Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/68

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38
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

with it at any price. So I carried it some two thousand miles farther, to Hupeh itself. But even there it was not willingly accepted. In the railway offices at Hankow not more than forty cents would be received in small coins. If your ticket cost $10.50, you paid for it in unbroken dollars, giving the railway a chance to unload some of the undesirable change upon you. In the end I found myself reduced to peddling twenty-cent pieces among friends and friends of friends. For small change on my journey I carried rolls of copper cents, while the cook festooned himself with long ropes of copper "cash," about twenty to the American cent.

By the arrangement of the Foreign Office two soldiers were detailed to escort me across Yunnan. It is by the wish of the officials rather than at the traveller's request that this escort is given. The Chinese have learned through an experience not wholly to our credit that injury or even annoyance to the European may bring a punishment quite out of proportion to the harm done; so to avoid difficulties the official is inclined to insist upon sending soldiers with the foreigners passing through his district, and the traveller as a rule perforce accepts the arrangement. If he refuses, he will find it more difficult to secure redress for any loss or in jury suffered. For my part I did not feel inclined to object. The expense is borne by the Government, save for the customary