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Title: Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them

Author: Mrs. Archibald Little

Release date: August 13, 2013 [eBook #43456]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
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Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been preserved.

On page 18, "sanpans" should possibly by "sampans".

Title Page



The Chinese as I have
seen them.       By Mrs.
Archibald Little, Author
of A Marriage in China

With 120 Illustrations

Paternoster Row, London ... 1899




Arriving in Shanghai.—My First Tea-season.—Inside a Chinese City.—Shanghai Gardens.—In the Romantic East at last! 1
Boat-travel.—Vegetation.—Trackers.—Terrace of the Sun.—Gold Diamond Mountain.—Meng Liang's Ladder.—Great Szechuan Road.—Steamer Voyage.—Chinese Hades.—Caves 31
Large Farmsteads.—Wedding Party.—Atoning for an Insult.—Rowdy Lichuan.—Old-fashioned Inn.—Dog's Triumphal Progress.—Free Fight.—Wicked Music.—Poppy-fields.—Bamboo Stream 58
Arrangement of a Chinese House.—Crowd in Streets.—My First Walk in Chungking City.—Presents.—Cats, Rats, and Eggs.—Paying a Call.—Ladies Affectionate.—Shocked at European Indecency.—Cost of Freight.—Distance by Post.—Children's Pleasures.—Precautions during Drought.—Guild Gardens.—Pretty Environs.—Opium Flowers, and Smokers.—Babble of Schools.—Chinese Girl-child 74 vi
Sulphur Bath.—Rowdy Behaviour.—Fight in Boat.—Imprisonment for letting to Foreigners.—Book-keeper in Foreign Employ beaten.—Customs Regulations.—Kimberley Legacy.—Happy Consul.—Unjust Likin Charges.—Foreigners massacred.—Official Responsibility 98
Taels.—Dollars.—Exchange.—Silver Shoes.—Foreign Mints 120
Not a Mark of Rank.—Golden Lilies.—Hinds' Feet.—Bandages drawn tighter.—Breaking the Bones.—A Cleft in which to hide Half a Crown.—Mothers sleep with Sticks beside them.—How many die.—How many have all their Toes.—Feet drop off.—Pain till Death.—Typical Cases.—Eczema, Ulceration, Mortification.—General Health affected 134
Church Mission's Action.—American Mission's Action.—T`ien Tsu Hui.—Chinese Ladies' Drawing-room Meeting.—Suifu Appeal.—Kang, the Modern Sage.—Duke Kung.—Appeal to the Chinese People 145
Official Honours to Women.—Modesty.—Conjugal Relations.—Business Knowledge.—Opium-smoking.—Typical Women 164
Missing Bride.—Wedding Reception.—Proxy Marriage.—Servants' Weddings.—Love for Wives.—Killing a Husband.—Wifely Affection.—Chinese Babies.—Securing a Funeral 184 vii
How Chinese look upon Shanghai.—A Viceroy's Expedient.—Method of raising Subscriptions.—Deserving Deities.—Trustworthiness.—Hunan Hero.—Marrying English Girls 197
Fung shui.—Devastating Eggs.—Demon Possession.—Sacred Trees.—Heavenly Silk.—Ladder of Swords.—Preserving only Children.—God of Literature on Ghosts.—God of War.—Reverence for Ancestors 211
European Prejudice.—French Fathers.—Italian Sisters.—Prize-giving.—Anti-Christian Tracts.—Chinese Saints and Martyrs 230
Buying Curios.—Being stoned.—Chinese New Year.—Robbers.—Protesting Innocence.—Doing Penance.—Medicines 253
Tiger Soldiers.—Woosung Drill.—General's Gallantry.—Japanese War.—Admiral Ting.—Dominoes with a Sentry.—Viceroy's Review 269
Number of Degrees.—Aged Bachelors.—Up for Examination.—Necessary Qualifications.—Crowding.—Scarcity of Posts.—Chinese Dress 292 viii
Tseng Kuo Fan.—"Neither envious nor fawning."—Repose of Manner.—Cultivation of Land.—Early Rising, Diligence in Business, and Perseverance.—Dignity.—Family Worship.—Reading 317
Monastery near Ichang.—For the Dead.—Near Ningpo.—Buddhist Service.—T`ien Dong.—Omi Temples.—Sai King Shan.—Monastery of the Particoloured Cliff 327
Crowd.—Nuns.—Final Shaving.—Woven Paces.—Burning Heads.—Relationships.—A Living Picture 350
Luncheon with a Chief Priest.—Tigers.—Mysterious Lights.—The View of a Lifetime.—Pilgrims.—Glory of Buddha.—Unburied Priests 362
In Memory of a Dead Wife.—Of a Dear Friend.—Farewell Verses.—Æsthetic Feeling.—Drinking Song.—Music.—Justice to Rats 383
Drying Prayerbooks Mountain.—Boys' Paradise.—Lolo Women.—Salt-carriers.—Great Rains.—Brick-tea Carriers.—Suspension Bridge.—Granite Mountains.—Tibetan Bridge.—Lamas.—Tibetan Women.—Caravanserai at Tachienlu.—Beautiful Young Men.—Lamaserai.—Prayers?—Fierce Dogs.—Dress.—Trying for a Boat 396 ix
Porcelain.—Bronzes.—Silver-work.—Pictures.—Architecture.—Tea.—Silk.—White Wax.—Grass-cloth.—Ivory Fans.—Embroidery 425
Enjoyment.—Anticipation.—Regret 446


House-boat on the Peiho.—Tientsin.—Chefoo.—A Peking Cart.—Camels.—British Embassy.—Walking on the Walls.—Beautiful Perspectives 457
Tibetan Buddhism.—Yellow Temple.—Confucian Temple.—Hall of the Classics.—Disgraceful Behaviour.—Observatory.—Roman Catholic Cathedral.—Street Sights.—British Embassy.—Bribes.—Shams.—Saviour of Society.—Sir Robert Hart 473
The Emperor at the Temple of Heaven.—Mongol Princes wrestling.—Imperial Porcelain Manufactory.—Imperial Silk Manufactory.—Maids of Honour.—Spring Sacrifices.—Court of Feasting.—Hunting Preserves.—Strikes.—Rowdies.—Young Men to be prayed for 493 x
A Concubine no Empress.—Sudden Deaths.—Suspicions.—Prince Ch`ün.—Emperor's Education.—His Sadness.—His Features.—Foreign Ministers' Audience.—Another Audience.—Crowding of the Rabble.—Peking's Effect on Foreign Representatives 515
Everybody guaranteed by Somebody Else.—Buying back Office.—Family Responsibilities.—Guilds.—All Employés Partners.—Antiquity of Chinese Reforms.—To each Province so many Posts.—Laotze's Protest against Unnecessary Laws.—Experiment in Socialism.—College of Censors.—Tribunal of History.—Ideal in Theory 532
Reform Club.—Chinese Ladies' Public Dinner.—High School for Girls.—Chinese Lady Doctors insisting on Religious Liberty.—Reformers' Dinner.—The Emperor at the Head of the Reform Party.—Revising Examination Papers.—Unaware of Coming Danger.—Russian Minister's Reported Advice 549
Kang Yü-wei.—China Mail's Interview.—Beheading of Reformers.—Relatives sentenced to Death.—Kang's Indictment of Empress.—Empress's Reprisals.—Emperor's Attempt at Escape.—Cantonese Gratitude to Great Britain.—List of Emperor's Attempted Reforms.—Men now in Power.—Lord Salisbury's Policy in China 570 xi


The Way in Frontispiece
Shanghai from the River 1
Shanghai Creek, with Drawbridge 3
Tea-garden in Shanghai Chinese City 7
Porters waiting for Work 11
The Bubbling Well 15
Soochow Creek, Shanghai 18
Guild Garden at Kiangpei 22
Pavilion in Country Gentleman's Garden 25
Street Scene 29
Wheelbarrow 30
Bow of Travelling-boat 32
Entrance to Yangtse Gorges 33
Trackers 36
Poling a Boat up a Rapid 43
In the Niukan Gorge 48
White Emperor's Temple, looking down the Gorge of the Fearsome Pool, or Bellows Gorge 49
New and Glorious Rapid 53
Tree moved 100 Yards by Landslip that formed New Rapid 54
Iron Cover of Bottomless Well 55
At Fengtu 56
Free School 67
Poppies and Terraced Rice-fields 71
Chungking, Commercial Capital of Western China 75
Dinner Party in the Garden of a Member of the Hanlin College,—White Cloth spread in Compliment to Europeans 78
Morning Toilette 80
Outside Governor's Residence in Chungking 83
Country House near Kiukiang 86
A Chinese Country Club, or Guild Garden 94
A Hot Day 95 xii
Market Street outside City 101
The Oldest Official in the Province of Szechuan 105
Giving Evidence in a Court of Justice 111
Chinese Mode of Salutation 123
Chinese Roman Catholics of Many Generations 135
Woman's Natural Foot, and another Woman's Feet bound to 6 Inches 138
Woman's Natural Foot, and another Woman's Feet bound to 4½ Inches 139
Chinese Roman Catholic Burial-ground 146
Family of Literati, Leaders in the Anti-footbinding Movement in the West of China 157
Bridge near Soochow 163
Memorial Arch leading to Confucius' Grave 165
A Country House Party 174
Foot Shuttlecock 175
Wedding Procession 185
New Kweichow, built by Order 193
Memorial Arch 201
Shoes to mend 206
Ichang from the City Wall, Hall of Literature, and Pyramid Hill 212
Monastery 217
The 564 Images of Hangchow 221
Pavilion of the Moon in Grounds of God of War's Temple 225
Missionary Group at our House-warming 231
Soochow, with Mission Church 243
Temple to God of War, Yünyang 246
Colossal Gilded Buddha 248
Punch and Judy 255
Stone Animals at General's Grave. A Peasant seated on one with Straw Hat 259
Entrance to Fairies' Temple, Chungking 261
Play at a Dinner Party in a Guildhall 262
Audience at a Play in a Guildhall 263
Junk 271
Captain of Chinese Gunboat 276
Soldier 278
Soldier 279
Gunboat Soldiers 284
Soldiers 287
Temple of God of Literature 294
Map of China, showing Chief Examination Centres 297
Outside Confucius' Grave 303
Approach to Confucius' Grave 307
Fortress of Refuge, Country House, and Memorial Arch 319
Near Ningpo 331
Salisburia adiantifolia 335 xiii
Entrance to Monastery 343
Buddhist Images cut in Cliffs on the River Ya 347
At Fengtu, Chinese Hades 351
Begging Priest, once a General 359
Jack (Long-haired Shantung Terrier) 365
Sacred Tiger 367
Great Precipice of Mount Omi 369
Priest and Pilgrims on Edge of Omi Precipice 373
Cloud Effects on Mount Omi 377
Guard-house near the Arsenal 384
Roof and Roof-end at Chungking 387
Bridge at Hangchow 389
Bridge and Causeway on West Lake 395
Sacred Sai King Mountain 397
Brick-tea Carriers on the Great Brick-tea Road 403
Caravanserai at Tachienlu 410
In a Chungking Guild-house 431
Packing Tea 435
Chinese Hydraulic Apparatus 439
Peking Pug (Short-haired) 447
Peking Lion-dog (Long-haired) 451
On a Mountain Road 454
A Wheelbarrow Stand 456
Interior of Governor's Official Residence at Hangchow 459
Farmer and Water Buffaloes 466
Paper-burning Temples 468
Approach to Ming Emperors' Tombs, Peking 471
Tomb over Banjin Lama's Clothes, built after Tibetan Model of Marble. Bell-like Cupola and Upper Ornaments of Gold. Inscriptions in Devanagari Character, Sanscrit, and Chinese 477
Lotus Pond and Dagoba in Emperor's Garden 483
Mountain Village, with Sham Beacon Fires to Left, Foochow Sedan-chair in Front 489
Shan Ch`ing, Prince Ch`ün, and Li Hung-chang 495
Late Viceroy Tso Tsung-tang 505
Emperor Kwang-shü, 1875 516
Prince Kung 523
The Great Wall 528
Incense-burner 531
Country House in Yangtse Gorges 537
Kiangsi Guild-house in Chungking 540
Downward-bound Cargo-boat 548
Bridge at Soochow 549
Mr. King, Manager of the Chinese Telegraph Company and Founder of High Schools for Girls 554 xiv
Wên Ting-shih, the Reformer, Late Tutor to the Ladies of the Imperial Household 563
Head Eunuch of the Empress-Dowager 574
Kiaochou, seized by Germany 583
British and Chinese Flags, June 15th, 1898: Town of Wei-hai-wei in Distance 586
Ferry at Ichang 597
Approach to Ming Emperor's Tomb, Nanking 605



The Chinese Empire is rather larger than Europe.
Being on the eastern side of a great continent, it has the same extremes of climate as are to be found in the United States.
Fruits, flowers, and crops vary in like manner.
Peking is on about the same parallel as Madrid, Chungking as Cairo, Shanghai as Madeira.
The population of China is over 385 millions.
That of the British Isles in 1891 not quite 38 millions.
That of France in 1896 38½ millions.
One alone of China's eighteen provinces, Kiangsu, has over 39½ millions.
The Russian nation, already extending over one-sixth of the globe, while China only extends over a little more than one-twelfth, musters little over 129 millions, and thus has about one-third of the Chinese population, with about twice its territory to stretch itself in.
There is no Poor Law in China. There are no Sundays.
It is considered very unwomanly not to wear trousers, and very indelicate for a man not to have skirts to his coat; consequently our European dress is reckoned by Chinese as indecorous.
Chinese begin dinner with dessert or Russian sakouska, and finish with hot soup instead of hot coffee.
Their cooks are second only to the French; their serving-men surpass the Germans.
Chinese love children; are ready to work day and night for their masters; and if occasion demand, to be beaten in their place, or even, if needs be, to die for them.
In fine, although in all details unlike ourselves, a great race, with some magnificent qualities.

7, Park Place, St. James's, S.W. 1



Arriving in Shanghai.—My First Tea-season.—Inside a Chinese City.—Shanghai Gardens.—In the Romantic East at last!

I. Arriving in Shanghai.

It was in the merry month of May, 1887, that I first landed in China; but from the first there was nothing merry about China. It felt bitterly cold, after passing through the tropics; and in Shanghai one shivered in a warm wrap, as the wind blew direct from the North Pole straight at one's chest, till one day it suddenly turned quite hot, and all clothes felt too heavy. Every one almost knows what Shanghai is like. It has been admirably described over and over again, with its rows of fine European houses fronting 2 the river, the beautiful public gardens and well-trodden grass-plats interposed between the two; with its electric lights and its carriages, and great European stores, at which you can buy everything you could possibly want only a very little dearer than in London. There used to be nothing romantic or Eastern about it. Now, darkened by the smoke of over thirty factories, it is flooded by an ever-increasing Chinese population, who jostle with Europeans in the thoroughfare, till it seems as if the struggle between the two races would be settled in the streets of Shanghai, and the European get driven to the wall. For the Chinaman always goes a steady pace, and in his many garments, one upon the top of the other, presents a solid, impenetrable front to the hurrying European; whilst the wheelbarrows on which his womankind are conveyed rush in and out amongst the carriages, colliding here and there with a coolie-drawn ricksha, and always threatening the toes of the foot-passenger. Too often there are no foot-pavements, and the whole motley crowd at its very varying paces is forced on to the muddy street. Ever and anon even now a closed sedan-chair, with some wealthy Chinaman from the adjacent Chinese city, threads its way in and out among the vehicles, noiseless and stealthy, a reminder of China's past glories. There are also now wholly Chinese streets in the foreign settlement, where all the shop-fronts are gorgeous with gilding and fine decorative Chinese characters, where all the shops have signs which hang perpendicularly across the street-way, instead of horizontally over 3 the shop-front as with us, and where Chinese shopkeepers sit inside, bare to the waist, in summer presenting a most unpleasing picture of too much flesh, and in winter masses of fur and satin.


Shanghai has got a capital racecourse, and theatre, and cricket-ground—grounds for every kind of sport, indeed. It has a first rate club, and an ill-kept museum. Its sights are the bubbling well and the tea-garden in the China town, believed by globe-trotters, but erroneously, to be the original of the willow-pattern plate. Beside this, there is what is called the Stone Garden, full of picturesque bits. A great deal that is interesting is to be seen in the China town by those who can detach their minds from the dirt; in one part all the houses have drawbridges leading to them. But 4 even the Soochow Road in the foreign settlement has never yet been treated pictorially as it deserves. It is the Palais Royal of Chinese Shanghai. At the hour when carriage traffic may only pass one way because of the crowd, it would reward an Alma-Tadema to depict the Chinese dandies filling all its many balconies, pale and silken clad, craning their necks to see, and by the haughtiness of their gaze recalling the decadent Romans of the last days of the empire. Their silken garments, their arched mouths, the coldness of their icy stare, has not yet been duly depicted. Chun Ti Kung, by the late Mr. Claude Rees, is so far the only attempt to describe their life. Yet they, too, have souls possibly worth the awakening. With their long nails, their musk-scented garments, their ivory opium-pipes, and delicate arrangements of colours, they cannot be without sensibilities. Do they feel that the Gaul is at the gates, and that the China of their childhood is passing away?

It is this China of their childhood, with here an anecdote and there a descriptive touch, which I hope to make the English reader see dimly as in a glass in the following pages, which are not stored with facts and columns of statistics. People who want more detailed information about China, I would refer to Sir John Davis's always pleasant pages; or to my husband's Through the Yangtse Gorges, containing the result of years of observation; or to dear old Marco Polo's account of his travels in the thirteenth century, revivified by the painstaking labours of Colonel Yule, and thereby 5 made into one of the best books on China extant. For my part, I shall endeavour to make the reader see China and the Chinese as I have seen them in their homes and at their dinner parties, and living long, oh! such long summer days among them, and yet wearier dark days of winter. And to make the reader the more feel himself amongst the scenes and sights I describe, I mean to adopt various styles, sometimes giving him the very words in which I at the time dashed off my impressions, all palpitating with the strangeness and incongruity of Chinese life, at others giving him the result of subsequent serious reflections.

But here let me record my first great disappointment, because it may be that of many another. Brown mud is the first thing one sees of China. Brown mud accompanies the traveller for miles along the Yangtse River, all along the Peiho, up to brown and muddy Tientsin, and on up to Peking itself. China generally is not at all like the willow-pattern plate. I do not know if I really had expected it to be blue and white; but it was a disappointment to find it so very brown and muddy.

II. My First Tea-season.

It was dull and leaden all the six hundred miles up the great river Yangtse; and at first it poured nearly all day and every day at Hankow, and we shivered over fires. Nevertheless, in spite of absolutely leaden skies and never a glimpse of sunshine, the coolies and the twenty-years-in-China-and-don't-speak-a-word-of-the-language men wore sun-hats, and pretended to get 6 ill from the glare, when any one fresh from England would certainly say it was the damp. The floods were all the while advancing on what looked like a beleaguered city, when we went out on the plain outside, and gazed back at the city wall, with its dark water-line clearly marked all round close to the top.

The country round certainly did not tempt one to go out very often on to the rotten flag-stoned way by which one walked three or four miles in order to reach a one-mile distance as the crow flies, feeble-looking corn and marsh at either side, with an occasional tandem of buffaloes groaning not in unison with the discordant creaking of the cart they drew. Yet we plodded past the little homesteads, each planted on its own artificial hill, faced with stones on the side the floods come from. The very friendly people all used to come out of their cottages, and call out, "Do rest with us awhile," "Come in, do, and have some tea"; but till I spoke a little more Chinese, I did not care to repeat this often: though I rather enjoyed the first time going in and having tea, delicious tea, brought us at once—next a pipe, and then a bowl of water. Nothing could be friendlier than the people; and somehow or other I used to fancy from the first I held quite conversations with them. But what we either of us said to each other in words it is impossible to tell; there is so much one understands without knowing the words. So on and on we used to plod, resisting all kindly pressure to turn in, till gradually the reflection of the setting sun gave a red glow to the water in the ruts, 9 and frogs hopped in numbers across the path, and bats whirled after mosquitoes. Then at last by an effort we summoned up will enough to turn, and plod just exactly the same way over the selfsame stones back to Hankow, the beleaguered city, with its avenues of over-arching willows, and beautiful Bund half a mile long—a mile walk up and down, therefore, as every one takes care to tell you the first day you arrive, as if afraid lest, stricken by a sort of midsummer madness, you should actually leave the English settlement, with its willows and its villas, and attempt to penetrate into the Chinese town.

Believed by globe-trotters to be the original of the willow-pattern plate.

The stories I heard about the Chinese town gave me quite a feeling of excitement the first time I went into it. People threatened me with horrible sights, and still more horrible smells. But I fancy those, who talk in this way, can know very little of the East End of London, and nothing of the South of France or Italian towns. Hankow certainly struck me as very fairly clean, considering how crowded its streets are, and the people at that time for the most part as wonderfully civil. I should not care to hear the shower of abuse, that would greet a foreigner in one of our English towns, who turned over and examined all the articles on a stall, then went away without buying anything, as English people do not hesitate to do there. The Kiangsi and Hunan Guild-houses are both well worth a visit, although the former has been in large measure burnt down, and thus stripped of those wonderful coloured tiles about which the few, who have seen them, 10 are still enthusiastic. Most people have never seen them at all. As it is now, the temple to the god of literature at Hanyang has more charms for me, with its many curved roofs making such an harmonious, rich, dark medley. However, of course in Hankow no one in the month of May is thinking about architecture. "Thou art not science, but thou tea-chest art" is the riddle they were all engaged with, and they were very sad over it. For the tea was bad; and though the Chinamen had bound themselves under awful penalties to have no second crop, yet of course the second crop would be there soon. I looked sadly at the men from Hunan, sitting so truculently in their boats, with their pigtails twice coiled round their heads, counting over beforehand the gains they meant to take back home; for probably there would be none. We talked tea at breakfast and tiffin and dinner, and we took it at five and considered its quality. But that would not make the people at home give up Indian tea, with all its tannin and nerve-poisoning qualities. So in between-whiles we counted up how many suicides there were last tea-season. For Chinese have a fine sense of honesty, if not of honour; and merchants are apt to kill themselves, if they cannot meet their obligations. "There will be more suicides this year," said first one, then another.

Meanwhile, the pretty painted boxes streamed past the house at the rate of eighty a minute sometimes—always noiselessly carried by coolies in huge sun-hats, and too often through the dripping rain. And the 11 great gamble went on, and the men who dropped in to call looked wearier and wearier. But that was all in 1887, which might almost be called the last year of the great China tea trade of which Hankow had since 1861 been the centre. There was quite a fleet of ocean steamers there even that year to take the tea away; in 1898, barely one for London. English people will not drink China tea. It is so delicate that, though in itself inexpensive, it comes dear from more leaf having to be used to produce the same strength of liquor. But it is soothing, whilst Indian tea puts a fresh strain upon our already overtaxed digestions.


In old days the Hankow tea trade was a great business. Tea-tasters came out from England in 12 crowds, arriving in May and going away in July. They would taste two hundred different teas, not swallowing the tea, but just savouring its flavour, and smelling it, and handling the leaf. Then the man who could not tell the same tea again when he went over the two hundred the second time was no tea-taster. They were pale men for the most part, of rather finely strung susceptibilities, or their palates would not have been so critical. And they did not care much for games of chance, they gambled so high in tea, a fortnight's business easily leading a man to win or lose £20,000.

Ah! the good old days of China tea and silk are gone. Are there better days yet to come in the new China that is to take the place of old China, which is passing away even as we talk about it?

III. Inside a Chinese City.

One of the most exciting moments of all my life in China was when I first found myself shut up within the walls and barred gates of Wuchang, the provincial capital of Hupeh, one of the rowdiest provinces of China. And of the three cities that meet together and almost join—Hankow and Wuchang being separated by the there three-quarter-mile wide Yangtse, and Hankow and Hanyang separated by the boat-covered Han—Wuchang has the reputation of being the most rowdy. It is there, of course, the Provincial Examinations are held; and when men assemble in their thousands away from their families and friends, they are in all countries apt to be unruly. 13

Probably, of all the hundreds of foreign tea-men who visited Hankow, barely one or two had been across the river to Wuchang. But a missionary, who was living alone there, and seemed to feel his loneliness, asked us to go over and spend the night with him; and with many doubts as to what kind of accommodation he could give us, and whether we should be inconveniencing him, we accepted. I have often been to Wuchang since then. But I remember still the thrill with which, when I went to bed that night, I stood at the window and listened to the strange, unfamiliar sounds from the street beyond the compound, or garden. There was the night-watchman crying the hours, and clacking his pieces of bamboo together to warn evil-doers to keep off. But he did it in a way I had not yet heard. Then there were such curious long drawn-out street cries, all unknown, and sounds of people calling to one another, and the buzz of a great city. And I suddenly realised, with a choking sense of emotion, that the gates were shut, and I was within there with a whole cityful of Chinese so hostile to foreigners, and especially to foreign women, that it had not been thought safe to let me walk through them to the missionary's house. Even the curtain of my sedan-chair had been drawn down, so that I might not be seen by any one.

Wuchang has always been specially interesting to me, because it was my first Chinese city. And it is so characteristic a one. Every Chinese city is supposed to be placed on hills representing a 14 serpent and a tortoise, although the likeness has often to be helped out by a temple on the tortoise's head, or a pagoda to connect the serpent's coils. But at Wuchang the serpent and tortoise are very plainly visible. Then all Chinese cities are apt to be rude. But the people at Wuchang are so particularly rude. How often have not the gentlemen accompanying me, when in subsequent years I have dared to walk through its streets, had to separate themselves from me, and to walk backwards, exhorting the oncoming crowd of roughs to propriety of behaviour! Curiously enough, the roughest of Chinese roughs get red and uncomfortable, when you tell them you fear they have never learnt politeness, do not observe the rules of decorum, etc., etc. I learnt it as a patter simply from hearing it said in my own defence, and have often raised a blush since then by saying it myself. I doubt if the same results would be obtained by ever so eloquent a paraphrase of the fourth commandment down Whitechapel way. But Chinese, whether they follow them or not, seem all to have been taught to hold in respect the dicta of the ancients. To this day a quotation from Confucius will often settle a moot point in weighty affairs of State. Would that it were so among ourselves with a Christian text!

IV. Shanghai Public Gardens.

To those who have just arrived off a long sea voyage, as to those who from time to time come down from some roadless, gasless, shopless, but smell-ful 17 up-country sojourn, there is one bit of Shanghai that is exceptionally refreshing and delightsome; and that is the garden by the river. At night, when the lamps are lit and mirrored in the water in rows and garlands of light, when the sea-breeze blows in freshly, and friends gather in the gardens, I have even heard it asserted by its greatest detractors, "Shanghai is as good as any other place by night."


But it is in the mornings in winter, or in the before-dinner hours in summer, when the band plays, that you must go there, properly to know what the Shanghai Gardens are like. First and foremost, they are full of flowers—flowers with colours and scents. I do not know how many other people may be thus constituted, but there are occasions when I would as soon meet Keats' "Belle Dame Sans Merci" "alone and palely loitering" as wander through such unmitigated greenery as the Botanic Gardens at Singapore offer to the passing traveller, at least in the month of April. Kew Gardens are all too often depressing after the same fashion; though there one can always fall back upon the greenhouses to see

"How great Nature truly joys in red and green,

What sweet thoughts she thinks

In violets and pinks

And a thousand blushing hues made solely to be seen."


Hongkong Gardens are very fair to see, resembling those of Babylon in being hanging gardens, gardens of terraces. But the way in which the Shanghai Gardens are fitted in between the Bund and the 18 Soochow Creek, with the much-traversed Garden Bridge giving something definite to look at, and the river girdling it all—the river with its ever-moving panorama of swift ocean steamers and perky little steam-launches, and yachts and junks of deeply dyed sails, and brilliant coloured sanpans, all within a stone's-throw,—this situation makes the Shanghai Gardens a place not easily to be matched for passing away the after-sunshine hours. But flowers are the Shanghai Gardens' forte. They should be seen when they are all abloom with roses; or when lordly tulips dazzle the eye with their scarlet and gold, till it is fain to seek relief among those blue and white fairies dancing in 19 the sunshine—sweet-scented hyacinths; or when the chrysanthemums are in season. All these flowers are seen against a background of glossy-leaved magnolias, with their pale sweet-scented blossoms, and oleander-trees, and pomegranates and acacias, all in their different seasons glorious with rose and scarlet or feathery pink and white blossoms.

