William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By Olive Risley Seward; William Henry Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX.
VISIT TO THE GREAT WALL.

Preparations for the Trip.--Our Vehicles.--The Summer Palace.--Pagodas.--First Night under a Chinese Roof.--A Chinese Tavern.--Approach to the Great Wall.--The Mongolians.--The Cost of the Wall.--Inquisitive Chinese.--The Second Wall.--The Ming Tombs.--A Misguided Mule.

Hyden, November 12th.--Peking is on the parallel of 39° 54'. The point of the Great Wall which we propose to visit is in a direct north line about forty miles distant, on an elevation of two thousand feet above the city. This altitude has a climatic effect of nearly seven degrees of latitude. The climate there may therefore be understood to be about the same in relation to Peking as the climate of Lake Superior is to that of New York. We provided against inclemency by a supply of furs and braziers. What with our strange catskin caps, long foxskin coats, and high white felt boots, we scarcely claimed to know each other. The obstacles to the excursion have not been over-estimated. They were not, however, of a political nature, like those which opposed our journey to Peking. They are chiefly material and local. Our arrangements were made several days in advance, with Chinese common carriers, for the necessary litters, carts, mules, donkeys, drivers, and attendants. On the afternoon of the tenth, we saw with our own eyes a combined force of men and beasts enter the court ready to be caparisoned and packed during the night to start on the next day, just as soon as Wan-Siang's expected visit should be over. It was not, how-

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