serpent. One of these coils is twisted around each arm of the victim, and
another around his body, in such a way that the head of the snake is
higher than any other part. Then they pour boiling water into the month
of the snake, and the ilesh of the prisoner is burned and scalded in the
most terrible manner. This punishment is said to be used rarely, and only
THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
STANDING IN A CAGE.
on persons accused of crimes against the
government. It is too horrible to be pop-
ular, even among the most cold-blooded
people in the world.
"A good many of these punishments
precede a much more merciful one, that
of decapitation. The victim who is to suf-
fer the loss of his head is carried to the
place of execution in a small cage of bam-
boo, with his hands tied behind him, and
the crime for which he is to suffer written
on a piece of stiff paper and fastened to
his hair. In one corner of the cage is a
bucket, which is to hold his head after the
executioner has cut it off ; and frequently
the pail with the head in it is hung near
one of the gates of the city or in some other
public place. When he reaches the execu-
tion-ground, he is required to kneel, and the executioner strikes his head off
with a single blow of a heavy sword. The poor fellows who are to suffer
death rarely make any opposition, and some of them seem quite willing to
meet it. This is said to be due partly to the calmness of the Chinese, and
partly to the fact that they have been so tortured and starved in their im-
prisonment that it is a relief to die. In most of the Chinese prisons the
men condemned to death are usually
kept until there are several on hand ;
then a general execution is ordered,
and the whole lot of them are taken
out to the place of decapitation.
During the time of the rebellion
they used to have executions by
wholesale, and sometimes one or
two hundred heads were taken off
in a single morning.
" Very great crimes are punished
by cutting the body into small pieces
before decapitation, or, rather, 'by
cutting it in several places. All the
fleshy parts of the body are cut with
the sword of the executioner before
A CHINESE EXECUTION.
CARRYING FORTH TO THE PLACE OF EXECUTION.
the final blow ; and sometimes this species of torture goes on for an hour
or two before the suffering of the victim is stopped by decapitation.
There is a story that they have a lottery in which the executioner draws a
knife from a basket. The basket is full of knives, and they are marked
for various parts of the body. If he draws a knife for the face, he pro-
ceeds to cut off the cheeks ; if for the hand, he cuts away one of the hands,
and so on for all parts of the victim. If he is kindly disposed, or has been
properly bribed, he will draw the beheading-knife first of all, and then he
will have no occasion to use any other.
JUST BEFORE DECAPITATION.
I Hi: BOY TRAVELLERS.
" Well, we have had enough of these disagreeable things, and will turn
to something else. \V T e passed by the place where the candidates for mil-
itary honors compete for prizes by shooting with the bow and arrow. At
the first examination they are required to shoot at a mark with three ar-
rows, and the one who makes the best shots is pronounced the winner of
the prize. At the second examination they must practise on horseback,
with the horse standing still; and at the third they must shoot three ar-
rows from the back of a running horse. Afterwards they are exercised in
the bending of some very stiff bows and the handling of heavy swords and
Itones. There is a certain scale of merit they must pass to be successful ;
and when they succeed, their names are sent up for another examination
before higher officials than the ones they have passed before. It is a
curious fact that a man who does well as an archer is entitled to a degree
among the literary graduates, though he may not be able to carry away a
single prize for his literary accomplishments alone."
MILITARY CANDIDATES COMPETING WITH THE BOW AND AKUOW.
CHINESE HORSE-DEALERS. 377
A JOURNEY TO THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA.
PEKIX is not very far from the famous wall that was built to keep
the empire of China from the hands of the Tartars. It is commonly
mentioned as " The Great Wall," and certainly it is clearly entitled to the
honor, as it is the greatest wall in the world. To go to Pekin without
visiting the Great Wall would be to leave the journey incomplete ; and,
therefore, one of the first things that our friends considered was how they
should reach the wall, and how much time they would require for the
We shall let the boys tell the story, which they did in a letter to their
friends at home. It was written while they were on the steamer between
Tien-tsin and Shanghai, on their return from Pekin.
