Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/297

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THE PROVINCE OF SZECHWAN

Kwangtung, claiming as his province the home of his immigrant ancestor.

Climate.—There are no extremes of climate in Szechwan. The temperature in summer rarely exceeds 100° Fah. in the shade, and 95° may be taken as a fair average maximum. In winter the mercury seldom falls below 35°; frost is exceedingly rare, and half an inch of ice, which appeared for a day or two on stagnant pools in the capital in 1901, was looked upon as a great curiosity. This, of course, refers to the valleys and plains of the Eed Basin, for on the hilltops in the basin, and on the surrounding mountains, snow lies for a time every winter, and huge icicles are to be met with in crossing mountain passes. Sunshine is rare in winter, for a bank of mist hangs over the land, preventing surface evaporation and consequent fall of temperature, which fact gives rise to the native proverb which says that in "Szechwan the dogs bark when they see the sun."

Irrigation.—The writer of The Far East[1] devotes a whole chapter of his book to the Chengtu plateau (Ch. VI., "The Middle Basin," Part III.). He says: "This unique area of level land in the wide, otherwise purely mountainous, region of Szechwan cannot be passed over in a general description of the province, but demands a short essay to itself, so important is its relation to the rest of the province, and so peculiar are its characteristics in China, and, we may confidently add, in the world at large." In this chapter Mr. Little quotes largely from the writer's paper on the "Irrigation of the Chengtu Plain" (China Branch, Royal Asiatic Society Journal, 1900, vol. xxxiii., No. 11), and "Irrigation of the Chengtu Plain and Beyond " (1905, vol. xxxvi.). Mr. Hosie, in his report on the products of Szechwan, also devotes considerable space to this subject. The subject is too great to be dealt with in a short article like the present. Those interested are invited to consult the authorities named above for further information.

Products.—Mr. Hosie, in his carefully and thoroughly prepared report, devotes many pages to this interesting

  1. The Far East, by Mr. Archibald Little.