Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/76

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44
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

how to wear them, cheap even though not durable (they cost only four cents Mexican the pair), and a great safeguard against slipping, they seemed as satisfactory footwear as the ordinary shoes of the better-class Chinese seemed unsatisfactory. Throughout the East it is only the barefooted peasant or the sandalled mountaineer who does not seem encumbered by his feet. The felt shoe of the Chinese gentleman and the flapping, heelless slipper of the Indian are alike uncomfortable and hampering. Nor have Asiatics learned as yet to wear proper European shoes, or to wear them properly, for they stub along in badly cut, ill-fitting things too short for their feet. Why does not the shoemaker of the West, if he wishes to secure an Eastern market, study the foot of the native, and make him shoes suited to his need?

Our order of march through Yunnan varied little from day to day. We all had breakfast before starting at about seven, and we all had much the same thing, tea and rice, but mine came from the coast; the coolies bought theirs by the way. At intervals during the forenoon we stopped at one of the many tea-houses along the road to give the men a chance to rest and smoke and drink tea. Sometimes I stayed in my chair by the roadside; more often I escaped from the noise and dirt of the village to some spot outside, among the rice- and bean-fields, where the pony could gather a few scant mouthfuls of grass while I sat hard-by on