Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/114

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78
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

foreigner is held. I checked them vigorously at the time, and before the next morning's start I called them up, and with the aid of the interpreter harangued them to the effect that I was pleased to see that they knew how to use their guns, and if need came I hoped they would give a good account of themselves in China's defence, but in the mean time they should be very slow to use their weapons on men or beasts, and if I saw them do it while they were with me they would get no "wine money." The soldiers took my orders very meekly, and the bystanders (there are always bystanders in China) grinned approvingly.

The first two marches out from Hui-li led over the range into the Anning valley, a high, rocky trail without much vegetation for the most part, but after we struck the river, cultivation was almost continuous, one hamlet following fast on another. This part of the valley is available for irrigation, and the skill and ingenuity shown in making use of the water supply is nothing short of marvellous. At one point we ascended a long, wide, gentle slope all laid out in tiny fields, and well watered from two large, fast-flowing streams. But where did they come from, for the slope ended abruptly in a sharp, high precipice overlooking a gorge through which flowed the Chin Ch'uan, a tributary of the Anning. But on turning a corner at the head of the slope we saw that from high up on the mountain-side an artificial channel had been con-