Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/55

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27
DAYS IN YUNNAN-FU

For half a century Yunnan has known little peace. Twenty years long the terrible Mohammedan rebellion raged, and the unhappy province was swept from end to end with fire and sword. Marks of the devastation of that time are everywhere visible. Hardly had it been put down when the war with the French in the eighties again involved Yunnan. Later came the outbreak of the tribesmen, while the Boxer movement of the north found a vigorous response here. Bloodshed and disorder have given the country a set-back from which it is only beginning to recover.

But the coming of the railway has brought fresh life to Yunnan, and the prospects for the future economic development are very promising. In the capital there were many signs of a new day. The Reform movement had taken good hold in this remote corner of the empire. A hospital with eight wards and under Chinese control was doing fine work. Schools were flourishing, and there was even a university of sorts. The newly organized police force pervaded the whole place and was reputed quite efficient. But it was the new military spirit that most forced itself upon you; you simply could not get away from it. Bugle practice made hideous night and day. Everywhere you met marching soldiers, and the great drill ground was the most active place in the town. Dread of the foreigner underlies much of the present activity and openmindedness towards Western ideas. The will-