CHAPTER XVI. THE JOURNEY FROM YUNNAN CITY TO TALIFU.

I sold the mule in Yunnan City, and bought instead a little white pony at a cost, including saddle, bridle, and bells, of £3 6s. In doing this I reversed the exchange that would have been made by a Chinaman. A mule is a more aristocratic animal than a pony; it thrives better on a journey, and is more sure-footed. If a pony, the Chinese tell you, lets slip one foot, the other three follow; whereas a mule, if three feet slip from under him, will hold on with the fourth.

My men, who had come with me from Chaotong, were paid off in Yunnan; but it was pleasant to find all three accept an offer to go on with me to Talifu. Coolies to do this journey are usually supplied by the coolie agents for the wage of two chien a day each (7d.), each man to carry seventy catties (93lbs.), find himself by the way, and spend thirteen days on the journey. But no coolies, owing to the increase in the price of food, were now willing to go for so little. Accordingly I offered my two coolies three taels each (9s.), instead of the hong price of 7s. 9d., and loads of fifty catties instead of seventy catties. I offered to refund them 100 cash each (2.5d.) a day for every day that they had been delayed in Yunnan and, in addition, I promised them a reward of five mace each (1 s. 6d.) if they would take me to Tali in nine days, instead of thirteen, the first evening not to count. To Laohwan, who had no load to carry, but had to attend to me and the pony and pay away the cash, I made a similar offer. These terms, involving me in an outlay of 365. for hiring three men to go with me on foot 915 li, and return empty-handed, were considered liberal, and were agreed to at once.

The afternoon, then, of the 19th April saw us again en route, bound to the west to Talifu, the most famous city in western China, the headquarters of the Mohammedan "Sultan" during the great rebellion of 1857-1873.

By the courtesy of the Mandarin Li, two men were detailed to "sung" me - to accompany me, that is - and take the responsibility for my safe delivery at the next hsien. One was a "wen," a chairen, or yamen runner; the other was a "wu," a soldier, with a sightless right eye, who was dressed in the ragged vestiges of a uniform that reflected both the poverty of his environment and, inversely, the richness of his commanding officer. For in China the officer enriches himself by the twofold expedient of drawing pay for soldiers who have no existence, except in his statement of claim, and by diverting the pay of his soldiers who do exist from their pockets into his own.

As I was leaving, a colossal Chinaman, sent by the Fantai to speed the foreign gentleman on his way, strode into the court. He was dressed in military jacket and official hat and foxtails. He was the Yunnan giant, Chang Yan Miun, a kindly-featured monster, whom it is a pity to see buried in China when he might be holding levees of thousands in a Western side-show. For the information of those in search of novelties, I may say that the giant is thirty years of age, a native of Tong-chuan, born of parents of ordinary stature; he is 7ft. 1in. in his bare feet, and weighs, when in condition, 27st. 6lb. With that ingenious arrangement for increasing height known to all showmen, this giant might be worth investing in as a possible successor to his unrivalled namesake. There is surely money in it. Chang's present earnings are rather less than 7s. a month, without board and lodging; he is unmarried, and has no incumbrance; and he is slightly taller and much more massively built than a well-known American giant whom I once had permission to measure, who has been shown half over the world as the "tallest man on earth," his height being attested as 7ft. 11in. in his stockings' soles," and who commands the salary of an English admiral.

We made only a short march the first evening, but after that we travelled by long stages. The country was very pretty, open glades with clumps of pine, and here and there a magnificent sacred tree like the banyan, under whose far-reaching branches small villages are often half concealed. Despite the fertility of the country, poverty and starvation met us at every step; the poor were lingering miserably through the year. Goitre, too, was increasing in frequency. It was rarely that a group gathered to see us some of whose members were not suffering from this horrible deformity. And everywhere in the pretty country were signs of the ruthless devastation of religious war. That was a war of extermination. "A storm of universal fire blasted every field, consumed every house, destroyed every temple."

Crumbling walls are at long distances from the towns they used to guard; there are pastures and waste lands where there were streets of buildings; walls of houses have returned whence they came to the mother earth; others are roofless.

