National Geographic : 1900 Sep
"THE YANGTZE VALLEY AND BEYOND" 367 traveler, but, although often disenchanted, she did not turn back nor abandon any part of her contemplated tour. As she wore Chinese woman's dress, with a Japanese jinrikisha coolie's hat, and European russet leather shoes under straw sandals, she naturally attracted attention and drew crowds of the cu rious; and Chinese mobs, not respecting her sex or her gray hair, pursued her savagely at times. " Child-eater" and " child-stealer" were the names shouted most often, and the cries of "Kill her!"and " Burn her!" were voiced in many a Szechuen city. Twice the mob pursued her into hiding places, pried open and battered down the doors, and Mrs Bishop had often to sit in some dark and noisome hole, revolver in hand, waiting for the last moment to come. Once a stone struck her and left her senseless and bleeding in her chair, and she suf fered the effects for many weeks. Chinese officials tried to discourage and prevent her visiting remoter Szechuen, but she pushed on and on, into more hostile regions, encountering fresh assaults, more discomforts, hardships, filth, and horrors of every kind. The true traveler's spirit seems to have possessed her, and one would hardly look for greater zeal in a missionary seeking mar tyrdom for the sake of spreading the faith, or in an explorer who had hap pened upon an unknown country, discovered a new race, or found mines of fabulous richness. Marco Polo, Abbe Hue, and many travelers have written of the Szechuen country and the borderland of Tibet, but Mrs Bishop's nar rative is the latest and a most interesting one, and she repeats all their praises of the scenery and fertility of that province. Trade problems and statistics are woven in with the narrative, and as Mrs Bishop was everywhere the guest of the missionaries, one has a very clear picture of the mission work that is carried on in the far interior under condi tions that would discourage any but the truest, most earnest Christians. She speaks encouragingly of the progress and results of mission work, and her testimony is the ablest and most appreciative that can be offered. Mrs Bishop struggles earnestly to make out a good case for the Chinese, to prove them a great and admirable people; but some of her experiences were too much for her plan of praise, and her readers easily understand when she says : "China, with its crowds, its poverty, its risks of absolute famine from droughts or floods, its untellable horrors, its filth, its brutality, its venality, its grasping, clutching, and pitiless greed, and its political and religious hopelessness, sat upon me like a nightmare." One follows less easily when she alludes to " a certain loveableness about the people "-the repulsive people, whose lack of all kind or admirable traits is shown so clearly in her daily life of travel. After one frightful experience at the hands of a mob, Mrs Bishop com plained that " these rows are repulsive and unbearably fatiguing after a day's journey, and always delayed my dinner unconscionably, which, as it was prac tically my only meal in the day, was trying." Also, " The mannerless, brutal, coarse, insolent, conceited, cowardly roughs of the Chinese towns, ignorant beyond all description, live in a state of filth which is indescribable and in credible, in an inconceivable beastliness of dirt, among odors which no existing words can describe. I wondered daily more at the goodness of people who are missionaries to the Chinese in the interior cities, not at their coming out the first time, but at their coming back, knowing what they come to."