I engaged three new men in Suifu, who undertook to take me to Chaotong, 290 miles, in thirteen days, special inducement being held out to them in the shape of a reward of one shilling each to do the journey in eleven days. Their pay was to be seven shillings and threepence each, apart from the bonus, and of course they had to find themselves. They brought me from the coolie-hong, where they were engaged, an agreement signed by the hong-master, which was to be returned to them in Chaotong, and remitted to their master as a receipt for my safe delivery.

Every condition detailed in the agreement they faithfully carried out, and they took me to Chaotong in ten days and a half, though the ordinary time is fourteen days.

One of the three was a convert, one of the six surviving converts made by the aggregate Inland Mission of Suifu in six years. He was an excellent good fellow, rather dull of wits, but a credit to the Mission. To him was intrusted the paying away of my money - he carried no load. When he wanted money he was to show me his empty hands, and say "Muta tsien! muta tsien!" (I have no money! I have no money!).

I knew that perfect confidence could be placed in the convert, apart from the reason of his conversion, because he had a father living in Suifu. Were he to rob me or do me a wrong and run away, we could arrest his father and have him detained in the yamen prison till his son returned. Nothing in China gives one greater protection against fraud and injury than the law which holds a father responsible for the wrongdoing of his son, or, where there is no father, an elder son culpable for the misdeed of the younger.

On the morning of March 22nd we started for Chaotong in Yunnan province. The Inland Missionary and a Brother from the American Baptist Mission kindly came with me for the first thirteen miles. My route lay west on the north bank of the Yangtse, but later, after crossing the Yangtse, would be nearly south to Chaotong.

Shortly before leaving, the chairen or yamen-runner - the policeman, that is to say - sent by the Magistrate to shadow me to Takwan-hsien, called at the Mission to request that the interpreter would kindly remind the traveller, who did not speak Chinese, that it was customary to give wine-money to the chairen at the end of the journey. The request was reasonable. All the way from Chungking I had been accompanied by yamen-runners without knowing it. The chairen is sent partly for the protection of the traveller, but mainly for the protection of the Magistrate; for, should a traveller provided with a passport receive any injury, the Magistrate of the district would be liable to degradation. It was arranged, therefore, with the convert that, on our arrival in Takwan-hsien, I was to give the chairen, if satisfied with his services, 200 cash (five pence); but, if he said "gowshun! gowshun!" (a little more! a little more !) with sufficient persistence, I was to increase the reward gradually to sevenpence half-penny. This was to be the limit; and the chairen, I was assured, would consider this a generous return for accompanying me 227 miles over one of the most mountainous roads in China.

It was a pleasant walk along the river-bank in the fertile alluvial, where the poppy in white flower and tobacco were growing, and where fields of yellow rape-seed, alternated with beds of rushes - the rape-seed yielding the oil, and the rushes the rushlights of Chinese lamps. Flocks of wild geese were within easy shot on the sandbanks - the "peaceful geese," whose virtues are extolled by every Chinaman. They live in pairs, and, if one dies, its mate will be for ever faithful to its memory. Such virtue is worthy of being recorded on the arch which here spans the roadway, whose Chinese characters, Shen (holy), Chi (will), show that it was erected by the holy decree of the Emperor to perpetuate the memory of some widow who never remarried.

As we walked along the missionary gave instructions to my men. "In my grace I had given them very light loads; hurry and they would be richly rewarded " - one shilling extra for doing fourteen stages in eleven days.

At an inn, under the branches of a banyan tree, we sat down and had a cup of tea. While we waited, a hawker came and sat near us. He was peddling live cats. In one of his two baskets was a cat that bore a curious resemblance to a tortoise-shell tabby, that till a week ago had been a pet in the Inland Mission. It had disappeared mysteriously; it had died, the Chinese servant said; and here it was reincarnated.

At the market town the missionaries left me to go on alone with my three men. I had seventeen miles still to go before night.