In the open country, far from habitation, the traveller comes across groups of bare walls with foundations still uncovered, and dismantled arches, and broken images in the long grass, that were formerly yamens and temples in the midst of thriving communities. Yet there are signs of a renaissance; many new houses are being built along the main road; walls are being repaired, and bridges reconstructed. When an exodus takes place from Szechuen to this province, there is little reason why Yunnan should not become one of the richest provinces in China. It has every advantage of climate, great fertility of soil, and immense mineral resources hardly yet developed. It needs population. It needs the population that dwelt in the province before the rebellion involved the death of millions. It can absorb an immense proportion of the surplus population of China. During, and subsequent to, the Tai-ping rebellion the province of Szechuen increased by 45,000,000 in forty years (1842-82); given the necessity, there seems no reason why the population of Yunnan should not increase in an almost equal proportion.

On the 22nd we passed Lu-feng-hsien, another ruined town. The finest stone bridge I have seen in Western China, arid one that would arrest attention in any country in the world, is at this town. It crosses the wide bed of a stream that in winter is insignificant, but which grows in volume in the rains of summer to a broad and powerful river. It is a bridge of seven beautiful arches; it is 12 yards broad and 150 yards long, of perfect simplicity and symmetry, with massive piers, all built of dressed masonry and destined to survive the lapse of centuries. Triumphal archways with memorial tablets and pedestals of carved lions are befitting portals to a really noble work.

On the 23rd we reached the important city of Chuhsing-fu, a walled city, still half-in-ruins, that was long occupied by the Mohammedans, and suffered terrible reprisals on its recapture by the Imperialists. For four days we had travelled at an average rate of one hundred and five li (thirty-five miles) a day. I must, however, note that these distances as estimated by Mr. Jensen, the constructor of the telegraph line, do not agree with the distances in Mr. Baber's itinerary. The Chinese distances in li agree in both estimates; but, whereas Mr. Jensen allows three li for a mile, Mr. Baber allows four and a-half, a wide difference indeed. For convenience sake I have made use of the telegraph figures, but Mr. Baber was so scrupulously accurate in all that he wrote that I have no doubt the telegraph distances are over-estimated.

We were again in a district almost exclusively devoted to the poppy; the valley-plains sparkled with poppy flowers of a multiplicity of tints. The days were pleasant, and the sun shone brightly; every plant was in flower; doves cooed in the trees, and the bushes in blossom were bright with butterflies. Lanes led between hedges of wild roses white with flower, and, wherever a creek trickled across the plain, its willow-lined borders were blue with forget-me-nots. And everywhere a peaceful people, who never spoke a word to the foreigner that was not friendly.

On the evening of the 24th, at a ruined town thirty li from Luho, we received our first check. It was at a walled town, with gateways and a pagoda that gave some indication of its former prosperity, prettily situated among the trees on the confines of a plain of remarkable fertility. Near sundown we passed down the one long street, all battered and dismantled, which is all that is left of the old town. News of the foreigner quickly spread, and the people gathered into the street to see me - no reception could be more flattering. We did not wait, but, pushing on, we passed out by the west gate and hastened on across the plain. But I noticed that Laohwan kept looking back at the impoverished town, shaking his head and stuttering "pu-pu-pu-pu-hao! pu-pu-pu-hao!" (bad! bad !) We had thus gone half a mile or so, when we were arrested by cries behind us, and our last chairen was seen running, panting, after us. We waited for him; he was absurdly excited, and could hardly speak. He made an address to me, speaking with great energy and gesticulation; but what was its purport, Dios sabe. When he had finished, not to be outdone in politeness, I thanked him in English for the kindly phrases in which he had spoken to me, assured him of my continued sympathy, and undertook to say that, if ever he came to Geelong, he would find there a house at his disposition, and a friend who would be ever ready to do him a service. He seemed completely mystified, and began to speak again, more excitedly than before. It was getting late, and a crowd was collecting, so I checked him by waving my left hand before my face and bawling at him with all my voice: "Putung, you stupid ass, putung (I don't understand)! Can't you see I don't understand a word you say, you benighted heathen you? Putung, man, putung! Advance Australia, dzo (go)!" And, swinging open my umbrella, I walked on. His excitement increased - we must go back to the town; he seized me by the wrists, and urged me to go back. We had a slight discussion; his feet gave from under him and he fell down, and I was going on cheerfully when he burst out crying. This I interpreted to mean that he would get into trouble if I did not return, so, of course, I turned back at once, for the tears of a Chinaman are sadly affecting. Back, then, we were taken to an excellent inn in the main street, where a respectful levee of the townsfolk had assembled to welcome me. A polite official called upon me, to whom I showed, with simulated indignation, my official card and my Chinese passport, and I hinted to him in English that this interference with my rights as a traveller from England, protected by the favour of the Emperor, would - let him mark my word - be made an international question. While saying this, I inadvertently left on my box, so that all might see it, the letter of introduction to the Brigadier-General in Tengyueh, which was calculated to give the natives an indication of the class of Chinese who had the privilege to be admitted to my friendship. The official was very polite and apologetic. I freely forgave him, and we had tea together.

