Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/233

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177
ACROSS CHENGTU PLAIN

hand; people complained that the new educational system lacked the discipline of the old, and indeed Young China seems to outdo even Young America in self-assurance, and in the spring of 1911 the university was just beginning to recover from the turmoil of a strike of the students for some real or fancied slight by the Government.

And there was more serious trouble afoot. The Szechuan merchants and gentry, wealthy and enterprising, had contributed generously (for China) to the building of a railway connecting the western capital with Wan-hsien and Ichang, but now they were hearing that the money had been squandered and the railway was to be built with foreign capital. It was bad enough to lose their money, but the evil that might come in the trail of the foreigner's money was worse. So people were talking hotly against the new "railway agreement," and it proved in the end the proverbial straw, for three months later the Railway League of Szechuan set in motion the revolution which overthrew the Manchus and the empire.

But these things were still on the knees of the gods, and my stay in Chengtu was altogether delightful, save for the thought that here my out-of-the-way journeying ended. Henceforth I should go by ways often travelled by Europeans. And then I was leaving so much behind. Of my caravan only three would