" We have been to the Great Wall, and it was a journey not to be for-
gotten in a minute. We found that we should have to travel a hundred
miles each way, and that the roads were as bad as they usually are in most
parts of China. We went on horseback, but took a mule litter along for
use in case of accidents, and to rest ourselves in whenever one of us should
become weary of too much saddle. There are no hotels of any conse-
quence, and so we had to take the most of our provisions from Pekin.
We did the same way as when we went from Tien-tsin ; that is, we hired
a man to supply all the necessary horses and mules for a certain price
to take us to the wall and back ; and if any of them should fall sick on the
road, he was to furnish fresh ones without extra charge. We were ad-
vised to make the bargain in this way, as there was a danger that some of
the horses would get lame ; and if there were no provision for such a case,
we should have to pay very high for an extra animal. The Chinese horse-
owners are said to be great rascals almost equal to some American men
who make a business of buying and selling saddle and carriage animals.
Doctor Bronson says he would like to match the shrewdest Chinese jockey
we have yet seen with a horse-dealer that he once knew in Washington. He
thinks the Yankee could give the Chinese great odds, and then beat him.
llli: BOY TRAVELLERS.
"It was a feast-day when we left Pekin, and there were a good nianv
sports going on in the streets, as we filed out of the city on our way to the
north. There was a funny procession of men on stilts. They were fan-
tastically dressed, and waved fans and chopsticks and other things, while
they shouted and sang to amuse the crowd. One of them was dressed as
a woman, who pretended to hold her eyes down so that nobody could see
them, and she danced around on her stilts as though she had been accus-
tomed to them all her life. In fact, the whole party were quite at home
on their stilts, and would have been an attrac-
tion in any part of America. Whenever the
Chinese try to do anything of this sort, they
are pretty sure to do it well.
" Then there were jugglers spinning plates
on sticks, and doing other things of a char-
acter more or less marvellous. One of their
tricks is to spin the plate on two sticks held
at right angles to each other, instead of on a
single stick, as with us ; but how they manage
to do it I am unable to say. They make the
plate whirl very fast, and can keep it np a
long time without any apparent fatigue.
" We passed several men who had small
establishments for gambling, not unlike some
that are known in America. There was one
with a revolving pointer on the top of a
horizontal table that was divided into sections
with different marks and numbers. The point-
er had a string, hanging down from one end,
and the way they made the machine work
was to whirl the pointer, and see where the string hung when it stop-
ped. The game appeared to be very fair, as the man who paid his
money had the chance of whirling the pointer, and he might do his
own guessing as to where it would
stop. If he was right, he would win
eight times as much money as he
had wagered, since the board was di-
vided into eight spaces. If he was
wrong, he lost all that he put down,
and was obliged to go away or try
his luck again. The temptation to
natives seems to be very great, since
they are constantly gambling, and
sometimes lose all the money they
have. Gambling is so great a vice in
China that a good mam r of its forms
GAMBLING WITH A REVOLVING POINTER. have been forbidden by the govern-
JUGGLER SPINNING A PLATE.
llli; IU)Y TRAVELLERS.
ment. The case is not unusual of a man losing everything he possesses,
even to his wife and children, and then being thrown naked into the
streets by the proprietor of the place where he has lost his money.
" We stopped to look at some fortune-tellers, who were evidently doing
a good business, as they had crowds around them, and were taking in
small sums of money every few minutes. One
of them had a little bird in a cage, and he
had a table which he folded and carried on
his back when he was moving from one place
to another. When he opened business, he
spread his table, and then laid out some slips
of paper which were folded, so that nobody
could see what there was inside. Next he let
the bird out of the cage, which immediately
went forward and picked up one of the slips
and carried it to his master. The man then
opened the paper and read what was written
on it, and from this paper he made a predic-
tion about the fortune of the person who had
" There was another fortune-teller who
did his work by writing on a plate. He had
several sheets of paper folded up, and from
these he asked his customer to select one.
