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An Australian in China

An Australian in China

Australian George Ernest Morrison was already famous when he undertook this trip from Shanghai to Burma overland at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Before even graduating as a doctor he was known for his adventures in Australia and New Guinea. As well as being a qualified doctor he also worked as a newspaper correspondent for the the Times of London. For the reason behind this book it's probably best to let the author explain in his own words.

In the first week of February, 1894, I returned to Shanghai from Japan. It was my intention to go up the Yangtse River as far as Chungking, and then, dressed as a Chinese, to cross quietly over Western China, the Chinese Shan States, and Kachin Hills to the frontier of Burma. The ensuing narrative will tell how easily and pleasantly this journey, which a few years ago would have been regarded as a formidable undertaking, can now be done.

The journey was, of course, in no sense one of exploration; it consisted simply of a voyage of 1500 miles up the Yangtse River, followed by a quiet, though extended, excursion of another 1500 miles along the great overland highway into Burma, taken by one who spoke no Chinese, who had no interpreter or companion, who was unarmed, but who trusted implicitly in the good faith of the Chinese. Anyone in the world can cross over to Burma in the way I did, provided he be willing to exercise for a certain number of weeks or months some endurance - for he will have to travel many miles on foot over a mountainous country - and much forbearance.

I went to China possessed with the strong racial antipathy to the Chinese common to my countrymen, but that feeling has long since given way to one of lively sympathy and gratitude, and I shall always look back with pleasure to this journey, during which I experienced, while traversing provinces as wide as European kingdoms, uniform kindness and hospitality, and the most charming courtesy. In my case, at least, the Chinese did not forget their precept, "deal gently with strangers from afar."

I left Shanghai on Sunday, February 11th, by the Jardine Matheson's steamer Taiwo. One kind friend, a merchant captain who had seen life in every important seaport in the world, came down, though it was past midnight, to bid me farewell. We shook hands on the wharf, and for the last time. Already he had been promised the first vacancy in Jardine Matheson's. Some time after my departure, when I was in Western China, he was appointed one of the officers of the ill-fated Kowshing, and when this unarmed transport before the declaration of war was destroyed by a Japanese gunboat, he was among the slain - struck, I believe, by a Japanese bullet while struggling for life in the water.

I travelled as a Chinese, dressed in warm Chinese winter clothing, with a pigtail attached to the inside of my hat. I could not have been more comfortable. I had a small cabin to myself. I had of course my own bedding, and by paying a Mexican dollar a day to the Chinese steward, "foreign chow," was brought me from the saloon. The traveller who cares to travel in this way, to put his pride in his pocket and a pigtail down his back, need pay only one-fourth of what it would cost him to travel as a European in European dress.

Note: We provide a zip file containing this eBook in 3 formats, covering almost all the major eBook reading hardware and software, including Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad. It has an EPUB version for most tablet and pad computers, a MOBI version for Amazon Kindle readers and a PDF file for desktop and laptop computers.

File Name: An-Australian-in-China.zip
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