- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 764MB
"I shall not slip through your fingers in the same way as before," said Leona. "I flatter myself I did you very neatly when you called upon me in Lytton Avenue. But all the same I am going to escape you."The river from Taku to Tien-tsin was crowded with junks and small boats, and it was easy to see that the empire of China has a large commerce on all its water-ways. The Grand Canal begins at Tien-tsin, and the city stands on an angle formed by the canal and the Pei-ho River. It is not far from a mile square, and has a wall surrounding it. Each of the four walls has a gate in the centre, and a wide street leads from this gate to the middle of the city, where there is a pagoda. The streets are wider than in most of the Chinese cities, and there is less danger of being knocked down by the pole of a sedan-chair, or of a coolie bearing a load of merchandise. In spite of its great commercial activity, the city does not appear very prosperous. Beggars are numerous, and wherever our friends went they were constantly importuned by men and women, who appeared to be in the severest want.
"I may lose track of him! If I lose track of him I may have to go through a long life not knowing whether he is dead or alive."At noon they had gone twenty-five miles through a country which abounded in villages and gardens, and had a great many fields of wheat, millet, cotton, and other products of China; the fields were not unlike those they had seen on their voyage up the Yang-tse; and as for the villages, they were exactly alike, especially in the items of dirt and general repulsiveness. The modes of performing field labor were more interesting than the villages; the most of the fields were watered artificially, and the process of pumping water attracted the attention of the boys. An endless chain, with floats on it, was propelled through an inclined box by a couple of men who kept up a steady walk on a sort of treadmill. There were spokes in a horizontal shaft, and on the ends of the spokes there were little pieces of board, with just sufficient space for a man's foot to rest. The men walked on these spokes, and steadied themselves on a horizontal pole which was held between a couple of upright posts. Labor is so cheap in China that there is no occasion for employing steam or wind machinery; it was said that a pump coolie was able to earn from[Pg 359] five to ten cents a day in the season when the fields needed irrigation, and he had nothing to do at other times.
"A woman," I remarked, "who, for very love of a man, can say to him, 'Go on up the hill without me, I have a ball and chain on my foot and you shall not carry them and me, you have a race to run,'--a woman so wonderfully good as to say that--"
Its name comes from three words, "jin," meaning man; "riki," power; and "sha," carriage: altogether it amounts to "man-power-carriage." It is a little vehicle like an exaggerated baby-cart or diminutive one-horse chaise, and has comfortable seating capacity for only one person, though it will hold two if they are not too large. It was introduced into Japan in 1870, and is said to have been the invention of an American. At all events, the first of them came from San Francisco; but the Japanese soon set about making them, and now there are none imported. It is said that there are nearly a hundred thousand of them in use, and, judging by the abundance of them everywhere, it is easy to believe that the estimate is not too high. The streets are full of them, and, no matter where you go, you are rarely at a loss to find one. As their name indicates, they are carriages drawn by men. For a short distance, or where it is not required to keep up a high speed, one man is sufficient; but otherwise two, or even three, men are needed. They go at a good trot, except when ascending a hill or where the roads are bad. They easily make four and a half or five miles an hour, and in emergencies can do better than the last-named rate.The story of the coolie-trade and some of the conversation that followed cleared the mystery that surrounded the narrator and had given him the name by which he was known. He had been an active participant in the peculiar commerce of the East, which includes the violation of laws whenever they prove inconvenient, such as the smuggling of opium and the shipment of coolies to the countries where they are in demand. His latest venture was one that required considerable secrecy, as it involved the purchase of arms for the rebels in Japan. For this reason he had been very cautious in his movements around Yokohama and during his whole stay in Japan, and he had found it judicious to leave the country on the vessel that came so near being wrecked in the typhoon that overtook our friends. He was safely away from Japan now, and the arms that he had purchased for the rebels were in the hands of the government. He had made money by the operation, and was on the lookout for something new.
"Because," said Gregg, purposely adopting a monotonous drawl as though to conceal his eagerness, "if my theory is correct, then I assume that the Clockwork man comes from the future.""Don't interrupt me, Smith. Yes, Clifton. You're not to reach there to-night--"