Letter from T.H. Barker to his wife Mary, 2 November 1903

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Title: Letter from T.H. Barker to his wife Mary, 2 November 1903
Parent item: Collection of letters from T.H. Barker to his wife Mary (sort key: 8)
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Authors: Thomas Henry Barker
Format and extent: 4 pages, 1 leaf.
License: Cc-by-sa.png Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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Monday Tientsin 2 November 1903

My dearest Mary

I have already written 2 letters without an opportunity of posting them & am now at the Chart[?]  Bank at Tientsin, where I have breakfasted with Mr Gilmour. I am to dine here with some officers who are attending the Tientsin races, which begin tomorrrow. I shall probably go to see the first race & leave afterwards for Pekin. I had lunch on board the “Eldorado” yesterday with the Captain Smiths[?]  who improved on acquaintance. The inspecting doctor who came on board near the Perho[?]  Bar offered to bring me & my baggage in his steam launch to Tongku[?] . Our steamer could not cross the Bar: there are 6 steamers already stranded there waiting either for the spring tides, or a change of wind, which will deepen the Bar by 3 feet. They need systematic dredging here to deepen the Bar.

When I reached Tongku[?]  At 4pm, having passed the ruined Taku Forts on the way, there were no 'rickshaws' – however, a strong coolie, anxious to earn ½ dollar (4p) said “rickshaw no good” & hooked my Portmanteau & Kit Bag & a smaller package on to a bamboo yoke on his shoulders, & with a boy, who carried my valise on his shoulder, we set off & walked 1 ½ miles to the Tongku[?]  Station – last train had gone to Tientsin when we got there, & I had to put up at Station Hotel, a rather primitive place, where I had dinner & slept, leaving there at 6.55am this morning for Tientsin. Tongku is on the Porho[?] , which runs close hehind the station. A young Englishman from Yang-Shan Coalmines, 50 miles away, walked me round the Tonk-ku concessions, where are near French & German barracks.

The ride from Tong-ku here was a cold one over vast flats of dreary delta land, dotted all over with mounds of various sizes, which are graves of the local Chinese – their bodies soon mingle with the dust of their Fatherland & have to nourish the thousands of coming on Chinese.

The Chinese about here are a fine race, numbers of them well over 6 feet, & very strong. The coolie who carried my Portmanteau, weighing 120lbs, was a stalwart fellow, & was glad of the 50 cents, 1/-, for carrying my things, his earnings ordinarily being 20 cents a day. The British are little Gold Mines to them. The Tientsin station was crowded with passengers including soldiers of several nationalities & I passed mostly groups when riding in my rickshaw over the Bridge of Boats to the Tientsin Bristish Settlement. This Bank is a fine building with large suites of living rooms above the offices. I am now going to sally forth to see who there is at the Astor House. I expect the Thackwells are there, & the Manager is Mr Heymann, who rode with me over the Uom-tigo[?]  near Nanoshita[?] . I am writing Sir Ernest Satow a line saying I have arrived here & will see him on Wednesday.

I wrote Milne a long letter on board the “Eldorado” & will write H.L.J. today or tomorrow.

With best love to all
Your affect. Husband
Thomas H. Barker

Mrs Barker

PS As these letters are simple descriptions you might let Mrs Broderick have them to read. They may interest her. Hope to hear at Pekin good news of you all.