 
very grave and very important. 

" She say must take care, plenty robber, must 
have soldier." 

Here was a dilemma. I had heard so much about 
the robbers of China, and the robbers of China are 
by no means pleasant gentlemen to meet. A robber 
band is not an uncommon thing, but is more 
dangerous probably, to the people of the land than 
to the foreigner, for here in the north the lesson 
of 1900 has been well rubbed in. It is a dangerous 
thing to tackle a foreigner. Dire is the vengeance 
that is exacted for his life. Still I wasn't quite com- 
fortable in my own mind. I thought of the mighty 
robber White Wolf, who ravaged Honan, of whom 
even the missionaries and the British American 
Tobacco Company are afraid. On one occasion 
two missionaries were hunted by his band and driven 
so close that, as they lay hidden under a pile of 
straw, a pursuer stood on the shoulder of one of 
them. He lay hardly daring to breathe and the 
robber moved away without discovering their hiding- 
place. Afterwards, however, they did fall into the 
hands of White Wolf, who, contrary to their expecta- 
tions, courteously fed them and set them on their 
way. Of course, they had nothing of which to be 
despoiled, and it was their good-fortune to fall into 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 245 

the hands of the leader himself, who knows a little of 
the world, and something of the danger of attacking 
a foreigner. The danger had been that they might 
fall into the hands of his men, his ignorant followers, 
who, in their zeal, would probably kill them, perhaps 
with torture, and report to the chief later on. This 
happened after I had been to Jehol, but, of course, 
I had heard of White Wolf. I knew his country was 
farther to the south in the more disturbed zone, and 
I did not expect to meet robbers here. Still I had 
the Tutuh's word for it that here they were. 

If you are going to have any anxiety in the future, 
I have come to the conclusion it is just as well to 
be dead tired. I couldn't do anything, and I was 
utterly tired out. I had been in the open air all day 
since five o'clock in the morning, I was safe, in all 
probability, for the night, and robbers or no robbers, 
I felt I might as well have a sound night's rest and 
see what the situation looked like in the morning. I 
heard afterwards there were missionaries in the town, 
and had I known it, I might have sought them out 
and taken counsel with men of my own colour, but I 
did not know it. 

" Must have soldier," repeated Tuan emphatically, 
standing beside my camp bed. " How many soldier 
Missie want? " 

I had heard too many stories of Chinese soldiers 
to put much reliance on them as protectors. I 
didn't know offhand how many I wanted. I was by 
no means sure that I wouldn't be just as safe with 
the robbers. One thing was certain, I couldn't go 
back within two days of my destination, besides for 
all I knew, the robbers were behind me. 

I put it to Tuan. 



246 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

" Suppose I have no passport, what the Tutuh do 
then?" 

" Then," said my henchman emphatically, " he no 
care robber get Missie." 

Evidently the Tutuh meant well by me, so I said 
they might send a soldier for me to look at, at six 
o'clock next morning and then I would decide 
how many I would have, and feeling that at least I 
had eleven hours respite, I turned over and went to 
sleep. 

Punctually the soldier turned up. He was a 
good-tempered little man, all in blue a little darker 
than the ordinary coolie wears, over it he had a red 
sleeveless jacket marked with great black Chinese 
characters, back and front, a mob cap of blue was 
upon his head, over his eyes a paper lampshade ; 
he had a nice little sturdy pony, and, for all arms, 
a fly whisk! 

I didn't feel I could really be afraid of him, and I 
strongly suspected the robbers would thoroughly 
agree with me. 

" What's he for?" I asked Tuan. 

That worthy looked very grave. " Must take 
care," he replied with due deliberation. " Plenty 
robber. She drive away robber. How many 
soldier Missie have?" 

Well there was nothing for it but to face the 
danger, if danger there was. I don't know now if 
there was any. It is so difficult to believe that any 
unpleasant thing will happen to one. Again I 
reflected that there is no danger in China till the 
danger actually arrives, and then it is too late. What 
my guardian was to drive away robbers with I am 
sure I don't know, for I cannot see that the fly whisk 




STREET IN PA KOU. 




"CAVALRY." 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 247 

would have been very effective. The " cartee men " 
were perfectly willing to go on, so I said I thought 
this warrior would be amply sufficient for all pur- 
poses, and we started. 

Everybody in Pa Kou keeps a lark, I should 
think, and every one of those larks were singing 
joyously as we left the town. Never have I heard 
such a chorus of bird song, and the morning was 
delightful. My guardian rode ahead, and for three 
hours as we jolted over the track, I kept a look-out 
for robbers, wondered what they would be like, and 
what I should do when we met, but the only things 
I saw were bundles of brushwood for the kitchen 
fires of Pa Kou, apparently walking thitherward on 
four donkey legs. They reassured me, those 
bundles of brushwood, they had such a peaceful look. 
Somehow I didn't think we were going to meet any 
robbers. 

Evidently Tuan and the " cartee men " came to 
the same conclusion, for, at the end of three hours, 
they came and said the soldier must be changed, did 
Missie want another? Missie thought she didn't, 
and the guard was dismissed, his services being 
valued at twenty cents. It was plenty, for he came, 
with beaming face, and bowed his thanks. 

That was the only time I had anything to do with 
soldiers on the journey, and I forgot all about him, 
hieroglyphics, lampshade, fly whisk, and all, till I 
found entered in the accounts, Tuan was a learned 
clerk and kept accounts : " Cavalry, twenty cents." 

Then I felt I had had more than my money's 
worth. 

The last night of my journey I spent at Liu Kou, 
the sixth valley, and the next morning the men made 



248 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

tremendous efforts to hide all trace of the disaster 
that had befallen us on the way. I said it didn't 
matter, it could wait till we got to Jehol, but both 
Tuan and the " cartee men " were of a different 
opinion. Apparently they would lose face if they 
came to their journey's end in such a condition, and 
I had to wait while the cloth was taken off the 
back of the cart, and carefully put on in front, so 
that the broken wood was entirely concealed. 
Then, when everybody was satisfied that we were 
making at least a presentable appearance, we started. 
You see, I never appreciated the situation properly. 
To travel in a cart seemed to me so humble a mode 
of progression, that it really did not matter very 
much whether it were broken or not, indeed a broken 
cart seemed more to me like going the whole hog, 
and roughing it thoroughly while we were about it. 
But with the men it was different, a cart was a most 
dignified mode of conveyance, and to enter a big 
town in a broken one was as bad as travelling in a 
motor with all the evidences of a breakdown upon 
it, due to careless driving. And when I saw their 
point of view, of course I at once sat down on some 
steps and watched an old man draw water, and a 
disgusting-looking sow, who made me forswear 
bacon, attend to the wants of her numerous black 
progeny. 

Tuan passed the time by having a heated argu- 
ment with the landlord. The fight waxed furious, 
as I was afterwards told, regarding the hot water I 
had required for my bath, which was heated in a 
long pipe, like a copper drain-pipe, that was inserted 
in a hole by the k'ang fire. Fuel is scarce, and stern 
necessity has seen to it that these people get the 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 249 

most they possibly can out of a fire. I hope Tuan 
paid him fairly, but of course I do not know, I parted 
with a dollar for the night's lodging and the little 
drop of hot water, for otherwise we carried our own 
fuel charcoal bought our provisions and cooked 
for ourselves, but we left that landlord protesting at 
the gate that he would never put up another foreigner. 
That last day's journey was, I think, the hardest 
day of all, or perhaps it was that I was tired out. 
There was a long, long mountain to be got over, 
the Hung Shih La, the Red Stone Rock, and we 
crossed it by a pass, the worst of many mountain 
passes we had come across. We climbed up slowly 
to the top and there was a tablet to the memory of 
the man who had repaired the road. What it was 
like before it was repaired I can't imagine, or per- 
haps it was not done very recently, say within a 
couple of hundred years, for the road was very bad. 
There is only room for one vehicle, and the carters 
raised their voices in a loud singsong, to warn all 
whom it might concern that they were occupying the 
road. What would happen if one cart entered at 
one end and another at the other I am sure I cannot 
imagine, for there seemed to be no place that I 
could see where they could pass each other, and I 
think it must be at least three steep miles long. 
I did not trust the carts. I walked. My faith in a 
Peking cart and mule had gone for ever, and if we 
had started to roll here, it seemed to me, we should 
not have stopped till we reached America or Siberia 
at least. So every step of the way I walked, and 
Tuan would have insisted that the carts come behind 
me. But here I put my foot down, etiquette or no 
etiquette I insisted they should go in front. I felt 



250 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

it would be just as bad to be crushed by a falling cart 
as to be upset in it^ so they went on ahead, and when 
we met people, and we met a good many on foot, 
Tuan called out to them and probably explained 
that such was the foolish eccentricity of his Missie 
that, though she was rich beyond the dreams of 
avarice, and always travelled with two carts, she yet 
insisted upon walking down all the passes. 

It was worth it too, for the view was glorious, the 
sunlight, the golden sunlight of a Chinese afternoon, 
fell on range after range of softly rounded hills, the 
air was so clear that miles and miles away I could 
see their folds, with here and there a purple shadow, 
and here and there the golden light. And over all 
was the arc of the blue sky. Beautiful, most beau- 
tiful it was, and I was only regretful that, like so 
many of the beautiful things I have seen in life, I 
looked on it alone. I shall never look on it again. 
The journey is too arduous, too difficult, but I 
am glad, very glad indeed, that I have seen it 
once. 

But it was getting late. At the bottom of the pass 
I got into my cart, and was driven along a disused 
mountain torrent that occupied the bed of the valley 
under a line of trees just bursting into leaf. The 
shadows were long with the coming night, and at 
last we forded a shallow river and came into the 
dusty, dirty town of Cheng Teh Fu, an unwalled 
town beyond which is Jehol, the Hunting Palace of 
the Manchu Emperors. 

Here there were thousands of soldiers, not like 
my " cavalry," but modern, khaki-clad men like those 
in Peking, gathered together to go against the 
Mongols, for China was at war, and apparently was 



THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS 251 

getting the worst of it, and the air was ringing with 
bugle calls. 

And then Tuan and I had an argument. He 
wanted me to go to an inn. The streets were dusty, 
dirty, evil-smelling, I was weary to death, my dress 
had been rubbed into holes by the jolting of the 
cart, and my flesh rebelled at the very thought of a 
Chinese inn. But what was I to do? There were 
no Europeans in Jehol save the missionaries, and I 
was so very sure it was wasted labour to try and 
convert the Chinese it seemed unfair to go to the 
mission station. 

And then I suddenly felt I must speak to someone, 
must hear my own tongue again, must be sympath- 
ised with, by a woman if possible, and in spite of the 
protests of Tuan who saw all chance of squeeze at 
an end, I made them turn the mules' heads to the 
mission. 

There a sad, sweet-faced woman gave me, a total 
stranger, the kindest and warmest of welcomes, 
and I paid off the " cartee men." For sixty dollars 
they had brought me two hundred and eighty miles, 
mostly across the mountains, they had been honest, 
hard-working, attentive, patient, and good- 
tempered, and for a cumskaw of five dollars they 
bowed themselves to the ground. I know they got 
it, because I took the precaution to pay them myself, 
and as I watched them go away down the street I 
made a solemn vow that never again would I travel 
in the mountains, and never, never again would I 
submit myself to the tender mercies of a Peking 
cart. It is one of the things I am glad I have done, 
but I am glad also it is behind me with no necessity 
to do again. 



CHAPTER XIV 

" TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS " 

Missionary compound PrayerReputed dangers of the way The 
German girl Midwife The Bible as a guide " My yoke is 
easy, My burden is light " A harem Helping the sick and 
afflicted A case of hysteria Drastic remedies Ensuring 
a livelihood " Strike, strike " Barbaric war-song The 
Chinese soldier The martyrdom of the Roman Catholic 
priest. 

AND with my entrance into that missionary com- 
pound I entered a world as strange to me as the 
Eastern world I had come across two continents 
to see. 

The compound is right in the heart of the town, 
and was originally a Chinese inn, built, in spite of 
the rigour of the climate, Chinese fashion, so that 
to go from one room to the other it was necessary 
to go out of doors. The walls looking on to the 
street were blank, except in the room I occupied, 
where was a small window, so high up I could not 
see out of it. How it must be to pass from one room 
to the other when the bitter winter of Northern China 
holds the mountains in its grip, I do not know. 

I walked in out of the unknown and there came 
forward to meet me that sad-looking woman with 
the soft brown eyes and bright red lips. Take me 
in, yes, indeed she would take me in. I was dusty, 
I was torn, and I think I was more weary than I 

252 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 258 

have ever been in my life, and she made me wel- 
come, made me lie down in a long chair, and had 
tea brought in. A tall buxom German girl entered, 
and then to my surprise, and not a little to my dis- 
comfort, my hostess bowed her head, and thanked 
God openly that I had come through the dangers of 
the way, and been brought safely to their compound ! 
For a moment it took my breath away, and so self- 
conscious was I, that I did not know which way to 
look. My father was a pillar of the Church of 
England, Chancellor of the Diocese in which we 
lived, and I had been brought up straitly in the fold, 
among a people who, possibly, felt deeply on occa- 
sion, but who never^ never would have dreamt of 
applying religion personally and openly to each 
other. Frankly I felt very uncomfortable after I 
had been prayed over, and it seemed a sort of bathos 
to go on calmly drinking tea and eating bread and 
jam. The German girl had just arrived, and they 
heard that the day after she had left Peking, the 
German Consul had sent round to the mission 
station, where she had been staying, to cancel her 
passport, and to say that on no account must she go 
to Jehol as the country was too disturbed. How- 
ever she and her escort, one of the missionaries, had 
come through quite safely, and the Tartar General 
in charge here had said she might stay so long as 
she did not go outside the boundaries of the town. 
But naturally, they were much surprised to see me, 
a woman and alone. 

I looked round the room, the general sitting- 
room, a bare stone-floored room, with a mat or two 
upon it, a little cane furniture, a photograph or two, 
and some texts upon the walls, a harmonium, a 



254 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

couple of tables, and a book-case containing some 
very old-fashioned books, mostly of a religious 
tendency, and some stories fyy A.L.O.E. There 
was a time when I thought A.L.O.E.'s stories 
wonderful, and so I read one or two of them while 
I was here, and wondered what it was that had 
charmed me when I was eleven. 

The only other woman in that compound, beside 
my hostess, was the German girl who had come out 
to help. 

" I gave myself to the Lord for China," she said, 
and she spoke simply and quietly, as if she were 
saying the most natural thing in the world, as if 
there could be no doubt of the value of the gift 
truly it was her all, she could not give more. And 
the Chinese did need her, I think that is only my 
opinion but not exactly in the way she counted 
most important. She had taken the precaution to 
become a midwife, and indeed she must be a god- 
send, for Chinese practices are crude and cruel in 
the extreme. It is the child that counts, the mother, 
even in her hour of travail, must literally make no 
moan. A woman once told me how she went to 
see her amah, who was expecting a baby, and she 
was asked to wait. She waited about an hour, for 
she was anxious about the woman, and the room 
was very still, there was no sound till the silence 
was broken by the first cry of the new-born infant. 
The child had been born behind the screen while 
she waited, and an hour later, to her horror, the 
white-faced young mother was up and preparing to 
cook the family evening meal. The woman would 
not have cried out for the world. No Chinese 
woman would. If poor human flesh is weak, and a 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS " 255 

sigh of pain escape her, her mother-in-law will cover 
her mouth with her hand, but mostly the woman will 
gag herself with her long black hair, she will not 
disgrace herself by a cry as long as her senses are 
with her. It is all very well to say the Chinese do 
not suffer as white women suffer. They are not 
like the sturdy negro women who have lived a 
primitive, open-air life, walk like queens, and have 
exercised every muscle. They are the crippled 
products of an effete civilisation, who spend long 
hours on the k'ang, and go as little as possible from 
their own compound. To those women that German 
girl will be a blessing untold. I think of their bodies 
while she labours for their souls. Anyway she is 
surely sent by God. 

There were two men here to make up the comple- 
ment, one was my missionary's husband, a man who 
takes the Bible for his guide in everything, the Bible 
as it is translated into the English tongue. He does 
not read primarily for the beauty of the language, for 
the rhythm, for the poetry, for the Eastern glamour 
that is over all. He reads it, he would tell you 
himself, for the truth. It is to him the most impor- 
tant thing in the world ; he quotes it, he lives by it, 
it is never out of his thoughts, he might be a Cove- 
nanter of old Puritan days. And the fourth mission- 
ary is a man of the world. I don't think he realises 
it himself, but he is. He had lived there many 
years, had married a wife and brought up children 
there, and now had sent them home to be educated, 
and he himself talked, not of the Bible, though I 
doubt not he is just as keen as the other, but of 
the people, and their manner of life, and their 
customs, of the country, and of the strangers he had 



256 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

met, the changes he had seen, and, when I questioned 
him, of the escape of himself and his family from the 
Boxers. 

For the souls and bodies of these wretched, miser- 
able, uncomprehending Chinese, who very likely, 
at the bottom of their hearts, pity the strangers 
because they were not born in the Flowery Land, 
these devoted people work work and pray day and 
night. The result is not great. 

" They will not hear the truth. Their eyes are 
blind. They worship idols," they told me of the 
majority. But they give kindliness, and in all 
probability, for it is seldom that faithful, honest 
kindliness fails in its purpose, they make a greater 
impression than they or I realise. 

True they believe firmly in the old Hebrew idea 
of a " jealous God," but they themselves are more 
tender than the God they preach. For all of them, 
it seemed to me, life is hard, unless they have 
greater joy in the service than I , " a Greek " could 
understand, but for the older woman it must be 
hardest of all. 

" My yoke is easy, My burden is light," said the 
Master she followed, but the burden of this woman, 
away up in the mountains of Northern China, is by 
no means light. The community is so small, they 
do not belong to the China Inland Mission but call 
themselves "The Brethren," the nearest white man 
is two days away hard travelling across the moun- 
tains, so that perforce the life is lonely. Day in 
and day out they must live here for seven years 
among an alien people ; a people who come to them 
for aid and yet despise them. And because they 
would put no more stumbling-blocks in the way of 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 257 

bringing the Chinese to listen to the message they 
bring, these missionaries conform, as much as they 
can, to Chinese custom. Very seldom does this 
woman walk abroad with her husband it would not 
be the thing women and men do not walk together 
in China. If she goes outside the missionary com- 
pound she must be accompanied by another woman, 
and she puts on some loose coat, because the 
Chinese would be shocked at any suggestion of the 
outline of a figure. Also she looks neither to 
the right nor the left, and does not appear to notice 
anything, because a well-behaved woman in China 
never looks about her. She considers, too, very 
carefully her goings, she would not walk through 
the town at the hour when the men are going about 
their business, the hour that I found the most 
interesting, and invariably chose, no boy may bring 
her tea to her bedroom it would not be right and 
she has none of the arrogance of the higher race 
who think what they do must be right and expect 
the natives of the land to fall into line. No, she 
conforms, always conforms to the uncomfortable 
customs of the Chinese, and when any man above 
the rank of the poorest comes to call upon her 
husband, she and the girl are hustled out of the way 
and are as invisible as if he kept a harem. It often 
occurred to me that the Chinese thought he did. 
Even in the church the women are screened off from 
the men, and if a man adheres to the customs of the 
country so closely in everything they can see, it is 
natural to suppose they will give him credit for 
adhering to them in all things. But they must 
think, at least, he has selected his womenkind with 
a view to their welfare^ for the older woman has had 



258 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

a little medical training, and simple cases of sickness 
she can deal with, while the German girl, as I have 
said, is a certified midwife. The other man too, 
though not a doctor, has some little knowledge of 
the more simple eye diseases. 

And they are grateful, the poor Chinese, for the 
sympathy they get from these kindly missionaries, 
who openly say they tend their poor bodies because 
they feel that so only can they get at their souls. They 
come to the little dispensary in crowds, come twenty 
miles over the mountains, and they bring there the 
diseases of a slum people, coughs and colds, pleurisy 
and pneumonia, internal complaints and the diseases 
of filth here in the clean mountains itch and the 
like. Many have bad eyes, many granulated lids., 
and there is many a case of hideous goitre. While 
I was there a man, old and poor, tramped one 
hundred miles across the mountains ; he was blind, 
with frightfully granulated lids, and he had heard of 
the skill of the missionaries. There are also well- 
to-do people here, who sometimes seek aid from 
them, though as a rule, it is the lower class they 
come in contact with. 

But the ailments of the rich are different. I 
remember my missionary woman was called in to see 
a girl about twenty, the daughter of a high-class 
Manchu. The girl had hiccough. It came on regu- 
larly about four o'clock every afternoon, and con- 
tinued, if I remember rightly, three or four hours. 
She was well and strong, she had everything the 
heart of a Chinese woman could desire, she was 
never required to do one stroke of work, but she 
was not married. The Manchus have fallen on evil 
times and find some difficulty in marrying their 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 259 

daughters. So this girl, the daughter of well-to-do 
people, was necessary to no one, not even to herself, 
and the missionary, finding she spent the greater 
part of her time lying idly upon the k'ang, diag- 
nosed hysteria, and prescribed a good brisk walk 
every day. The proud Manchu, who was her 
mother, looked at the woman she had called in to 
help her, scornfully. 

"My daughter," she said drawing herself up to 
her full height, and the Manchus are tall women, 
" cannot walk in the streets. It would not be 
seemly." 

The missionary looked at her a little troubled. 

" At least," she said^ " she can walk in the court- 
yard and play with her brother's children." 

But the girl looked at her with weary eyes. There 
was no excitement in playing with her brother's 
children, and she could not see the good to be got 
out of walking aimlessly round the courtyard. Poor 
Manchu maid ! What had she expected ? 

" If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, 
wouldst thou not have done it? " 

" I could do no good," said the missionary sorrow- 
fully, " and they would not listen to my message." 

The Chinese have their own remedies for many 
diseases, and some of them the missionaries told me 
were good, but many were too drastic, and many 
were wickedly dangerous. When an eye is red and 
bloodshot for instance, they will break a piece of 
crockery and pierce the eye with it, and in all prob- 
ability the unfortunate loses his sight. No wonder 
they come miles and miles, however rough the way, 
to submit themselves to gentler treatment. I have 
known even women with bound feet toil twenty miles 



260 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

to see them about some ailment. Of course their 
feet are not as badly bound as some, for there are 
many women in China who cannot walk at all. I 
talked with a man once who told me he had just been 
called upon to congratulate a man because he had 
married a wife who could not get across the room 
by herself. She, naturally, was a lady with slaves 
to wait upon her. These Chinese women of the 
mountains of the poorer classes the Manchus do not 
bind their feet must be able to move about a little, 
for there is a certain amount of work they must do. 

" A hundred thousand medical missionaries," said 
this man, " are wanted in China, for the teeming 
population suffers from its ignorance, it suffers 
because it is packed so tightly together; the women 
suffer from the custom that presses so heavily, and 
it suffers from its own dirt." 

Up here at Jehol the suffering is apparently as 
bad as anywhere, and the dispensary is full with 
all the minor ailments that come within the range 
of the missionaries' simple skill, and all the cruel 
diseases that are quite beyond them, that they can- 
not touch, and they do their best in all pity and love, 
and yet think that they are doing a greater thing 
than binding up a man's wounds when they can 
induce him to come to their prayer-meetings, which 
go along, side by side, with the dispensary. 

I, a heathen and a "Greek," question whether 
the Chinese ever receives Christianity. A Chinese 
gentleman, a graduate of Cambridge, once told me 
he did not think he ever did. 

" But the Chinaman," said he, he actually used the 
contemned word, *"' is a practical man, he receives 
all faiths. Some may be right, and when he thinks 



.. 



TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS " 261 



he is dying, he will send for a priest of every faith 
he knows of to help him across the dark river. Who 
knows, some of them may chance to be right," and 
he laughed. He himself was of the faith so many of 
us of this modern world have attained to, seeing the 
good in so many faiths, seeing the beauty and the 
pity of them and standing aside and crying : " Why 
all this? Whither are we bound? What can it 
matter whether this poor coolie believes in Christ, 
or Buddha, or the cold ethics of Confucius?" I 
said this to my missionary woman one day and she 
looked at me with horror in her eyes. 

" There will be a reaping some day," she said. 
" Where will you be then?" 

" Surely I cannot be blamed for using the reason- 
ing powers God has given." But I am sure she 
thought my reasoning powers came from the devil, 
and if I hadn't been getting used to it I should have 
been made uncomfortable by being prayed for as 
one in outer darkness. 

It is the worship of the ancestors that holds the 
Chinese, the man who gives up that, gives up all 
family ties and becomes practically an outcast. 
There may be a few genuine Christians, but in 
proportion to the money spent upon their conver- 
sion, their number must be very small. I saw the 
colporteur come into the compound one day, and 
they told me he was an earnest Christian. He 
might be, but again that doubt arose in my mind. 
If the receiving of Christianity ensures a livelihood, 
could you expect one of a nation, who will be made 
a eunuch for the same reason, to reject it. 

The missionaries had a hard time when first they 
came here. The place is inhabited by Manchus, 



262 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

full of the pride of race, and they do not want the 
outsider. They use them, as they have effected a 
settlement, but they do not approve of their being 
there. 

As I and my saintly missionary walked down the 
street, she carefully avoiding a glance either to the 
right or the left, a little half-naked child ; at his 
mother's side looked at her and cried aloud : 

: ' Ta, ta," and he said it vehemently again and 
again. 