He had done it all for the best. A moneyed foreigner was passing through his town near sundown without stopping to spend a single cash there. Was it not his duty, as a public-spirited man, to interfere and avert this loss, and compel the stranger to spend at least one night within his gates?

This was what I wrote at the time. I subsequently found that I had been sent for to come back because the road was believed to be dangerous, there was no secure resting-place, and the authorities could not guarantee my safety. Imagine a Chinese in a Western country acting with the bluster that I did, although in good humour; I wonder whether he would be treated with the courtesy that those Chinamen showed to me!

On the 25th an elderly chairen was ready to accompany us in the morning, and he remained with us all day. All day he was engrossed in deep thought. He spoke to no one, but he kept a watchful eye over his charge, never leaving me a moment, but dogging my very footsteps all the hundred li we travelled together. Poorly clad, he was better provided than his brother of yesterday in that he wore sandals, whereas the chairen of yesterday was in rags and barefoot He was, of course, unprovided with weapon of any kind - it was moral force that he relied on. Over his shoulder was slung a bag from which projected his opium-pipe; a tobacco pipe and tobacco box hung at his girdle; a green glass bottle of crude opium he carried round his neck.

The chairen is the policeman of China, the lictor of the magistrate, the satellite of the official; the soldier is the representative of military authority. Now, China, in the person of her greatest statesman, Li Hung Chang, has, through the secretary of the Anti-Opium Society, called upon England "to aid her in the efforts she is now making to suppress opium." If, then, China is sincere in her alleged efforts to abolish opium, it is the chairen and the soldier who must be employed by the authorities to suppress the evil; yet I have never been accompanied by either a chairen or a soldier who did not smoke opium, nor have I to my knowledge ever met a chairen or a soldier who was not an opium-smoker. Through all districts of Yunnan, wherever the soil permits it, the poppy is grown for miles, as far as the sight can reach, on every available acre, on both sides of the road.

But why does China grow this poppy? Have not the literati and elders of Canton written to support the schemes of the Anti-Opium Society in these thrilling words: "If Englishmen wish to know the sentiments of China, here they are: - If we are told to let things go on as they are going, then there is no remedy and no salvation for China. Oh! it makes the blood run cold, and we want in this our extremity to ask the question of High Heaven, what unknown crimes or atrocity have the Chinese people committed beyond all others that they are doomed to suffer thus?" (Cited by Mr. S. S. Mander, China's Millions, iv., 156.)

And the women of Canton, have they not written to the missionaries "that there is no tear that they shed that is not red with blood because of this opium?" ("China," by M. Reed, p. 63). Why, then, does China, while she protests against the importation of a drug which a Governor of Canton, himself an opium-smoker, described as a "vile excrementitious substance" ("Barrow's Travels," p. 153), sanction, if not foster, with all the weight of the authorities in the ever-extending opium-districts the growth of the poppy? To the Rev. G. Piercy (formerly of the W.M.S., Canton), we are indebted for the following explanation of this anomaly: China, it appears, is growing opium in order to put a stop to opium-smoking.

"Moreover, China has not done with the evils of opium, even if our hands were washed of this traffic to-day. China in her desperation has invoked Satan to cast out Satan. She now grows her own opium, vainly dreaming that, if the Indian supply lapse, she can then deal with this rapidly growing evil. But Satan is not divided against himself; he means his kingdom to stand. Opium-growing will not destroy opium-smoking." (Missionary Conference of 1888, Records, ii., 546.)

"Yet the awful guilt remains," said the Ven. Archdeacon Farrar on a. recent occasion in Westminster Abbey, "that we, 'wherever winds blow and waters roll,' have girdled the world with a zone of drunkenness, until I seem to shudder as I think of the curses, not loud but deep, muttered against our name by races which our fire-water has decimated and our vice degraded." (National Righteousness, December 1892, p. 4.)

