Web and Book design,
Copyright, Kellscraft Studio
(Return to Web Text-ures)
Journey to the Snowy Valley and waterfalls Kong-k'how pagoda Adventure with a blind man Elaborate carving A new acquaintance, Mr. A-chang Iron-ore Mountain stream Its rafts and cormorants The temple of the Snowy valley Description of the falls Our dinner and guests How Mr. A-chang enjoys it His lecture on medical botany and lucky spots for graves A Buddhist recluse Continue our journey across the mountains Natural productions Fine variety of bamboo Its introduction to India Romantic glen Arrive at cur boats and bid adieu to Mr. A-chang.
DURING my travels in the province of Chekiang I had frequently heard of some celebrated waterfalls near a place named Seue-tow-sze, or the "Snowy Valley Temple," which is situated amongst the mountains some forty or fifty miles to the south-west of the city of Ningpo. Having not been in this direction, and being anxious to examine the natural productions of these hills, I determined on paying a visit to the falls.
Leaving Ningpo about mid-day, with the first of the flood-tide, a party of English gentlemen and myself sailed rapidly up the river in some small country boats which we had hired for the journey. The country through which we passed, and which may be called the plain of Ningpo, is perfectly level, and is not remarkable for any striking feature; but it is exceedingly fertile and produces large crops of rice, which is the staple food of the inhabitants. It is thickly covered with small towns, villages, and farm-houses; and, like all the fertile plains in China which have come under my observation, it teems with population. As our boatmen went on during the night, we found ourselves next morning at the base of the hills which bound the plain on the south-west, and in the district of Fung-hwa. On one of these hills stands a pagoda named Kong-k'how-tβ, which is visible for many miles, and from which an excellent view of the low country is obtained. Making our boats fast to the river-bank, we stepped on shore and took the first turning which led to the hill on which the pagoda stands. When we reached the summit of this hill, which appeared to be about 1000 feet above the level of the sea, we were rewarded with one of those splendid views which are, perhaps, more striking in the fertile districts of China than in any other country. Beneath us, and stretching to the north and eastward, was the level plain through which we bad passed during the night. The city of Ningpo occupied its centre, and it seemed bounded on all sides, except the north and east, by hills and mountains varying in height from 1000 to 3000 feet while far away to the eastward lay the islands of the Chusan archipelago, studded about in the China Sea. From this pagoda one can count six or seven others, each of which marks the position of some ancient city in the plain, or Buddhist monastery on the hills. Towns and villages were visible in whichever direction our eyes were turned, and every part of the extensive plain appeared to be under cultivation. Indeed industry and perseverance seem to be absolutely necessary in order to make the ground yield food for such a mass of human beings. If the population of the country really amounts to more than three hundred millions and there seems to be no reason to doubt this and taking into consideration that a vast extent of its surface is covered with mountains so barren that they must ever defy all attempts at cultivation, the valleys and other portions of cultivated land would require to be fertile indeed, and to have a nation as industrious and persevering as the Chinese to make the ground productive.
On ascending the hill, and examining its natural productions as I went along, I somehow or other got off the little pathway, and found myself all at once brought up by a fence which seemed to enclose a small monastic building. Inside of this fence there were a number of trees and bushes which seemed worth looking at, and I was also desirous of seeing the little temple itself. Following the fence some way round in the hope of finding an entrance, the ground began to get very rugged, and my progress was greatly impeded. At last I thought there would be no great harm in jumping over the fence, which I could easily do, as it was only four or five feet in height. No sooner did the idea enter my mind than it was put into execution, and I was inside the enclosure in a moment. A number of watch-dogs, which I had disturbed, came running towards me, looking very fierce and making a loud noise. Chinese dogs are generally harmless enough and great cowards, so that in this instance, with a good stout stick in my hand, I felt no alarm whatever, but went quietly on with my botanical researches. In a few seconds an old man, who had been disturbed by the barking of the dogs, came rushing towards me with a stout bamboo in his hand, and looking as if he intended to use it. He was evidently in a towering passion. "Where had I come from?" "What did I want?" "Why had I come over the fence?" were questions which he put loudly and rapidly, interspersing them from time to time with remarks which were not at all flattering to my character or intentions. I knew that I had done wrong, but the offence seemed slight comparatively, and one which a stranger and a foreigner in China might commit without being called to account for it in this boisterous manner. I remonstrated with the old man, commencing in the most polite and approved manner by asking him "if he had had his breakfast?"1 I then told him, when I could get a word in, that I was no thief, that I had merely come to pay him a visit, and that if he treated me so rudely I would go away again. Matters were in this state, when a young man came running up to the old one, smiling and making a low bow to me at the same time. This new actor on the scene whispered a word or two into the old man's ear, one of which sounded very like Hong-mou-jin (foreigner). In the twinkling of an eye his countenance changed, the storm had passed into sunshine, his bamboo was thrown from him, and, clasping the palms of his hands together, he made me a low bow and asked me to forgive him, for he was blind. It was indeed so, and hence the whole cause of the strange, and, to me, unaccountable scene in which I had been one of the actors. I was now surprised at my own blindness in not detecting this before; but the whole thing occurred so suddenly that I had little time for observation.
