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more to say for the next ten or twelve was our delighted thought. But oh, hours, during which the steamer is what kind of a start was it, when we twisting and turning incessantly, mak- came to see and feel the conveyances ing her way through bend after bend themselves! A framework-a heavy of the weary continuity of mud-banks framework-set upon wheels of the nawhich constitutes the unbroken land- ture of gun-carriages; one pretty stout scape. An occasional hamlet, with mule set in between the most rigid and plenty of naked, mud-colored children clumsy of shafts, and another lighter running about; a little green vegeta- mule hitched on to the axle, undertion some distance back from the riv- neath ; trunks, boxes, and bedding half er; a flag or two marking a military filling up the carrying capacity of the station every few miles; and a general cart; and we ourselves--that is, each air of dreariness over every thing ; - one in his own conveyance-stowed this is about the appearance of the away
best he could in the space of a Pei-ho.
cubic four feet by five, or thereabouts, At Tien-tsin we find ourselves re- given these elements; and then let the stored to a sense of civilization by the tout ensemble be set in motion over roads appearance of the Foreign Settlement, that owe nothing to art, and almost less extending, with its bandsome Bund, to nature; let the sun pour down scorchalong the southern bank of the river, ingly, and a sand-storm pass over you nearly up to the point of its intersec- searchingly, while you endure the jolts tion with the Grand Canal. But here and jerks and plunges of your moving we must part with our enjoyable ac- prison; intensify all this as much as commodations, and betake ourselves to you can, and still the impression will native conveyances, either a four-days' fall far short of the reality, even though drag against the stream up the continu- my reader should be highly sympathetic ation of the river as far as Thung- and imaginative. It cannot be conChow (about eighteen miles from Pe- ceived; it must be experienced, if one king), or else an overland trip in wag- would have a true idea of its most vexons, or carts, by which about half the atious detestabieness; for one is prodistance is saved.
voked almost to exasperation at the Carts, if you please,” we say to our thought that a people claiming to be hospitable friend, who has undertaken civilized-nay, holding their heads to forward us and our views. " Then
very high on that subject—that they I'm afraid you'll have to wait a day or should permit the chief approach to two; for there is a High Mandarin on their capital to be such a disgrace and his way to the capital, and all the cart- a disgust; that they should content ers have run off to the neighboring vil- themselves with vehicles so utterly belages, and are hiding themselves and low any decent average of conveyance their animals, for fear of being pressed and that they should presume to hold into the Imperial service at an extreme- the rulership over hundreds of millions ly low rate, according to custom.” of people, and yet not have the first
Couldn't "take it in " for some time; inkling of that great road-making idea but a delay of two days impressed upon which characterizes the Romans of old our minds the fact that it was even so; and all ruling nations ever since. and it was with almost a childish pleas- Such thoughts lasted us through the ure that we heard, in the evening of the city of Tien-tsin; and, while working second day, that there were two cart- our way out of the western suburbs, we men, with their vehicles, lying perdu in were surprised to find ourselves accomsome neighboring hovel, who would panied, after a straggling fashion, by a appear in a magical and dramatic man- great variety of troops, Chinese soldiers ner at early dawn next morning, and of various types: first a squad of matchtake charge of us and our baggage. lock men, picking their way individu
“Now we have really a start !” ally, as best they could, from side to
side of the filthy, narrow, unpaved gined. Nevertheless, he must be a man streets; then some archers gaudily of parts, for he has carried through his dressed, carrying an abundance of military operations to a successful conflags; then the jingall-bearers—a sort clusion. of flying artillery, minus the horses and Early in the evening a strong tendengun-carriages; then some hard-looking cy to halt for the night exhibited itself cavalry; and, finally, some of the “disci- in one of our cartmen, malgré the arguplined troops "—that is, foreign-drilled ments and directions of our head travand foreign-officered infantry, carrying eller, who knew well the road and its muskets with percussion-locks. These peculiarities. His plan was to push on all bore & multiplicity of flags of vari- to a halting-village somewhat more ous shapes and colors, giviug a bright than half-way, so as to leave us a shortand gaudy appearance to the whole line er day's work at the end, enabling us of street through which they straggled. enter Peking early next evening. It was not without some difficulty, and All very well ; plan excellent, and would the risk of angry altercation, that we have worked admirably, if we could extricated ourselves from the cortége, only have got the consent of our suborand at last got clear of city, suburbs, dinates to carrying it out. But, alas ! soldiers, and molestation.
