Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/123

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
85
THE CHIEN-CH'ANG

The men that I took on at Ning-yüan were on the whole younger and smaller than the Yunnan men, but they too did their work well. The new fu t'ou was a Chengtu man of a type quite unlike the others, tall, slender, well made, and with decidedly good features. He seemed young for his post, but soon showed himself quite equal to the task of keeping the men up to the mark, and of meeting any difficulty that arose.

To my surprise I was able to buy oil for our lanterns on the street here. One does not think of the Standard Oil Company as a missionary agency, but it has certainly done a great deal to light up the dark corners of China, morally as well as physically, by providing the people with a cheap way of lighting their houses. Formerly when darkness fell, there was nothing to do but gamble and smoke. Now the industrious Chinese can ply his trade as late as he chooses.

I was sorry to say farewell to my kind hosts, but it was good to get away from the trying heat of Ning-yüan plain, all the more oppressive because of the confined limits of the mission quarters set in the heart of the city. The only escape for the missionaries during the hot months was to a temple on one of the surrounding hills. I was glad to learn that land had been secured at a little distance from the present compound for more spacious accommodations. People at home do not realize the difficulty of getting fresh air and exercise in a Chinese town. Walking inside