When the selection was made, he dissected the
writing, and showed its meaning to be something so profound that the cus-
tomer was bewildered and thought he had nothing but good-fortune com-
ing to him. We tried to get these men to tell our fortunes, but they
preferred to stick to their own countrymen, probably through fear that
they would lose popularity if they showed themselves too friendly with
" The Chinese are great believers in fortune-telling, and even the most
intelligent of them are often calling upon the necromancers to do some-
thing for them. They rarely undertake any business without first ascer-
taining if the signs are favorable ; and if they are not, they will decline to
have anything to do with it. When a merchant has a cargo of goods on
its way, he is very likely to ask a fortune-teller how the thing is to turn
out; and if the latter says it is all right, he gets liberally paid for his in-
formation. But in spite of their superstition, the Chinese are very shrewd
merchants, and can calculate their profits with great accuracy.
FORTUNE-TELLING BY MKAXS OF A
BIRD AND SLIPS OF PAPER.
DISCOMFORTS OF PONY-RIDING.
FORTUNE-TELLING BY DISSECTING CHINESE CHARACTERS.
" "Well, this is not going to the Great Wall. "We went out of Pekin by
the north gate, and into a country that was flat and dusty. Fred's pony
was not very good-natured, and every little while took it into his head to
balance himself on the tip of his tail. This was not the kind of riding we
had bargained for, as it made the travel rather wearisome, and interfered
with the progress of the whole caravan. We thought the pony would be-
have himself after a little fatigue had cooled his temper ; but the more we
went on, the worse he became. When we were about ten miles out, he ran
away, and went tearing through a cotton-field as though he owned it, and
he ended by pitching his rider over his head across a small ditch.
" Then we found how lucky it was we had brought along a mule litter,
as Fred rode in it the rest of the day. Next morning he made our guide
change ponies with him. In half an hour the guide was in a mud
puddle, and saying something in Chinese that had a very bad sound, but
it didn't help dry his clothes in the least. On the whole, we got along
very well with the ponies in the north of China, when we remember the
bad reputation they have and the things that most travellers say about
" We stopped at the village of Sha-ho, about twenty miles from Pekin ;
and as we had started a little late, and it was near sunset, we concluded to
spend the night there. There was not much to see at the village, except a
THE BOY TRAYKLLKKS.
couple "of fine old bridges built of stone, and so solid that they will evi-
dently last a long time. A barber came around and wanted to shave us,
but for several reasons we declined his proposal, and satisfied ourselves by
him operate on a native customer. The Chinese razor is a piece
of steel of a three-cornered shape, and
is fastened to a handle about four inches
long. It is kept very sharp, as any well-
regulated razor should be, and a barber
will handle it with a great deal of dex-
terity. The Chinese haven't much beard
to shave off, but they make up for it with a very thick growth of hair,
which is all removed every ten or twelve days, with the exception of a
spot on the crown about four inches in diameter. The hair on this spot
is allowed to grow as long as it will, and is then braided into the cue or
pigtail that everybody knows about.
( 'MINKS!-: 11AZOR.
BAR UK II SHAVING THE HEAD OF A CUSTOMER.
"After we left Sha-ho the country became rough, and the road grew
steadily worse. Our ponies were pretty sure-footed, but they stumbled
occasionally, and Frank narrowly escaped a bad fall. The pony went down
all in a heap and threw Frank over his head. lie fell on a soft spot, and
so was not injured ; but if the accident had happened six feet farther on,
A CHINESE BRIDGE.
.i- six feet farther back, it would have thrown him among the rough stones,
where there were some very ugly points sticking up.
\Ve found another fine bridge on this part of the road, and our guide
said it was called the ' Bridge of the Cloudy Hills,' because the clouds fre-
quently hung over the hills in the distance. The Chinese are very fond
THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
of fanciful names for their bridges and temples, and frequently the name
has very little to do with the structure itself. I am told that there is a
bridge in the south of China with exactly the same name as this, and not
far from it is another called the ' Bridge of the Ten Thousand Ages.' We
have seen the 'Temple of Golden Happiness' and the 'Bridge of Long
Repose.' We shall be on the lookout for the ' Temple of the Starry Firma-
ment,' and probably shall not be long in h'ncling it. Strange that a people
so practical as the Chinese should have so much poetry in their language !
