A Hong   Kong Street   In The Chinese Quarter

A Hong - Kong Street - In The Chinese Quarter.

In The Business Section, Hong   Kong

In The Business Section, Hong - Kong.

When I stood on the apex of Victoria Peak, I thought that I had never seen a finer prospect. Nearly two thousand feet below us lay the renowned metropolis of the East which bears the name of England's queen. From this great elevation, its miles of granite blocks resembled a stupendous landslide, which, sweeping downward from this rocky height, had forced its cracked and creviced mass far out into the bay. Between this and the mainland opposite, curved a portion of that ocean-girdle which surrounds the island, and on its surface countless boats and steamers seemed, in the long perspective, like ornaments of bead-work on a lady's belt.

View From Victoria Peak.

View From Victoria Peak.

Around the summit of the mountain are several handsome villas and hotels, whither the residents of Victoria come in summer to escape the heat; but, as a rule, in riding over the island I saw outside of the city very few houses, and little agriculture. The soil of Hong-Kong is not fertile; but politically and commercially the island is immensely valuable, for England has now made of it the great emporium of the Far East, and, garrisoned by British troops, it guards completely the approaches to that river, upon which, ninety-two miles inland from the ocean, lies the city of Canton.

One of the pleasantest excursions in Hong-Kong may be made in sedan-chairs, some six miles over the hills, to the great reservoir which supplies the city with water. The aqueduct which comes from it is solidly constructed, and on its summit is a granite path protected by iron railings. This winds along the cliffs for miles, and is in many places cut through solid rock. It is an illustration of the handsome, yet substantial character of everything accomplished here. One feels that such works are not only artistic, but enduring. Here are no wooden trestles, no hastily constructed bridges and no half-made roads to be destroyed by mountain torrents, but everywhere the best of masonry, Cyclopean in massiveness and perfect in detail.

The Race   Track, Hong   Kong

The Race - Track, Hong - Kong.

The Aqueduct, Hong   Kong

The Aqueduct, Hong - Kong.

On reaching the terminus of this granite pathway we saw before us the principal reservoir of Hong-Kong. Though largely artificial, it looks precisely like a natural lake hidden away among the mountains. Before it was constructed the island's water-supply was lamentably insufficient, and the notorious "Hong-Kong fever" gave the place an evil name. But now, in spite of its large native population, Victoria has as low a death-rate as most European cities. The foreign residents are very proud of these magnificent water-works; yet, after ten days' sojourn here, when I took leave of several gentlemen by whom I had been entertained in private houses and at clubs, candor compelled me to confess that, so far as I had been able to observe, the foreign population makes very little use of this water for drinking purposes.

On starting to descend the mountain, we found a shorter route than the circuitous path by which we had come - an admirably managed cable-road. In viewing this, the question naturally arises how the Chinese can look on such conveniences as England has here introduced, and still remain content to have in their enormous empire scarcely a decent road, and only a few miles of railway, built to transport coal. Canals and rivers are still the usual arteries of travel through the most of China. In the northern provinces, where carts are used, the roads are often worn below the surface of the adjacent land, and hence become, in the rainy season, mere water-courses. Travelers are occasionally obliged to swim across them; and cases have been known of people drowning in a Chinese roadway. Moreover, the characteristic carts of China are of the most primitive description, having no seats except the floor, and no springs save the involuntary ones contributed by their luckless passengers. Yet, in many districts, even such vehicles can find no path, and people travel about in wheelbarrows propelled by coolies who are sometimes aided by a sail. The Bishop of North China, for example, makes many of his parochial visits in a wheelbarrow.