Scotchman as our leader was, and deOnce fairly on the road, we progressed termined as such “nationals ” usually -not pleasantly, it is true, but forward. are, a native cart-driver on his own ly in the main. That is, when we came ground is too much for “the best-laid to a part of the road which a recent schemes o mice and men;" and the rain had flooded effectually, our cart- countryman of Burns, with your hummen turned off, right or left as the case ble correspondent, experienced the altermight be, making a détour of a mile or native "grief and pain," missing the two, and getting back, perhaps, at a “promised joy." No; our excellent point where mules and cart were half- driver had his own preferential stopsubmerged, but not past pulling through ping-place, where his family, or some --the free mule (to call him so) being distant relatives, resided ; and this famounted on a bank on one side, drag vored spot was reached all on a sudden, ging away at our axle, while the shaft- as we found to our surprise, by the mule (poor fellow !) had to do the best quicker pace of the mules, who perhe could steadying himself and us, and
formed an abrupt turning off the main floundering about circumstances street of a village, jerked us through a might require. This kind of thing, narrow gateway, and came to a violent repeated to weariness, was going on stand-still in the midst of a quadrangle outside, while bumps and bruises were paved with mud-puddles, and surroundbeing multiplied upon our uneasy per- ed by low ranges of hovels. If I were sons within the cart; our only relief writing after the usual manner of oldbeing an occasional walk through the time Oriental travellers, I should call dryer parts, or a half-hour's ride upon this a “khan," or a caravanserai," or one of the shafts, which was the only some other such untranslated term of tolerable sitting-place about the whole imposition; but, as I have the Macedomachine. I recommend it accordingly. nian habit of calling a spade "a spade,"
Towards evening, as we were nearing I must speak of this place as the filthy our halting-place, who should pass us, court-yard of a miserable inn. It was sitting in a good-sized sedan-chair car- of no use for the cartman to assure us ried by four men, but the great man, Le that it was kept by a MohammedanHoong Chung himself. His cortége was these religionists (quite numerous about somewhere else, far away behind, prob- here) having the credit of being better ably; and he sat there, a small, dried- inn-keepers than their polytheistic Chiup old man, with large spectacles, look- nese neighbors. It was equally of little ing as little like a hero as oan be ima- use, on our side, to remonstrate against
being thus prematurely dumped down taurant arrangements all along the road where we didn't want to stop. The of an appetite-sufficing nature, always deed was done; the mules were unhar- supposing the appetite to be strong. nessed, and one of our cartmen was non- This is apt to be the case, for the air apparet, while we were left at leisure was fine, and the general effect of the and at liberty to make ourselves at climate enlivening, after the exhaustive home as best we might. A survey of atmosphere of a Shanghai August. It the hut, or lodging-room, nearest to was now about the middle of Septemwhere our carts were moored, satisfied ber, 1868. our leader that it was as good as any Just ten years before, at the time other (save the mark !); and, in a mo- when the Ta-koo forts were taken and ment of mistaken tidiness, his house- the treaties of Tien-tsin negotiated, we cleaning instincts got the better of him, had been of the number of those who and be ordered the place to be swept penetrated so far up the Pei-ho as was and dusted!
