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On Travel 

October 15, 1915: “I travel this territory, but not in a Pulman or even in a Ford. My predecessor was fortunate in having a launch up here, but it was needed in Chinkiang so I am left to my own resources. On the great water ways there are occasional steam launches, and Oh, how you would love to spend two days on one of these launches! Two hundred Chinamen packed in a space exactly three feet high like chicken in a crate, this is the third class, and below them, suffocating from the stench of the unwashed gentlemen above them, sit the first and second class passengers in airtight cabins loudly advertising to one’s nose their popularity. You never forget a Chinese launch, you don't smell any thing else for years, except the ambrosial odor of the narrow interminable Chinese streets. But after a while you get used to it and miss it when you go away. You pay what they can get out of you on a Chinese launch or on any sort of conveyance in China. Of course I have a sedan chair, the greatest passenger vehicle of the interior. Foreign chairs are different from Chinese, being without cover, whereas the Chinaman religiously seals himself in with curtain. Chairs are carried by from two to eight men depending upon your class. I have ridden ninety li in a single day in a chair, and always about two miles of riding every day. My chair is carried by four men. Of course there is also the ricksha, the great man-drawn vehicle of the orient, seen every where from Port Said to Yokohama. There are 38,000 rickshas in Shanghai. Up in the interior they do not have rubber tires like they do in Shanghai, Nanking [Nanjing], and Hankow [Hankou], so they are rather a bore. Just as soon as you get away from the Yangtse you use the wheel barrow. Last week, I came all the way from Hwaichen [Huai’an], 45 li, in a wheel barrow. Around here they also travel many miles on donkeys. Climbing out on the Hwang Lu you could probably count several thousand donkeys passing in a day. The nearest railway is the one running to Tientsin [Tianjin] from Puchow [Pukou], and it is about 150 miles from here."

January 16, 1916: “I have been unable to write you for a long time for I have been away in the interior on a trip that will have consumed 26 days when I get back to Tsingkiangpu next Monday. It has been a terrific trip and I have been very cold most of the time for the temperature has been very low. . . .  I have made the trip in a Chinese junk about 30 feet long, and manned of course by a large family, including two babies, who make the night most unpleasant, for Chinese babies can howl just as effectively as any Western breed. In the Yaowan country, the people have not changed a single custom in the last 600 years except that they burn foreign oil that the Standard Oil Company markets, and smoke a horrible brand of cigarettes that the Chinese representatives of the B.A.T. have introduced. They speak a very queer guttural lingo that has a Shantung sound, but is totally different from Tsingkiangpu hua. 

January 16, 1916: “Eight years ago, a foreign missionary, Mr. Patterson, from Sutsien [Suqian] visited Ch’a Ho, a small city off the Yen Ho, but no foreigner had been to the place since then until I struck there, last Saturday. Naturally, there have been many children born since then who have never seen a white man and so, when I went down the main street, I had a crowd of more than 2000 people following me. All activity in the town stopped while the foreign devil went through. Wherever I go in the interior, I have large crowds continually surrounding me, peering over my shoulder to see me write foreign characters, and talk foreign talk, and always plucking at my clothes to see what the cloth is made of, etc. But I never have had such a crowd as surrounded me on the main street of Ch’a Ho. They formed a solid phalanx around me that was like a swarm of ants and the smell of their bodies was stifling. The people in this territory have not seen the simplest symbol of a foreign civilization. I showed an old man my pocket knife, bought in Pittsburgh, and he had never seen one before. Things like foreign paper, cloth, and pencils, they have never seen, except the fractional percent of the population that may have seen them in some other town, further south. They all thought that my shoes were very funny, and, of course, my clothes absurd, and said so.”

May 1916: “I am now on a long inspection trip and have been gone some two weeks already. This time it is a jaunt by native junk, and so is more comfortable than these cross country runs made via chair or wheelbarrow, because there is always a more or less sanitary place to sleep in. The junks are built for freight largely, but some of them have pretty fair passengers’ quarters and are built in three sections. The usual form of Chinese bunk is provided but I always carry a cot because you never can tell what sort of strangers are going to be in the bed. A whole Chinese family and ten coolies, who act as boatmen and pull the boat by a throng across their shoulders, will live aboard a boat the size of this one. The laodah and his family live in a space in the rear of the boat as large as a piano box. The ten coolies live in a hole under the deck in front, 12 by 10 feet actual measurement. At night they pull the cover over the hole, to prevent any of the outside air getting in, and as there are no windows or any other opening but the square hole, they economize on air.”

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