The three men who had come with me the six hundred and seventeen miles from Chaotong left me at Tali to return all that long way home on foot with their well-earned savings. I was sorry to say good-bye to them; but they had come many miles further than they intended, and their friends, they said, would be anxious:  besides Laohwan, you remember, was newly married.

I engaged three new men in their places. They were to take me right through to Singai (Bhamo). Every day was of importance now with four hundred and fifty miles to travel and the rainy season closing in. Laotseng was the name of the Chinaman whom I engaged in place of Laohwan. He was a fine young fellow, active as a deer, strong, and high-spirited. I agreed to pay him the fancy wage of 24s. for the journey. He was to carry no load, but undertook, in the event of either of my coolies falling sick, to carry his load until a new coolie could be engaged. The two coolies I engaged through a coolie-hong. One was a strongly-built man, a "chop dollar," good-humoured, but of rare ugliness. The other was the thinnest man I ever saw outside a Bowery dime-show. He had the opium habit. He was an opium-eater rather than an opium-smoker; and he ate the ash from the opium-pipe, instead of the opium itself - the most vicious of the methods of taking opium. He was the nearest approach I saw in China to the Exeter Hall type of opium-eater, whose "wasted limbs and palsied hands" cry out against the sin of the opium traffic. Though a victim of the injustice of England, this man had never tasted Indian opium in his life, and, perishing as he was in body and soul, going "straight to eternal damnation," his "dying wail unheard," he yet undertook a journey that would have deterred the majority of Englishmen, and agreed to carry, at forced speed, a far heavier load than the English soldier is ever weighted with on march. The two coolies were to be paid 4 taels each (12s.) for the twenty stages to Singai, and had to find their own board and lodging. But I also stipulated to give them churo money (pork money) of 100 cash each at three places - Yung-chang, Tengyueh, and Bhamo - 100 cash each a day extra for every day that I detained them on the way, and, in addition, I was to reward them with 150 cash each a day for every day that they saved on the twenty days' journey, days that I rested not to count.

Of course none of the three men spoke a word of English. All were natives of the province of Szechuen, and all carried out their agreement to the letter.

On May 3rd I left Tali. The last and longest stage of all the journey was before me, a distance of some hundreds of miles, which I had to traverse before I could hope to meet another countryman or foreigner with whom I could converse. The two missionaries, Mr. Smith and Mr. Graham, kindly offered to see me on my way, and we all started together for Hsiakwan, leaving the men to follow.

Ten li from Tali we stopped to have tea at one of the many tea-houses that are grouped round the famous temple to the Goddess of Mercy, the Kwanyin-tang. The scene was an animated one. The open space between the temple steps and the temple theatre opposite was thronged with Chinese of strange diversity of feature crying their wares from under the shelter of huge umbrellas. There is always a busy traffic to Hsiakwan, and every traveller rests here, if only for a few minutes. For this is the most famous temple in the valley of Tali. The Goddess of Mercy is the friend of travellers, and no thoughtful Chinese should venture on a journey without first asking the favour of the goddess and obtaining from her priests a forecast of his success. The temple is a fine specimen of Chinese architecture. It was built specially to record a miracle. In the chief court, surrounded by the temple buildings, there is a huge granite boulder lying in an ornamental pond. It is connected by marble approaches, and is surmounted by a handsome monument of marble, which is faced on all sides with memorial tablets. This boulder was carried to its present position by the goddess herself, the monument and bridges were built to detain it where it lay, and the temple afterwards erected to commemorate an event of such happy augury for the beautiful valley.

But the temple has not always witnessed only scenes of mercy. Two years ago a tragedy was enacted here of strange interest. At a religious festival held here in April, 1892, and attended by all the high officials and by a crowd of sightseers, a thief, taking advantage of the crush, tried to snatch a bracelet from the wrist of a young woman, and, when she resisted, he stabbed her. He was seized red-handed, dragged before the Titai, who happened to be present, and ordered to be beheaded there and then. An executioner was selected from among the soldiers; but so clumsily did he do the work, hacking the head off by repeated blows, instead of severing it by one clean cut, that the friends of the thief were incensed and vowed vengeance. That same night they lay in wait for the executioner as he was returning to the city, and beat him to death with stones. Five men were arrested for this crime; they were compelled to confess their guilt and were sentenced to death. As they were being carried out to the execution-ground, one of the condemned pointed to two men, who were in the crowd of sightseers, and swore that they were equally concerned in the murder. So these two men were also put on their trial, with the result that one was found guilty and was equally condemned to death. As if this were not sufficient, at the execution the mother of one of the prisoners, when she saw her son's head fall beneath the knife, gave a loud scream and fell down stone-dead. Nine lives were sacrificed in this tragedy: the woman who was stabbed recovered of her wound.

