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At San Francisco, I was detained two weeks where I had to wait for a vessel to bridge me over the broad Pacific, either to Yokohama or Shanghai. At that time, as there was no other vessel advertised to sail for the East, I was compelled to take passage on board the "Ida de Rogers," a Nantucket bark. There were six passengers, including myself. We had to pay $500 each for passage from San Francisco to Yokohama. The crew consisted of the captain, who had with him his wife, and a little boy six years old, a mate, three sailors and a cook, a Chinese boy. The "Ida de Rogers" was owned by Captain Norton who hailed from Nantucket. She was about one hundred and fifty feet long—an old tub at that. She carried no cargo and little or no ballast, except bilge-water, which may have come from Nantucket, for aught I know. The skipper, true to the point of the country where they produce crops of seamen of microscopic ideas, was found to be not at all deficient in his close calculations of how to shave closely in every bargain and, in fact, in everything in life. In this instance, we had ample opportunity to find out under whom we were sailing. Before we were fairly out of the "Golden Gate," we were treated every day with salted mackerel, which I took to be the daily and fashionable dish of Nantucket. The cook we had made matters worse, as he did not seem to know his business and was no doubt picked up in San Francisco just to fill the vacancy. The mackerel was cooked and brought on the table without being freshened, and the Indian meal cakes that were served with it, were but half baked, so that day after day we practically all left the table disgusted and half starved. Not only was the food bad and unhealthy, but the skipper's family was of a very low type. The skipper himself was a most profane man, and although I never heard the wife swear, yet she seemed to enjoy her husband's oaths. Their little boy who was not more than six years old, seemed to have surpassed the father in profanity. It may be said that the young scamp had mastered his shorter and longer catechism of profanity completely, for he was not wanting in expressions of the most disgusting and repulsive kind, as taught him by his sire, yet his parents sat listening to him with evident satisfaction, glancing around at the passengers to catch their approval. One of the passengers, an Englishman, who stood near listening and smoking his pipe, only remarked ironically, "You have a smart boy there." At this the skipper
nodded, while the mother seemed to gloat over her young hopeful. Such a scene was of daily occurrence, and one that we could not escape, since we were cooped up in such narrow quarters on account of the smallness of the vessel. There was not even a five-foot deck where one could stretch his legs. We were most of the time shut up in the dining room, as it was the coolest spot we could find. Before our voyage was half over, we had occasion to land at one of the most northerly islands of the Hawaiian group for fresh water and provisions. While the vessel was being victualed, all the passengers landed and went out to the country to take a stroll, which was a great relief. We were gone nearly all day. We all re-embarked early in the evening. It seemed that the captain had filled the forward hold with chickens and young turkeys. We congratulated ourselves that the skipper after all had swung round to show a generous streak, which had only needed an opportunity to show itself, and that for the rest of the voyage he was no doubt going to feed us on fresh chickens and turkeys to make up for the salted mackerel, which might have given us the scurvy had we continued on the same diet. For the first day or so, after we resumed our voyage, we had chicken and fish for our breakfast and dinners, but that was the last we saw of the fresh provisions. We saw no turkey on the table. On making inquiry, the cook told us that both the chickens and the turkeys were bought, not for our table, but for speculation, to be sold on arrival in Yokohama. Unfortunately for the skipper, the chickens and turkeys for want of proper food and fresh air, had died a few days before our arrival at the port.
Immediately upon reaching Yokohama, I took passage in a P. & O. steamer for Shanghai.
On my arrival there, I found the machinery had all arrived a month before; it had all been delivered in good condition and perfect working order. I had been absent from China a little over a year. During that time Viceroy Tsang Kwoh Fan, with the co-operation of his brother, Tsang Kwoh Chuen, succeeded in the capture of Nanking, which put an end to the great Taiping Rebellion of 1850.
On my arrival in Shanghai, I found that the Viceroy had gone up to Chu Chow, the most northerly department of Kiangsu province, close to the border line of Shan Tung, and situated on the canal. He made that his headquarters in superintending the subjugation of the Nienfi or Anwhui rebels, against whom Li Hung Chang
had been appointed as his lieutenant in the field. I was requested to go up to Chu Chow to make a report in person regarding the purchase of the machinery.
On my journey to Chu Chow, I was accompanied by my old friend Wha Yuh Ting part of the way. We went by the Grand Canal from Sinu-Mew at the Yangtze up as far as Yang Chow, the great entrepot for the Government Salt Monopoly. There we took mule carts overland to Chu Chow. We were three days on our journey. Chu Chow is a departmental city and here, as stated before, Viceroy Tsang made his quarters. I was there three days. The Viceroy complimented me highly for what I had done. He made my late commission to the States to purchase machinery the subject of a special memorial to the government. Such a special memorial on any political event invariably gives it political prominence and weight, and in order to lift me at once from a position of no importance to a territorial civil appointment of the bona fide fifth rank, was a step seldom asked for or conceded. He made out my case to be an exceptional one, and the following is the language he used in his memorial:
"Yung Wing is a foreign educated Chinese.