She stopped, spoke to the mother, and evidently 
remonstrated, and the woman laughed and passed 
along on her high Manchu shoes without correcting 
the child. 

She looked troubled. "What did he say?" I 
asked. 

" Strike, strike ! or some people might say ' kill, 
kill ! ' I said to the woman : ' What bad manners is 
this?' 

And the woman had only laughed! After all her 
kindness and tenderness, all her consideration and 
care ; I should have thought the very children 
would have worshipped the ground she walked 
upon. 

They are holding their own, they say. In the 
compound are a couple of Chinese women, the wives 
of their teachers or servants, and they have had to 
unbind their feet, a process almost as painful as the 
binding. One old woman could not unbind hers, 
they told me, because so long had they been bound 
the feet split when she attempted to walk upon them 
unbound, but so true a Christian is she, she puts her 
tiny feet inside big shoes. But to balance her, their 
amah, a Manchu, is still a heathen. After the 




MANCHU WOMAN AND CHILD IN MISSIONARY COMPOUND. 




MANCHU AND CHINESE WOMEN IN MISSIONARY COMPOUND. 



<TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 268 

years, the years they had been striving there, they 
could not find one who has embraced their faith to 
wait upon them. 

In truth it was a hard faith, morning, noon, and 
night, they prayed, morning, noon, and night, it 
seemed to me from the little meeting-house went 
up the sound of hymns and prayers, not even in 
Christian England, England that has held the faith 
for over a thousand years would so many services 
have been attended, could they expect it of the 
Chinese ? 

In the evening, when the night fell, we sat in the 
compound and talked, I, who was cold and reason- 
able, and they who were enthusiasts, for to them had 
come the call, that mysterious crying for the un- 
known that comes to all peoples and all classes, and 
is called by such different names. 

" I have given myself to the Lord for China." 
And outside the house the watchman beat his gong, 
not to frighten off thieves, as I at first thought, but 
to keep away the devils who help the " stealer man," 
for he cannot alone carry out his nefarious designs, 
the wonks, the scavenger dogs made the night 
hideous by their howling, and the soldiers, of whom 
the town was full, sang their new war-song wild 
and barbaric. 

" I do not like it," said she of the sad eyes and 
red lips, " I do not like it. It does not sound 



true." 



And I, who had not got to live there, did not like 
it either, but it was because it did sound to me true 
it sounded fierce and merciless. What might not 
men, who sang like that, do? 

" The Chinese soldier is a baby," said a Chinese 



264 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

to me, but that is when he is among his own particu- 
lar people at home. 

" Chinese soldiers," said another man, a foreigner, 
"are always robbers and banditti." 

And there is truth in that last statement, possibly 
there is truth in both, for children, unguided and 
unbridled, with the strength and passions of men, 
are dangerous to let loose upon a community. 

We are beginning to look upon China as a land 
at peace. We talk about her " bloodless revolu- 
tion," yet even as I write these words I see, sitting 
opposite to me, my friend who was one of the rescue- 
party, the gallant nine, who rode post-haste to Hsi 
An Fu to rescue the missionaries cut off by the tide 
of the revolution, and I know the peace of China is 
not as the peace of a Western land. 

Hsi An Fu is situated in Shensi, roughly, about 
a fortnight's journey from the nearest railway, with 
walls that rival those of Peking, and like Peking, 
with a Manchu City walled off inside those walls. 
There on the 22nd October, 1911, the Revolution- 
aries, the apostles of progress, shut fast the gates of 
the inner city and butchered the Manchus within the 
walls. From house to house they went, and slew 
them all, old women on the brink of the grave and 
the tiny infant smiling in its mother's arms. Not 
one was spared. No cries for mercy were listened 
to. "Kill, kill!" was the cry that bright autumn 
Sunday ; men, women, and children were slain, the 
streets ran with their blood, the reek of slaughter 
went up to heaven, and the Manchus were exter- 
minated. 

The movement was not anti-foreign, but the plight 
of the missionaries well illustrates the danger every 



.. 



TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS " 265 



foreigner faces in China. The bulk of the people 
are peaceful. Nowhere in the world, I suppose, is 
a more peaceful person to be found than the average 
Chinese peasant. He asks only to be let alone, but, 
unfortunately, he is not let alone. His rulers 
" squeeze " and oppress him, bands of robbers take 
toll of his pittance, and when an unpaid soldiery is 
let loose upon him, his plight is pitiable. It is 
certainly understandable, if not pardonable, that he 
in his turn, takes to pillage, and pillage leads to 
murder. He is only a puppet in the hands of others. 
One man alone may be kindly enough but the man 
who is one of a mob, is swayed by the passions of that 
mob, or the passions of its leader. So it was at Hsi 
An Fu. Party feeling ran high. There were really 
three parties, the Manchus, the Revolutionaries, and 
the Secret Society, the Elder Brother Society, who 
are always anti-foreign and who, here in Hsi An 
Fu, for whatever purpose they might originally have 
banded themselves together, were virtually a band 
of robbers, mainly intent on filling their own pockets. 
The Revolutionaries declared that the foreigners 
should be protected, but and again the menace of 
China to the white man is felt in the rush and 
tumult of the battle, many of their followers did not 
realise this. This was the time to wreak private 
vengeance, and it was fiercely taken advantage of. 
When thousands of helpless people, closer akin to 
the slayers than the foreigners, were being given 
pitilessly to the sword, who was likely to take much 
account of a handful of missionaries. 

There was outside the city in the south suburb a 
small school for the teaching of the Swedish mission- 
aries' children, and the head of that school had, 



266 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

some little time before, had a camera stolen. He 
reported it to the police, and being dissatisfied with 
the lax way the man at the head of the district took 
the matter up, went to his superior officer. Now 
in these disturbed times, the man who had " lost face " 
saw his way to vengeance, and, being in sympathy 
with the Revolutionaries, and knowing the exact 
hour of the outbreak, he ordered the villagers round 
the south suburb, every family, to send at least one 
man to help exterminate the foreigners. " It was 
an order," and the villagers responded. The school 
was the first place attacked, for not only did this 
man seek vengeance, but the humble possessions of 
the missionaries seemed to the poorer Chinese to be 
wealth well worth looting. Therefore that Sunday 
at midnight a mob attacked the school premises. 
The missionaries, Mr and Mrs Beckman and Mr 
Watne, the tutor, were helpless before the crowd, 
and hid in a tool-house, but they were discovered 
and ran out, making for a high wall that surrounded 
the compound. Mr Watne got astride of this and 
handed over Mr Beckman's eldest daughter, a tall 
girl of twelve, but, before he could get the other 
children, the crowd rushed them, and he was tumbled 
over the wall, making his escape with the girl to 
another village some way off while the mob swept 
over the rest, scattering them far and wide. Mr 
Beckman, a particularly tall, stalwart man, con- 
siderably over six feet high, had his youngest child, 
a baby, in his arms, and the people gave way before 
him, closing in on the unfortunates who were 
following. It is impossible for an outsider to tell 
the tale of that massacre, for massacre it was, the 
people falling upon and doing to death the unfor- 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 267 

tunate woman and the children who were clustering 
round her. The darkness was filled with the fierce 
shouts of the murderers, and every now and again 
they were broken in upon by the terrified wail of a 
child butchered with none to help. 

" Ta, ta," cried the people, and they struck merci- 
lessly, with spades and reaping hooks and knives, 
the weak and helpless, and dodged out of the way 
of the great, strong man who could fight a little for 
his life and the lives of those dear to him. 

The woman and the children were slain and at last 
he was hunted, with the little girl still in his arms, 
into a deep pond of water outside the suburb. The 
mite was only three years old, and the distracted 
father, wild with anxiety for his wife and other 
children, had to soothe the little one and exhort her 
to be quiet and not to cry, for the pursuers were 
lighting fires round the pond to find them. They 
lighted three, and the fires probably defeated their 
own end, for the fugitive managed to keep out of the 
glare, and the leaping flames deepened the darkness 
around. The baby sheltered in her father's arms, and 
in spite of the cold, never even whimpered, and the 
water was so deep the mob dared not venture in. 
Only a man of extraordinary height could have so 
saved himself. Hour after hour of the bitter cold 
autumn night passed and the mob dispersed a little. 
The lust for killing was not so great in the keen Hours 
of the early morning. Then the first silver streaks, 
heralding the rising of the moon, appeared in the 
eastern sky and the distracted man made his way 
softly to a bank at one side, and reaching up, again 
only a tall man could have done it, laid his little 
girl there. But the child who had been so good in 



268 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

the icy water while she was against his breast began 
to fret when the keen morning air blew through her 
sodden clothes and she could not feel her father's 
arms round her, and he had to take her back and 
soothe her. But at last he persuaded her to lie still 
till he got softly out of the water, and crept round to 
her. He was not followed, the pursuit was slacken- 
ing more and more, and, keeping in the shadows, he 
made his way to the missionaries in the western 
suburb. He thought that all but he and his little 
girl had perished, and sad to say they did not know 
of the two who were sheltering in a village some miles 
away in the country. Here, nearly twelve hours 
later, the pursuers sought them out and stoned them 
to death. 

Meanwhile rumours of what was happening in 
the southern suburb reached the missionaries in the 
eastern suburb, and they, taking counsel with their 
native helpers, divided themselves into three parties, 
and set out to take refuge in some more distant 
villages where the people were reputed Christians. 
They had gone but a little way, when the carts of 
two of the parties were overtaken by a mob, who 
handled them somewhat roughly, took all their 
humble possessions, and drove them back. 

" Kill, kill ! " cried the pointing people, as the little 
helpless company, escorted by the shouting, threaten- 
ing mob passed, and even those who did not directly 
threaten, seemed to have no hope. 

' They go to their deaths," they said, looking at 
them curiously as men look upon other men about 
to die. 

The missionaries themselves had small hope of 
their lives. When they reached the first mission- 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 269 

house they were roughly thrust into a room and there 
guarded, and they only wondered why death did not 
come swiftly and cut short the agony of waiting. 

The third party that set out from that suburb con- 
sisted of the Rev. Donald Smith, his wife, and some 
schoolgirls they were escorting back to their homes, 
as he considered, in these troublous times, they 
would be safer with their own people than in the 
mission school. They went due east, and had not 
gone three miles when they were set upon. The 
girls fled in all directions, but the attackers only 
molested the foreigner and his wife. He en- 
deavoured to defend her, but they beat him so 
severely that both his arms were broken, and they 
were both left for dead by the wayside. Here they 
were found by some friendly, kindly villagers the 
average Chinaman is kindly who, when the roughs 
were gone, came to their rescue, and took them back 
to the eastern suburb, where the other missionaries 
had spent a terrible two hours, momentarily expect- 
ing the mob to rush in and kill them. 

But the Chinese are a cautious people, curious in 
their respect for precedent. What was to be done 
with these foreigners. Sometimes the foreigners had 
been slain, but then again, quite as often, they had 
been guarded and kept safely. There was no get- 
ting into the city. The gates were fast locked and 
were kept shut for days, but someone very probably 
a well-wisher to the missionaries went to the wall 
and shouted up to know what was the order about 
foreigners? Were they to kill them or were they to 
protect them? Back came the response, the order 
was, the foreigners were to be protected, and when 
word of this was brought back to the mission station, 



270 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

they were not only released, but the property of which 
they had been robbed was returned to them. For 
those who had looted kept it intact till they saw 
which way the wind blew. 

And by the time the city gates were opened and 
order was restored, it was understood, by the procla- 
mation of the New Republic, that all foreigners were 
to be protected. 

But the case of the missionaries in Hsi An Fu 
graphically illustrates the dangers every foreigner, 
missionary, or the missionary's bete noire, the ubi- 
quitous cigarette-selling British American Tobacco 
man, runs in China, where the civilisation, the 
long-established civilisation is that of Nineveh or 
Babylon, or ancient Egypt. Not that the foreigner 
runs any greater risk than the native of the country, 
sometimes he runs less, because, even into the far 
interior, a glimmering of the vengeance the Christian 
nations take for their martyred brothers has pene- 
trated ; but life in China is, as it was in Nineveh or 
Babylon, not nearly as sacred as it is in the West. 
The life of a poor man, one of the luckless proletariat, 
is of small account to anyone. A disbanded and un- 
paid soldiery are for ever a menace, and the difference 
between the disciplined soldier and the unlicensed 
bandit is very, very small. One week a regiment of 
soldiers clamouring for their pay, the next a band of 
robbers hiding in the hills, their methods ruthless, for 
their hand is against every man's and every man's 
hand is agamst them. They live by the sword, as 
they perish by the sword, and when the tide of law- 
lessness reaches a certain height, white man and 
yellow alike suffer, but we take count only of the 
sufferings of our own people. 



"TO THE GREEKS, FOOLISHNESS" 271 

Sitting in the missionary compound up at Jehol in 
the evening, I thought of these things and looked 
into the eyes that looked into mine, the kind, brown 
eyes, and I wondered did she remember, did she think 
of them, too. I looked again, and I knew she 
remembered, that ever with her was the thought how 
cut off they were from the rest of the world, and I 
read there, though she never murmured, fear. For 
Jehol has its traditions of sacrifice and martyrdom 
too. Only six miles away at a village on the Lanho, 
in the year of the Boxer trouble, they had slowly 
buried the Catholic priest alive. All the long hot 
summer's day they had kept him tied to a post, slowly, 
to prolong his agony, heaping up the earth around 
him. The day was hot, and he begged for water as 
the long, weary, hopeless hours dragged themselves 
away. And some of them had loved him. 

; ' You might," said a man looking on, " give him a 
drink, even if you do kill him." 

And they turned on him even as men might have 
done in the days of the Inquisition : 

" If you say any more, we will bury you beside 
him." 

And so he died a cruel death, a martyr, for there 
was none to help, and when the Western nations 
exacted retribution, they made the people put up a 
cross, the symbol of his faith, over the grave. And 
then, because they had been forced to do it, every 
villager who passed that monument to show his con- 
tempt for the foreigner and all his works cast a stone, 
till now shape and inscription have both gone, and 
the passer-by cannot tell what is that rough rock, 
jagged and unshapely. 

Yet here among these selfsame people, four and a 



272 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

half days' hard journey from Peking, far beyond all 
hope of help from the foreign soldiery, dwell these 
Christian missionaries. ' To the Greeks, foolish- 
ness." But could they better demonstrate the 
strength of their faith ? 



CHAPTER XV 

A VISIT TO THE TARTAR GENERAL 

Hsiung Hsi Ling, Premier of China Preparations for a call 
A cart of State An elderly mule Waiting in the gate The 
yamen Mr Wu, the secretary "Hallo, Missus!" The 
power of a Chinese General' 4 Plenty robber, too much 
war "Ceremonial farewell A cultivated gentleman Back 
to past ages for the night. 

UP in Jehol they called the General commanding 
the three thousand odd troops the Tartar General, 
why I do not know, but it seems it is the title by which 
he is commonly known among the country people. 
He was Hsiung Hsi Ling, the man who is now 
Premier of China, and to him I brought letters of 
introduction so that I might be admitted to the 
Imperial Palace and Park and be treated as a person 
of consequence, otherwise I imagine a foreigner and 
a woman at that would have but small chance of 
respect in China. The Chinese letters lifted me to 
the rank of the literati, which must have been rather 
surprising to the Chinese, and these in English were 
such that I felt I must bear myself so as to live up to 
them. 

The yamen was about five minutes' walk from the 
mission station, and in my ignorance I had thought 
I would stroll up some morning when I had recovered 
from the fatigues of the journey, but the missionaries, 

373 s 



274 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

steeped in the lore of Chinese etiquette, declared 
such a proceeding was not suitable. A person of 
consequence, such as my letters proclaimed me, 
must bear herself more becomingly. 

" Write and ask if ten o'clock on Tuesday morn- 
ing will be a suitable time for you to call on the 
General, and send your letters by your servant. 1 
dare say there will be somebody who can read them, 
though I am sure there will be nobody who can write 
an answer," said the missionary. " The General's 
English-speaking secretary is away." 

Accordingly I sent off Tuan, who was more than 
sure that he was equal to the task, and he returned 
without a letter, as the missionary had prophesied, 
but saying : " She say all right." 

"And now you must have a cart," said that 
missionary who was more worldly wise than I ex- 
pected an enthusiast to be, " and don't get down till 
the yamen gates are opened. It would never do to 
wait with the servants in the gate." 

How Eastern it sounded ! And then his wife came 
and superintended my toilet. The weather was 
warm, not to say hot, and I had thought a black and 
white muslin a most fitting and suitable array. But 
she was horrified at the effect. It was made in the 
mode of 1913, and did not suggest, as the long 
Manchu robes do, that I was built like a pyramid, 
broadest at the base. 

" Haven't you got a coat to put over you," said she 
looking round, and she seized my burberry which 
was the only thing in the shape of a wrap I had with 
me. Chinese ideas of propriety evidently influenced 
her very strongly. 

I declined to wear a burberry on a hot day late in 



THE TARTAR GENERAL 275 

May, though all the Chinese Empire were shocked 
and horrified at my impropriety, but I sought round 
and found a lace veil which, draped over me, was a 
little suggestive of a bridal festivity, but apparently 
satisfied all conditions, and then I went out to mount 
into that abomination a Peking cart. The Peking 
cart that is used for visiting has a little trestle carried 
over the back end of the shafts, which is taken down 
when the occupant wishes to mount and dismount, 
so I got into the seat of honour, the most uncomfort- 
able seat well under the tilt, and Tuan, glorious in 
a long black silk brocade robe, his queue newly oiled 
and plaited, and a big straw hat upon his head, 
climbed on to the tail of the shaft, and the carter, 
dressed in the ordinary blue of his class, with the 
ordinary rag over his head to keep off the dust, 
walked beside the most venerable white mule I have 
ever come across. I don't know whether aged 
animals are held in respect in China, I'm afraid not. 
The poor old thing had great deep hollows over his 
eyes. I suspect Tuan had got him cheap, because 
the cart was respectable, and he had been good 
once of course he would never have let me lose 
face and then he made me pay full price, a whole 
fivepence I think it came to. 

" That's a very old mule, Tuan," I said. 

: ' Yes," he assented, " very old, she forty," which 
was certainly more than I had reckoned him. I 
afterwards came to the conclusion he meant fourteen. 

What Tuan was there for, 1 certainly don't know, 
except to carry my card-case, which I was perfectly 
capable of carrying myself. 

We went out into the dusty, mud-coloured street, 
and along between mud-coloured walls of the 



276 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

dullest, most uninteresting description, and presently 
we arrived at the yamen gates, and here it was 
evident that Tuan, who had been so important all 
across the mountains, was now quite out of his depth. 
" Cart no can go," said he. " Missie get out." 
I was prepared for that. " No," I said very im- 
portant for once in my life, " I wait till someone 



comes." 



The yamen entrance was divided into three, as all 
Chinese entrances seem to be, and over it were 
curved tiled roofs with a little colouring, faded and 
shabby, about them ; all of it was badly in need of 
repair, and on the fast-closed gates in the middle 
were representations of some demon apparently in a 
fit, but his aspect was a little spoiled by the want 
of a fresh coat of paint. The two little gates at 
either side were open, and here clustered Chinese 
soldiers in khaki, and men in civilian dress of blue 
cotton, and all stared at the foreign woman who was 
not a missionary, in the cart; that is the rude ones 
stared, and the polite ones looked uncomfortably 
out of the corners of their eyes. A Chinaman's 
politeness in this respect always ends by making me 
uncomfortable. A good, downright stare that says 
openly: " I am taking you in with all my eyes," I 
can stand, but the man who looks away and down 
and out of the corners of his eyes gets on my nerves 
in no time. 

However, this time I had not long to wait. After 
a minute or two out came a messenger, a Chinese of 
the better class, for he was dressed in a bright blue 
silk coat and petticoats, with a black sleeveless jacket 
over it, and the gates at his command, to my boy's 
immense astonishment, opened, and my cart rumbled 



THE TARTAR GENERAL 277 

into the first courtyard. We went on into a second 
bare, ugly courtyards they were, without a flower or 
a tree or any green thing to rest the eye upon and 
then I got down as there came to meet me a small 
bare-headed man without a queue, and his thick 
black hair apparently cut with a saw and done with 
a fork. He wore an ill-fitting suit of foreign clothes, 
and about his neck, instead of a collar, one of those 
knitted wraps an Englishwoman puts inside her coat 
when the weather is cold. On his feet were the white 
socks and heelless slippers of the Chinese. Instead 
of the dignified greeting the first man had given me 
he remarked genially, and offhandedly: "Hallo, 
Missus ! " and he did it with a certain confidence, as 
if he really would show the numerous bystanders 
that he knew how to receive a lady. 

Through one shabby courtyard after another, all 
guarded by soldiers in khaki, he led me to the 
presence of the Tartar General, Hsiung Hsi Ling, 
the great man who had been Minister of Finance 
and who now held military command over the whole 
of that part of China, independent even of the Viceroy 
of the Province of Chihli. Those who told me made 
a great point of that independence ; but in China it 
seems that a General with troops at his command 
always is independent, not only of the Viceroy of 
the Province in which he is stationed, but of anyone 
else in authority. The President himself would 
treat him with great respect so long as he had troops 
at his back. He is, in fact, entirely independent. 
If the central authorities give him money to pay his 
troops, well and good, he holds himself at their com- 
mand, if they do not, then he is quite likely to 
sympathise with his men, and become not only a 



278 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

danger to the community among whom he is 
stationed, but to the Government as well. It is 
hardly likely yet in China, that a General popular 
with his troops can be degraded or dismissed. He 
can only be got rid of by offering him something 
better. 

Here I found none of the pomp and magnificence 
I had expected to find about an all-powerful Oriental. 
We went into a room floored with stone, after the 
Chinese fashion, and furnished with a couple of 
chairs, and through that into a plain, smallish room, 
with the usual window of dainty lattice-work covered 
with white paper. All down the centre of it ran a 
table like a great dining-table, covered, as if to 
emphasise the likeness, with a white cloth. I felt as 
if I had come in at an inopportune moment, before 
the table had been cleared away. Seated at this 
table, with his back to the window, was the General. 
He rose as I entered and came forward, kindly and 
considerately, to meet me a man of middle height, 
younger than I expected, for he hardly looked forty. 
There was not a thread of white in his coal-black 
hair, but he had some hair on his face a moustache 
and the scanty beard that is all the Chinese can 
produce so he was evidently of ripe years, well past 
middle age. He wore a uniform of khaki, as simple 
and devoid of ornament as that of one of his own 
soldiers ; his thick black hair was cut short and he 
had a clever, kindly face. Though he could under- 
stand no English, he looked at the foreign woman 
pleasantly, and as if he were glad to see her. He 
went back to his chair, and I was seated at his right 
hand, while his secretary, and very inadequate inter- 
preter, sat on his left. An attendant, looking like 



THE TARTAR GENERAL 279 

an ordinary coolie, brought in tea in three cups with 
handles and saucers, foreign fashion, and the inter- 
view began. 

I have been told that a grave and unsmiling 
demeanour is the proper thing to bring to a Chinese 
interview ; and if so I failed lamentably to come up 
to the correct standard. But since the interpreter 
knew even less English than Tuan, whom I had left 
outside, there was really little else to do but smile 
and look pleasant. My host certainly smiled many 
times. I complimented him on the beauty of his 
country and then I asked permission, that is to say 
his protection, to go on to Lamamiao, or as it is 
called on the maps, Dolnor. Goodness knows why 
I asked. It would have meant two or three weeks 
at least in that awful Peking cart, but I appear to 
be so constituted that, when I am within range of a 
place, it would seem like missing my opportunities 
not to try and get there. I don't know what there 
is to see at Dolnor, but it is up on the Mongolian 
plateau, and there is a big lamaserie there and a 
living Buddha, that is an incarnation of the Buddha. 
The one who is there at present may be very holy 
as to one part of him, but the earthly part requires 
plenty of drink, I am told, and the caresses of many 
women to make this world tolerable. However, I 
was not to see him. The General and his secretary 
might not have understood much, but they did under- 
stand what I wanted then, and they were emphatic 
that I could not go. The General looked at his 
secretary and then at me, and explained at length, 
and he must have thought that the English language 
was remarkable for its brevity, for I was curtly 
informed : 



280 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

"No can go. Plenty robber. Too much war." 

I had been threatened with robbers before, but not 
by an important General, and this time I felt I had 
better take heed, besides there was always the con- 
solatory thought that, if I did not go, I need not 
ride any more in a Peking cart. Then I asked per- 
mission to visit the Palace and Park. 

" No can do one time," said the interpreter. 
" How many day you want go ? " 

Somehow, though I had come all this way to see 
it, I have a rooted objection to sightseeing. To get 
a ticket to go into a place takes away the charm; 
still as I was about it, I thought I would go as often 
as I could, so I said I would like to go on five days. 
The missionaries, though they had been here for 
six years, had never yet set foot inside that Park; 
to go required a permit from the authorities, and it 
was their idea to ask nothing from those authorities 
that they could possibly avoid. They would cer- 
tainly have thought it wicked to ask for anything for 
their own pleasure. I did not suffer from any such 
ideas. As the General was bent on being civil to 
me I thought I might as well say I would like to take 
my friends in, and as we could not go without proper 
attendants I who come from a country where I 
have blacked my own boots, cooked the family 
dinner, and ironed my husband's shirts many a time 
I asked for and got about thirty tickets. I've got 
some of them still. Then I drank a cup of very 
excellent tea, and before five minutes were up rose 
and made my adieux. Brevity, I had been instructed, 
was the soul of courtesy in a Chinese interview. 