The old man, now all smiles and good-humour, led me round his garden blind, stone-blind, though he. was and told me the names of his various trees and shrubs, and the uses to which each was applied when it happened that it had any virtues in medicine, or if it "was good for food." I was then led into his house, where I was invited to partake of the usual beverage tea. Remaining for a few minutes to accept his hospitality, I bade him adieu, and joined my companions on the top of the hill.
After inspecting the pagoda we proceeded onwards in our boats to a place called Too-poo-dow, which is a few miles further up the river and as far as it is navigable for boats. We remained here for the night, and made preparations for a land-journey to the Snowy Valley, which we determined to take on the following day. Early next morning, while breakfast was getting ready, we went to see a pretty, small temple called the Sieu-Wang-Meou, which the people told us was well worth visiting. This temple is finely situated on a small hill, having rich woods behind and the river winding past in front, but as a building it is chiefly remarkable for a most elaborately carved stone altar the finest specimen of the kind which I have met with in China. While engaged in examining this curious work of Chinese art, a respectable-looking old man came running breathless into the temple and introduced himself as Mr. A-chang, and told us he was a mandarin or small government officer connected with the temple. A slight glance at his features told us he was no common man. He was most loquacious and particularly civil and obliging; he went all over the edifice with us, explaining, or endeavouring to explain, the elaborate carving of the altar and the various rude pictures which covered the walls. Having a long journey before us, we had little time to spare, and were, therefore, obliged to take a hurried leave of our obliging friend, who told us he would pay us a visit at our boats before we started for the Falls. We had just finished breakfast, when to our surprise the old gentleman presented himself, dressed, and evidently prepared for a journey. "Ah!" said he, "I told you I would see you before you started, and I have made up my mind to go with you and show you the road." As he seemed a most amusing character, and, moreover, was most useful in enabling us to make arrangements with coolies and chair-bearers, we made no objection to his joining our party. And we had no reason to regret the circumstance, for he was invaluable as a guide and afforded a rich fund of amusement. Our coolies being at last engaged and loaded with some few necessaries, and our mountain-chairs all ready, we despatched our boats to another part of the country a place called Ning-kang-jou, some miles further west and on another branch of the river.
About twenty or twenty-five miles south-west from Too-poo-dow there is a beautiful mountain-pass called by the natives Yang-ling. Here, in addition to the common trees of these mountains, the funereal cypress grows in great abundance, and forms a striking feature in the landscape. This part of the country is said by the Rev. Dr. Medhurst to be rich in iron-ore. At a place called Sha-k'he there is an iron-foundry. "The furnace for melting the iron was about five feet high and three feet in diameter, filled to the brim with charcoal and iron-ore. The blast was formed by a rude box-bellows, and at the time we arrived the whole was in a state of operation. We asked them from whence they obtained their iron-ore, and they pointed to the adjoining stream, from the bottom of which they obtained large quantities of black sand, which was for the most part iron. Having melted it in this furnace, and formed cakes of raw iron, about a foot square and an inch thick, they then brought it to the forge, and reduced it to the state of wrought iron, in blocks four inches long by two wide and one thick. This they carried to the market and sold." 2
From Too-poo-dow to the Snowy Valley the distance is about nine or ten miles. Headed by our mandarin friend, and surrounded by hundreds of the natives of both sexes, old and young, we started on our journey. The road, which was a narrow footpath, led us up the valley and every now and then we approached the banks of the stream, which was now quite narrow, shallow, and in some places very rapid. Although no longer navigated by boats, it was still made to serve the purpose of the industrious inhabitants in a number of other ways. Small rafts, made by lashing a few bamboo poles together, were plying about in all directions, bringing the productions of the hills down to Too-poo-dow, where they could be put into boats and so conveyed onwards to the lowland towns for sale. Large quantities of basket-tea, liquid indigo, paper, mats, wood, and such-like hill productions were observed coming down the river in this way. Fish seemed most abundant in the little stream; and as it was now far beyond the influence of tides and clear as crystal, my old friends, the fishing cormorants, were employed in catching large fish for their masters and small ones for themselves.
