William H. Seward's Travels around the World

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

CHAPTER VI.
ARRIVAL AT PEKING.

Passing through Tung-Chow.--Good Behavior of the People.--The Road to Peking.-- A Dangerous Highway.--Daniel Webster and John Adams.--A Review of Our Party.--A Grotesque Procession.--The Eastern Gate of Peking.--The Separation of the Party.--Anxiety for Mr. Seward.--In Woful Plight.--An Explanation.-- Arrival at the U. S. Legation.

Peking, November 3d.--The Government at Peking, apprised of Mr. Seward's coming, had sent forward two intelligent mandarins to attend him to the capital. These officers at Tung-Chow sent up a messenger to report the array and progress of the party, in order that arrangements might be made for its safe and proper entrance into the city.

What could be more gratifying to our national and personal pride than the prospect, thus opened to us, of a kind and distinguished reception? We took our way up the shelving levee, but without a road or path. We went a long distance down and across the ditches, which teemed with noxious vapors arising from the vegetable merchandise and offal of the city. At length our mandarins brought us up from the river's edge into bustling lanes, varying from five to twelve feet wide. The population gathered to see a procession so unique, and probably to them imposing. After a full half-mile, we descended into a broad ditch, filled with water reekingly offensive--a treacherous path for pedestrians, but Chinese chair-bearers, like Chinese beasts, are sure footed. We passed through an arch, under a high wall, which stands on the

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