The Tartar General saw me through two doors, 
which I believe was a high honour, and due to my 




PAVILIONS ON BRIDGE ACROSS LAKE, JEHOL. 




A BOATHOUSE IN THE PARK. 



THE TARTAR GENERAL 281 

having been introduced as a learned doctor. The 
correct thing is to protest all the while and beg your 
host not to come any farther, but I am really too 
Western in my ideas and it seems silly. Either he 
wants to come, or he doesn't, in any case what does 
it matter, and so I fear me, I was not vehement 
enough in my protestations of unworthiness. The 
secretary conducted me to my cart, where a subdued 
and awed servant awaited my arrival with a new and 
exalted idea of his Missie's importance. Tuan had 
magnified my importance, I fancy, for his own sake. 
He was serving a woman yes, but she was a rich, 
generous, and important woman, but he had never, 
at the bottom of his heart, really dreamt that she 
could go through the yamen gate in a cart, that 
she could sit down beside the Tartar General, that she 
could get many tickets to go inside grounds forbidden 
to all the Chinese round about. I have not the 
slightest doubt all the details of the interview reached 
him before I came out, brief as my visit had been, 
and he helped me into my cart with, I felt, more 
deference and less make-believe than was usual. It 
made me smile a little to myself, but I think it was 
Tuan who really got most satisfaction out of that 
visit, though he had not seen the great man. 

I had been comparing China to Babylon. I came 
away from the General's presence with the feeling 
that a Babylonish gentleman was truly charming 
just like a finished product of my own time. 
Probably he was. But there were other sides to 
Babylon, as I was reminded that night. It is well 
to know all sides. When I had said good night and 
gone to bed, there burst on my ears a loud beating 
of gongs, and the weird war-song I had found so 



282 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

haunting the night before. The soldiers were 
stimulating their courage for the fighting in 
Mongolia. I wonder if the Babylonish soldiery sang 
so before they marched down upon Jerusalem. 
Then there came the watchman's gong, and the howl 
of the wonks that prowled about the town. I was back 
in past ages, and as I lay there in the darkness I 
wondered how I had ever had the temerity even to 
contemplate a visit to Lamamiao, and whether I 
would ever have the courage necessary to get back 
to Peking by myself. Luckily the fears of the dark 
are generally dispersed by the morning sunlight. At 
least they are with me, or I should never dare go 
travelling in remote places at all. 



CHAPTER XVI 

A PLEASURE-GROUND OF THE MANCHUS 

A return call Ceremonies A dog-robbing suit Difficulties of 
conversation A treat for the amah The British Ambassador 
at Jehol in the eighteenth century The last stages of 
decrepitude Glories of the park The bronze temple A 
flippant young Chinese gentleman " Ladies' Temple " 
Desolation and dirt and ruin " Happiness Hall " Exam- 
ining a barbarian. 

THE next day the secretary returned my call, bring- 
ing with him the General's card, and an apology for 
not coming himself. He was so very busy. I never 
expected him to come, and don't suppose he ever 
really intended to, but it was true Chinese politeness 
to put it that way. 

Mr Wu had sent to say he was coming to call upon 
me, and it surprised me to see the commotion such a 
little thing occasioned in the mission house. I felt 
they were really being awfully good to my guest, but, 
without taking away one jot from their kindliness, I 
think, too, they were very glad to be brought into 
friendly relations with the yamen, and I was very 
glad indeed to think that I, who was in outer darkness 
from their point of view, was able to do this little thing 
for them. Cakes were made, the best tea got out, 
the table set, and the boy, who generally waited upon 
us humbler folk in a little short jacket and trousers 
caught in at the ankles, was put into the long coat, 

283 



284 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

or petticoat, whichever you are pleased to call it, 
that a well-dressed Chinese servant always wears. 
It seems it is not the correct thing for him to wait 
upon one in a little short jacket. And then when 
all was ready, and the small great man was 
announced, to my surprise the other two women 
were hustled out of sight, and I and the missionary 
received him alone. Why, I do not know even now. 
I sat on a high chair, and so did Mr Wu, and the 
missionary gave us both tea and cakes, handing every- 
thing with both hands; that I believe is the correct 
Chinese way of doing honour to your guest. I 
received it as a matter of course, said " Thank you," 
or " Please don't bother/' whichever occurred to me, 
but Mr Wu was loud in his protestations, in both 
Chinese and English, and I fancy the whole inter- 
view unless I spoiled it was conducted in a manner 
which reflected infinite credit upon the missionary's 
knowledge of Chinese customs and the secretary's 
best manners. They certainly were very elaborate. 
This day he had on what one of my naval brothers 
was wont to designate a dog-robbing suit, though I 
don't know that he ever went out dog-robbing, and 
I am quite sure the young Chinese gentleman never 
did, also his hair was neatly parted in the middle 
and plastered down on each side, and with a high 
collar and tie on, he looked really as uncomfortable 
and outre as it was possible to look. He had brought 
me the tickets, and implored me if I wanted anything 
else to ask for it. The interview was a trial to me. 
It is all very well to be prepared to smile, but smiles 
don't really fill up more than a minute or two, and 
what on earth to say during the rest of the time, 
troubled me. In all the wide world, and I felt it 




LAKE IN PARK, JEHOL. 




END OF LAKE IN PARK, JEHOL. 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 285 

acutely, we had absolutely nothing in common save 
those tickets, and my heart sank when he told me he 
would do himself the honour of showing me over the 
palace himself. If I felt half an hour with him, for 
all my gratitude for his kindliness, an intolerable 
burden, what on earth should I feel the livelong day. 
One piece of news he did tell us, there Ead been 
fighting in Mongolia, severe fighting, and many men 
had been killed, but when we came to ask which side 
had won he said he did not know, and then of course 
we guessed the Chinese had suffered a reverse, for 
if the telegraph could tell any details at all, it was 
sure to have told the all-important one which side 
was the conqueror. At last, when it seemed that 
hour had been interminable, the young man rose, and 
the farewells began. 

Those Chinese farewells! Chinese etiquette is 
enough to cure the most enthusiastic believer in form 
and ceremony, to reduce him to the belief that a 
simple statement of fact, a " Yea, yea," and " Nay, 
nay," are amply sufficient. I suppose all this form 
and ceremony, this useless form and ceremony, comes 
from the over-civilisation of China. If ever in the 
future I am inclined to cavil at abrupt modern 
manners, I shall think of that young man protesting 
that the missionary must not come to the gate with 
him, when all the while he knew he would have 
been deeply offended if he had not. I fear lest I 
may now swing over to the other side and say that a 
rude abruptness is a sign of life, so much better does 
it seem to me than the long elaborate and meaning- 
less politeness that hampers one so much. 

When he had gone we discussed the question of a 
visit to the Imperial Park, and then I found that 



286 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

there were many things in the way of my entertaining 
my hosts, prayer meetings, dispensary afternoons, 
visits, and that in any case, only the women would 
accompany me, whether that was really because the 
men were busy, or because it was not Chinese 
etiquette for men and women to amuse themselves 
together I do not know, but I strongly suspect the 
latter had something to do with it. For of course what 
the foreigners did, more especially the new foreign 
woman, who was not a missionary, was a matter of 
common talk in all the district round. Then my 
hostess put it to me, as I had plenty of tickets and 
to spare, would I take their amah. She was most 
anxious to go. She had been in service with a 
Manchu family, and once when they were going she 
had been ill, and once it had rained so that she had 
never gone, and she was getting an old woman and 
feared her chances were dwindling sadly. 

It was such a little thing to want, and yet I don't 
know. When I looked at the hideous town, for 
Cheng Teh Fu remains in my mind as the ugliest 
Chinese town I have ever seen it had not the charm 
and fascination that walls give, when I thought of 
the delights that lay hidden behind the fifteen miles 
of high wall that surround the Park, the delights that 
are for so very, very few, I did not wonder that the 
Manchu woman, who already counted herself old, she 
was forty-five, should have been very anxious to 
go inside. And when I told her I would take her, 
she immediately begged leave to go away and put 
on her best clothes. I couldn't see any difference 
between her best clothes and her everyday clothes, 
but I could see she had a small shaven grandchild 
in attendance, who was immediately put on to carry 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 287 

my umbrella. I suppose she hoped to smuggle him 
in to see the delights, and I said nothing, for I had 
plenty of tickets. 

Curiously enough, while most of China has been 
a sealed book, the Hunting Palace it is really better 
described as a Lodge of the Manchus has been 
known to the English for one hundred and twenty 
years, for it was here that, on the Qth September, 
1793, the Emperor Ch'ien Lung received Lord Ma- 
cartney, the first British Ambassador to China. I did 
not come straight from Peking, but I know that the 
road, by valley and mountain pass, is reckoned very 
bad indeed, and very few people as yet take the 
trouble to go to Jehol. It is four and a half days' 
hard travelling now, but Lord Macartney took seven, 
and it is a curious commentary upon the state of the 
roads in the British Isles in those days that though 
his chronicler, Sir George Staunton, writing of the 
journey, complains a little of the roads, and mentions 
that Lord Macartney's carriage, which he had brought 
out from England with him, had generally to be 
dragged along empty, while the " Embassador " him- 
self rode in a palankeen, he does not make much 
moan about them ; no one reading his account would 
think they were so appalling as they must have been, 
for I cannot think they have deteriorated much since 
those days. When I looked at the streets of Cheng 
Teh Fu, banks, dust heaps, great holes, stones, I 
tried to imagine the British " Embassador's " coach 
being dragged across them, twisting round corners, 
balancing on sidings, up to the axles in dust, or 
perhaps mud, for it was September and the crowd 
looking on at the lord from the far islands of the sea, 
who was bringing tribute to the Emperor of China, 



288 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

for I am afraid it is hardly likely they believed he 
was doing anything else. 

Another thing Sir George Staunton notes is the 
scarcity of timber. " The circumjacent hills," he 
writes, " appeared to have been once well planted 
with trees; but those few which remained were 
stunted, and timber has become very scarce. No 
young plantations had been made to supply the old 
ones cut down." Now the hills round are absolutely 
bare, there is not a sign that ever a tree has grown 
upon them, and I should not have believed they had, 
had it not been for Sir George Staunton's account. 

And on the other side of this ugly town, among 
these desolate hills, is set a wall, a wall about twenty 
feet high, with a broad pathway on the top, along 
which the guards might walk. And the wall has been 
built with discretion. Not only was it to keep out all 
but the elect, but it was to block effectually all view 
of what went on inside. Not even from the neigh- 
bouring hills is it possible to look into that Park. Its 
delights were only for the Son of Heaven and those 
who ministered to his well-being. 

We went along a sordid, dusty street to the 
principal gate, a shabby and forlorn-looking gate, and 
the watch-tower over it was crumbling to decay, and 
we entered the courtyard, a forlorn and desolate 
courtyard, where the paving-stones were broken, and 
the grass and weeds were coming up between the 
cracks. Then there was a long pathway with a 
broken pavement in the middle, a pavement so 
characteristic of China that wherever I chance to see 
such I shall think of her golden sunshine and bright 
skies. On either side of that pathway were high 
walls over which were peeping the tiled roofs of 




LAKE IN PARK, JEHOL. 




EMPEROR'S BEDROOM. 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 289 

buildings, until at last after fully five minutes' walk, 
after passing through many gates, all in various 
stages of decay, we came to a place where the path 
ended with two doors to the right and left. This, 
the palace of an Emperor; it seemed impossible to 
believe it. I wondered if the woman who had wanted 
for so many years to see it was disappointed. She 
was supporting my elbow, true Chinese fashion, and 
Tuan, having succeeded in passing on my camera to 
the usual ragged follower, was on the other side, as 
if I were in the last stages of decrepitude. At first 
this exceeding attention used to irritate me, but by 
this time I had resigned myself to my fate. I was 
more concerned at the shabbiness and sordidness of 
everything. Of course no one save the servants, 
who keep the place, live in the grounds now, no 
one has lived there for over fifty years, not since 1 860, 
when tKe reigning Emperor fled there from the Allies 
who sacked Peking, and died there. Perhaps it was 
for that reason that his secondary wife, the great 
Dowager- Empress whom all the world knew, disliked 
the place, and went there no more. I remembered 
that, as I stood between those two doors and wondered 
which I should go through first. The one to the left 
led to some courtyards surrounded by low, one- 
storied buildings Emperor's first bedroom said 
Tuan, and possibly he was right. I turned to the 
door on the right and as it opened I knew that these 
Manchu pleasure-grounds had been planned, as so 
many things Chinese are planned, nobly. I stepped 
out on to a plateau and there, there in this treeless 
China, was a grove of firs and pines. The blue sky 
peeped through the branches, the sunshine dappled 
the ground with shadow and light, and the wind 

T 



290 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

murmured softly among the evergreen foliage. Here 
was coolness and delight. Beyond the plateau lay a 
long grassy valley surrounded by softly rounded, tree- 
clad hills, and right at the bottom of the valley was a 
lake with winding shores, a lake covered with lotus 
lilies, with islands on it, with bridges and buildings, 
picturesque as only the ideal Chinese buildings can 
be picturesque. It may have been created by art, 
and at least art must have entered to some great 
extent into the making of the beauty, but there is 
no trace of it. My followers looked at the scene 
and looked at me, as much as to say this was some- 
thing belonging to them they were showing me, and 
they hoped I was appreciating it properly. It might 
have been the Manchu woman's very own. In truth 
I could only look and wonder, lost in admiration. 
What could the heart of man want more for the 
glorious summertime, the brief, hot summer of 
Northern China? 

The first glance was a surprise, and the farther I 
went in the more my wonder grew. There were 
paved pathways, but they were not aggressively 
paved, the rough grey stones had just been sunk in 
the grass. They were broken a little now, and they 
toned naturally with the rural surroundings. There 
were lovely bridges bridging ravines, and here, too, 
was not one stone too many, nothing to suggest the 
artificial, that so often spoils the rural scene made to 
conform to the wants of the luxurious. Of course, 
besides the pavement, other things had fallen into 
disrepair, there were steps down hill-sides that were 
well-nigh hopeless for purposes of ascent and descent, 
and there were temples where indeed the gods were 
forlorn and forgotten. Gigantic gods they were 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 291 

with fearsome faces and painted in gorgeous colours, 
but they were all dusty and dirty. There was one 
temple all of bronze, but it was rusted and shabby. 
There were shrines in it set with agate and jasper, 
mother-of-pearl and jade, and what looked like great 
rubies, but, very likely, were only garnets. Shabby, 
forlorn, forgotten was the temple, the steps that led 
up to it were broken and almost unusable, the court- 
yards were neglected, the tiles of the roof grass- 
grown, the woodwork of the doors perished, the walls 
falling, but the situation on the hill-side, embosomed 
in pines, with the beautiful lake at its feet and the 
wide vista of hills beyond, was superb, eternal. 

On the day the missionaries arranged to come 
we made a picnic to this temple, I, and the two 
missionary women and our attendants, my servant, 
and their boy and the Manchu amah and all the 
heterogeneous following my boy always collected, 
and as we sat there at our open-air tiffin the gates were 
pushed open and in came the little Chinese gentle- 
man in his badly fitting foreign clothes. 

"Hallo, Missus/' he said, and I forgot for a 
moment all the wonders that his people had done, 
that were here before my eyes. 

He had come to fulfil his promise and show me 
round. 

He was a flippant young gentleman impatient of 
the past, just as I have seen young men of his age, 
in Western lands. He was only a boy, after all, 
and he threw stones at the birds just as a youngei 
boy might have done in England. Only I wished 
he wouldn't. It was nice to think the birds had 
sanctuary here, but I suppose it was a way of letting 
off steam, since he could not talk very easily to the 



292 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

foreign woman. A small red squirrel, sitting up 
deeply engaged with a nut from one of the fir-trees, 
roused him to wild excitement, and he shouted and 
yelled to a couple of dignified, petticoated Chinamen 
on the other side of the lake, in a way that quite 
upset my ideas of Chinese propriety ; in fact, he was 
the General's secretary, showing off just as I have 
seen boys in other lands show off. 

He took us to the women's temple, since we were 
interested in temples, a temple away on the other 
side of the lake, down in a hollow of the hills, hidden 
away as woman has been hidden away in China for 
immemorial ages. 

" Ladies' temple," said our cicerone with a wave 
of his hand. 

And it, too, is falling into decay, the dusty gods, 
ranged round the sacred place, remind one of the 
contents of a lumber-room, and " Forgotten, for- 
gotten," is written large all over it. The forlorn old 
man in shabby blue, with a tiny little queue and 
a dirty face who keeps it, looks as if he too had 
been forgotten, and was grateful for a twenty-cent 
cumskaw. Only the courtyard with the soft breeze 
rustling in the pine-trees and ringing the musical 
bells that hung from the eaves was peaceful in the 
afternoon sunshine, with a charm of its own. 

What women have come and prayed here? The 
proud Manchu Empress whom her lord had 
neglected, the Chinese concubine who longed to find 
favour in his eyes ? 

All over this pleasure-ground are buildings, but 
so deftly placed they never for one moment interfere 
with the charm of the countryside. There is a little 
temple on the Golden Mountain where the Jehol 




GOLDEN MOUNTAIN AND SOURCE OF JEHOL RIVER. 




MR. WU AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE. 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 293 

River takes its rise in a spring ; on another hill is a 
little look-out place or tea pagoda with the roof 
covered with tiles of imperial yellow, and a view from 
it that even an Emperor is lucky to command. At 
the end of a long grassy glade where the deer were 
feeding in the shade of oaks and willows was a tall 
pagoda, and the Emperor's library was in another 
little valley, hidden away behind high walls. We 
entered through a guard-house and came upon a 
small door in the high stone wall, and this door on 
the inner side appeared to be blocked not only by the 
trunk of a tree but by a huge rock. There was, how- 
ever, just room for one person to pass round, and 
then we entered a shaded rock garden, which is all 
round the building that holds the library. The deep 
veranda was charming, on the hottest day one might 
sit, cool and secluded, reading here, and on each 
corner are exquisite bronze models of Chinese ponies. 
The library itself, like most of these houses, was 
sealed up, and our young friend had not the key, but 
the lattice-work windows, and most of the walls are 
of lattice-work, for this is a summer palace, were 
down to the ground, and through the torn paper I 
could get a glimpse of what looked like another 
lumber-room, but that once must have been gorgeous 
with red lacquer and gold. 

Always it was the same, desolation and dirt and 
ruin, and the young man who was showing us every- 
thing made as if he wished to impress upon us that 
it did not matter. He belonged to the modern world, 
and these were past and gone. But when we admired 
and were charmed and delighted I saw that he, too, 
was pleased. 

There were the Emperor's rooms opening into a 



294 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

courtyard close to the gate, there were his great 
audience halls down among a grove of firs, where 
probably he received Lord Macartney. Highly 
scented white single peonies made fragrant the grass- 
grown courtyards, where great bronze gongs are the 
remnants of a past magnificence, and the rooms are 
many of them empty, for all they are so carefully 
sealed. There were more rooms for the Emperor on 
an island in the lily-covered lake ; and reached by 
bridges that are taken up in June and July and boats 
substituted, and farthest away of all, at the very end 
of the lake, were the rooms of the Empress. 

" Happiness Hall " the Emperor Kwang Hsi 
wrote on it with his own hands, or so our guide told 
us, and there to this day the golden characters remain. 
Did they speak the truth, I wonder. At that 
particular period, I believe, the Empress counted for 
a great deal more than the Emperor, so possibly at 
least the envious Emperor felt he was speaking the 
truth; but, as a rule, it is difficult to think that the 
woman who shared the Dragon Throne could have 
been happy. It is difficult to believe that any woman 
in China can be happy, she counts for so little even 
now. 

The courtyards were like all the other courtyards, 
with great gongs of Ningpo work and bronze vases, 
and shaded by picturesque pine-trees, only here was 
an innovation. In a sheltered corner, hidden away 
from the sight of all, by high walls and green shrubs, 
was the bathing-place of the Court ladies, and on the 
other side their theatre. 

The Emperor had a theatre not far from the gate 
of the pleasure-grounds, a great place all falling into 
decay, and here they had a play for the entertainment 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 295 

of their guests, when the first British Ambassador 
came here, and it is evident that the women were 
allowed to be present, even though they were behind 
a screen, for Sir George Staunton relates that the 
only foreigner, seen by these secluded women, was 
George Staunton aged thirteen, the page to the 
Embassy, who was led on to a platform by a eunuch, 
so that the wives and concubines of the Emperor 
might see what a barbarian from the islands of the 
far Western sea looked like. 

But here, close to her rooms, and by her bathing- 
place, the Empress had her own private theatre, and 
I wondered what manner of play could interest such 
secluded ladies, such narrow lives. 

Wonderful to relate both the theatre and the roof 
of the rooms showed signs of having been recently 
done up. The rumour ran that after the Revolution 
in February 1912, the Court thought of retiring here, 
and these recent repairs in a place that has been 
untouched for years give colour to the rumour. We 
asked our guide as we sat at afternoon tea on the 
veranda looking out at the sunlight coming through 
the fir-trees that make the approach to " Happiness 
Hall," but he shook his head. He knew nothing 
about it. He was a most circumspect young man 
and never did know anything, he felt perhaps it was 
wisest not. 

Oh but it was sad the waste here. All these 
dwelling-places dotted about in the valley, on hill- 
side, hidden away in groves of trees, are of one story, 
they are summer palaces, but the rooms are well- 
proportioned, and with their wide verandas and their 
lattice-work walls down to the ground, must have 
been delightful to live in, and they were furnished as 



296 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

an Emperor's palace should be furnished. There 
were chairs unlike the usual Chinese chairs, comfort- 
able chairs of red lacquer and blackwood, and they 
were inlaid with cloisonne work, with carved jade, 
with delightful patterns in mother-of-pearl, there were 
stools, there were tables, there were low k'ang tables 
of lacquer, and all were perished with the sun and 
the wind ; of not one piece has any care been taken. 
Some of the rooms were empty, some were full of 
packing-cases hiding I know not what treasures; 
judging by those perishing chairs and tables that 
were left out, I should imagine something worth 
possessing. Can it be only fifty years since an 
Emperor came here, it might be two hundred judging 
by the state of decay everything was in, and yet, when 
all was said and done, this place struck me as being 
the most magnificent pleasure-ground, the most 
beautifully situated, the most beautifully planned, 
that I have ever seen, worth, and more than worth, 
the arduous journey through the mountains that I 
had taken to see it. 

It is supposed to be cut off from the people, and it 
is I suppose, judging by the joy the mission servants 
expressed at getting a chance to see it. 

"All my life," said the amah, " I have served in 
Manchu families, and yet see, it is through a foreigner 
I come here," and it was as if the seeing had crowned 
her life. But still there is a little dribbling in of the 
favoured few of the lower classes. It may be they 
were the palace servants who speared great black 
bass in the lake. It might have been they who 
carried out baskets of lily root and sold them with 
the fish outside. I bought bass easily enough for 
my hostess, great things still alive and bleeding from 




WOMEN S TEMPLE, JEHOL. 




HAPPINESS HALL. 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 297 

the spear-point. Sometimes there are rumours of 
art treasures sold from the palace, and then again it 
is contradicted : but I wondered, as I looked at those 
great baskets of lily roots that were constantly going 
outside, if here were not an excellent way to conceal 
contraband. It may be though that the guards at the 
gate are not to be bought, and possibly I do them an 
injustice. 

I had written this and felt apologetic for my sus- 
picions of the humble guard, forgetting that this is 
China, where anything may happen, when before my 
book could go to press a greater than the guard, no 
less a person than the Premier himself, Hsiung Hsi 
Ling, the great Tartar General, was accused of 
taking away the precious curios from Jehol. He 
had brought away curios valued at tens of thousands 
of pounds but he succeeded in proving to the satisfac- 
tion of the President that he had brought them away 
only that they might be stored in one of the great 
museums in Peking, where not only could they be 
cared for, but they might be seen by far more people. 
Again I thought of the Babylonish gentleman. 
Doubtless he, too, would have moved the nation's 
treasures from one place to another without saying 
by your leave to any man. To whom was he 
responsible? Perhaps to the King upon the 
throne. Hardly to him, if his army was strong and 
faithful. 

We lingered on the veranda of the Empress's 
house over our afternoon tea wherever we went 
hot water was procurable and the sunshine came 
through the branches of the pines and firs, the great 
willows dipped their weeping branches in the clear 
waters of the lake, the deep blue of the sky contrasted 



298 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

with the green of the pine-needles, and a long snake 
came slowly, slowly, through the grass to take his 
daily drink, unperturbed, though all the servants and 
the German girl and I ran to look at him. He knew 
he was quite safe, no one would harm a sacred snake. 
A small eagle screamed from the rocks above, there 
was the mourning of a dove, the plaintive cry of a 
hoopoe, and a chattering black and white magpie 
looked on. A tiny blue kingfisher, like a jewel, 
fluttered on to a stone, and a bird something like a 
thrush, sang sweetly and loudly as the evening 
shadows lengthened. A great blue crane, tall almost 
as a man flew slowly across the water, and the brown 
deer clustered in the glades and began to feed. 
Truly it was an ideal spot up among the barren hills 
of Inner Mongolia, this Park enclosed by miles of 
high wall and still carefully guarded and jealously 
secluded by the Republic as it was by the Manchus. 
When France became a Republic they threw open 
her palaces and desecrated her most holy places. 
Not so here in the unchanging East. What was 
secluded and difficult of entrance in Manchu times 
is secluded and entered only by favour still. China 
absorbs the present and clings to the past. Are they 
past for ever those dead and gone rulers who made 
these pleasure-grounds ? 