The valley through which we passed, although in many places very sandy from the effects of the swelling of mountain-streams, was yet generally rich and fertile. On the road, at stated distances apart, were covered resting-places for travellers, where shelter from a storm or shade from the noonday sun might be had by rich or by poor. Little villages and farm-houses were observed clustered about in various directions, and the labourers who were at work in the fields seemed happy and unoppressed. Looking upon a quiet scene like this, one could scarcely believe that a civil war was raging in the country, not a greater distance off than 100 miles, where acts of savage cruelty were daily perpetrated which made one's blood run cold. Yet such was the fact.
After winding up the valley for about six miles we came to the foot of a mountain-pass, and began gradually to ascend. As we reached a higher elevation, the scenery became more varied in appearance than it had been in the plain, and very beautiful. We were surrounded by hills and mountains of every conceivable form, some were peaked, precipitous, and barren, while others sloped gently upwards, and were covered densely with pines and brushwood. Far away down in the valley below us, the little stream, at whose source we had now arrived, was seen winding its way amongst the hills, and hastening onwards to swell the noble river which flows past the city of Ningpo.
When we arrived at the top of the pass we found ourselves at the entrance of the Snowy Valley, which lay a little beyond, and nearly at the same elevation, estimated at about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. This valley is surrounded on all sides by mountains. At one point is the pass which I have just noticed, and at another is an opening for a small mountain-stream, which, as it -leaves the valley, falls over a precipice of rocks into a glen some three or four hundred feet below, and forms the noble falls we had come to see. The temple of the Snowy Valley, an old and dilapidated Buddhist building, occupies the centre or upper end of the valley, and to that we proceeded in order to procure quarters for the night for ourselves and our coolies. Here we found our old Chinese friend ready to receive us, and, with the priests of the monastery, gave us a cordial and hearty welcome. It was now late in the afternoon, within an hour of sunset; but as our baggage had not arrived, we determined to go out and visit the upper part of the falls, reserving the lower or glen view until the following morning. To our surprise, Mr. A-chang who had walked all the way, and who we supposed must be very tired intimated his intention of accompanying us. We therefore set out with him as our guide, and in a few minutes we reached the edge of the valley and heard the noise of the falls. As we followed our guide along a small path, through trees and brushwood, we were scarcely prepared for the view which was about to be presented to our eyes. All at once we arrived at the edge of a precipice, which made us quite giddy as we looked over it. The water rolled out of the valley over the precipice, and long before it reached the bottom it was converted into showers of spray. Far below us was a deep and narrow glen, through which the little stream was quietly meandering after leaving the falls. As we skirted the mountains on the west side of the Snowy Valley we found our progress every now and then arrested by perpendicular rocks such as I have just noticed; and during the rainy season there are several other falls, which, our guide informed us, were not much inferior in beauty to that which we had just visited.
As it was now nearly dark, and rather dangerous work travelling amongst such scenery, we retraced our steps to the old monastery. Here we found our coolies had arrived with our beds and other necessaries, and the cook was busy preparing dinner. When our meal was ready we requested Mr. A-chang to honour us with his company, and all sat down with a full determination to do justice to the viands before us, and for which the long journey and fresh air of the mountains had made us fully prepared. A-chang seemed to relish the dinner English though it was as much as any of us. He ate with knife and fork, tossed off his glass of beer, and took wine with us all round, in the most approved manner. When dinner was over he asked for a cigar and a glass of brandy and water, and evidently intended to enjoy himself for this evening at least. In order to amuse and humour him we proposed his health with "three times three," and made the old temple ring again as we gave him a specimen of our national airs, 'Rule Britannia' and 'God save the Queen.' But the old man was not to be outdone: he returned thanks to us for drinking his health: he recited poetry of his own; sang Chinese songs; and every now and then burst out into a hearty laugh, which we could not help joining in without knowing very well why we did so. The court outside was full of Chinamen, who were evidently enjoying with great zest Mr. A-chang's songs and recitations. Inside, perched upon a chair, sat a young priest, with his eyes fixed upon the bottles on the table. An empty beer-bottle had been given to him at the commencement of dinner, and his whole soul seemed to be bent on getting another. He neither moved, smiled, nor spoke, but looked on in a dreamy manner, and never took his eyes off the bottles. Our attention was drawn to the boy by this singular proceeding, and we desired one of the servants to find another bottle and give it to him, which having been done, the little fellow disappeared for the night.
