Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/521

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A NEWCOMER to China is sure to be surprised by two things at least, not to mention many others, viz., the grandeur of the scenery in certain sections and the unexpected excellence of the means of transportation on her chief waterways. Both of these were factors in the trip which the writer recently made to the famous Confucian stronghold, hoary with age, hid away among the hills of central China—the College of the White Deer Grotto.

In order to appreciate more fully the scenic surroundings and the secluded location of this most noted of Confucian schools, we shall notice the scenery encountered en route at a greater length than might on first thought seem suitable to our topic, for it is important to get the full setting of this cloister, within whose ivy grown walls there was in former clays such deep searching into the doctrines of the 'Princely Man' and the 'Great Learning.'

Crossing the Woo Sung bar at the mouth of the Shanghai River at daybreak, our steamer, a modern screw craft of some 3,600 tons and 1,500 horse-power, turned her head up the mighty Yangtsze, China's aorta of trade, and for four hundred and fifty miles we pushed against the swift current of that coffee-colored stream, passing en route the important ports of Chinkiang, near the mouth of the Grand Canal, Nanking, a former capital of the 'Celestial Empire' and still its most famous literary center, and Wuhu, an immense lumbering depot, to disembark at Kiukiang, the country's chief mart for 'china,' while the steamer passed on some hundred and fifty miles further to Hankow, the center of the great tea trade. The river steamers do not run up to piers or wharves, but at such ports as we have named they run alongside the dismantled and anchored bulks of former ocean-going vessels which lie offshore and are connected to the land by a sort of pontoon--

  1. There is a slight notice of this school and its refounder in Williams' 'Middle Kingdom,' and a fuller account is given in Mr. R. E. Lewis' 'Educational Conquest of the Far East' (New York, 1903), and in the 'East of Asia' (Shanghai, 1905). Vol. 3, No. 2, by Dr. Carl F. Kupfer. Although all these have been consulted and material freely drawn from them, the main source of the matter herewith presented was the trip which the writer made to the College in August, 1904, in company with a party of American friends, several of whom understood the Kiangsi dialect.