then attained ; and now, after the interThe reluctance of the serving-man val of a decade, we were to learn what was natural, for the job was a trouble- was that wonderful capital, an entrance some one; and would that our Caledo- into which had been so pertinaciously nian chief had “given in ” on this opposed for so many centuries. With point also. But, alas ! he was resolute this thought, we bestirred ourselves -as men are tempted to be who have early in the morning, after having been foiled at one point, and think they passed a rather uneasy night, partly can have their own way in another. owing to that plaguy box of specie, He persisted, therefore, and the servitor which we had, at the last moment, been complied, and commenced. Two sweeps requested to take up to "a friend," and of the broom and a few dashes of the partly by reason of the sleeping-place, birds'-wing which served for a duster, which was the customary mass of brickwere enough for me! Guano is good work, built divan-fashion, and warmed --at least, I suppose it is (for manure); (when the cold weather requires) by a
Ι but when the fine dust of a permanent fire at one end, the chimney of which stable-yard has accumulated for weeks winds its way through the whole strucon the floor, and on all the ledges of an ture. Happily for us, we did not need apartment”
” such as was our destined to run the risk of a scorching such as sleeping-room, and when these finely- some travellers here have experienced, powdered deposits are violently dis- for our “lodging was on the cold ”turbed by a servant-inan in a bad tem- stove; nevertheless, it was enlivened ! per, then I can seriously assure all inex- You understand, my sun-burnt readperienced parties the consequences are er, whose fez shows that you have travpungent, inimitable, intolerable, and elled-probably in Egypt; you underdifficult to be allayed. Yet in this stand. I see it by the smile of recogvery atmosphere must we of necessity nition which passes over your face, and eat our supper; for the trunk and bed- the sympathetic wriggle of the shoulding had been brought in, and could ders, which indicates-fleas. Ah, yes ; not be left unguarded; especially as, we were enlivened, indeed; and for among other things, there was an ill- many days afterwards were there to be concealed box of specie to be taken seen sudden clutchings at our garments, care of. Supper had been ordered : or hasty pulling off of shoes to search rice, stewed meat — beef or mutton for the little dark-brown acrobat, which (doubtful which)-flour-cakes, hot wine, seen for an instant among the sweetmeats, and tea; which last was of threads of our out-turned sock, and our own providing, it not being very then performed the famous California commonly used here.
" act” of vamos el rancho. This part of the pilgrimage was not Well, we started anew, fleas and all 80 objectionable, and we found the res- the carts, cartmen, and mules as dirty
as betore, and as persistent in going on, make your own travelling extra-slow le after le, in a fatalistic sort of way, and doubly dangerous. I consider it bringing us every hour nearer and near- quite remarkable that we got through er to the end of our journeyings, but safely with that box of specie. And not relieving our weariness by any this is the country which is so highly " characteristics,” such as muleteers, civilized that it can't bear the thought gondoliers, " and such” are usually of a rạilroad, and shudders at a telefound to possess for the beguilement of graph-wire ! travellers and the filling of their note- Well, the second night passed, and it books. Not a bit of it: all plain, stolid was Saturday night; so that we had trudging, without much noise or whip- the extra discomfort of arriving at the ping of the mules, but with ample com- city, after a day-dawn start, at about pensation in the jolts and bumps, which eight o'clock, when the huge walls of admitted neither of avoidance or miti- the city--some sixty feet high-were gation.
reached, and we passed through the And-would you believe it ?-those gateways in company with the living fellows performed upon us the very tide of travellers, bucksters, barrowsame trick this night that they had the men, and burden-bearers, which throng previous one-the same stopping short; the thoroughfare. No passport was dethe same preferentially-detestable lodg- manded, though we were provided ing; the same fleas, only more and therewith a piece of negligence, probworse; the same sudden disappearance ably, on the part of the guard at the of the cartmen, when we longed to bave gates. A few words of direction were them up for an objurgation !
given to my cartman, and I was left at Complaint was useless, and further his discretion, to be delivered safe (if progress in possible; so out came the not sound) at the United States Legabaggage again-trunks, bedding, and tion; and it took nearly an hour of that uneasy box of specie, not to men- travel, first through the Chinese city, tion a few other boxes which friends and then through part of the inner or had asked us “just to take along." Tartar enclosure, to reach that destinaOh, save me from my friends, when in tion. Now, this hour was harder to entransit between two colonies of them ! dure than any of the previous toss
But seriously, for a moment. The ings and jerkings. The stones-huge need and the justification of such re- squared blocks, once well and evenly quests, to make a baggage-master of laid--were displaced in every imaginayourself when passing between Tien- ble way; one end sunk down and the tsin and Peking, is found in the fact other end sticking up; some slanting that there is really no decently-reliable this way and others that; some with way of getting things forwarded to mud-holes between them enough to this capital and court of the Mammoth catch and break off a mule's leg, after Empire of the world.