As we were all rather tired with the day's exertions, we felt an inclination to retire early to rest. We had some difficulty in inducing our mandarin friend to leave us, as he was evidently prepared to "make a night of it;" but as Englishmen have degenerated very much, and cannot imitate now the noisy drunken squires of the olden time, we gave him sundry hints, which he took at last, and left us to our own meditations. We were now shown into a wretched room in which were placed some five or six bedsteads, on each of which was a dirty straw mat, with some straw below it. The mats and straw were removed by our servants, the rude bedsteads were dusted down, and our own clean things then put in order. Retiring immediately our friend left, we were soon sound asleep.
We rose early next morning, and as we were dressing by candle-light we heard the clear, loud laugh of Mr. A-chang, who was already dressed and prepared to conduct us to the glen below the falls. After passing the compliments of the morning, he begged a cigar to smoke as we went along. Leaving the falls on our right hand, we crossed the ridge of hills at the end of the glen and descended on the opposite side. When we neared the bottom we obtained a fine view of the falls in all their grandeur. The rocks over which the water came seemed so precipitous that it scarcely touched them until it nearly reached the bottom, some three or four hundred feet below. As we wandered down the glen, by a little mountain road which ran parallel with the stream, we obtained an excellent view of the rugged and perpendicular cliffs above us. I thought I could discern points of connexion between the two sides of the glen, which proved it to have been formed by some earthquake, or other convulsion of nature, out of a mountain which had been thus rent asunder.
Our guide now astonished us by coming out in a new character. Seeing me pay some attention to the botany of the district, he immediately began to give me a lecture upon the uses of the various trees and herbs we met with. "This," said he, "is the Tung-oil tree, which yields a valuable oil, much used by carpenters; this is the Lew-san tree (Cryptomeria Japonica), valued for its ornamental appearance and fine timber." Seeing a fine species of gentian in full bloom, I asked him whether it was of any value. "Oh, yes," he replied, "it is a valuable medical plant, and is used by the doctors it is an excellent stomachic." And so on he went, explaining to us the uses of almost every plant we met with on the roadside as we went along. "You are a very wise man, you seem to know everything," said I to him, and I was quite in earnest, and intended this for no unmeaning compliment. The old man smiled; he was evidently much pleased, and replied, "I also understand Fung-shwuy (soothsaying); I can tell the proper positions for graves see, here is the compass I employ to find the proper direction." As he said this, he took out of his pocket a mariner's compass, and put it into my hand. He then offered to give me a lesson on his art, for which I expressed my gratitude, and he began in the following way. "This spot," said he, "which you see formed out of the hill-side, and on which some Indian corn has been growing during the past summer, has been selected for a grave." "And why has this particular spot been selected," I asked; "what are its peculiar merits?" "Look around you," said he; "look at the beautiful hills on your right hand and on your left; see the falls in the distance, and the little stream winding quietly down the glen below; change the scene, and carry your eyes to the far-off hills in front of you, where another stream is flowing towards us and joining that which has left the falls; look at the green fields on its banks and the richly-wooded, undulating hills behind; look at all these, and then you will answer your own question." It was, indeed, a lovely spot, and one which did not require the eloquence of Mr. A-chang to make me feel that it was so. On our way up the hill we came to another place, which at first sight appeared equally beautiful; I called his attention to this, and asked him whether it was not quite equal to the last. "Oh, no," he said: "look behind you; don't you see that furrow in the hill which would bring the water down upon the grave? No, no; this place is very well for a rice-field, but it will not answer for a tomb."
Much pleased with our descent into the glen below the falls, we now returned to the temple to make preparations for resuming our journey. While breakfast was getting ready, I paid a visit to the Superior, or High Priest, who had been discovered in a small room or kind of cell by one of our party the evening before. He was in voluntary confinement, and had been in this place for nearly three years. The door of the cell was padlocked on the outside, and he received his food and was communicated with through a hole in the wall. He seemed a respectable-looking, middle-aged man, rather corpulent for a Buddhist priest, and his confinement did not seem to disagree with him. He informed me the time of his voluntary penance would expire in the third month of the following year, and then he would leave his cell and return again to the world. I believe such examples of voluntary penance are not unusual amongst the Buddhist priesthood. I saw another in the old temple of Tein-tung; he was a native of Hang-chow-foo, the capital city of the province. He told me he had already spent nine years of his life in voluntary seclusion, that is, he had been shut up three times, and for three years each time. When I made his acquaintance he was undergoing his fourth three years. This man was a very superior specimen of the Buddhist priesthood, open and frank in his manners, and was much more intelligent than these persons generally are. However much deluded I considered him, I was inclined to believe him sincere.