At one season there is a borderful, but full to overflowing, as those borders almost always are, of the Japanese Lilium auratum, a large, almost arrogant, white lily, with a broad band of gold down each petal. A little while before, people went to the far garden across the road to see the fly-devouring flower, and inhale its fetid breath as of dead men's—not bones, certainly—and all uncleanness. Next the water-lilies claimed their attention, and the poetic rosy lotus flowers, one of which grew so fast, and with such precision of rectitude, that its bud forced its way right through the overshadowing fleshy leaf, and there expanded into a beautiful blossom at its leisure.

The rarely visited fernery at the end of this garden well deserves more frequent visits. There you will find that quaint Asplenium bulbiferum, that drops off little plants, that happen to be growing about its leaves like little accidents, and eventually develop into big plants, that again do likewise. There are also fine specimens of the Australian Platycerium, which you do not wonder to find called grande, so solid and woolly-feeling are its great lumps of leaf. That brown irregular mark underneath one of the abruptly broken-off 20 leaves is not decay, but spores of seed. This, with the name of Alicorne, something like an inverted porcupine, reaching out all round hands, some with three fingers, some with six, sometimes with the fingers tipped underneath with seed, sometimes not, is said to have arrived looking for all the world like a withered cabbage. Then it sprouted and burgeoned; and now it is a thing of joy for ever, not to be in the least dwarfed or put into the shade by Australian tree-ferns of really treelike proportions growing close alongside.

But the fernery has nothing of the charm for me possessed by the large conservatory. There, after so many years, I met once again the friends of my childhood.

"The spirit culls

Unfaded amaranth, when wild it strays

Through the old garden ground of boyish days."

And there, when first I saw it, were all the many varieties of fancy geraniums, so seldom seen in England now, together with heliotropes, and begonias, and rosellias, and cinerarias, all growing in loveliest confusion, though not as I remember them, weighing each other down with their prodigal luxuriance in a garden border, in far-away Madeira, but intermixed with Chinese rockwork and ferns, and generally massed so as to show themselves off to the greatest advantage. In August that house is full of velvety gloxinias of richest hues, and again mixed with waxen begonias. Outside the conservatory are two of those very quaint 21 Singapore cup-sponges, serving as flower-pots of Nature's making. And near by, apparently the pride of the gardener, to judge by its lavish supply of netting, is an apple-tree, with many apples peeping from underneath the netting, as yet quite green! But for all their greenness, one has been carried off by the birds already. Hence the netting.

But it is in the garden beside the river where the pleasantest sitting and sauntering is done. No one puts on best clothes to go there in the morning; only people who like to go are to be met there—none from a sense of duty. There the nurses love to congregate whilst their children play together, and add much life and animation to the scene. The nurses introduce a Chinese element; for otherwise Chinese, were it even Li Hung-chang himself, are excluded from the gardens, as now from Australia, solely because they are Chinese. This never can seem quite right. The Japanese nurses add an additional element of picturesqueness, with their dark-coloured, clinging kimonos, and curious gait, as do also Parsee merchants with their high, hard hats.

Yet sometimes I have regretted we do not have more of the flowers of China in Shanghai. What lovely bursts of blossom one sees at times in the interior of China! One February I wrote from Chungking:

"Camellias of infinite variety are to be seen already. It is surprising to notice how many different kinds there are. Perhaps the loveliest is more like a blush-rose 22 than a camellia—delicate coral pink, shading off into white round the edges of the somewhat crumpled petals. Since the Chinese seem now to devote no care to them, nor at all to know how many varieties there are, it is puzzling to think how they arose."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Whilst on March 21st of another year, I wrote at the time:

"The thermometer is now in the sixties. Our plum-trees done flowering; orchids coming on victoriously; tree-tulips and magnolias like big bouquets; and camellias only slowly waning. Probably nowhere could camellias 23 be seen in greater luxuriance than here, where there are endless varieties; and a blossom of a peony-camellia, loose-petalled and very double, on being measured the other day, revealed a circumference of fifteen and a quarter inches. Great branches of judas-tree and pink peach blossom adorn our rooms, together with a bright-yellow flower that grows in great profusion, and that used to be called New Zealand flax. From all this you can fancy how hothouselike our atmosphere feels just now."

Later in the summer the peonies are the great pride of the Chinese; whilst the scarlet dragon-boat flower is, perhaps, the most remarkable of all the Chinese flowers from being all scarlet together. But it is useless to try to enumerate; for the highest authority in Kew Gardens told me once that in no part of the world was there a more abundant and varied flora than in the Ichang Gorges, which are also the land of the butterfly. It is, however, a mistake, I believe, to think China is called the flowery land from the number of its flowers, the Chinese word translated "flowery" meaning also "varicoloured."

V. In the Romantic East at Last!

Mr. Tee San's garden is one of the most fascinating spots in China, with the bright autumn sunshine glinting through the pretty bits of trellis-work on to its fantastic rocks, and zigzag bridges, and pretty pavilions, and lighting up the truly exquisite specimens 24 of chrysanthemums sometimes on show there. There is the spiky little chrysanthemum, the tiger's moustache, and huge maroon blossoms fading off into delicate cream in the centre, and many other uncommon varieties, each in its appropriate pot, spacious, four-square, and creamy, apparently just made to be painted, and each placed at exactly the right elevation by means of its light wooden stand, sometimes raising the pot an inch or two, sometimes about eight feet, and always so slanted, that the flowers are tilted down towards the spectator, thus showing themselves off in their entirety. But it is not so much worth while to go to this garden in order to see the chrysanthemum, as to admire the infinite variety of Chinese decoration crowded into what is really a very confined space, but which is made to appear a garden large enough to lose oneself in. Rows of bamboo stems of soft blue-green china relieve the monotony of the walls, with their open air-spaces in between, as do also various graceful interlacings of tiles. There are doors of all sorts and sizes, like a horseshoe, like a pentagon, like a leaf cut somewhat irregularly down the middle by the leaf stem, and with outer edge fluted like a leaf. There are, of course, artificial mounds made out of rockwork, and grottoes, and quaint lumps of stone, looking as if they had been masses of molten metal suddenly hardened in their grotesqueness; also, as a matter of course, inside the pavilions there are various specimens of that landscape stone—dear to the heart of the Chinaman, and said to come from Yunnan—framed 27 and hanging on the walls. There used to be also a magnificent peacock; a mandarin duck, with its quaint, bright, decisive colouring; golden pheasants; a scarlet-faced monkey, and a pale-faced; a little company of white geese, and another of white rabbits. But to enumerate the treasures of the garden gives no idea of the artistic skill with which it has been laid out; so that every one who sits down in it even in the most commonplace manner, and even those most unpicturesque of human beings, Chinese men and women, immediately becomes an integral part of a picture.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

There sit two Chinamen, with dark-purple silk outer jackets and long, glowing blue undergowns. They sit on each side of a little square black table, with their long pipes; behind them the sun slants across the latticed paper window, a branch of Virginia creeper, already yellow, pushing in through it. It needs not the addition of the cream-coloured pot with its chrysanthemums planted well to the front of it, as they all are, and on the usual slant. Without that bit of autumn colouring behind them, there is already an autumn picture,—men past their prime soothing the evening of their day in life with the pipe, all nature attuned with its vivid fast-fleeting sunshine and its orange-yellow leaves. In another pavilion sits one of those gorgeous creatures who always recall the braveries of Sir Walter Scott's descriptions, but who are hardly now to be seen out of China: his big loose jacket, of brocaded golden satin, stiff and shimmering: his 28 long gown, only less brilliant, of violet satin. A gnarled and knotted root served there as stand for a flower-pot, artificial streamlets meandering round the pavilion. In the pavement was a stork in white, all formed of little broken bits of tile. The lights and shades were so entrancing, it was difficult to think of ever doing anything in these picturesque retreats, which immediately suggest the Chinaman's ideal—elegant leisure—and furnish most pleasant places to sit and meditate, as one might say, but in reality probably idly to watch the sunlight glorify this tint and soften that.

Without the sunshine it is a different affair. The patterns in the walls, in the fine pebble pavement, are still as complex, the triangles in the latter still as cunningly arranged, the doorways as surprising. There are still the same China drums of soft blue-green and green-blue for garden-seats, and great egg-green vessels for rain-water, as they say "very clear." But it all looks like a theatrical stage by daylight. Even the row of changeable roses by the water, which is really not so clear as it might be, looks uncomfortably pink beneath a grey rain-sky. Only the hoarfrost-resisting flower, as the Chinese call the chrysanthemum, is undimmed, the Chinamen's coats as gay. Whilst Chinese ladies totter as gracefully—or ungracefully—as before, with highly painted cheeks, gay garments, long elaborate earrings, beringed and bebraceleted with soft pure gold unalloyed.


When we were last there, a dainty-looking Chinese 29 dinner was laid out in one of the pavilions; and before the guests sat down, girls arrived to make merry with music. For studying Chinese manners and customs, there could hardly be a more convenient place. Every one seemed very smart and very friendlily disposed towards the foreigner. Those who care for local colour can find it in this garden quite as well as in the China town; and, after all, when one can find local colour without local odours, it is a thing to make note of in China. It is true to get there one must not only drive down the Fukien Road, with its quaint dyers' drying-sheds high up against the sky, their blue draperies streaming from them picturesquely, then 30 across that very fascinating bridge choked underneath with highly polished boats, piled with all manner of merchandise, but also, alas! through a local Covent Garden, full of colour enough, like its prototype in London, but, like that, not smell-less. Once arrived, however, a bewildering sense comes over one of having left prosaic Shanghai very far away, and of having at last arrived at a bit of the romantic East!




Boat-travel.—Vegetation.—Trackers.—Terrace of the Sun.—Gold Diamond Mountain.—Meng Liang's Ladder.—Great Szechuan Road.—Steamer Voyage.—Chinese Hades.—Caves.

Of all ways of travel, surely boat-travel is the most luxurious. For one thing, it is accounted roughing it; and that means that there is no bother about toilets: the easiest boots and gloves, the warmest and most comfortable of clothes, are the appropriate wear. But that seems to be the whole of the roughing of it. For naturally each boat-traveller takes care to start with a favourite chair and a comfortable bed; and it is his cook's business to provide the most recherché of little repasts whenever wanted. What else is he there for? Nor do soufflés and pheasants taste any the worse because the supply of fresh air is unlimited, and the cabin as cosy as nothing but a perfectly well-built house, or a boat floating in water warmer than the surrounding air, can be. The first time we went up to Chungking, we had a sleeping-cabin and sitting-cabin, each 9 ft. 4 in. by 7 ft. 7 in., the former well warmed by a most conveniently arranged kitchen adjoining, with a plentiful 32 supply of warm water for our travelling-bath. Thus our only drawback was that the wind was always favourable; and whereas our captain had been bound over to pay us six shillings a day for every day over the agreed-upon twenty-two between Ichang and Chungking, we were equally bound to pay him six shillings a day extra for every day under.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

My first trip up the Gorges was, however, very different. To give its impressions in their freshness, I will quote from a letter written at the time:

"June 20th, 1887.

"It depends, I suppose, a good deal upon how much people like or dislike the journey, whether it is worth while to come half round the world, and then steam a 33 thousand nautical miles into the interior of China, in order to visit the Gorges of the Yangtse; but we have just returned from a five-days' trip, and what I have seen far surpasses my anticipations. Indeed, in all my travels, I know no country more altogether delightful. Although it is June, one of the worst seasons for going there, we have been able to walk about all day long, and without getting tired too. The air felt fresh, and, oh! so fragrant with delicious flowers. The feature of the region, of course, is the precipices. I should guess the precipices at nothing under two thousand feet, and perhaps not more than that sheer down, as far as I have seen: sometimes dolomitic white limestone, which 34 always reminds me of dead men's bones, sometimes weathered a rich yellow-brown. The grandeur and massiveness of the bastions, and towers of rock, and overhanging pinnacles, and projecting isolated blocks, or pillars, standing bolt upright in fine relief against the sky, are not picturesque like the scenery round Méran, not exciting like some of the Alpine scenery in Switzerland, but awe-inspiring and sublime.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

"Then the vegetation is enchanting. Nearly every flower, great big glorious butterfly, and brilliantly coloured bird is unknown to me; and till people have walked through a country where this is the case, they cannot imagine what a zest it adds to an expedition. But just to tell of those I recognise will show how charming it is. Fancy bamboos in feathery tufts, and palms, everywhere, not tall, but very graceful; chestnut-trees in full flower; plums laden with the rosiest fruit—but very bitter we found them; walnut-trees with huge leaves and nuts; orange-trees; most beautiful, perhaps, of all, the tallow-tree, rather like the lilac in leaf, but each leaf set on a very long stalk, so that the slightest breath sets it quivering, a light bright green in colour, each shoot tipped at the end with almost scarlet young leaves, and the whole tree, a tall well-grown tree too, covered with yellowish tassel-like flowers. Most lovely is the general effect. And in the autumn, they tell me, it is even finer, taking the same brilliant tints as the maple in Canada. I never know if I like this tree or the soap-tree best. The latter is like an oak in general effect, but more graceful, and grows quite big. 35 But I am keeping the best to the last. Fancy blue larkspurs, and yellow jasmine, and glorious coloured oleanders, and begonias, virgin lilies, and yet taller white lilies, and gardenias, and sunflowers, all growing wild, and most luxuriantly. I was quite excited when I first saw waxen-leaved begonias cuddling into the crevices of a rock by the wayside; and exclaimed aloud when a turn of the path revealed a whole bank of dwarf sunflowers, golden in the sun. These, too, are only the flowers I can name. There are numbers more, and so fragrant! And among them all enormous swallow-tailed butterflies, and a very pretty breed of white goats, with dear little kids, disport themselves. Grand though the Gorges are, one does not feel saddened or depressed by them, as I was afraid of being. It is like seeing a whole troop of graceful loving grandchildren climbing up some grand old man's knee.

"But the Yangtse certainly does appear a very wicked river, bristling with rocks and whirlpools, just as its shores bristle with precipices. We had a very light boat, and an absurdly large crew—eight men besides the head man. And with all their exertions, they could only get us up against the rushing, whirling current at the rate of a mile an hour. But the river ran so fast, and the men worked so hard, and the shores were so varied, ever opening out some new, narrow defile, down which a torrent had cut its way—always cut quite deep—that one had no sense at all of going slowly, but just the contrary. The men had long bamboos with hooks at the end, and with these 36 they would hook on to the rocks, and claw us up against the current; for we always kept quite close to the side, so as, as far as possible, to keep out of the rush of the river, and profit by occasional eddies. Then at other times they would bound on to the shore, scampering and giving tongue like a pack of beagles let loose, and tow the boat along, occasionally bending almost double in their efforts.

"I thought at first I would walk along the path with the trackers. Oh the foolish English idea! At times the trackers bounded along over loose boulders, or over ledges of rock, where the limestone strata made a fairly 37 smooth surface; but at others they, with their bare feet and hands well used, had all they could do to find a footing. During these mauvais pas, or when they were ferried across in a boat, or waded through the river, those left on board would claw the rocks, or work the yulohs, very long and rather unmanageable oars. The oddest thing was the intense delight the men seemed to take in their work. But, of course, tracking our light boat was a very different thing from dragging a heavily laden junk. Hundreds of men are said to be lost in these rapids every year. And it really seems too dangerous work to put men to year in year out. Think of the tow-line breaking! During the little time we have been away, we saw one junk wrecked, and two drifting down-stream unmanageable, their tow-lines having broken, and nearly all their men being ashore. And the farthest point we got to was only fifteen miles from Ichang; so we got back down-stream in two hours. We did not go farther, because our captain said it was just then too dangerous to take our house-boat past the three terrible whirlpools of Nantor; and, of course, half the pleasure of the trip was in landing every now and then, and walking up the wild, narrow glens to different points of view. One day we walked from ten to seven to the Terrace of the Sun, where there is a small Taoist temple on a little ledge of rock just big enough to hold it, at the top of a mountain quite two thousand feet high, and with a sheer precipice on one side. Another day we walked from half-past six till half-past five to the Gold 38 Diamond Mountain, where there is a Buddhist temple on a slightly larger plateau, with a spring on the top of the mountain, and a wonderful panoramic view. It is over a thousand feet higher than the other, and to get to it you walk along a quite narrow path with precipices on both sides. Do you realise that in China there are no railings and no roads, nothing but narrow paths like English field-paths? I never really believed it till I came here. And the agriculturists are always encroaching upon even the narrow paths there are, planting Indian corn and a few beans or something, on the chance that the passer-by will not tread upon them.

"The people are greatly interested in seeing a European woman. The women flock round, and beg me to take off my gloves and my hat, that they may see how my hair is done, and the colour of my hands. Then some old woman is sure to squeeze my feet, to see if there is really a foot filling up all those big boots: for, of course, all the women here have small feet—that is, they have them bandaged up; and astonishingly well they get along upon their hoof-like feet. They are very friendly, and bring out chairs and benches before their cottage doors, and beg us to sit down, and offer us tea, or, if they have not got that ready, hot water. But the children cry with terror if I touch them or go too near; and one little boy in a school we went into simply trembled with fear all the time I stood near him to hear him read. Sometimes also the dogs run away without barking, they are so afraid: a great comfort this is, for 39 the barking of the dogs, and the loathsome-looking pigs at each cottage, and the smells, are the great objection to going through the often lovely-looking—from a distance—villages. Hoang San Tung, on its terrace nearly a hundred feet above the river, with all its curved roofs, looked really like a flight of doves settled down there, the wings not quite folded yet; and several of the others are very picturesque from a distance. But the smells of Ping Shan Pa obliged us to change our anchorage, there being no reason why we should endure them. There were fireflies there; but not such glorious ones as at Shih Pai, where they cast long trails of light upon the river, and were the most luminous I have ever seen. I do hope there will be soon a steamer running to transport people safely and easily to this delightful region. No boats were able to come down while we were up the river; and of some machinery for the Viceroy of Szechuan, that came up here on the previous voyage of the steamer in which we travelled, we have heard already that two boatloads are lost, and it is just as likely as not that the loss of these may make the rest useless.

"Seeing these ranges of mountains, across which it would, indeed, be difficult to make roads, and across which there certainly are none, I better realise how completely the rich and productive province of Szechuan—the size of France—is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet it will be sad if steamers introduce an unappreciative crowd to the grand solitudes of the ravines and precipices, the rocks and rapids of the Yangtse. Now one can pick one's hands full of 40 flowers, without thinking one is spoiling any one else's enjoyment. Now one is away from letters and papers, from all the 'warstle and the wear o't,' and can enjoy the health-giving breezes and the grandeur of the scenery quite undisturbed. It does not require to have lived perspiring and almost clotheless through the tea-season at Hankow to enjoy such a trip; but now I begin to realise more than I did at the time what Hankow is, with its willow-shaded Bund, and its painted tea-chests flying along on the shoulders of coolies, and agitated buyers and sellers, and no 'mountain and water' beauty, as the Chinese call the beauty of landscape, only its mirages and its sunsets."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

It is always pleasant to sail before a wind, and boat-travel taken thus is the delight of travel in essence divested of all its ennuis, of tiresome fellow-travellers, dust, steam, rush! Yet there is rushing enough in the Yangtse Rapids; but rushing of such another sort! We ran upon a rock our first day, and were not able to find a leak that night by the flickering light of a Chinese candle. But next day a bag of damaged rice showed clearly where it was, and a little tangle of cotton-yarn with some tallow made it all right. After that our mast cracked so alarmingly that we shortened sail; but that also was soon made right, the sole of an old shoe being nailed over the crack. Old shoes seem to have lasting power. And we sailed on again before the favourable wind that had carried us from Ichang, all through the Yangtse Gorges, in less than 41 a week. Was some of our good fortune owing to the three joss-sticks burning at the stern? They also were stuck in an old shoe, or rather straw sandal this time. Perhaps old shoes have a meaning, like so many other things in China, not understood by people not imbued from their cradles with the profound truths of Fung shui.

Our voyage was like a dream of childhood realised, a dream inspired by many readings of Sinbad's marvellous travels. At Ichang they were making merry over a disappointed globe-trotter, who had been to see the Gorges, and come back complaining they were not perpendicular! Whether he insisted on their descending perpendicularly to their winter water-line, or their summer water-line, not seldom sixty feet apart, report said not. But if he had come on to the Bellows Gorge, surely even he must have been satisfied. The great Szechuan Road, the one new road I have seen in China, is simply hewn out of the face of the apparently perpendicular rock, so that the cliff arches over it. There on the southern side are the square holes in the rock, memorial of Chinese daring, which the celebrated General Meng Liang caused to be made, so that in the night he could take his soldiers, on pieces of wood stuck into these square holes, a rude but strong ladder, up the face of the cliff, naturally supposed to be inaccessible, and surprise the enemy, thereby conquering the kingdom of Shu. There also are the caves, where men gather saltpetre at dizzy heights, climbing up to them by paths that make one hot to look at. Farther on are the iron pillars on one side, and opposite the 42 holes in the rock, between which chains were fastened so as to prevent those of the kingdom to the west of the Gorges from coming down in their vessels to attack the men of Hupeh, then the kingdom of Wei. And here, as we left the gorge, we saw the temple to the memory of Liu Pei, who was there encamped, and slain when Meng Liang made his marvellous night attack. This borderland teems with memories, and the Chinese do not quickly forget. In Kweichow there is still a tablet to the wife of Liu Pei, over the well at the back of what is now the Prefect's official residence, where she drowned herself when her husband was slain, nearly two thousand years ago.

But the day we were there was New Year's Eve, and even our man-servant said it was impossible for me to go into the city to see it that day; and on the next day's festival it would be cruel to trouble our good soldiers to escort us. For we were travelling with that great luxury, a gunboat, that is also a lifeboat; and the soldiers, as in all this admirably organised lifeboat service, were excellent fellows, whether for handling an oar or for keeping back the crowd. They seemed positively to delight in carrying the camera, or in posing for a foreground, evidently admiring their own clothes very much, and being very wishful to know if we could read the characters upon their jackets. But for this gunboat, which sailed faster than our passenger-boat, and could put us ashore anywhere, we should have been deprived of nearly all our interesting walks; for our boat sailed on and on even into 45 the night. Sailing through the never-ending Witches' Gorge, ever following White Wings before, a beautifully appointed junk, that had kept just ahead of us all day, and seeing our first sunset since we started, soft saffron in the west, had a very magical effect. It seemed impossible ever to go back again to one's friends. Why not sail on for ever, since one had for once discovered the Ideal Life?

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

"We knew the merry world was round,

And we might sail for evermore."

But there were other moments, and moments oft repeated, when all was excitement and action. Wild shouts and waving of arms encouraged the steaming trackers. The water boiled round the bows. The drum sounded. A man sprang on to an almost impossible rock—it is climbed at least twenty times nearly every day—and disengaged the tow-line, on which our lives were depending. The camera was at full cock! And then a sailor reached in front of it, and that moment was lost! But the boat hung fire, and we tried again. At one rapid there were women tracking—women with their hoof-like feet and loathly trousers, giving delicate little pulls, that surely could not advance the boat much. Then our soldiers were poling and hooking, with crimson faces and straining arms! Now we are through that race, and flying along in the eddy preparatory to the tug-of-war at the next rapid! The trackers are running ahead like a pack of beagles. A side-ravine becomes visible, with a grand gateway, 46 irresistibly recalling Coleridge's "like cliffs that have been rent asunder." Then we gaze at caves, squared, and with fresh-looking ladders hanging from them, and understand they are places of refuge for the husbandmen in the houses opposite to retire into should danger threaten, and that it is not so very long since they were used. Certainly, they would appear able to stand every siege but that of hunger.

We passed rocks fluted like organ-pipes, with the stones that had done the fluting still held captive in them; rocks fretted almost into lacework by the action of the water; rocks weathered red, and rocks weathered grey; and one day we saw a black mass, which we were told was harder than steel, yet it was gnarled and gnawn in rings. After passing that black mass, the strata sloped from east to west, just as on the other side of the Gorges they sloped from west to east; thus, coming up-stream, the rocks no longer seemed so menacing as before.

"But here are the far-famed singing girls of Kweichow, with reedlike voices, and a man, very pale, with a face like Dante, for accompanist on a pretty little viol; and the sound of merry-making increases. Our soldiers have been cooking their pig's head nearly all day. A mandarin's boat moored next to us has a regular witches' cauldron, full of the cock that every one has been carrying about these last few days, comb, legs, and all, a pig's head, and several more uncanny-looking bits of meat. Evidently our trackers also are enjoying a good feed outside. We have twenty lusty rogues, besides our 47 boat's crew. And we are all moored in a tangled mass; so that there does not seem to be room for even one boat more to spend its New Year at Kweichow Fu. There are joss-sticks burning at our cabin door. Joss-sticks were burnt solemnly over our pig's head in the gorge in the morning of that day, a cannon solemnly fired three times, and the cook prostrated himself as he offered the burnt-offering. Now crackers are going off all round; and every man who has a chance has asked me if I do not think Szechuan the most beautiful country in the world. Even the captain tried to hurry me in the morning into photographing the entrance into the first Szechuan gorge. 'Szechuan is beautiful,' he said. So say all the men with white handkerchiefs bound round their brows, thus showing their Western origin."

But it was all beautiful, all wild, all grand, after we entered the Land of Promise through the gate of the Ichang Gorge. For those who do not love Nature in her wilder moods this was not the time of year to travel through the Gorges. They should wait till spring has garlanded them with flowers like a Mayfair ballroom, and perfumed the breezes with their fragrance. There is a certain sameness about the grandeur of the scenery when seen always under a leaden sky with a north-easter driving us on. But for those who admire precipice piled upon precipice, and rocks rent asunder, every season is the season for the Gorges, where the Niukan is perhaps the loveliest; but the Ping Shu Gorge and that of the Fearsome Pool are certainly the most solemn and impressive; 48 while the Witches' Gorge offers the most variety, and the Ichang Gorge, though perhaps only because it is best known, ever seems the friendliest, and is certainly the most fantastic.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

All China New Year's Day we wandered through the ruins of Liu Pei's city. Bits of the wall remain, and the gateway under the old drum tower; but it is a little hard to believe these date from A.D. 200, although all the people declare they do, and our man-servant begged that they might be photographed. We picnicked under a beautiful clump of trees, looking down upon the grand rock mass, whose being covered 51 by the river is the signal for the Kweichow authorities to forbid the passage of junks down-river as too dangerous. The days of this grand rock mass standing in mid Yangtse must be numbered, supported as it is on three pillars; thus there are two arches to be seen beneath it, when the water is low enough. We wandered through a lovely temple on the hill, commanding the most picturesque view we had yet seen down the last Fearsome Gorge. Unlike most Chinese temples, this, the first Szechuan temple I had seen, was really exquisitely kept, clean, and well swept, with clean, bright windows of many-coloured paper panes. The priests were polite, the images freshly painted. We came down through a village, again all clean and fresh as paint. Every one was in good clothes, of course, as it was New Year's Day; but it was surprising to find that even the smartest women were ready to be photographed, and not at all too frightened to look into the camera themselves.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

We longed to walk along the great Szechuan Road, completed as far as the Hupeh frontier, sixty miles, at a reputed cost of £52,000, and really a road, though, as is usual in Szechuan, it is often long flights of steps, and several of its crossings over streams looked doubtful. The Chinese do not make roads sufficiently often to be good road-makers. Hupeh was to have continued this road through its gorges to Ichang; and the great Lo, the Marquis of Carabas of these parts, had just been up to inspect and chalk O where the road was to go. If it were ever finished and 52 could last, it would rival the Corniche Road for magnificence of scenery.

But years have past since we first travelled on the Upper Yangtse, and no steps have yet been taken to carry the road down-river; the funds intended for this purpose are said all to have been absorbed in paying compensation for damage done to foreigners' property in the riots of one summer. Some day, perhaps, a railway will be cut out along the river-channel. In the meantime, my husband has proved the long-doubted practicability of steaming through the rapids, by himself taking a little steamer up without any foreign assistance to help him, only Ningpo engineers, who knew neither the Szechuan speech nor ways, and a Szechuan pilot, who had never been on a steamer before. That voyage will for ever rank among the most exciting experiences of my life; for all the population along the river turned out to see the steamer, so that the cities presented the appearance of having all their outlines heavily underscored with a blue pencil; whilst sometimes as many as five Chinese lifeboats and gunboats, with large pennants and burgees flying, and occasionally firing their cannon, all wanted her to tow them at once, since their mission was to protect her. And as the little steamboat could at the outside go nine knots an hour, it was, indeed, a business to get her up the rapids. In one case—the worst—she steamed all she could, and three hundred men, harnessed to tracking-lines, pulled all they could, till one great bamboo line snapped. But she got up safely after 53 seven minutes, in which one felt as if one's hair turned white; for if she had once got her head round, she must have been lost, and every man aboard her. A more powerful steamer would make nothing of many of the rapids, and even that worst one at some seasons of the year is barely noticeable.

