Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/141

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CHAPTER V

ON THE MANDARIN ROAD

FOR once the sun was shining gloriously as we descended the one long street of Ta-Shu-p'u, lined with food-shops, to the ferry across the Ta Tu Ho, here about six hundred feet wide. Unlike the crossing of the Yangtse at Lung-kai, where we were the only ones to be ferried over, we found ourselves here in a crowd of coolies and ponies impatiently waiting their turn, for we were now on a main travelled road. The two great flat-bottomed boats were loaded to the brim, and the crossing was safely accomplished to the tune of much shouting and kicking (by the ponies). Sitting at ease in my chair I enjoyed the grand views up and down the river, which here swings out from the cliffs in a splendid curve. Above and below the ferry the Ta Tu runs through a wild, little-known region. Few trails cross the precipitous mountains that hem in its turbulent waters, which are navigable for short distances only by timber rafts, and even on these the dangers of the journey are so great that the owners of the timber are expected to bind themselves to provide coffins in case of a fatal accident.