These recluses are supposed to spend their whole time in prayer, in reading Buddhist books, and in repeating the name of Buddha over and over again continually. A small lamp burns day and night in their cells, and the listener hears the low and monotonous sound of Ameda Buddha, or Nae-mo-o-me-to-fa; and if he looks in upon them through the little aperture in the wall which is used for passing in their food, he will see them either counting their beads as an accompaniment to their devotions, or prostrating themselves before a little altar in the cell.
When a number of these priests are shut up in one cell, it is said that prayer to Buddha, or the repetition of his name, never ceases day nor night. When some become weary and feel the want of sleep, others take their places, and so the work goes continually on and on, until the three years have expired, when the holy men come out again to mix with the world.
Before leaving the temple our party went in a body to the window of the high-priest's cell to thank him for the shelter we had received during the night, and to leave him a small present for the kindness. He seemed much gratified with our attention, and we parted the best of friends, and with a kind invitation to renew our visit in the following year.
Our beds and the few necessaries we had brought with us being packed up, we loaded our coolies and bade adieu to the temple of the Snowy Valley. I have already stated that the valley is estimated at about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. Leaving it by a narrow road on its northern side, we began to ascend another pass, which led us nearly up to the top of the highest mountain-range, and which cannot be less than 3000 feet in height. For several miles our view was entirely bounded on all sides by hills varying in height and form. Every now and then our road led us down into a narrow valley, out of which we had to climb again to the top of another hill of the same elevation as the preceding.
These mountains were but thinly populated; but wherever the soil was at all fertile we found little clusters of farm-houses, whose inhabitants seemed much surprised at our appearance as we passed along. With their wonted politeness and hospitality, they pressed us to enter their houses and partake of the only beverage they had to offer us, which was tea. The tea-bushes were noticed growing plentifully on many of the hill-sides; but the produce in this part of the country is entirely used by the natives themselves, and not made up for the foreign market. Wheat and barley, with various other green crops, are cultivated in winter and reaped in spring or during the early summer months. The summer crops consist of sweet potatoes, two kinds of millet, one of buckwheat, and an excellent variety of Indian corn. A small quantity of rice is also grown in the valleys; but the land capable of producing the crop is not very extensive.
Many of these hills are well wooded. I remarked as we went along good forests of Chinese pine (Pinus sinensis), the Japan cedar (Cryptomeria Japonica), and the lance-leaved fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata). The forests of the Japan cedar and the lance-leaved pine were extremely picturesque and beautiful. The trees generally were young and not remarkable for size, but were growing vigorously, and likely, if allowed to stand for a few years, to make valuable timber. In addition to this consideration, there were a symmetry and grace in the general appearance of these forests which one rarely sees in temperate climates, if we except perhaps the Himalaya mountains. The hemp-palm (Chamζrops sp.) a tree of great importance to the Chinese in a commercial point of view, on account of the sheets of fibre which it produces yearly on its stem also occupied a prominent place on the sides of these mountains; and the graceful mow-chok the most beautiful bamboo in the world was grouped about in wild profusion.
This bamboo I have never met in any other part of the world. In the central and eastern provinces of China it is largely cultivated, particularly on the sides of mountains where the soil is rich, and in the vicinity of temples and other monastic buildings. Its stems are straight, smooth, and clean, the joints are small, it grows to the height of from sixty to eighty feet. Twenty or thirty feet of the lower part of its stem are generally free from branches. These are produced on the upper portion of the tree, and then they are so light and feathery that they do not affect the cleanness of the main stem. In addition, therefore, to the highly picturesque effect it produces upon the landscape, it is of great value in the arts, owing to the smoothness and fineness of its structure. It is used in the making of sieves for the manipulation of tea, rolling-tables for the same purpose, baskets of all kinds, ornamental inlaid works, and for hundreds of other purposes, for which the bamboo found in India is wholly unsuitable.
