Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/85

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51
ACROSS YUNNAN

along the great western trade route, and we met scores of people hurrying towards the capital, mostly coolies carrying on their backs, or slung from a bamboo pole across their shoulders, great loads of wood, charcoal, fowls, rice, vegetables. Every one was afoot or astride a pony, for there was nothing on wheels, not even a barrow. The crowd lacked the variety in colour and cut of dress of a Hindu gathering; all had black hair and all wore blue clothes, and one realized at once how much China loses in not having a picturesque and significant head covering like the Indian turban. But the faces showed more diversity both in hue and in feature than I had looked for. In America we come in contact chiefly with Chinese of one class, and usually from the one province of Kwangtung. But the men of Yunnan and Szechuan are of a different type, larger, sturdier, of better carriage. It takes experience commonly to mark differences in face and expression among men of an alien race, and to the Asiatic all Europeans look much alike, but already I was discerning variety in the faces I met along the trail, and they did not seem as unfamiliar to me as I had expected. I was constantly surprised by resemblances to types and individuals at home. One of my chair coolies, for example, a young, smooth-faced fellow, bore a disconcerting likeness to one of my former students. But fair or dark, fine-featured or foul, all greeted me in a friendly way,