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury.

The chief points of interest, after passing through the Gorges, are Changfei's beautiful temple, a great place to spend a happy day at; the singularly beautifully situated city of Wanhsien; Changchow, with its graceful bamboo groves; and Fengtu, the Chinese Hades.

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury.

To a Chinaman this last is the most interesting place along the river: for the Emperor of the dead is supposed to live on the little hill there, as the Emperor of the 54 living does at Peking; and whenever a Chinaman dies, all the world over, a letter ought to be written to Fengtu announcing his death, and not dropped casually into the post, but solemnly burnt by a Taoist priest. It is the one place Chinese boatmen regard with awe, and they object to moving about at night near Fengtu. Pilgrims come in great numbers to see the well that is reputed bottomless; and every one burns a little paper and throws it in. So that when I saw it the well appeared quite full up to the top. There was an iron cover over it I longed to photograph; and as it was quite dark by the well, I asked whether the soldiers accompanying me might carry it outside 55 into the daylight and to my surprise no objection was made to their doing so; and when I set up the camera, a priest said he would stand beside it with an incense-stick, as that would look better. There is a great sword at Fengtu; but we did not learn the legend about this. The whole hillside was covered with temples, all crowded with pilgrims; and my husband said if I would go photographing in Chinese places of pilgrimage, I really must not expect him to accompany me. But I was new to China then, and enthusiastic; so four soldiers linked their arms round me, and in that manner I photographed. 56

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

On another voyage we stopped at Fengtu for the night as we were proceeding up-river. It was when the chapels and houses throughout Szechuan were being burnt down, and missionaries flying for their lives, though no one was killed, happily. All the people on the foreshore rushed down to look at our boat, brandishing bamboos; and our servants said they had to shout very loud and very energetically that we were not missionaries in order to save our lives. The principal official sent down additional soldiers to guard us through the night. But it was impossible to be frightened. For that, I think, was really the very hottest night I have lived through; even lying on the roof of the boat it was impossible to do anything but gasp.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Beyond Fengtu are the colossal statues of the philanthropic beancurd-seller and his wife, hewn out of the living rock, and sitting in caves made in the rock out of which they are hewn. Beyond them, again, comes a very pleasant country of farmsteads, and great shade-trees, and caves in the rock-face, once 57 inhabited, it is believed, by the aborigines, who were there before the Chinese came. But if so, how well and neatly they are shaped! And why did people who could square doorways so neatly live in such uncomfortable, dark places as caves? People all say to one another that these caves would be very interesting subjects for study; but so far no one has studied them.

Thus, by many windings, and past great bridges, and up more rapids, at last we arrive at terrible, long reaches of rocks; and then at Chungking, the commercial capital of Szechuan, China's westernmost, and one of its largest and richest provinces. But Chungking deserves a chapter to itself, especially as it is the only Chinese city within whose walls I have lived for years. Some people call thus living "doing a term of fortress." A Chinese city is certainly very like a prison. 58


Large Farmsteads.—Wedding Party.—Atoning for an Insult.—Rowdy Lichuan.—Old-fashioned Inn.—Dog's Triumphal Progress.—Free Fight.—Wicked Music.—Poppy-fields.—Bamboo Stream.

It is very unusual to make the journey from Ichang to Chungking by land; but one year in the spring-time the thought of the dog-roses and the honeysuckle tempted us, as also the prospect of getting to our destination a few days earlier; so we crossed the river at Ichang, and set off over the mountains, at first all white and glittering with new-fallen snow. How delicious oranges tasted, when we took alternate bites of them and crisp mountain snow!

Here and there were large farmsteads, where a whole clan lived together, thus avoiding the loneliness of English country life, as also the insecurity. How it works, and whether there is some natural law by which no family increases beyond a certain number, or how it is decided when the moment comes that some members have to go out into the world to seek their fortunes, and who it should be, I do not know. But it is obvious that the Chinese plan leads to a great deal of pleasant sociability; and as it is always the 59 eldest man of the family whose authority is (nominally) absolute, this must lead to a certain continuity of régime, very different from what it would be, if, as with us, a young eldest son every now and then became the head. It also leads to the erection of very large and very beautiful homesteads, with generally a beautiful temple near at hand.

It was a pretty sight one day to watch a wedding party behind us winding up and down the mountainsides, seven men carrying flags, seven or eight ponies with red cloth saddles, a red State umbrella carried by itself, two sedan-chairs, and music, which last sounded quite pleasantly in the fresh country air. They were going to fetch the bride, we were told; but our last sight of them was sad. For, encountering an opium caravan, one of the wedding party was saucy, and a free fight ensued, branches being torn off the trees, whilst all the cavaliers, now mounted, stood huddled together on a hill, declaring they knew nothing about it instead of dashing in to the rescue. Meanwhile, one at least of the wedding party was carried off prostrate and bleeding, and the opium caravan, with its heavy carrying-poles, was having it all its own way.

Once we thought we were going to spend the night, as we always tried to do, at a lonely inn; but there was a village just beyond it, and the villagers came over, and were rather troublesome in their curiosity. What was particularly annoying was that our room was only partly boarded over at the top with loose, dirty boards; and when we closed the door, all who could rushed 60 up ladders into the rafters to look down, or on to the loose boards above us, staring down at us, and covering us and our dinner with dust. This had to be stopped; so we opened the door again. And I got so tired of the people, I went outside to walk up and down the road in the moonlight, though certainly we had had quite enough walking; for our little pony had lost two shoes, and with so many miles yet to go had to be spared a good deal. Even in the moonlight, however, a growing crowd followed me, staring and giggling, till impatiently I remonstrated. On which a man stepped forward as spokesman. "We are nothing but mountain people," he said, "and anything like you we have never seen before! So we do just want to look." On this it was impossible not to show oneself off answering beforehand all the questions I knew they would otherwise ask, on which they laughed merrily, quite delighted. But we really wanted to go to bed some time or other; and so far I had not been able to wash at all except just my face and hands, which after a long day across mountains is hardly satisfactory. So now we tried the expedient of being exceedingly polite, and wishing them all good-night. After this had been repeated two or three times, the door being shut after each good-night, the people dispersed, some each time taking the hint and going away. But, alas! it seemed some were going to sleep up above us; and as there was nothing to prevent their staring down at us as much as they liked over the ends of the loose planks, I had to wait till my husband had undressed 61 comfortably by candle-light, and put the candle out, and then, as so often before, go to bed in the dark. Certainly, a man has great advantages in travelling.

Another day one of our coolies had a fight with one of his substitutes about pay. Every man we pay always sweats the work out to some one else. The substitute boxed his ears. He called his substitute's mother dreadful names. They were both from the same town, which made it worse. In a second all our men had thrown down their loads, and were flying down the hill to join in the fight. As we had just passed through a little village, I thought, of course, my husband, who was behind, had been attacked; whilst he came hurrying up to learn what had been done to me. Meanwhile, our cook, the real fighting man of our party, had rushed in to have his innings, just as ignorant as either of us as to what had really occurred. Whatever it was, we felt sorry for the poor substitute, overpowered by the members of our party; so we at last succeeded in stopping the tail-pulling and cudgelling, but not before the poor man's face was all bleeding. Some ten miles farther on we came to a wayside house, with two venerable-looking Chinamen sitting in the seat of justice, and the whole party had to go in. It was decided our coolies were in the wrong. And I was delighted to hear that such an insult as they had offered to the man's mother could not be atoned for by money. They had publicly to k`otow (bow till they touched the ground with their foreheads), and to apologise. 62

At Lichuan occurred our first mobbing, the more unfortunate as most of our coolies came from there. Our cook had, as we thought, very imprudently engaged rooms for us in an inn outside the walls, and evidently not the best inn. To make it worse, it had an entrance back and front, and the room assigned to us had three large windows. So often we had no windows at all, it seemed particularly unfortunate we should have three there; for in poured a howling crowd, and the windows were at once a sea of faces. We thought it best to bolt the door of the room, setting our soldier-coolie on guard over it. And the only thing to do with the windows seemed to be to close the shutters and wait inside in the darkness, hoping the crowd would go away when there was nothing more to see. But there were eyes and fingers at every crack—and the room was all cracks—and the people coughed to attract our attention, and called to us to come out; while to judge by the sounds—but one can never do this in China—there seemed to be fierce fighting between some of them and our coolies. Presently my husband went out, and tried to reason with them, telling them if it was only himself they should be free to come into his room, and see him all the time; but they knew themselves it was not proper to look into women's apartments. They seemed too low and rude a crowd for reasoning; so then he went to the landlord. And there were one or two furious onslaughts, and then as many or more men as were driven out from before came in from behind. And the 63 landlord said he was powerless. Once they broke the shutters open, and my husband really frightened them, rushing out and asking who was trying to steal our things, and saying he would have the thieves arrested and taken to the yamen. This was an excellent idea, and quieted them for a little while. But then it all began again.

And meanwhile our combative cook, getting ready our dinner in the midst of all the hurly-burly, was evidently with difficulty putting a restraint on himself. We had to light a candle to dine by, and this let Bedlam loose again. It was our first really hot day, and we were very tired; but it was evident there was to be no rest for us that evening. Then, just as in a very disconsolate state we were going to bed, between twenty and thirty very smartly dressed women actually came to call upon us, introduced, as it were, by a Christian from Wanhsien, who was on a visit to her relations. She came in, shaking hands very affectionately at once, and sitting down to talk, as if she were our dearest friend; whilst she pronounced the people very bad people, and said she was going away again directly. But whether she was a real Christian or not we did not know, although we have since heard all about her, and that she is a very enthusiastic convert. There were not enough seats to offer the other women one each. It was very late, and the noise pretty great; so, after we had admired their large, hanging, silver earrings, and they had taken stock of us, as it were, they went away again, and then—out with the lights and to bed! But 64 there were fingers feeling, feeling at the cracks, and rude coughs, and noises for hours after that.

Next day we took care to be off before daybreak, and it was from the open country beyond we saw the sun rise over Lichuan; but the general appearance of the town was as if it had long ago set. All the hazy temples looked dilapidated, and the inhabitants had a decidedly opium-eating air. And worst of all, there were no horseshoes to be had. But the little pony still trotted bravely on with shoes on its two fore feet. It is rice that specially flourishes round Lichuan, and the reflections in the paddy-fields were very lovely all that day. There was a thunderstorm in the evening; but nothing like so magnificent as what we had a night or two before, when we took refuge in a schoolhouse, where the master delighted my husband by his very educated Chinese.

But then came the question of putting up for the night again. Every one seemed agitated, and kept hurrying on in front, as if not wanting to be questioned; and meanwhile we never stopped! Yet every one was complaining of not feeling well; and there were the barrier mountains in front, and nothing now visible between us and them but one of those large isolated farmhouses, of which we had seen so many. There was a network of rice-fields in front of it, the whole river here being spread out over the fields; and there, with a screen of gnarled willows before it, the old farmhouse stood, raised on a little platform, looking down on the waste of waters. Could it be possible that we 65 were going to ask hospitality of a private house? It seemed so, for there was the Boy coming back from the house to greet us. "Come in quickly, Mississy. No man must see you. And you no must say anything. My have say all a mistakey, you no belong woman, you one man." "But why is that? Why did you say I was a man?" "This belong old-fashion Chinese inn—no can have one woman. The last inn say no got any room, because no will have one woman. So my go on very fast, and say you one man. The people no savee. Only come in quickly now." Would a stricter moralist have thought it necessary to repudiate the falsehood, and explain? It was late, and we were tired, and I went quickly to the inner room. Then the Boy began to explain further. According to him, it is in China the height of impropriety for a man and a woman in travelling to share the same room. When a Chinese mandarin travels, his wife goes into the women's quarter with the other women. Unfortunately, in these inns there was no women's quarter; so at Lichuan, where it seems the difficulty had begun, the Boy had said if the landlord would give me another room I would occupy it, but there had been none for me. The last inn had refused us outright; and this being a regular old-fashioned inn and farmhouse, the Boy had felt quite sure it would do likewise if it knew. All this was a new idea to us. And as we saw all the women of the household taking peeps at us from the window over the buffalo-stable opposite, we fancied their suspicions had been aroused, 66 and that after all they knew I was a woman. All across the mountains there had been a great wondering as to what I was, and I had often heard the country people beseeching the coolies to tell them. When I sat in my chair in my long fur coat, and my husband rode the pony, they had no doubt at all but that I was a man, and a mandarin, and he my outrider; and they used to ask about me in this spirit, and in one village all stood with bated breath whilst I was carried by. But with the fur coat, which is greatly worn by mandarins, my dignity departed, and, on foot or on horseback, I was altogether an anomaly. The hair seemed to be the hair of a woman; but, then, the feet were surely the feet of a man!

Next day, however, our falsehood was revealed; for it poured pretty well all day: the rain had streamed in on my husband's bed during the night, and wet most of his things; one of the coolies was very ill with cold, the cook pretty sick, my husband ditto; and we settled to stop the day. And it being so chilly, we were but too thankful to leave our very draughty, damp rooms, and to go and sit in one of the family's rooms in the farmhouse part, where a fire of chaff and shavings on the floor made a great smoke and a little warmth, and where all the huge family interviewed us by turns, as we turned over picture-books. The men of the family had a most lively game of cards going on, and all our coolies likewise settled to cards. But some of the family were reading the Yi King, which, as the head of the house said, was the foundation of all wisdom, and is one 67 of the most difficult of all Chinese classics. This rather delighted me, just as it did in the boat coming down to find our coolies and some junk-owners going down with us all amusing themselves with puzzles I had always known as Chinese, but never before seen in China, in especial the complicated cross puzzle made roughly out of bits of bamboo.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

One day we passed a beautiful free school, built by some wealthy man for the advantage of his poorer neighbours in this remote region. 68

It was after this began the little dog's triumphant progress. People had enjoyed seeing him everywhere. But now, on the borderland between the two provinces of Hupeh and Szechuan, they really revelled in him. Mothers brought out their babies, who cooed with delight; boys danced backwards down the street before him, clapping their hands. Not the most advanced opium-smoker but his pallid face relaxed into a smile at catching sight of our little Jack; and everywhere we moved to a chorus of "Lion-dog! Lion-dog!" and general happy smiles. I could not but recall how in one town, too dirty even to dine in, the crowd had surveyed us, and at last one boy had said, "Well! their animals are good-looking," then felt all that his speech implied, and looked confounded. But we had again and again heard people admiring the pony's condition, and saying, "At least foreigners know how to take care of animals." So my husband was well satisfied, and I was too, being again asked to sell little Jack, whom the people thought we must be taking to market, or why did we take him along the road with us? A Taoist priest had even come down from his temple to ask that the dog might be presented to it. So we felt that at least our animals were appreciated, whatever we might be.

This was all very well when they did not pelt us. But they did sometimes. And in one town out of the crowd came a really well-dressed man, and seized hold of my foremost chair-coolie—I was always carried through the towns—crying out, "You said it was a 69 friend of yours!" The coolies offered no resistance. Before that I had been vainly urging them to carry me faster; they had appeared to be waiting for something. But my husband now sprang forward, and seized the well-dressed man, when, to his surprise, the latter showed fight. And then all the people on the bank above us began to pelt, throwing rather better than usual too. My husband was hit in several places. Our fighting cook was hit too, but, I believe, flatters himself he gave quite as good as he got. Even the decidedly non-fighting Boy's pugnacious instincts were roused. "Only I thought it would be so dleadful for you, Mississy," he said afterwards. So he did not fight. As for me, I honestly own I never once looked behind, having a great regard for my eyes when any earth-throwing begins. And the coolies now hurried me away with a will, as my husband had dragged off their assailant by his pigtail, and deposited him in a paddy-field. Several of the onlookers, being unpleasantly hurt, now told our party the whole thing had been got up by the well-dressed man and one or two more, well known in the place, and regular bullies, who had distributed cash among the crowd to get us pelted simply out of hatred to foreigners.

At the next town we were again a little pelted. But when we got back to the main road, travelling along once more beside the telegraph-wires, the people were what we call in China very civil; in any other country it would be outrageously insolent and ill-mannered. And before we got there we had to sleep one night 70 in one of the most stinking, dirty towns we ever passed through. We arrived late, so were happily not well seen; and the people there, having a guilty conscience, thought that we were officials sent to stop them from gambling or some other bad practice. So we should have had a quiet resting-time but for all night long the most dreadful sort of music going on near at hand. It was the kind of music that Wagner might have liked for a motif. But the Boy said it was horribly wicked, and not even a thing to mention before a lady. As far as I could make out, it was incantations over a sick person, not made by any priest, he said, but by the people themselves, and with witches and dancing. But he spoke of it with such horror, it seemed wrong to question him. It had a weird, wicked sound; but it did not keep us awake. Only, whenever I woke, I heard it still going on; and it seemed quite in character with the general look of the place and the sweet sickly opium smell as we entered the small town. We went away early next morning through a regular thick fog; and directly we escaped from the filth of the town, we were in the prosperous-looking, healthy poppy-fields again.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

For five days we travelled through a perfect flower-show of poppies, not the wild field-poppy of England, but like those we have in our gardens, standing up tall and stately about five feet high. Most were white, a delicate, fair, frail blossom; others were white, with fringed petals edged with pink; others altogether pink, or mauve, or scarlet, or scarlet-and-black, or, perhaps 73 best of all, crimson, which, when looked up at on a bank standing out against the brilliantly blue sky, made our eyes quite ache with colour-pleasure. But how sad to hear in a letter from a friend in the Kweichow Province: "Ten years ago the price of rice per basin was 7 cash. Now, owing to the poppy taking the place of what ought to produce food for the people, the price is 20 cash for the same quantity of rice. And the people are wretchedly poor and ill-clad, whilst their poor bodies are wasting away from the constant use of the drug." One whole day we wandered along a pleasant path beside a limpid stream, beautiful, tall, bending bamboos making a refreshing breeze over our heads, with their cool green feathery foliage. If all the world could be traversed by paths like that, who would ever travel but on foot? But in the end we arrived at beautiful Chungking in a boat, as is usual with this river-encircled city. 74


Arrangement of a Chinese House.—Crowd in Streets.—My First Walk in Chungking City.—Presents.—Cats, Rats, and Eggs.—Paying a Call.—Ladies Affectionate.—Shocked at European Indecency.—Cost of Freight.—Distance by Post.—Children's Pleasures.—Precautions during Drought.—Guild Gardens.—Pretty Environs.—Opium Flowers, and Smokers.—Babble of Schools.—Chinese Girlchild.

Chungking has been so fully described in my husband's volume Through the Yangtse Gorges, I will not here enter upon a description of it further than to say it is situated, like Quebec, at the junction of two rivers. It a little recalls Edinburgh; it is about the size of Lyons; has walls all round it; and its gates are shut at sunset, all but two, which remain open an hour or two longer, except when the country is in commotion. It is built upon a rock; and as the summer progresses all the rock warms up, till the heat is very great indeed. The streets are mostly covered over, both as a protection against the sun, and the rain, which is very frequent. There is thus no possibility of fresh air getting into its streets, short of a gale occurring; and there is only very rarely any wind, as is shown by the large shade-trees on the tops of the hills, and the 77 awnings to keep the sun off the houses, which are supported on bamboos, and which in this windless region are taken up even over the roofs of the houses.


Now all the missions have built European houses; but a little while ago all foreigners lived in Chinese houses within the walls of the city. To describe one: You enter off a dirty alley by a large gateway, the only opening in the lofty fire-proof walls that surround the whole property; for fire is the great danger of a Chinese city, and a whole quarter of Chungking has been burnt down since we have lived there. You pass into a sort of courtyard; from that you proceed by a long passage to another gateway, thence into a courtyard ornamentally laid out with pots and flowers. The house door opens from this; and entering by it, you find yourself in the lofty entrance hall, used by Europeans as a dining-room. Passing through an ornamental screen with open doorways, over which hang portières, you find yourself in a sitting-room, of which one wall and two half-walls consist of paper windows, with occasional panes of glass. On either side of these two principal rooms are long narrow ones, only thirteen feet wide, which for convenience their English occupants had divided into two, the end wall being in both cases again paper windows with occasional glass. Paper ceilings had been put in to prevent the dust falling through from the tiled roof above; but the sun would shine through this as well as the tiles quite brilliantly at times. None of the partition doors had handles or latches, and the outer walls, as well as the inside partitions, were all alike 78 of thin planks of wood, not overlapping, and which would shrink in dry weather so as to leave quite large openings between them. It will thus be realised that, whatever was the temperature outside the house, the same was the temperature inside, with the additional disadvantage of draughts on rainy, wintry days; and in winter it generally rains in Chungking. Europeans always took care to secure wooden floors for themselves; but these floors were not uncommonly rotting away under their feet. And picturesque though the 79 houses are, with their lofty roofs, their solid wooden pillars, black rafters, and white plaster, their highly decorated exteriors, little pictures in black and white under the eaves, richly carved and heavily gilded ends to the beams, etc., it became increasingly evident each year that Europeans could not hope for health in them. Chinese in winter wear heavily wadded and fur-lined clothes, in which it is impossible to take exercise, and inside of which they loll about in a semi-comatose condition, much as if in bed.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

The streets, although wide for a Chinese city, are very narrow in comparison with English streets, being only eight feet at the widest, and extraordinarily crowded. Passing through them is a continual pushing through a crowd of foot-passengers; of sedan-chairs, carried by coolies, with sometimes one or two men running before to clear the way, and if it be necessary beat back the crowd; of mules, donkeys, or ponies, with loads; and of numbers of carrying-coolies, a bamboo across their shoulders, and from either end a basket hanging by strings. Everything that can be done in the streets is done in them: pedlars go by with great quantities of goods for sale; men are mending broken china with little rivets after a fashion in which the Chinese are great experts; here is a barber shaving a man's head, there are two women menders, on little stools very neatly dressed, pursuing their avocation; here is a man working at an embroidery-frame, there a cobbler mending shoes; here some pigs, there some chickens; here a baby in a hen-coop, there a pussy-cat tied to a shop-counter; 80 and in the evenings street preachers, in the afternoons vast crowds pouring out from theatres. At night, in going out to dinner we used always to pass at least three street preachers. These men wear official caps, and are as a rule, I believe, reading or expounding the Sacred Edicts. There is always a little crowd listening, though often a very small one. In the better streets every attention is paid to decency; in the lesser streets none is apparent. At the street corners there are often large tanks full of water, as a precaution against fire. These are invariably grown over with weed. A vast army of coolies is every day going down the steep flights of steps to the river to bring water, which drips from the buckets as it is carried along. Another army is carrying out the sewage of the city to be used 81 as manure. A very soft coal is used for fuel; and baskets of coal are constantly being carried in, two dangling from a pole across a coolie's shoulders. The coal-dust, and the smoke, and the drippings, and the bustling crowd, all make the streets rather an unpleasant place to walk in. Yet, although every one told me it was impossible for an English lady to walk in them, I felt it was impossible for me to live in Chungking unless I did; for in summer no one could walk out till sunset, and then the gates are closed; so after showing myself about as much as I could in a sedan-chair with the curtains up—unlike the other ladies, who all kept theirs down in those days—I determined to attempt a walk, with my sedan-chair, of course, following behind to show I had some claim to respectability.


In a few minutes two or three hundred men and boys were following me. As long as they kept behind and did not press upon me, it did not so much matter; but the boys have a knack of clattering past, and then turning round to stare into one's face in the most insulting and annoying manner. And I felt I could not go back home with all this rabble following, as of course they would all try to press into our house after me, and then there would probably be a row. So I turned into the official residence of the principal magistrate of the city, hoping that the guardians of his gate might stop both me and my following, as I supposed it would be their duty to do, and then I might somehow detach myself. Into the first courtyard every one has a right to go; but as we proceeded farther, 82 soldiers came up and remonstrated with me. "Well, do your duty—shut us out," I said. "Do shut the people out, and then I won't go any farther." But they did not do their duty; and so, not seeing what else to do, I set up the camera and photographed the crowd and the soldiers, not doing their duty and turning them out. After that I got into my chair; and the people, curiously enough, satisfied that that was what I had come out for, dispersed, and I arrived at home unattended. But many a walk since then have I taken through these same streets; and the people have got so accustomed to the sight of me, that they now do not turn round to look.

One of the most fatiguing things about Chinese life is the presents. Whatever you do, you ought to take or send a present. Every lady who goes out to dinner takes a present to the hostess; and at a certain period of the dinner all sorts of things are done up in a heterogeneous mass for each guest to take home to her children, if she has any; whilst the hostess pays all her friends' chair-coolies, and the guest tips the hostess's servants, especially the cook, who has a great title of honour in China. If ladies care to call, they generally bring presents too, rolled up in a handsome, coloured handkerchief. The most curious present I have received at a dinner party was a white cat, that could hardly see out of its eyes. The general present seems to be sponge-cakes or fruit.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Cats are very much prized in a Chinese city, because of the fierce depredations of the rats; and in 85 Chungking cats are always kept prisoners, and only occasionally let loose at night. It is sad to see the poor things tied up; and we have never been able to make up our minds to keep our cats thus chained. The consequence is they are always stolen, and have a miserable life of it, tied up, and probably far less well fed than they would have been with us. Fowls and pigs are both kept in Chinese cities, and the eggs get a most unpleasing flavour from the vile nature of the places where the poor hens have to lay them.

When I pay a call on a lady, my chair has to be carried over the thresholds of the various courtyards, and set down quite close to the guest-room, where the lady of the house receives, so that I may at once step out of the chair into the house. A woman-servant, almost certainly a slave, comes to offer her shoulder as a help to my tottering footsteps, and I am conducted into the guest-room, round the walls of which there are little tables, large carved wooden chairs with straight backs being placed one on either side of each table against the wall. The ladies bow after the Chinese lady's fashion, placing the right hand on the top of the left against the chest, and moving the right hand slowly up and down; the servants are ordered to bring tea; and then conversation commences. It is never very interesting. The floors are as often as not made of hard mud; the walls whitewashed, with long-shaped pictures, or kakemonos, hanging upon them, often with epigrammatic sentences in the decorative 86 Chinese character. At one end of the room is the altarlike table, above which is the ancestral tablet, and on it stand generally candlesticks made of pewter, flower-vases, an incense-burner, and a small vase for incense-sticks. Embroideries are not hung over this table and on the backs of the chairs, unless it is the Chinese New Year time or a dinner party. When the tea is brought, little sugared cakes accompany it; and men say the etiquette is to go away directly you have sipped the tea. But I have never known ladies observe this etiquette. Indeed, the chief fault in Chinese visits is that they are interminable. As no one exerts herself to 87 talk more than she feels inclined, there is, indeed, no reason why they should ever come to an end.


Chinese ladies appear very affectionate, and are very caressing. Whether they really do like me or not, they almost always succeed in making me think they do; and I think other European ladies would say the same. But as to whether the holding one's hand and occasionally stroking it means anything, I really do not know. They never have shown me anything, unless they wanted to sell it, except their children. At an artist's house pictures are brought out; but they are all carefully rolled up and put away again. And at other houses embroideries worked by various brides of the family have been shown me; but this was in order to see if I would buy them. It must be recollected that to the Chinese a foreign woman's tight-fitting dress showing her figure is very indecent. It also seems to them very shocking for a lady to go about unattended by a woman; and for a woman to stand up firmly on her feet and walk on them like a man seems far more indelicate than it does in England to wear so-called rationals. Thus there are great difficulties to be got over at first. They are, indeed, greatly concerned about our indecency; for they have heard no European woman wears trousers, and their first great anxiety is to examine under our petticoats, and see whether this is really true. Trousers are the one essential garment to a woman in China. Sometimes they ask, "Do you really eat with your waist girt in like that? How do you manage then?" But this they have only once had the opportunity 88 of asking of me; for knowing it to be considered objectionable, I avoid wearing anything that shows the figure, in China, as far as I can. After all, tea-jackets admit of many pretty varieties. A European man's dress is, of course, a still greater scandal; and to Chinese, the only explanation of it is that the poor fellow had not enough cloth to cover himself properly. After spending any length of time amongst Orientals, I think every one must feel that our European dress is lacking in grace and elegance.