It was midday, and the sun was hot, so a chair was arranged for to take me the seventeen miles to Anpien. It was to cost 320 cash (eightpence), but, just before leaving, the grasping coolies refused to carry me for less than 340 cash. "Walk on," said the missionary, "and teach them a Christian lesson," so I walked seventeen miles in the sun to rebuke them for their avarice and save one halfpenny. In the evening I am afraid that I was hardly in the frame of mind requisite for conducting an evangelical meeting.

Anpien is a considerable town. It is on the Yangtse River just below where it bifurcates into two rivers, one of which goes north-west, the other south-west. Streets of temporary houses are built down by the river; they form the winter suburb, and disappear in the summer when the river rises in consequence of the melting of the snows in its mountain sources. At an excellent inn, with a noisy restaurant on the first floor, good accommodation was given me. No sooner was I seated than a chairen came from the yamen to ask for my Chinese visiting card; but he did not ask for my passport, though I had brought with me twenty-five copies besides the original.

At daybreak a chair was ready, and I was carried to the River, where a ferry boat was in waiting to take us across below the junction. Then we started on our journey towards the south, along the right bank of the Laowatan branch of the Yangtse. The road was a tracking path cut into the face of the cliff; it was narrow, steep, winding, and slippery. There was only just room for the chair to pass, and at the sudden turns it had often to be canted to one side to permit of its passage. We were high above the river in the mountain gorges. The comfort of the traveller in a chair along this road depends entirely upon the sureness of foot of his two bearers - a false step, and chair and traveller would tumble down the cliff into the foaming river below. Deep and narrow was the mountain river,.and it roared like a cataract, yet down the passage a long narrow junk, swarming with passengers, was racing, its oars and bow-sweep worked by a score of sailors singing in chorus. The boat appeared, passed down the reach, and was out of sight in a moment; a single error, the slightest confusion, and it would have been smashed in fragments on the rocks and the river strewn with corpses.

We did a good stage before breakfast. Every few li where the steepness of the valley side permits it, there are straw-thatched, bamboo and plaster inns. Here rice is kept in wooden bins all ready steaming hot for the use of travellers; good tea is brewed in a few minutes; the tables and chopsticks are sufficiently clean.

Leaving the river, we crossed over the mountains by a short cut to the river again, and at a wayside inn, much frequented by Chinese, the chair stage finished. I wished to do some writing, and sat down at one of the tables. A crowd gathered round me, and were much interested. One elderly Chinese with huge glasses, a wag in his own way, seeing that I did not speak Chinese, thought to make me understand and divert the crowd by the loudness of his speech, and, insisting that I was deaf, yelled into my ears in tones that shook the tympanum. I told the foolish fellow, in English, that the less he talked the better I could understand him; but he persisted, and poked his face almost into mine, but withdrew it and hobbled off in umbrage when I drew the attention of the bystanders to the absurd capacity of his mouth, 'which was larger than any mule's.

I must admit that my knowledge of Chinese was very scanty, so scanty indeed as to be almost non-existent. What few words I knew were rarely intelligible; but. as Mrs. General Baynes, when staying at Boulogne, found Hindostanee to be of great help in speaking French, so did I discover that English was of great assistance to me in conversing in Chinese. Remonstrance was thus made much more effective. Whenever I was in a difficulty, or the crowd too obtrusive, I had only to say a few grave sentences in English, and I was master of the situation. This method of speaking often reminded me of that employed by a Cornish lady of high family whose husband was a colleague of mine in Spain. She had been many years in Andalusia, but had never succeeded in mastering Spanish. At a dinner party given by this lady, at which I was present, she thus addressed her Spanish servant, who did not "possess" a single word of English: "Bring me," she said in an angry aside, "bring me the cuchillo with the black-handled heft," adding, as she turned to us and thumped her fist on the table, while the servant stood still mystified, "D - - - the language!  I wish I had never learnt it."

