Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/103

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67
ACROSS YUNNAN

few smoking cigarettes, but thanks to the untiring efforts of the British American Tobacco Company, they are fast becoming known, and my men were vastly pleased when I doled some out at the end of a hard day.

From Ho-k'ou it was a two days' journey to Hui-li-chou, the first large town on my trip. The scenery was charmingly varied. At times the trail led along high ridges with beautiful glimpses down into the valleys, or affording splendid views to right and left, to the mysterious, forbidden Lololand to the east, and to the unsurveyed country beyond the Yalung, west of us, or again it dropped to the banks of the streams, leading us through attractive hamlets buried in palms and bamboo, pines and cactus, while the surrounding hillsides were white or red with masses of rhododendron just coming into flower. Entering one village I heard a sound as of swarming bees raised to the one hundredth power. On inquiry it turned out to be a school kept in a small temple. While the coolies were resting I sent my card to the schoolmaster, and was promptly invited to pay a visit of inspection. It proved to be a private school of some thirty boys and one girl, the master's daughter. They were of all ages from six years upwards, and, I was told, generally stayed from one to five years at school. Instruction was limited to reading and writing, and two boys were called up to show what they could do. To ignorant