Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/92

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58
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

their extraordinary adaptability, can stand extremes of heat and cold remarkably well. Hence they are good colonizers, able to work in Manchuria and Singapore, Canada and Panama. But rain they dislike, and a smart shower is a good excuse for stopping. Fortunately for all, the inn was unusually decent. Steps led from the street into an outer court, behind which was a much larger second court, surrounded on all sides by two-story buildings. My room on the upper floor had beautiful views over the town, more attractive at close range than most Chinese towns. The temples and yamen buildings were exceptionally fine, while the houses, of sun-dried brick of the colour of the red soil of Yunnan, had a comfortable look, their tip-tilted tiled roofs showing picturesquely among the trees.

I spent the rainy forenoon in writing and in leaning over the gallery to watch the life going on below. After the first excitement people went about their business undisturbed by my presence. At one side cooking was carried on at a long, crescent-shaped range of some sort of cement, and containing half a dozen openings for fires. Above each fire was a bowl-shaped depression in the range, and into this was fitted a big iron pot. The food of the country is generally boiled, and is often seasoned with a good deal of care. Barring the lack of cleanliness, the chief objection to the cooking of the peasant-folk is the