Like all other species of the same tribe, it grows with great rapidity and perfects its growth in a few months. To use a common expression, "one could almost see it growing." I was in the habit of measuring the daily growth in the Chinese woods, and found that a healthy plant generally grew about two feet or two feet and a half in the twenty-four hours, and the greatest rate of growth was during the night.
The young shoots just as they peep out of the ground are highly esteemed as food, and are taken to the markets in large quantities. I was in the habit of using them as a vegetable every day during the season, and latterly was as fond of them as the Chinese are themselves. Sometimes I had them split up, boiled, and dished by themselves; at other times they were used in soup, like cabbage; and on one occasion Mr. Forbes, the American consul in China, to whom I recommended them, taught me to make an excellent omelette, in which they formed one of the ingredients.
In the south of China, that is about Hongkong and Canton, several kinds of the bamboo are very common. There is a yellow variety with beautiful green stripes, painted on its stems as if done by the hand of a most delicate artist. But all these kinds resemble the Indian varieties, that is, they grow in dense bushes, their stems are not remarkable for their straightness, and the large joints and branches, which are produced on all parts of the stem, give it a rough surface, and consequently render it unsuitable for fine work.
These tropical, jungley-looking bamboos disappear as we go to the more northern latitudes; and in their places we have the mow-chok, already mentioned, the long-sin-chok, the hoo-chok, and one or two others, all with clean stems and feathery branches, suited for the most delicate kinds of work, and all "good for food." These trees are well worth the attention of people who inhabit temperate climates, such as the south of France, Italy, and other parts of the south of Europe. No doubt they would be well worth introduction to some parts of Australia, New Zealand, and the southern portions of the United States of America. In the province of Chekiang the maximum summer heat is from 90° to 100° in the shade, but only a few days in. the months of July and August so high; in winter the thermometer (Fahr.) is rarely so low as 20°. Those interested in this matter may consult my 'Wanderings in China,' and 'Journey to the Tea Countries,' for fuller accounts of the climate of this part of China. With regard to soil and situation, it should be remarked that these trees invariably grow in a rich yellow loam on the slopes of the hills.
I have succeeded in introducing the mow-chok to India, and at no very distant day it may be seen flourishing on the slopes of the Himalaya in the north-western provinces, where the bamboos are very inferior. Several plants were also sent to the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India, and reached Calcutta in good condition.
Amongst the other productions of these highland valleys, the ruellia, formerly noticed, is cultivated extensively for the blue dye which it affords. During the season of its preparation every mountain-stream is coloured and polluted with the refuse liquid drawn off from the tanks, and the stench which fills the air is almost unendurable.
We travelled about thirty le eight or ten miles across these mountains, which brought us to a little village named Le-tsun, where large quantities of the blue dye just noticed are grown and manufactured. This little highland village is situated at the head of a glen which opens by various windings to the plain of Ningpo. As we had other thirty le to go before we reached our boats, we rested ourselves in an old joss-house in order to allow our baggage to come up with us. Here the natives crowded round us in hundreds, evidently delighted to get a view of the far-famed Hong-mou-jins the "red-haired men," of whom they had often heard, but rarely if ever seen. We treated them with great kindness, and, I think, left a good impression upon their minds, which may be of use to future tourists in these mountains.
As we had now no more hills to cross, and as the road was good, we got into our mountain bamboo chairs and took our way down the glen towards the plains. The scenery in this glen is more strikingly beautiful than that in any part of the province which has come under my observation, and reminded me forcibly of what I had seen when crossing the Bohea Mountains. High hills rose on each side of us densely covered with the Japan cedar, weeping junipers, and pines; behind, our view was bounded by high mountains, while in front we got now and then glimpses of an extensive fertile plain, richly wooded near the base of the hills, in a high state of cultivation, and teeming with an industrious and happy people.
We arrived just before dark at Ning-kang-jou, a small
town near one of the sources of the Ningpo river, where our boats were waiting
us. Here we found our old friend Mr. A-chang, who had reached the boats some
few minutes before us. We invited him to dine with us again; and before he left
us we presented him with an English umbrella, a pencil-case, and some few
articles of foreign manufacture which we knew had taken his fancy, and with
which he was highly delighted. With a kind invitation to visit him at his
little temple, should we ever again come that way, he bade us a hearty
1 This is a polite mode of salutation amongst the Chinese, not unlike our own way of making remarks upon the weather. It is related of a loving couple who had been separated for many years, that the first words the wife said to her husband were "Have you had your dinner?"
2 Rev. Dr. Medhurst, in N. China Herald.