In the town library we saw one of the three complete specimens in existence of CH'IEN LUNG'S Encyclopaedia.
We also paid a visit to a well-managed silk-worm farm and to the university. The latter had three faculties, one for arts and science, one for agriculture, and a technical faculty.
Liu-ho-t'a (The Pagoda of the Six Harmonies), situated to the south-west of the city and close to the river, is said to have been erected by a priest in the year 870, and it was thought to exercise a magical influence on the bore at the coast not far from Hangchow. The pagoda is over sixty meters in height.
The Tiger Spring Monastery was built by a monk in the year 819. He faltered in his intention but was aided by Buddha, who sent two tigers from Hunan that dug a spring, Hu-p'ao-ch'üan, out of the ground with their claws. The water from this spring is the finest in the whole tract, and it lends to the tea that is made from it a particularly aromatic flavour.
On March 23rd we were once more in Nanking. No reply from Governor CHIN in Urumchi had arrived in our absence; and as I afterwards found out, as late as the middle of June CHIN denied that he had ever received any telegram from the government.
Siv, HummEL and I now left Nanking definitively, journeying down to Shanghai again. While we were waiting for the boat that was to take us up to Ch'in-huangtao (on our way to Peking) vile decided to make an excursion to Soochow, which was quite near.
On March 31st, then, we took train for the famous old city of Soochow in the province of Kiangsu, situated about 8o kilometers to the west of Shanghai, a journey of only two and a half hours. Unlike Hangchow, Soochow did not succeed in captivating the immortal MARCO POLO. The city is situated on the Imperial Canal, and forms the focus of a huge network of innumerable canals. The oldest parts of the town date back 2,40o years; and Soochow has through the centuries been a literary centre and a metropolis for the silk and tea trades.
Six canals run through the city from north to south, and six more from east to west, while there are many smaller tributary canals. Their total length amounts to fifty kilometers and they are crossed by about two hundred stone bridges, most of them arched.