Puslapio vaizdai

cringing, kow-towing and begging most piteously for it, saying they would die if they did not get it, and without their opium they were to weak to work or to do anything toward getting the boat off. After this was repeated several times, I saw that it was useless to hold out, and returned the lamp to them. In less time than it takes to write this they were down in the bottom of the boat, in the damp musty hold, inhaling the stupefying fumes that soon rendered them oblivious of all outward cares. As the day wore on the tide began to rise. Anxiously we watched it as inch by inch it crept nearer to us. It came within three feet of the boat, the spray from the little wavelets sprinkling the sides, and we thought that in half an hour more our suspense would be ended, and we afloat again. But there it stopped, like the cup of Tantalus, and, remaining stationary for a few minutes, began to recede. We were in despair. The tide had failed us! It was too late to send for help. The captain however assured us that the night would be higher than the day tide, and with this doubtful assurance, we prepared to spend another night at our unique anchorage. Charging the boatmen to keep faithful watch that the propitious moment might not pass unheeded, we retired. Sleep came but lightly to our eyes, and every change within and without was quickly noticed. In the fourth watch we felt the welcome sensation of the boat moving to the force of the incoming tide. Instantly I aroused the boatmen, not one of whom was on the watch and had much difficulty in shaking them out of their opium stupor in time to push the boat off into the deeper water. I told them to go on to the anchorage above and make the boat secure, but they refused, and pushing out into the middle of the stream, they cast two small anchors and went back to their opium. Waking from a brief doze, I felt a peculiar rocking motion in the boat, and looking out saw that we were drifting before the wind. As before, it took some time to arouse the boatmen, and when we began to look about, we found ourselves in a strange place, with both anchors gone, and the boat drifting helplessly we knew not whither. With difficulty they succeeded in pulling the boat to the shore where we made fast and awaited the morning, which showed that we had been swept down several miles into a branch of the main stream, and in a few minutes more would have been dashed against the rocky sides of a dam. It took several hours to recover the distance we had lost.

Three miles beyond Shek-mun the river makes a sharp bend to the right and passing around the eastern extremity of a line of low hills enters its own peculiar country; a country of quiet, rural beauty. The broad plain that opens before us is enclosed on the east by the range of hills of which the White Cloud group is the southern terminal;

and on the west by a range that runs through the Fa district and forms the watershed between this and the streams to the west. To the north rise the higher hills of Tsing-ün (), and east of them the picturesque range in which our river takes its rise. The valley through which it flows in a winding course is full of varied attractiveness. The bamboo groves that line the river, the pine clad hills further back, the grove embowered villages, the neat and well-tilled farms with evident signs of prosperity, make a picture of rural comfort and plenty most pleasing to the eye. The river, originally shallow and rapid, has been improved by dams, which serve the double purpose of irrigating the fields and confining the water into convenient channels for navigation. We are informed on good authority that one hundred and thirty-seven of these dams cross the river from the city of Tsungfa downward. They are all built on the same general plan. A line of pine piles is driven in diagonally across the river, with an opening ten or twelve feet wide for the passage of boats, while at the lower extremity are set immense water wheels, with endless series of bamboo cups which pour the water into a trough that conveys it to the fields. The dams are often built at short distances apart, with the mouths on opposite sides of the river, so that in threading the winding channel, the boats must take a zigzag course, not infrequently descending in order to ascend again. The height over which the water descends is from two to three feet, and in two places nearly four. One of the stiffest on the river is the first we encounter on the way up. I have occasion to remember this dam as I spent a night suspended over it. It was when coming down with the crew of opium-smokers. The captain was steering, and failing to see the proper opening of the dam, he sent the boat, with all the force of the swift current, upon the projecting piles at the side, the bow extending ten feet over, while the stern lay in the water above, and the rushing current strove to twist the boat around and drive the piles up through the bottom, in which case all would have been lost. The position was peculiar, not to say perilous, but the captain complacently assured me that we blocked the way, so that boats could neither go up nor down without first helping us off. Before long the market boats began to descend. The first that approached inquired the state of things and believing the statement of our men, made fast above and did not attempt to come down. The next that came was more persevering, and cautiously feeling its way down, found that there was room enough to pass over the dam, without touching us. As it swept easily down the men called out in no very complimentary language to the boat above to follow their example, which it did. Thus our hope of help from that source


was gone, and all night long we remained there, with the rushing cataract on the one side, six large water wheels in full swing, creaking fearfully as they rolled around, on the other, and the market boats going down with a shout beside us. Fortunately the hulk of our boat was strong enough to resist the unusual pressure, so that morning found us safe, and with the help of three additional boat crews, we were pulled off, and went on our way rejoicing. Besides these water wheels, the people supply their fields with water by means of endless chain pumps, a most convenient arrangement, by which water can be pumped up to almost any height. The pumps, which are portable, consist of an oblong box, in which a continuous chain of wooden-paddles, passes over pulleys at either end, connected with a treadle above, which two men work easily with their feet, a temporary shed, or large umbrella protecting them from the sun, as they pour an endless stream into the trench prepared to receive it. In dry weather scores of these may be seen along the banks of the stream, turning incessant streams of fresh water into the thirsty fields. If the banks are high, two or more are placed above each other, with temporary trenches dug to connect them. The same pumps are used to drain the fish ponds, from which the rich mud accumulated is annually taken to enrich their fields. When the water wheels and pumps fail to carry a sufficient supply of water, resort is had to deep wells. All over the fields may be seen old fashioned well-sweeps an upright post on which is swung a cross-beam, weighted with stones and turf at one end and holding the bucket on the other.