The inn, where the sedan left me, was built over the pathway, which was here a narrow track, two feet six inches wide. Mountain coolies on the road were passing in single file through the inn, their backs bending under their huge burdens. Pigs and fowls and dogs, and a stray cat, were foraging for crumbs under the table. Through the open doorways you saw the paddy-fields under water and the terraced hills, with every arable yard under cultivation. The air was hot and enervating. "The country of the clouds," as the Chinese term the province of Szechuen, does not belie its name. An elderly woman was in charge of the oven, and toddled about on her deformed feet as if she were walking on her heels. Her husband, the innkeeper, brought us hot water every few minutes to keep our tea basins full. "No. kaishuilai" (bring hot water), you heard on all sides. A heap of bedding was in one corner of the room, in another were a number of rolls of straw mattresses; a hollow joint of bamboo was filled with chopsticks for the common use; into another bamboo the innkeeper slipped his takings of copper cash. Hanging from the rafters were strings of straw sandals for the poor, and hemp sandals for moneyed wayfarers like the writer. The people who stood round, and those seated at the tables, were friendly and respectful, and plied my men with questions concerning their master. And I did hope that the convert was not tempted to backslide and swerve from the truth in his answers.

My men were now anxious to push on. Over a mountainous country of surpassing beauty, I continued my journey on foot to Fan-yien-tsen, and rested there for the night, having done two days' journey in one.

On March 24th we were all day toiling over the mountains, climbing and descending wooded steeps, through groves of pine, with an ever-changing landscape before us, beautiful with running water, with cascades and waterfalls tumbling down into the river, with magnificent glens and gorges, and picturesque temples on the mountain tops. At night we were at the village of Tanto, on the river, having crossed, a few li before, over the boundary which separates the province of Szechuen from the province of Yunnan.

From Tanto the path up the gorges leads across a rocky mountain creek in a defile of the mountains. In England this creek would be spanned by a bridge; but the poor heathen, in China, how do they find their way across the stream? By a bridge also. They have spanned the torrent with a powerful iron suspension bridge, 100 feet long by ten feet broad, swung between two massive buttresses and approached under handsome temple-archways.

Mists clothe the mountains - the air is confined between these walls of rock and stone. Population is scanty, but there is cultivation wherever possible. Villages sparsely distributed along the mountain path have water trained to them in bamboo conduits from tarns on the hillside. Each house has its own supply, and there is no attempt to provide for the common good. Besides other reasons, it would interfere with the trade of the water-carriers, who all day long are toiling up from the river.

The mountain slope does not permit a greater width of building space than on each side of the one main street. And on market days this street is almost impassable, being thronged with traffickers, and blocked with stalls and wares. Coal is for sale, both pure and mixed with clay in briquettes, and salt in blocks almost as black as coal, and three times as heavy, and piles of drugs - a medley of bones, horns, roots, leaves, and minerals - and raw cotton and cotton yarn from Wuchang and Bombay, and finished goods from Manchester. At one of the villages there was a chair for hire, and, knowing how difficult was the country, I was willing to pay the amount asked - namely, 7d. for nearly seven miles; but my friend the convert, who arranged these things, considered that between the 5d. he offered and the 7d. they asked the discrepancy was too great, and after some acrimonious bargaining it was decided that I should continue on foot, my man indicating to me by gestures, in a most sarcastic way, that the "chiaodza"' men had failed to overreach him.

At Sengki-ping it rained all through the night, and I had to sleep under my umbrella because of a solution in the continuity of the roof immediately above my pillow. And it rained all the day following; but my men, eager to earn their reward of one shilling, pushed on through the slush. It was hard work following the slippery path above the river. Few rivers in the world flow between more majestic banks than these, towering as they do a thousand feet above the water. Clad with thick mountain scrub, that has firm foothold, the mountains offer but a poor harvest to the peasant; yet even here, high up on the precipitous sides of the cliffs, ledges that seem inaccessible are sown with wheat or peas, and, if the soil be deep enough, with the baneful poppy. As we plodded on through the mud and rain, we overtook a poor lad painfully limping along with the help of a stick. He was a bright lad, who unbound his leg and showed me a large swelling above the knee. He spoke to me, though I did not understand him, but with sturdy independence did not ask for alms, and when I had seen his leg he bound it up again and limped on. Meeting him a little later at an inn, where he was sitting at table with nothing before him to eat, I gave him a handful of cash which I had put in my pocket for him. He thanked me by raising his clasped hands, and said something, I knew not what, as I hurried on. A little while afterwards I stopped to have my breakfast, when the boy passed. As soon as he saw me he fell down upon his knees and "kotow'd" to me, with every mark of the liveliest gratitude. I felt touched by the poor fellow's gratitude - he could not have been more than fifteen - and mean, to think that the benefaction, which in his eyes appeared so generous, was little more than one penny. There can be no doubt that I gained merit by this action, for this very afternoon as I was on the track a large stone the size of a shell from a 50-ton gun fell from the crag above me, struck the rock within two paces of me, and shot past into the river. A few feet nearer and it would have blotted out the life of one whom the profession could ill spare. We camped at Laowatan.