Their last representative is a little boy hidden away 
in the heart of Peking, hardly realising yet what he 
has lost. 

" If he comes again," said a Chinese gentleman, 
" he will be Emperor by force of arms." 

Will the power come back to him ? I can no more 
believe that the Chinese will become a modern nation, 
forgetting these glories of their past, than could the 




PAVILIONS ON LAKE, JEHOL. 

(Sec page 




WOMEN'S BATHING PLACE. 

(See page 294) 



MANCHUS' PLEASURE-GROUND 299 

prophet believe that the Lord would leave His chosen 
people in captivity. 

" I will bring again the captivity of my people of 
Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and 
inhabit them ; and they shall plant vineyards, and 
drink the wine thereof ; they shall also make gardens 
and eat the fruit of them. 

" And I will plant them upon their land, and they 
shall no more be pulled out of their land, which I 
have given them, saith the Lord thy God." 

And we from the mission wended our way back 
through the dusty, dirty, commonplace streets, and 
the little gentleman who had been our guide, much 
to his relief, I am sure, for he spoke little English, 
and he would not speak Chinese, turned off at the 
yamen. 






CHAPTER XVII 

THE VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 

Legend of the birth of Ch'ien Lung A valley of temples Wells 
A temple fair Hawking Suicide's rock Five hundred and 
eight Buddhas The Po-Ta-La Supercilious elephants 
Steep steps Airless temple The persevering frog Bright- 
roofed Temple Tea at the Temple of the great Buddha The 
Yuan T'iing Ming Temple outside Peking. 

As we walked in the Manchu Park the amah told us 
a story, a legend, and the missionary translated it 
to me. It took a long while to tell, first she slipped 
on the rocky steps and we had to wait till she re- 
covered, then the General's secretary joined us, and 
finally, when we were safe back at the missionary 
compound, she had to wait till we got by ourselves, 
because she thought it was improper ! 

And this was the story the amah told as we walked 
beneath the fir-trees. 

Once upon a time in the valley of Jehol there was 
born a little girl who did not speak till she was three 
years old, then she opened her lips, looked at her 
grandfather, and called him by name. And her 
grandfather died. She did not speak again for a 
long time, but the next person she called by name 
also died and consternation reigned in the family. 
Her father and mother died, whether because she 
spoke to them the amah did not know, but she was 
left penniless and at last a farmer took compassion 

300 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 801 

upon the girl, now just growing into womanhood, 
and told her she might have charge of the ducks, on 
condition she did not speak. So for her began a 
lonely, silent life among the mountains, herding the 
ducks. 

One night as the dusk was falling and the duck 
pond and the hills beyond were wrapped in a mysteri- 
ous haze that hid and glorified everything, there came 
along an old man riding a donkey and asked her the 
way to the Hunting Palace of the Manchus that was 
somewhere among these hills and valleys. He had 
lost his way, he said, and wanted to get back there. 
The girl looked at him with mournful eyes and shook 
her head without saying a word. 

" What is your name ? " cried the old man. 

She turned away silently. 

" I must find my way," he added, and she took up 
a stick and gathered her ducks together. 

" But I am the Emperor," said he, " and I must get 
back. What manner of girl are you who will not 
speak to the Emperor? " 

And she looked at him more gravely than ever 
out of her dark eyes, and drove off her ducks, taking 
no more notice of the greatest ruler in the world than 
if he had been a common coolie. So the Emperor 
found his own way to his Hunting Palace, and that 
night he dreamed a dream, a vivid dream, that an 
ancestor had come to him and told him he must 
marry a strange and mysterious woman. 

But the women who came to the ruler of the earth 
were not strange and mysterious, they were ordinary 
and commonplace even though he had his choice of 
the women of his Empire. He brooded over the 
matter and came to the conclusion that the strange 



302 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and mysterious woman must be the girl he had met 
herding ducks in the dusk of the evening. Then he 
sent out to the part of the country where he had 
wandered that night and demanded the daughters 
of the farmer. 

The good man was highly honoured and dressed 
his girls in their finest clothes to appear before their 
Emperor, but, and they must have been bitterly 
disappointed, though they were pretty girls^ there 
was nothing strange about them, they were as 
ordinary as all the other women who occupied the 
women's quarters. He had seen many, many, like 
them. Again he sent back to the farm and they said 
there were no other women there but the girl who 
herded the ducks, and it could not be she because 
she spoke to no one. 

"That," said the Emperor, "is the girl," and he 
ordered her to be properly arrayed and brought 
before him at once, 

Alas for the glamour that comes with the dusk of 
the evening. The girl had grown up without any 
comeliness and when she was brought before the 
Emperor he turned away disgusted. Nevertheless, 
for his dream's sake, he married her and gave her a 
fine house to live in, but he had nothing to do with 
her, she was his wife only in name. 

And the duck-herd girl, come to high estate, 
pined because she did not find favour in the sight of 
her lord, she never ceased to pray for his smiles, and 
at last she so worked upon him that one night he 
did send for her. She was his wife^ her shame had 
gone from her. And presently, it was rumoured 
that the duck-herd girl was to become a mother. 
But the Emperor was angry, he could not believe 







LAMASERIE. 

( See page 308) 







m 



CARTS AT THE FAIR. 
(See page 305) 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 808 

the child was his, and he turned her out to wander, 
desolate and forlorn, upon the hills. At first she 
despaired, but presently she took courage, had she 
not been raised from a duck-herd to an Emperor's 
wife, and was she not to bear his son, and by her 
faith in herself she persuaded some shepherds who 
tended their sheep upon the other side of the valley 
from the wall that surrounded the Emperor's 
pleasure-grounds to take her in, and here her son 
was born. 

And that night the Emperor dreamed another 
dream. He dreamed that a most illustrious son had 
been born to him that very night. He sent to make 
inquiries and the only one of his wives or concubines 
who had borne a son that night, was the woman he 
had driven from him with contumely. So he took 
her back with honour, and his dream both his 
dreams were fulfilled, for the son that was born to 
him that night among the hills was the illustrious 
Ch'ien Lung, the man who at eighty-three still sat 
upon the Dragon Throne when George III. of 
England sent Lord Macartney on an embassy to 
China in 1793. 

And Ch'ien Lung was a good son to his mother 
at least, and because she was a pious woman, and 
he was born amidst those sheltering hills, he built 
there a series of temples to the glory of God and for 
her pleasure. 

I was bound to go and see those temples, indeed 
I think the man or woman who went to Jehol and 
did not make a point of going up that valley must 
lack something. 

The drawback for me was that I had to go in a 
Peking cart, and even though those temples were 



804 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

built by an Emperor I had no reason to suppose that 
the road that led to them was any better than the 
ordinary Chinese roads. It wasn't, but I don't know 
that it was worse. Tuan engaged the old white 
mule of venerable years, and I think that was an 
advantage, he went so slowly that often I was able 
to walk. I did not propose to visit all of them, there 
is a family likeness between all Chinese temples, 
whatever be the name of the deity to whom they are 
dedicated, and seeing too many I should miss the 
beauty of all. 

It was a gorgeous June morning the day I set out, 
sitting as far forward as I could in the cart with Tuan 
on the tail of the shaft and the carter walking at the 
mule's head. All round one side of Cheng Teh Fu 
is built up a high wall that the Chinese call a break- 
water, and a breakwater I believe it is indeed after 
the summer rains, though then, the Jehol River ran 
just a shallow trickle at its foot. There were many 
little vegetable gardens along here, the ground most 
carefully cultivated and showing not a weed, not a 
stray blade of grass. " The garden of every peasant 
contained a well for watering it," writes Sir George 
Staunton in 1793, "and the buckets for drawing 
up the water were made of ozier twigs wattled or 
plaited, of so close a texture as to hold any fluid." 
He might have been writing of the peasants of to- 
day. As I passed, with those selfsame buckets were 
they watering their gardens. 

The people were streaming out of the town, most 
of them on foot, but there were a few fat men and 
small-footed women on donkeys, and one or two of 
the richer people, I noticed by the women's dresses 
they were mostly Manchus, had blossomed out into 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 305 

Peking carts. For there was a fair at one of the 
temples, a very minor temple ; and a fair in China 
seems to be much what it used to be in England, 
say one hundred, or one hundred and fifty years ago. 
It attracts all the country people for miles round. 
Here they were all clad in blue, save the lamas, 
who were in bright yellow and dingy red. There 
were the people who came to worship, followed by 
the people who came to trade, who must make 
money out of them, men buying, selling, begging, 
men and women clad in neat blue cotton, and in 
the dingiest, dirtiest rags, men gathering the 
droppings of the mules and donkeys, and how it 
made me think of the historical novels I used to love 
to read in the days when novels fascinated me 
gentlemen with hooded hawks upon their wrists. 
All of them wended their way along this road, this 
beautiful road, this very, very bad road, and I went 
along with them, the woman who was not a 
missionary, who was travelling by herself, and who, 
consequently, was an object of interest to all, far 
outrivalling the fair, in attraction. It was a scene 
peculiarly Chinese, and it will be many a long year 
before I forget it. 

On the left-hand side rose a steep ridge well 
wooded for China, and on the very top of the ridge 
ran the encircling wall that shut out all but the 
favoured few from the pleasure-grounds of the 
Manchu Sovereigns. Six weeks before, up among 
these mountains of Inner Mongolia, all the trees 
were leafless, and on this day in June the leaves of 
the poplars and aspens, acacias and oaks still re- 
tained the delicate, dainty green of early spring, and 
on the right were the steep, precipitous cliffs over- 

U 



806 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

looking the town. One of these cliffs goes by the 
sinister name of the " Suicide's Rock." The 
Chinese, though we Westerners are accustomed to 
regard them as impassive, are at bottom an emo- 
tional people. They quarrel violently at times, and 
one way of getting even with an enemy or a man 
who has wronged them is to dare him to go over the 
" Suicide's Rock." To my Western notions it is not 
quite clear how the offender is scored off, for the 
challenger must be prepared to accompany the 
challenged on his dreadful leap. Yet they do it. 
Three times in the six years the missionaries have 
been here have a couple gone over the cliff, to be 
dashed to pieces on the rocks below. 

But that sinister cliff was soon passed, and turning 
a little with the wall we went up a valley, and up 
that valley for perhaps eight miles, embosomed 
among the folds of the hills, hills for the most part 
steep, rounded, and treeless, are the temples, red, 
and gold, and white, against the green or brown 
of the hills. 

To the glory of God! Surely. Surely. An ideal 
place for temples whoever placed them there, artist 
or Emperor, holy man, or grateful son. 

" Idols. Idols," say the missionaries at Jehol 
sadly, those good, kindly folk, whose life seemed to 
me an apology for living, a dedication of their whole 
existence to the austere Deity they have set up. 
But here I was among other gods. 

" We go last first," said Tuan, and I approved. 
There would be no fear of my missing something I 
particularly wanted to see if they were all on my 
homeward path. 

"B-rrr! B-rrr! B-rrr!" cried my " cartee man" 





i 

W <D 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 807 

encouraging his old mule, and as we went along the 
road, up the valley, and everywhere in this treeless 
land, the temples were embowered in groves of 
trees, sometimes fir-trees, sometimes acacia or white 
poplar, and always on the road we passed the blue- 
clad people, and out of the carts peeped the Manchu 
ladies with highly painted faces and flower-decked 
hair, till at last we came to a halt under a couple of 
leafy acacia-trees, by a bridge that had once been 
planned on noble lines. And bridges are needed 
here, for the missionaries told me that a very little 
rain will put this road, that is axle-deep in dust, five 
feet under water. But the bridge was broken, the 
stones of the parapet were lying flat on one side ; 
the stones that led up to it were gone altogether. 
And as the bridge that led up to it so was the 
temple. 

Tuan, with some difficulty, made me understand 
it was the Temple of the five hundred and eight 
Buddhas, and as I went in, attended by a priest in 
the last stages of dirt and shabbiness, I saw rows 
upon rows of seated Buddhas greater than life-size, 
covered with gold leaf that shone out bright in the 
semi-darkness, with shaven heads and faces, sad and 
impassive, gay, and laughing, and frowning. Dead 
gods surely, for the roof is falling in, the hangings 
are tatters, and the dust of years lies thick on floor, 
on walls, on the Buddhas themselves. There was 
a pot of sand before one golden figure rather larger 
than the rest, and I burned incense there, bowing 
myself in the House of Rimmon, because I do not 
think that incense is often burned now before the 
dead god. 

They are all dead these gods in the temples 



308 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

builded by a pious Emperor for his pious mother. 
The next I visited was a lamaserie, built in imitation 
of the Po-Ta-La in Lhasa. It climbs up the steep 
hill-side, story after story, with here and there on the 
various stages a pine-tree, and the wind whispers 
among its boughs that the Emperor who built and 
adorned it is long since dead, the very dynasty has 
passed away, and the gods are forgotten. For- 
gotten indeed. I got out of my cart at the bottom 
of the hill, and the gate opened to me, because the 
General had sent to say that one day that week a 
foreign woman was coming and she must have all 
attention, else I judge I might have waited in vain 
outside those doors. Inside is rather a gorgeous 
p'ia lou, flanked on either side by a couple of 
elephants. I cannot think the man who sculptured 
them could ever have seen an elephant, he must 
have done it from description, but he has contrived 
to put on those beasts such a very supercilious 
expression it made me smile just to look at them. 

From that p'ia lou the monastery rises. Never 
in my life before have I seen such an effect of sheer 
steep high walls. I suppose it must be Tibetan, for 
it is not Chinese as I know the Chinese. Stage 
after stage it rose up, showing blank walls that once 
were pinkish red, with square places like windows, 
but they were not windows, they were evidently put 
there to catch the eye and deepen the effect of 
steepness. Stage after stage I climbed up steep and 
narrow steps that were closed alongside the wall, 
and Tuan, according to Chinese custom, supported 
my elbow, as if it were hardly likely I should be 
capable of taking another step. Also, according 
to his custom, he had engaged a ragged follower to 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 309 

carry my camera, and a half-naked little boy to bear 
the burden of the umbrella. I don't suppose I 
should have said anything under any circumstances, 
China had taught me my limitations where my ser- 
vants were concerned, but that day I was glad of 
his aid, for this Tibetan temple meant to me steep 
climbing. I have no use for stairs. Stage after 
stage we went, and on each platform the view be- 
came wider, far down the valley I could see, and 
the hills rose range after range, softly rounded, 
rugged, fantastic, till they faded away in the far blue 
distance. I had thought the Nine Dragon Temple 
wonderful, but now I knew that those men of the 
Ming era who had built it had never dreamed of 
the glories of these mountains of Inner Mongolia. 
I was weary before I came to the last pine-tree, but 
still there was a great walled, flat- topped building 
towering far above me, its walls the faded pinkish 
red, on the edge of its far-away roof a gleam of gold. 
The steps were so narrow, so steep, and so 
rugged, that if I had not been sure that never in 
my life should I come there again I should have 
declined to go up them, but I did go up, and at the 
top we came to a door, a door in the high blind wall 
that admitted us to a great courtyard with high walls 
towering all round it and a temple, one of the many 
temples in this building, in the centre. The temple 
was crowded with all manner of beautiful things, 
vases of cloisonne, figures overlaid with gold leaf, 
hangings of cut silk, the chair of the Dalai Lama in 
gold and carved lacquer-work, the mule-saddle used 
by the Emperor Ch'ien Lung, lanterns, incense 
burners, shrines, all heaped together in what seemed 
to me the wildest confusion, and everything was 



810 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

more than touched with the finger of decay. All 
the rich, red lacquer was perished, much of the china 
and earthenware was broken, the hangings were 
rotted and torn and ragged, the paint was peeling 
from stonework and wood, the copper and brass was 
green with rust. Ichabod! Ichabod! The gods 
are dead, the great Emperor is but a name. 

It was oppressive in there too, for the blank walls 
towered up four sides square, the bright blue sky 
was above and the sun was shining beyond, but the 
mountain breezes for at least one hundred and fifty 
years have not been able to get in here, and it was 
hot, close, and airless. Once there were more steps 
that led up to the very top of the wall, but they are 
broken and dangerous now, crumbling to ruin, and 
as far as I could make out from Tuan's imperfect 
English no one has been up them for many a long 
day. There was nothing to be done but to go away 
from this airless temple and make my way down, 
down to the platform where are its foundations, and 
thence down, down, by the little plateaux where the 
pine-trees grow, by the rough and broken paths to 
the floor of the valley again. 

Sightseeing always wearies me. I want to see 
these places, I want to know what they are like, I 
want to be in a position to talk about them to people 
who have also been there they are the people who 
are most interested in one's doings but the actual 
doing of the sightseeing I always find burdensome. 
Now having done so much I was tempted to go back 
and say I had had enough, for the time being, at any 
rate, but then I remembered I could not indefinitely 
trespass upon the kindness of my hosts, I must go 
soon, and I should never, never come back to this 







TEMPLE AT THE TOP OF LAMASERIE. 
(See page jog) 




FARMHOUSE ABOVE THE MARBLE PRIEST. 
(See page 376) 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 811 

valley. Still I was desperately tired and sorely 
tempted to give up, and then I remembered the two 
frogs who fell into a pitcher of milk. I don't think 
^Esop told the story, but he ought to have done so. 
They swam round and round hopelessly, for there 
was no possibility of getting out, and one said to 
the other, " It's no good, we may as well give in. 
It'll save trouble in the end," and he curled up his 
legs and sank to the bottom of the milk and was 
drowned. But the other frog was made of sterner 
stuff. 

" I think I'll just hustle round a bit," said he, 
needless to say he was an American frog, "who 
knows what may happen." So he swam round and 
round, and sure enough when they looked into that 
pitcher in the morning there he was sitting on a little 
pat of butter! 

I thought of that frog as I sat at the door of the 
next temple we drove up to, and I, weary and tired 
and a little cross, had to wait some time, for the priest 
who had the keys was not there. Of course I had 
sent no word that I was coming and it was unreason- 
able of me to expect that the priest should wait from 
dawn till dark for my arrival. With me waited a 
little crowd of people, men, women, and children, 
that gradually grew in numbers, and when the cus- 
todian at last arrived it was evident they all intended 
to take advantage of my presence and go in and see 
the temple too. I had not the least objection, 
neither, it seemed, had the priest. They were 
holiday-makers from the fair, and they probably 
gave him some small trifle. Tuan decided that we 
should give eighty cents, roughly about one and 
eightpence, or forty cents American money. 



312 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

And glad indeed was I that I had waited. Not 
that the temple differed much inside the courtyard 
and the sanctuary from the other temples I have 
seen, all was the same ruin and desolation, only 
after I had climbed up many steps, roughly made 
of stones and earth, we came upon a platform from 
which the roof was visible. The Emperor's Palace, 
they call this, or the Bright-roofed Temple, and 
truly it is well-named. Its roof, with dragons 
running up all four corners, is of bronze covered 
with gold, and gleams and glitters in the sunshine. 
Solomon's Temple, in all its glory, could not have 
been more wonderful, and as I tried to photograph 
it, though no photograph can give any idea of its 
beauty, some girls, Manchu by their head-dresses, 
with flowers in their hair, giggled and pointed, and 
evidently discussed me. I thought they would 
come in well a contrast to that gorgeous roof, 
but a well-dressed Chinese not in foreign clothes, I 
imagine the General's secretary is the only man up 
among these hills who could indulge in such 
luxuries, drove them away and then came and apolo- 
gised, through Tuan, for their behaviour. I said, 
truly enough, that I did not mind in the least, but 
he said, as far as I - could make out, that their 
behaviour was unpardonable, so I am afraid they 
hadn't admired me, which was unkind, considering 
I had taken them in. 

The next temple, a mass of golden brown and green 
tiled roofs, looked loveliest of all in its setting, 
against the hill-side. The roofs, broken and irregu- 
lar, peeped out from among the firs and pines, and 
there was a soft melody in the air as we approached, 
for a wind, a gentle wind had arisen, and every bell 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 313 

hanging at the corners of the many roofs was 
chiming musically. I do not know any sweeter 
sound than the sound of those temple bells as the 
evening falls. This was an extensive place of many 
courtyards, climbing up the hill like the lamaserie. 
the Ta Fo Hu they call it or "Great Buddha 
Temple," for in one of the temples, swept and 
garnished better than any temples I had seen before, 
was a colossal figure seventy feet high with many 
arms outstretched and an eye in the palm of every 
hand. It is surely a very debased Buddhism, but I 
see the symbolism, the hand which bestows and the 
eye which sees all things. But for all the beauty of 
the symbolism it was ugly, as all the manifestations 
of the Deity, as conceived by man, are apt to be. 
The stone flooring was swept, but the gold is 
falling from the central figure, the lacquer is 
perished, the hangings are torn and dust-laden 
beyond description, and the only things of any beauty 
are walls which are covered with little niches in 
which are seated tiny golden Buddhas, hundreds of 
them. I wanted to buy one but the priests shook 
their heads, and it would have been a shame to 
despoil the temple. Even if they had said, " Yes," 
I don't know that I would have taken it. 

There were many priests here, shaven-headed old 
men and tiny children in brilliant yellow and purplish 
red, but they were all as shabby and poverty-stricken 
as the temple itself. I had tea on one of the many 
platforms overlooking many roofs, and a young monk 
made me a seat from the broken yellow tiles that 
lay on the ground, and the little boy priests looked 
so eagerly at the cakes I had brought with me the 
priests gave me tea that I gave some to them and 



314 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

they gobbled them up like small boys all the world 
over. Tuan pointed out to me some dark steps in 
the wall. If I went up there I should reach the 
Great Buddha's head; but I shook my head, not 
even the recollection of the frog who gave up so 
easily could have made me climb those steps. I 
am not even sorry now that I didn't. 

I was very tired by this time, and very thankful 
that there was only one more temple to see. There 
were really eight in all, but I was suffering from a 
surfeit of temples, only I could not miss this one, for 
every day when I went for a walk I could see its 
glorious golden brown tiled roof amid the dark 
green of the surrounding mountain pines. It was 
unlike any Chinese roof I have seen, but it is one 
of the temples of this valley. It is the Yuan T'ing, 
a temple built by Ch'ien Lung, not for his mother 
but for a Tibetan wife, after the style of her country, 
that she might not feel so lonely in a strange land. 

Its pinkish red arched walls and gateways seemed 
quite close, but it was exceedingly difficult to get 
at, particularly for a tired woman who, when she was 
not jolting in a Peking cart, had been climbing up 
more steps than even now she cares to think about. 
And the temple, save for that roof, was much like 
every other temple, a place of paved courtyards 
with the grass and weeds growing up among the 
stones, and grass and even young pine-trees growing 
on the tiled roofs. The altars were shabby and de- 
cayed, and when I climbed up till I was right under 
the domed roof and it was a steep climb more than 
once I was tempted to turn back and take it as read, 
as they do long reports at meetings. I found the round 
chamber was the roosting-place of many pigeons, all 




BRIGHT-ROOFED TEMPLE. 




CORNER OF BRIGHT-ROOFED TEMPLE. 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 815 

the lacquer was perished, the bronze rusted, and 
though the attendant opened many doors with many 
keys, I know that the place is seldom visited, and 
but for that vivid roof, it must be forgotten. 

And yet the people like to look at these things. 
There was not a crowd following me as there was 
at the Bright-roofed Temple, but there was still the 
ragged-looking coolie who was carrying my camera. 
I suspected him of every filthy disease known in 
China, and their name must be legion, any that had 
by chance escaped him I thought might have found 
asylum with the boy who bore my umbrella. I hoped 
that rude health and an open-air life would enable 
me to throw off any germs. These two, who had 
had to walk where I had ridden, I pitied, so I told 
Tuan to say they need not climb up as I had used 
up all my plates and certainly had no use for an 
umbrella. 

" She say * No matter/ " said Tuan including them 
both in the feminine, " She like to come," and I think 
he liked it as well, for they escorted me with subdued 
enthusiasm round that domed chamber inspecting 
what must have been a reproduction of a debased 
Buddhist hell in miniature. It was covered with dust, 
faded, and weather-worn, like everything else in the 
temple, but it afforded the four who were with me 
great pleasure, and when with relief I saw a figure 
instead of being bitten by a snake, or eaten by some 
gruesome beast, or sawn asunder between two planks, 
merely resting in a tree, Tuan explained with great 
gusto and evident satisfaction : " Spikes in tree." He 
took care I should lose none of the flavour of the 
tortures. But even the tortures were faded and worn, 
the dust had settled on them, the air and the sun 



316 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

had perished them, and I could not raise a 
shudder. Dusty and unclean they spoiled for me 
the beauty of the golden roof and the dark green 
mountain pines. I was glad to go down the many 
steps again, glad to go down to the courtyard where 
the temple attendant, who might have been a priest, 
but was dressed in blue cotton and had the shaven 
head and queue that so many of the Manchus still 
affect, gave me tea out of his tiny cups, seated on 
the temple steps. A dirty old man he was, but his 
tea was perfect, and I made up my mind not to look 
whether the cups were clean, for his manners matched 
his tea. 

And then I went out on to the broad cleared space 
in front, and feasted my eyes for the last time on the 
golden brown tiled roof set amongst the green of 
the pines, and clear-cut against the vivid blue of the 
sky. 

