Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/289

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GREAT RIVER TO GREAT WALL

low hills, thus happily excluding all evil influences, but it is open to the good, that always come from the south. So from a Chinese point of view its location is entirely satisfactory, but a European might think it was dangerously near the frontier for the capital city of a great state. Years ago Gordon's advice to the Tsungli Yamen was, "Move your Queen Bee to Nanking." And just now the same thing is being said, only more peremptorily, by some of the Chinese themselves. But for the moment lack of money and fear of Southern influences have carried the day against any military advantage, and the capital remains where it is. Perhaps the outsider may be permitted to say she is glad, for Nanking could never hope to rival the Northern city in charm and interest.

The most wonderful thing in Peking is the wall. That is what first holds your attention, and you never for a moment forget it. There it stands, aloof and remote, dominating the city it was set to defend, but not a part of it. Huge, massive, simple, it has nothing in common with the gaudy, over-ornamented, unrestful buildings of the Chinese, and as you enter its shadow you seem to have passed into a different world.

Often before breakfast I climbed to the top of the wall beyond the Water Gate for a run with Jack before the heat of the day set in. It was a glorious place for a morning walk. The wall is some forty