Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/199

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rubbing Jack. The thoughtfulness and good will of my men during all the journey were unfailing, and I never found that friendliness on my part diminished in any way my authority over them.

After dinner the chair-bearers gathered round and with the aid of the interpreter I took down as best I could some of their calls and responses, a sort of antiphonal chorus handed down from generation to generation of coolies. Thus the men in front cry, "Lao di!"—"Something in the road!"—and those behind call back, "Ti chi!"—"Lift higher!" or maybe it is "Chiao kao!"—"Something overhead!"—and then the answer comes, "Keo yao!"—"Stoop lower!" When the way is very uneven, you hear "Leo puh ping!"—"The road is not level!" to which is replied, "Mon tien hsin!"—"There are stones like stars!"—followed by "Tien shan hsin To!"—"Many stars in the sky!"—with the response, "Ti hsia ken to!"—"Many holes in the ground." Or perhaps at a bridge, "Hsio mo lan chao!"—"Bridge bad, building for a thousand years!" to which comes the proverbial answer, "Chien mien wan lao!"—"Must last for ten thousand." When there is a steep bit, one calls out, "Deo shan deo!"—"Steeper and steeper!" and the others retort, "Kuan shan kuan!"—literally, "Official upon official," but the meaning is plain, "As steep as the ladder of promotion." In the vil-