Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/152

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110
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

beans for ten cash, dried bean-cake for five, beans cooked and strained to a stiff batter for making soup for seven cash the ounce, while a large square of white bean-cake was sold for one copper cent. A saucer of spun rice or millet, looking much like vermicelli, with a seasoning of vinegar, cost five cash. Bowls of powdered grain mixed with sugar were much in demand. So, too, for those who could afford them, large round cakes at thirty cash for two. Ground pepper (the Chinese are very fond of pepper in any form) was sold at one cash the tiny package, and sugar for three cash the square inch. Almost every coolie had tucked in about his load a large flat cake of coarse corn-meal or maize mixed with water, which he munched as he went along. In Tachienlu, my supply of biscuits having given out, I had my cook buy some of these; split open and toasted, they were not at all bad. Tea, of course, was to be had everywhere; a pinch of tea-leaves in a covered cup and unstinted boiling water cost from five to twenty cash a cup, and most refreshing I found it. On the whole, the food looked attractive, and the fact that whether liquid or solid it was almost invariably boiled must have much to do with saving the people from the legitimate consequences of their sins against sanitary laws. The Chinese have no principles against eating between meals if they can find anything to eat, and there was temptation all along the road. Beside a