And yet it is not the beauty only that appeals, 
there is something more than that, for even as I look 
at those hills, I rememBer another temple I visited 
just outside Peking, a little temple, and I went not 
by myself but with a party of laughing young people. 
There was nothing beautiful about this temple, the 
walls were crumbled almost to dust, the roof was 
falling in, upon the tiles the grasses were growing, 
the green kaoliang crept up to the forsaken altars, 
and the dust-laden wind of Northern China swept in 
through the broken walls and caressed the forgotten 
gods who still in their places look out serenely on 
the world beyond. 

I could not but remember Swinburne, " Laugh out 
again for the gods are dead." Are they dead ? Does 
anything die in China? 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 317 

In the Ming Dynasty, some time in the fifteenth 
century, when the Wars of the Roses were raging in 
England they built this little temple, nearly three 
hundred years before Ch'ien Lung built the temples 
in the valley at Jehol, and they installed the gods 
in all the glory of red lacquer and gold, and when 
the last gold leaf had been laid on and the last 
touches had been given to the dainty lacquer they 
walked out and left it, left it to the soft, insidious 
decay that comes to things forgotten. For it must 
be remembered, whether we look at this valley of 
dead gods or this little temple outside Peking, that 
when a memorial is put up it is not expected to last 
for ever, and no provision is made or expected for its 
upkeep. If it last a year, well and good, so was the 
man to whom it was put up, valued, and if it last a 
hundred years if five hundred years after it was 
dedicated there still remains one stone standing upon 
the other, how fragrant the memory of that man must 
have been. It is five hundred years since this temple 
was built and still it endures. Behind is the wall of 
the city, grim and grey, but the gods do not look 
upon the wall, their faces are turned to the south and 
the gorgeous sunshine. They still sit in their places, 
but the little figures that once adorned the chamber 
are lying about on the ground or leaning up discon- 
solately against the greater gods, and some of them 
are broken. On the ground, in the dust, was a 
colossal head with a face that reminded us that the 
silken robes of Caesar's wife came from China, for 
that head was never modelled from any Mongolian, 
dead or alive. A Roman Emperor might have sat 
for it. The faces that looked down on it, lying there 
in the dust, were Eastern, there were the narrow 



818 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

eyes, the impassive features, the thin lips, but this, 
this was European, this man had lived and loved, 
desired and mourned, and, for there was just a touch 
of scorn on the lips, when he had drained life to its 
dregs, or renounced its joys, said with bitterness: 
" All is vanity." 

And the Chinese peasants came and looked at the 
aliens having tiffin in the shade, and for them our 
broken meats were a treat. One was crippled and 
one was blind and one was covered with the sores of 
smallpox, so hideous to look upon that the lady 
amongst us who prided herself upon her good looks 
turned shuddering away and implored that they be 
driven off, before we all caught the terrible disease. 

What could life possibly hold for these people? 
Surely for them the gods are dead ? 

I talked with an old woman, dirty and wrinkled, 
with a bald head and maimed feet. 

" She asks how old you are ? " translated the 
young man beside me. 

"Tell her I am sixty." I thought it would 
sound more respectable. 

" A-a-h ! " She looked at me a moment. " She 
says," he went on translating, " that you have worn 
better than she has, for she is sixty too. And have 
you any sons ? " 

For a moment I hesitated, but I was not going to 
lose face, what would she think of a woman without 
sons, so I laid my hand on his arm, and smiled to 
indicate that he was my son. 

" A-a-h ! " and she talked and smiled. 

"What does she say?" He looked a little shy. 
"Tell me." 

"She says you are to be congratulated," and 




YUAN T'lNG ROUND-ROOFED TIBETAN TEMPLE. 




MING TEMPLE OUTSIDE PEKING. 



VALLEY OF THE DEAD GODS 319 

indeed he was a fine specimen of manhood. " She 
says she has three sons." 

And alas, alas, I had brought it on myself, for I 
was not to be congratulated, I have no son, but I 
was answered too. I have called the gods dead, but 
they are not dead. What if the temple crumbles? 
There is the cloudless sky and the growing green 
around it. This woman was old, and grey, and 
bent. The gods have given her three sons, and she 
is content. This child had the smallpox, and by 
and by when it shall have passed Ah but that is 
beyond me. What compensation can there be for 
the scarred face and blinded eyes? Only if we 
understood all things, perhaps the savour would be 
gone from life. Behind all is the All Merciful, the 
dead gods in the temples are but a manifestation of 
the Great Power that is over all. 

I thought of that little temple outside the walls of 
Peking, and the old woman who congratulated me 
on the son I had not as I stood taking my last look 
at the Yuan T'ing. And then I looked again away 
down the valley to the folds of the hills where the 
other temples nestled, embowered in trees. Far 
away I could see the sheer walls of the Po Ta La 
climbing up the hill-side golden and red and white 
with the evening sunlight falling upon them, and 
making me feel that just so from this very spot at 
this very hour they should be looked at, and then 
I went down, a ten minutes' weary scramble, I 
was very, very tired, to my cart and across the Jehol 
River again, back to the missionary compound. 

Never again shall I visit that valley of temples 
that lies among the hills of Inner Mongolia, never 
again, and though, of course, since the days of 



820 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Marco Polo Europeans have visited it, it is so dis- 
tant, so difficult to come at that they have not gone 
in battalions. But those temples in the folds of the 
hills are beautiful beyond dreaming, and though 
their glory has gone, still in their decay, with the 
eternal hills round and behind them, they form a 
fitting memorial to the man who set them there to 
the glory of God and for his humble mother's sake. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

IN A WUPAN 

The difficulties of the laundry A friend in need A strange 
picnic party The authority of the parent Travelling in a 
mule litter Rain A frequented highway Yellow oiled 
paper Restricted quarters Dodging the smoke " What a 
lot you eat! " Charm of the river Modest Chinamen The 
best-beloved grandchild The gorges of the Lanho The 
Wall again Effect of rain on the Chinaman The captain's 
cash-box A .gentleman of Babylon Lanchou. 

AND now it was time to bid farewell to my kind hosts 
and start back to Peking. Thank goodness it was 
going to be fairly easy. Instead of the abominable 
cart I was going to float down the River Lan in a 
wupan, a long, narrow, flat-bottomed boat. 

First I sent my servant with my card to the Tartar 
General to thank him for all his kindness. This 
brought Mr Wu down again with the General's card 
at the most awkward hour of course, in the middle of 
tiffin, and Mr Wu, much to my surprise, was dignified 
and even stately in full Chinese dress. He was all 
grey and black. His petticoat or coat or whatever 
it is called was down to his ankles and was of silk, 
he wore a little sleeveless jacket, and his trousers 
were tied in with neat black bands at his neat little 
ankles. So nice did he look, such a contrast to the 
commonplace little man I had seen before, that I 
felt obliged to admire him openly. Besides, I am 

321 x 



822 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

told that is quite in accordance with Chinese good 
manners. 

He received my compliments with a smile, and 
then explained the reason of the change. 

" Must send shirt, collar, Tientsin, be washed. I 
very poor man, no more got." 

And Tientsin was three or four days by river, 
sometimes much more, as well as five hours by train ! 
I felt he had indeed done me an honour when he 
had used up his available stock of linen in my enter- 
taining, and to think I had only admired him when 
he was in native dress ! 

Another Chinese gentleman came in that day and 
was introduced to me. He contented himself with 
Chinese dress, and he had more English, though it 
was of a peculiar order. 

" But I hate to hear people laugh at Mr Chung's 
English," said the missionary who was a man of 
the world. " He was a good friend to me and mine. 
If it hadn't been for him, I doubt if I or my wife or 
children would be here now." 

It was the time of the Boxer trouble, and the 
missionary was stationed at Pa Kou where Mr Chung 
had charge of the telegraph station. The mission- 
aries grew salads in their garden, which the head of 
the telegraphs much appreciated, and even when he 
felt it wiser not to be too closely in touch with the 
foreigners, he still sent down a basket for a salad 
occasionally. One day in the bottom of the basket 
he put a letter. " The foreign warships are attack- 
ing the Taku Forts," it ran, "better get away. I 
am keeping back the news." 

But the missionary could not get away. Up and 
down the town he went, but he could get no carts. 



IN A WUPAN 323 

All the carters raised their prices to something that 
was prohibitive, even though death faced them. 
And then came the basket again for more salads and 
in the bottom was another letter. 

" The foreign ships have taken the Taku Forts," 
it said. " I am keeping back the news. Go away as 
soon as possible." 

And then the missionary spoke outright of his 
dilemma, and Mr Chung went to the Prefect of the 
town and enlisted him on their side. The carters 
were sent for. 

" You would not go," said the Prefect, " when this 
man offered you a great sum of money," it sounded 
quite Biblical as he told it. "Now you will go 
for the ordinary charge or I will take off your 
heads." 

So two carts were got, and the missionary, his 
wife, and children, and as much of their household 
goods as they could take, were hustled into them, 
and they started off for the nearest port. 

" If ever I am in a hole again I hope I travel with 
such women," said the missionary ; " they were as 
cheerful as if it was a picnic-party." 

All went well for a couple of days, and then one 
day, passing through a town, a man came up and 
addressed them, and said he was servant to some 
Englishmen, a couple of mining engineers, who were 
held up in this town, because they had heard there 
was an ambush laid for all foreigners a little farther 
down the road. And the missionaries had thought 
they were the last foreigners left in the country ! 

They promptly sought out the Englishmen, who 
confirmed the boy's story. It was not safe to go 
farther. The little party decided to stick together, 



824 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and finally the missionary went to the Prefect and 
told him how the Prefect at Pa Kou had helped 
them, and suggested it would be wise to do likewise, 
especially as the foreigners were sure to win in the 
end. 

The Prefect considered the matter and finally 
promised to help them, provided they put themselves 
entirely in his hands and said nothing, no matter 
what they heard. It seemed a desperate thing to do 
to put themselves entirely in the hands of their 
enemies, but it was the only chance, that chance or 
Buckley's and Buckley, says the Australian proverb, 
never had a chance. They agreed to the Prefect's 
terms ; he set a guard of soldiers over them, and they 
travelled surrounded by them. But at first they 
were very doubtful whether they had been wise in 
trusting a man who was to all intents and purposes 
an open enemy. 

" Where did you get them ? " asked the people of 
the soldiers as they passed. And the soldiers 
detailed at length their capture. 

" And what are you going to do with them ? " And 
the soldiers always said that, by the orders of the 
Prefect of the town where they had been captured, 
they were taking them on to be delivered over to the 
proper authorities, who would know what to do with 
them, doubtless the least that could happen would 
be that they would have their heads taken off. 

And the man who told me the story had lived 
through such days as that. Had seen his wife and 
children live through them! 

But the Prefect was as good as his word, the 
soldiers saw them through the danger-zone to safety. 

" But if it had not been for Mr Chung in the first 



IN A WUPAN 825 

instance " says the missionary, and his gratitude 

was in his voice. 

And Mr Chung had his own troubles. He was 
progressive and modern, not, I think, Christian, and 
he had actually himself taught his daughters to 
read. Also he had decided not to bind their feet. 
And then, the pity of it and the extraordinary 
deference that is paid to elders in China there came 
orders from his parents in Canton he must be a man 
over forty the daughters' feet were to be bound. 

I was glad indeed to have heard the story of Mr 
Chung before I set out on my journey. 

The Lanho is seven miles, a two hours' journey 
by mule litter or cart from Cheng Teh Fu, and I 
decided to go by litter and send my things by cart, 
for, not only did I object to a cart, but I thought I 
would like to see what travelling by mule litter was 
like. I am perfectly satisfied now I don't ever 
want to go by one again. 

I had to get in at the missionary compound, 
because it takes four men to lift a litter on to the 
mules, and there was only one to attend to it. It was 
early in the morning, only a little after six, but all the 
missionaries walked about a mile of the way with me 
I felt it was exceedingly kind of them, because it 
was the only time I ever saw men and women to- 
gether outside the compound then they bade me 
good-bye, and I was fairly started on my journey. 
I sat in my litter on a spring cushion, lent me for 
the cart by a Chinese gentleman, and I endeavoured 
to balance myself so that the litter should not as 
it seemed to me to be threatening to do turn topsy- 
turvy. It made me rather uncomfortable at first, 
because once in there is no way of getting out with- 



826 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

out lifting the litter off the mules. You may indeed 
slip down between it and the leading mule's hind 
legs, but that proceeding strikes me as decidedly 
risky, for a mule can kick and his temper does not 
seem to be improved by having the shafts of a litter 
on his back. 

It was a cloudy morning and it threatened rain. 
I had only seen one day's rain since I had been in 
China. The scenery was wild and grand. We 
went along by the Jehol River, on the edge of one 
range of precipitous mountains, while the other, on 
the other side of the river, towered above us. We 
were going along the bottom of a valley, as is usual 
in this part of the world, but as the Jehol is a flowing 
river and takes up a good part of the bottom, we very 
often went along a track that was cut out of the 
mountain-side. The white mule in front with the 
jingling bells and red tassels on his collar and head- 
stall, always preferred the very edge, so that when I 
looked out of the left-hand side of my litter, I looked 
down a depth of about thirty or forty feet, as far as I 
could guess, into the river-bed below. I found it 
better not to look. Not that it was very deep or that 
there was any likelihood of my going over. I am 
fully convinced, in spite of the objurgations showered 
upon him by the driver, that that white mule knew 
his business thoroughly. Still it made me uncom- 
fortable to feel so helpless. 

And the way was very busy indeed, even thus 
early in the morning. All sorts of folk were going 
along it, there were heavy country carts drawn by 
seven strong mules, they were taking grain to the 
river to be shipped " inside the Wall," and the road 
that they followed was abominable. Every now and 




A RAFT OF RAILWAY SLEEPERS ON THE LANHO. 




A MULE-LITTER, BY THE LANHO. 



IN A WUPAN 827 

again they would stick in the heavy sand or ruts, or 
stones of the roadway everything that should not 
be in a road, according to our ideas, was there and 
the driver would promptly produce a spade and 
dig out the wheels, making the way for the next cart 
that passed worse than ever. Two litters passed as 
empty, and we met any number of donkeys laden, 
I cannot say with firewood, but with bundles of 
twigs that in any other country that I know would 
not be worth the gathering, much less the transport, 
but would be burnt as waste. And there were 
numberless people on foot, this was evidently a much- 
frequented highway, since it was busy now when 
it was threatening rain, for no Chinese go out in the 
rain if they can help it. I thoroughly sympathise, I 
should think twice myself before going if I had but 
one set of clothes and nowhere to dry them if they 
got wet. The hill-sides were rocky and sterile, but 
wherever there was a flat place, wherever there was 
a little pocket of fertile ground, however inaccessible 
it might appear, it was carefully cultivated, so was 
all the valley bottom along the banks of the river, 
and all this ground was crying out for the rain. And 
then presently down it came, heavy, pouring rain 
such as I had only seen once before in China. It 
drove across our pathway like a veil, all the rugged 
hills were softened and hidden in a grey mist, and 
my muleteer drew over and around me sheets of 
yellow oiled paper through which I peered at the 
surrounding scenery. I wasn't particularly anxious 
to get wet myself, because I did not see in an open 
boat how on earth I was ever to get dry again, and 
three or four days wet or even damp, would not have 
been either comfortable, or healthy. 



828 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

At last we arrived at the river, a broad, swift- 
flowing, muddy river running along the bottom of 
the valley and apparently full to the brim, at least 
there were no banks, and needless to say, of course, 
there was not a particle of vegetation to beautify it. 
There was a crossing here very like the ferrying- 
place I had crossed on my journey up, and there 
were a row of long boats with one end of them against 
the bank. It was raining hard when I arrived, and 
the litter was lifted down from the mules, but the 
only thing to do was to sit still and await the arrival 
of Tuan and my baggage in the Peking cart. 

They came at last, and the rain lifting a little 
Tuan set about preparing one of the boats for my 
reception. 

I must confess I looked on with interest, because 
I did not quite see how I was going to spend several 
days wth a servant and three boatmen in such 
cramped quarters. The worst of it was there was no 
getting out of it now if I did not like it, it had 
to be done. Though I do worry so much I 
always find it is about the wrong thing. I had 
never and I might well have done so thought 
about the difficulties of this boat journey until I stood 
on the banks of the river, committed to it, and beyond 
the range of help from any of my own colour. For 
one moment my heart sank. If it had been the 
evening I should have despaired, but with fourteen 
good hours of daylight before me I can always feel 
hopeful, especially if they are to be spent in the 
open air. The wupan is about thirty-seven feet 
long, flat bottomed, and seven feet wide in the 
middle, tapering of course towards the ends. In 
the middle V-shaped sticks hold up a ridge pole, and 



IN A WUPAN 329 

across this Tuan put a couple of grass mats we had 
bought for this purpose, then he produced some 
unbleached calico and when I think of what I paid 
for that unbleached calico, and how poor the Chinese 
peasants are, I am surprised that the majority of them 
do not go naked and proceeded to make of it a 
little tent for me right in the middle of the awning. 
I stood it until I discovered that the idea was he 
should sleep at one end and the boatmen at the 
other, and then I protested. What I was to be 
guarded from I did not know, but I made him clearly 
understand that one end of the boat I must have to 
myself. There might be a curtain across the other 
end of the awning, that I did not mind, but I must 
be free to go out without stepping on sleeping servant 
or boatmen. That little matter adjusted, much to 
his surprise, the next thing we had to think about 
was the stove. I wanted it so placed that when the 
wind blew the matting did not make a funnel that 
would carry the smoke directly into my face. But 
that is just exactly what it did do, and I've come to 
the conclusion there is no possible way of arranging 
a stove comfortably on a winding river. We tried 
it aft, and we tried it for'ard, and when it was aft it 
seemed the wind was behind, and when it was for'ard 
the wind was ahead, and whichever way the smoke 
came it was equally unpleasant, so I decided the 
only thing to be done was to smile and look pleasant, 
and be thankful that whereas I required three meals 
a day to sustain me in doing nothing, my boatmen 
who did all the work and had a stove of their own, 
apparently, sustained life on two. The ideal way 
would be to have a companion and two boats, and 
then the trip would be delightful. 



3SO A WOMAN tS CHINA 

As it was I found it well worth doing. 

The rain stopped that first day soon after we left 
the crossing-place, and from the little low boat the 
mountains on either side appeared to tower above 
us, rugged, precipitous, sterile ; they were right down 
to the water's edge and the river wound round, and 
on the second day we were in the heart of the 
mountains, and passed through great rocky gorges. 
It was lonely for China, but just as I thought that 
no human being could possibly live in such a sterile 
land, I would see far up on the hills a little spot of 
blue, some small boy herding goats, or a little 
pocket of land between two great rocks, carefully 
tilled, and the young green crops just springing up. 
And then again there were little houses, neat, tidy 
little houses with heavy roofs, and I wondered what 
it must be like to be here in the mountains when 
the winter held them in its grip. Somehow it seemed 
to me far more lonely and desolate than anything I 
had seen on my way across country. 

We always tied up for the men to eat their midday 
meal, and we always tied up for the night. But we 
wakened at the earliest glimmer of dawn. They 
evidently breakfasted on cold millet porridge, and 
I, generally, was up and dressed and had had my 
breakfast and forgotten all about it by five-thirty in 
the morning. My bed took up most of the room in my 
quarters, I dressed and washed on it, a bath was 
out of the question, and pulling aside the curtains 
sat on it and had my breakfast, the captain of the 
boat, the gentleman with the steering-oar, looking 
on with the greatest interest. 

He spoke to Tuan evidently about my breakfast, 
and I asked him what he said. 




A FAIR WIND ON THE LANHO. 




MY BOAT AND CREW. 



IN A WUPAN 881 

" She say what a lot you eat," said Tuan. " Not 
in ten days she have so much." 

And I was surprised, because I had thought my 
breakfast exceedingly frugal. I had watched the 
eggs being poached, and I ate them without butter 
or toast or bacon, I had a dry piece of bread, tea, 
of course, and some unappetising stewed pears. 
But by and by I was watching my captain shovelling 
in basinsful of millet porridge, about ten times as 
much as I ate, and I came to the conclusion it was 
the variety he was commenting on, not the amount. 

They were things of delight those early mornings 
on the river. ' At first all the valley would be wrapped 
in a soft grey mist, with here and there the highest 
peaks, rugged and desolate, catching the sunlight; 
then gradually, gradually, the sun came down the 
valley and the mists melted before his rays, lingering 
here and there in the hollows, soft and grey and 
elusive, till at last the sunlight touched the water 
and gave this muddy water of the river a golden tint, 
and all things rejoiced in the new-born day. The 
little blue kingfishers preened themselves, the blue- 
grey cranes with white necks and black points that 
the Chinese call " long necks " sailed with outspread 
wings slowly across the water, and the sunlight on 
the square sails of the upcoming boats made them 
gleam snow white. For there was much traffic on the 
river. Desolate as the country round was, the river 
was busy. The boats that were going down stream 
were rowed, and those that were coming up, when 
the wind was with them, put out great square 
sails, and when it was against them were towed 
by four men. They fastened the towing rope 
to the mast, stripped themselves, and slipping a 



882 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

loop over their heads fixed it round their chests and 
pulled by straining against a board that was fast in 
the loop. The current was strong, and it must have 
been hard work judging by the way they strained on 
the rope. The missionaries were afraid I would be 
shocked at the sight of so many naked men, but it 
was the other way round, my presence, apparently 
the only woman on the river, created great consterna- 
tion, for the Chinaman is a modest man. Badly I 
wanted to get a photograph of those straining men, 
for never have I seen the Chinese to greater 
advantage. In their shabby blue cotton they look 
commonplace and of the slums, you feel they are 
unwashed, but these suggest splendid specimens of 
brawny manhood. They don't need to be washed. 
However, as we approached, boatmen and servant 
all raised their voices in a loud warning singsong. 
What they said, I do not know, but it must have 
been something like : " Oh brothers, put on your 
clothes. We have a bothering foreign woman on 
board." The result would be a wild scramble and 
everybody would be getting into dirty blue garments, 
only some unfortunate, who was steering in a 
difficult part or had hold of a rope that could not be 
dropped, was left helpless, and he crouched down or 
hid behind a more lucky companion. If there had 
been anybody with whom to laugh I would have 
laughed many a time when we met or passed boats 
on the Lanho. But I never got a really good photo- 
graph of those towing men. My men evidently felt 
it would be taking them at a disadvantage, and the 
production of my camera was quite sufficient to send 
us off into mid stream, as far away from the towing 
boat as possible. 



IN A WUPAN 888 

Occasionally the hills receded just a little and left 
a small stretch of flat country where there were 
always exceedingly neat-looking huts. There were 
the neatest bundles of sticks stacked all round them, 
just twigs, and we landed once to buy some, for the 
men cooked entirely with them, and my little stove 
needed them to start the charcoal. But oh, the 
people who came out of those houses were dirty. 
Never have I seen such unclean-looking unattrac- 
tive women. One had a child in her arms with per- 
fectly horrible-looking eyes, and I knew there was 
another unfortunate going to be added to the many 
blind of China. She ran away at the sight of me, 
and so did two little stark-naked boys. I tempted 
them with biscuits, and their grandfather or great- 
grandfather, he might have been, watched with the 
deepest interest. He and I struck up quite a friend- 
ship over the incident, smiling and laughing and 
nodding to one another, as much as to say, " Yes, it 
was natural they should be afraid, but we we, who 
had seen the world of course knew better." Then 
he went away and fetched back in his arms another 
small shaven-headed youngster whom he patted and 
petted and called my attention to, as much as to 
say this was little Benjamin, the well-beloved, had 
I not a biscuit for him? Alas I had been too long 
away from civilisation and I had given away all I 
had. But when I think about it, it is always with 
a feeling of regret that I had not a sweet biscuit for 
that old Chinaman up in the mountains and his best- 
beloved grandson. 

I saw one morning some men fishing in the 
shallows by a great rock, and I demanded at once 
that we buy a fish. They were spearing the fish and 



884 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

we bought a great mud-fish for five cents, for I saw 
the money handed over, and then the unfortunate 
fish with a reed through his gills was dragged through 
the water alongside the boat. When I came to eat 
a small piece of him, which I did with interest I was 
so tired of chicken, he was abominable, and I smiled 
a little ruefully when I found in the accounts he was 
charged at thirty-five cents! Judging by the nasti- 
ness of that fish one ought to be able to buy up the 
entire contents of the Lanho for such a sum. How- 
ever, the boatmen ate him gladly, and I suppose if I 
lived on millet for breakfast, tiffin, and dinner, and 
any time else when I felt hungry, I might even 
welcome a mud-fish for a change. Their only relish 
appeared to be what Tuan called "sour pickle." 
There was one most unappetising-looking salted 
turnip which lasted a long while, though every one 
of the crew had a bite at it. 

Gorge after gorge we passed, and the rocks rising 
above us seemed very high, while the sun beating 
down upon the water in that enclosed space made it 
very hot in the middle of the day, and I was very 
glad indeed of the mat awning, though, of course, 
it was of necessity so low that even I, who am a short 
woman, could not stand up underneath, but it kept 
off the sun, and the air, coming through as we were 
rowed along, made a little breeze. There were 
rapids, many rapids, but they did not impress me. 
I couldn't even get up a thrill, sometimes indeed the 
boat was turned right round, but it always seemed 
that the worst that might happen to me would be 
that I should have to get out and walk, and of course 
get rather wet in the process. Tuan made a great 
fuss about them all, " must take care " but the worst 



IN A WUPAN 385 

one of all he was so exceedingly grave over that I 
felt at least we were risking our valuable lives. It 
was inside the wall and was called " Racing Horse 
Rapid " but it wasn't very bad. I have been up 
much worse rapids on the Volta, in West Africa, and 
nobody seemed to think they were anything out of the 
ordinary, but then the negro has not such a rooted 
objection to water as the Chinaman apparently has. 
My crew had to get wet, up to their waists some- 
times, and it was a little rough on them I remem- 
bered it in their cumshaw that having a woman on 
board their modesty did not allow them to strip, and 
they went in with all their clothes on. 