" We came to the village of Nan-kow, at the entrance of the Nan-kow
Pass, and stopped there for dinner. Our ride had given us a good appetite,
and though our cook was not very skilful in preparing our meal, we did
not find fault with him, as we did not wish to run the risk of waiting
while he cooked the things over again. The Chinese inn at Nan-kow is
not so good as the Palace Hotel at San Francisco ; in fact, it is as bad as any
other hotel that we have seen. They don't have much pleasure travel in
this part of the world, and therefore it does not pay them to give much
attention to the comfort of their guests.
"TheNan-kow Pass is about thirteen miles long, and the road through
it is very rough. The mountains are steep, and we saw here and there
ruins of forts that were built long ago to keep out the Tartar invaders of
China. Our animals had several falls, but they got through without acci-
dent, and, what was more, they brought us to a village where there was an
inn with something good to eal.
"What do you suppose it was? It was mutton, which is kept boiling
in a pot from morning till night ; and as fast as any is
taken out, or the soup boils down, they fill the kettle
up again. Mutton is very cheap here, as sheep are
abundant and can be bought at the purchaser's own
price, provided he will keep himself within reason.
Great numbers of sheep are driven to Pekiri for the
supply of the city, and we met large flocks at several
points on the road. Their wool has been exported to
England and America ; but it is not of a fine quality,
and does not bring a high price.
"We passed the ruins of forts and towers every
few miles, and our guide pointed out some of the tow-
ers that were formerly used for conveying intelligence
by means of signal -fires. They are now falling to
pieces, and are of no further use.
" This is the road by which the Tartars went to the conquest of China,
THE GOD OF THE
RESULT OF A WOMAN'S FANCY.
and there is a story that the empire was lost in consequence of a woman.
The Chinese were very much afraid of the Tartars, and they huilt the
Great Wall to keep them out of the country. But a wall would be of no
use without soldiers to defend it, and so it was arranged that whenever the
Tartars were approaching, a signal should be sent along the towers, and
the army would come to Pekin to defend it.
" One day a favorite lady of the emperor's palace persuaded the em-
peror to give the signal, to see how long it would take for the generals and
the army to get to Pekin. He gave the signal, and the army came, but
the generals were very angry when they found they had been called to-
gether just to amuse a woman. They went back to their homes, and the
affair was supposed to be forgotten.
"By-and-by the Tartars did come in reality, and the signal was sent
out again. But this time no army came, nor did a single general turn his
face to Pekin. The city fell into the hands of the invaders, and they are
there to-day. So much for what a woman did ; but it sounds too .much
like the story of 'The Boy and the Wolf to be true.
"At the last place where we stopped before reaching the Great Wall
we found the people very insolent, both to us and to the men in our em-
ploy. They said rude things to us, and perhaps it was fortunate that we
did not understand Chinese, or we might have been disposed to resent
their impudence, and so found ourselves in
worse trouble. Our guide said something to
a lama, or priest, and he managed to make the
people quiet, partly by persuasion and partly
by threats. Some of the men had been drink-
ing too freely of sam-shoo, which has the same
effect on them as whiskey has on people in
America. It is not unusual for strangers in
this part of China to be pelted with stones; but
the natives are afraid to do much more than
this, as they would thereby get into trouble.
" At the place where we reach the Great
Wall there is a Chinese city called Chan-kia-
kow ; but it is known to the Russians as Kal-
gan. It is the frontier town of Mongolia, and
the Russians have a great deal of commerce with A L1M ^
it. It stands in a valley, and so high are the
mountains around it that the sun does not rise until quite late in the fore-
noon. Doctor Bronson said there is a town somewhere in the Rocky
THE BOY TltAVELLKKS.
THE HILLS NEAR CHAX-KIA-KOW.
Mountains of America which is so shut in that the sun does not rise
there until about eleven o'clock next day ; and we thought it might pos-
sibly be a relative of Chan-kia-kow. There is an odd sort of population
here, as the merchants who trade with the Russians are from all parts of
China; and then there are Mongols from the Desert of Gobi, and a very
fair number of real Russians.