Hsiakwan was crowded, as it was market day. We had lunch together at a Chinese restaurant, and then, my men having come up, the kind missionaries returned, and I went on alone. A river, the Yangki River, drains the Tali Lake, and, leaving the south-west corner of the lake, flows through the town of Hsiakwan, and so on west to join the Mekong. For three days the river would be our guide. A mile from the town the river enters a narrow defile, where steep walls of rock rise abruptly from the banks. The road here passes under a massive gateway. Forts, now dismantled, guard the entrance; the pass could be made absolutely impregnable. At this point the torrent falls under a natural bridge of unusual beauty.

We rode on by the narrow bank along the river, crossed from the left to the right bank, and continued on through a beautiful country, sweet with the scent of the honeysuckle, to the charming little village of Hokiangpu. Here we had arranged to stay. The inn was a large one, and very clean. Many of its rooms were already occupied by a large party of Cantonese returning home after the Thibetan Fair with loads of opium.

The Cantonese, using the term in its broader sense as applied to the natives of the province of Kuangtung, are the Catalans of China. They are as enterprising as the Scotch, adapt themselves as readily to circumstances, are enduring, canny, and successful; you meet them in the most distant parts of China. They make wonderful pilgrimages on foot. They have the reputation of being the most quick-witted of all Chinese. Large numbers come to Tali during the Thibetan Fair, and in the opium season. They bring all kinds of foreign goods adapted for Chinese wants - cheap pistols and revolvers, mirrors, scales, fancy pictures, and a thousand gewgaws useful as well as attractive - and they return with opium. They travel in bands, marching in single file, their carrying poles pointed with a steel spearhead two feet long, serving a double use - a carrying pole in peace, a formidable spear in trouble.

Everywhere they can be distinguished by their dress, by their enormous oiled sunshades, and by their habit of tricing their loads high up to the carrying pole. They are always well clad in dark blue; their heads are always cleanly shaved; their feet are well sandalled, and their calves neatly bandaged. They have a travelled mien about them, and carry themselves with an air of conscious superiority to the untravelled savages among whom they are trading. To me they were always polite and amiable; they recognised that I was, like themselves, a stranger far from home.

This is the class of Chinese who, emigrating from the thickly-peopled south-eastern provinces of China, already possess a predominant share of the wealth of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Timor, the Celebes and the Philippine Islands, Burma, Siam, Annam and Tonquin, the Straits Settlements, Malay Peninsula, and Cochin China. "There is hardly a tiny islet visited by our naturalists in any part of these seas but Chinamen are found." And it is this class of Chinese who have already driven us out of the Northern Territory of Australia, and whose unrestricted entry into the other colonies we must prevent at all hazards. We cannot compete with Chinese; we cannot intermix or marry with them; they are aliens in language, thought, and customs; they are working animals of low grade but great vitality. The Chinese is temperate, frugal, hard-working, and law-evading, if not law-abiding - we all acknowledge that. He can outwork an Englishman, and starve him out of the country - no one can deny that. To compete successfully with a Chinaman, the artisan or labourer of our own flesh and blood would require to be degraded into a mere mechanical beast of labour, unable to support wife or family, toiling seven days in the week, with no amusements, enjoyments, or comforts of any kind, no interest in the country, contributing no share towards the expense of government, living on food that he would now reject with loathing, crowded with his fellows ten or fifteen in a room that he would not now live in alone, except with repugnance. Admitted freely into Australia, the Chinese would starve out the Englishman, in accordance with the law of currency - that of two currencies in a country the baser will always supplant the better. "In Victoria," says Professor Pearson, "a single trade - that of furniture-making - was taken possession of and ruined for white men within the space of something like five years." In the small colony of Victoria there are 9377 Chinese in a population of 1,150,000; in all China, with its population of 350,000,000, there are only 8081 foreigners (Dyer Ball), a large proportion of whom are working for China's salvation.