The Wall, broken for the passing of the river, is 
always a wonder, and here it was wonderful as ever. 
We stopped here for a little in order, as far as I 
could make out, that Tuan might get some ragged 
specimens of humanity to pluck a couple of chickens, 
being too grand a gentleman to do it himself, and 
for a brief space the foreshore was white with 
feathers, for the thrifty Chinaman, who finds a use 
for everything, once he has made feather dusters 
has no use for feathers. Feather pillows he knows 
not. But for once Tuan's skill in putting the work 
he was paid for doing, off on to other people, failed 
either to amuse or irritate me. I had eyes for 
nothing but the Wall the Wall above all other walls 
still for all it is in ruins. As we went down the 
river it followed along the tops of the highest hills 
for over a mile. Always the Wall cuts the skyline. 
There is never anything higher than the Wall. And 
here, as if this river valley must be extra well 
guarded, on every accessible peak was a watch- 
tower. They are all in ruins now, but they speak 



836 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

forcibly of the watch and ward that was kept here 
once. There was one square ruin on the highest 
peak. As evening fell, heavy, threatening clouds 
gathered and it stood out against them. As we went 
far down the valley it was always visible, now to the 
right of us, now to the left, as the river wound, and 
when I thought it was gone in the gathering gloom, 
a jagged flash of lightning, out of the black cloud 
behind it, illumined it again, and for the moment I 
forgot that it was ruined, and thought only what an 
excellent vantage-point those old-time builders had 
chosen. All the country round must see the beacon 
fire flaring there. And again I thought of the sig- 
nals that must have gone up, " The Mongols are 
coming down the river. The Manchus are gather- 
ing in the hills." 

Those heavy clouds bespoke rain, and that 
night it came down, came down in torrents, and if 
there is a more uncomfortable place in which to be 
rained upon than a small boat I have yet to find it. 
Those grass mats kept off some of the rain, but 
they were by no means as water-tight as I should 
have liked. I spread my burberry over my bed, put 
up my umbrella, and stopped up the worst leaks 
with all the towels I could spare, and yet the water 
came in, and on the other side of my calico screen I 
could hear the men making a few remarks, which 
Tuan told me next day were because, " she no can 
cook dinner, no can dry clothes." I had lent them 
my charcoal stove, but it was small and would only 
dry " littee, littee clothe " so everybody including 
myself got up next morning in a querulous mood, 
and very sorry for themselves. The others at least 
were earning their pay, but I wondered how I was 



IN A WUPAN 337 

going to make money out of it, and again I ques- 
tioned the curious fate that sent me wandering 
uncomfortably about the world, and sometimes 
actually yes actually getting enjoyment out of it. 
I didn't enjoy that day, however. We went on a 
little and at length we stopped, all the country was 
veiled in soft moist grey mist, the perpetual sunshine 
of Northern China was gone, and Tuan and the 
boatman came to me. They proposed, of all the 
Chinese things in this world to do, to go back! 
Why I don't know now, for to go back meant going 
against the stream and towing the boat! A very 
much harder job than guiding it down stream, where 
it would go of its own weight. I have not often put 
my foot down in China. I have always found it 
best to let my servants, or those I employed, go 
about things their own way, but this was too much 
for me. I made it clearly understood that the boat 
belonged to me for the time being, and that back I 
would not go. 

Tuan murmured something about some place 
" she get dry " and I quite agreed looking at the 
shivering wretches, but that place had got to be 
ahead, not behind us. However, go on they would 
not, so we pulled up against the bank and all four 
of them cowered over the little charcoal stove till I 
feared lest they would be asphyxiated with the 
fumes. I got in my bed, pulled my eiderdown 
round me, and thanked Providence I had it, a 
sleeping bag, and a burberry, and then as best I 
could I dodged the drops that came through the 
matting, but I knew I wasn't nearly so uncomfort- 
able as my men. At last the rain lifted a little, and 
three rueful figures pulled us down to a small, a very 

Y 



388 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

small temple wherein they lighted a fire and cooked 
themselves a warm meal. By that time the rain had 
gone, and they were smiling and cheerful once more. 

As the result of that rain the river rose three feet, 
the rapids were easier than ever to go over, only of 
course there was the risk of hitting the rocks that 
were now submerged, and the waters were muddier 
than ever. I felt as if all those mountain-sides were 
being washed down into the Lanho, as they probably 
were. All along the banks, too, the people were 
collected gathering not driftwood, for there was 
none, but driftweed, gathering it in with rakes and 
dipping-in baskets, holding them out for the water 
to run away and using the residuum " for burn," as 
Tuan put it. It was dreary, wet, grey, cold. The 
country grew flatter as we came down the river, the 
hills receded; we were in an agricultural country 
which was benefiting, I doubt not, by this rain, but 
with the mountains went the stern grandeur, and 
cold rain on a flat country is uninspiring. Be- 
sides breakfast before five-thirty leaves a long day 
before one, and the incidents were so small. I 
watched the captain steering and refreshing himself 
with a bite at a pink radish as large and as long as 
a parsnip, and it looked cold and uninviting. Surely 
I ought to be thankful that Fate had not caused 
me to be born a Chinese of the working classes. 

The captain had a large cash-box which reposed 
trustfully at the end of my bed. Not that I could 
have got into it, for it was fastened with the sort of 
padlock that I should put on park gates, and I cer- 
tainly couldn't have carried it away, at least not 
unbeknownst, for it was a cube of at least eighteen 
inches. It gave me the idea of great wealth, for 




GOING TO THE DRAGON BOAT FEAST. 




COOK STALL. 



IN A WUPAN 339 

never in my life do I expect to require a cash-box 
like that. If I did I should give up story writing 
and grow old with a quiet mind. But then I do not 
take my earnings in copper cash. 

More and more as we went along the river was T 
reminded of my idea of Babylon Babylon with the 
romance taken out of it, Babylon grown common- 
place. At one place we stopped at, there came 
down to the ferry a short fat man in blue, in a large 
straw hat, leading a donkey. But he belonged to 
no age, he was Sancho Panza to the life. Again 
there came a gentleman mounted on a mule, his 
servant following slowly on a small grey donkey. 
He was nicely dressed in darkish petticoats, and 
his servant wore the usual blue. They stood on the 
river-bank and the servant hailed the ferry. With 
a little difficulty the beasts were got on board and 
the boat poled across. It was just a wupan like 
my own, decked in the middle so that the animals 
would not have to step down. The donkey came off 
as if it were all in the day's work, but the mule was 
obstinate, and it took the entire population of that 
little crossing-place, including Tuan and my boat- 
men, to hoist him off. The person most interested, 
the rider, never stirred a finger. True son of Babylon 
was he. " Let the slaves see to all things," I imagine 
him saying. There was a little refreshment booth, 
and a man selling long fingers of paste, or rather 
fried batter. My captain handled one thoughtfully 
and then put it back. 

"Doesn't he like it?" I asked Tuan. It seemed 
to me so much nicer than the pink radish. 

" She like," said Tuan, "too much monies. Very 
dear," and I think I could have bought up the whole 






840 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

stock in trade for twenty cents, about fivepence, so 
the cash-box was a fraud after all. 

Now the hills had receded into the dim distance 
there were no more rapids, and I was back on the 
great alluvial plain of Northern China once more. 
The sun came out in all his glory, there were in- 
numerable boats, and the evening sunlight gleamed 
on their white sails. Many of them were full of 
people, with many women amongst them, and Tuan 
told me it was the Dragon Boat Festival. 

And then, as the evening shadows were falling, 
we came to the port of Lanchou and my journey in 
a wupan was ended. 



CHAPTER XIX 

A RIVER PORT IN BABYLON 

The question of squeeze Batter fingers for the boatmen An 
array of damp scarecrows Ox carts Prehistoric wheels 
A decadent people Beggars The playing of a part A 
side show Cumshaw. 

THEY tell me I must not talk about a river port in 
Babylon, because Babylon was a city not a country, 
and it had no river port, but in that valley of 
Mesopotamia there must have been in those old 
days, little places where the people living along the 
banks landed their produce, or gathered it in, and 
I think they must have resembled this river port 
of Lanchou in Chihli, to which I came one still 
pleasant evening in June. 

The sun was on the point of setting, and I con,- 
sulted Tuan about where I should go for the night. 
The inns, he opined, would be full, for all the 
country-side had come to the feast, and, in truth, I 
did not hanker much after a Chinese inn. I in- 
finitely preferred the wupan, even at its very worst, 
when the rain was coming through the matting. I 
only wondered if Tuan and the boatmen would 
think it extremely undignified of me to stay where 
I was. The worst I knew there were the cock- 
roaches, and Heaven only knew what I might find 
in a Chinese inn in June. 






842 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Apparently Tuan did not think it undignified, and 
the boatmen of course were glad. 

'' You pay him one dollar," suggested Tuan. 
Now a dollar is a thousand cash, and a thousand 
cash, I suppose would about fill that money-box of 
his. He got the dollar, because I paid it him my- 
self, but what squeeze Tuan extracted I am sure I 
don't know. Some he did get, I suppose as of 
right, for squeeze seems to be the accepted fact in 
China. 

A woman once told me how she was offered 
squeeze and a good big squeeze too. 

She was head of a hospital, and being an attrac- 
tive young person, she used to go out pretty often 
for motor drives with the locomotive superintendent 
of the nearest railway. The Chinese took note of 
this, as apparently they do of all things likely to 
concern them, and one day there called upon her a 
Chinaman, well-dressed, of the better class. He 
stood at the door of her sitting-room, shaking his 
own hands; and bowed three times. 

" What do you want ? " said she, for she had 
never to her knowledge, seen him before. 

He spoke as good English, almost as she did 
herself, and he said, well it was a little matter in 
which she might be of service to him, and yes 
he of service to her. 

She looked at him in astonishment. " But I 
don't know you," she said, puzzled and sur- 
prised. 

It was a matter of oil, he said at last, when he got 
to the point. It was well known that the engines 
required a great deal of oil, and he had several 
thousands of tons of oil for sale. 



A RIVER PORT IN BABYLON 343 

" But what has that to do with me ? " asked the 
girl, more surprised than ever. 

He bowed again. "You are a great friend 
n f 

\JL~~~ 

(i But how do you know that ? " 

" Oh pardon/' his hand on his heart, " Chinaman 
know everything. You can help me." 

" How? " she said still wondering. 

"You speak to Mr . He buy oil," and he 

looked at her ingratiatingly. 

She stared at him, hardly knowing whether to be 
angry or not. 

" I have nothing to do with the locomotives." 

" Oh, but it will pay you," said he, and from each 
side out of a long pocket he drew two heavy bags, 
and planked them down on her writing-table. Still 
she did not understand what he was driving at. 

" For you," said he, " for a few words." 

"Why, you are offering me squeeze," said she 
indignantly, as the full meaning of the thing flashed 
on her. 

He made a soothing sound with his mouth. 
" Everybody does it," said he. 

" Indeed I don't." 

" Not enough? " said he. " There is five hundred 
and fifty dollars there," and he looked at her ques- 
tioningly. "Well," thoughtfully, "I can make it 
two hundred dollars more, I have much oil," and 
down went another bag of silver. More than six 
months' salary was on the table. 

<: And suppose," said she, curious, " Mr pays 

no attention to me." 

CT That would be unfortunate," with a low bow, 
" but I think not. I have much oil. I take risk." 



344 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Then she rose up wrathfully. " Take it away," 
she said, " take it away. How dare you offer me 
squeeze ! " And he did take it away, and as he 
probably knew her salary to the very last penny, 
thought her a fool for her pains. 

I don't know whether Tuan extracted his squeeze 
beforehand, but I know all three boatmen had the 
long fingers of batter fried in lard for their breakfast 
the next morning, for I saw them having them, and 
Tuan informed me with a grin, " Missie pay dollar. 
Can do," and I was very glad I had not patronised 
the Chinese inn. 

Of course I rose very early. Before half-past 
four I was up and dressed and peeping out of my 
little tent at the rows and rows of boats that lay 
double-banked against the shore. The sun got up 
as early as I did, and most of those people in the 
boats were up before him. The boats were own 
sisters to the one in which I had come down the 
river, with one mast, and shelters in the middle, 
and all the people had suffered, as we had done, 
from wet, for such a drying day I have never before 
seen. All the sails of course had to be dried, all 
the mats, the dilapidated bedding, and it seemed 
most of the clothing, for padded blue coats and 
trousers were stuck on sticks, or laid out in the sun. 
All the scarecrows that ever I had known, had 
apparently come to grief on that double-banked row 
of boats. The banks were knee-deep in mud, but 
it was sandy mud that soon dried, and by six o'clock 
business on that shore was in full swing. There was 
a theatre and fair going on close at hand, but busi- 
ness had to be attended to all the same. These 
boatmen all still wear the queue, so the barber was 



A RIVER PORT IN BABYLON 345 

very busy, as it is of course impossible to shave on 
board a boat, and even the immaculate Tuan had a 
fine crop of bristles all over his head. They were 
gone before he gave me breakfast this morning. 
The alluvial mud of the shore was cut into deep cart 
ruts, and there were any number of carts coming 
down to the boats and going away from them. 
There were ox carts with a solitary ox, harnessed 
much as a horse would be and looking strange to 
me, accustomed to the bullock drays of Australia 
with their bullocks, ten or twenty of them drawing 
by a single wooden yoke, there were mule carts and 
carts heavy with merchandise drawn by a mixed team 
of mule, ox, and the small and patient donkey, and 
the people took from the boats their loading of grain, 
grown far away in Mongolia, of stones, gathered by 
the river-bank, water- worn stones used for making 
the picturesque garden and courtyard paths the 
Chinese love, and even sometimes for building, and 
of osiers, grown up in the mountains. There were 
piles and piles of these, and men were carrying them 
slung on the ends of their bamboos. And the boats, 
for the return journey were loaded, as far as I could 
see, with salt and the thin tissue paper they use every- 
where for the windows, it is much more portable than 
glass, and cotton stuffs, such as even the poorest up 
in the mountains must buy for their clothing. And 
because it was the Dragon Boat Feast, I suppose, 
many of the boats were full of passengers, people 
who had started thus early to make a day of it, 
innumerable small-footed women and small, shaven- 
headed children, what little there was left of their 
hair done up in tiny plaits, that stood straight out 
on end. And all had on their best clothing. Even 



346 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

the gentleman whose picture I have taken standing 
under a tree had on a new hat of the brightest 
yellow matting, and I wondered whether the poorer 
folk who thronged the river-side in Mesopotamia, 
so many long centuries ago, were not something like 
him. The only thing that was modern was the 
railway station and rolling stock, just behind the 
river-side town, and the great iron bridge that spans 
the river. Modern civilisation come to Babylon. It 
has barely touched the surface though of this age- 
old civilisation. The people who came crowding 
into the feast came in carts with heavy wooden 
wheels, Punch's prehistoric wheels, exactly as their 
ancestors came, possibly three thousand years ago, 
and the carts were drawn by mules, by oxen, by 
donkeys, and were covered, some with the ordinary 
blue cloth, some with grass matting, and sometimes, 
when they were open, the women carried umbrellas 
of Chinese oiled paper, with here and there one of 
ordinary European pattern. And the carts were 
packed very close together indeed, for there were 
numberless women, and the majority of them could 
only just totter along. For them to walk far or 
for long, would be a sheer impossibility. Country 
people? No, again I saw it strongly, these were 
serfs, perhaps, but not country people, they were a 
highly civilised people, far more highly civilised 
than I am who sit in judgment, so civilised that they 
were decadent, effete, and every woman was help- 
less! 

They crowded round the theatricals that were 
going on there in the open, and all the stalls were 
crowded together round them too. These sellers 
cannot afford to spread themselves out when half of 




A MIXED TEAM. 




A WAYFARER. 



A RIVER PORT IN BABYLON 847 

the likely buyers must needs be stationary. Never 
have I seen so many Chinese women of the well-to- 
do class together before. They wore their gayest 
silks and satins and embroidered coats, their hair 
was elaborately dressed and decked with flowers, 
their faces were painted and powdered, and usually 
there was on them the faintest of impassive smiles. 
Poor women of modern Babylon, maimed and 
crippled! It was rather a relief to look at the 
beggars, and there were many of them, who, clad 
in sacking and filthy rags, with wild black hair, beat 
their foreheads in the dust, and made loud moan of 
their sufferings. Everyone plays his part properly 
in China. It is the beggars' to make loud moan, it 
is the women's to give no hint of the cruel suffering 
that has made childhood and youth a torture, and 
left the dreadful aftermath behind it. 

I had plenty of time to see everything, for the 
train was not due till eleven, and when it grew too 
hot to stay in the open any longer, I went on to the 
platform and sat in the shade, and formed a sort of 
side show to the fair, for so many people crowded 
round to look at the foreign woman, and they had 
more than what a servant of one of my friends called 
"a littee stink," that at last the station policeman, 
who was really a soldier guarding the line, came and 
cleared them away drastically with drawn sword, and 
I explained, as best I could, that on this great occa- 
sion, I hadn't the least objection to being a show, 
for very likely many of these people had come from 
beyond the beaten tracks, from places where 
foreigners were scarce, but I must have sufficient 
air. 

Tuan got the tickets, and then I suppose, seeing 



348 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

his time was short, for we should be in Peking by 
seven, and should certainly part, he relieved his 
mind and asked a question that had evidently been 
burning there ever since we had left the mission 
station. 

" Missie have pay mission boys cumshaw." 

Now the cumshaw had been a difficulty. 

My hostess had come to me and said : " I know 
you are going to give a cumshaw. I may as well 
tell you that if our visitors don't we always do our- 
selves, because the servants expect it, but I am come 
to beg of you not to give too much and to give it 
through us. In fact the cook went for his holiday 
last night and we gave him eighty cents and said it 
was from you." 

"Eighty cents!" I was afraid those servants 
would think me very mean. But my hostess was 
very fluent on the subject, and very determined. 
The majority of their visitors could not possibly 
afford to give much, and they were very anxious not 
to establish a precedent. What was I to do? I 
might have supplemented it through Tuan, but I 
felt it would be making a poor return to the people 
who had been so kind to me, so I was obliged to let 
it go at that. 

" I pay Missie, she give cumshaw for me," said I 
to Tuan. 

"Ah!" said that worthy, as if he had settled a 
doubt satisfactorily in his own mind, " boy say 
Missie pay eighty cent, I say, not my Missie, she 
give five, ten dollar, always give five, ten dollar, your 
Missie give eighty cent ! " 

And as I went on my way to Peking, across the 
plain in its summer dress of lush green kaoliang, I 



A RIVER PORT IN BABYLON 349 

wondered sorrowfully if all the return I had made for 
the kindness received was to have those mission- 
aries accused of pocketing the cumshaw I was 
supposed to have given. 

But I was glad to come back, glad not to think 
any more of the Chinaman as a creature whose soul 
had to be saved, glad to come back to my ordinary 
associates who were ordinarily worldly and selfish, 
and felt that they might drink a whisky-and-soda 
and consider their own enjoyment, though there were 
a few hundred million people in outer darkness 
around them. The majority of us cannot live in the 
rarefied atmosphere ijiat demands constant sacri- 
fice and abnegation for the sake of those we do not 
and cannot love. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 

The heat of Peking The wall by moonlight Tongshan " Your 
devoted milkman " The eye of the mistress A little fort 
In case of an outbreak The Temple of the Sleeping Buddha 
A runaway bride The San Shan An My own temple court- 
yardThe missing outfit The Language Officer Friends in 
need. 

IT was David, I think, who said in his haste, that all 
men are liars, but I suppose he was right, if he meant 
as he probably did, that at one time or another, we 
are all of us given to making rash statements. I 
expect it would be a rash statement to say that 
Peking in the summer is the hottest place in the 
world, and that the heat of West Africa, that much- 
maligned land, is nothing to it, and yet, even when 
I think over the matter at my leisure, I know that 
the heat, for about six weeks, is something very 
hard to bear. I suspect it is living in a stone house 
inside the city walls that makes it so hot. Could I 
have slept in the open I might have taken a different 
view. I slept, or rather I did not sleep, with two 
windows wide open, and an electric fan going, but, 
since Peking mosquitoes are of the very aggressive 
order, bred in the imperial canal, the great open 
drain that runs through the city, it was always 
necessary to keep the mosquito curtains drawn. If 
anyone doubts that a house with mosquito-proof 

350 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 851 

windows and doors is an airless death-trap, let him 
try and sleep under mosquito curtains, while hoping 
for a breath of cool air from the electric fan. Fully 
half the air is cut off, but as the mosquito curtains 
are raised during the daytime, the air over the bed 
is renewed daily. In that abomination a mosquito- 
proof house, it is never renewed. 

Since it was a choice between little air and plenty 
of mosquitoes. I chose the shortage of air, and 
generally went to bed with a deep soup plate full of 
cold water, and a large sponge. It made the bed 
decidedly wet, but that was an advantage. 

I did not go away because the war had started 
between the North and the South, and no one knew 
exactly what was going to happen. To be at the 
heart of things is often to be too close, wiser eyes 
than mine saw nothing. Once there was a rumour 
that the Southern army would march on Peking, 
and that promised excitement, but in the city itself, 
though there was martial law, there was no excite- 
ment, and the only pleasant thing to do was to go 
on moonlight evenings and sit on the wall. There 
was a cool breath of air there, if there was anywhere, 
and at any rate the moonlight lent it a glamour, and 
the fireflies, that came out after the rain, gave the 
added touch that made it fairyland. 

But at last the heat was too much even for me, who 
am not wont to complain of whatever sort of weather 
is doled out to me, and I accepted the invitation of a 
friend to stay at Tongshan, which is a great railway 
centre, a place where there is a coal mine, and some 
large cement works run by capable and efficient 
Germans. 

And at Tongshan I lived in the house that was 






352 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

held for defence during the Boxer trouble. The 
barrier at the gate the barrier that is at the gate of 
all Chinese houses, to keep off evil spirits, who can 
only move in a straight line was so curious that I 
took a photograph of it, and against the walls that 
surround the grounds were the look-out places which 
the railwaymen manned, and from which they kept 
watch and ward. 

I have always liked the feeling of living in a fort 
a place where men have helped to make history, 
but I have observed that it is always the immediate 
trifle that is to the fore that counts, and my friend's 
servants were a perpetual joy and delight to me. 
They used to write her letters. There was one, a 
touching one, from the milkman I shall remember 
with joy. A " cunningful " cook had misrepresented 
him, and he wished to be taken into favour again, 
and he signed himself distractedly " Your devoted 
milkman." The cow was brought round so that it 
might be milked before the eyes of the buyer, and 
only a Chinaman, surely, would have been capable 
of concealing a bottle of water up his sleeves and 
letting it run slowly down his arm as he milked, so 
that the cow was unjustly accused of giving very 
poor milk. Besides, when the cow's character was 
cleared, who knew from where that water had been 
taken, and how much dirt it had washed off the arm 
down which it ran. No pleading took that milkman 
into favour again, despite the tenderness expressed 
in his signature. Another man had been away, and 
returning, wished a small job as watchman at six 
dollars a month, and begging for it by letter, he 
signed himself fervently " Your own Ah Foo." But 
the crowning boy was the No. i boy. He was a 




THE FORT IN THE COMPOUND AT TONGSHAN. 




ENTRANCE TO HOUSE, TONGSHAN. 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 353 

delicious person without intending it. When first 
my friend engaged him, she acquired at the same 
time a small dog, and she soon realised that the 
rigorous Chinese winter was hard on dogs, and that 
Ben must have a little coat. The question was how 
to make the coat. No. i boy came to the rescue. 

Mr at the railway station had a dog, and 

"Marcus," said the boy, "have two coats." 

" Oh we'll borrow one and copy it," said his 
mistress, relieved. 

"My tink," said the boy confidentially, and he 
sank his voice, " Missie bolly, more better not send 
back." And he looked at her to see if this wisdom 
would sink in. 

"Boy!" 

" Marcus have two coats," repeated he reproach- 
fully. 

The owner of Marcus, on the story being told 
to him, when the coat was borrowed with every 
assurance it should be returned, admitted that if 
occasionally he saw among his accounts a coat for 
Marcus he always paid for it, and supposed the old 
one had worn out. Thinking it over, he thought 
perhaps he had supplied a friend or two, or more 
possibly his friends' servants. No. i boy made a 
mistake in taking his mistress into his confidence, 
instead of charging her for " one piecey dog coat." 

But, of course that is the trouble with Missies, as 
compared with Masters, they have such inquiring 
minds. There was once a man of violent temper 
who was in the habit of letting off steam on his 
No. i boy. He abused him roundly, and even beat 
him whenever he felt out of sorts, yet greatly to the 
surprise of all his friends, the boy put up with him, 

z 



854 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

and made him a very excellent servant. Presently 
he married, and then, much to his surprise, before 
a month was out the boy, who had been faithful and 
long-suffering for so long, came and gave notice. 

"But why?" asked the astonished man. 

" Master beat," said the boy laconically. 

