AFTER the toilsome life of the last three months it was good to look forward to ten days or so of laziness, for surely river travel may be the most luxurious of any sort of journeying, and even a humble native boat on the Yangtse affords many delights. You make yourself comfortable with your own bed and chair, stop at your pleasure, go as you choose, without hurry and without noise through charmingly varied scenery, now soft and cultivated, now wild and grand.
My own little apartment occupied the middle of the boat, screened off with mats and curtains from the ends occupied by the boat people and my men, and though it was necessarily a thoroughfare, my privacy was always respected and no one attempted to enter without permission. By an ingenious arrangement of the mat roof I could lie at ease on my camp-bed and watch the shores slip past, but toward evening when the sun was setting, I often sat out on the extreme prow of the boat where I could enjoy the full sweep of the view up and down. Liu, the cook,