A chair with three bearers was waiting for me in the morning, so that I left the town of Laowatan in a manner befitting my rank. The town had risen to see me leave, and I went down the street amid serried ranks of spectators. We crossed the river by a wonderful suspension bridge, 250 feet long and 12 feet broad, formed of linked bars of wrought iron. It shows stability, strength, and delicacy of design, and is a remarkable work to have been done by the untutored barbarians of this land of night. We ascended the steep incline opposite, and passed the likin barrier, but at a turn in the road, higher still in the mountain, a woman emerged from her cottage and blocked our path. Nor could the chair pass till my foremost bearer had reluctantly given her a string of cash. "With money you can move the gods," say the Chinese; "without it you can't move a man."

For miles we mounted upwards. We were now in Yunnan, "south of the clouds" - in Szechuen we were always under the clouds - the sun was warm, the air dry and crisp. Ponies passed us in long droves; often there were eighty ponies in a single drove. All were heavily laden with copper and lead, were nozzled to keep them off the grass, and picked their way down the rocky path of steps with the agility and sureness of foot of mountain goats. Time was beaten for them on musical gongs, and the echoes rang among the mountains. Many were decorated with red flags and tufts, and with plumes of the Amherst pheasant. These were official pack animals, which were franked through the likin barriers without examination.

The path, rising to the height of the watershed, where at a great elevation we gain a distant view of water, descends by the counterslope once more to the river Laowatan. A wonderful ravine, a mountain riven perpendicularly in twain, here gives passage to the river, and in full view of this we rested at the little town of Taoshakwan, with the roar of the river hundreds of feet below us. Midway up the face of the precipice opposite there is a sight worth seeing; a mass of coffin boards, caught in a fault in the precipice have been lying there for untold generations, having been originally carried there by the "ancient flying-men who are now extinct."

A poor little town is Taoshakwan, with a poor little yamen with pretentious tigers painted on its outflanking wall, with a poor little temple, and gods in sad disrepair; but with an admirable inn, with a charming verandah facing a scene of alpine magnificence.

We were entering a district of great poverty. At Tchih-li-pu, where we arrived at midday the next day, the houses are poor, the people poverty-stricken and ill-clad, the hotel dirty, and my room the worst I had yet slept in. The road is a well-worn path flagged in places, uneven, and irregular, following at varying heights the upward course of the tortuous river. The country is bald; it is grand but lonely; vegetation is scanty and houses are few; we have left the prosperity of Szechuen, and are in the midst of the poverty of Yunnan. Farmhouses there are at rare intervals, amid occasional patches of cultivation; there are square white-washed watch towers in groves of sacred trees; there are a few tombstones, and an occasional rudely carved god to guard the way. There are poor mud and bamboo inns with grass roofs, and dirty tables set out with half a dozen bowls of tea, and with ovens for the use of travellers. Food we had now to bring with us, and only at the larger towns where the stages terminate could we expect to find food for sale. The tea is inferior, and we had to be content with maize meal, bean curds, rice roasted in sugar, and sweet gelatinous cakes made from the waste of maize meal. Rice can only be bought in the large towns. It is not kept in roadside inns ready steaming hot for use, as it is in Szechuen. Rarely there are sweet potatoes; there are eggs, however, in abundance, one hundred for a shilling (500 cash), but the coolies cannot eat them because of their dear-ness. A large bowl of rice costs four cash, an egg five cash, and the Chinaman strikes a balance in his mind and sees more nourishment in one bowl of rice than in three eggs. Of meat there is pork - pork in plenty, and pork only. Pigs and dogs are the scavengers of China. None of the carnivora are more omnivorous than the Chinese. "A Chinaman has the most unscrupulous stomach in the world," says Meadows; "he will eat anything from the root to the leaf, and from the hide to the entrails." He will not even despise the flesh of dog that has died a natural death. During the awful famine in Shansi of 1876-1879 starving men fought to the death for the bodies of dogs that had fattened on the corpses of their dead countrymen. Mutton is sometimes for sale in Mohammedan shops, and beef also, but it must not be imagined that either sheep or ox is killed for its flesh, unless on the point of death from starvation or disease. And the beef is not from the ox but from the water buffalo. Sugar can be bought only in the larger towns; salt can be purchased everywhere.

