At daylight, on March 1st, we were abreast of the many storied pagoda, whose lofty position, commanding the approach to the city, brings good fortune to the city of Wanhsien. A beautiful country is this - the chocolate soil richly tilled, the sides of the hills dotted with farmhouses in groves of bamboo and cedar, with every variety of green in the fields, shot through with blazing patches of the yellow rape-seed. The current was swift, the water was shallow where we were tracking, and we were constantly aground in the shingle; but we rounded the point, and Wanhsien was before us. This is the half-way city between Ichang and Chungking. My smart laoban dressed himself in his best to be ready to go ashore with me; he was jubilant at his skill in bringing me so quickly. "Sampan number one! goddam!" he said; and, holding up two hands, he turned down seven fingers to show that we had come in seven days. Then he pointed to other boats that we were passing, and counted on his fingers fifteen, whereby I knew he was demonstrating that, had I gone in any other boat but his, I should have been fifteen days on the way instead of seven.

An immense number of junks of all kinds were moored to the bank, bow on. Many of them were large vessels, with hulls like that of an Aberdeen clipper. Many carry foreign flags, by which they are exempt from the Chinese likin duties, so capricious in their imposition, and pay instead a general five per cent, ad valorem duty on their cargoes, which is levied by the Imperial Maritime Customs, and collected either in Chungking or Ichang. From one to the other, with boat-hooks and paddle, we crept past the outer wings of their balanced rudders till we reached the landing place. On the rocks at the landing a bevy of women were washing, beating their hardy garments with wooden flappers against the stones; but they ceased their work as the foreign devil, in his uncouth garb, stepped ashore in their midst. Wanhsien is not friendly to foreigners in foreign garb. I did not know this, and went ashore dressed as a European. Never have I received such a spontaneous welcome as I did in this city; never do I wish to receive such another. I landed at the mouth of the small creek which separates the large walled city to the east from the still larger city beyond the walls to the west. My laoban was with me. We passed through the washerwomen. Boys and ragamuffins hanging about the shipping saw me, and ran towards me, yelling: "Yang kweitze, Yang kweitze" (foreign devil, foreign devil).

Behind the booths a story-teller had gathered a crowd; in a moment he was alone and the crowd were following me up the hill, yelling and howling with a familiarity most offensive to a sensitive stranger. My sturdy boy wished me to produce my passport which is the size of an admiral's ensign, but I was not such a fool as to do so for it had to serve me for many months yet. With this taunting noisy crowd I had to walk on as if I enjoyed the demonstration. I stopped once and spoke to the crowd, and, as I knew no Chinese, I told them in gentle of the very low opinion their conduct led me to form of the moral relations of their mothers, and the resignation with which it induced me to contemplate the hyper-pyretic surroundings of their posthumous existence; and, borrowing the Chinese imprecation, I ventured to express the hope that when their souls return again to earth they may dwell in the bodies of hogs, since they appeared to me the only habitations meet for them.

But my words were useless. With a smiling face, but rage at my heart, I led the procession up the creek to a stone bridge where large numbers left me, only to have their places taken on the other bank by a still more enthusiastic gathering. I stopped here a moment in the jostling crowd to look up-stream at that singular natural bridge, which an enormous mass of stone has formed across the creek, and I could see the high arched bridge beyond it, which stretches from bank to bank in one noble span, and is so high above the water that junks can pass under it in the summer time when the rains swell this little stream into a broad and navigable river.

Then we climbed the steep bank into the city and entering by a dirty narrow street we emerged into the main thoroughfare, the crowd still following and the shops emptying into the street to see me. We passed the Mohammedan Mosque, the Roman Catholic Mission, the City Temple, to a Chinese house where I was slipped into the court and the door shut, and then into another to find that I was in the home of the China Inland Mission, and that the pigtailed celestial receiving me at the steps was Mr. Hope Gill. It was my clothes I then learnt that had caused the manifestation in my honour. An hour later, when I came out again into the street, the crowd was waiting still to see me, but it was disappointed to see me now dressed like one of themselves. In the meantime I had resumed my Chinese dress. "Look," the people said, "at the foreigner; he had on foreign dress, and now he is dressed in Chinese even to his queue. Look at his queue, it is false." I took off my hat to scratch my head. "Look," they shouted again, "at his queue; it is stuck to the inside of his hat." But they ceased to follow me.

There are three Missionaries in Wanhsien of the China Inland Mission, one of whom is from Sydney. The mission has been opened six years, and has been fairly successful, or completely unsuccessful, according to the point of view of the inquirer.

Mr. Hope Gill, the senior member of the mission, is a most earnest good man, who works on in his discouraging task with an enthusiasm and devotion beyond all praise. A Premillennialist, he preaches without ceasing throughout the city; and his preaching is earnest and indiscriminate. His method has been sarcastically likened by the Chinese, in the words of one of their best-known aphorisms, to the unavailing efforts of a "blind fowl picking at random after worms." Nearly all the Chinese in Wanhsien have heard the doctrine described with greater or less unintelligibility, and it is at their own risk if they still refuse to be saved.

