HOW THEY DO IT IN PEKIN.
A correspondent of a contemporary thus writes:
“I was in Pekin when a fire broke out a few doors below the house in which I was lodging, and at the first alarm I rushed out and into the burning structure to see what could be saved. I was at once arrested, and later on discovered the Chinese way of fighting fire. A policeman first required an affidavit of the head of the household to the effect that he did not deliberately set the blaze, and for this purpose took him before an official half a mile away. A second was stationed to see that no one removed any furniture until the papers had been made out. After a lapse of forty minutes the firemen arrived. They looked at the burning house and decided that it was on fire. After much argument it was further agreed that it would be a waste of water to try to put out the flames. Two members who erected a ladder and climbed part way up, were duly reproved for too much zeal, and after the name, age and habits of the owner had been taken, the fire department retired in good order. As the flames were unhindered, the house burned to the ground, and when the owner returned he was beaten by his neighbors for endangering their, property. I was held in durance vile for two hours and then fined forty cents.”