Puslapio vaizdai

posure to the sun. After this they are taken to the oil mills and more thoroughly dried in ovens, after which they are crushed and submitted to the press, where the oil is extracted. This oil is used in cooking, for dressing the hair, and also for medicinal purposes, and is sold for about five cents per pound. As soon as the nuts are gathered the new flowers begin to open, and the young fruit is well set before winter comes on. The country, as we passed through it in the clear October days, had a wonderfully fresh and clean look. No haze, no smoke, no sign of wear and tear on the hills, but, springing from their luxurious dew bath of the night into the exhilarating sun bath of the day, they had a most charming look of being freshly washed and cleansed. It was luxury to look at them, and new life to inhale the pure, sweet air wafted from them by the bracing north wind.

Owing to rapids and dams, over some of which the water falls three feet in one plunge, the boat makes slow progress and allows time for hurried excursions to the tops of prominent hills to catch views of distant scenes. On the side of one of these hills is a small temple called "the monastery of the Lofty Peak," which is remarkable for the magnificent sweet olive (olea fragrans) tree, growing in front of it. This tree, which is nearly forty feet high and of beautiful proportions, was completely covered on all sides with masses of most fragrant flowers. A short distance up the river, a little stream comes in from the west. It flows down through the small plain of Po-on, in the centre of which is a market town of the same name. Surrounded by a number of villages. At the eastern entrance of this plain is a large hill, conical as seen in one direction and pyramidal as looked at from another, obstructing the way, so that the little stream flows on one side and the foot path encircles its base on the other. On the eastern slope, which was covered with grass, were herds of small cattle feeding. Po-on, two miles from the river, is a walled town, an important market centre, with several bridges across the small streams that unite in front of it. One of these bridges is a wooden structure composed of thin boards loosely laid on bamboo poles, tied down in places by bamboo thongs, which make an incessant rattle as people pass over it. The bridge was purposely so constructed, on the supposition that this peculiar rattling noise is most pleasing to the spirits of the stream. If spirits have ears and delight in such noises, they must enjoy a rare treat on market days when thousands of hurrying feet keep up an incessant racket and din most irritating to the nerves of ordinary mortals. The chief attraction at Po-on is the Fuk-shan grove and monastery about half a mile north of the town. It is one of the most attractive spots to be found in the whole

country, situated as it is, in a small ravine and surrounded by thick woods about two hundred acres in extent. Oak, camphor, chestnut, holly and other trees cover the sides of the valley, some of them growing to immense size, making it deliciously cool. The trees and shrubs are festooned with hanging moss, falling in long streamers that sway in the breeze, often striking against the face as we walk along. The change of atmosphere is felt immediately on entering the shaded path, the delightful coolness being all the more grateful after the heat of the treeless plain outside. The stones and the trunks of the trees are mossgrown. From the moist earth beside the paths spring beautiful flowers of a kind unseen before. The trees are full of birds, and on the upper slopes are many springs of living water that supply an unceasing stream for the little brook that flows away through the plain. Ferns grow luxuriantly, and the sweet olives, here in their native soil, attain a height and proportion not seen in the south of the province. They are noble trees forty or fifty feet high, with a larger and more vigorous foliage, and a richer profusion of flowers exhaling a sweeter and more abiding fragrance. So abundant are they that in the season the poor grass-cutters on the hills, women and boys, are provided with large bunches of them, tied on their bundles of grass or bound around their heads. No more charming retreat have I seen in which to escape, for a short time, the heat and worry of Canton, than this sylvan glen with its mainfold attractions. In the open space in the midst of the woods is a collection of temples, neither striking in architecture nor well preserved. A few priests reside here, Buddhism and Taoism flourishing side by side. In the lower part of this enclosure is the remarkable spring, from which the place is named, enclosed by a stone railing, about five feet square. The water rises out of a rock on which the character (happiness) is traced. It comes up in a stream about as thick as a man's wrist through an orifice in the upper left-hand corner, flows through a shallow channel worn in the rock following the strokes of the character and, having faithfully traced this significant word, disappears through an opening in the rock at the lower side. It is difficult to say how much of this is natural and how much artificial, but the people hold it in great reverence and ascribe it directly to supernatural agency. It is supposed to have a peculiar connection with and a special influence over the clouds. In the Spring of last year the prefect of Lien-chow came to this shrine to pray for rain, and so timed his visit that abundance of rain followed his supplication. Returning to the river we continue up its stream, and are soon amidst lofty hills again. A swift current means slow progress, but the time is never irksome with these fine hills for company. Among the steep hills on

