Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/296

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234
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

for you are climbing all the way. And time does not matter, for it is interesting to see what the Chinese can do in railway building and railway managing, all by themselves. The Kalgan-Peking railway was the first thing of the kind constructed by the Chinese, and the engineer in chief, Chang-Tien-You, did the work so well (he was educated in America, one of the group that came in the early seventies) that he was later put in charge of the railway that was to be built from Canton northwards. It seems to be an honest piece of work; at any rate, the stations had a substantial look.

At the grand mountain gateway of Nankow you pass under the Great Wall, which crosses the road at right angles, and as you slowly steam across the plateau on the outer side, you see it reappearing from time to time like a huge snake winding along the ridges. Old wall, new railway; which will serve China best? One sought to keep the world out, the other should help to create a Chinese nation that will not need to fear the world.

My first impression of Kalgan was of a modern European station, and many lines of rails; my last and most enduring, the kindness of the Western dweller in the East to the stray Westerner of whose doings he probably disapproves. Between these two impressions I had only time to gain a passing glimpse of the town itself. It is a busy, dirty place, enclosed