There is not room for both in Australia. Which is to be our colonist, the Asiatic or the Englishman?

In the morning we had another beautiful walk round the snow-clad mountains to the village of Yangpi, at the back of Tali. There was a long delay here. News of my arrival spread, and the people hurried along to see me. No sooner was I seated at an inn than two messengers from the yamen called for my passport. They were officious young fellows, sadly wanting in respect, and they asked for my passport in a noisy way that I did not like, so I would not understand them. I only smiled at them in the most friendly manner possible. I kept them for some time in a fever of irritation at their inability to make me understand; I listened with imperturbable calmness to their excited phrases till they were nearly dancing. Then I leisurely produced my passport, as if to satisfy a curiosity of my own, and began scanning it. Seeing this, they rudely thrust forth their hands to seize it; but I had my eye on them. "Not so quick, my friends," I said, soothingly. "Be calm; nervous irritability is a fruitful source of trouble. See, here is my passport; here is the official seal, and here the name of your unworthy servant. Now I fold it up carefully and - put it back in my pocket. But here is a copy, which is at your service. If you wish to show the original to the magistrate, I will take it to his honour myself, but out of my hands it does not pass." They looked puzzled, as they did not understand English; they debated a minute or two, and then went away with the copy, which in due time they politely returned to me.

If you wish to travel quickly in China, never be in a hurry. Appear unconscious of all that is passing; never be irritated by any delay, and assume complete indifference, even when you are really anxious to push on. Emulate, too, that leading trait in the Chinese character, and never understand anything which you do not wish to understand. No man on earth can be denser than a Chinaman, when he chooses.

Let me give an instance. It was not so long ago, in a police court in Melbourne, that a Chinaman was summoned for being in possession of a tenement unfit for human habitation. The case was clearly proved, and he was fined £1. But in no way could John be made to understand that a fine had been inflicted. He sat there with unmoved stolidity, and all that the court could extract from him was: "My no savvy, no savvy." After saying this in a voice devoid of all hope, he sank again into silence. Here rose a well-known lawyer. "With your worship's permission, I think I can make the Chinaman understand," he said. He was permitted to try. Striding fiercely up to the poor Celestial, he said to him, in a loud voice, "John, you are fined two pounds." "No dam fear! Only one!"

Crossing now the river by a well-constructed suspension bridge, we had a fearful climb of 2000 feet up the mountain. My coolie "Bones" nearly died on the way. Then there was a rough descent by a jagged path down the rocky side of the mountain-river to the village of Taiping-pu. It was long after dark when we arrived; and an hour later stalked in the gaunt form of poor "Bones," who, instead of eating a good meal coiled up on the kang and smoked an opium-pipe that he borrowed from the chairen. All the next day, and, indeed for every day till we reached Tengyueh, our journey was one of the most arduous I have ever known. The road has to surmount in succession parallel ridges of mountains. The road is never even, for it cannot remain where travelling is easiest, but must continually dip from the crest of the ranges to the depths of the valleys.

Shortly before reaching Huanglien-pu my pony cast a shoe, and it was some time before we were able to have it seen to; but I had brought half a dozen spare shoes with me, and by-and-by a muleteer came along who fixed one on as neatly as any farrier could have done, and gladly accepted a reward of one halfpenny. He kept the foot steady while shoeing it by lashing the fetlock to the pony's tail.

Caravans of cotton coming from Burma were meeting us all day. Miles away the booming of their gongs sounded in the silent hills; a long time afterwards their bells were heard jingling, and by-and-by the mules and horses appeared under their huge bales of cotton, the foremost decorated with scarlet tufts and plumes of pheasant tails, the last carrying the saddle and bedding of the headman, as well as the burly headman himself, perched above all. A man with a gong always headed the way; there was a driver to every five animals. In the sandy bed of the river at one place a caravan was resting. Their packs were piled in parallel rows; their horses browsed on the hillside. I counted 107 horses in this one caravan.