It takes longer to get a letter the fifteen hundred miles from Shanghai to Chungking than it does to get a letter the thirteen thousand from England to Shanghai. Freight of goods is a great deal higher; indeed, a ton of goods costs £6 from Shanghai to Chungking, and £36 to get it to Talifu in Yunnan. Once I wrote to England on Christmas Eve for stockings, saying I was in such need of them I should like to have them sent out by post; and yet I never received those stockings till the following spring year. In an ordinary way, with good luck, you ought to get an answer to a letter from England in four months; therefore, if you keep up a very animated correspondence with an English friend, always answering every letter directly you receive it, you write three letters a year. And curiously enough, whatever you may do at Chungking, the sense of its being so very far away deters other people from writing to you. Charles Lamb has written a beautiful Elia essay upon this. He explains it by the suggestion that the writer, thinking 89 of the great distance the letter has to travel, fancies it growing tired. Anyhow, the result tends to heighten the sense of isolation, which is perhaps nowhere so much felt as among Chinese. Whether it is their expressionlessness, their want of sympathy, or the whole character of their civilisation being so different from ours, very few Europeans can spend more than a year amongst Chinese without suffering from it. Some go mad with it, and all are accused of growing odd. There is no doubt that most of us become somewhat self-centred and unduly impressed with the importance of our own affairs; but the depression that often overtakes people, women especially, is sadder to witness. In sending out missionaries, this is a point that ought to be specially considered: Have they enough strength of character to continue the work of an apostle without any outside spiritual or inspiriting influences whatsoever? It is not long since a man I had thought so ardent said to me: "I am going away; and I never mean to return. I cannot go on giving out, and having no spiritual help myself." Yet, just because they are trying to live for others, missionaries stand this trial best. I have known other men who from the moment they arrived in a Chinese town found no pleasure but in counting the days. "One more spent here!—one less to spend!" and this without even the least idea of when they would go away.

To Chinese children I always think life in a Chinese city must be very pleasant. There are the great festivals: the Chinese New Year, with all its countless 90 crackers; the Dragon Boat Festival, when each district of the city mans a boat shaped like a dragon, and all paddle like mad, naked to the waist, and with a strange shout that must be very dear to children. Then there are the visits to the graves, when all the family goes out into the country together; and the long processions, when the officials are carried through the city in open chairs and long fur gowns, hundreds of umbrellas of gay colours going before them, and their retainers also riding in pairs and in fur coats of inferior quality. All the beggar-children of the city have a high day then. With fancy dress of various sorts over their rags, they walk or ride or are carried round the city, sometimes as living pictures, sometimes representing conquered aborigines, sometimes even Englishmen in short square coats and tight trousers. In the spring-time a procession goes out to meet the spring, and sacrifice an ox in the river-bed in its honour; and, strangely enough, the day in February on which this is done is always the most genial springlike day, though after it is over winter sets in with renewed severity. At other times it is the image of the fire-god that is carried round, to show him the buildings he is honoured to protect. Then, again, one evening there will be about four miles of little lanterns sent floating down the great river in honour of the dead. Or there will be the baking of the glutinous rice-cakes, accompanied by many curious ceremonials. And in it all the child takes his part; and his elders are very kind to him, and never bother him with cleaning up or putting on clothes to go out. He 91 strips to the waist or beyond it in summer; then, as the winter comes on, puts on ever another and another garment, till he becomes as broad as he is long. At night-time, perhaps, he takes off some clothes; but they are all the same shape, all quite loose and easy. Then he never need be afraid of breaking anything or spoiling anything; for most things are put away, and Chinese things are not like European: the shining black polished table, for instance, can have a hot kettle stood upon it, and be none the worse. No one ever tells the Chinese child to hold himself up, or not to talk so loud, or to keep still; so he shouts and wriggles to his heart's content. And European children grow like him in this respect; and when readmitted to European houses, their feet are for ever rubbing about, and their hands fidgeting with something, which spoils, as European things will spoil.

Although there is so much rain in the west of China, and when it does not rain the air is generally damp to saturation-point, yet sometimes there is a long continuance of summer heat. One year, although according to the Chinese calendar the ending of the great heat had come—and, indeed, also the beginning of autumn, when, if it does not rain, according to the saying, no rain will fall for forty days—yet no rain fell, no thunder cooled the air. The ground was growing harder and harder, and the hills acquiring the yellow baked look so familiar down-river, but so unusual in Chungking.

The south gate was not closed. The idea is, that 92 heat comes in from the south; therefore, when it is too hot, the south gate is always closed. There was, however, too much traffic through it. But no meat, fowls, nor eggs were allowed to go in thereat, and the various cooks and coolies sent in on foraging excursions from the hills returned disconsolate. If any one sold anything, it was with the air of a thief, one man reported. Europeans were beginning to consider what they would have to eat, if this prohibition were strictly enforced. Already for two days the killing of pigs had been forbidden. Outside most houses in the city stood a tub of water ready to be dashed over the too dry woodwork. Already report had been busy destroying the thriving and populous city of Luchou higher up the river by fire; but on a telegram being sent to inquire, the report was found to have arisen in people's own heated imaginations. The danger of fire is ever with us in China, with our wooden houses all dry as tinder and our closely packed opium-smoking population. As to the amount of dirt then concentrated in Chungking, it was shocking to think of; for the place had not been washed out for six weeks.

There is an old saying that drought never wrought England harm. One has the same feeling in Szechuan; and when day by day the beautiful red-golden glow spreads along the range beyond range of mountain-tops, and the sun arises upon a cloudy sky, we cannot help thinking these clouds must gradually get lower, and rain come to cool the air and refresh the country. At 93 night, as we see the lightning flash on the clouds south and west of us, and feel the cool breath of distant rain, we again think it must be on its way. Only during the long hot day there seems no prospect of it; the clouds reveal themselves as summer clouds; the sun shines; and we think how hot it must be in that southern region from which the hot wind comes to us, and wonder whether it is in Tongking, or where, there has been a tremendous rainfall. Has there been somewhere some great convulsion of nature? or is it again all a case of sun-spots? When it is so very hot, what can one think of but the weather?

I never saw the thermometer mark higher than 120° Fahr. in our sitting-room; but then, when it got to that, I always went down into the cellar, and did not come out again till evening. The Chinese have cool, dark places dug out of the rock into which they retire to schwa, i.e. enjoy themselves. All the guild gardens round Chungking are provided with such places. The worst of them is, there is no air in them. But, then, every one has a fan. Even the man heavily laden like a beast of burden has his fan stuck into his waist-belt; the soldier has his fan. It is not a luxury, but a necessary of life, in a Chinese city in summer.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

In the spring-time what can be prettier than the environs of a Chinese city? The rape-fields are all fragrant with their bright-yellow flowers; whilst the still sweeter scent of the bean blossom makes it a real pleasure to walk along the narrow paths by the river-side. Every one is walking about with a bunch of 94 roseate peach blossom, and the tangles of trees in the gardens are all flowering and all scented. Then a little later the poppy-fields become gorgeous almost up to the city gates, only shortly afterwards to give out a poisonous exhalation most irritating to the mucous membrane. After that everything trembles and glitters with the scorching sunshine, all the leaves droop, gigantic 95 sun-flowers are running to seed, and the large pink-and-white lily flowers of the lotus float upon the waterside. Every woman has a white gardenia flower stuck on the left side of her glossy black hair. And all outside the city is inspiriting, when the sun shines and the blue rivers laugh back at the blue sky. But inside the city it is still all dark and dank, and all is pervaded by a sickly sweet odour, the emanation from the opium-pipe; while the lean ribs and yellow faces of the opium-smokers controvert without the need of words all the scientific assertions about the non-volatilisation of the opium poison. With opium-dens all over the place, with exquisite opium-pipes and all the coquetries of opium-trays and other accessories in the houses of the rich, how is it that we all give warning to a servant when we hear that he has taken to opium? How is it that the treasure on a journey is never confided 96 to a coolie who smokes? How is it that every man shrinks with horror from the idea of an opium-smoking wife? And this in a land in which all important business dealings are concluded over the opium-couch, where, indeed, alone, with heads close together, is privacy to be obtained, and in which all important military posts are confided to opium-smokers, not to speak of most of the important civil offices!

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

There is, it is true, an immense difference between the man who smokes and him who has the yin, or craving, that must at all costs be satisfied; just as there is at home between the moderate drinker and the dipsomaniac. But in China people refuse to employ the moderate smoker to sweep out their rooms for them. Yet they will confide an army to him! These, however, are secrets of State, not to be got to the bottom of simply by life in a Chinese city.

There is one other matter, however, I must touch upon—the all-pervading babble, row I had almost called it, of the boys in the schools, here, there, and everywhere, so that it is almost impossible to get out of earshot of them, all at the top of their boy voices shouting out the classics, as they painstakingly day after day and year after year commit them to memory. With the sickly sweet smell of the opium, and to the sound of the vast ear-drum-splitting army of China's schoolboys, all must for ever associate life in a Chinese city. And through it all, and up and down its flights of stairs, painfully hobbles the Chinese girl-child, the most ungraceful figure of all girl-children,—poor little 97 mutilated one, with her long stick and dreadful dark lines under her sad young eyes! Whatever the men may be, certainly the little girls of China are brought up as Spartans even never were, and those who survive show it by their powers of endurance. 98


Sulphur Bath.—Rowdy Behaviour.—Fight in Boat.—Imprisonment for letting to Foreigners.—Book-keeper in Foreign Employ beaten.—Customs Regulations.—Kimberley Legacy.—Happy Consul.—Unjust Likin Charges.—Foreigners massacred.—Official Responsibility.

As an illustration of the position of Europeans up-country, I will relate very briefly the trivial events of two days. First I must say that nearly every woman in the place was ill—some very seriously so; and as I thought I was not well either, on hearing that my husband and another gentleman, who had gone for a cure to the sulphur baths about thirteen miles from Chungking, found the people quiet, I decided I would join my husband when his friend left him. The villagers, not the priests, objected to my sleeping in the airy temple, where the gentlemen had been allowed to put up their beds, amongst all the gilded images; so my bed and I and a servant moved down to the inn, where some twelve or fifteen persons assisted at the remaking of the bed in an already sufficiently stuffy room—although, happily, most of the dirty paper was gone from its one window—and being accustomed to the ways 99 up-country, I slept just as well in that filthy inn room as I could have anywhere.

Next day, with a chair and a variety of coolies and boys, we took three photographs, and spent the morning under the shade of a magnificent banyan-tree in a lonely valley, stuck over with palms as a pincushion is with pins. The baths were so very hot, my husband thought he would refresh himself by a swim in the limpid stream that runs with many a beautiful cascade down the extremely picturesque limestone valley of the Wentang. Meanwhile, though it was extremely hot, so that it was an effort to move, especially after the hot sulphur baths, yet, being like Frederick "a slave to duty," I took a chair and five coolies to go a hundred yards across the bridge and photograph that and the hot springs from the opposite side.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, about twenty little laughing boys ran whooping along with me, joined as they went by some older people. This is so usual, I was only bored by it as I got out, and, studying the scene first from one point and then from another, was telling the coolies to bring the camera to a grassy plot from which the best view of the arches of the bridge and the deep pool and the hills behind could be obtained, when some agriculturists rushed forward, one lusty fellow violently threatening me with a stone, and at once snatching my alpenstock out of my hand. I trust I did not move an eyelid, certainly I did not budge a step, as I said: "Is this your land? If so, you are master here; and if you do not wish me to 100 photograph, I certainly will not. But I am doing no harm." The head coolie did his best to explain what other photographs I had taken, and that photographing did not spoil crops. But the agriculturist first listened, and then resumed his violence. Probably he was excited by the prospect of all my following capering across an infinitesimal bit of cultivation that he had squeezed out of the rocks below. He told them not to do so. The coolie told them not to. They did not. But he continued to be violent. The best plan seemed to be to get into the chair and secure the camera; and as all the crowd began to get uproarious, I thought I would be carried quickly away instead of back through them. A very steep hill must, I thought, choke my following off. But it did not. And I had either to return with them to the town, in which case there was sure to be a row, or go to a distance of about two hours up one side of the stream by a very pretty path, and back again the other side by one of the most lonely of wild mountain roads. I had done it all before, having enjoyed all these scenes two years ago, when there was no thought of violence. However, my following kept with me, and grew. So I tried my old plan, the only one I have ever found effectual with a Chinese crowd, and, getting out of the chair, standing quite still, looked solemnly and sadly at first one, then another, till he wished the ground would cover him and retired. I fancy glasses heighten the effect. Anyway, they all sat down, each one hiding behind the other as far as he could. 103


We went on, and thus came near a very large Chinese house and garden, with a queer tale of a dead magician, where we had been hospitably entertained two years before. The people knew he had been a magician, because he used to disappear every day at a certain hour; and some one peeped through a crack one day, and saw him actually in a cold-water bath like a fish. I thought it would be a pleasure to visit the garden once more; but again a man shouting and gesticulating, this time armed with one of those heavy hoes they use in digging, which he brandished across my face! It seemed his master, who had entertained us, was dead, and this rustic would have no photography. It was a long way back by the other side of the river, so that it was quite dark when we got back to the little town. This perhaps was just as well.

Next day by daybreak we set off for Chungking. After five pretty but surely very long miles, we came to a market town; and, alas! it was market day. The coolies were desired to carry me to the best inn, and take me in quickly. Of course, it was necessary for them to get some refreshment, or we should not have stopped. I walked to the farthest end of the huge room set out with tables; but the agitated innkeeper asked me to come into a bedroom beyond, there were so many people. He banged to the doors, and then there began a hurly-burly, everybody wanting to get a sight of me. He begged me to go into a bedroom beyond down a steep ladder, and again bolted 104 the doors. This room was even nastier than the first,—four beds with straw, no chair, and a frowsy table. It was so good of him to tell me it was clean, for I should never have imagined it otherwise. A young gentleman occupying an adjacent bedroom began to look furious at the noise and the barring of the doors. With a haughty air he unbarred them. I did not wonder he did not like it. I did not either. Who wants to be barricaded in a chairless, windowless bedroom on a hot day?

It was a great relief when my husband quickly followed me, passing in through the files of people gazing at closed doors. But no one could serve us with tea, and the people got all round the room trying to peep in through the cracks, as also to pull down one partition. Meantime, there was what Germans call "scandal." At last our coolies had fed, the chairs were ready, and, handsomely escorted, we passed out through people in rows, to find the street outside and all the houses one living mass of human heads all staring. It was easy enough to get into the chair, but the coolies had to fight the crowd back to get the poles on their shoulders; and so, amongst a chorus of the usual soft Szechuan imprecations, we departed. I have composed a song with it for the chorus; it sounds pretty, but I am told it is untranslatable. One moves everywhere to the music of it.

Lent by Mr. Willett.

Probably our coolies' temper was not improved by the hustling. For, a mile and a half farther on, when we had to take a boat, and after the usual amount of 107 wearisome bargaining had secured one, they greeted a boatman, who kept us waiting some time till he appeared with the long pole iron-spiked used for poling the boat off rocks, with the usual Szechuan oath, and a tag, that seemed to me harmless enough. But the boatman, a tall, fine-looking man, said he could not stand that, and immediately rolled one of our coolies in the mud. In a minute all our gang together were on him. Vainly did my husband call them off. At last, however, somehow they got into the boat again and pushed off; and the great thing seemed to be to get away, for there was the infuriated giant with his pole and his friends wildly springing from rock to rock to get at us. But whether because we were caught in a whirlpool, or whether the owner of the boat steered it back, or what, there we were presently drifting round to the now assembled village, all shrieking, and many armed with carrying-poles. The only thing to do seemed to be to sit quite still; but I felt the more frightened, because it was impossible even to speak to my husband for the uproar. And, indeed, for a time mine was the silence of despair; for a tap from one of those carrying-poles, and all would be over for me, whilst the river was running so strongly, to get into that would be certain drowning. The fight, however, was, after all, not so bad; for a village elder appeared, and again and again collared the infuriated giant and forced him off the boat. Meanwhile, every one shouted, and the expressions of the crowd were something horrible to see, especially those of some women, whose 108 faces seemed to have passed away and left nothing behind but concentrated rage. One of these viragoes actually came on to our boat, and was proceeding herself to capture the one of our coolies who may be said to have begun it all by his inconsiderate language. This first gave me courage. If she, a thin, weak-looking woman, could venture into the midst of these angry men, she must know they were not really so violent as they appeared, I argued. But she also was forced away by the elder. Then two spitfires of boys became prominent, shrieking menaces and brandishing their arms.

At last there was a sufficient lull for my husband and the village elder to exchange names, smiles, and courtesies, which they did with as much ceremony and as pleasant expressions as if they had just met in a London drawing-room. After a second row, the elder asked us to get into another boat. This we did. It was much smaller; but a man with cucumbers, who had been bent on getting a passage for nothing in our boat, and had been ejected, managed now to establish himself in it along with us. He was the only one who seemed to have gained anything out of the whole transaction. We had grown too weak to eject him again. We had been delayed a whole hour in a burning sun; and thanks to this, and the delay in the market town, reached Chungking about noon, both suffering from slight sunstroke.

Each time the mail came in one winter we expected to hear that some Shanghai Volunteers had gone on a 109 little expedition, and somehow managed to knock up against the prison in which the poor people were shut up whose sole crime was having sold an estate near Kiukiang to an Englishman. In the old days the young men of Kiukiang once had a picnic, to which they invited blue-jackets from a man-of-war in port; and that picnic gained for the place undisputed possession of the bungalow where so many Europeans have since then regained health. There was no fighting, no threat of fighting, no ultimatum; they just went and did what had to be done themselves, their friends the blue-jackets helping them. But by the last accounts Kiukiang was occupied with private theatricals, whilst the men who sold their land to Englishmen—nothing more, only had dealings with Englishmen—were still in prison. Whilst that is so, whilst the man who allowed Christian services to be held in his house near Wenchow is persecuted, whilst our beautiful hills are all studded round with upright slabs of stone forbidding Europeans to build upon any of the sites sold to them, how can we expect as Englishmen to be respected in China? One American and one Englishman had even begun building upon these hills. There were the projected sites of the houses, with the hewn stones lying round and the foundations laid. Round about the upright slabs have been stood up, with the legends upon them forbidding any further building within these charmed enclosures.

No people like better to insult other people than the Chinese, in spite of all the lovely adjectives Mr. 110 Ralph showers upon them in the pages of Harper,—"polite, patient, extremely shrewd, well dressed, graceful, polished, generous, amiable"; while Dr. Morrison, the "Australian in China," talks of "their uniform kindness and hospitality and most charming courtesy," and says again, "Their friendliness is charming, their courtesy and kindliness are a constant delight to the traveller." In illustration of all this there were these men in prison at Kiukiang and Wenchow. Do people at home realise what was the crime of which they had been accused? Short of the Home Government, it often seems as if the different European communities in China could make themselves more respected, and protect those who dealt fairly by them, with their own right hands. No Government could urge them to do so. But, as even Sir John Walsham used to say, "There are so many things Englishmen might do even in Peking—if they only would not come and ask me if they might."

In 1897 a Chinese in foreign employ was had up about an alleged debt of 500 taels. By a bribe his accuser had the matter brought before a magistrate who was well known as anti-foreign, and who no sooner heard he was in foreign employ than he ordered him to be beaten without going into the case. This was contrary even to Chinese law. The unfortunate bookkeeper was unable to do his work again for months; he was disfigured past all recognition, and, indeed, too horrible to look upon. His offence was "foreign employ." Can we wonder that the Chinese are not 113 very fond of us? The marvel to me is that they dare associate with us at all.

Lent by Mr. Willett.

Other nations seem to protect their nationals and those dependent upon them far more vigorously than the British Government does. When Chungking was first made a Treaty Port, the then British Consul, a most able and energetic man, was not even advised from Peking that the port was open. Consequently, he was absent from all public functions instituted at the formal opening, took no part in the drawing up of the regulations under which British trade was to be established there, had no voice in the rules issued by the Chinese Customs. Subsequent incumbents of the Consulate have not unnaturally employed any liberty of action given them less in promoting British interests than in keeping things quiet for the Chinese, and so have refrained from endorsing the requests made from time to time to have the obstructive Customs rules modified or the position of the port in any way improved. The rules, issued in Chinese, were so impracticable that successive Commissioners of Customs suspended their action from the day they were published; but this suspension, it afterwards appeared, was a privilege revocable at the arbitrary will of the Commissioner for the time being, and an American Commissioner revoked them to the detriment of the only bona-fide European shipping firm as yet established there, thus doing what lay in his power to take away business from European firms and throw it into the hands of the Chinese firms, which 114 continued as before to enjoy a suspension of the Customs rules.

Business at Chungking is all carried on by so-called chartered junks. They are not really chartered; but before they can clear the Customs, they must fly a foreign house-flag and number. The permission to fly this must be obtained by a foreigner through his Consul. The British Consul, up till then the only one there, resided at the opposite end of the city to the business quarter, where the Customs Office is situated. This entailed some hours delay. And when it is considered that one junk carries as a rule from fifty to a hundred packages only, it "passeth the wit of man" to conceive why this red-tapeism was allowed to continue. The China Merchants' Steamship Co., the largest shippers in Chungking, were allowed to obtain their "passes" from the Custom-house direct—a great convenience, as the Custom-house is in one part of this city, the Customs' Bank in another, and the examining-pontoon across the river at the head of a rapid. The junks mostly lie in a reach below; and it is no exaggeration to say that it takes a day for a man to get round to the three places. Yet the Customs rules do not allow the duty to be paid until the cargo has passed examination at the pontoon; nor is the cargo-boat allowed to leave it until a duty-paid certificate is brought back and exhibited at the pontoon. This necessitates the cargo being left in an open boat all night at the head of a rapid, and much loss has resulted from the delay that occurs 115 there in any case. Consequently, this rule had never been enforced, and the cargo-boat had been allowed to leave and proceed to load the chartered junk in safety immediately after examination. But an application to his Consul by the Britisher was met by a "despatch" in the stereotyped language, "I cannot interfere with the Customs regulations."

The telegraph office, formerly situated in the business quarter of the city, was then moved into the distant country enclosure which forms a part of all Chinese cities, because the manager owned a piece of land there, and thus rented it to advantage. Naturally here the foreign merchant could not expect a remonstrance to be of any avail, as the telegraph is a purely native concern.

It would take too much space to enumerate the further difficulties to which a foreigner is at present exposed. To enforce a claim for debt he must apply to his Consul. A Chinaman unwilling to pay is never at a loss to invent an excuse,—the papers are not in order, just as in cases of sale the land was not really his. If the Consul is content to become merely the translator of these Chinese excuses, which by transmission he appears, indeed, even to accept, and to a certain extent to endorse, we, as the farmer said, "seem to get no forrader." How far the actions of Consuls in these matters, and with regard to obstructions about buying land and renting houses, come from individual action or from instructions from Peking, of course it is not for a mere woman to decide. We used in China 116 at one time to put down everything that went wrong to Lord Kimberley. Now even sometimes we fancy it is a Kimberley legacy. But very likely we are quite wrong.

It will be obvious from the above how much depends upon the disposition of the Consuls. Naturally they vary greatly. The theory used to be that they were too apt to look upon themselves as protectors of the Chinese against the encroachments of their nationals. Having suffered severely under the most flagrant specimen of this class, I am happy to add that I think it is dying out. Most of the Consuls in China now seem only too able for the importance of their posts. At the same time, one never knows when a crisis may arise; and then the men, who as a rule have been foremost in all the social life each of his own port, are admirably seconded by willing communities, that rejoice to follow the lead of those who are certainly generally in all things the opposite to the delightful caricature sketch well known to have been written by a leading member of the China Consular body:


Who is the happy Consul? Who is he

That each aspiring sub. should wish to be?

He who, behind inhospitable door,

Plays, like Trafalgar founts, from ten to four;

Takes Rip Van Winkle as a type to follow,

And makes his Consulate a Sleepy Hollow,

Content to snooze his lazy hours away,

Sure of a pension and his monthly pay 117

So he can keep on good terms with his Chief,

Lets meaner interests come to utter grief;

Treats with smooth oil august Legation nerves,

With vinegar the public whom he serves.

Each case through native spectacles he sees,

Less Consul than Protector of Chinese;

Trembles at glances from Viceregal eyes,

And cowers before contemptuous Taotais;

But should mere nationals his aid implore,

Is quite the haughty personage once more.

Lives on the bounty of the public's purse,

Yet greets that public with a smothered curse;

With scowls that speak of anything but pleasure,

Daunts ill-advised invaders of his leisure;

From outward signs of courtesy exempt,

Treats their just protests with a fine contempt;

Does little, strives to make that little less,

And leads a life of cultured uselessness.

Such is the happy Consul. Such is he

That each aspiring sub. should wish to be."

Even, however, where the Consul is all he should be—and probably no body of men ever was more respected and trusted than the British Consular Body in China—yet British subjects' interests must suffer, if the British Minister will not support them. Nor can the British Minister do much, if the permanent officials at the Foreign Office wish him to do little.

When two men were murdered at Wusüeh, the village ought, at least, to have been razed to the ground. When the Kucheng massacre occurred, the Viceroy and the Chinese officials, who laughed about it all as they talked with the British officials sent to settle about compensation with them, ought one and all to have been degraded at the very least. No one likes bloodshed. 118 The Chinese only get on as they do without an army or a police force by means of very exemplary punishments; they understand slight punishment as a confession of weakness, or an acknowledgment that the offender was not so much to blame after all. Nor does any one who lives in China believe in Chinese peasantry ever daring to murder foreigners except at the instigation of men in high place. People in England often fancy missionaries are very much disliked in China. As a rule, they seem greatly liked and respected each in his own neighbourhood, although in the abstract officials and old-fashioned literati may object to them.

Whatever may be said about all these matters, an English subject cannot but be pained on finding how little British Consuls are able to effect in redressing serious grievances, such as inability to buy or rent land in the surrounding country, whereby we were for many years forcibly compelled to live in a Chinese house in a filthy street inside the walls of an overcrowded Chinese city. Let a Frenchman or a Russian be the aggrieved party, and instantly his Consul is on the war-path, and the Chinese have to give way at once. Englishmen have gone on paying likin illegally, until a Frenchman, backed by his Consul, successfully protested. British steamers are illegally arrested and detained by the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs, and no redress is obtainable; when a French steamer is only boycotted by Chinese shippers, an indemnity is immediately claimed, and at once paid.

It is little things like these, for ever being repeated, 119 that lead to Englishmen in the west of China often saying they must take out naturalisation papers as Frenchmen or Italians in order to get on. Possibly the bitterness thereby engendered will do the British Government no harm; but it paralyses commercial enterprise. And Manchester will suffer from it, when it is too late to alter anything, unless a more consistent and dignified policy be pursued in the Far East. People have not been proud of England out in China lately. It may be stupid of us all; but as a rule it takes a good deal to make Englishmen ashamed of their country. And that point has been unfortunately reached some time ago. 120


Taels.—Dollars.—Exchange.—Silver Shoes.—Foreign Mints.

She was not long out from England, and a comprador order was as yet an unnatural phenomenon to her. She supposed it was something like a cheque upon a bank, or a circular note, with which Continental travel had made her intimately acquainted. "What is the value of a dollar in English money?" she had asked before starting on her tour from Shanghai. "Oh yes, I understand it depends upon the exchange. I used always to keep myself in gloves on what one gained in Italy. Now it is horrid; one gains nothing. I don't quite know why it is. But how much about is the dollar worth, when exchange is—is—nothing particular?" Then she had such long speeches made to her, and heard so much conflicting information, she felt deafened, but ultimately arrived at the conclusion that there were about—yes! about six dollars in an English pound, and there ought not to be so many. Now, somewhat to her consternation, she discovered that her comprador orders had taels printed upon them; so she made out her order in taels, secretly wondering what they were. She had never seen them. 121

"Do you think I got the right exchange?" she asked of her Boy; then, trying to suit herself to his needs, and speak English "as it is spoke," "He pay my right money?"

"My no savey what thing one taelee catchee Hankow side," said the Boy, with flippancy but decision. He came from farther inside the province.

She felt abashed, and supposed she must just take her money, hoping it was right. Next time she would be wiser. Arrived at Ichang, she scratched out taels, and was about to write in dollars.

"Dollars! Dollars aren't known at Ichang," said the Captain.

"What had I better do?" she asked of the oldest resident. Again she was overwhelmed with words. But she gathered she ought to ask for taels.

"Taels don't exist," said the Captain. "I never saw a tael, did you? He'll bring you your money in lumps of silver, if you don't take care."

"Yes," said the old resident, "you had better not get lumps of silver."

"They vary in value, according to the quality of the silver," persisted the Captain. "You won't know what to do with them. You can't break them up. You will have to weigh them. And what can you pay for in lumps of silver? Nobody will take them for anything you want to buy."

They actually both talked to her as if she wished for solid, uncoined lumps of silver. She felt confounded! But, determined to preserve her calm, she 122 said, "I had better write, and say I want so many strings of cash, then, had I? Ten thousand cash? Twenty thousand cash? I can't carry them, you know; and I don't know where I can keep them. But I must have at least so much money in hand, if it is only to pay for my washing."

"Pay for your washing!" they both burst out, as if that were a most superfluous proceeding.