During the cholera epidemic this brave man never left his post; he never refused a call to attend the sick and dying, and, at the risk of his own, saved many lives. And what is his reward ? This work he did, the Chinese say, not from a disinterested love of his fellows, which was his undoubted motive, but to accumulate merit for himself in the invisible World beyond the grave. "Gratitude," says this missionary, and it is the opinion of many, "is a condition of heart, or of mind, which seems to be incapable of existence in the bodyof a Chinaman." Yet other missionaries tell me that no man can possess a livelier sense of gratitude than a Chinaman, or manifest it with more sincerity. "If our words are compared to the croaking of the frog, we heed it not, but freely express the feelings of our heart," are actual words addressed by a grateful Chinese patient to the first medical missionary in China. And the Chinaman himself will tell you, says Smith, "that it does not follow that, because he does not exhibit gratitude he does not feel it. When the dumb man swallows a tooth he may not say much about it, but it is all inside."

Since its foundation in 1887, the Inland Mission of Wanhsien has been conducted with brave perseverance. There are, unfortunately, no converts, but there are three hopeful "inquirers," whose conversion would be the more speedy the more likely they were to obtain employment afterwards. They argue in this way; they say, to quote the words used by the Rev. G. L. Mason at the Shanghai Missionary Conference of 1890, "if the foreign teacher will take care of our bodies, we will do him the favour to seek the salvation of our souls." This question of the employment of converts is one of the chief difficulties of the missionary in China. "The idea (derived from Buddhism) is universally prevalent in China," says the Rev. C. W. Mateer, "that everyone who enters any sect should live by it. . . When a Chinaman becomes a Christian he expects to live by his Christianity."

One of the three inquirers was shown me; he was described as the most advanced of the three in knowledge of the doctrine. Now I do not wish to write unkindly, but I am compelled to say that this man was a poor, wretched, ragged coolie, who sells the commonest gritty cakes in a rickety stall round the corner from the mission, who can neither read nor write, and belongs to a very humble order of blunted intelligence. The poor fellow is the father of a little girl of three, an only child, who is both deaf and dumb. And there is the fear that his fondness for the little one tempts him to give hope to the missionaries that in him they are to see the first fruit of their toil, the first in the district to be saved by their teaching, while he nurses a vague hope that, when the foreign teachers regard him as adequately converted, they may be willing to restore speech and hearing to his poor little offspring. It is a scant harvest.

After a Chinese dinner the mission and I went for a walk into the country. In the main street we met a troop of beggars, each with a bowl of rice and garbage and a long stick, with a few tattered rags hanging round his loins - they were the poorest poor I had ever seen. They were the beggars of the city, who had just received their mid-day meal at the "Wanhsien Ragged Homes." There are three institutions of the kind in the city for the relief of the destitute; they are entirely supported by charity, and are said to have an average annual income of 40,000 taels. Wanhsien is a very rich city, with wealthy merchants and great salt hongs. The landed gentry and the great junk owners have their town houses here. The money distributed by the townspeople in private charity is unusually great even for a Chinese city. Its most public-spirited citizen is Ch'en, one of the merchant princes of China whose transactions are confined exclusively to the products of his own country. Starting life with an income of one hundred taels, bequeathed him by his father, Ch'en has now agents all over the empire, and mercantile dealings which are believed to yield him a clear annual income of a quarter of a million taels. His probity is a by-word; his benefactions have enriched the province. That cutting in the face of the cliff in the Feng-hsiang Gorge near Kueichou-fu, where a pathway for trackers has been hewn out of the solid rock, was done at his expense, and is said to have cost one hundred thousand taels. Not only by his benefactions has Ch'en laid up for himself merit in heaven, but he has already had his reward in this world. His son presented himself for the M.A. examination for the Hanlin degree, the highest academical degree in the Empire. Everyone in China knows that success in this examination is dependent upon the favour of Wunchang-te-keun, the god of literature (Taoist) "who from generation to generation hath sent his miraculous influence down upon earth"; and, as the god had seen with approbation the good works done by the father, he gave success to the son. When the son returned home after his good fortune, he was met beyond the walls and escorted into the city with royal honours; his success was a triumph for the city which gave him birth.

A short walk and we were out of the city, following a flagged path with flights of steps winding up the hill through levelled terraces rich with every kind of cereal, and with abundance of poppy. Splendid views of one of the richest agricultural regions in the world are here unfolded. Away down in the valley is the palatial family mansion of Pien, one of the wealthiest yeomen in the province. Beyond you see the commencement of the high road, a paved causeway eight feet wide, which extends for hundreds of miles to Chentu, the capital of the province, and takes rank as the finest work of its kind in the empire. On every hill-top is a fort. That bolder than the rest commanding the city at a distance of five miles, is on the "Hill of Heavenly Birth." It was built says Hobson, during the Taiping Rebellion; it existed, says the missionary, before the present dynasty; discrepant statements characteristic of this country of contradictions. But, whether thirty or two hundred and fifty years old, the fort is now one in name only, and is at present occupied by a garrison of peaceful peasantry.

