Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/237

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233
THE HANGCHOW BORE
hyphenated word was joined on the previous page because of the intervening image.— Ineuw talk 05:23, 10 November 2013 (UTC) (Wikisource contributor note)

because nothing could be distinctly seen, the night, though scheduled for a full-orbed moon, being dark and rainy.

After about half an hour ripples and slight wavelets began coming in just as for an ordinary tide in most places, but with greater rapidity and frequency. At 1 a.m. the murmur had become quite loud and amounted almost to a roar with a sort of thumping; presently the very splash of the on-rush could be heard and at 1:15 a.m. a wall of water passed with a speed of about eight or ten miles an hour, and eight feet high, coming almost straight in along the axis of the river, but curving concavely, and with the highest part in the center. After its transit, the roar was soon lost in the sound of the steady rush of water; then huge and rapid waves and swells came in obliquely with great force, striking the wall at about twenty or thirty degrees and generating a great whirl and splash. This lasted about fifteen minutes and then there was a rather sudden decrease in the size of the rollers, the rising water now being increased by more gentle but still very rapidly moving crests. The inflow was still continuing at 2:30 a.m. when, deserted by our native guides, we were forced to return to our little boat in the canal near by.

The forenoon of September 6 was spent in an examination of the sea-wall for a length of some three miles in the vicinity of the pagoda, the results of which we have already noted.

Evidently we were correct in expecting the bore for that day to be a big one, for a great number of Chinese had come out to witness this never-ceasing wonder, and a considerable group had to judge for themselves of the efficiency of our binoculars in extending the range of vision seaward.

Judging from the ease with which the preliminary murmur had been heard the night before, we were confident of being warned of the formation of the bore in plenty of time to watch its formation from the beginning. But curiously enough this premonitory murmur was not anything like as distinct in the daytime as at night, and while closely examining the structure of one of the brush buttresses, we were surprised by the cries of the natives as they descried to seaward the faint white line which marked the birth of the bore. This was at 12:30 p.m. Bringing our glasses to bear on this line which seemed to be near the meridian of Chishan, a conspicuous hill about twelve miles east by fifteen degrees south from Haining, marking the indentation previously referred to as Bore Shelter Bay, we could see that the bore had formed in two branches. The one on the north side of the channel was considerably the larger and was advancing almost directly up the river, touching the sea-wall with its northern end and the sands with its southern extreme; the other branch was approaching from the southeastward and touched the sands on both sides. The advance