"I wouldn't write for cash, I think," began a third adviser. "I would write down how many taels you require, and say you'd take it in cash."

"Then I shall never know if I get the right amount."

"A—h!" they all said, waving their hands, as if no one ever did know if he got the right amount in China.

"It varies. It varies from day to day," said the oldest resident.

Needless to relate, she never saw those cash, never heard how many she had received, nor where they were stowed away. The Boy said he had them, it was all right. He said also that at Ichang it was very shocking how few cash they gave for the tael.

She was determined she would learn Chinese, of course! Was she not just out from home? And being just out from home, and anxious to be polite to every one, it was a trouble to her mind that she did not know how to greet her teacher when he came. She stood up, and rubbed her hands together, which, she understood was the Chinese for a curtsey; but it seemed feeble without a word, so she said, "Koom Shee! Koom Shee!" as she had heard the country people say. 123

"Oh! you should not say Koom Shee! Koom Shee! Not to a teacher, who comes every day," said a Sinologue.

"He says it is quite right," said she. "I am sure I understand that much. But he said I could also say Tsao!"

"Oh no—no! Not Tsao," said the Sinologue; but he never made any suggestion as to what she should say.

"I could not think what I ought to say when he went away," she continued. "But he says Man man tso."

"Oh no! that is a great deal too much to a teacher who comes every day."


"Well, that is what he says," she repeated rather wearily, after having waited a little to see if he would 124 suggest any polite speech for her. "I do want to say something polite."

"It is very difficult to be polite in Chinese," said the Sinologue solemnly. That seemed final. But she asked another Sinologue. "No, I should not say Man man tso. Not Man man tso," said he dreamily. "Not to a teacher—who comes every day."

"But what do you say?" asked she in desperation.

"Well, it is very polite to say Shao pei—I don't go to the door with you, you know; I only go a few steps with you. That is the polite thing to say after a call from a mandarin."

"But surely it would be polite to go to the door?"

"Oh yes—in China it would."

"Well, I think anywhere it would be polite."

"Yes, but not—not from a lady. It would not be expected."

"A—h! yes! then I can say Shao pei." However, she did not feel quite satisfied, and she watched her opportunity.

Next time she heard a Sinologue converse with a Chinaman, she listened to hear what he would say in parting. Alas! it was not Man man tso, it was not Shao pei.

"What was that you said to him in taking leave?"

"Oh—I didn't say anything,"—with the instinctive horror of being detected in possibly a false tone.

"Yes—yes, you said something as you turned away and took leave. And I do so want to know what it was, that I may know what to say." 125

"Oh, I said——" mumbling very much, so that it was impossible to hear what he said. "I don't think it was the thing to say to a man of his station and quality. I think I should have said—— Let me see— I really don't know what was the right thing for me to say."

And so now she is giving it up—giving up being polite in Chinese, giving up ever ascertaining the value of money or the price of anything. For how can things have fixed prices where money has none? There is only one comfort to her soul: if any one looks offended, or if a too sensitive conscience makes her fear she has given cause of offence, she promptly says Tetsui—"I am to blame, I apologise." No one has yet made distinctly evident that he does not understand her, nor has any Sinologue yet told her she is wrong. Tetsui is therefore the one golden word for her. And while she is in China she foresees she must live in one constant state of being to blame.

In this manner I at the time recorded my first impression of the coinage and language of China. But the matter of payment is even more complicated than I then fancied. The only coinage of China is copper cash, of which about forty go to a penny. They are round, with a hole in the middle, and generally about a thousand are strung on two strings and tied together; and when carried, hanging over the shoulder, they look like so many snakes. But I say about a thousand advisedly; for there are generally a number of small and comparatively worthless cash in every string, the 126 average amount of these varying in different parts. The lumps of silver with which my friends threatened me are made up into what are called "shoes," but what look like very large coarse thimbles. These are of various degrees of purity, and their purity has to be tested before they are weighed or broken up. In Chungking there were three different degrees of purity in different parts of the city; therefore it made quite a considerable difference whether you agreed to pay a sum of money in the upper, lower, or middle town. And the result of so much difficulty about payment is that every one is in debt to every one else, keeping a sort of running account going.

Of late years foreign mints have been started in several places; and lest this chapter should seem altogether too frivolous, I here subjoin the essay that gained the prize, when, at the Polytechnic Institution in 1890, the Governor of Ningpo started an essay competition, giving as his theme:

"The south-eastern provinces now have much foreign money in circulation, and the natives consider it a great convenience to trade. Should China set about coining gold and silver money? Would it circulate freely? Would it be advantageous to the country, or the reverse?"

The Governor himself looked over the essays, and awarded the palm to the composition of Mr. Yang, a B.A. of Kwangtung Province, of which the following is a translation:

"Those who treat at the present time of the causes 127 which are draining away the wealth of China to foreign countries are, as a rule, in the habit of confining their observations to two of these causes: the importation of foreign opium, and the purchase of foreign ships and munitions of war. They appear to be ignorant, indeed, for the most part, that there is another cause at work, persistent, insidious, whose effects are more far-reaching than either.

"The first silver money brought to China from abroad was the so-called 'Luzon Dollar,' coined by the Spaniards from the product of the mines which they had acquired in America, a new country first settled by them. The Spanish dollar was followed by others, made in the same style—first the American, and then the Japanese. From Kwangtung and Fukien these invaders spread to Kiangsu and Chekiang, Kiangsi, Anhui, and Hupeh, in the order named, with great rapidity. Their beauty and convenience were soon in everybody's mouth, and the loss to the country became heavier and heavier as their importation increased.

"To speak of loss from the influx of foreign dollars may appear paradoxical to those who have only eyes for the palpable loss to the country caused by the importation of foreign opium and manufactures and the purchase of foreign ships and cannon. Very little reflection, indeed, suffices to show the disastrous tendency of exchanging for a useless weed the bounteous produce of our harvests, of deluding with new-fangled inventions the practical minds of our people, of spending on a gun or a ship tens of thousands of taels. But I shall 128 endeavour to show that the proposition is no paradox, and that the loss to China caused by the influx of foreign dollars is, if less visible on the surface, at bottom none the less real.

"During the reigns of Tao Kwang and Hien Fêng (1821-1862), to buy each of these dollars China parted with eighty-five tael cents; and as the real value was seventy-two tael cents, on every dollar which she purchased she lost thirteen tael cents. As, taking all the provinces together, she must have been purchasing at least forty or fifty million dollars every year, she must have been losing every year by exchange the enormous sum of four or five million taels.

"Times have changed; but vast numbers of dollars are yearly imported from various countries, most of them composed of one-tenth alloy; and, in payment of this silver blended with baser metal, our pure silver is shipped away in heaps. Moreover, dollars which are worth at most seventy-two or seventy-three tael cents are sold in market at one, two, three, or four tael cents more than that. Such a drain will end in exhausting our silver supply, even if we had mountains of it, if not checked betimes.

"We cannot prevent the importation of foreign dollars, nor prohibit their use by the people; for the people wish for them, although they are depleting the country of its wealth. There appears to me only one way of checking this depletion, and that is by China coining dollars herself.

"Opponents will say, even if China coin them, they 129 will not circulate. They will point to two previous instances where such an attempt was made and failed. The first was towards the end of the reign of Tao Kwang (about 1850): two officials obtained permission from the Governor of Chekiang to start a silver-mint, and everybody looked at the coins, rung them, and declined to have anything to do with them. The second experiment was made at Wusih by Mr. Lu Sueh-tsun: he turned out dollars which compared favourably with foreign dollars in every particular except one—namely, that nobody would use them. The opponents of the measure point to these two examples, and say the coinage of dollars in China will never succeed.

"Some of these opponents do not go so far, but merely say that, even if the Chinese Government is able to put home-made dollars into circulation, it can only be in the southern and eastern provinces, as in the north and west the people, accustomed to sycee and paper money, would shrink from the manifold inconveniences involved in a sudden change to a dollar medium of exchange.

"This appears to me more the language of narrow-minded pedants than of practical men of the world. Which one of all who stand under China's sky and feed off China's fields but desires his country's exaltation and the depression of foreigners? If to-day all love foreign money, it is because there is as yet no Chinese money. Once let there be Chinese money, and we shall see how many will leave it for foreign. The 130 two instances alleged above only show that the coins which people looked at, rung, and rejected were false in look and false in ring. The semi-private way in which they were coined in a village was in itself enough to excite the suspicions of the great mass of the public. An Imperial Mint, openly conducted and turning out good work, would arouse no such suspicions; and its money would very soon be current, not only in the provinces of the south and east, but also in those of the north and west, for the following reasons:

"The travelling merchant and trader of the north and west has now to carry with him both silver sycee and copper cash. Copper cash is heavy, and it is impossible to carry much value in that form; whilst the carrying about of silver entails many and grievous losses in exchange. It is natural to suppose that he would welcome as the greatest boon a gold and silver currency which, by its portability and uniformity of value, would relieve him of the obstacles which the present system in vogue in the north and west spreads in the path of commerce.

"The opponents of an Imperial Chinese Mint for the precious metals commonly adduce four dangers, the contemplation of which, they say, should make China hesitate to incur them. Let us look them in the face. They are, firstly, the facility of counterfeiting the new coinage; secondly, the difficulty of coinage, if commenced; thirdly, the loss to China's prestige by an imitation of foreign manufactures; fourthly, the possible venality of officials and workmen in the Mint. 131

"Would it not be the depth of pusillanimity, the extreme of unreasonableness, for our great nation to give up, for fear of dangers such as these, a plan which, carried out under the guidance and control of well-selected men, will admittedly dam the outflow of our wealth, and put an end to our impoverishment, which is now going on year after year for the benefit of foreigners?

"The impossibility of coining the precious metals without alloy will no longer afford the foreigner a profit. This profit will go to our own Government, who will not be taking it from the people for nothing, but amply earning it by giving them a universal uniform medium of exchange. Its universality and uniformity will relieve the honourable merchant of the present uncertainty of exchange, and deprive the shifty speculator of his present inducement to gambling in time-bargains dependent on the rise and fall (mai k`ung).

"I began this essay by enumerating various evils which are sapping the wealth and power of China. How best to counteract these evils is a problem which our statesmen and politicians are now devoting their zealous endeavours to solve. The measures hitherto proposed involve, when compared with that which I have advocated, a larger expenditure at the outset, and do not seem to promise in any instance so speedy a return of benefit to the nation. A gold and silver coinage by the Imperial Government would, in all probability, in a very few years be conferring on every province of the empire advantages in comparison with 132 which the initial inconveniences would hardly be worthy of attention. It is, of course, an essential condition of the success of the Mint that it should be organised in such a complete manner as to leave no contingency unprovided for, and thus to ensure its stability and permanence. I shall be happy if any of my humble remarks are worthy to contribute to such a result."

Chinese Agriculture—Fields of Opium Poppies in Flower.

Mr. Yang's essay seems already to have borne fruit, and nothing could more check the little peculations so rife in China as a proper coinage of the same value all through the country. Yet such is the innate disorder and corruption attendant upon all Government undertakings in China, that, without the supervision of the despised "foreigner," all such schemes must fail in gaining the confidence of the people, as they have notably failed hitherto. While we were in Chungking, the Viceroy there introduced dollars coined by the Viceroy of Hupeh; but as the local officials refused to take these dollars in payment of taxes except at a discount of 3 per cent., nominally for "shroffage," the people naturally refused them, and they are now no longer to be seen. The Chinese prefer the Mexican dollar, firstly, because they are familiar with it; secondly, because they can depend upon it. The statement in Mr. Yang's jejune essay that the Chinese give pure silver in exchange for foreign dollars containing 10 per cent. alloy is, of course, absurd. Copper cash form the real currency of the masses in China, and it is the fluctuations between this, the only current coinage, of late years shamefully debased, and silver (amounting 133 in 1897 to 30 per cent.) that seriously disturbs the equanimity of "the honourable merchant." Unfortunately, so far each Viceroy seems to be setting up his own mint, irrespective of others. The idea of a Central Government, managing the customs, posts, coinage, or even the army and navy, is altogether alien to the Chinese mind. 134


Not a Mark of Rank.—Golden Lilies.—Hinds' Feet.—Bandages drawn tighter.—Breaking the Bones.—A Cleft in which to hide Half a Crown.—Mothers sleep with Sticks beside them.—How many die.—How many have all their Toes.—Feet drop off.—Pain till Death.—Typical Cases.—Eczema, Ulceration, Mortification.—General Health affected.

It is a popular error in England to suppose that binding the feet is a mark of rank in China. In the west of China women sit by the roadside begging with their feet bound. In the far north, where women do field-labour, they do it, poor things! kneeling on the heavy clay soil, because they cannot stand upon their poor mutilated feet. Another popular error in England is that the custom was introduced in order to prevent women from gadding about. Never in all the many conversations I have had with Chinese upon this subject have I heard this reason alleged or even hinted at, nor is it ever alluded to in any of the Chinese literature upon the subject. The popular idea in China is that P`an-fei, a favourite of the Emperor Ho-ti, of the Chi Dynasty, whose capital was Nanking, was so 135 beautiful that golden lilies sprang out of the ground wherever she stepped; hence the name of "golden lilies" for the hideous goatlike feet Chinamen so strangely admire. Ho-ti is said to have so loved P`an-fei as to have had golden lotus flowers strewn on her path for her to walk on. But there is another tradition that T`an-ki, the wife of the last Emperor of the Shang Dynasty, who in despair burned himself 136 in his palace with all his treasures in 1120 B.C.—that T`an-ki was the introducer of these strange feet. She seems to have been a semi-mythical character—a changeling, with "hinds' feet" covered with hair. So she wound bandages round them, and wore lovely little fairy shoes, and every one else tried to follow suit. But to come to later and somewhat more historic times, a King of the Sung Dynasty, A.D. 970, had a favourite wife Niao-niang, whom he used to like to see posing or dancing upon golden lotus flowers. And to make her feet look more lovely she used to tie strips of coloured satin round them, till they resembled a crescent moon or a bent bow; and thus the fashion began, some say.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

It is obvious, however, that a nation that has not stockings naturally takes to bandaging its feet, and that so doing, quite without intending it, it is very easy to alter the shape of the feet by binding them ever a little tighter, as many a European lady has done with her waist. Chinese civilisation being very ancient and conservative, abuses there go on increasing, and become exceptionally exaggerated. The Chinese are also as a nation curiously callous to suffering either in themselves or others, not taking pleasure in the infliction of it, as is the case with some more highly strung natures, but strangely indifferent to it. In all probability at first women simply bandaged their feet somewhat tightly. And just as a man in Europe used a little while ago to attach especial importance to a woman's being well shod and to the turn of her ankle, so did a Chinese man, till in the course of a thousand years we have arrived at the 137 present abortions with a two-and-a-half-inch measurement, as also at all these stories of long dead and gone empresses and lotus flowers.

The method of binding and the period of beginning naturally differ somewhat over the whole extent of this vast empire. In the west binding seems generally to begin at six years old. In the east it is generally from five to seven, or at the latest at eight, years of age. Tsai, the good-natured Governor of Shanghai, when I met him there at a dinner party at our Chief Justice's, looked across the table at me, and said in his somewhat humorous, jerky voice, "I know what you want to talk to me about. You want to talk to me about footbinding. It is very hard, is it not? The poor little things have but two years to run." So that it would seem as if in his part of the country or in his own family binding began earlier. In the east of China the bandage is said to be of strong white cotton-cloth, two yards long and about three inches wide; and I have generally seen a two yards long bandage. The cloth is drawn as tightly as the child can bear, leaving the great toe free, but binding all the other toes under the sole of the foot, so as to reduce the width as much as possible, and eventually to make the toes of the left foot peep out at the right side and the toes of the right foot at the left side of the foot, in both cases coming from underneath the sole. Each succeeding day the bandage is tightened both morning and night; and if the bones are refractory, and spring back into their places on the removal of the bandage, sometimes a blow is given with 138 the heavy wooden mallet used in beating clothes; and possibly it is, on the whole, kinder thus to hasten operations. Directly after binding, the little girl is made to walk up and down on her poor aching feet, for fear mortification should at once set in. But all this is only during the first year. It is the next two years that are the terrible time for the little girls of China; for then the foot is no longer being narrowed, but shortened, by so winding the bandages as to draw the fleshy part of the foot and the heel close together, till it is possible to hide a half-crown piece between them. It is, indeed, not till this can be done that a foot is 139 considered bound. During these three years the girlhood of China presents a most melancholy spectacle. Instead of a hop, skip, and a jump, with rosy cheeks like the little girls of England, the poor little things are leaning heavily on a stick somewhat taller than themselves, or carried on a man's back, or sitting sadly crying. They have great black lines under their eyes, and a special curious paleness that I have never seen except in connection with footbinding. Their mothers mostly sleep with a big stick by the bedside, with which 140 to get up and beat the little girl should she disturb the household by her wails; but not uncommonly she is put to sleep in an outhouse. The only relief she gets is either from opium, or from hanging her feet over the edge of her wooden bedstead, so as to stop the circulation.

By Dr. E. Garner.

By Dr. E. Garner.

The Chinese saying is, "For each pair of bound feet there has been a whole kang, or big bath, full of tears"; and they say that one girl out of ten dies of footbinding or its after-effects. When I quoted this to the Italian Mother Superior at Hankow, who has for years been head of the great Girls' School and Foundling Establishment there, she said, with tears in her eyes, "Oh no, no! that may be true of the coast towns." I thought she was going to say it would be a gross exaggeration in Central China; but to my horror she went on, "But more here—more—more." Few people could be in a better position to judge than herself; for until this year the little girls under her charge have regularly had their feet bound. As I have understood, there the bandages were only tightened once a week. The children were, of course, exempted from all lessons on those days; and the Italian Sister who had to be present suffered so much from witnessing the little girls' sufferings that she had to be continually changed, no Italian woman being able to endure the pain of it week after week. Of course, the only reason they bound the children's feet was from anxiety about finding husbands for them in after-life, and from fear of parents not confiding their children to them unless 141 they so far conformed to Chinese custom. But this year the good Mother has at last decided that public opinion has been sufficiently developed to make it possible for her to dispense with these hateful bandages. "Do you suppose I like them?" she said, the last time I saw her. "Always this question of new shoes of different sizes, according as the feet are made smaller; always more cotton-cloth being torn into bandages: the trouble it all entails is endless—simply endless." This was a point of view I had never considered. But it is a comfort to think the good Mother is delivered from it; for she wrote to me in the spring of 1898 that she knew I should be glad to hear fifty little girls had just been unbound, and no more girls were to have their feet bound under her care.

Dr. Reifsnyder, the lady at the head of the Margaret Williamson Hospital at Shanghai, says toes often drop off under binding, and not uncommonly half the foot does likewise. She tells of a poor girl's grief on undoing her bandage—"Why, there is half my foot gone!" and how she herself had said to her that, with half her foot, and that half in good condition, she would be much better off than those around her. And so it has turned out. This girl walks better than most others. Her feet had been bound by a cruel mother-in-law; and, according to Dr. Reifsnyder, of all cruel people a Chinese mother-in-law is the cruelest to the daughter-in-law under her keeping. The foot of another daughter-in-law, she knew, dropped off entirely under the process of binding. Another error, 142 Dr. Reifnysder points out, is that people often think that, after the first, binding does not hurt. She had in her employ a woman fifty years old; and she knew that, after standing more than usual, this woman's feet would still bleed, as is not unnatural, when it is considered this woman, weighing one hundred and forty pounds, stood up in shoes two and a half inches long.

Dr. Macklin of Nanking, on my asking him what sort of cases he had come across, he having the reputation of thinking many things more pressing than unbinding the feet of the women of China, at once told me of a little child of a poor family brought to his hospital with an ulcer that had begun at the heel, caused by the bandages. When he first saw the child, the ulcer extended half-way up to the knee; and the child would have died of blood-poisoning in a few days, if she had not been brought to him. Another of his cases ended more sadly. The poor little girl was the granddaughter of an official, her father a teacher. When only between six and seven, she was brought to the hospital, both her feet already black masses of corruption. Her relations would not allow her feet to be amputated; so in a few months they dropped off. The stumps were a long time in healing, as the skin was drawn back from the bone. The child was taken home, gradually became weaker and weaker, and after a year and a half of suffering died.

Dr. McCartney of Chungking mentions one case in which he was called in to a little girl. When he 143 removed the binding, he found both feet hanging by the tendons only, with gangrene extending above the ankles. Immediate amputation was at once necessary; but the unfortunate child will have to go through life without feet. The mother of the child was a confirmed opium-smoker, and her indifference had led to the result indicated. The two greatest curses in China are, in his opinion, opium-smoking and footbinding. Another case was an unmarried woman who had paralysis in both legs. She was treated by removing the bandages on her feet, by massage, and electric current. In less than a month she was able to walk. Her trouble was caused by nothing more or less than footbinding. He says the Chinese know nothing of the physiology and anatomy of the human body; and this ignorance causes untold suffering to the women and children of China. Footbinding has nothing to recommend it but the dictates of a senseless fashion. Women with small feet are unable to stand still, but are continually swaying and taking short steps, like a person on tiptoe. He defies any Chinaman to tell him there is not great pain and discomfort in footbinding. Chinese women were disinclined to confess pain. To do so would be pu hao i-su—indelicate. There is in a bound foot a space like that between the closed fingers and the ball of the thumb. This space does not touch the shoe, and is consequently soft and tender. Perspiration gathers there, and, unless kept extremely clean, eczema results, and finally ulceration and mortification. He had had several cases of double amputation. From the time 144 the feet were bound until death, they caused pain and were liable to disease. Not only did these serious local troubles exist, but others occurred in the internal organs, and in many cases affected the offspring.

It would require a medical work to describe the various maladies more or less directly traceable to binding. Let it suffice here to point out that when a Chinese woman walks it is on her heel entirely, and to suggest that the consequent jar to the spine and the whole body is very likely the cause of the internal maladies of women, so general, if not universal, in those regions where binding is generally practised. Lady doctors have already observed that in certain parts of China where binding is universal, whatever disease a woman may come to the hospital for, she is always afflicted with some severe internal trouble; whereas in those parts where only a few bind, it is rare to find these same maladies. 145


Church Mission's Action.—American Mission's Action.—T`ien Tsu Hui.—Chinese Ladies' Drawing-room Meeting.—Suifu Appeal.—Kang, the Modern Sage.—Duke Kung.—Appeal to the Chinese People.

To turn to a cheerfuller subject. Although the Roman Catholics, the American Episcopal Church, and some other missionary bodies have in former days thought it wiser to conform to Chinese custom in the matter of binding, there have been other missionary bodies, that have for twenty years or more refused to countenance it. One or two examples of their methods of work will probably suffice. The Church Mission at Hangchow opened a school for girls in 1867, and in 1896 Mr. J. L. Stuart wrote:

"The Mission undertook from the first to feed and clothe and care for the girls for about ten years; and it was required that the feet of the girls should be unbound, and that they should not be compelled to marry against their own consent. The school opened with three scholars; but the number soon increased to a dozen, and then to twenty, and after a few years to thirty, and then to forty, and for five years it has had fifty pupils. After the first few years, no solicitations were ever made for pupils, and they were not 146 taken under eight or ten years of age; but there have always been more applicants than can be accommodated. For ten years the pupils have furnished their own clothing and bedding, and a few have paid for their food. The superintendent of the school took the ground in the beginning that, as the Mission undertook to support and train the girls, it was not only a right but it was an obligation to require the girls to conform to rules that were considered right and proper as far as possible. The success of the school proves the wisdom of the stand taken at the time. The girls have a good yard in which to play, and no sprig of grass 147 can make headway where their big feet go romping about, and their rosy cheeks and happy faces are in marked contrast to the average Chinese girl seen in the street and in their homes. As the girls grow up and are ready to leave the school, in almost every case they have been claimed by some Christian young man who is not ashamed of their big feet. In the course of the past twenty-eight years many pupils have been sent out from this school; but, so far as is known, none of them have ever attempted to rebind their daughters' feet."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

A letter from Kalgan in the far north shows very quaintly the difficulties encountered by an American lady missionary, evidently an ardent anti-footbinder:

"Kalgan, China, September 24th.

"Anti-footbinding seems to be very much entangled with match-making on my part. I perhaps wrote about a little girl who came from four days' distance here to school, and unbound her feet, because I was to help the young man selected to be her husband, if he took a wife with large feet. The engagement papers were not made out, because the family wanted more betrothal money than I cared to give. I did not limit the young man at all. He could give what additional sum he pleased; but I would not give more than twenty-four tiao, about two pounds ten shillings; and thought that a good deal for a little girl of fourteen. The young man did not have any money, and rather wanted a small-footed wife; but his elder brothers exhorted him, and he gave in: but no additional money is to be expected from him. The little girl herself admires her young 148 man very much, and said if her father did not give her to Yü Ch`ien (the young man) she would jump into the well when she got home. I have just heard that the father is dead. He was an opium-smoker, and wanted to betroth the girl where they could get the most money; but the brothers said, 'Let our sister be happy, even if the money is less.' His death may bring on the engagement, as they wish the money for the funeral expenses, I suppose. Did you ever hear of Chinese who had enough money on hand for funeral expenses?

"One of our schoolboys, whose mother engaged him to a little girl eight years old, told his mother he wanted his bride's feet unbound, so she could enter our girls' school here.

"I took the schoolgirls out for a pleasure-trip yesterday. They went to the beautiful new Russian church and churchyard, prettily laid out with trees, flower-beds, and a chime of bells in the bell-tower. Afterwards we went to a temple in the city. One of the priests said, 'Why don't your girls bind their feet?' I said, 'Why don't you bind your feet?' 'I! I'm a man!' I didn't talk further, as there was an unpleasant crowd gathering to watch the girls.

"Mr. McKee, of Ta-tung Fu, Shansi, is exercised over the future of his schoolgirls. His wife has now the charge of a school of six girls. No girls with bound feet can enter. Mr. McKee says no boy in Ta-tung will engage himself to a large-footed girl, even if his parents are willing; and if they are willing, 149 he or his big brother is not. I said, 'In Fenchou Fu, Shansi, there is a boys' school, and they can't get Christian girls enough for their brides.' But he said, 'No, Ta-tung has such a bad reputation for selling daughters, that no good family will let its daughters be married outside of the city or very near villages, for fear it will be said they have been sold.' The girls are young yet, and there is no immediate necessity for their marriage; so Mr. McKee trusts that Providence will provide bridegrooms when the time comes."

In April, 1895, I was happy enough to start the T`ien Tsu Hui, or Natural Feet Society. Up till then foreigners who were not missionaries had done but little, if anything, to prevent footbinding. It was, therefore, quite a joyful surprise to find that pretty well all the Shanghai ladies whom I asked were willing and eager to serve upon the committee. We began very timidly by republishing a poem written by a Chinese lady of Hangchow, sent down by Bishop Moule, and happily for us translated into English verse by Dr. Edkins, for one of our initial difficulties was that not one of us could read Chinese. We then ventured on another poem by another Chinese lady. After that we published a tract written in English by Pastor Kranz, sat upon and somewhat remodelled by the whole committee, then translated into Chinese for us by the Rev. Timothy Richard's Chinese writer. It is difficult for English people to understand what anguish of mind had been suffered by all the ladies on the committee, before we could decide into what 150 sort of Chinese we would have our tract translated. There were so many alternatives before us. Should it be into the Shanghai dialect? and then, Should there be other translations into the dialects of the other parts? The women would then understand it. But, then, the women could not read. And were we appealing to the men or the women? And would not our tract be thought very low and vulgar in such common language? Should it be translated into ordinary mandarin? But would not the learned even then despise it? We knew of course—we all sat sadly weighted by the thought—that feet are the most risqué subject of conversation in China, and no subject more improper can be found there. And some of us felt as if we should blush before those impassive blue-gowned, long-tailed Boys, who stand behind our chairs and minister to our wants at tiffin and at dinner, when the latter knew that we—we, their mistresses—were responsible for a book upon footbinding, a book that any common man off the streets could read. In the end we took refuge in the dignified Wenli of the Chinese classics, confident that thus anti-footbinding would be brought with as great decorum as possible before the Chinese public, and that at least the literati must marvel at the beautiful style and learning of the foreign ladies, who, alas! could not read one character of the little booklet, whose type and red label we all examined so wistfully. We circulated our books as well as we could; we encouraged each other not to mind the burst of ridicule with which we were greeted 151 by the twenty-years-in-China-and-not-know-a-word-of-the-language men. Our one French member was most comforting with her two quotations, "La moquerie provient souvent d'indigence d'esprit," and "La moquerie est l'esprit de ceux qui n'en ont point." But, to use the Chinese phrase, our hearts were very small indeed; for we knew the custom was so old, and the country so big. And what were we to fight against centuries and millions?

