Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/126

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88
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

On my way from Calcutta to Hong Kong there joined us at Singapore the Chinese Consul-General at that place. He was returning with his family to Canton to attend the funeral of his mother. In talk with him I learned that he had been one of that famous group of students who came to America in the seventies, only to be suddenly recalled by the Chinese Government. He had since acted as Secretary to the Chinese Legation in Washington, and was quite at home in Western ways. In his dress he combined very effectively both Chinese and occidental symbols of mourning, his white coat-sleeve being adorned with a band of black crape, while in the long black queue he wore braided the white mourning thread of China. He expected to be at home for some months, and during that time, so he told me, it would be unsuitable for him to engage in any sort of worldly business.

We were now leaving behind the close cultivation of the Chien-ch'ang; the valley grew narrower, hemmed in by higher and more barren mountains, but the wild roses made beautiful every turn. One village that we passed was quite surrounded by a hedge of roses several feet high, and all in full bloom. My second night from Ning-yüan-fu was not much better than the first, for the inn at Lu-ku, a rather important little town, was most uncomfortable; but a delightful hour's rest and quiet on the river bank before entering the town