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many places — all combine to make a scene sure to be long remembered.
The streets fairly swarm with people all intent upon gaining the little they need to sustain life. A walk through these crowded streets will afford us many novel sights. The cobbler, the fish dealer, the tailor, and the carpenter are all to be seen in their shops working at their several occupations. They seem to be almost upon the street, for their little cupboardlike shops are open to the view of every passer-by.
Paper lanterns, some of them very large and of many different shapes and colors, hang before these shops. If we look closely, we shall see a stick of incense burning in front of each shop. This is an offering to the god of Prosperity, the one deity worshiped by every Chinaman.
Many kinds of trade are carried on in the streets. If a man's jacket needs to be mended, or his shoes repaired, he may easily summon a passing tailor or a cobbler, and, while waiting for the work to be done, he may employ a barber to plait his queue.
In China merchants occupy the lowest rank in the social scale, but they have done more than any other class to make her a powerful nation.
From the shops we turn to study the people thronging the narrow streets. The majority are men with their long queues and blue jackets, looking just like the Wah Lees and Yu Lungs whose laundry shops are to be seen in every city of our own country.
Here comes a sedan chair, and, as the four coolies who bear it pass through the crowd, we can see that the occupant is a richly dressed mandarin.
Coolies bearing great burdens suspended from bamboo poles pass to and fro.
We must not tarry longer in the streets of Shanghai, but go on board the steamer which is to take us up the great Yang-tse-Kiang. As we cross the bar into the main stream, we notice several large vessels anchored just outside the mouth of the river. The Chinese government makes no effort to remove the great quantity of sand and clay which every year is brought down by the river, and for this reason many of the largest vessels cannot come up to the city.
Our journey on the Yang-tse-Kiang will take us through the very heart of Old China, and give us an opportunity to see much of the life of her strange people. We pass many large towns, and at length reach Nanking, the former capital of the Chinese. For many centuries this was one of the largest and most powerful cities in the world. The wonderful porcelain pagoda, the most beautiful monument in all China, once stood here.
Nanking was the capital from 1853 to 1864, and it was during the Taiping rebellion, which occurred at this period, that the porcelain pagoda was destroyed. The army raised to defend foreigners and protect their interests was organized by General Ward, an American adventurer. He was killed during the rebellion. The command then passed to General Gordon, an English officer, whose experiences with the Chinese commanders make a vivid story. In this rebellion General Gordon, , leading The Ever Victorious Army, won great fame. He was afterwards known as “ Chinese Gordon.” The
story of his life is very interesting and should be read by every boy and girl. Several years after the settlement of the war in China he was sent by the English government to take command of the army engaged in fighting against rebellious Arabs in Africa, near the head waters of the Nile. Stationed at Khartoum, he held the place for a long time, but was defeated at last and killed by the fierce followers of the Mahdi.
Nanking is celebrated chiefly for the manufacture of satins. The richly dressed Chinese mandarins and all the wealthy merchants are clothed on state occasions in satins of the most gorgeous colors, ornamented with the figures of dragons woven in gold thread.
A great deal of the beautiful porcelain and china ware for which China is celebrated is made at Nanking.
Outside the walls of the city we see many curious monuments carved in the forms of elephants, camels, and tortoises bearing columns upon their backs. These, we learn, are the tombs of the ancient emperors.
As we sail on up the great river, we find almost as much to interest us on the water as on the shore. We meet strange junks, and other curiously shaped vessels. Perhaps a mandarin boat, covered with gold dragons and other grotesque ornamentations of beasts and birds, may pass. Flags of every color and design, together with gorgeous pennants bearing the mandarin's name and titles, fly from the top of the cabin.
All Chinese boats have one interesting feature in common-an eye painted on the bow. The ingenious Chinaman says, by way of explanation, “No got eye, no makee see; no makee see, no can go.'
The simple-minded Celestial has strange ideas about the size of ships. He firmly believes that the number of masts determines the size of any vessel, and that a small three-masted gunboat is much larger than a huge two-masted ironclad. * Him very big ship,” says Ah Sin, “ three piecee bamboo stick have got.
We are now approaching one of the great tea districts of China, and find at Hankow the center of the tea trade. Most of the tea used in Russia and Siberia is carried by camels over the famous caravan route through central Asia. This is the longest caravan route in the world.
As the cost of transporting it is so great, the tea is selected and compressed into solid " bricks," from which
fact comes the name “brick tea.” There are several large factories at Hankow for making “ brick tea.”
We shall find it an interesting experience while at Hankow to visit a duck farm. The breeding of ducks and fishing are important occupations of the people along the river; for on the low land, so liable to floods, but little can be grown.
There must be thousands of ducks raised on some of these farms near Hankow. It
may be thought a simple thing to manage a duck farm, but the patient Chinaman exhibits no little skill in its care.
A large shed stands near the river, in which the ducks are sheltered at night. The farmer also stays here to protect his interests from all harm. Early in the morning the door is opened and out run the ducks into the river, where they feed all day. As sunset approaches, they come from all directions, and it is amusing to see them scramble one over the other to get into the shed.
The reason is soon made clear. By the door sits the Chinaman, a long cane in his hand, and woe to the last duck to enter, for down on its back falls the unsparing rod. This is a daily lesson in punctuality!
We shall be amused if we meet one of these farmers driving his flock of ducks to market. Seated in his boat, he soon gathers lis flock together and then drives them before him.
If any of the ducks swim away to either side, the farmer quickly overtakes them and, with the long bamboo pole they know so well, he brings them into line again.