Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/264

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206
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

said it was all due to me; the people were afraid to steal from a foreigner.

Three days after leaving Chia-ting, we came in sight of Suifu, most picturesquely set on a rocky slope at the junction of the Min and the Yangtse. But how changed was the Great River since I crossed it at Lung-kai, four hundred miles to the west. There it dashed furiously along, dammed in between precipitous cliffs and fretted to foam by rocky reefs. Now it flowed broad and deep and quiet between soft wooded banks, bearing many craft on its strong current.

The streets of the prosperous city of Suifu, the starting-point of all overland traffic to Yunnan, are broad and attractive, and there was a great display of fruit and vegetables in the open shops, but it needs much faith in the cleansing power of boiling to overlook the sights of the river front where vegetables and feet are washed side by side, while as to the fruit, that had been gathered green, as is so often the case in China, why I could not learn. Some said the Chinese preferred it so, others that if it were kept on the trees it would be stolen long before it ripened. But to tell the truth, the goodness of Chinese fruit seems to be all on the outside. I never saw finer-looking peaches than in Szechuan, but they proved worm-riddled and tasteless. Apparently all that the Chinese can teach themselves has been learned, in fruit-grow-