" D n it," said the man, " I've beaten you a 

dozen times before. Why do you complain now?*' 

" Before time," explained the boy solemnly, 
" when Master beat, my put down one dollar, sugar, 
one dollar flour. Now Missie come, no can. My 
go." 

He did not mind a beating so long as he could 
make his master pay for it, but when an inquiring 
mistress questioned these little items for groceries 
that she knew had never been used, he gave up the 
place, he could no longer get even with his master. 
It was a truly Chinese way of looking at things. 

These were some of the stories they told me in the 
house they had fortified against the Boxers and held 
till the ships sent them a guard. And once the 
sailors came there was no more danger. It was the 
luckless country people who feared. The older men 
pitied and understood the situation, but the mis- 
chievous young midshipmen took a fearful joy in 
scaring the problematical enemy. 

"Who goes there?" 

" Belong my," answered the shivering coolie, 
endeavouring to slip past, and in deadly terror that 
the pointed rifle would go off, They were ground 
between two millstones those unfortunate peasants. 
The Boxers harried them, and then the foreigners 
came and avenged their wrongs on these who had 
done probably no harm. Always it is these helpless 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 855 

serfs who suffer in case of war. Other classes may 
suffer these are sure to. 

They will never hold this house again should 
necessity arise, for the well that gave them water has 
gone dry. 

Of course everyone hopes and says, that the 
necessity never will arise again but for all that, 
they are not, the foreign settlers in China, quite as 
certain of their safety as one would be in a country 
town in England, for instance. They came in to 
afternoon tea and tennis, men and women, and they 
gave all attention to the amusement in hand, a light- 
hearted, cheerful set of people, and then one little 
speech and one saw there was another side. There 
was always the might be. Everything was going on 
as usual, everywhere around were peaceable, sub- 
servient people, and yet and yet terrible things had 
happened in the past, who could say if they would 
not happen again. Every now and again, not domi- 
nating the conversation, but running a subcurrent 
to it, would come up the topic of the preparations 
they had made in case of " another outbreak." 

One woman kept a box of clothes at Tientsin. 

" I wonder you don't," she said looking at her 
hostess. " No, my dear, don't you remember yet, I 
never take sugar. Thank you. You ought to 
think about it, you know. It is really so awkward if 
one has to rush away in a hurry to find oneself with- 
out clothes." 

Another woman laughed, and yet she was very 
much in earnest. 

' f That's not the first thing to worry about. There, 
that was vantage to them," she interpolated, taking 
an interest in the game of tennis, " that young 



356 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

woman's going to make a nice little player. No, 
what I think is that the place they have chosen to 
hold is far too far away. Want your clothes in 
Tientsin? I'm not at all sure you'll get over that 
mile and a half from your house in safety, and I've 
farther still to go, with two little children too. Why 

don't you get your husband to Oh there 

they've finished ! Now have I time for another set? " 

" It's after six." 

" Good gracious ! And baby to bath ! I must go. 
You speak to your husband about another place, my 
dear. He'll have some influence." 

"No, I wouldn't try to hold any place again," said 
my host, thinking of the past, " I should be on the 
train and off to Tientsin at the first hint of danger." 

" But suppose you couldn't get away in time ? " 

" Well, of course, that's possible," he said 
thoughtfully, " and the Chinese are beggars at 
pulling up railways." 

I listened, and then I understood how people get 
used to contemplating a danger that is only possible, 
and not actually impending. 

" If anything happens to Yuan Shih K'ai," but 
then, of course, though that is not only a possible, 
but even a probable danger, everyone hopes that 
nothing will happen to Yuan Shih K'ai, just as if 
anything did happen to him, they would hope things 
would not be as bad as they had feared, and if their 
worst fears were realised, then they would hope that 
they would be the lucky ones who would not be 
overwhelmed. This is human nature, at least one 
side of human nature, the side of human nature that 
has made of the British a great colonising people. 

The autumn was coming, the golden, glowing 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 357 

autumn of Northern China, so, coming back to 
Peking, I determined to find out some place where 
I could enjoy its beauties and write the book which 
my publisher expected. Most people seem to think 
that the writing of a book is a mere question of plenty 
of time, a good pen, paper, and ink. ' You press 
the button, we do the rest," promises a certain firm 
that makes cameras ; but I do not find either writing 
or taking photographs quite so simple a matter as all 
that. To do either, even as well as I can, I want to 
be by myself, for I am a sociable being, I do love the 
society of my kind, to talk to them, to exchange ideas 
with them, and when I am doing that, I cannot give 
the time and attention it requires to writing. Every- 
one who writes in China, and anyone who writes at 
all is moved to take pen in hand to try and elucidate 
its mysteries, wants to write in a temple in the 
Western Hills. I was no exception to the rule. 
The Western Hills, whose rugged outlines you can 
see from Peking, called me, and I set out to look 
for a temple. It was going to be easy enough to get 
one, for " Legation " Peking goes to the hills in the 
summer, and when autumn holds the land goes back 
to the joys of city life. 

The first I inspected was the Temple of the 
Sleeping Buddha, a temple which has many court- 
yards, and a figure of the Buddha, peacefully sleep- 
ing. An emblem of peace looks the great bronze 
figure. He is, of course, represented clothed, only 
his feet are bare, and the faithful bring him offerings 
of shoes, rows and rows of shoes there were on a 
shelf at the side of the temple, some colossal, three 
or four feet long, and some tiny, some made after 
the fashion of the ordinary Chinese shoe, of silk or 



858 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

quilted satin, but some make-believe, and very 
excellent make-believe, of paper. Looking at them 
I could not have told the difference, and as the 
Buddha's eyes are shut, he could not even go as far 
as that. He certainly could not put them on, for his 
feet are pressed closely together, the feet of a pro- 
foundly sleeping man. All is peace here. Here 
there is no trouble, no anxiety, that sleeping figure 
seems to say. 

But there was for all that. Where in the world is 
there no trouble ? 

It takes about three and a half hours to reach the 
Sleeping Buddha Temple from Peking. First I took 
a rickshaw across the city. Then from the north- 
west gate, the Hsi Chih Men, still by rickshaw, I 
went to the Summer Palace, and I did the remaining 
five miles into the heart of the hills on a donkey. I 
don't like riding a donkey, five miles on a donkey 
on an uncomfortable Chinese saddle, riding astride, 
wearies me to death, and when I was just thinking 
life was no longer worth living I arrived, and 
wandered into a courtyard where, at the head of 
some steps, stood a little Chinese girl. She was 
dressed in the usual dress of a girl of the better 
classes, a coat and trousers, like a man usually wears 
with us, only the coat had a high collar standing up 
against her cheeks, and because she was unmarried, 
she wore her hair simply drawn back from her face 
and plaited in a long tail down her back, much as an 
English schoolgirl wears it. She made me a pretty, 
shy salutation, and called to her friend the English- 
woman, who had rented the courtyard, and who was 
living here while she painted pictures. This lady 
was returning to Peking she said, next day, but she 




PLACE OF TOMBS BELOW SAN SHAN AN. 




VALLEY OF THE SAN SHAN AN. 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 359 

very kindly invited me to luncheon, and she told me 
the Chinese girl's story. She was practically in 
hiding. She had been betrothed, of course, years 
before to some boy she had never seen, and this 
year the time had arrived for the carrying out of 
the contract. But young China is beginning to think 
it has rights and objects to being disposed of in 
marriage without even a chance to protest. It 
would not be much good the boy running away, 
however much he objected to the matrimonial plans 
his family had made for him, for he could be married 
quite easily in his absence, a cock taking his place ; 
but it beats even the Chinese to have a marriage 
without a bride, therefore the girl had run away. The 
time was past and the contract had not been carried 
out. Poor little girl ! It surprised me that so shy and 
quiet a little girl had found courage to defy authority 
and run away, even though she had found out that 
her betrothed was as averse from the marriage as she 
was. She had unbound her feet, as if to signalise 
her freedom ; but alas, the arch of her foot was 
broken, and she could never hope to be anything 
but flat-footed, still that was better than walking 
with stiff knees, on her heels, as if her legs were a 
couple of wooden pegs like the majority of her 
fellow-countrywomen. The woman who was 
befriending her suggested, as I was taking a temple 
in the hills, I should give her sanctuary. That was 
all very well, but the care of a helpless being, like a 
Chinese girl, is rather an undertaking. I consulted 
a friend who had been in China many years, and he 
was emphatic on the subject. 

"No, no, no. Never have anything to do with a 
woman in China until she is well over forty. You 



360 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

don't know the trouble you will let yourself in for. 
Chinese women ! " And he held up his hands. So 
it appears that the secluded life does not make them 
all that they ought to be. 

However, while I was considering the matter, 
some woman in Peking, kinder and less cautious 
than I, stepped in and the little girl has found an 
asylum, and is, I am assured by a friend, all right, 
and better off than hundreds of her people. True 
she easily might be that, and yet not have attained 
to much. 

I always seem to be talking of the condition of the 
Chinese women, like King Charles's head, it comes 
into everything. After all, the condition and status 
of half the nation must be always cropping up when 
one considers the people at all. "Chinese women," 
said a man, " are past-mistresses in false modesty." 
And again I thought what a commentary on a nation. 
To Western eyes how it marks the subjection and 
the ignorance of the women. 

When the first baby is coming, the bride is sup- 
posed, though it would be a tragedy beyond all 
words if she had no children, to be too shy to tell 
her husband, or even her mother-in-law, so she puts 
on bracelets, and then the family know that this 
woman, at least, is about to fulfil her destiny. I 
hope the little Chinese girl I found up in the Temple 
of the Sleeping Buddha will yet marry, marry some- 
one she chooses herself, will not need to pluck out 
the front hairs on her forehead, and will be on such 
terms with her husband, that though she may with 
pride put on the bracelets, she may rejoice openly 
that their love is crowned. I do not think there will 
be any false modesty about her. 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 361 

But I did not take a courtyard in the Sleeping 
Buddha Temple. It was rented by the Y.M.C.A. 
and I think that, combined with the donkey ride, 
put me off. I felt I would rather go farther afield, 
farther away from the traces of the foreigner, and I 
could have my pick of temples in September. I 
took the San Shan An, in another valley, one of the 
lovely valleys of the world. 

The San Shan An is only a small temple with a 
central courtyard and two or three smaller ones, 
and I agreed to take it for the sum of twenty-eight 
dollars a month. I engaged a cook and a boy, the 
boy's English was scanty and the cook had none, 
but I only paid the two twenty-four dollars a month, 
six dollars less than the valued Tuan had all to 
himself, and one day in September I saw my house- 
hold gods on to two carts, went myself by train, and 
got out at the first station at the Western Hills. 

I had taken the precaution, as I had no Chinese, 
and I did not expect to meet anybody who under- 
stood English, to have the name of the temple written 
out in Chinese characters, and descending from the 
train, after a little trouble I found one among the 
wondering crowd who could read, and all that crowd, 
a dirty little crowd, took an interest in my further 
movements. They immediately supplied me with 
donkeys and boys to choose from, and I had the 
greatest difficulty in explaining that I did not want 
a donkey, all I wanted was a guide. The only one 
who seemed to grasp it was a very ragged indjvidual 
who, with basket under his arm, and scoop in hand, 
was gathering manure. He promptly seized my 
dispatch-box, all the luggage I carried, and we 
started, pursued by disappointed boys with donkeys, 



862 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

who could not believe that the foreign woman was 
actually going to walk in the wake of a man who 
gathered manure. I must confess it was a most 
humble procession, even in my eyes, who am not 
accustomed to standing on my dignity. My only 
sister had given me that dispatch-case as a parting 
present, and it looked wonderfully rich and cultured 
in the very grimy hand that grasped it so trium- 
phantly. I should never have had the heart to turn 
that old man away, he looked so pleased at having 
got a job. Off he went, and we walked for over 
an hour across a flat and rough country, where the 
kaoliang had been gathered on to the threshing 
floors, and all the people this gorgeous hot autumn 
day were at work there. 

A threshing floor in the East makes one think of 
Ruth and Boaz, and possibly these people were not 
unlike those who worked on that threshing floor in 
Judah so long ago, only they were dirty and poor, 
and not comely as we picture the Moabitish beauty. 
It was hot as we walked, and I grew a little doubtful 
as we approached the hills were we going in the 
right direction. 

" San Shan Erh," said my guide, and he repeated 
it, and I grew more doubtful, for I did not know 
then that these hill people say, " v San Shan Erh" 
where a more cultivated man would say " San Shan 
An/' it is very Pekingese to have many " r's " to roll. 
He combined business with pleasure, or rather he 
combined his business, and whenever he came across 
a patch of manure, he gathered it in, and I waited 
patiently. At last we came to the entrance of a 
well-wooded valley, and a well-wooded valley is a 
precious thing in China, and we went up a roughly 




VIEW FROM TEMPLE. 




PLACE OF TOMBS BELOW THE LOOK-OUT PLACi 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 863 

flagged pathway, flagged, I dare say, a couple of 
hundred years ago or more, a steep pathway by a 
graveyard, and between the trees that were just 
taking on a tinge of autumn gold, we arrived at a 
plateau built up with stones, and along beneath some 
trees we entered a gate and came into a square brick 
paved courtyard surrounded by low, one-storied 
buildings, and with four pine-trees raising their dark 
green branches against the deep blue sky. I had 
seen so many temple courtyards, and now here was 
one, that for a space, was to be my very own. In 
China, it seems, the gods always make preparation 
for taking in guests at a price. 

But was this my temple? 

My heart sank, as for a moment I realised what 
a foolish thing I had done. I had supposed, after 
my usual fashion, that everything would go smoothly 
for me, and now at the very outset, things were 
going wrong, and I knew I was helpless. Two men 
in blue, of the coolie class, old, and very, very dirty, 
looked at me, and talked unintelligibly to my guide, 
and he, very intelligibly, demanded his cumshaw, 
but there was no sign of my possessions. 

For the moment I feared, feared greatly. I was 
entirely alone, what might not happen to me? I 
might not even have been brought to the right 
temple, for all I knew. In bridge, when doubtful 
they say play to win, so I decided I must act as if 
everything was all right, and I paid my guide his 
cumshaw, saw him go, and not quite as happy 
as I should have liked to have been, inspected the 
temple. There was one big room that I decided 
would do me for a living-room, if this were really 
my temple, as it had a sort of little veranda or 



864 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

look-out place, which stood out on the cliff side over- 
looking the place of tombs, and the plain where in 
the distance, about twelve miles as the crow flies, 
I could see in the clear atmosphere the walls of 
Peking. They might as well have been a hundred, 
I thought ruefully, for all the help I was likely to get 
from that city to-night, if this were not really my 
temple. 

A Chinese temple is sparsely furnished. All the 
rooms had stone floors, all of them opened into the 
courtyard and not into one another, and for all 
furniture there were the usual k'angs, two cupboards, 
three tables, and three uncomfortable Chinese chairs. 
I had hired an easy chair, a lamp, and with my camp 
outfit I expected to manage. But where was my 
camp outfit? 

I could not understand a word of what the people 
said, but they seemed friendly, they well might be, I 
thought, I was entirely at their mercy, and a very 
dirty old gentleman with claw-like hands, an un- 
shaven head, and the minutest of queues came and 
contemplated me in a way which was decidedly dis- 
concerting. I went and looked at the gods, dusty 
and dirty too in their sanctuaries. There was a most 
musical bell alongside one of them and when I struck 
it, the clang seemed to emphasise my loneliness and 
helplessness. Could this be the right temple? If 
it was not where was I to go ? There was no means 
of getting back to Peking, short of walking, even 
then the gates must be shut long before I arrived. 
As far as I knew, there was no foreigner left in the 
hills. I went on to the look-out place, and looked 
out over the plain, and the old man came and looked 
at me, and I grew more and more uncomfortable. 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 865 

Tiffin time was long past, afternoon tea time came 
and went. It had been warm enough in the middle 
of the day, but the evenings grow chill towards the 
end of September, and I had only a white muslin 
gown on. At the very best the prospect of sleeping 
on one of those cold and stony k'angs did not look 
inviting. I could have cried as the shadows grew 
long and the sun set. 

And then, oh joy, down beneath me, out on the 
hill-side, I heard a voice, an unmistakable American 
voice. I had been terrified, and like a flash my 
terrors rolled away. I looked over and there were 
a man and a woman taking an evening stroll, very 
much at home, for neither of them had on a hat. 
I forgot in a moment I had been afraid and I hailed 
them at once. 

"Is this the San Shan An?" 

" Sure," said the man as they looked up in 
surprise. 

Well, that was a relief anyhow, and I thought how 
foolish I had been to be afraid. But where were the 
carts ? 

The stranger said they ought to have arrived hours 
ago, and then they bid me good-bye, and I waited 
once more. I was uncomfortable now I was no 
longer afraid. At least not till it grew dark, and 
then, I must confess, the place seemed to me 
strangely eerie. The sun was set, the moon was old, 
and not due till the morning, the faint wind moaned 
through the pine-branches, and the darkness was full 
of all sorts of strange, mysterious, unexplainable 
sounds. It was cold, cold, and the morning and the 
light were a good eleven hours off. 

Then just as I was in the depths of despair, there 



866 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

was a commotion in the courtyard, a lantern flashed 
on the trunks of the pine-trees, and a kindly 
American voice out of the darkness said : 

" I thought I had better come down and see if 
your outfit had turned up." 

" There is not a sign of it." I wonder if there 
was relief in my voice. 

" No, so the people here tell me, and they are in 
rather a way about you." 

So that was why the dirty old gentleman had 
apparently been stalking me. It had never occurred 
to me that these people could be troubled about me, 
this was a new and kindly light on Chinese character. 

" Perhaps you'll come along with me," went on my 
new friend. " I've got two ladies staying with me 
from Tientsin, and they'll do the best they can for 
you for the night." 

Bless him, bless him, I could have hugged him. 
Go, of course I went thankfully, and with his 
lantern, he guided me over the steepest and roughest 
of mountain paths till we came to his temple, a much 
bigger one than mine. 

" I thought there was no one left in the hills," I 
said as we went along. 

" I'm going next week," he said, " but I love this 
valley. There is only one lovelier in the world the 
one I was born in." 

"And where is that?" 

' The Delaware Valley. These people," he went 
on, " are mightily relieved to hear I am going to keep 
you for the night." 

Again I thanked him, and indeed he and his 
friends were friends in need. " And I cannot make 
them understand like you do," I said a little futilely. 



WAYS OF THE CHINESE SERVANT 867 

"Well, I ought to," he laughed. "I'm the 
Language Officer." 

He decided my carts had had time to come from 
Peking and go back again, and they must have gone 
up the wrong valley, and he and his friends took me 
in and fed me> and comforted me, so that I was ready 
to laugh at my woes, and then, just as we were 
finishing an excellent dinner, there appeared on the 
terrace, where we were dining, an agitated individual 
with a guttering candle, my boy, whom I hardly 
knew by sight yet. 

He told a tale of woe and suffering. According 
to him, the road to Jehol must have been nothing to 
that road from Peking to the Western Hills, and I 
and my new friends went down to inspect what was 
left of my outfit. There wasn't much in it that was 
smashable, and beyond salad oil in the bread and 
kerosene in the salt, there was not much damage 
done. I could not understand though how they 
had come to grief at all, for the loads were certainly 
light for two carts, and once in the hills, of c urse, 
the goods were carried by men. And then the truth 
dawned on me. It was the way of a Chinese servant 
all over. I had been foolish enough to give my boy 
the five dollars to pay for the two carts. He had 
made one do, and pocketed two dollars fifty cents. 
I asked him if such were not the case. 

" Yes, sah," said he, and I wondered, till I found 
that he always said " Yes, sah," whether he under- 
stood me or not. More often than not he did not 
understand, but that " sah " made me understand he 
had learned his little English from a countryman of 
my friend, the Language Officer. 

And after all I think I was glad of the little 



368 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

adventure. I had not realised how eerie a temple 
would be all by myself at night, and it was good to 
think that for a night or two at least there would be 
people of my own colour within a quarter of an hour 
of me on the hill-side. 




COURTYARD OF THE TEMPLE. 




TIFFIN AT THE SAN SHAN AN. 



CHAPTER XXI 

FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 

An old temple Haunted Wolf with green eyes Loneliness 
Death of missionaries Fear Sanctuaries " James 
Buchanan " Valiant farmers Autumn tints Famous 
priest Sacrifice of disciples Tree conserving Camels at my 
gate Servants " Cook book " Enchanted hills Cricket 
cages Kindly people The fall of Belshazzar Hope for the 
future. 

AND with two servants and the temple coolies to wait 
upon me I settled down in the San Shan An, the 
Temple of the Three Mountains, the oldest temple in 
this valley of temples, built long ago in the Sung 
Dynasty. They said it was haunted, haunted by the 
ghost of a big snake, and when the mud from the 
roof fell as so much dust on the stone floor, and over 
me, my tables and chairs and bed, my boy stretched 
out his arms and explained that the snake had done 
it. The snake, I found, always accounted for dust. 
When my jam and butter disappeared, and I sus- 
pected human agency, he said in his pidgin-English, 

" I tink I tink " and then words failed him, and 

he broke out into spelling, " I tink it R A T." 
Why he could spell that word and not pronounce it 
I do not know, but until I left I did not know that 
the snake that lived in my roof was supernatural. I 
don't think even I could be afraid of the ghost of 
a snake. The temple up above, the Language 

369 2A 



870 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

Officer's temple, was haunted by a wolf with green 
eyes, and that would have been a different matter. 
I am glad I did not dare the wolf with green eyes. 
For I was all by myself. The Language Officer, 
the Good Samaritan, went back to Peking, and, 
except at week-ends, when I persuaded a friend or 
two to dissipate my loneliness, I was the only 
foreigner in the valley. Go back to Peking until the 
work I had set myself to do was done, I determined 
I would not. It has been a curious and lonely 
existence away in the hills, in the little temple 
embosomed in trees, among a people who speak not 
a word of my language ; but it had its charm. I had 
my camp-bed set up on the little platform looking 
out over the place of tombs, with the great Peking 
plain beyond, and there, while the weather was 
warm, I had all my meals, and there, warm or cold, 
I always slept. When the evening shadows fell I 
was lonely, I was worse than lonely, all that I had 
missed in life came crowding before my eyes, all the 
years seemed empty, wasted, all the future hopeless, 
and I went to bed and tried to sleep, if only to 
forget. 

And China is not a good place in which to try 
the lonely life. There are too many tragic histories 
associated with it, and one is apt to remember them 
at the wrong times. Was I afraid at night? I was, 
I think, a little, but then I am so often afraid, and so 
often my fears are false, that I have learned not to 
pay much attention to them. I knew very well that 
the Legations would not have allowed me, without 
a word of warning, to take a temple in the hills, had 
there been any likelihood of danger, but still, when 
the evening shadows fell, I could not but remember 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 871 

once again, Sir Robert Hart's dictum, and that if 
anything did happen, I was cut off here from all my 
kind. It was just Fear, the Fear that one personi- 
fies, but another time, if I elect to live by myself 
among an alien people, I do not think I will im- 
prove my mind by reading first any account of the 
atrocities those people have perpetrated at no very 
remote period. As the darkness fell I was apt to start 
and look over my shoulder at any unexplainable 
sound, to remember these things and to hope they 
would not happen again, which is first cousin to fear- 
ing they would. At Pao Ting Fu, not far from here 
as distances in China go, during the Boxer trouble, 
the Boxers attacked the missionaries, both in the 
north and the south suburb, just outside the walls of 
the town. In the north suburb the Boxers and their 
following burned those missionaries to death in their 
houses, because they would not come out. They 
dared not. Think how they must have feared, 
those men and women in the prime of their life, 
when they stayed and faced a cruel death from 
which there was no escape, rather than chance the 
mercies of the mob outside. One woman prayed 
them to save her baby girl, her little, tender Mar- 
garet, not a year old, her they might kill, and her 
husband, and her two little boys, but would no one 
take pity on the baby, the baby that as yet could not 
speak. But though many of those who heard her 
prayer and repeated it, pitied, they did not dare 
help. It is a notable Chinese characteristic 
obedience to orders and the lookers-on thought 
that those in authority having ordered the slaughter 
of the missionaries it was not their part to interfere. 
They told afterwards how, as a brute rushed up the 



872 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

stairs, the mother, desperate, seized a pistol that lay 
to her hand and shot him. I am always glad she 
did that. And others told, how, through the moun- 
ting flames, they could see her husband walking up 
and down, leading his two little boys by the hand, 
telling them ah, what could any man say under 
such terrible circumstances as that. 

And in the south suburb the missionary doctor 
was true almost to the letter of the faith he preached. 
As the mob surrounded him, he took a revolver, 
showed them how perfect was his command over the 
weapon, how he could have dealt death right and 
left, and then he tossed it aside and submitted to their 
wicked will, and they took him and cut off his head. 
But the fate of the women always horrified me most. 
It was that that seemed most terrible in the dusk 
of the evening. They took two of the unmarried 
women, and one was too terrified to walk having 
once seen a Chinese crowd, filthy, horrible and 
always filthy and horrible even when they are 
friendly, one realises what it must be to be in their 
power, one understands that girl's shrinking terror. 
Her they tied, hands and feet together, and slung 
her from a pole, exactly as they carry pigs to market. 
Is this too terrible a thing to write down for everyone 
to read? It almost seems to me it is. If so forgive 
me. I used to think about it those evenings alone 
in the San Shan An. And one of those women, they 
say, was always brave, and gave to a little child her 
last little bit of money as she walked to her death, 
and the other, who was so terrified at first, recovered 
herself, and walked courageously as they led her to 
execution outside the city walls. 