The prevailing pathological feature of the Chinese of Western Yunnan is the deformity goitre. It may safely be asserted that it is as common in many districts as are the marks of small-pox. Goitre occurs widely in Annam, Siam, Upper Burma, the Shan States, and in Western China as far as the frontier of Thibet. It is distinctly associated with cretinism and its interrupted intellectual development. And the disease must increase, for there is no attempt to check it. To be a "thickneck" is no bar to marriage on either side. The goitrous intermarry, and have children who are goitrous, or, rather, who will, if exposed to the same conditions as their parents, inevitably develop goitre. Frequently the disease is intensified in the offspring into cretinism, and I can conceive of no sight more disgusting than that which so often met our view, of a goitrous mother suckling her imbecile child. On one afternoon, among those who passed us on the road, I counted eighty persons with the deformity. On another day nine adults were climbing a path, by which we had just descended, every one of whom had goitre. In one small village, out of eighteen full-grown men and women whom I met in the street down which I rode, fifteen were affected. My diary in the West, especially from Yunnan City to Yungchang, after which point the cases greatly diminished in number, became a monotonous record of cases. At the mission in Tali three women are employed, and of these two are goitrous; the third, a Minchia woman, is free from the disease, and I have been told that among the indigenes the disease is much less common than among the Chinese. On all sides one encounters the horrible deformity, among all classes, of all ages. The disease early manifests itself, and I have often seen well-marked enlargement in children as young as eight.

Turn any street corner in any town of importance in Western Yunnan and you will meet half a dozen cases; there must be few families in the western portion of the province free from the taint.

On a day, for example, like this (May 5th), when the road was more than usually mountainous, though that may have been an accident, my chairen was a "thickneck" and my two soldiers were "thicknecks." At the village of Huang-lien-pu, where I had lunch, the landlady of the inn had a goitrous neck that was swelled out half-way to the shoulder, and her son was a slobbering-mouthed cretin with the intelligence of an animal. And among the people who gathered round me in a dull, apathetic way every other one was more or less marked with the disease and its attendant mental phenomena. Again, at the inn in a little mountain village, where we stopped for the night, mother, father, and every person in the house, to the number of nine, above the age of childhood was either goitrous or cretinous, dull of intelligence, mentally verging upon dementia in three cases, in two of which physical growth had been arrested at childhood.

Rarely during my journey to Burma was I offended by hearing myself called "Yang kweitze" (foreign devil), although this is the universal appellation of the foreigner wherever Mandarin is spoken in China. Today, however, (May 6th), I was seated at the inn in the town of Chutung when I heard the offensive term. I was seated at a table in the midst of the accustomed crowd of Chinese. I was on the highest seat, of course, because I was the most important person present, when a bystander, seeing that I spoke no Chinese, coolly said the words "Yang kweitze" (foreign devil)- I rose in my wrath, and seized my whip. "You Chinese devil" (Chung kweitze), I said in Chinese, and then I assailed him in English. He seemed surprised at my warmth, but said nothing, and, turning on his heel, walked uncomfortably away.

I often regretted afterwards that I did not teach the man a lesson, and cut him across the face with my whip; yet, had I done so, it would have been unjust. He called me, as I thought, "Yang kweitze," but I have no doubt, having told the story to Mr. Warry, the Chinese adviser to the Government of Burma, that he did not use these words at all, but others so closely resembling them that they sounded identically the same to my untrained ear, and yet signified not "foreign devil," but "honoured guest." He had paid me a compliment; he had not insulted me. The Yunnanese, Mr. Warry tells me, do not readily speak of the devil for fear he should appear.

On my journey I made it a rule, acting advisedly, to refuse to occupy any other than the best room in the inn, and, if there was only one room, I required that the best bed in the room, as regards elevation, should be given to me. So, too, at every inn I insisted that the best table should be given me, and, if there were already Chinese seated at it, I gravely bowed to them, and by a wave of my hand signified that it was my pleasure that they should make way for the distinguished stranger. When there was only the one table, I occupied, as by right, its highest seat, refusing to sit in any other. I required, indeed, by politeness and firmness, that the Chinese take me at my own valuation. And they invariably did so. They always gave way to me. They recognised that I must be a traveller of importance, despite the smallness of my retinue and the homeliness of my attire; and they acknowledged my superiority. Had I been content with a humbler place, it would quickly have been reported along the road, and, little by little, my complacence would have been tested. I am perfectly sure that, by never verging from my position of superiority, I gained the respect of the Chinese and it is largely to this I attribute the universal respect and attention shown me during the journey. For I was unarmed, entirely dependent upon the Chinese, and, for all practical purposes, inarticulate. As it was, I never had any difficulty whatever.

