Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/162

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118
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

which flows the Tarchendo, and with a rough scramble we dropped down into the pretty little village of Wa Ssu Kou, the "Ravine of the Tile Roof Monastery." At the extreme western end of the one long street we found comfortable quarters in a new, clean inn. Like so many of these villages of wood with shingled roofs, Wa Ssu Kou seems to burn down once in so often, which has at least the advantage that there is less chance for dirt to accumulate.

Strolling out from the inn after a wash, I found myself in the fine gardens that border the river, separated from the water, here level with the bank, only by a narrow strip of shingle. Men and women were hard at work even after nightfall. Each plant is brought up by hand, as it were, and there is no waste of fertilizer; by spoonfuls the precious stuff is applied to each root instead of being scattered over the ground. Just across the river towered a precipitous cliff two thousand feet high, quite overshadowing the village, which looked very small and helpless by contrast. Up the face of the cliff zigzagged a steep trail, finally disappearing over the top, and I looked longingly after it, for on this side the river direct Chinese government ends. The other bank is the country of the tribesmen, people of Mantzu stock living under the rule of their tribal chiefs. Northwards from Wa Ssu Kou the Ta Tu changes its name to Chin Ch'uan, or "Golden Stream," and