Chinamen that we met asked us politely "if we had eaten our rice," and "whither were we going." We answered correctly. But when with equal politeness we asked the wayfarer where he was going, he jerked his chin towards the horizon and said, "a long way."

We called at the residence of a rich young Chinese, who had lately received it in his inheritance, together with 3000 acres of farmland, which, we were told, yield him an annual income of 70,000 taels. In the absence of the master, who was away in the country reading with his tutor for the Hanlin degree, we were received by the caretakers, who showed us the handsome guest chambers, the splendid gilded tablet, the large courts, and garden rockeries. A handsome residence is this, solidly built of wood and masonry, and with the trellis work carved with much elaboration.

It was late when we returned to the mission, and after dark when I went on board my little wupan. My boys had not been idle. They had bought new provisions of excellent quality, and had made the boat much more comfortable. The three kind missionaries came down to wish me Godspeed. Brave men! they deserve a kinder fortune than has been their fate hitherto. We crossed the river and anchored above the city, ready against an early start in the morning.

The day after leaving Wanhsien was the first time that we required any assistance on our journey from another junk; it was cheerfully given. Our towrope had chafed through, and we were in a difficulty, attempting to pass a bad rapid among the rocks, when a large junk was hauled bodily past us, and, seeing our plight, hooked on to us and towed us with them out of danger. On this night we anchored under the Sentinel Rock (Shih-pao-chai), perhaps the most remarkable landmark on the river. From two hundred to three hundred feet high, and sixty feet wide at the base, it is a detached rock, cleft vertically from a former cliff. A nine-storied pagoda has been inset into the south-eastern face, and temple buildings crown the summit.

It was surprising how well my men lived on board the boat. They had three good meals a day, always with rice and abundance of vegetables, and frequently with a little pork. Cooking was done while we were under way; for the purpose we had two little earthenware stoves, two pans, and a kettle. All along the river cabbages and turnips are abundant and cheap. Bumboats, laden to the rail, waylay the boats en route, and offer an armful of fresh vegetables for the equivalent in copper cash of three-eighths of a penny. Other boats peddle firewood, cut short and bound in little bundles, and sticks of charcoal. Coal is everywhere abundant, and there are excellent briquettes for sale, made of a mixture of clay and coal-dust.

All day long now for the rest of our voyage we sailed through a beautiful country. From the hill tops to the water's edge the hill-sides are levelled into a succession of terraces; there are cereals and the universal poppy, pretty hamlets, and thriving little villages; a river half a mile wide thronged with every kind of river craft, and back in the distance snow-clad mountains. There are bamboo sheds at every point, with coils of bamboo tow-rope, mats, and baskets, and huge Szechuen hats as wide as an umbrella.

On the morning of March 5th I was awakened by loud screaming and yelling ahead of us. I squeezed out of my cabin, and saw a huge junk looming down upon us. In an awkward rapid its tow-line had parted, and the huge structure tumbling uncontrolled in the water, was bearing down on us, broadside on. It seemed as if we should be crushed against the rocks, and we must have been, but for the marvellous skill with which the sailors on the junk, just at the critical time, swung their vessel out of danger. They were yelling with discord, but worked together as one man.

In the afternoon we were at Feng-tu-hsien, a flourishing river port, one of the principal outlets of the opium traffic of the Upper Yangtse. Next day we were at Fuchou, the other opium port, whose trade in opium is greater still than that of Feng-tu-hsien. It is at the junction of a large tributary - the Kung-t'-an-ho, which is navigable for large vessels for more than two hundred miles. Large numbers of the Fuchou junks were moored here, which differ in construction from all other junks on the river Yangtse in having their great sterns twisted or wrung a quarter round to starboard, and in being steered by an immense stern sweep, and not by the balanced rudder of an ordinary junk.

The following day, after a long day's work, we moored beyond the town of Chang-show-hsien. Here I paid the laoban 2000 cash, whereupon he paid his men something on account, and then blandly suggested a game of cards. He was fast winning back his money, when I intervened and bade them turn in, as I wished to make an early start in the morning. The river seemed to get broader, deeper, and more rapid as we ascended; the trackers, on the contrary, became thinner, narrower, and more decrepit.

On March 8th, our fourteenth day out, disaster nearly overtook us when within a day's sail of our destination. Next day we reached Chungking safely, having done by some days the fastest journey on record up the Yangtse rapids. My captain and his young crew had finished the journey within the time agreed upon.