Along the river, as we ascend, are many market towns, where the people gather in large numbers every fifth day, and back from the river the plain is thickly covered with villages many of them very populous. In one of the central towns, Chuk-liu (†) the Presbyterian Mission has a small chapel from which a large section of country is conveniently reached. After sixty miles of winding through the lower section of the valley, the whole way agreeably broken by charming bits of rural scenery, green hills and groves of trees interspersed, the hills become more numerous and striking, covered as they are with vegetation in many places. The fruit orchards are not the least attractive feature in the landscape. Groves of plain trees, with snowwhite blossoms, send volumes of fragrance down the valley in the early spring. The olive trees excel in their magnificent proportions and symmetrical shapes, the most conspicuous being those opposite the market town of Shek-kok. The li-chee are the most plentiful, in many places covering the river slopes of the lower hills, forming extensive and densely shaded tracts. The trees grow in a most compact form, the thick rounded branches almost touching the ground in places.

The delicate pink of the young leaves and the strawberry-like fruit hanging in delicious clusters are most effective in giving beauty to the landscape. Besides these are the pumeloes, usually growing singly or in groups of several, their large white blossoms filling the air with a rich fragrance, and the large ornamental fruit hanging like immense lumps of gold among the green leaves. The hills too are covered with a great variety of wild flowering plants, azaleas, myrtles, roses, melastomas, etc. Leaving hamlets of less note behind us, we pass the large villages of Yeung-tsün () and Páu-u (), which face. each other on opposite banks of the river-the latter celebrated for the capture of a tiger a few years ago, whose skin is carried in triumphal procession on the feast days of the gods-and come to the little market town of Tai-ping-cheung (). Ascending the steep red clay bluff, we call at the London Mission Chapel, and are politely received by the assistant in charge. Thence onward through an ever-changing series of upland scenes, we pass Kwai-tsui (), picturesquely situated on a peculiar cliff that projects into the river in a way to suggest its name "tortoise lip." Loh-kong (M) and Shan-kong () are marked by the fine wooded hills that rise behind each respectively. At the foot of the last hill that conceals the city of Tsung-fa, a prominent pagoda rises from a grove of trees, which were bright with the budding freshness of Spring when we passed. While just beyond is a fine stone bridge composed of great granite slabs, supported by fifteen piers, spanning the little stream. The district city is small and insignificant, but a large and prosperous trade centres in the important town of Kai-hau () half a mile to the east. It is the outlet of a broad, fertile and populous plain that stretches to the east and north. The London Mission has a flourishing station at this place, and a few miles to the east in the village of Shek-hang ( b) is a native Baptist Church, which, after a stormy beginning, seems to have settled down to a quiet, prosperous course.

From this point the river becomes very narrow and difficult to travel as it flows down from the higher mountain regions. It was not however among these hills that our week was spent, but among the less frequented groups beyond the high ridge that hems the valley in on the north. The boat is dismissed and the overland journey begun. From Kai-hau (1) northward the road for ten miles is a broad and pleasant wheel-barrow path, running between fertile fields under perfect cultivation. Broad fields of sugar-cane, pea-nuts, taro, rice, barley, peas, beans, squashes and many other crops flourishing in the rich soil, show that the husbandman labors not in vain. For several miles our eyes have been watching a slight depression in the line of

hills, which develops as we approach into a narrow defile through which the road passes over the mountains, rising gradually for five miles on the south side, and making the descent in two miles on the north side, the highest point attained being about one thousand feet above the plain. In the ascent on the south side the path follows the course of a picturesque mountain stream which almost at the very entrance treats us to the delightful view of several cascades falling with artistic grace over rocky precipices. The first of these, about twenty feet high, falls into a circular basin, deep and clear, where a barrier of rock hems it closely around, except a small opening on one side, whence the water escapes to flow down another fall into a pool of irregular shape and thence over shelving rocks into the ordinary bed of the mountain brook, rushing noisily around boulders that obstruct its way, and scattering perpetual showers of refreshing moisture over the ferns and grasses that hang affectionately over its sides. The defile is called "the Gorge of the Dragon Pool" (H). At the head of the highest fall is an altar erected on the spot that commands the most extensive view of the low lands stretching for leagues to the south. Offerings at this altar are supposed to propitiate the presiding divinity, who is credited with power for good or evil over the fertile plain which he so effectively surveys from his lofty point of look out. Our path continues up the precipitous sides of the narrow defile, with the little stream a hundred feet and more beneath us, flowing alternately in quiet dignity through deep pools and rock bound channels or in noisy dashing down rapids and cataracts and around the grotesque rocks and boulders that rise in its course. The walls along a part of its course are like a piece of solid masonry, the strata of rock being laid horizontally, like great blocks cut out for some massive building with jutting points and parapets as though designed by hand. Several incense mills have utilized the water power by turning the stream into small ducts and leading it to pour its strength into their overshot wheels which direct a set of tilt-hammers that crush into powder the dried branches and leaves of certain fragrant shrubs that grow on the hillsides adjoining. Smaller gorges open into the main defile, presenting a variety of mountain views that more than compensate for the fatigue of the ascent.

A tramp of four miles up the ascending grade brings us to a mountain inn, the only one in the pass. It occupies a well-selected site where several valleys converge. Below it stretches the winding course of the stream we have followed; to the west rises a group of well wooded hills, one especially conspicuous for the fine grove of noble trees that have escaped the wood-man's axe. Immediately in

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