And this patriotic utterance of a distinguished Englishman the Chinese will quote in unexpected support of the memorial "On the Restriction of Christianity" addressed to the Throne of China in 1884 by the High Commissioner Peng Yu-lin, which memorial stated in severe language that "since the treaties have permitted foreigners from the West to spread their doctrines, the morals of the people have been greatly injured." (" The Causes of the Anti-Foreign Disturbances in China." Rev. Gilbert Reid, M.A., p. 9.)

Forty li from our sleeping place we came to the pretty town of Shachiaokai, on some undulating high ground well sheltered with trees. Justice had lately been here with her headsman and brought death to a gang of malefactors. Their heads, swinging in wooden cages, hung from the tower near the gateway. They could be seen by all persons passing along the road, and, with due consideration for the feelings of the bereaved relatives, they were hung near enough for the features to be recognised by their friends. Each head was in a cage of its own, and was suspended by the pigtail to the rim, so that it might not lie upside down but could by-and-by rattle in its box as dead men's bones should do. To each cage a white ticket was attached giving the name of the criminal and his confession of the offence for which he was executed. They were the heads of highway robbers who had murdered two travellers on the road near Chennan-chow, and it was this circumstance which accounted for the solicitude of the officials near Luho to prevent our being benighted in a district where such things were possible.

Midway between Shachiaokai and Pupeng there was steep climbing to be done till we reached Ying-wu-kwan, the "Eagle Nest Barrier," which is more than 8000 feet above the sea. Then by very hilly and poor country we came to Pupeng, and, pursuing our way over a thickly-peopled plateau, we reached a break in the high land from which we descended into a wide and deep valley, skirted with villages and gleaming with sheets of water - the submerged rice-fields. At the foot of the steep was a poor mud town, but, standing back from it in the fields, was a splendid Taoist temple fit for a capital. In this village we were delayed for nearly an hour while my three men bargained against half the village for the possession of a hen that was all unconscious of the comments, flattering and depreciatory, that were being passed on its fatness. It was secured eventually for 260 cash, the vendors having declared that the hen was a family pet, hatched on a lucky day, that it had been carefully and tenderly reared, and that nothing in the world could induce them to part with it for a cash less than 350. My men with equal confidence, based upon long experience in the purchase of poultry, asserted that the real value of the hen was 200 cash, and that not a single cash more of the foreign gentleman's money could they conscientiously invest in such a travesty of a hen as that. But little by little each party gave way till they were able to tomber d'accord.

A pleasant walk across the busy plain brought us to Yunnan Yeh, where we passed the night.

On the 27th we had an unsatisfactory day's journey. We travelled only seventy li over an even road, yet with four good hours of daylight before us my men elected to stop when we came to the village of Yenwanshan. We had left the main road for some unknown reason, and were taking a short cut over the mountains to Tali. But a short-cut in China often means the longest distance, and I was sure that this short-cut would bring us to Tali a day later than if we had gone by the main road - in ten days, that is, from Yunnan, instead of the nine which my men had promised me. Laohwan, who, like most Chinamen I met, persisted in thinking that I was deaf, yelled to me in the presence of the village that the next stopping place was twenty miles distant, that "mitte liao! mitte liao!" ("there were no beans") on the way for the pony, and that assuredly we would reach Tali to-morrow, having given the pony the admirable rest that here offered. As he stammered these sentences the people supported what he said. Obviously their statements were ex parte, and were promoted solely by the desire to see the distinguished foreign mandarin sojourn for one night in their hungry midst. So here I was detained in a tumble-down inn that had formerly been a temple. All of us, men and master, were housed in the old guest-room. Beds were formed of disused coffin boards, laid between steps made of clods of dry clay; the floor was earth, the windows paper. The pony was feeding from a trough in the temple hall itself, an armful of excellent grass before it, while a bucket of beans was soaking for him in our corner. Other mules and ponies were stationed in the side pavilions where formerly were displayed the scenes of torture in the Buddhist Hells.

As I wrote at a table by the window, a crowd collected, stretching across the street and quarrelling to catch a glimpse of the foreign teacher and his strange method of writing, so different from the Chinese. Poor sickly people were these - of the ten in the first row three were suffering from goitre, one from strabismus, and two from ophthalmia. All were poorly clad and poorly nourished; all were very dirty, and their heads were unshaven of the growth of days. But, despite their poverty, nearly all the women, the children as well as the grandmothers, wore silver earrings of pretty filigree.