There was a drawing-room meeting held at Chungking, in the far west of Szechuan; and it was a most brilliant affair. The wealth of embroideries on the occasion was a thing to remember. One young lady could look neither to the right nor to the left, so bejewelled was she; indeed, altogether she was a masterpiece of art. But all the Chinese ladies laughed so gaily, and were so brilliant in their attire, that the few missionary ladies among them looked like sober moths caught in a flight of broidered butterflies. Every one came, and many brought friends; and all brought children, in their best clothes too, like the most beautiful dolls. At first, in the middle of the cakes and tea, the speeches seemed to bewilder the guests, who could not make out what they were meant to do, when their hostess actually stood up and addressed them through an interpreter. Then there was such eager desire to corroborate the statements: "On the north bank of the river near Nanking——" "Yes, yes!" exclaimed a lady from Nanking; "they don't bind there! And they are strong—very." Then, when the speaker went on to say that on the road to Chengtu there was a 152 city where a large part of the population all intermarried, and did not bind their women's feet, being of Cantonese descent, Cantonese ladies nodded and smiled, and moved dainty little hands with impetuous movements, as if eager for interpreters in their turn to make themselves understood by the great, jolly Szechuan dames round them. And when the speaker further spoke of parts of Hunan where rich and poor alike did not bind, the two solitary representatives of Hupeh, the boastful, could bear it no more, but with quiet dignity rose, and said, in their soft Hupeh voices, "In Hupeh, too, there are parts where no woman binds—none." Next a missionary lady in fluent Chinese explained the circulation of the blood, and with an indiarubber pipe showed the effect of binding some part of it. There were no interruptions then. This seemed to the Chinese ladies practical, and it was quite striking to see how attentively they listened. This speech was afterwards a good deal commented on. A Chinese lady then related how she had been led to unbind, ceasing any longer to feel delight in the little feet that had once been such a pride to her. After which another English lady explained in the local dialect our one tract in the classic language, the rather difficult Wenli. The meeting was then thrown open, and at once the very smartest of the Chinese ladies present came forward to make a speech in her turn. All present were agreed that footbinding was of no use, but it could only be given up by degrees. Man man-ti (Little by little) was the watchword. Then, just 153 as at an English meeting, a number of ladies went on to a dinner party. But the others stayed and talked. "Did you see my little girls listening?" said one mother. "They are thinking they will never have their feet bound again." And certainly the expression of the little girls had been eager in the extreme—poor little crippled creatures! with their faces all rouged to simulate the roses of healthy exercise.

But what did the men say? What they thought of the meeting we did not know; for as the husband of one of the ladies said next day rather crossly, "Oh, of course the women liked it! They don't want to bind their feet!" It seemed a step, however, to have got a Chinaman even to admit that.

At an anti-footbinding meeting another day, when those opposed to binding were asked to stand up, all the men present but six rose to their feet, and a merchant among the audience began a speech against binding. Some days afterwards a mandarin, calling, took up Pastor Kranz's pamphlet lying on the table, and said: "Ah, I have the larger copy of this book with pictures. No, I was not at the meeting the other day, but my people were. As to unbinding, the elder women can't; you see, their toes have dropped off. But my little girl of six is not having her feet bound any more. She screamed out so directly she laid her head upon her pillow, I could not bear to hear it. Besides, she got no sleep." He was a man of means, and made no reference as to any possible difficulty about marrying her. 154

It was a little later on that we got our first great push forward. One of the examiners at Peking lost his father, and being in mourning could not, in accordance with Chinese usage, continue to hold office, so returned to his home in the far west, and there found his little daughter of seven crying over her footbinding. Whilst on the way he had come across one of our tracts. First he had his child's feet unbound; then he thought, Could not he write something better on the subject—an appeal to his nation that would carry power? After many days of thought, he wrote what we commonly call the Suifu Appeal; for having signed it with his name and seal, and got five of his friends, leading men of the neighbourhood, to add their testimony and names, they proceeded to placard it over the walls of Suifu, against the examinations that were just coming off there, that all the young men might carry back the news of it to the different homes from which they came. No sooner did we get a copy of this pamphlet—which, curiously enough, was brought to me by Mr. Upcraft, then on his way down-river to be married to the very lady who had first told me of the missionaries' efforts against footbinding, and thus impelled me to try to do what a simple lay woman could—than we at once began to reprint and distribute this appeal to all the ten thousand students who were coming up for examination to Chungking. We were more lavish of our funds than they of Suifu, and tried to give each a copy to take home. Then came a letter from the Shanghai manager of the great China Merchants' 155 Company, the one great commercial body of China, also semi-official, saying he heard that there was a wonderful tract in the west, and he would like a copy, that he might reprint it at his own expense, and send it to be circulated through his native province of Kwangtung.

About a year afterwards we heard that the Pu Tsan Tsu Hui (No Bind Feet Society) had been formed at Canton by Kang, the Modern Sage, the adviser of the youthful Emperor, who has lately had to fly for his life, and only done so in safety under an English man-of-war's protection; that ten thousand fathers of families had thereby pledged themselves not to bind their little girls' feet, nor to marry their sons to bound-foot girls; that they had opened offices in Shanghai, and were memorialising Viceroys and high officials on the subject. We had ourselves memorialised the Emperor in characters of gold on white satin enclosed in a beautiful silver casket; but although the American Minister, the doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, had done his best for us, we had never been officially informed of our beautiful memorial, signed by our President on behalf of nearly every European lady residing in the East, even getting into the young Emperor's hands, the Tsung-li Yamen preferring to keep it on their own shelves. This had discouraged us from going on to memorialise Viceroys, as we had originally intended. But now, to our delight, we heard of the Viceroys responding to the Chinese society. Chang-chih-tung, the one incorruptible Viceroy of Hupeh and Hunan, in 156 that beautiful literary Chinese, in which he is unrivalled condemned footbinding, and we immediately proceeded to placard the cities of his two provinces with his condemnation; whilst the Governor of Hunan, since degraded by the Empress-Dowager, dared to go a step farther, and forbade binding. The Viceroy of Nanking struck his breast; then lifted up his hands to heaven, and said it was a good work, and he too would give a writing. But he died shortly afterwards. The Viceroy of Chihli admonished all his subordinate officials to discourage binding, each in their separate districts.

Meanwhile, another most unexpected adherent had come forward. Duke Kung Hui-chung, one of the lineal descendants of Confucius, wrote: "I have always had my unquiet thoughts about footbinding, and felt pity for the many sufferers. Yet I could not venture to say so publicly. Now there are happily certain benevolent gentlemen and virtuous daughters of ability, wise daughters from foreign lands, who have initiated a truly noble enterprise. They have addressed our women in animated exhortations, and founded a society for the prohibition of footbinding. They aim at extinguishing a pernicious custom." And he applied for copies of all our tracts that he might compile a book out of the best ones and circulate it.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

We were naturally immensely pleased by his phrase "wise daughters from foreign lands," and began to forget that any one had ever laughed at us, as Chinese ladies now came forward to start a school for girls of the upper classes, the first rule of which is that all 159 who enter it must mutually exhort one another to unbind their feet. Shanghai ladies held drawing-room meetings, where they heard from Chinese ladies themselves how they were never free from pain, admired their elegant raiment, and shuddered over the size of their feet; whilst a meeting was held at one of the principal silk factories, when about a thousand Chinese women were addressed by European and Chinese ladies on the subject.

As showing the Chinese view of the matter, it may interest some to read a rough sketch of the famous Suifu Appeal, that has had such an awakening influence over China. It is not at all what English people would write; but there is no doubt that it does appeal to the hearts of Chinese.

Recalling the anti-footbinding edict of the Emperor Shun Chih (1644-1662), the immediate predecessor of Kang Hsi—an edict too much ignored—and pronouncing footbinding actually illegal, Mr. Chou begins without any preliminary flourish with the statement that "No crime is more criminal than disobedience to the Emperor, no pain more injurious than the breaking of the bones and sinews. Even the most stupid man knows this." He dilates upon the wickedness of disobeying the Emperor Shun Chih's edict, and disregarding the precepts of Confucius, who taught that men should respect and not injure their own bodies. "But now," he says, "they have their young daughters' feet bound tightly till they bleed, and the bones and sinews are broken.... Manchus and 160 Mongols and Chinese bannermen do not bind their women's feet, upper and lower classes alike.... The provinces of Chihli, Kwangtung, and Kwangsi, after the Taiping rebellion was suppressed, acknowledged footbinding was wrong, and the half of them abandoned the practice. In Szechuan Province, in the cities of Pengchou and Peng-chi-hien, Hung-ya, and Sa-chang, there are some wise men who have changed this fashion of small feet into natural feet. Let other places do the same."

Then Mr. Chou refers to the countries beyond the seas—England, France, Germany, America, etc. The women there are free from the pains of footbinding. Only the Chinese voluntarily incur suffering and injury; parents neglect teaching their daughters the five womanly virtues; and teach them instead a bad custom, spoiling their feet. He next points out that "distinctions of rank are not indicated by the feet. Moreover, the laws of the empire ordain the punishment of the wicked by cutting in pieces, beheading, and strangling; but there is nothing about binding of the feet: the laws are too merciful for that. When in a fight or quarrel people's limbs are injured, there is an appointed punishment. But people have their young daughters' feet broken on purpose, not heeding their cries and pain. And yet parents are said to love their daughters. For what crime are these tender children punished? Their parents cannot say. It makes the daughters cry day and night, aching with pain. It is a hundred times as bad a punishment as 161 robbers get. If a man is beaten in the yamen, he can get over it in a fortnight. But if a girl's feet are bound, she suffers from it all her life long, and her feet can never regain their natural shape."

Mr. Chou has no patience with fathers who torture their little daughters because their ancestors did it. "I do not think much," he says, "of such respect for ancestors." Then he goes to the practical side of the question, and shows how, if robbers come or a fire breaks out, the men of the family have to leave the women behind (as they actually do) to commit suicide, or suffer a still worse fate. Whereas, if the women had natural feet, they could defend themselves, or escape, as well as the men. Men should not despise girls with natural feet. "In times of calamity the noble and rich are the first to suffer, because their women, brought up in ease and luxury, cannot escape. If any accident suddenly occurs, they can but sit and await death; whilst those with unbound feet can carry heavy things or use weapons, and need not fear being left behind or killed. They can even be trained in military exercises, so as to defend themselves against attack, and thus enjoy security. This is the happy course."

It is a man's business, Mr. Chou says he hears foolish people say, to defend women; but from ancient times to the present day even high officials have not always succeeded in defending their wives. And the inability of the women to escape leads to the death of the men who stay to defend them, and so the 162 family perishes. "I hope people will be wise and intelligent, and give up this stupidity."

"The present is no time of peace. Foreign women have natural feet; they are daring, and can defend themselves; whilst Chinese women have bound feet, and are too weak even to bear the weight of their own clothes. They think it looks nice; but in reality it does not look nice, and weakens their bodies, often causing their death. I am a student, a man of no use in the world; but I must try to do people some good, and I may be of some use by writing this. The people in Szechuan Province are numerous and crowded together, and there are many idlers and bad characters. Many unforeseen things may arise. Am I right or wrong?"

Many people ask whether it is possible for women to unbind. It is not only possible, but many women have done so, and can not only walk now, but declare they are free from suffering. It is, however, obvious that their feet cannot regain their natural shape; and probably it is even in some cases impossible to dispense with the bandages. In all cases unbinding is a painful process, requiring much care. Cotton-wool has to be pushed under the toes; massage is generally resorted to; and not uncommonly the woman has to lie in bed for some days. But I have seen many women who have unbound at forty, and one even at sixty. All those I have seen have done so under direct Christian influence; but I have heard of large groups of Chinese women unbinding quite apart from all foreign influence. And so, with Chinese literati writing anti-footbinding 163 tracts; a Chinese Viceroy circulating one with a preface of his own; a descendant of Confucius collating and distributing our publications; the leading Chinese periodical advocating our cause; an influential Chinese Anti-footbinding Society established in Shanghai; and, best of all, Chinese ladies of distinction coming forward to found a school for girls of the upper classes,—it seems almost as if we had already set the women of China on their feet again. But with this reaction set in at Peking, it may be that the hardest and fiercest part of the fight is yet to come, and that Chinese women may yet need more help from us before the custom of a thousand years is for all time done away, and "golden lily" shoes only to be found in the shape of Liberty pincushions.




Official Honours to Women.—Modesty.—Conjugal Relations.—Business Knowledge.—Opium-smoking.—Typical Women.

A man once quaintly said to me, "Whenever I want to know what men really are, I consider what they have made of their women." We may also learn something by considering what men say they admire in women. And for this purpose a few extracts from the Peking Gazette, the oldest newspaper in the world, and to this day the official organ of China, will go farther than a hundred pages of hearsays. Let us consider three cases from one year only.

"May 2nd, 1891.—The Viceroy at Canton submits an application which he has received from the elders and gentry of the district of Shun-teh, asking permission to erect a memorial arch to an old lady who has seen seven generations of her family, and is at present living under the same roof with four generations of her descendants. The lady, whose maiden name was Lin, is the mother of the distinguished General Fang Yao, and is in her eighty-second year. She has six sons, forty grandsons, one hundred and 165 twenty-one great-grandsons, and two great-great-grandsons. Her life has been one of singular purity and simplicity, fully entitling her to the honour bestowed by law upon aged people of distinction.—Referred to the consideration of the Board of Rites."


"February 6th, 1891.—Li Hung-chang submits a case of filial piety which was brought to his notice 166 by Wu Fu-lun. An assistant deputy magistrate on the Chihli expectant list had a daughter renowned for her docile disposition and her filial piety. In the summer of the present year her father was deputed to look after some work in connection with the river embankments. While he was away, his wife became dangerously ill, and was most tenderly nursed by her daughter, who went the length of cutting off a piece of her flesh to make soup for the invalid, and who offered to give up her own life should that of her mother's be spared. When her elder brother proposed to go and inform the father of the dangerous state of his wife's health, she prevented his doing so by pointing out that her father had enough to do looking after his own work, and to add to his anxiety by conveying to him such news would serve but little purpose. Two days after P`eng-chu's return his wife died, and the daughter refused to take any food for several days. Seeing by so doing she was causing great grief to her father, she forced herself to take a little gruel. Some time after he was ordered away on river-work, and during his absence she again refused to take any nourishment. While away he was taken ill, and asked for leave to return home. On his arrival he was met by his daughter, who informed him that she dared not die without first telling him, but that now he had come back she wished to state that it was her intention to go and wait on her mother in the shades below. In spite of all entreaties she then resolutely abstained from all food, and died some days after. Memorialist 167 agrees in thinking that it would be a thousand pities to pass over such a remarkable instance of filial devotion without remark, and would ask that the Board be directed to make out a scroll to her memory.—Request granted. Let the Board of Rites take note."

It will be noted, in both these cases, it is rather what may be called the domestic virtues that have won attention. General Fang Yao's mother is honoured for her numerous offspring, as also for the singular purity and simplicity of her life; Wei P`eng-chu's daughter for her devotion to her mother. But the next case is of quite a different character, and shows once more how China is always the land of the unexpected. In advanced America, have women ever yet received decorations for heroism in war? Whilst here, in old-fashioned China, in the Peking Gazette, we read:

"January 23rd, 1891.—In 1858 Liuchou, a city in Kwangsi, fell into the hands of rebels. A great number of its inhabitants died in its defence, or, preferring death to dishonour, committed suicide rather than submit to their conquerors. Nor did the men alone show forth their bravery in this respect; their example was largely followed by the women. When the city was recaptured, orders were issued that a list should be prepared of all those who had suffered, in order that some steps might be taken to commemorate their self-sacrifice. At the time when these orders were issued, every one's attention was concentrated on suppressing the rebellion, and it was not easy to give effect thereto. 168 When peace was restored, instructions, however, were again given that inquiries should be made from time to time as originally directed. Ma Pi-yao, the Governor of Kwangsi, accordingly submits a list drawn up by the Mah`ing District Magistrate of the names of thirty-four women who died in those troublesome times, and thus preserved their honour. Memorialist thinks that the memory of these women is worthy of all honour, and would suggest that the Board be instructed to prepare a posthumous testimonial of merit commemorative of their action. Thus will their pure souls be set at rest, and others be encouraged to follow in their footsteps.—Request granted. Let the Board of Rites take note."

It will be observed that several years had been allowed to elapse before these thirty-four women received official honour. Yet is it not the case that in most other countries they would have remained unnoticed to all time? The wording is also noteworthy: "a posthumous testimonial of merit commemorative of their action" is to be prepared. "Thus will their pure souls be set at rest, and others be encouraged to follow in their footsteps."

It is the custom of most men to write of the mock modesty of the women of China. They may have very good reasons for doing so of which I know nothing. With regard to women, as with regard to everything else in China, I can but write of them as I have found them. To establish the truth of any fact or any series of facts needs an amount of research and 169 study I have not been able to give; nor does this book aim at being a storehouse of learning and a book of reference for all time, but rather at giving a picture, for those who know nothing of them, of a people among whom I have at least lived on somewhat intimate terms for the last eleven years. At the same time, in writing about Chinese women I am burdened by the reflection that possibly I am in some ways better able to express an opinion about the men, and men about the women. To tell what I can, however: doubtless Chinese ladies' speak of many subjects with the freedom of the days of Queen Elizabeth; but how women can be called mock modest who always remain fully clad in such damp heat as leads men to strip to the waist in all their shops, as also at their dinner parties, when summer is at its height, I cannot understand. The amount of suffering from heat that must be undergone by women in consequence of their observance of decorum seems not at all to have been sufficiently appreciated. I have never yet seen a Chinese woman insufficiently clad, nor committing any act that could possibly be considered indecent. The whole behaviour of Chinese ladies would lead me to suppose that they would shrink from anything of the kind. It is not in accordance with their etiquette that they should talk to men—not their own relations; yet whenever I have seen them brought into intercourse with foreign men, or even Chinese men, on matters of business, I have been struck by both their ease of manner and their quiet dignity. It is true they are 170 rather given to rising to address a man, as if he were a superior being; but, further than that, they in nowise convey the impression that they are accustomed to consider themselves as at the service or pleasure of men. It must be understood I am here simply writing of the ladies, with whom I have held friendly intercourse, not of poor peasant-women, nor of those whose society European men in treaty ports most frequent. Although for these last I must add that, however immodest their conduct may be, their manners and behaviour have none of that repulsive disregard of decency, that makes it to a woman so painful to hold intercourse with those acting in a similar manner in London, New York, or, worse still, Paris. It is not unnatural that this should be so. The women leading a vicious life in China have for the most part been sold into slavery in their childhood, their families not having enough rice to feed them; and it is from no bad inclinations of their own that they are found in the houses where foreign or Chinese men find them. Doubtless there are in China, as in other countries, women who prefer vice to virtue; but if I am any judge of expressions or manners, these last must be rarer in China than in any other country with which I am acquainted.

At a ladies' dinner party, the conversation turning upon a new Governor, who had just arrived with several concubines, I found all the ladies at table expressing a horror at the idea of being, or letting any one of their relations become, the number two 171 of any man; whilst my hostess explained to me that concubines were, as a rule, women of lower birth, or sprung from families fallen into indigence. But what struck me most was that there was no tittering, nor appearance of innuendo, whilst discussing the subject, which simply came forward, because none of the ladies saw how they could interchange visits with the ladies of the new Governor; and they also thought an official of such habits of life was not likely to administer the district well. The coarseness and directness of Chinese women often shock European ladies very much. But whilst glad that we have ourselves so far improved in this respect, I have never felt sure that the fine ladies of Queen Elizabeth's time were not more modest really than the fine ladies of Queen Victoria's.

It is certainly true that all we European ladies who go up-country in China have to alter our wardrobes very considerably, if we mean to be on friendly terms with Chinese ladies; whilst the wife of a French Consul had to replace in its case an old master she had brought out to China, such an outrage upon decency was it considered. The German wife of a Commissioner of Customs, regardless of its effects upon her husband's official visitors, amused herself by decorating her hall with life-size pictures of nude female figures. She was rewarded by her man-servant always pointing them out to visitors, when she was out, as the pictures of herself and her various friends. Without entering upon the vexed question 172 as to the decency of the undraped, it can be imagined that no pictures of the kind exist in a country where no woman ever bares any part of her person in society. And far from this indicating mock modesty, it appears to me the natural outcome of a classic literature, every passage of which might be put into the hands of the traditional young girl. When it is further considered that, unlike the images of the two adjacent countries of India and Tibet, the images of China are quite untainted by any suggestion of impropriety, I think I have some grounds for saying that, at all events, virtue is sufficiently in the ascendant in China for vice to pay it the compliment of hypocrisy, if no more. And has any nation yet got farther than this?

It is, of course, well known that as a Chinaman gets richer he buys more concubines. These do not take rank as his wife, and the whole proceeding is considered rather as a concession to weakness than as a practice to be admired. He is, however, careful to get them from as respectable families as he can. A Chinaman also takes a concubine into his house for life; he has no idea of enjoying the few fleeting years of her youth and prettiness, and then setting her adrift with a little sum of money. She becomes from the moment she enters his household as much a charge to him as his wife is, and her children are just as much his lawful children as his wife's are. At the same time, concessions to weakness are said to open the floodgates to yet greater evils; and it may be so in China.

At a dinner party I was asking after the pretty, 173 bright little daughter of my host, who in company with another pretty doll of a girl and an infant prodigy of a younger brother had paid me a visit the year before, when a lady beside me, putting up a warning hand across her lips, just after the fashion of a regular fine lady of Europe, spoke in easy accents from behind it: "Best ask no questions. They are by another woman. His wife has but this one daughter that you see." The speech and the manner of it seemed to give me a new insight into Chinese life. The year before the other woman had been living in his house, his wife had herself brought the infant prodigy often to see me. The little girls had come more than once. Now a time of financial crisis had passed over the city, he had established his number two with her children in a little shop near by, and the subject was not to be mentioned in the hearing of his wife and daughter. Further inquiry revealed that he had done a thing outrageous, not to be spoken of except in a whisper. Under stress of poverty he had sent another concubine into a convent to be a nun. This was atrocious, for by all Chinese rules she was a member of his family, for whom he was bound to provide for the rest of her days.

What is the position of women when they are married? It is so hard to describe this in any country. And the difficulty is increased in China, because we are so prone to connect the idea of marriage with love and love-making. There is nominally none in China, where as a rule the young man does not see his bride until she is his wife. She then becomes the household 174 drudge, wears poor clothing in comparison with the daughters of the house, and is the servant of her mother-in-law. Often and often have I wished that it was not so, and that in going to a house I could talk with the wistful young daughters-in-law, who glance at me from under their eyelids, and look as if they would be so receptive of new ideas, being, like most ill-used people, quite ready for a revolt of some sort. But it is the elder lady who does the honours, entertains the guests, and regulates the household. And who more set in her ideas than a grandmother of many grandchildren?

By Mrs. Archibald Little.


Lent by Scotch Presbyterian Mission.

There is one Chinese family that has for many years shown us kindliness. We have assisted at its weddings and its funerals, and its young men have spent long hours of the days, when they had nothing else to do, at our house. One day the ladies announced they were coming. And they came; but, alas! as is usual, in such numbers, and with so many women attendants, it was difficult to find chairs enough for all, 176 much more conversation. How merry they were, as they looked about at all our foreign things, all new to them! But their especial delight was our battledore and shuttlecocks. They had been accustomed to use the heels of their crippled feet for battledores, and were not easily tired of playing in our pleasanter fashion. It was one of these girls who afterwards at a dinner party consented to show me her foot. For a year after that she was busy with preparations for her trousseau, all apparently made at home under her own supervision; and, to my great regret, I have seen nothing of her since her marriage. We were away for a time, and since then she has had a child. A Chinese lady never goes about whilst expecting, nor whilst her child is very young—at least, those I know do not. Curiously enough, for a month after child-birth Chinese coolies object to even carrying a woman in a sedan-chair. There are in China many curious traces of the same idea, that led to the service for the churching of women. There is some objection to women sleeping upstairs in a house frequented by men; and when a woman in our house was put to sleep in a room that happened to be over the entrance, some Chinese considered it very damaging to my husband's business. In China a husband and wife very rarely go out or travel together. On one occasion, as I relate elsewhere, an old-fashioned inn actually refused to receive us on that ground, and we were nearly benighted before arriving at another village, where our servant had the assurance to pass me off as a man. 177

It must not, however, be assumed from all this that Chinese women take no part in affairs. A Governor's wife is always supposed to be the keeper of his official seal, and is therefore never expected to go out and pay visits. When my husband was obliged to go to Shanghai on business, it was his Chinese employés who immediately suggested that I should keep the keys of the safe, and supervise the accounts in his absence, this being what they said the wife of a Chinese man of business would undertake. Nor is it unusual, my husband says, for a business man to say to him, "I must go home and consult my wife before concluding this bargain." When we first arrived in Chungking, the wife of a formerly very wealthy merchant came at once to see me, begging that some place might be found in my husband's business for her husband, who had unfortunately become impoverished. I promised to mention the matter; but as she proceeded to enter into details, and my knowledge of Chinese was even less then than it is now, I called for our cook to interpret, and to my amusement presently heard him say, "I don't know why you trouble my mistress about all this. Foreign ladies are not like our ladies; they don't understand anything about business, and take no part in their husbands' affairs." This he said in a tone as if explaining that we were ignorant, frivolous creatures; and it must be remembered that, like most Chinese who go into foreign employ, he had been uniformly in service with foreigners since his earliest years.

When a young man in my husband's business was 178 taking to dissipated courses, it was his mother who came off in her sedan-chair into the country to interview my husband. And very definitely she knew what she wanted,—that her son should be given employment at a distance, and thus separated from the many undesirable acquaintances he had formed. She begged my husband also to give him a talking to, and told him exactly what she thought he had better say; then, having laid her point of view very clearly before him, begged that her visit might be kept a secret from her son, and so departed. I must add that, for all her being a lady, she went on her knees to my husband on arrival, and tried to do so again on going. But in conversation with him she was anything but on her knees.

Except among the poorest of the poor, who do field-work or carry water, the women of China do little beyond suckling children and making shoes, except in the treaty ports, where now large numbers of them are employed in the factories lately started. They smoke and gossip, give and go to dinner parties, and one of their great delights is to go on pilgrimages to distant shrines. It is sometimes stipulated before marriage that a woman shall go on so many pilgrimages during the year. Even when nuns invite ladies to come and enjoy themselves with them, it means drinking wine, smoking, and playing cards; and not uncommonly, in the west of China at all events, smoking includes opium-smoking. The ladies who are regular opium-smokers sit up late at night, and do not get 179 up till five or six in the evening. They mostly have bad health, and generally say they have taken to opium-smoking because of it. Whatever effect opium may have upon men, the various ladies I have seen at ladies' dinners generally return from the opium-couch with their eyes very bright, their cheeks very red, and talking a great deal of nonsense very excitedly. But afterwards they look yellow and unhealthy, mostly with sunken cheeks. They seem no more ashamed of it than ladies are of taking wine in England. But those who do not smoke seem to think it a rather disgraceful proceeding. A lady will draw herself up, and say, "None of the members of my family smoke opium—not one." But at a good many dinner parties the opium-couch is prepared with all its elegant accessories. And at the only Chinese country house, at which I have stayed, the ladies' one idea was to ask me into their bedrooms to smoke opium. Naturally, my acquaintance is rather with Szechuan ladies. Cantonese seem altogether different. And I gather that there must be a much more cultured set in some parts of China, judging from the ladies engaged in starting the High School for Girls in Shanghai. Of those I know in the west, only one young girl could read and write. She was talked of with admiration by young men, who asked if I knew her, and if she were not awfully clever.

Foreign men often get the idea that women rule the roost in China, because when they want to buy a house or bit of land the sale is often delayed owing to some old woman of the family not agreeing to it. And 180 the scolding tongue of an old woman has before now proved too much for a British Consul to withstand. But it must be remembered what a dull, mulish obstinacy is that of the Chinese man, and that somehow or other the Chinese woman has to get on with him. At Ichang, in one street at least, the men were said to be constantly beating their wives; and I recollect once seeing a woman, who, after a storm of invective against her husband, threw herself down on the road there and kicked and screamed. She was very red, as if she had been drinking too much wine; and I still remember the sheepish air of the man, as he stood and watched her kicking. He certainly did not attempt to lay a hand upon her whilst we were by. But during all the years I have been in China this is the only case of the kind I have seen. In a Chinese city one does not at night hear the cries of women as one too often does in London. And on the whole it would appear as if husbands and wives got on very well together, if without very much affection. A woman who kills her husband is still condemned to death by the lingering process, namely, to being sliced to death; but though this shows the horror entertained of so dastardly a deed, yet in reality, even for such a crime as this, she is put to death first and cut in pieces afterwards.