"One curious article of trade consisted of logs from the country to the
north. They are cut in lengths of about six feet, and are intended for
coffins for the people of the southern part of the empire. Wood is scarce
in the more densely inhabited portions of China, and must be carried for
great distances. It is six hundred miles from the Great Wall to where
these logs are cut, and so they must be carried seven hundred miles in all
before they reach Pekin. The carts on which they are loaded are very
strong, and have not a bit of iron about them.
" We are now at the Great Wall, which comes straggling over the hills
that surround the city, and forms its northern boundary. It is very much
in ruins, but at the town itself there is a portion of it kept in good repair,
and one of the gates is regularly shut at night and opened in the morning.
Some of the old towers are still in their places ; but the weather is slowly
wearing them away, and in time they will all be fallen.
" The Great Wall is certainly one of the wonders of the world, and it
was very much so at the time of its construction. It was built two thou-
A DAY AT THE GREAT WALL. 387
sand years ago, and is about twelve hundred miles long. It runs
ward from the shores of the Gulf of Pe-chi-li to what was then the west-
ern frontier of the Chinese Empire. For the greater part of the way it
consists of a wall of earth faced with stone or brick, and it is paved on the
top with large tiles. It is about twenty-five feet wide at the bottom, and
diminishes to fifteen feet wide at the top, with a height of thirty feet. In
many places it is not so substantial as this, being nothing more than a wall
of earth faced with brick, and not more than fifteen feet high. At vary-
ing intervals there are towers for watchmen and soldiers. They are gen-
erally forty or fifty feet high, and about three hundred feet apart.
" The wall follows all the inequalities of the surface of the earth,
winding over mountains and through valleys, crossing rivers by massive
archways, and stretching straight as a sunbeam over the level plain.
" Think what a work this would be at the present day, and then re-
member that it was built two thousand years ago, when the science of
tf o '
engineering was in its infancy, and the various mechanical appliances for
moving heavy bodies were unknown !
" We spent a day at the Great "Wall. We scrambled over the ruins
and climbed to the top of one of the towers, and we had more than one
tumble among the remains of the great enterprise of twenty centuries
ago. Then we started back to Pekin, and returned with aching limbs
and a general feeling that we had had a hard journey. But we were well
satisfied that we had been there, and would not have missed seeing the
Great Wall for twice the fatigue and trouble. They told us in Pekin
that some travellers have been imposed on by seeing only a piece of a
wall about thirty miles from the city, which the guides pretend is the real
one. They didn't try the trick on us, and probably thought it would not
be of any use to do so.
" We did not stay long in Pekin after we got back from the Great
Wall, as we had to catch the steamer at Tien-tsin. Here we are steaming
down the coast, and having a jolly time. We are on the same ship that
took us up from Shanghai, and so we feel almost as if we had got home
again. But we are aware that home is yet a long way off, and we have
many a mile between us and the friends of whom we think so often."
388 THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
FROM SHANGHAI TO HONG-KONG. A STORY OF THE COOLIE TRADE.
THE party reached Shanghai without accident, and on their arrival at
that port the boys had a welcome surprise in the shape of letters
from home. Their first letters from Japan had been received, and read
and reread by family and friends. To judge by the words of praise that
they elicited, the efforts of the youths at descriptive composition were em-
inently successful. Frank's mother said that if they did as well all
through their journey as they had done in the beginning, they would be
qualified to write a book about Japan and China ; and a similar opinion
of their powers was drawn from Fred's mother, w'ho took great pride in
her son. Mary and Effie composed a joint letter to Frank, to tell how
much pleasure he had given them. They were somewhat anxious about
the purchases, but were entirely sure everything would be correct in the
end. Fred began to be a trifle jealous of Frank when he saw how much
the latter enjoyed the communication from the girl who came to the rail-
way station to see them off. He vowed to himself that before he started
on another journey he would make the acquaintance of another Effie, so
that he would have some one to exchange letters with.
The letters were read and reread, and their perusal and the prepara-
tion of answers consumed all the time of the stay in Shanghai. The
delay, however, was only for a couple of days, as the weekly steamer for
Hong-kong departed at the end of that time, and our friends were among
her passengers. Another of the ship's company was our old friend "the