Now, even among these poor people, I noticed that there was a disposition rather to laugh at me than to open the eyes of wonder; and this is a peculiarity of the Chinese which every traveller will be struck with. It often grieved me. During my journey, although I was treated with undeniable friendliness, I found that the Chinese, instead of being impressed by my appearance, would furtively giggle when they saw me. But they were never openly rude like the coloured folk were in Jamaica, when, stranded in their beautiful island, I did them the honour to go as a "walk-foot buccra" round the sugar plantations from Ewarton to Montego Bay. Even poor ragged fellows, living in utter misery, would laugh and snigger at me when not observed, and crack jokes at the foreigner who was well-fed, well-clad, and well-mounted in a way you would think to excite envy rather than derision. But Chinese laughter seems to be moved by different springs from ours. The Chinaman makes merry in the presence of death. A Chinaman, come to announce to you the death of a beloved parent or brother, laughs heartily as he tells you - you might think he was overflowing with joy, but he is really sick and sore at heart, and is only laughing to deceive the spirits. So it may be that the poor beggars who laughed at that noble presence which has been the admiration of my friends in four continents, were moved to do so by the hope to deceive the evil spirits who had punished them with poverty, and so by their apparent gaiety induce them to relax the severity of their punishment.

To within two or three miles of this village the road was singularly level; I do not think that it either rose or fell 100 feet in twenty miles. Forty li from where we slept the night before, having previously left the main road, we came to the large walled town of Yunnan-hsien. The streets were crowded, for it was market day, and both sides of the main thoroughfares, especially in the vicinity of the Confucian Temple, were thronged with peasant women selling garden produce, turnips, beans and peas, and live fish caught in the lake beyond Tali. Articles of Western trade were also for sale - stacks of calico, braid, and thread, "new impermeable matches made in Trieste," and "toilet soap of the finest quality." I had a royal reception as I rode through the crowd, and the street where was situated the inn to which we went for lunch speedily became impassable. There was keen competition to see me. Two thieves were among the foremost, with huge iron crowbars chained to their necks and ankles, while a third prisoner, with his head pilloried in a cangue, obstructed the gaze of many. There was the most admirable courtesy shown me; it was the "foreign teacher" they wished to see, not the "foreign devil." When I rose from the table, half a dozen guests sitting at the other tables rose also and bowed to me as I passed out. Of all people I have ever met, the Chinese are, I think, the politest. My illiterate Laohwan, who could neither read nor write, had a courtesy of demeanour, a well-bred ease of manner, a graceful deference that never approached servility, which it was a constant pleasure to me to witness.

As regards the educated classes, there can be little doubt, I think, that there are no people in the world so scrupulously polite as the Chinese. Their smallest actions on all occasions of ceremony are governed by the most minute rules. Let me give as an example, the method of cross-examination to which the stranger is subjected, and which is a familiar instance of true politeness in China.

When a well-bred Chinaman, of whatever station, meets you for the first time, he thus addresses you, first asking you how old you are:

"What is your honourable age?"

"I have been dragged up a fool so many years," you politely reply.

"What is your noble and exalted occupation?"

"My mean and contemptible calling is that of a doctor?"

"What is your noble patronymic?"

"My poverty-struck family name is Mo."

"How many honourable and distinguished sons have you?"

"Alas! Fate has been niggardly; I have not even one little bug."

But, if you can truthfully say that you are the honourable father of sons, your interlocutor will raise his clasped hands and say gravely, "Sir, you are a man of virtue; I congratulate you." He continues -

"How many tens of thousands of pieces of silver have you?" meaning how many daughters have you?

"My yatows" (forked heads or slave children), "my daughters," you answer with a deprecatory shrug, "number so many."

So the conversation continues, and the more minute are the inquiries the more polite is the questioner.

Unlike most of the Western nations, the Chinese have an overmastering desire to have children. More than death itself the Chinaman fears to die without leaving male progeny to worship at his shrine; for, if he should die childless, he leaves behind him no provision for his support in heaven, but wanders there a hungry ghost, forlorn and forsaken - an "orphan" because he has no children. "If one has plenty of money," says the Chinese proverb, "but no children, he cannot be reckoned rich; if one has children, but no money, he cannot be considered poor." To have sons is a foremost virtue in China; "the greatest of the three unfilial things," says Mencius "is to have no children." (Mencius, iv., pt. i., 26).