Meng Kuang is one of the typical women of China. Contrary to the usual custom, she seems to have chosen her own husband, and went to his house dressed in all the splendour of a Chinese bride. For seven days he did not speak to her, nor answer one of her 181 questions. At last he told her he did not like silks of various colours, nor a painted face, nor blackened eyebrows. At once she transformed herself into a plainly dressed, hard-working wife; she became noted for her virtues; and her name is on the lips of all the people of China, somewhat after the fashion of the patient Griselda of old.

A prettier story is told of the wife of the Emperor Yuan-ti in the Han Dynasty (about the third century A.D.). The Emperor was inspecting a collection of wild animals, tigers and others, when a bear broke loose. Climbing up the railing of the enclosed space, he was getting to the top, and all the other women were running away, when Chao I. advanced as if to meet the bear, standing fearlessly in front of him with a determined air. The guards happily killed the bear, before he could attack her; but the Emperor turned to Chao I., and asked her how it was she was not afraid. Her reply is beautiful: "Wild animals are generally content with one victim. I advanced to place myself as a shield for you." For this she was greatly honoured in her lifetime, and has ever since been held up as an example of womanly courage and devotion.

It only remains to add that whilst a roomful of Chinese ladies presents a very pretty appearance, from the exquisite gradations of colour of their embroidered skirts and jackets, the brilliancy of their head ornaments, and their rouge, yet, taken individually, probably no other nation is so deficient in charm. Their idea is that is it indecorous to show the figure; therefore only their 182 deformed feet, cased, it is true, in beautifully embroidered little shoes, and their faces, are seen; even the hands, which are small and very elegantly shaped, with taper fingers and filbert nails, are concealed in their large sleeves. Their faces at parties are often so rouged as to look like masks, their lips coloured, their eyebrows darkened, and their hair so anointed as to give a shining, semi-metallic setting to the face. Their skirts are very prettily made, in a succession of tiny pleats longitudinally down the skirt, and only loosely fastened together over the hips, so as to feather round the feet when they move in the balancing way that Chinese poets liken to the waving of the willow. Their outer jackets in winter, often of plum-colour satin, with gold-embroidered sleeves, are rather like old-fashioned spencers and unobjectionable; but the under-jackets—at a party a lady often wears three—are of an ugly cut, especially in the back, where they are made so as to stick out instead of hanging flat over the shoulders. And when the ladies divest themselves of their skirts—you always ask a Chinese lady to lay aside her skirt, as in England you ask her to lay aside her cloak—any dress more ugly could hardly be imagined than the long, sloppy-looking under-jacket over rather full, straight-cut trousers, possibly of red satin, gorgeously embroidered with life-size butterflies. There is no single feature in the face that we could call pretty, and in accordance with etiquette the face is entirely devoid of expression. I have never been able to find anything pretty about a Chinese woman except her hands and arms, both of 183 which are very prettily modelled. Doubtless her feet and legs would be too, if let alone. Now her poor legs are like two sticks.

Although often what one must call very well bred, there is nothing pretty or taking about Chinese ladies' manners. But whether in spite or because of this want of charm, the women of China give me the idea that, if once set upon their feet again, they will become a great power in the land—not witching men's hearts away, but guiding them in childhood in the way in which they should go, and in after-years pre-eminently calculated to be companions, counsellors, and friends. Confucius and Mencius are both said to have had remarkable mothers; and it is at least noteworthy that, since the Chinese have taken to mutilating the feet of their women, there has not been one man whom they reckon great born among them: so true it is that any injury to the women of a nation always reacts upon the men with redoubled force. 184


Missing Bride.—Wedding Reception.—Proxy Marriage.—Servants' Weddings.—Love for Wives.—Killing a Husband.—Wifely Affection.—Chinese Babies.—Securing a Funeral.

In China a bride usually rides in a richly embroidered red sedan-chair, decorated with flowers, and hired for the occasion. Not long ago in Canton city a man hired a chair to carry his bride to his homestead in the suburbs. The distance was great, and the hour late. When the four chair-coolies and the lantern-bearers arrived at their destination, the chair containing the bride was deposited outside the doorway to wait the auspicious hour selected for opening the door to admit the bride, and the coolies adjourned to an opium-den; and as they had travelled a long way and were tired, they soon fell asleep. How long they dozed they knew not; but on awakening, they returned, and found the bridal chair outside the doorway. They came to the not unnatural conclusion that the bride had already entered the household, and that the chair was left there for them to take back to the city. Since they had all received their pay in advance, they did not stop to make further inquiries, but hurried home with the 185 chair, put it in a loft, and, rolling themselves up in their beds, slept the sleep of the just. In the meantime the bridegroom heard the bridal party arrive, but had to wait the stroke of the auspicious hour before welcoming the bride. At last the candles were lit, incense-sticks were lighted, the new rice and viands for entertaining the bride were served, the parents-in-law put on their best suits, and so did the bridegroom, and with much pomp and ceremony the door was thrown 186 wide open; but as far as the lantern's light would reach, lo! there was not a trace of the bridal chair, or bride, nor a single soul to be seen. Great was their consternation, and it became greater still as they concluded that bandits must have kidnapped the bride, and would hold her for ransom. The district officer was aroused, the case was reported to the village justice of the peace, and search parties were sent out in every direction. The bridegroom, though distracted, had sense enough to rush to the city and make inquiries of the chair-bearers. The coolies were dumbfounded, and explained what they had done. Together they climbed to the loft, opened the door of the chair, and found the demure-looking bride, long imprisoned and half-starved, but still appearing to her best advantage in her beautiful bridal gown. The bride appeared to have known that she was being carried backwards and forwards; but could not protest, because it is the custom for brides not to open their lips till the marriage ceremony is performed. Hence all the trouble.

Lent by Scotch Presbyterian Mission.

This little story, taken almost verbatim from a Chinese newspaper, shows how far a bride's silence is carried. During all the days of reception after the wedding she is supposed to stand up to receive each incoming guest, who may make what remarks he pleases, even of the most personal nature, but never a word may she say; whilst attendant maids pull back her skirts to show how small her feet are, etc.

At one wedding I saw the poor bride grow so painfully crimson under the comments of a very young man, 187 that I took for granted he must be some rude younger brother, and without thinking said so, and found I had done quite the right thing; for the youth—who was no relation at all—incontinently fled, feeling he had over-stepped the bounds of propriety. Besides not speaking, the bride is supposed not to eat. At the only wedding-feast I have attended—I have been to several receptions—the unfortunate bride and bridegroom had to kneel and touch the ground with their foreheads so often, that even if well nourished one wondered how they could live through it. The bride had to serve all the ladies with wine, the bridegroom to go round the men's tables and do likewise. When the size of the bride's feet is further considered, and the weight of the jewellery in her hair, one wonders a little in what frame of mind the poor bride ultimately approaches her groom. It must certainly be in an absolutely exhausted condition of body.

An amusing matrimonial incident may be worth repeating here. A young fellow was to be married on a certain lucky date; but his business having taken him away just before the event, he found it impossible to get back in time. He wrote to his parents, begging them to get the ceremony postponed. To this suggestion many objections were raised by relatives and friends and invited guests, and a strong despatch was forthwith prepared, peremptorily commanding his attendance on the original date. Again the bridegroom pleaded business, and said that he really could not come, whereupon the incensed father straightway took 188 his departure for regions unknown, leaving the mother to do as she liked in the matter. The latter was a woman of original ideas, and, finding herself thus left alone, resolved, for the honour of the family, to resort to strategy. Giving out that the bridegroom had actually returned, but would not be visible until the day of the marriage, she cleverly dressed in male attire a buxom daughter, who is said to have been at all times very like her brother, and made her act the part of happy man throughout the ceremonial. When the latter was finished and the deception was disclosed or discovered, the hymeneal party is said to have broken up in fits of laughter, and in praise of the mother whose genius had evolved so satisfactory a method of overcoming a serious domestic difficulty. The proxy marriage will, it is said, hold good, and, nolens volens, the son is now regarded by his family and friends as a married man.

When one of our many cooks once wanted a wife, he discussed the matter in very businesslike style with my husband. "I can get a wife in Szechuan for ten dollars," he said. "But, then, I can know nothing about her family and habits, as I could if I took a wife from Hupeh"—his own province. "It is true there I should have to pay more. But here all the women drink wine and smoke, and many of them smoke opium. And you never can know the truth beforehand. Now, if I find after marriage that the woman I have chosen smokes opium, there will be my ten dollars gone, and nothing to show for them. I shall wait 189 till I can go home to my own province. Aren't you going that way soon, master? Promise you will take me when you do." However, after all these wise sayings, he was over-persuaded by the account he heard of some woman, married her, and was, I think, very fortunate in her, but that the poor creature died of some painful internal disease two years afterwards.

Our water-coolie made such a fuss over his wedding, gave such a feast, invited so many guests, and borrowed so much money to defray expenses, that I do not see how it is possible in all the course of his life for him to get out of debt again; for though he had made an elaborate calculation that each wedding guest would give a present worth more than his share of the feast would cost, and that he himself would thus really make money by it, he found himself disappointed. It is curious as, perhaps, indicating the mortality among the women of China that all our servants, with the exception of one who has left our service, have lost their wives at least once during the twelve years I have been in China; and not one of the wives can have been over forty.

The men seemed proud of their wives, and good to them according to their ideas; but it certainly was extraordinary how little they seemed to feel their loss when they died. Yet I suppose they care sometimes. Whenever we visit in Chinese houses, my husband generally tries to rejoin me when he can, knowing that my knowledge of Chinese cannot carry me very far, and that consequently my intercourse with the ladies of the 190 house is apt to become rather fatiguing to both parties after a time. On one occasion I was surprised to see him come in so very soon, and with two young men. One of the young fellows said to me in a good-humoured way, "We want him to enjoy himself, and we notice he is never so happy as when he is with you. Oh, yes! we have husbands like that too." One of the governors of Chungking was said, indeed, to be so fond of his wife as to order naval reviews on the river for her amusement. He built a specially pretty pavilion in the highest part of the city for her to have dinner parties there, and possibly it may have been partly grief over her loss—she died of the fright caused by a very great fire that all but burnt their official residence—that made him afterwards go out of his mind for a time. Another Chinese official, ordered to take up high office in Tibet, was so determined his wife should accompany him, that, as the Tibetans will not allow Chinese women to pass a barrier a few miles beyond Tachienlu for fear of the Chinese settling down and overrunning the country, he had her dressed as a man and carried in a sedan-chair, which she never got out of. So it seems some Chinese husbands value their wives beyond the price they pay for them. But with our servants that last seemed to be all they thought of. And yet I still hear the soft caressing tones in which our head servant's wife used always to address him. She was a very plain woman, but so quiet, and made so little demands for herself, wanting always apparently only to be serviceable, that as her husband 191 rose in social position and wealth it always touched me to see the way in which this honest, homely creature would look round on the fine ladies she was brought in contact with, and who at first tried to put her down, but were always in the end won over by her perfectly unassuming manners.

Another woman's husband was a man of violent temper, who insisted upon her working very hard; and the result was continual bickering between the couple, which frequently led to the interchange of blows and bad language. The wife appealed on several occasions to her mother's people for protection; but after trying to comfort her, they always sent her back to her husband. About a month after the marriage the husband ordered his wife one day to go and cut firewood on the hills; but not having been accustomed to carry burdens, she declined to go, and received in consequence a severe beating. A little later she was again beaten and abused by her husband for not washing his clothes clean enough. About the same time she made use of a sum of 400 cash (not quite a shilling) belonging to her husband; and when he discovered the fact, he gave her a sound thrashing with a stick, and vowed that he would repeat the treatment on the following day if she did not produce the money. A month passed, during which continued squabbling occurred between the man and his wife, the latter having frequently to go without food, and being threatened with a divorce for her bad behaviour. At last the woman, exasperated by the treatment she was receiving and dreading the disgrace 192 of a divorce, determined to make away with her husband. A year before, while still unmarried, she had accompanied an old woman in the village on a herb-gathering expedition on the hills, and remembered her companion pointing out to her a poisonous plant, which, if eaten, cut asunder the intestines and caused sudden death. Having gone on several occasions to gather firewood, she kept careful watch for this particular plant, and succeeded in collecting a handful, which she hid away until she could find a favourable moment for making use of it. At last she found her opportunity one day when her father-in-law, her husband's brothers, and her sister-in-law all happened to be from home, and only she and her husband were left in charge of the house. Shortly after noon she began to prepare the evening meal, and poured over the vegetables the infusion obtained by boiling the poisonous plant. She handed his supper to her husband, left their portion for the remainder of the family, and then went out on the excuse of having to make some purchases. The father and his three sons returned shortly afterwards; and being hungry after their day's work, they all partook heartily of the poisoned food. Symptoms of poisoning very soon followed, and the whole family was found by a neighbour lying on the floor in a state of great agony. Two of them were saved by means of emetics; but the father, the woman's husband, and a brother of the latter all died the same night. The woman was found, and handed over to the authorities, who, after a protracted trial, in which she declared her innocence, found her 193 guilty of the murder. She was condemned to death by the lingering process on two different counts, and would, as the law provides, receive some additional slashes of the knife at the time of the execution. All the poisonous herbs in the district were ordered to be removed, so as to prevent the repetition of such a crime in future. When a parricide occurred in ancient times, the authorities used to order that the whole city, where such a hideous crime had been committed, should be razed to the ground; and on the Yangtse the traveller sees the ancient site of the city of Chungchow on an island without now a house upon it, because of such a 194 crime, the city having by order been moved to the river-bank, where it now stands among its groves of waving bamboos.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

The following story tells again of wifely affection, and incidentally throws a little light upon Chinese clairvoyance, a subject which seems to attract more attention in England than in China now.

A Nanking lady was sad, very sad. Her husband had left her for business far away, and had sent home only a few letters. Many times did she send word by his friends requesting him to return, but he did not come. At last, in despair, she called in a fortune-teller, who was supposed to be endowed with supernatural knowledge of everything past, present, and future. After consulting his books, the fortune-teller's face assumed a thoughtful and anxious expression. In trembling accents he addressed the sad wife thus: "O lady, your husband has changed his sphere of business many, many times. Ill-luck has pursued him everywhere. Money he has now none; but, what is worse, he is lying dangerously ill in a lonely inn, hundreds of miles from here." The wretched lady was heartbroken, and began to weep copiously. The fortune-teller comforted her, and rapidly turning over the leaves of his mystic book, he joyously exclaimed, "Saved!" Then he explained that a certain lucky star was obscured by a dark cloud; and that if it could be made to shine again, her husband would rise from his bed of sickness, and make a great deal of money. About two shillings was the sum charged for working the miracle 195 of dispelling the dark cloud. While the fortune-teller was on his knees, earnestly praying his god to deliver the absent husband from the clutches of the evil one, who was obscuring the lucky star, the door was abruptly pushed open, and there, standing on the threshold with a bag over his shoulder, full of shoes of silver and gold bars, was the long-absent husband. The wife gave a cry of joy and rushed forward. The confused fortune-teller, terribly frightened, hurriedly sought an exit by the back door, but slipped, fell, sprained his ankle, and broke his head. The husband did not wish to mar the joy of his return by any harsh measures, and let off the now thoroughly wretched fortune-teller with a reprimand.

Births, marriages, and deaths follow each other in all our newspapers. I will not say more about births than that the Chinese are all born with a round black mark about the size of a penny at the base of the spine. It disappears generally before they reach eight years old.

As to deaths, all the money that is left from weddings may be said to be spent upon funerals, which are the grand moment of a Chinaman's life. Then Taoist priests are called in to officiate; for whilst every one belongs to the three religions in China, each religion especially takes certain parts of life for its care. The best sites are reserved for graves; the best wood is used for coffins; the merriest music to our ears is that heard at funerals. But of all funerals of which I have heard, I think this one is the most amusing. A woman about fifty years old, fearing that her 196 son, a worthless spendthrift, would not accord her a grand funeral after her death, hit upon the plan of enjoying one before that event. She fixed a day, notified her friends and relations to come dressed in mourning, hired many priests and monks and all the paraphernalia usual at funerals, including a splendid coffin and a green baize sedan-chair. Amidst much weeping and praying she was carried all about the city in the sedan-chair, followed by the coffin and surrounded by mourners. Can any one living, ever before or since, have been so perfectly happy? For, as a rule, attaining the highest earthly bliss, we fear its loss or diminution; but this woman had nothing to fear. She had had her funeral. 197


How Chinese look upon Shanghai.—A Viceroy's Expedient.—Method of raising Subscriptions.—Deserving Deities.—Trustworthiness.—Hunan-Hero.—Marrying English Girls.

Missionaries generally say that the Chinese are frightfully immoral. So do the Americans and Australians, excluding them as far as they can from their respective countries. But, brought up on the English saying that "Hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue," I always think virtue must be in the ascendant in China for vice so to slink into corners and hide its head before it. There certainly is not the slightest outward appearance of vice in Chinese cities. And I have always understood that everywhere, except in the foreign settlements, where it is certainly not the case, very decided repressive measures are used. Shanghai, once the Model Settlement, is looked upon as a hotbed of corruption by Chinese fathers up-country, who say gravely they would not dare to send their sons there, whatever business advantages are offered, until their principles are quite firmly established. Up-country it is European morals 198 that Chinese find as shocking as Australians find theirs. It is impossible for me to enter into details here; but there are certain things, alas! too customary among Europeans, which to every Chinaman are an abomination. It is well to bear this in mind, perhaps; and it is to be hoped that increased intercourse may lead Europeans to think disgraceful what Chinese already think so, and Chinese to be bound by the European code where, if anywhere, it is higher than their own, rather than, as so often occurs, to lead each nation to accept the other's lower ideas.

As new suggestions however, are always more interesting than trite generalisms, I must mention the peculiar measure devised in 1891 by his Excellency the Viceroy at Nanking to keep up the standard of morality among his writers and the higher class of employés. Shortly before, one of the composers of memorials had taken to leading a fast life, frequenting places not over-respectable. One day he leaned out of a wine-shop, and saw two men, dressed in black, standing quietly by his horse. He took no notice of the matter, but kept on drinking. When he left the place and walked up to his horse, the two strangers retired a pace or two. Climbing into the saddle, he rode slowly along, cooling himself in the evening breeze. He soon heard footsteps, and perceived the men were following him. His heated brain imagined fearful consequences. The mysterious personages might be bandits or secret society men bent on assassination or plunder. He whipped up his horse, and made for his official quarters 199 in the residence; but his pursuers were fleet of foot, and kept up with his not very fast pony. On reaching the Viceregal residence, the writer called upon the guards to arrest the two bold men, who came up breathless. But the guards did not move to obey his orders, and the mysterious beings stepped up, saluted, and said, "Sir, do not feel angry or apprehensive. We are members of the Secret Police of his Excellency the Viceroy. We have received instructions, to follow any and all the officials and gentlemen connected with the office, and report to our master where they go, their actions, behaviour, and conduct." Then they turned, mingled with the crowd, and disappeared. Next day the writer's pony was reported to be for sale, and since that memorable evening he has not revisited his former haunts. Possibly this method might be adopted with advantage by any high official in England, who was as solicitous about the conduct of his subordinates as this Chinese Viceroy.

Probably no one knows better than Li Hung-chang how to get hold of other people's money. Here is an idea of his for collecting contributions to a Famine Relief Fund. He furnishes a long list of subscriptions, mostly of £150 each, from officials whose generosity was due to the promptings of their parents or other relatives now deceased. Each donor had been granted permission to erect an archway (pai fang) to the memory of the person, who first inspired him with the idea of contributing to the relief of suffering humanity. Among those to whom this honour was accorded were 200 the President and members of the Chinese club at Yokohama, whose joint contributions amounted to £300.

The west of China is exceptionally decorated with these memorial arches, generally erected to the memory of chaste widows and incorruptible officials, who, to judge by the arches, seem more numerous than one would otherwise have thought. I remember the interest with which we approached one in course of construction. It was a very hot day, and this pai fang was being erected on a slight eminence, where the people told us no rain had fallen for forty years, although thunder-showers refreshed the country all round it. We ate our luncheon under its shadow, and observed that it was one of Li Hung-chang's arches, erected to the memory of a dead man, the inspirer to an act of charity towards the famine-stricken. The Chinese are a people altogether guided and animated by memories. In the same year the Governor of Honan submitted a petition from the gentry and inhabitants of the town of Wensiang, in which they prayed for permission to erect a memorial temple to the late intendant of their circuit. This town, it seems, borders upon the Yellow River, from the ravages of which it had suffered terribly for a long succession of years. Two years before a movement was started by the local magistrate and the people for building a breakwater to serve as a barrier against the floods. "The Taotai, in whose jurisdiction the place was situated, took an active interest in the enterprise, and even went frequently in person to superintend the progress of the 203 work. The great difficulty experienced was the want of sufficiently large stones. Greatly to the astonishment of the whole community, a heavy storm of wind and rain deluged the country, and brought down an endless quantity of huge stones exactly suited to the purpose. The people naturally regarded the strange occurrence as a direct manifestation of divine power in aid of a great public undertaking, which they and their forefathers had been unable to complete during several centuries. The Taotai fell a victim to fatigue and over-exertion, and his death was deeply bewailed by the whole district. The Governor, in supporting the petition, mentioned a fact which proves the supernatural origin of the phenomenon. One of the stones, which was as large as a house, and shaped like a tortoise, was inscribed with seal characters, only two of which, denoting 'work' and 'stone' respectively, could be made out. The breakwater was completed, and the safety of the district secured. As a token of their gratitude for the services of the Taotai, the petitioners begged that they might be permitted to erect a temple to his memory, at which the usual sacrifices should be offered.—Granted by Rescript."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

But it is not only public benefactors and deserving officials who are rewarded by memorials. Deserving deities or patron saints also meet with recognition. Thus in 1891 an application was made to the Throne for two Imperial tablets, bearing his Majesty's sign-manual, to be suspended in the temples of the dragon-king and the god of fire at Chiwan-chow. The 204 latter district, consisting of six villages, which contribute to the Exchequer some 10,000 taels, had no proper water system, and was entirely dependent for its supply of that precious commodity on the periodical rains. Of late years, whenever rain had not fallen in due season, prayers offered up at these two shrines had ever been graciously answered. Moreover, in the seventh moon of the previous year, just when the crops were ready for harvesting, a heavy fall of rain came on, and threatened to submerge the fields. But a visit on the part of the gentry and people of the neighbourhood to the temple of the god of fire had the effect of dissipating the clouds and causing the rain to cease, so that the grain could be gathered in in due season. Two months later, when about to sow the second crop, a thorough soaking rain was necessary to prepare the ground for the seed; but for days no rain fell, and the people greatly feared that they would be unable to sow. A visit to the temple of the dragon-king, however, had the desired effect, and dispelled all gloomy prospects of a dearth of food.

It was in recognition of these gracious favours of the gods that the memorialist ventured to prefer this request, which was accordingly granted. Many people may laugh at this. It seems to me rather an act of faith of which we might find many parallels in Europe in the Middle Ages, and of which individually I should be glad to find further examples now. "Whom we ignorantly worship" will be a true description of man's part as long as he lives upon this earth with 205 darkened eyes. But it is only when he ceases to worship that there seems to be little hope for him. There is little enough of worship in China as it is, and what there is naturally seems to us of Europe somewhat superstitious; for the religions of China appear to have had their day, to have effected what they could for China, and to be passing away. Is it true that the youthful Emperor Kwang-shü was considering with his adviser Kang whether Christianity should not be adopted as the national religion, when he was precipitated from the throne by the woman who rules China single-mindedly for her own advantage?

That crime is not very rife in China is sufficiently shown by their having no police force. Foreigners are sometimes shocked by the severity of Chinese punishments, not realising that it is our excellent police that enable us to mitigate our scale of punishments. But the Chinese are like women in this respect also. They afford an extraordinarily small percentage of criminals to the world's criminal roll, and of these the most part are for petty theft. In business dealings, unlike the Japanese, the Chinese keep to their word, even when it is to their own disadvantage to do so. And merely saying, "Puttee book," without any signed and sealed written entry, held good as a legal transaction all through China, till, alas! an old-established English firm, probably already foreboding the failure that afterwards overwhelmed it, repudiated a transaction of which there was no further record than the till then two sacred words. Since then Chinese, like other nations, 206 have recourse to written documents; but so high always is the sense of business obligation among them, that each China New Year many men, unable to discharge their obligations, commit suicide rather than live disgraced. This is the more remarkable among a nation that adulterates everything it knows how to, resorts to every business subterfuge, thinks not to lie foolish, and to be found out only stupid, not disgraceful. When, however, we denounce Orientals for want of truth, do we realise how untruthful we are ourselves, and that what shocks us is rather the different kind of falsity from that to which we are accustomed? I have yet to find the English bootmaker or worker in fur, who can be relied upon to keep to his word as to 207 the day on which he has promised anything; whilst I have met with more than one Chinese tailor, who may be relied upon to appear with his work finished to the very day and hour, his given word being sacred to him. The English tradesman thinks it wrong to lie about the past, the Chinese about the future.


One of the most remarkable things about Chinese is that, whilst of course it is usual for people of other nationalities to denounce their bad qualities as a nation, there is hardly a European living in China who has not one or more Chinese whom he would trust with everything, whom he would rely upon in sickness or in danger, and whom he really—if he spoke out, as we so seldom do—regards as the embodiment of all the virtues in a way in which he regards no European of his acquaintance. We rarely believe in one another's Chinaman; but we are each of us absolutely convinced of the fidelity, trustworthiness, and shrewdness of our own particular Chinaman. Whilst among missionaries life in China is generally sweetened by the recollection of some one Chinaman, at least, whose sincerity and holiness of life shine out to them as a bright example and beautiful memory.

The merchants look askance at the missionaries' saints, and missionaries are very suspicious of the merchants' business employés and butlers. But a nation, that all through the land produces men, who so thoroughly satisfy their employers, cannot be called a decadent race; nor, indeed, are any of the signs of decadence with which I am acquainted to be discovered 208 among the great Chinese people, who appear always hard-working, good-humoured, kindly, thrifty, law-abiding, contented, and in the performance of all duties laid upon them astonishingly conscientious. I have never known a servant shirk any task imposed upon him, because he was tired or ill, or because it was late at night. Let unexpected guests arrive, the Chinese servant always rises to the occasion, and the honour of the family is safe in his hands. "Oh, but we have always heard Chinese were good servants," some one remarks. Let me relate a story of another kind of virtue!

A Hunan man living at Hankow, and a Christian, was greatly troubled because his wife would bind their little girl's feet. At last he sent the child away to an American mission-school at a distance. While she was there, a great wave of anti-footbinding enthusiasm passed over the school, and all the girls unbound their feet, his daughter among them. When she came home, he was delighted to find her able to walk, and to stand on her feet, and with healthy, rosy cheeks. After a while, however, he became aware that each day she was walking worse, and that it must be that once more her mother was inflicting the torture of binding upon her, worse than ever now the girl was older. Yet they had so often gone over the matter together with always the same result, that he shrank from remonstrating with his wife, till one day in a neighbouring cottage a woman said: "A nice one you are to talk, you who are seeing your own daughter daily lamed 209 before your eyes!" Then he went home, and said to his wife: "This thing must have an end. Not only have I the pain of seeing my daughter daily lamed, but I can no longer speak out for God; my mouth is stopped by your handiwork." His wife replied, as so often before: "If you will cut off your queue, I will unbind our daughter's feet—yes, and my own too." "Do you mean what you say?" he asked quietly. Again and again she repeated her declaration that they must conform to custom if he did, and that if he gave it up so would they; regarding it always as a thing impossible that he should part with that glory of a Chinaman, his long, glossy, plaited tail of hair. At last, when she had said it seven times, each time with increasing vehemence, her husband took up the large pair of Chinese scissors lying on the table, and there and then before her astonished eyes cut off his queue. The neighbours, in horror at what he had done, carried it off, and in high excitement proceeded to unroll it like a great black serpent at the feet of one of the missionaries, who at first thought the Hunan man must have been in such violent anger as to lose all control over himself, or he would never have done what he had. But the man explained that it was not in anger, but because he saw no other way to save his child, having all in vain tried argument and entreaty with his wife. "It is true it is contrary to the law of the land," he said; "but it is better I should offend against that than offend against my God." When I last saw him, he had the shock of upstanding hair, 210 that generally indicates in a Chinaman a desire to add to his queue. His wife had unbound her feet, and their daughter's feet had never been bound again. When last heard of, the three had all been out for a walk together. But people must have lived in China to know what heroism this sacrifice of a pigtail really means. So far it has had no imitators, and other Chinese hearing of it remain simply astounded.

