Often during the rainy season there is a lagoon of mud or water formed by the drainage from the mountains, which finds no escape but by percolating through the earth and rock to a valley on the east of, and below, the mountains forming the eastern boundary of the Wuchai Valley. To Chao-t'ong is fairly level going.
Major Davies also gives some new information concerning this hill people, and is generally correct in what he says; but in his, as in all the books which touch upon the subject, the language tests vary considerably. In Chao-t'ong and the surrounding districts, for instance, the traveler would be unable to make any progress with the vocabulary which the Major has compiled.
Whilst referring to mission work, it is a great privilege for the writer to add a word of most deserved eulogy of the United Methodist Mission at Chao-t'ong and Tongi-ch'uan-fu, and to the kindness shown by the missionaries towards me when I came, an absolute stranger, among them in May, 1909. It is to two members of this Mission that I owe a life-long debt of gratitude, for it was Mr. and Mrs.
Opium not grown. Prices of prepared drug in Tong-ch'uan-fu compared. Smuggling from Kwei-chow. Opium and tin of Yün-nan. Remarkable bonfire at Yün-nan-fu. Infanticide at Chao-t'ong. Selling of female children into slavery. Author's horse steps on human skull. Were one uninformed, small observance would be necessary to detect the borderline of Szech'wan and Yün-nan.
After having referred to the enormous advances made in the imports of cigarettes, the proclamation deplored the general tendency of the people to support such an undesirable trade, and exhorted the citizens to turn from their evil ways. We cannot stop the importation of cigarettes, it read, but there is no need for our people to buy. At Chao-t'ong I stayed with the Rev. Dr.
A march would take place on the fifteenth of that month, the Europeans would be assassinated, their houses would be burned and looted so ran the rumor. By this date, for two days' march in all directions from Chao-t'ong, the rebels had camped, and a motley crowd they were Mohammendans, Chinese, I-pien, Hua Miao, and other hooligans.
But no time was lost and no pains were saved; and although the Chao-t'ong foreign residents, who suffered in suspense more than most missionaries are called upon to suffer, may differ with me in this opinion, I believe that not one of the officials who took part in endeavors to keep the riots from assuming more actually dangerous proportions could have done more than was done.
The Major was evidently ignorant of this Miao district of Chao-t'ong, to the north-east of the province.
On a journey towards Chao-t'ong, some years ago, he went on ahead of his retinue of men and horses, and arriving at an inn at Tong-ch'uan-fu, asked the ta si fu the general factotum for the best room, and proceeded to walk into it. "No you don't," yelled the ta si fu, "that's reserved for Liu Ma Pang, and you're not to go in there."
The officials of the city were present in person, and everywhere the event was looked upon as the greatest public demonstration that the people had ever seen. The missionary of whom I inquired denied that the infanticide at Chao-t'ong was very great things must be improving!