chapter  XII
12 Pages

"AN OPIUM DEN IS A LAMP ON THE ROAD TO DEATH" (Proverb)

PerhapsthechiefreasonforSzechuen'sindependent attitudethroughouthistorylayintheabilityofthe provincetosustainitself.Thesoilwasunbelievably richandfertile,andtherewasalmostnocropthat wouldnotflourish.Sugar,tobacco,andmanyimportantherbsandnativedrugs,aswellasthemorecommonfoodstuffs,grewinthesefields.Greatsaltwells, togetherwithgrovesoftungoil,insectwax,andlacquer trees,broughtinrichrevenuefromtheoutsideworld.