When I thought of those women I was ashamed 




BRIDGE ACROSS MOAT, PAO TING FU. 




CURTAIN WALL OF WEST GATE, PAO TING FU. 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 373 

of the Fear that made me afraid to look behind me 
in the dark, made me listen intently for unusual 
sounds, and hear a thousand unexplainable ones. 
I, in the broad daylight, went and looked in the 
two sanctuaries that were at each end of my court- 
yard, each with an image and altar in it. In 
both were stored great matting bundles of Spanish 
chestnuts, and in the larger, oh sacrilege ! oh bathos ! 
was my larder, and I saw eggs, and meat, and 
cabbage, and onions, coming out of it, but I do not 
think anything could have induced me to go into 
those places after nightfall. I ask myself why I 
wonder but I find no answer. The gods were only 
images, the dust and dirt of long years was upon 
them, they were dead, dead, and yet I, the most 
modern of women was afraid at night I was afraid, 
the fear that seems to grow up with us all was upon 
me. By and by a friend sent me out " James 
Buchanan " a small black and white k'ang dog, 
about six inches high, but his importance must by 
no means be measured by his size. I owe much 
gratitude to James Buchanan for he is a most cheer- 
ful and intelligent companion. I intended to part 
with him when I left the hills, but I made him love 
me, and then to my surprise, I found I loved him, 
and he must share my varying fortunes. But what 
is a wandering woman, like I am, to do with a little 
dog? 

We went for walks together up and down the 
hill-sides, and the people got to know us, and 
laughed and nodded as we passed. The Chinese 
seem fond of animals, and yet you never see a man 
out for a walk with his dog. A man with a bird-cage 
in his hand, taking birdie for a walk, is a common 



874 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

sight in China, so common that you forget to notice 
it, but I have never seen a man followed by a dog, 
though most of the farm-houses appear to have one 
or two to guard them. Here, in the hills, they were 
just the ordinary, ugly wonks one sees in Peking, 
not nearly such handsome beasts as I saw up in 
the mountains. The farms in these hills evidently 
require a good deal of guarding, for I would 
often hear the crack of a gun. Some farmer, so my 
friend, the Language Officer, told me, letting the 
" stealer man," and anyone else whom it might con- 
cern, know that he had fire-arms and was prepared 
to use them. At first the reports used to startle 
me, and make me look out into the darkness of the 
hill-side, darkness deepened here and there by a 
tiny light, and I used to wonder if anything was 
wrong. " Buchanan " always regarded those reports 
as entirely out of place, and said so at the top of 
his small voice. But then he was always challeng- 
ing wonks, or finding " stealer men," so I paid no 
attention to him. 

At the first red streak of dawn, for the temple 
faced the east, I wakened. And all my fears, the 
dim, mysterious, unexplainable fears born of the 
night, and the loneliness, and the old temple, were 
gone, rolled away with the darkness. The crescent 
moon and the jewelled stars paled before the sun, 
rising in a glory of purple and gold, a glory 
that brightened to crimson, the pungent, aromatic 
fragrance of the pines and firs came to my nostrils, 
their branches were outlined against the deep blue 
of the sky, and I realised gradually that another blue 
day had dawned and the world was not empty, but 
full of the most wonderful possibilities waiting but 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 875 

to be grasped. Oh those dawnings in the San Shan 
An! Those dawnings after a night in the open 
air! Never shall I forget them! 

And the valley was lovely that autumn weather. 
Day after day, day after day, was the golden sun- 
shine, the clear, deep blue sky, the still, dry, in- 
vigorating air no wonder everyone with a literary 
turn yearns to write a book in a valley of the 
Western Hills. And this valley of the San Shan 
An was the loveliest valley of them all. It, too, 
is a valley of temples, to what gods they were set up 
I know not, by whom they were set up I know not, 
only because of the gods and the temples there 
are trees, trees in plenty, evergreen firs and pines, 
green-leaved poplars and ash-trees, maples and 
Spanish chesnuts. At first they were green, these 
deciduous trees, and then gradually, as autumn 
touched them tenderly with his fingers, they took 
on gorgeous tints, gold and brown, and red, and 
amber, the summer dying gloriously under the 
cloudless blue sky. They tell me that American 
woods show just such tints, but I have not been to 
America, and I have seen nothing to match this 
autumn in the Chinese hills. And I had not 
thought to see beauty like this in China! 

I counted seven temples, and there were prob- 
ably more. Up the hill to the north of my valley, 
beyond a large temple that I shall always remember 
for the quaint and picturesque doorway, that I have 
photographed, was a plateau to be reached by a 
stiff climb, and here was a ruined shrine where sat 
calmly looking over the plain, as he had probably 
looked in life, the marble figure of a very famous 
priest of the long ago. It is ages since this priest 



376 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

lived in the hills, but his memory is fragrant still. 
He had two disciples. I wonder if the broken 
marble figures, one beside him and one on the 
ground outside the shrine, are figures of them. 
There came a drought upon the land, the crops 
failed and the people starved, and these two, to 
propitiate a cruel or neglectful Deity, flung them- 
selves into a well in the temple with the beautiful 
doorway. Whether the rain came I know not, but 
tradition says that the two disciples instead of per- 
ishing rose up dragons. Personally I feel that must 
have been an unpleasant surprise for the devotees, 
but you never know a Chinaman's taste, perhaps 
they liked being dragons. The country people 
seem to think it was an honour. There was a farm- 
house just beyond this shrine, a poor little place, 
but here on the flat top of the hill there was a little 
arable land, and the Chinese waste no land. Far 
up the hill-sides, in the most inaccessible places, I 
could see these little patches of cultivated ground. 
It seemed to me that the labour of reaching them 
would make the handful of grain they produced 
too expensive, but labour hardly counts in China. 
Up the paths toiled men and women, intent on 
getting the last grain out of the land. Off the 
beaten ways walking is pretty nearly impossible so 
steep are the hill-sides, but of course there are 
paths, paths everywhere, paved paths, in China 
there are no untrodden ways, and upon these paths 
I would meet the peasants and the priests, clad like 
ordinary peasants in blue cotton, only with shaven 
heads. My own landlord whom my boy called 
" Monk," and generally added, " He bad man," used 
to come regularly for his rent, and he was so fat that 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 377 

the wicked evidently flourished like a green bay tree. 
All the priests, I think, let out their temples as long 
as they can get tenants, and whatever they are my 
landlord had beaten a man to death much must be 
forgiven them. They have gained merit because, in 
this treeless China, they have conserved and planted 
trees. Some little profit, I suppose they make out 
of their trees because, one day in September, I 
waked to the fact that at my gate, how they had 
climbed up the toilsome, roughly-paved way I know 
not, was a train of camels, and they had come to 
take away the sacks that were stored in the sanctu- 
ary under the care of the god. What on earth was 
done with those Spanish chestnuts? They must 
have been valuable when they were worth a train 
of camels to take them away. 

As far as I could see there was no worship done in 
my temple, the coolies, who carefully locked the 
sanctuary doors at night, were filthy past all descrip- 
tion. I tried to put it out of my thoughts that they 
occupied a k'ang at night in the room that did duty 
for my kitchen, and I am very sure that they were 
the poorest of the poor, but at night I would see the 
youngest and dirtiest of them take a small and evil- 
smelling lamp inside along with the god, but what 
he did there I never knew. Only the lamp 
inside, behind the paper of the windows lit up all 
the lattice-work and made of that sanctuary, that 
shabby, neglected-looking place, a thing of beauty. 
But, indeed, the outside of all the buildings was 
wonderful at night. In the daytime when I looked 
I saw how beautiful was the lattice-work which made 
up the entire top half of my walls. At night in the 
courtyard when only a single candle was lighted 



378 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

their beauty was forced upon me, whether I would 
or not. Always I went outside to look at those 
rooms lighted at night. I walked up and down the 
courtyard in the dark " James Buchanan " gener- 
ally hung on to the hem of my gown I looked 
at the lighted lattice-work of the windows, and I 
listened to the servants and the coolies talking, and 
I wondered what they discussed so endlessly, in 
voices that sounded quite European. 

They were good servants. The cook I know I 
shall regret all my days, for I never expect to get a 
better, and the boy was most attentive. Any little 
thing that he could do for me he always did, and the 
way they uncomplainingly washed up plates never 
ceased to command my admiration. I had only a 
camp outfit, the making of books may be weariness 
unto the flesh, as Solomon says it is, but even then 
it does not make me a rich woman, so I did not wish 
to spend more than I could help, and yet I wanted 
to entertain a friend or two occasionally. This 
entailed washing the plates between the courses, and 
the servants did it without a murmur. I came to 
think it was quite the correct thing to wait while the 
plates and knives for the next course were washed 
up. My friends, of course, knew all about it, and 
entered into the spirit of the thing cheerfully, but 
the servants never gave me away. You would have 
thought I had a splendid pantry, and my little scraps 
of white metal spoons were always polished till they 
looked like the silver they ought to have been. My 
table linen I made simply out of the ordinary blue 
cotton one meets all over China, and it looked so 
nice, so suitable to meals on the look-out place, that 
I shall always cherish a tenderness for blue cotton. 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 379 

Indeed, but for the lonely nights when one thought, 
it was delightful. I only hope my friends enjoyed 
coming to me, as much as I enjoyed having them. 
Their presence drove away all fears. I never feared 
the gods in their sanctuaries, I never thought of 
those who had perished In the Boxer trouble, or 
the possibility of the return ol such days when they 
were with me. I thought I had lost the delights of 
youth, the joy of the land of long ago, but I found 
the sensation of entertaining friends in the San Shan 
An was like the make-believe parties of one's child- 
hood. Sitting on the look-out place, away to the 
south, we could see a range of low, bald hills. They 
were enchanted hills. The Chinese would not go 
near them, for all that the caves they held hidden 
in their folds were full of magnificent jewels. We 
planned to go over and get them some day before 
I left the hills, and make ourselves rich for life. 
But they were guarded by gnomes, and elves, and 
demons, who by their nefarious spells kept us away, 
though we did not fear like the Chinese, and we are 
not rich yet, though jewels are there for the taking. 

Oh, those sunny days in the mountain temple 
when we read poetry, and told stories, and dreamed 
of the better things life held for us in the future! 
They were good days, days in my life to be remem- 
bered, if no more good ever comes to me. Was it 
the exhilarating air, or the company, or the temple 
precincts ? All thanks give I to those dead gods who 
gave me, for a brief space, something that was left 
out of my life. 

There was only one blot. That imaginative 
document known as " Cook's book " was brought to 
me afterwards. It wasn't a book at all, needless to 



380 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

say. It was written on rejected scraps of my type- 
writing paper, and it generally stated I had eaten 
more " Chiken " than would have sufficed to run a 
big hotel, and disposed of enough " col " to keep a 
small railway engine of my own. Then the flour, 
and the butter, and the milk, and the lard, I was 
supposed to have consumed! I did not at first like 
to say much, because the servants were so good in 
that matter of washing plates, and knives, and forks, 
and whenever I did remonstrate the boy murmured 
something about " Master." He was a true China- 
man, he felt sure I would not grudge anything to 
make a man comfortable. The woman evidently 
did not matter. She was never urged as an excuse 
for a heavy bill. I put it to him that the presence 
of " Master " need not add so greatly to the coal bill, 
and I put it very gently, till one day he mentioned 
with pride that " Missie other boy was a great friend 
of his." And I, remembering Tuan's powers in the 
matter of squeeze, had gone about getting these ser- 
vants through quite different channels! But once 
this knowledge was borne in on me, I became hard- 
hearted. I threatened to do the marketing myself. 

" I talkee cook," said the crestfallen boy, and he 
did "talkee cook," said, I suppose, Missie wasn't 
quite the fool they had counted her, and presently 
he came back and returned me fifteen cents! After 
that I had no mercy, and I regularly questioned 
every item of my bills. 

But they were simple souls, and I couldn't help 
liking them. It seemed hardly possible they could 
belong to the same people who had slung a helpless 
woman from a pole like a pig, bearing her to her 
death, a woman from whom they had had naught 




CAMELS AT MY GATE, SAN SHAN AN. 




VISITORS AT THE SAN SHAN AN. 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 381 

but kindness. And yet they were. The selfsame 
subservience that made them bow themselves to the 
Boxer yoke, was exactly the quality that made them 
pleasant to me, who was in authority over them. 
They were just peasants of Babylon, making the 
best of life, deceiving and dissimulating, because 
deception is the safeguard of the slave, the only 
safeguard he knows. And they certainly made the 
best of life. It amused me to watch their pleasures, 
those tEat were visible to my eyes. They had a 
little feast one night, with my stores, I doubt not, 
and they caught and kept crickets in little three- 
cornered cages which they made themselves. At 
first, when I went to the temple, these cages were 
hung from the eaves outside, but as the weather 
grew colder they were taken inside, and I could hear 
a cheery chirping, long after the crickets had gone 
from the hills outside. It rained and was cold the 
first week in October, and the servants, like the 
babies they were, shivered, and suggested, " Missie 
go back Peking," and one day when it rained hard 
my tiffin was two hours late, and was brought by a 
boy who looked as if he were on the point of burst- 
ing into tears. 

Certainly those temples are not built for cold 
weather. Everything is ordered in China, even the 
weather, and the first frost is due, I believe, on the 
ist of November, and yet, on that day, I sat in the 
warm and pleasant sunshine writing on the platform 
that looked away to the enchanted hills, reflecting a 
little sorrowfully that presently I would be gone, and 
it would be abandoned for the winter. 

For after that unexpected rain, which for once 
was not ordered, the days were lovely, and the nights 



882 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

times of delight. The stars hung like diamond 
drogs in the sky, the planets were scintillating cres- 
cents, and, when the moon rose, the silver moon, 
she turned the courtyard and the temple into a 
dream palace such as never was on sea or land. It 
was beauty and delight given, oh given with a lavish 
hand. 

And the people I saw in the hills were the kind- 
liest I had yet met in China. I had little enough to 
do with them, I could not communicate with them, 
and yet this was borne in on me. Whenever we 
met, dirty brown faces smiled upon me, kindly 
voices with a burr in them gave me greeting, I was 
regularly offered the baby of the farm-house at my 
gates, much to that young gentleman's discom- 
fiture, and whenever there was anything to see, they 
evidently invited me to stay and share the sight. 
Once a bridal procession passed with much beating 
of gongs, the bride shut up in the red sedan chair, 
and all the people about stood looking on, and I 
stayed too. Another time they were killing a pig, 
an unwieldy, gruesome beast, that made me forswear 
pork, and I was invited to attend the great event. 
The poor pig was very sorry for himself, and was 
squealing loudly, but much as I wished to show I 
appreciated kindliness, I could not accept that 
invitation. 

_ And here in the Western Hills I sat in judgment 
upon the people I had known of all my life and 
been amongst for the last ten months. Of course, 
I have no right to sit in judgment but after all, I 
should be a fool to live among people for some time 
and yet have no opinion about them. And it seemed 
to me that I was looking with modern eyes upon the 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 883 

survival of one of the great powers of the ancient 
world, Babylon come down to modern times, 
Babylon cumbrously adapting herself to the pres- 
sure of the nations who have raced ahead of the 
civilisation that was hers when they were barbarian 
hordes. 

All along the Pacific Coast, on the west of 
America, and the east of Australia, they fear the 
Chinaman, and I used to say his virtues. I put it 
the wrong way. What the white races fear and 
rightly fear is that the Chinaman will come in such 
hordes, he will lower the standard of living, he will 
bring such great pressure to bear, he will reduce 
the people of the land in which he elects to live, 
the people of the working classes, to his own con- 
dition the hopeless condition of the toiling slaves 
of Babylon. It has been well said that the East, 
China, is the exact opposite of the West in every 
thought and feeling. In the West we honour 
individualism. This is true of almost every nation. 
A man is taught from his earliest youth to depend 
to a great degree upon himself, that he alone is 
responsible for his own actions. Even the women 
of the more advanced nations it marks their 
advancement, whatever people may think are 
clamouring for a position of their own, to be judged 
on their merits, not to be one of a class bound by 
iron custom to go one way and one way only. In 
the East this is reversed. No man has a right to 
judge for himself, he is hide-bound by custom, he 
dare not step out one pace from the beaten path 
his fathers trod. The filial piety of the Chinese has 
been lauded to the skies. In truth it is a virtue that 
has become a curse. To his elders the Chinaman 



884 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

must give implicit, unquestioning obedience. His 
work, his marriage, the upbringing of his children, 
the whole ordering of his life is not his business but 
the business of those in authority over him. If he 
stepped out and failed, his failure would affect the 
whole community. Whatever he does affects not 
only himself, but the farthest ramifications of his 
numerous family. This interdependence makes for 
a certain excellence, an excellence that was reached 
by the Chinese nation some thousands of years ago, 
and then it is stifling. 

This patriarchal system, this continual keeping 
of the eyes upon the past, has done away in the 
nation with all self-reliance. A man must be not 
only a genius, but possessed of an extraordinarily 
strong will-power if he manage to shake off the 
trammels and go his own way unaided, if he exer- 
cise the sturdy self-reliance that sent the nations of 
the West ahead by leaps and bounds, though the 
Chinese had worked their way to civilisation ages 
before them. Pages might be written on the sub- 
servience and ignorance of the women. 

" Oh but a woman has influence," say the men 
who know China most intimately. And of course 
she has influence, but in China it must often be the 
worst form of power, the influence of the favourite, 
favoured slave. The woman's influence is the 
influence of a degraded, ignorant, and servile class, 
a class that every man treats openly with a certain 
contempt, a class that is crippled, mentally and 
bodily. The Chinese, be it counted to them for 
grace, have always held in high esteem a well- 
educated man, educated on their archaic lines; but 
not, I think, till this century, has it ever occurred to 




COOK AND BOY, TEMPLE COURTYARD. 




THE LOOK-OUT PLACE ABANDONED FOR THE WINTER. 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 385 

them that a woman would be better educated. A 
cruel drag upon the nation must be the appalling 
ignorance of its women, the intense ignorance of 
half the population. Things are changing, they 
say, but, of necessity, they change most slowly. 
Knowledge of any kind takes long, long to permeate 
an inert mass. 

We praise the Chinaman for his industry. But, 
in truth, we praise without due cause. We of the 
West have long since learned of the dignity of 
labour and if we do not always live up to our 
ideals, at least we appreciate them, and judged by 
this standard the Chinaman is found wanting. He 
does not appreciate the dignity of labour. The 
long nails on the fingers of the man upon whom for- 
tune has smiled proclaim to all that he has no need 
to use his hands ; his fat, flabby, soft body declares 
him rich and well-fed, and that there is no need to 
exert himself. He is a man to be envied by the 
greater part of the nation. The forceful, strenuous 
life of the West, the life that has made the nations 
has no charms for, excites no admiration in his 
breast. Manual labour and strife is for the man 
who cannot help himself. And, man for man, his 
manual labour will by no means compare with that 
accomplished by the man of the West. Nominally 
he works from dawn to dark, really he wastes two- 
thirds of the time, sometimes in useless, misdirected 
effort, sometimes in mere idle loitering. He is a 
slave in all but name. His life is dull, dull and 
colourless; he can look forward to no recreation 
when his work is over, theTrefore he spins it out the 
livelong day. Home life, in the best sense of the 
term, he has none, he may just as well stay at his 

2B 



886 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

work, exchanging ideas and arguing with his 
fellows. 

Something to hope for, to live for, to work for, 
seems to me the great desideratum of the majority 
of the Chinese nation, something a little beyond the 
colourless round of life. The greater part of the 
nation is poor, so poor that industry is thrust upon 
it, unless it worked it would of necessity die; the 
struggle for life absorbs all its energies, gives it no 
time for thought sufficient to raise it an inch above 
the dull routine that makes up the daily round, but 
the country is by no means poor, had it been there 
would have been no such civilisation so early and so 
lasting in the world's history, no such fostering of 
a race that now, in spite of most evil sanitary con- 
ditions, raises four generations to the three of the 
man of the West. 

China is a rich land and once she is wiser she 
will be far richer still, for in her mountains are 
such store of iron and coal as, once worked, may well 
revolutionise the industrial world. 

Now the thought of revolutionising the condition 
of the industrial world brings me quite naturally to 
the consideration of missionary effort. 

For the last two hundred and fifty years the 
Catholic, and for the last hundred years the Protes- 
tant Churches, have been working in China with a 
view to proselytising the people. And converts are 
notoriously harder to make than in any other mis- 
sionary field. Still they are made. 

To me, a Greek, it does not seem to matter by 
what name a man calls upon the Great Power that 
is over us all the thing that really matters is the 
life of the man who calls upon that God. Now the 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 387 

missionaries, whether they make converts, or 
whether they do not, do this, they set up a higher 
standard of living. They come among these slave 
people, they educate them, men and women, they 
care for the sick by thousands, and by their very 
presence among them they show them, I speak of 
material things, there is something beyond their 
own narrow round, and they make them desire these 
better things. If the Western nations are wise they 
will allow no poor missionaries in China, it is so 
easy to sink to the level of the people, to become as 
Chinese as the Chinese themselves. Personally, I 
think it is a mistake to conform to Chinese customs. 
The missionaries are there to preach the better 
customs of the West and there must be no lowering 
of the standard. The Chinaman wants to be 
taught self-reliance, he wants to be taught self- 
respect, and, last but by no means least, he wants 
to be taught to amuse himself rationally and 
healthily. Now this in a measure, even this last, is 
what the missionaries, the majority of them, are 
teaching him, though, doubtless, they would not put 
their teaching in exactly those words, might be even 
surprised to hear it so described. They are helping 
to break down the great patriarchal system which 
has been stifling China for so many hundreds 
of years. They are teaching responsibility, the 
responsibility of every man and woman for his 
and her own doings. 

And they are pioneers of trade, forerunners of the 
merchants who must inevitably follow in their foot- 
steps. There are those who will say that they do 
not influence the more highly educated portion of 
the community, but they come to those who need 



888 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

them most. The rich can afford to send their sons 
abroad, to pay for medical attendance. It is to 
those of humble means that the schools and hospitals 
introduced by foreign charity are an immeasurable 
advantage, a boon beyond price. For the man who 
has once come in contact with these foreigners never 
forgets. He has seen their possessions, humble in 
their eyes, wonderful in his, and in his heart a desire 
is implanted a desire for something a little better 
than has satisfied his fathers. And slowly this little 
leaven of discontent, heavenly discontent and dis- 
satisfaction with things as they are, will permeate 
the whole lump. China is daily coming more in 
contact with the rest of the world. That world 
ruthlessly shuts out her proletariat because it will 
not be pulled down. It is well then that the pro- 
letariat should be levelled up. The process is 
slowly beginning when the missionaries put into 
the hands of a labourer the Gospels, tell him he is 
of as much value as the President in his palace, make 
him desire to read, to wash his face to be just a little 
better than his fellows. The creed he holds is a 
small matter, but it is a great matter if he be no 
longer a slave, but a self-respecting man fit to mingle 
on equal terms with the men of the West. Such a 
man will be more capable, more ready to develop the 
resources of his own rich land; as a trader he will 
be of ten times more value to the mercantile world 
for ever on the look-out for a market. Whether 
the nations then need fear him will be matter for 
further consideration. It is possible things may 
be adjusted on a comfortable basis of supply and 
demand. 

It would be unfair to give all credit for changing 



FROM THE SAN SHAN AN 889 

China to the missionaries. They are only one 
factor in a general movement that her own sons, the 
men of new China, have deeply at heart. The past 
is going, but the great change will not be anything 
violent. The Boxer tragedy awakened the Western 
world thoroughly to what it had always felt, that an 
Empire like Babylon was unsuited to the present 
day, and they said so with shot and shell, and China 
is taking the lesson to heart, slowly, slowly, but she 
is taking it. She will have learned it thoroughly 
when the need for change, the desire for better 
things, the power to insist on a higher standard of 
living shall have come to her lower classes, and 
then she will not change exactly as the Western 
world would wish, but as she herself thinks best. 
The Chinese have always adapted themselves, and 
in these modern times they will use the same 
methods that they have done through the centuries. 
There came forth the fingers of a man's hand and 
wrote upon the plaster of the wall of the King's 
Palace, " MENE MENE TEKEL UPHAR- 
SIN." In tfiat night was Belshazzar, the King of 
the Chaldeans, slain, and Darius the Mede took 
the kingdom. So the men who made the Forbidden 
City sacred have passed away, the Dowager- 
Empress who defied the West has gone to her long 
home, the Emperor is but a tiny child, his Empire 
is confined within the pinkish red walls of the Inner 
City, and the Republic, the new young Republic 
with a Dictator at its head, reigns in his stead. But 
the nation is stirring, the slow-moving, patient 
slaves of Babylon. Will not a new nation arise that 
shall be great in its own way even as the nations of 
the West are great, for surely the spirit of those men 



390 A WOMAN IN CHINA 

who built the wondrous courtyards and halls of 
audience of the Forbidden City, who planned the 
pleasure-grounds at Jehol, who stretched the wall 
over two thousand miles of mountain and valley, who 
conceived the Altar of Heaven, the most glorious 
altar ever dedicated to any Deity, must be alive and 
active as it was a thousand years ago. And when 
that spirit animates not the few taskmasters, but 
the mass of the people, when it reaches the toiling 
slaves and makes of them men, the nation will be 
like the palaces and altars they built hundreds of 
years ago, and the rest of the world may stand aside, 
and wonder, and, perhaps, fear. 



THE END 



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