Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/101

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As I toiled wearily upward, I looked back to find my dog riding comfortably in my chair. Tired and hot, he had barked to be taken up. The coolies thought it a fine joke, and when I whistled him down they at once put him back again, explaining that it was hard work for short legs. At one of the worst bits of the trail we met some finely dressed men on horseback, who stared in a superior way at me on foot. The Chinese sees no reason for walking if he has a chair or pony. What are the chair and the pony for? They must lack imagination, or how can they ride down the awful staircases of a West China road, the pony plunging from step to step under his heavy load? I doubt if they realize either the pony's suffering or the rider's danger. I did both, and so I often walked. After a climb of three thousand feet we came out on a wide open plateau, beautifully cultivated, which we crossed to our night stopping-place, Chiang-yi, nearly seven thousand feet above sea level.

We started the next morning in the rain, which kept up pretty much all day. The country through which we now passed was rather bare of cultivation and of inhabitants, but the wealth and variety of flowers and shrubs more than made amends. Nowhere have I seen such numbers of flowering shrubs as all through this region, a few known to me, but most of them quite new. It was with much gratification that I learned at a later time of the remarkable