There is no the manner of the old mule-road beroad that deserves the name; no water- tween Aspinwall and Panama; others communication that is not incessantly piled up so that it was a feat to “stradliable to be reduced to a few inches of dle" them, as wagon-drivers in the depth; no public post for the trust- West learn to do with the primeval worthy conveyance of letters; no avail- stumps that are left in a new-cleared able banking-system, by which remit- road. tances can be made between distant A noble breadth of street, and the places. What remains, then, but such remains of splendidly-constructed stone expedients as that of carrying with you archings of enormous width; encloall you may want for your own use, and sures of many acres in extent, with obliging friends (who have been over- their surrounding walls tumbling down, whelmingly obliging to you), by taking their gateways dilapidated, and the
, charge, for them, of what cannot but forest-like domains within unkept and
ancultivated-all these things betoken just at breakfast; happy greetings; the vastness of the plan on which the pause in our pilgrimage to Peking. city was laid out, and the immense labor bestowed upon it at the begin- “Must we go out in those infamous ning; while the whole air of dreary, carts again? Is there no alternative ?" dingy grandeur, unoccupied expanse of “Yes ; you can go on horseback.” So ground, and lazy disregard both of one of our resident friends offers his utility and good looks, convinces one escort, and we find it far easier to esof the decadence of all dynastic things. cape mud-gulches, broken pavements,
The streets, saved from being one and "entangling alliances” with other outspread muddy swamp only by hav- vehicles, than when boxed up in a cart. ing the earth thrown up in the middle, But what shall we see? The Impeto make a sort of undulating cosse- rial Palace, the “Prohibited City," of way; the pretentious, once gaudy, now course; and we do see the outside, faded screens set up before each shop, though a gateway, that guards a conto give it an appearance of height; the venient thoroughfare free to all Chicanals passing through some of the nese, is hurriedly closed as we foreignchief thoroughfares filled up with ooze, ers approach. The grand Lamasery is so that not even a shallow punt could also closed against us—reasons given, float there; the vehicles so rude, so in- that a foreigner had rudely ridden his convenient, so comfortless, so entirely pony into a private walk only a short below par in every particular-all this, time previously. Temple of Heaven and a thousand details of like charac- (so called) difficult of access for anothter, make one exclaim with wonder er reason: a rich foreign traveller bad at the stand-still condition which all been so lavish of money to the doorthings have fallen into. Nay, “ stand- kecpers, that they wanted “ more dol. still ” is too good a word for it; retro- lars " at every successive enclosure; and grade is the truer description; and the there were about a dozen of them! heavy charge that lies against the Tar- Temple of Confucius impressive, from tar Tsing dynasty, as an organization the absence of all idols, and the substiof rulers, is, that they have not even tution of simple tablets with nothing kept up the national works their prede- but the names of himself and his chief cessors, the Chinese Mings, had con- disciples. Also the whole of the classic structed. Was it because they are Tar- books engraved on a forest of stone tars -nomads, sheep-pasturing dwell- slabs, set upright in regular rows about ers in tents, not caring for settled homes three feet from each other, all over the and carriage-roads? Or are they so in- halls. The various Ya-mens (that is, tent on the great work of tax-collect- public offices) are poor, divgy-looking ing and office-seeking, that they have establishments; that of the famous no time or thought or energy to bestow Han-lin, quite dilapidated. The bestupon the public good, for which the kept grounds we met with were those taxes are laid and the offices held ? In connected with the long ranges of fiscal exaction and bureau management buildings where the Emperor's carthey greatly excel; but when it comes riages were stowed away under lock to administering justice, or restraining and key, to be brought out for use on the overflow of a swollen river, or keep- some such great occasion as a royal ing a treaty, or developing the resources visit to Tartary. of the country, or maintaining roads, Few visits, however, does the present or checking mob-law in their cities, boy-Emperor make, the “Secluded Palthese are attributes of government which ace” being his prison-house. They seem to be in abeyance at the present say that, childlike, he whimpers sometime.
times because he is not taken to the But here we are at the United States Summer Palace—the famous Yuen-mingLegation. Star-spangled banner; friends yuen, which was made a ruin, in 1860,