Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/137

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97
THE CHIEN-CH'ANG

tended to give, about one hundred cash to a man. In the face of this there was nothing for the fu t'ou to do but give to each his rightful share, which he did with a very sulky air. Afterwards I had a talk with the man, telling him that my idea of a good fu t'ou was one who kept the men up to their work, and at the same time did not bully or mulct them of their hard-earned money. Such a man would get a good reward at the end. My reputation for lavishness stood me here in great stead, for henceforth there was no difficulty on this score. I might be "squeezed," but at least my coolies were not. The fu t'ou, however, tried to get even with the man who told, by discharging him. Fortunately I learned of this, again through the interpreter, and put a stop to it. The idea of the squeeze seems to be ingrained in the Chinese. How difficult it is to eradicate was shown by the delight of a missionary at Chung-king over the low price for which his trusty Christian clerk had secured a boat for me. For once he felt sure no commission could have been taken.

During all this part of my trip I carried no coined silver, only rough lumps of bullion of varying size, converting them into cash as I needed. The rate of exchange varied from place to place, and I was sometimes warned to put off visiting the money-changers until the next town. Of course the visitor stands to lose anyway, and I am sure that in the course of a