Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/90

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56
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

turesquely on a spur of the mountain. I sat in my chair while the coolies drank tea inside, and a number of children gathered about me, ready to run if I seemed dangerous. Finally one, taking his courage in both hands, presented me with the local substitute for candy,—raw peas in the pod, which I nibbled and found refreshing. In turn I doled out some biscuits, to the children's great delight, while fathers and mothers looked on approvingly. The way to the heart of the Chinese is not far to seek. They dote on children, and children the world over are much alike. More than once I have solved an awkward situation by ignoring the inhospitable or unwilling elders and devoting myself to the little ones, always at hand. Please the children and you have won the parents.

We stopped that night at Chê-pei, a small town lying at an elevation of about six thousand feet. My room, the best the inn afforded, was dirty, but large and airy. On one side a table was arranged for the ancestral family worship, and I delayed turning in at night to give the people a chance to burn a few joss sticks, which they did in a very matter-of-fact fashion, nowise disturbed at my washing-things, which Liu, the cook, had set out among the gods.

Our path the next day led high on the mountainside and along a beautiful ridge. We stopped for an early rest at a little walled village, Jee-ka ("Cock's street"), perched picturesquely on the top of the hill.