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Peking Jehol the Palace

legation, city, entrance, capital and street

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PEKING JEHOL THE PALACE Arrival at Night—A Ricksha Ride. The Legation and My Visit There—I apply for Permission to Go to Jehol and Paint within the Palace There—A General Impression of Peking from the Tartar Walls—View of the Imperial Palace— The Legation Quarter—The Hata-Men Street.

The country between Tientsin and the capital is mostly flat, and, seen from the train, not very interesting ; but the journey is short, and very soon I could see in the distance signs of the city. The approach is not impressive till you get close to it, when the train passes through the outer wall of the Chinese city ; then one begins to realise that one is approaching a rather wonderful and mysterious place.

It was the evening of an early October day ; and out of the gloom I began to see high gateways, and, away to the right, the pinnacle of a circular building which I after wards found was the Temple of the Year, at the Temple of Heaven. Then we ran alongside the great Tartar wall, part of which was such a menace to the Legations in 1900. By-and-by we drew slowly into the station, which is the eastern extremity of that long steel line linking Peking, the capital of the most ancient civilisation, with—but for the narrow Channel—London, the capital of the greatest modern civilisation.

I had travelled light, in expectation of my further journey by road to Jehol, and so was not long in leaving the station, and entered Peking through the Water Gate, the entrance by which the relief of the Legations was effected. But things are changed since 19oo. This gate is now held by the foreign troops. Passing through it I found myself on a well-made road, with a canal on one side, and, on the other, modern European buildings. One building, blazing with light and with a fine entrance and wide-open portals, I found was the Grand Hotel des Wagon-Lits, a modern and up-to-date hotel, which I made my home in Peking.

After an excellent dinner, I called a ricksha and told the coolie to take me for an hour's run in the city. At last I had reached what I considered my goal, and, though it was dark, I was impatient to see the city. There is to me always something fascinating in seeing a strange city for the first time by artificial light. The streets, by the way, are lighted by electricity, a sign of the modern, in all conscience ! My drive was not a long one ; up Legation Street and the Hata-Men Street, and back by a road which a few of us, not succeeding in getting hold of the right name, afterwards christened " Morrison Street," as the famous correspondent of the Times, Dr. Morrison, lives

there. But I had seen a little of Peking, and went to bed with a feeling of satisfaction. My first morning in the capital saw me up and about early, keen to get my first impressions of this remarkable place. But I had to be patient. In spite of the great rains and floods, which recently had caused so much damage to the country and made travelling inland so difficult, my friend Mr. Drysdale was making his preparations to start for Jehol, and I had to push on mine. So to the Legation I wended my way in the brilliant clear sunlight of an October morning ; and those who know how delightful the weather can be in October in this part of the world, will know all that means. From the hotel I passed out ; and crossing the bridge to the right on the roadway bounded on one side by the canal which runs through the historic Water Gate, and on the other by a high and solid-looking grey brick wall which bounds our Legation, I soon came to the unpretentious looking entrance to the home of our representative in China. As I approached I caught the gleam and glitter of the (to a Scot) welcome sight of a Cameron Highlander—doing the sentry-go—and then turned inside the gates. What a lovely place ! I believe that, before coming into our possession, it was a ducal palace. Passing the lodge at the gateway, and directed by a native gatekeeper, I went along a broad and well-kept roadway bordered by beautiful trees and turf, and on the right came to a very fine specimen of Chinese archi tecture, a great roofed but open-sided entrance hall. The roof was of beautiful form, and all its timbers and support ing posts gaily coloured in true Chinese fashion. The floor, approached by stone steps, was paved. On through this, and another somewhat similar but partly closed in, I at last came to the Minister's house itself, still of the original Chinese architecture.

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