In China longevity is the highest of the five grades of felicity. Triumphal arches are erected all over the kingdom in honour of those who have attained the patriarchal age which among us seems only to be assured to those who partake in sufficient quantity of certain fruit-salts and pills. Age when not known is guessed by the length of the beard, which is never allowed to grow till the thirty-second year. Now it happens that I am clean-shaven, and, as it is a well-known fact that the face of the European is an enigma to the Oriental, just as the face of the Chinaman is an inscrutable mystery to most of us, I have often been amused by the varying estimates of my age advanced by curious bystanders. It has been estimated as low as twelve - "look at the foreigner," they said, "there's a fine fat boy!" - and never higher than twenty-two. But it is not only in China that a youthful appearance has hampered me in my walk through life.

I remember that on one occasion, some years ago, I obliged a medical friend by taking his practice while he went away for a few days to be married. It was in a semi-barbarian village named Portree, in a forgotten remnant of Scotland called the Isle of Skye. The time was winter. The first case I was called to was that of a bashful matron, the baker's wife, who had lately given birth to her tenth child. I entered the room cheerfully. She looked me over critically, and then greatly disconcerted me by remarking that: "She was gey thankfu' to the Lord, that it was a' by afore I cam', as she had nae wush to be meddled wi' by a laddie o' nineteen." Yet I was two years older than the doctor who had attended her.

If in China you are so fortunate as to be graced with a beard, the Chinaman will add many years to your true age. In the agreeable company of one of the finest men in China, I once made a journey to the Nankow Pass in the Great Wall, north of Peking. My friend had a beard like a Welsh bard's, and, though a younger man than his years, forty-four, there was not a native who saw him, who did not gaze upon him with awe, as a possible Buddha, and not one who attributed to him an age less than eighty.

Next day, the 28th of April, despite my misgivings, my men fulfilled their promise, and led me into Tali on the ninth day out from Yunnan. We had come 307 miles in nine days. They walked all the way, living frugally on scanty rations. I walked only 210 miles; I was better fed than they, and I had a pony at my hand ready to carry me whenever I was tired.

My men thus earned a reward of eighteen pence each for doing thirteen stages in nine days. Long before daylight we were on our way. For miles and miles in the early morning we were climbing up the mountains, till we reached a plateau where the wind blew piercingly keen, and my fingers ached with the cold, and the rarefaction in the atmosphere made breathing uneasy. The road was lonely and un-irequented. We were accompanied by a muleteer who knew the way, by his sturdy son of twelve, and his two pack horses. By mid-day we had left the bare plateau, had passed the three pagoda peaks, and were standing on the brow of a steep hill overlooking the valleys of Chaochow and Tali. The plains were studded with thriving villages, in rich fields, and intersected with roadways lined with hedges. There on the left was the walled city of Chaochow, beyond, to the right, was the great lake of Tali, hemmed in by mountains, those beyond the lake thickly covered with snow, and rising 7000 feet above the lake, which itself is 7000 feet above the sea.

We descended into the valley, and, as we picked our way down the steep path, I could count in the lap of the first valley eighteen villages besides the walled city. Crossing the fields we struck the main road, and mingled with the stream of people who were bending their steps towards Hsiakwan. Many varieties of feature were among them a diversity of type unlocked for by the traveller in China who had become habituated to the uniformity of type of the Chinese face. There were faces plainly European, others as unmistakably Hindoo, Indigenes of Yunnan province, Thibetans, Cantonese pedlars, and Szechuen coolies. A broad flagged road brought us to the important market town of Hsiakwan, which guards the southern pass to the Valley of Tali. It is on the main road going west to the frontier of Burma, and is the junction where the road turns north to Tali. It is a busy town. It is one of the most famous halting places on the main road to Burma. The two largest caravanserais in Western China are in Hsiakwan, and I do not exaggerate when I say that a regiment of British cavalry could be quartered in either of them. At a restaurant near the cross-road we had rice and a cup of tea, and a bowl of the vermicelli soup known as mien, the muleteer and his son sitting down with my men. When the time came to go, the muleteer, unrolling a string of cash from his waistband, was about to pay his share, when Laohwan with much civility refused to permit him. He insisted, but Laohwan was firm; had they been Frenchmen, they could not have been more polite and complimentary. The muleteer gave way with good grace, and Laohwan paid with my cash, and gained merit by his courtesy.