Beggars there are in numbers, skulking about almost naked, with unkempt hair and no queue, with a small basket for gathering garbage and a staff to keep away dogs. Only-beggars carry sticks in China, and it is only the beggars that need beware of dogs. To carry a stick in China for protection against dogs is like carrying a red flag to scare away bulls. Dogs in China are lowly organised; they are not discriminating animals; and, despite the luxurious splendour of my Chinese dress - it cost more than seven shillings - dogs frequently mistook my calling. In Szechuen, as we passed through the towns, there was competition among the inns to obtain our custom. Hotel runners were there to shout to all the world the superior merits of their establishments. But here in Yunnan it is different. There is barely inn accommodation for the road traffic, and the innkeepers are either too apathetic or too shamefaced to call the attention of the traveller to their poor dirty accommodation houses.

In Szechuen, one of the most flourishing of trades is that of the monumental mason and carver in stone. Huge monoliths are there cut from the boulders which have been dislodged from the mountains, dressed and finished in situ, and then removed to the spot where they are to be erected. The Chinese thus pursue a practice different from that of the Westerns, who bring the undressed stone from the quarry and carve it in the studio. With the Chinese the difficulty is one of transport - the finished work is obviously lighter than the unhewn block. In Yunnan, up to the present, I had seen no mason at work, for no masonry was needed. Houses built of stone were falling into ruin, and only thatched, mud-plastered, bamboo and wood houses were being built in their places.

At Laowatan I told my Christian to hire me a chair for thirty or forty li, and he did so; but the chair, instead of carrying me the shorter distance, carried me the whole day. The following day the chair kept company with me, and as I had not ordered it, I naturally walked; but the third day also the chair haunted me, and then I discovered that my admirable guide had engaged the chair not for thirty or forty li, as I had instructed him in my best Chinese, but for three hundred and sixty li, for four days' stages of ninety li each. He had made the agreement "out of consideration for me," and his own pocket; he had made an agreement which gave him wider scope for a little private arrangement of his own with the chair-coolies. For two days I was paying fifteen cash a li for a chair and walking alongside of it charmed by the good humour of the coolies, and unaware that they were laughing in their sleeves at my folly. Trifling mistakes like this are inevitable to one who travels in China without an interpreter.

My two coolies were capital fellows, full of good humour, cheerful, and untiring. The elder was disposed to be argumentative with his countrymen, but he could not quarrel. Nature had given him an uncontrollable stutter, and, if he tried to speak quickly, spasm seized his tongue, and he had to break into a laugh. Few men in China, I think, could be more curiously constructed than this coolie. He was all neck; his chin was simply an upward prolongation of his neck like a second "Adam's apple." Both were very pleasant companions.

They were naturally in good humour, for they were well paid, and their loads, as loads are in China, were almost insignificant; I had only asked them to carry sixty-seven pounds each.

