Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/267

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209
DOWN THE YANGTSE

lish, French, or German gunboats. The relations between all these seem more cordial and helpful than in some treaty ports. So, too, Europeans and Chinese are on an unwontedly friendly footing in Chung-king; perhaps something may be due to the fine standard set in the mercantile community by that pioneer trader, Archibald Little, who boldly established himself here eight years before the town was made a treaty port. And on the Chinese side there seemed readiness to appreciate what the West has to offer; in fact the town has a distinctly go-ahead air. It has already held one commercial exhibition on Western lines, and is planning another, and it is now lighted by electricity, boasting the best plant west of Shanghai, which it sets up against Chengtu's mint and arsenal. There is, in fact, a real Western flavour about the rivalry of the two Szechuan cities, recalling the relations of Chicago and St. Louis.

As a purely trading centre Chung-king lacks some of the interest of the capital, but the merchant class, the backbone of China, is well represented here, and is famed for its intelligence and initiative. Through the kindness of Mr. Warburton Davidson, of the Friends' Mission, I was given a chance to meet members of this class, and also to see something of a very interesting experiment he had recently started. Realizing the importance of making known to this influential element the best that Christian civilization has