177 A BURMESE ENCHANTMENT.
hail you as au equal and treat you with perfect ease. I consider my servant Chao Sheh Chwen, who when I first knew him was only a rough muleteer, one of Nature's born gentlemen, while the whole-heartedness of his affection seems to be only one side of a very fine character. There is nothing more difficult to win than a Chinaman's affection, and no love is more touching and loyal than his, once he has given it.
Htawgaw and Hpimaw depend for their luxuries on Yunnan. The Maru and Lashi villages are unproductive, even to the extent of one little egg. These Heaven-sent Chinamenareal Celestialsabring over salt, sugar, potatoes, chickens, and eggs. Chinese chickens have black bones. Their feathers are all on end like a bottle brush. For some reason the eggs we bought remained fresh for quite three months. We could buy them at fifty-five for a rupee.
With the Marus the Chinese trade cloth and salt in exchange for paddy. Now Government is beginning to buy up this local paddy. At first the Marus were reluctant to sell, fearing that they would have nothing left to barter with the Chinese, on whom they rely entirely for salt. However, they very soon found that the Chinamen much preferred money to bulky loads of paddy, and after that paddy purchase at the posts of Lauhkaung and Htawgaw proceeded merrily. An experiment was made of bartering salt for paddy on behalf of Government, but I don't think it was a success, as salt, kept in bulk through the Rains, melts considerably.