We, who live amid the advantages of Western civilisation, can hardly realise how enormous are the weights borne by those human beasts of burthen, our brothers in China. The common fast-travelling coolie of Szechuen contracts to carry eighty catties (107lbs.), forty miles a day over difficult country. But the weight-carrying coolie, travelling shorter distances, carries far heavier loads than that. There are porters, says Du Halde, who will carry 160 of our pounds, ten leagues a day. The coolies, engaged in carrying the compressed cakes of Szechuen tea into Thibet, travel over mountain passes 7000 feet above their starting place; yet there are those among them, says Von Richthofen, who carry 324 catties (432lbs.). A package of tea is called a "pao" and varies in weight - from eleven to eighteen catties, yet Baber has often seen coolies carrying eighteen of the eighteen-catty pao (the "Yachou pao") and on one occasion twenty-two, in other words Baber has often seen coolies with more than 400lbs. on their backs. Under these enormous loads they travel from six to seven miles a day. The average load of the Thibetan tea-carrier is, says Gill, from 240lbs. to 264lbs. Gill constantly saw "little boys carrying 120lbs." Bundles of calico weigh fifty-five catties each (73.5lbs.), and three bundles are the average load. Salt is solid, hard, metallic, and of high specific gravity, yet I have seen men ambling along the road, under loads that a strong Englishman could with difficulty raise from the ground. The average load of salt, coal, copper, zinc, and tin is 200lbs. Gill met coolies carrying logs, 200lbs. in weight, ten miles a day; and 200lbs., the Consul in Chungking told me, is the average weight carried by the cloth-porters between Wanhsien and Chen-tu, the capital.

Mountain coolies, such as the tea-carriers, bear the weight of their burden on their shoulders, carrying it as we do a knapsack, not in the ordinary Chinese way, with a pliant carrying pole. They are all provided with a short staff, which has a transverse handle curved like a boomerang, and with this they ease the weight off the back, while standing at rest.

We were still ascending the valley, which became more difficult of passage every day. Hamlets are built where there is scarce foothold in the detritus, below perpendicular escarpments of rock, cut clean like the facades of a Gothic temple. A tributary of the river is crossed by an admirable stone bridge of two arches, with a central pier and cut-water of magnificent boldness and strength, and with two images of lions guarding its abutment. Just below the branch the main stream can be crossed by a traveller, if he be brave enough to venture, in a bamboo loop-cradle, and be drawn across the stream on a powerful bamboo cable slung from bank to bank.

We rested by the bridge and refreshed ourselves, for above us was an ascent whose steepness my stuttering coolie indicated to me by fixing my walking stick in the ground, almost perpendicularly, and running his finger up the side. He did not exaggerate. A zigzag path set with stone steps has been cut in the vertical ascent, and up this we toiled for hours. At the base of the escalade my men sublet their loads to spare coolies who were waiting there in numbers for the purpose, and climbed up with me empty-handed. At every few turns there were rest-houses where one could get tea and shelter from the hot sun. The village of Tak-wan-leo is at the summit; it is a village of some little importance and commands a noble view of mountain, valley, and river. Its largest hong is the coffin-maker's, which is always filled with shells of the thickest timber that money can buy.

Stress is laid in China upon the necessity of a secure resting-place after death. The filial affection of a son can do no more thoughtful act than present a coffin to his father, to prove to him how composedly he will lie after he is dead. And nothing will a father in China show the stranger with more pride than the coffin-boards presented to him by his dutiful son.

Tak-wan-leo is the highest point on the road between Suifu and Chaotong. For centuries it has been known to the Chinese as the highest point; how, then, with their defective appliances did they arrive at so accurate a determination? Twenty li beyond the village the stage ends at the town of Tawantzu, where I had good quarters in the pavilion of an old temple. The shrine was thick with the dust of years; the three gods were dishevelled and mutilated; no sheaves of joss sticks were smouldering on the altar. The steps led down into manure heaps and a piggery, into a garden rank and waste, which yet commands an outlook over mountain and river worthy of the greatest of temples.

