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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/109

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105
A VISIT TO THE HANGCHOW BORE

a village and large mandarin family boats were frequently met with. The most curious of all the craft encountered, however, were the cormorant fishermen's boats or rafts, with the berumpled and rather miserable-looking black birds crouching upon them or swimming alongside. Usually the fisherman was stamping rhythmically upon a loose board in the stern and yulowing his boat at a fair pace, some of the birds swimming alongside with a bobbing kind of motion in unison with this stamping, and every now and then making a dive for fish which were no doubt expected to be attracted by the boatman's noise, though to judge from our observation the returns for all this scheming were very meager.

Occasionally a grating sound under the bottom of the boat told us that we were passing over the loose central portion of the reed and bamboo fish-traps or wires which frequently extended completely across the stream, but always with an apparently unoccupied reception or storage compartment at one corner. At other times the progress of our light craft was somewhat impeded by the heavy growths of water weeds and cresses.

The banks of the canal are everywhere green and restful, and in the case of the smaller by-ways are often completely overhung. We have seen nothing finer of the same sort anywhere, the famous Fenways of Boston not excepted. Bushes, great grasses, trees straight and tall, dwarfish and crooked trees, laurel, graceful weeping willow, flowering shrubs, and non-flowering covered with some blooming vineā€”the whole a beautiful fenway for mile after mile.

The predominant feature is the mulberry-tree, showing everywhere the importance of this region as a silk producer. In well-kept rows, their crooked and wide-spreading branches hid beneath rounded canopies of huge pale-green leaves, the ground everywhere clear of other growth, these little trees represent no small part of the material wealth of a region famous for the splendid silken garments produced in its chief cities.

These mulberry groves sometimes alternate with clumps of graceful bamboos or spicy odorous pines, which mark the burial ground of the near-by village. Or again there is only a fringe of mulberry trees along the bank, much as the lichee trees occur in the delta near Canton, with the paddy fields soon to become bean fields after the rice harvest, or the lotus ponds all white and pink in their September glory, lying behind this fringe or veil.

Haining was reached at eight p.m. in the midst of a pouring rain. Passing around the wall on two sides, our journey came to an end in the cul de sac with which the canal abruptly terminates, near a somewhat picturesque gateway in the city wall. A five minutes' walk from our mooring at the canal's end brought us to the sea wall and