the right are the remains of a settlement of the Iu

people. Some

years ago thirty families of these people came from the distant mountains and founded a little colony here, but either the space was too small, or the soil too sterile, or the Chinese harassed and defrauded them, so that they could not support themselves, and returned to their former homes. The ruins of their cabins can be seen, and the trees they planted, mostly wood, oil and peach trees, now well grown. Their land has fallen into other hands, and a small boy from the place, with a supply of fire-wood, showed a most precocious cleverness in bartering with the boat-men. A short distance above this point we come to a full stop at the foot of the "Gander" rapid (Z), the longest, the swiftest and most difficult to ascend of all the rapids yet encountered. The water, inclined to spread over a wide surface, has been confined into a narrow channel by two long stone embankments. It falls in one continuous descent about three hundred yards, the sound of the rushing torrent being like the roar of a cataract. No boat with its ordinary crew can make the ascent, so that it becomes necessary to unite the crews of several on one. Before attempting the task, the boat-men all sacrifice at the little altar near the water, presenting offerings of pork and fowls with incense and waxcandles. Having safely passed this raging stretch of rampant water we enter a fine gorge through which the river winds in several curves, between bold and picturesque hills covered with a great variety of trees and shrubs. On the rough sides of the hills are many quaint and grotesque shapes in the rock. At one point on the top of a low, but steep, walled cliff is a grove of peach trees, said to produce superior fruit of the cling-stone variety. Emerging from this, the last pass on the river, we come into a rolling country, low hills near the river and high mountains to the east. The river becomes more sinuous even than below, almost doubling on its track in places. Swinging around one of these curves we come abreast of the market town of Ma-po Shui , built on a bluff on the river bank, above a pool of great and uncertain depth. In the valleys adjacent are many villages, and in the town a thriving business is done in pea-nuts especially, twelve large manufactories pouring out rivers of oil. Beyond the hills that line the river are many attractive valleys, those to the right being especially noted for their wonderful camellia groves, thousands upon thousands of these shrubs covering the hill sides with a glistening mantle of darkgreen foliage. A short distance above Ma-po Shui, we find a remarkable hill full of caves. On the river side may be seen the entrances of four, one very large, revealing a black, mysterious interior. On the other side, for the hill is an isolated rocky cliff of limestone formation, there are still more to be seen. We explored several of them. The

largest with an entrance way full fifty feet in diameter, and about two hundred above the plain, we found to descend into the heart of the hill. Not being furnished with lights we could not go to the end, but a strong current of air coming out indicated the existence of another opening. As we entered another near the base of the hills we found the air rushing in and concluded it must be connected with the one above. A third that we explored was like a tunnel, narrow and low-roofed, but with walls of finer texture than marble carved by hand. The formation in these caves is very beautiful, white and glistening, falling in rich and graceful folds, looking like fleeces of the softest wool.

For some distance we have had glimpses of the high range of mountains extending to the north-east. All the intervening hills dwindle into insignificance before their grand proportions. The clouds rest continually on the higher peaks, only lifting occasionally to show us their full outline. We are perhaps twenty miles from their base. From every point in the winding stream the eye instinctively searches them out and rests upon them with a satisfied feeling, induced no doubt by their magnitude and solemn repose. They change with every hour of the day. The roseate hue of the early dawn tinges them with a color and lights up their dark-green sides with a beauty all its own. In the increasing light, which reveals their form more distinctly, showing here and there the rude gash of some landslide, or the glaring white surface of some crystalline rock, or the sparse covering of trees on the upper slopes, much of the subtle charm and mellowness disappears. The cloud shadows cast by the noon-day light flit dreamily over their sides, soothing us into content, but this charm is sometimes broken by the shimmer of heat rays, which blinds us as we look. As the day declines, their charms return, and as the rich purple hues of evening spread their royal mantle over the wide expanse, a mysterious chain, woven by unseen hands, draws us toward the great mountains and the human spirit is brought into sympathy and communion with the Divine Spirit through these noble works of His hands. The eye never wearies in its gaze, until the veil of mystery grows thicker with the deepening shadows and the darkness falling shuts out the vision from our sight, but not from our mind, where it continues to live and repeat itself in after days, the halo of distance and lapse of time only softening its charms. As we draw near, the mountains that have attracted us assume more definite shape. We see them to be a detached group of unique formation and not the dividing range between this and the adjoining province, as we had supposed. As their outline becomes better defined, certain features are seen more clearly. White surfaces here and there indicate the kind of rock, marble perhaps, to be found, A waterfall

of grand proportions is seen pouring its white, foaming stream down one of the many ravines, the peculiar swaying motion of the falling volume of water and the clouds of dashing spray being distinctly observed at a distance of eight miles or more, attesting the appropriateness of the name "White Water" (7) given to it by the natives. Reserving the best for the last, we turn aside from these mountains, with their incomparable cataract, to the scenes more close at hand. We are nearing the end of the journey by boat and are asked to observe, as we proceed, the dams in this part of the river, and certainly they are worth a moment's notice, They are solid stone barriers built across the stream, with an opening seven feet wide for the boats. Thirteen of these occur in the last five miles, and, though much more expensive in the beginning than the ordinary structures made of pine piles and drift wood, they show an immense economy in the end, by resisting all the floods that annually visit this region, tearing out the wooden dams so laboriously built and bringing misery alike upon farmers, boat-men and merchants. We pass the Sing-tsz Pagoda, standing seven storeys high on the top of a small barren hill, its upper part much shattered by a stroke of lightning received a few years ago. Several stone bridges, really admirable structures, mark the upper part of this stream. At the head of navigation is Sing-tsz, 7, "Child of the Stars," the most important town we have seen since leaving Lien-chow. It is the official residence of the Fan-chow, , and the centre of a populous region, from twenty to thirty villages being attached to the market town. Its large, permanent trade is increased by the throngs that come to the market every fifth day. The dialect spoken varies considerably from that of Lien-chow, as does that of Tung-pi, and that of Po-on. The local patois of these four places, Lien-chow, HH, Tung-pi,, Poon, and Sing-tsz, 7, have a common ground work, and are alike in general characteristics, but differ greatly in many points, making it easy for those who are familiar with them to detect a man by his peculiar speech, I may say at this point that through all these regions the people have treated us with unvarying friendliness. The first demonstration of hostile feeling on their part has yet to be made.


At Sing-tsz the river divides into two smaller branches, these dividing again into brooks, several of which we can trace to their sources in The first of these primary streams on the west flows out of a remarkable cave at the foot of the dividing range. It is called the "Black Cave" from the color of the rocks. It is apparently very extensive, the stream of water, a never-failing one, making it difficult to explore. The stream was only a few inches deep in the interior of the cave at the time of our visit, a deep pool however obstructing the

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