Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/337

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THE CHINESE EMPIRE

THE PROVINCE OF KWEICHOW 263 generations, have come from Hunan and Szechwan. At the present time we believe more are coming from Szechwan than elsewhere. Since ever the Chinese came into these parts there has doubtless always been a certain amount of leakage from the Miao and Chung -chia into the Chinese community, and it is certainly going on at the present time. Consequently the Chinese in this province are not so typically Chinese in features as the Chinese of the south and east. The language they speak is good Mandarin, and would easily be understood in Peking or Nanking. It is most like that spoken in Szechwan, and more like that of North China than that of the eastern provinces. KwEi- CHOW is very mountainous, nearly all of it being three or four thousand feet above sea -level. The hills are not exceedingly high, but are found everywhere. In fact, KwEi- CHOW is all hills, with short narrow valleys between, and hardly anything in it worthy of the name of a plain, unless it be a stretch of country from Kweiyang Pu to Tingfan Chow. We think that even this region would not strike a traveller as being a plain till he got near to Tingfan Chow. The streams of the province flow north-east and south, but none of them are navigable even for native boats till just as they are leaving KwEiCHOW. This, together with the fact that there is no road in the province over which a wheeled vehicle could be drawn or driven, makes the con- veyance of products a costly undertaking. Everything has to be carried by coolies or on the backs of ponies and mules. Thus it would double the cost of a load of rice to carry it 120 miles. Opium, because of its high value in proportion to its bulk, is the chief export of Kweichow. It is said that in Kweichow seven out of ten men over twenty-five years of age smoke opium, and a smaller but not inconsiderable proportion of the women. Hides are also exported, and gall-nuts. The hills of the province have nearly all been stripped of their timber, and what remains in the south- east of the province, in the district of the Heh Miao, is