Chinese etiquette pays great attention to the question of position; so important indeed, is it that, when a carriage was taken by Lord Macartney's Embassy to Peking as a present, or, as the Chinese said, as tribute to the Emperor Kienlung, great offence was caused by the arrangement of the seats requiring the driver to sit on a higher level than His Majesty. A small enough mistake surely, but sufficient to mar the success of an expedition which the Chinese have always regarded as "one of the most splended testimonials of respect that a tributary nation ever paid their Court."

On the morning of May 7th, as we were leaving the village where we had slept the night before, we were witnesses of a domestic quarrel which might well have become a tragedy. On the green outside their cabin a husband with goitre, enraged against his goitrous wife, was kept from killing her by two elderly goitrous women. All were speaking with horrible goitrous voices as if they had cleft palates, and the husband was hoarse with fury. Jealousy could not have been the cause of the quarrel, for his wife was one of the most hideous creatures I have seen in China. Throwing aside the bamboo with which he was threatening her, the husband ran to the house, and was out again in a moment brandishing a lone native sword with which he menaced speedy death to the joy of his existence. I stood in the road and watched the disturbance, and with me the soldier-guard, who did not venture to interfere. But the two women seized the angry brute and held him till his wife toddled round the corner. Now, if this were a determined woman, she could best revenge herself for the cruelty that had been done her by going straightway and poisoning herself with opium, for then would her spirit be liberated, ever after to haunt her husband, even if he escaped punishment for being the cause of her death. If in the dispute he had killed her, he would be punished with "strangulation after the usual period," the sentence laid down by the law and often recorded in the Peking Gazette (e.g., May 15th, 1892), unless he could prove her guilty of infidelity, or want of filial respect for his parents, in which case his action would be praiseworthy rather than culpable. If, however, in the dispute the wife had killed her husband, or by her conduct had driven him to suicide, she would be inexorably tied to the cross and put to death by the "Ling chi," or "degrading and slow process." For a wife to kill her husband has always been regarded as a more serious crime than for a husband to kill his wife; even in our own highly favoured country, till within a few years of the present century, the punishment for the man was death by hanging, but in the case of the woman death by burning alive.

Let me at this point interpolate a word or two about the method of execution known as the Ling chi. The words are commonly, and quite wrongly, translated as "death by slicing into 10,000 pieces" - a truly awful description of a punishment whose cruelty has been extraordinarily misrepresented. It is true that no punishment is more dreaded by the Chinese than the Ling chi; but it is dreaded, not because of any torture associated with its performance, but because of the dismemberment practised upon the body which was received whole from its parents. The mutilation is ghastly and excites our horror as an example of barbarian cruelty; but it is not cruel, and need not excite our horror, since the mutilation is done, not before death, but after. The method is simply the following, which I give as I received it first-hand from an eye-witness: - The prisoner is tied to a rude cross: he is invariably deeply under the influence of opium. The executioner, standing before him, with a sharp sword makes two quick incisions above the eyebrows, and draws down the portion of skin over each eye, then he makes two more quick incisions across the breast, and in the next moment he pierces the heart, and death is instantaneous. Then he cuts the bod) in pieces; and the degradation consists in the fragmentary shape in which the prisoner has to appear in heaven. As a missionary said to me: "He can't lie out that he got there properly when he carries with him such damning evidence to the contrary."

In China immense power is given to the husband over the body of his wife, and it seems as if the tendency in England were to approximate to the Chinese custom. Is it not a fact that, if a husband in England brutally maltreats his wife, kicks her senseless, and disfigures her for life, the average English bench of unpaid magistrates will find extenuating circumstances in the fact of his being the husband, and will rarely sentence him to more than a month or two's hard labour?