On March 30th I reached Tak-wan-hsien, the day's stage having been seventy li (twenty-three and one-third miles). I was carried all the way by three chair-coolies in a heavy chair in steady rain that made the unpaved track as slippery as ice - and this over the dizzy heights of a mountain pathway of extraordinary irregularity. Never slipping, never making a mistake, the three coolies bore the chair with my thirteen stone, easily and without straining. From time to time they rested a minute or two to take a whiff of tobacco; they were always in good humour, and finished the day as strong and fresh as when they began it. Within an hour of their arrival all these three men were lying on their sides in the room opposite to mine, with their opium-pipes and little wooden vials of opium before them, all three engaged in rolling and heating in their opium-lamps treacly pellets of opium. Then they had their daily smoke of opium. "They were ruining themselves body and soul." Two of the men were past middle age; the third was a strapping young fellow of twenty-five. They may have only recently acquired the habit, I had no means of asking them; but those who know Western China will tell you that it is almost certain that the two elder men had used the opium-pipe as a stimulant since they were as young as their companion. All three men were physically well-developed, with large frames, showing unusual muscular strength and endurance, and differed, indeed, from those resurrected corpses whose fleshless figures, drawn by imaginative Chinese artists, we have known for years to be typical of our poor lost brothers - the opium-smoking millions of China. For their work to-day, work that few men out of China would be capable of attempting, the three coolies were paid sevenpence each, out of which they found themselves, and had to pay as well one penny each for the hire of the chair.

On arriving at the inn in Tak-wan-hsien my 'estimable comrade, one of the six surviving converts of Suifu, indicated to me that his cash belt was empty - up the road he could not produce a single cash for me to give a beggar - and pointing in turn to the bag where I kept my silver, to the ceiling and to his heart, he conveyed to me the pious assurance that if I would give him some silver from the bag he would bring me back the true change, on his honour, so witness Heaven! I gave him two lumps of silver which I made him understand were worth 3420 cash; he went away, and after a suspicious absence returned quite gleefully with 3050 cash, the bank, no doubt, having detained the remainder pending the declaration of a bogus dividend. But he also brought back with him what was better than cash, some nutritious maize-meal cakes, which proved a welcome change from the everlasting rice. They were as large as an English scone, and cost two cash apiece, that is to say, for one shilling I could buy twenty dozen.

Money in Western China consists of solid ingots of silver, and copper cash. The silver is in lumps of one tael or more each, the tael being a Chinese ounce and equivalent roughly to between 1400 and 1500 cash. Speaking generally a tael was worth, during my journey, three shillings, that is to say, forty cash were equivalent to one penny. There are bankers in every town, and the Chinese methods of banking, it is well known, are but little inferior to our own. From Hankow to Chungking my money was remitted by draft through a Chinese bank. West from Chungking the money may be sent by draft, by telegraph, or in bullion, as you choose. I carried some silver with me; the rest I put up in a package and handed to a native post in Chungking, which undertook to deliver it intact to me at Yunnan city, 700 miles away, within a specified time. By my declaring its contents and paying the registration fee, a mere trifle, the post guaranteed its safe delivery, and engaged to make good any loss. Money is thus remitted in Western China with complete confidence and security. My money arrived, I may add, in Yunnan at the time agreed upon, but after I had left for Talifu. As there is a telegraph line between Yunnan and Tali, the money was forwarded by telegraph and awaited my arrival in Tali.

There are no less than four native post-offices between Chungking and Suifu. All the post-offices transmit parcels, as well as letters and bullion, at very moderate charges. The distance is 230 miles, and the charges are fifty cash (1.25d.) the catty (1.33lb.), or any part thereof; thus a single letter pays fifty cash, a catty's weight of letters paying no more than a single letter.

From Chungking to Yunnan city, a distance of 630 miles, letters pay two hundred cash (fivepence) each; packages of one catty, or under, pay three hundred and fifty cash; while for silver bullion there is a special fee of three hundred and fifty cash for every ten taels, equivalent to ninepence for thirty shillings, or two-and-a-half per cent., which includes postage, registration, guarantee, and insurance.

Tak-wan-hsien is a town of some importance, and was formerly the seat of the French missionary bishop. It is a walled town, ranking as a Hsien city, with a Hsien magistrate as its chief ruler. There are 10,000 people (more or less), within the walls, but the city is poor, and its poverty is but a reflex of the district. Its mud wall is crumbling; its houses of mud and wood are falling; the streets are ill paved and the people ill-clad.