Before dismissing this subject of morals, it is as well to add that any Englishwoman marrying a Chinaman in England would do well to ascertain first that he was unmarried, which is most unlikely, as a Chinese father considers it a disgrace not to find a wife for his son so soon as he is marriageable. Further, that even where this is the case, the life that would lie before an English girl married to a Chinaman, if he were to take her into real Chinese life, is such as one does not like to contemplate: she must in any case prepare to become the servant of her mother-in-law. In December, 1898, there were, however, four young English girls, the youngest only seventeen, brought out by mail-steamers as the wives of Chinamen, and deserted in Shanghai, all without money, one even without clothes. Whilst sorry for the girls, I must own that in cases like this I feel more indignation against their parents than against the Chinamen. There is a degree of carelessness that seems worse than a crime. 211


Fung shui.—Devastating Eggs.—Demon Possession.—Sacred Trees.—Heavenly Silk.—Ladder of Swords.—Preserving only Children.—God of Literature on Ghosts.—God of War.—Reverence for Ancestors.

Directly that, leaving behind steamers, railways, and Sundays, you step ashore at Ichang, a thousand miles up the river Yangtse, you find yourself in the land of superstition. Right opposite to Ichang, facing it from across the river, stands a pyramidal mountain six hundred feet high, in all its proportions resembling the Pyramid of Cheops. The people of Ichang say it menaces them, and, according to their belief in Fung shui, or climatic influences (literally, wind and water), prevents their young men from passing their examinations, and makes all their wealth pass into the pockets of strangers. Just before I first arrived there in 1887, they had all taxed themselves, and built a many-storied temple on the top of the very highest hill behind the city, in order to keep the baleful pyramid in check; and the subject of conversation amongst the peasants at that period, when not discussing the price of something or their last bargain, was always whether 212 that temple had been built on quite the right spot. "I always said it ought to be on that other knoll, and turned a little more aslant," one would say. However, though they have not yet grown rich, probably to be accounted for by some error of the kind, two of their young men the very next year after the building of this temple took their second degree—an event which 213 had not gladdened the neighbourhood for hundreds of years.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

It is very easy for us to laugh at Fung shui; but it often strikes me that far more foolish than the Chinese belief is the absolute disregard of climatic influences shown in England. When the huge block of Queen Anne Mansions was building, I recollect applying for south rooms; and noticing the late Mr. Hankey's expression as he jotted down a memorandum, I asked him what he had been writing. "Oh, only about five or six people have applied for south rooms," he said. "So I put you down as one of the eccentric lot. You'll find them hot, you know, in the season." I ventured to remark that the sun went northwards in summer; but Mr. Hankey was incredulous. Applying to a house agent in London for a small house with a south aspect, he said he really could not tell me of any off-hand, as he had never been asked for such a thing before, and had no notion how the houses on his list faced. But, stranger than this, when house-hunting with friends in the lovely Caterham district some years ago, we found that whenever we drove up to a house in high hopes, seeing it was situated on such an eminence as to command a really lovely view, we invariably found the house turned its back on the view, which often could not be seen from any of the windows. Although the Chinese in the course of centuries have made Fung shui into a superstition, surely their consideration of aspects, soils, water, etc., is wiser than our disregard of all such potent influences of nature? 214 It is, however, always easier to laugh than to learn; and I see that I noted at the time:

"The other day, such a tumult here! It turned out that some of the neighbours disapproved of the gable-end just added to the servants' quarters of our new house. A number of old women insisted on dragging my husband into their houses to see. 'Look!' they said, 'your new gable points! and points straight at our shrine. It will ruin us.' Greatly amused, he straightway said, 'It shall be curled in another direction as soon as possible.' The old women were at once propitiated and delighted. But so far it has not yet been curled, and they seem to have forgotten all about it."

In other countries besides China an assurance that a thing is to be done quite satisfies people.

Fung shui was the great obstacle to the erection of telegraph-posts, and is a difficulty in the making of railroads; but it seems to be easily overcome by an official assurance that the interference with it is of no consequence. The carefully chosen sites for houses show, however, how deep-rooted it is in the national life, the most unfortunate fact about it being that in their solicitude for the dead the Chinese generally assign the very best spots to graves, which must never be meddled with except at a change of dynasty; and, unfortunately, when the Manchu Dynasty came in, they omitted to level the graves. It would be almost worth while to have another change of dynasty, if only for the purpose of restoring to the use of the living much of the best ground in China. 215

A stranger Chinese belief is that when the phœnix and dragon of fable come together an egg is laid which leads to the devastation of the country. Such an egg was said to have been hatched at Matung, a little way below Chungking on the river. Certainly, the city magistrate went down to inspect the spot. It is the duty of all the officials to destroy these eggs all over China, their whereabouts being discoverable by the snow refusing to lie over them. But as we have mostly no snow in Chungking, perhaps that was held as an excuse for the officials; for we did not hear of any being beheaded or otherwise punished for letting the egg be hatched. The magistrate, indeed, refused to be drawn on the subject and say what he actually saw. "All nonsense, all nonsense!" he said. One curious part of it was that we never should have heard of his visit and its object but for noting the extraordinarily heavy rain that seemed to pour and pour over Matung. We were many of us dwellers on the hill-tops that summer—though not at all after Mr. Grant Allen's fashion, I fancy; and one of our daily entertainments was to watch the thunderstorms marching along the lower country, investing first one mountain, then another, dividing here, converging there. And one could not but notice how the most awful thunderstorms passed by all obstacles to concentrate themselves on Matung. Commenting upon this as we sat in the starlight in the evening watching our other entertainment, the play of the lightning, we remarked it might be worth while to go to Matung to 216 see what had happened there, and then were told of the magistrate's visit to inspect the egg that had been hatched, and that before all these great storms, which we had looked down upon at intervals, in a small way being at times ourselves partakers. There evidently must therefore have been some striking indication of coming calamity to call for an official visit; and judging by what we saw ourselves, that indication had been realised. "It is the people's own fault, if they build their houses in a river-bed. Of course they are washed away," said the magistrate. But how many were washed away we never knew. One often regrets the absence of a newspaper in the interior of China. Twice in one week we saw in the distance great fires—saw the flames rise up, towering like a bonfire, spread, then after some time die out, a blackness settling down on what one imagines were once happy homesteads. In England, next morning we should be reading all the particulars; next day would follow the subscription list, after we had already sent our cast-off clothes, etc., to the sufferers. Thus would our sympathies be called forth at the same time that our interests were aroused. In China—nothing! No more is heard of the conflagration we even ourselves witness, of the inundation to which we also—at least, our hill-tops did their part—may be said to have contributed. Is it not partly this that makes life in China so dull? Is it possibly this also which leaves denizens in China looking so much younger than their years, their faces unmarked by the traces 217 of emotion experienced, whether pleasurable or the reverse?

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Materialistic though our worthy compradores (business managers) and invaluable boys (butlers) appear to us, with their expressionless faces and highly coloured explanations of popular beliefs in racy pigeon English, yet in reality no people believe themselves more surrounded by spirits than do the Chinese. Unfortunately, their spirits are generally evil spirits, requiring cunning handling to frustrate their designs—as when at New Year's time you stick on your door a red paper 218 announcing that some sage of old or other celebrity lives in this house. In all countries the general belief seems to have been that the devils are very easily outwitted. But it is noteworthy how this belief in evil spirits gains upon the foreigners in their midst. Dr. Nevius, one of the most high-minded and noblest missionaries I have come across, a delightful man of apparently most healthy mind in a healthy body, wrote a deeply interesting volume on Demon Possession, giving instances to prove that this still exists in all its old Biblical terrors in China. I have known another missionary who is under the belief that by heartfelt prayer he himself was instrumental in driving out a demon; also others, of good social position and first-class English education, who felt their own powers for good almost paralysed whilst in the west of China by the presence of active evil spirits. Nor have I been able to divest myself in certain temples of the belief that the air was full of them, though I spent a long, long summer's day there once, alone, trying either to dispel the idea or to determine that it was so. Matters like these, if we believe, we none of us like to speak about. Certainly, it is during residence in China—supposed generally to have such a materialising effect—that I have become so convinced of spiritual agencies as to believe this faith unshakable. Happily for me the spirits, of whose presence and help I cannot doubt, have been uniformly good. And believing in their care, it has been impossible for me to be afraid in many circumstances with regard to which people often ask, "Were you not 219 frightened?" Yet I have been frightened, very much frightened too, at other times. Probably, to many this confession will seem to rob my account of all trustworthiness. But all through this volume I try to write down what I have seen or think of things, always without asserting the correctness of my views. Some day we shall know; meanwhile, "It seems so to me" appears to be the truest phrase with reference to things Chinese.

To pass to lighter beliefs. In the west of China, at the foot of every fine old hoangko-tree, Ficus infectoria, a kind of banyan, is a little stone shrine, showing how at one time reverence was entertained for the spirit of this very beautiful shade-tree, growing on the top of so many hills in the windless province of Szechuan, always alone, and often giving enough shade to shelter the whole village near it under its branches in summer evenings; whilst in the autumn in the east of China, when the air is full of floating masses of gossamer, the Chinese say it is the "thread of niang-niang," or "heavenly silk." By the wayside, everywhere throughout China, the traveller comes upon pretty little shrines with one or two incense-sticks giving out a sweet fragrance; and if ever the whole land is converted to a higher, purer faith, I cannot but hope that these graceful little shrines may not be done away with, but consecrated anew with a figure of the Virgin Mother and Infant Saviour, or a crucifix, or a figure of some high and holy man of old, an ensample to us of these latter days, that so, like as in the 220 neighbourhood of Méran, the peasant may feel called to offer upon it his beautiful white gardenia flowers, or a bunch of pink azaleas from the mountain-side, or a blossom of the gorgeous red dragon-claw flower, or even a white tea blossom or wild camellia, and, so doing, pray to Him above all, Whom they, as we, believe even now to see all they do, and Who, whatever our belief about Him, must for ever remain the same.

But I am wandering again and again into the sacred groves of religion, and must return into the devious paths of superstition. When a cargo-boat of my husband's once became a complete wreck, he could not help, even under the depressing influence of the news, being amused to hear his Chinese manager saying: "They would do it. They would do it. I told them not to. We must never again carry a cargo of dried shrimps. Of course, their spirits spoke to the spirits of their brother-fishes in the river, and they raised the waves that they might jump up and release their imprisoned relations. Well, there's a good deed done: a lot of lives set free. But we must not take shrimps again. You see, it is a dead loss. And I said so from the first."


According to a Chinese paper, the inhabitants of Chaochow Fu, of which Swatow is the seaport, are very superstitious. When one of them is seriously ill, instead of getting a doctor to attend him, he invites a certain set of priests to perform jugglers' feats and recite mysterious incantations. Thereby, it is believed, a cure can be effected. Ascending a ladder of swords 221 is considered a very effectual mode of treatment. Two thirty-feet poles are made to stand in an upright position, fixed firmly in the ground parallel to each other. One hundred and twenty sharp swords, with their keen edges upward, are tied to the two poles like the rungs of a ladder. Some days before the ceremonies are to be performed notices are freely distributed, and on the given day thousands gather for the sight. A young priest, dressed in a fantastic costume, advances to the foot of the ladder, chanting incantations, and making passes with a knife which he holds in his hand. Suddenly he steps on the sharp 222 edges of the swords forming the rungs of the ladder, and climbs rapidly. As the young priest has bare feet, it is a wonder that he can step without being injured on the edges of the swords. When he reaches the highest point, he deliberately sits on a sword, and throws down a rope. The sick man's clothing is tied to this, and is drawn up to the top. The young priest then shakes the clothing to the winds, burns magical scrolls, and recites incantations. He cries aloud the name of the patient, who is called in such ceremonies, "Redeem the soul." After these performances, the clothing is let down, and the patient puts it on. Taking a piece of red cloth from his pocket, the young priest waves it over his head like a flag, at the same time dancing and leaping from one pole to another. He places several sheets of paper money on the edges of the swords, steps on them, and the sheets fly in all directions, cut in the centre. He thus shows that the weapons are sharp, and that his position is by no means an enviable one. Exhausting himself at last, he descends with all the agility at his command. "Sometimes under such treatment the patient manages to recover," adds the Chinese paper naïvely enough.

In 1890 such a curious account was given in the North China Daily News of an incident that had just occurred in Western Shantung, the province the Germans are now trying to make their own, that, as I know nothing further of it, I think it is better to extract it from the paper:

"A certain man had a daughter, who was an only 223 child, and for whose life the parents entertained the greatest fears. A boy, to be sure, would have been much more precious; but, as the saying runs, 'When cinnabar is not to be had, even red earth is valuable.' Having a neighbour named Chang who had many daughters, it occurred to the parents of the solitary child that it would be a good plan to have her 'adopted' into the family of the man with several daughters as one of them. This 'adoption,' it must be understood, is a pure fiction, and consists in nothing more than in calling the adopted child by the surname of the family into which she is adopted. Thus, in this case, the parents' surname being Liu, the girl, who was a mere infant, was called 'Chang Four,' as a milk-name, denoting that she was technically number four in the Chang family series of girls. The evil fates, perceiving that the Chang family had such a supply of daughters, would let her grow up in peace, and thus the Liu family would contrive to outwit the malignant spirits! The Liu girl never went to the Chang family to live, and had no relations with them of any kind, except that the family exchanged presents and calls on feast days, as if the conditions were those of a betrothal. In fact, the Chang family would be styled by the Liu family as their 'adopted relatives by marriage.' Devices of this kind, to cheat the fates in regard to boys, are very common, the lads being called 'ya-t`ao,' for girl, or sometimes 'lao-p`o,' to indicate that they are old married women. But these cunning schemes cannot, however, always be regarded as 224 complete successes; for in this case the only daughter died, and so the 'dry relationship' came to an end."

Around the god of literature all kinds of legends have crystallised. He is said to have lived through seventeen lives. He is also said in his own person to have completed the perfection of the three religions of China. He did all manner of marvellous things, besides driving away a tiger that threatened a messenger, under promise from the latter to distribute five thousand copies of the tract on rewards and punishments. Perhaps the Psychical Society might learn something from his chapter on ghosts:

"A ghost is the corrupt part of man, and man is the pure part of a ghost.

"A man can be a ghost, and a ghost can be a man. The man and the ghost are mutually related. Why separate man and ghost?

"The ghost becomes a man, then man must become a ghost.

"If a man does not become a ghost, he will surely be able to perfect manhood.

"It is difficult for a ghost to become a man, because it has fallen to ghosthood, and because it has lost manhood.

"A man is a ghost; a ghost is a man: but all men are not ghosts, neither is every ghost a man.

"Those who can be respectful without feeling ashamed, who can be submissive without deception, who can obey to perfection the rule of life, and are able to preserve their natural force unabated, secretly 227 cherishing growth, will become Buddhas or Genii, and not ghosts."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Probably a great deal is lost in this translation; but the phrase to be "submissive without deception" is certainly noteworthy.

The god of war has not passed through so many vicissitudes; but it seems that in his lifetime he was a merchant noted for probity and liberality, and it is in this character that his picture is to be found in all self-respecting business firms to this day as an example of what a merchant should be. Then as the centuries passed by, he was canonised as the god or guardian saint of war, and his last change was being made the tutelary deity of the present dynasty. It is a great question, however, whether the Chinese can properly be said to have either gods or idols, or whether it would not be more correct to say they make and set up images of men canonised as guardian saints, and whose spirits are supposed to be present where proper reverence is shown to their images. According to Dr. Edkins, at the feasts in honour of the dead, whether simply ancestors or famous men of old, the dead man is now represented by a tablet; but by ancient rules a living representative was required, and preferably a grandson. In the time of the Hia Dynasty he stood. Under the Shang Dynasty—from 1800 to 1200 B.C.—he sat. Under the Chow Dynasty there would be six representatives of the deceased ancestors, who were all treated as guests, and partook of the feast. They had the strange idea that only thus could the patriarch 228 of the clan be kept from extinction; for they thought of the soul as breath, liable to be dispersed as air. They called such a representative of the dead "the corpse," or, more correctly, "the image of the soul." It is hard to say whether such a practice is more material or spiritual.

Mencius describes images as at first made of grass and rushes, and then of wood, "to be buried with the dead in order to provide the deceased with servants to wait upon him in the other world." But not in his writings, nor in any of the classics, are there any indications of worshipping images or idolatry. Probably these images were a survival of human sacrifices in more ancient times. Paper representations of houses, servants, horses, money, are now burnt at stated festivals, in order to supply the dead with all they need. And for about a month before the appointed day, all through China, the eldest grandson of each family may be seen busy making out lists of all the ancestors entitled to such gifts, and writing letters to be burnt with them. Then on the appointed day the feast is spread, chopsticks are placed, wine-cups are filled, all for the dead dear ones. Thus are the superstitions or religious observances of the Chinese knit with their every-day life; for the living in the end eat the feast, though the wine is commonly poured out upon the ground as a libation. Then comes the great day when all the family goes out as a great picnic party to the family graves. The best clothes are put on, and a long day is spent in the country in junketing and gossip. All the environs 229 of a Chinese city—for the environs are always the graveyards—are alive with gaily dressed parties of people, till the appearance presented is that of a great fair; for naturally booths are erected for the sale of eatables and drinkables as well as of offerings all along by the wayside. The temples are crowded; the priests receive offerings. Every one goes home at night with much the same expression as English people after a Bank Holiday. On the whole, the Chinese festival appears the holier and more fraught with sentiment of the two. Naturally, this festival is the culminating-point of ancestral worship. But it does not seem difficult to see how reverence for ancestors might be made altogether Christian, the natural outcome of the fourth commandment; nor how these feasts for the dead might be made very much the same as the Jour des Morts in Paris, or, indeed, something higher and yet more Christian. They are inextricably knit with the belief that the dead father's spirit floats round and watches over his children after death; and thus is the principle of noblesse oblige, or respect for ancestors, carried into every, even the poorest, household of China. 230


European Prejudice.—French Fathers.—Italian Sisters.—Prize-giving.—Anti-Christian Tracts.—Chinese Saints and Martyrs.

People can hardly fairly discuss the question of missionaries without deciding definitely first of all whether they wish the Chinese to become Christians or not. And as I do not know what may be the views of those who read this book, I think I had better here cite impressions as to the prejudice against them, written after I had only spent a few years in the East; for the prejudice against missionaries is really one of the most amusing things in China.

"They all hang about Chefoo. That is the sort of place that suits them. A nice comfortable house, and nothing to do! Just about suit me too! I'd like to find a merchant's clerk who did as little as one of these self-devoted men, who have given up everything," is a little speech I heard one man make to three others one day, apparently expressing the sentiments and experience of all. Yet take Chefoo, the very place thus pointed out, and what do you find there? There is not a Shanghai man who knows him who does not say: 231 "Oh, Dr. Nevius! Oh! but he's quite an exceptional man. He does more good than all the others put together, I believe. You don't fancy other missionaries are like him?" Or, "Oh, Dr. Williamson! Oh! but that's a man quite unlike the common," or, as I heard another day, "That's a man one really likes to hear talk about religion."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

It is just the same, if you go up Hankow way. "Mr. Barber! Ah! but he is a thorough gentleman! A University man! Seventeenth Wrangler, you know, and a splendid all-round man—good at cricket, and football, and everything." "Mr. Hill! You won't meet another man like him in a hurry. Why, he is a man 232 of independent means; doesn't draw a penny from the Mission. There is hardly a good cause all over the world which that man does not give to. He is wearing himself out, though"; or if the speaker be a little enthusiastic—they are enthusiastic sometimes in the outports: "That man is a real apostle."

Then again: "You don't know who that man is? Why, he was the champion wrestler till he came out here on mission work—wore the Border belt for two years. Some of the young bloods in Shanghai thought a missionary couldn't do much, and challenged him when he first came out. Didn't he punish them, though, and said, 'You see I am trying not to hurt you!' Why, he could have broken every bone in their bodies, if he had let himself."

Or again: "Mr. John! Now that man does real good. He has worked away for years, and every one must respect him. His is real solid work."

Then again, Mr. Baller of Ngankin. He is only to be named for every one who knows him to burst out into a eulogy. Mr. Studd's cricket renown is too widely spread not to make him exceptional from the outset; but those who have come across him in China seem already to have found out other things yet more noteworthy about him.

Thus the conversation goes on about pretty well every missionary any one knows anything about; and yet it winds up as it began: "But the missionaries generally are quite different,—hang about and make believe—and save money—and go home!" These 233 typical missionaries no one seems to have ever met; yet every one who has been to China must agree one hears plenty about them. It begins on the voyage out, when you are told about the poor girls—the enthusiastic, misguided young girls they lure out to wretchedness, nobody knows where. "Clap them into Chinese dress the moment they arrive, and send them off up-country, where there is not a single European, in carts and all sorts of miserable conveyances. That's what they do. Why, the poor girls don't know themselves where they are going to."

This is the oft-repeated tale. And it is certainly highly probable that newly arrived missionaries, whether men or women, cannot pronounce the name of the place they are going to, nor even at first remember it. But there seemed some sound common sense in what an elder missionary said the other day: "Youth enables women to bear many hardships, under which they would break down in later life. And youthful enthusiasm carries many a young missionary over the first two years of Chinese life, where a woman of forty could not bear the change of climate and food. Besides, if, as is most likely, they become the wives of missionaries, there is a far more reasonable hope of a happy married life when the wife is already well accustomed to China and its ways before undertaking the cares and duties of a wife, than when she is brought out fresh from England and has to face all together."

However, Shanghai so far keeps up its old character 234 for gallantry, that it never has a word to say against the lady missionaries, unless sometimes in a grumbling tone: "Did you ever really see a pretty one?" But, then, every one has. Captains speak rather sorrowfully of this, that, and the other who came out with them. And young men who go to church (young Shanghai does go to church a little; it is the men past their prime who only "have seats"),—young Shanghai speaks sentimentally of some fair apparition who looked so lovely in loose-fitting white and blue, and begins to question whether Chinese dress is not, after all, the most becoming. Certainly, fair hair looks all the fairer and softer above the loose-fitting clothes more generally associated with coarsest black.

And all the while the missionaries come in increasing numbers. With each freshly arriving steamer the cry is, "Still they come!" till China promises fair to be the best spiritually seen after country outside Christendom. Yet no missionary ever comes to the Europeans, whose spirituality seems to have so withered for want of exercise, that they resent nothing more than the idea that they could want a missioner to minister to their spiritual necessities or perchance have no spiritual wants.

Yet no account of Shanghai would be other than most incomplete which did not treat of the missionaries. They are a set apart, well known to one another, unknown for the most part to other Europeans, full of information about the China towns and Chinese generally, and abounding in racy anecdotes. How much good they do, who can estimate? They are certainly 235 most refreshing to meet with, having a purpose in life, and reminding us sometimes that, as Faber says, "There are souls in this world that have the gift of finding joy everywhere."

But not all. The climate is trying; Chinese society is not of the liveliest; and there are—of course there always must be—a certain number of missionaries who do not seem quite the right kind of persons to have come out. How should it be otherwise? But it is a question whether that is more the fault of those of the inferior sort who come, or of those superior people who stay behind. But, setting aside this vexed question, the Roman Catholic missionaries do not appear nearly as cheerful and pleased with their surroundings as the Protestants. Nor, indeed, does one quite see what they have to make them happy—except, of course, always the love of God.

One time going up-river, after Chinkiang the saloon presented a picture of pigtailed Frenchmen—Jesuit Fathers in white Chinese clothes. As Jesuits are not allowed to go up-country till after a long preliminary training, and do not become full Jesuit Fathers till after at the least eight and not uncommonly fifteen years of preparation, if they are not far more skilled missionaries than those of the various denominations of Protestants, it would seem to show that in spiritual, unlike carnal, warfare training and discipline avail nothing. They reckon some one hundred thousand converts in Kiangnan. In some instances they have whole villages of Christians; but although Christians, 236 they say it must be remembered these villages are Chinese still.

How merrily the French Fathers chatted over their coffee! But at the one word "France" every man waxed sorrowful! They say, however, they do not suffer from mal du pays, as do the Italians, many of whom have to go home, in consequence, sick with sorrowing. Not to be forgotten, however, is that French priest at Peking who, just returned from a long sojourn up-country, at the one word "France" broke down completely, and could not recover himself. And once more I felt a tightening at the heart, thinking of that large house building at Ichang to receive Italian Sisters—simple, loving-hearted women, who for others' sins, not their own, will live and die so far away from that loved Italy for which Filicaja wished: "Ah! wert thou but more strong; or if not that, less fair!" The life of Italian Sisters in China seems altogether too sad. They all get sick; they cannot love the people; they long for Italy; and till now they have been obliged to bind the feet of the little girls confided to them, yet unable to bear the pain for them. But the French priests, too, seem to have nothing to look forward to, and their lives are more comfortless than certainly English people at home have any idea of. I recollect one French priest in a most remote village showing me—half excusing himself, half proudly—his one great luxury, a little window with glass panes he had put in near his writing-desk, so as to see to read and write till later in the evening. There was barely a chair of any kind 237 to sit down on in his large barracklike room. He showed me a set of photographs of his native village in France; but I noticed he never dared glance at it himself while we were there. We were the first Europeans to visit the place during the three years he had been there, with the exception of an old priest, who once a year came three days' journey across the mountains to see how he was going on. By comparison, the life of Protestant missionaries seems so joyous; indeed, I have never been able to see why it should not be an exceptionally pleasant one—barring illnesses always.

The coming New Year was casting its shadow before it in Chungking in the shape of gaudy pictures festooned about the streets, crackers of rejoicing by night and by day, and sad-faced young men wanting to realise on the family gold ornaments or picture-books by old masters offered at impossible prices. It cast its shadow also in other ways. The mission schools were breaking up, and the missionaries themselves going out to schwa, i.e. enjoy themselves in the country. Having been kindly invited to be present at the breaking up of the Friends' Girls' School, I noticed one or two things that appear worth recording.

Of course, I know missionary labours are popularly supposed to be the one kind of work on which we all of "the world outside" are qualified to pass discriminating judgment without ourselves requiring any preparation for so doing. A man may race across China as fast as he is able, and it is he who knows whether the missionaries are wasting their efforts on 238 ungrateful soil, or whether opium does or does not disagree with the Chinese constitution, although he would hesitate to express an opinion on any such difficult question as whether a certain soil were suited for growing opium, or whether a merchant would be well advised to ship hides for the Shanghai market. Questions like these require specific knowledge. Not so the question whether missionaries in China are doing good. Notwithstanding which I must further premise that, just as when the new railways begin I individually should not feel in a position to say the navvies' work was being wasted because I saw no rails, so I do not feel in a position to say whether even the missionaries I know best are spending ineffectual toil because I do not see many Christians.

Judged by this test, indeed, what wanton extravagance might not the Shanghai Cathedral be pronounced! To some follower in our friend Dr. Morrison's footsteps I commend the calculation of the cost of its services to be divided by the number of converts thereby made. The sum would probably not be a difficult one, though the result might not be gratifying. For it costs more to redeem souls, etc.

But to return to twenty-six little girls, who were not converts. They passed an examination in the Old Testament, as it appeared, most creditably, although the eldest were thirteen. There was no hesitation in the answers, as one heard them affirming Jezebel was not a good woman, and telling about the hair by which Absalom was caught in the tree. And, after 239 all, Jezebel and Absalom lived nearer to them than to us, and at least in their own quarter of the world. It is really odder to hear village children in England telling about the Old Testament kings, though it seems odder to hear Chinese children doing so. The younger children were also examined. Five little round-about bodies—for they were pretty well as thick as they were long—aged only six, repeated a hymn. Other hymns were repeated by other little detachments. All this was not surprising. But I was surprised when the first class, being led up to an outline map of Africa without names, called out Congoland, Madagascar, Natal, and the like as the examiner pointed. They did the same by Asia, cheeringly shouting out Japan, and equally readily indicating China. If into these little girls' heads it really had penetrated that there were other kingdoms in the world besides their own, they were in so far better taught than most of the literati of the land, and no knowledge would seem more to be desired for a Chinaman just now. After this the usual eye-trying needlework was exhibited, under protests from the European teacher that any one's eyes should be so tried, yet in this she felt obliged to conform to the fashions of the country.

But what struck me most (for it is the one matter on which I really felt qualified to form an opinion) was the expressions of the children. They were interesting, they were attractive, simply because the mind in them evidently had been aroused, and was working. The blank, dead-wall Chinese stolidity was gone. What may be the end of those children, what may be the 240 outcome of it all, it is not for me to say; nor how far it is right to teach little girls who are not Christians Christian hymns. There are plenty of beautiful hymns they could learn, avoiding those about a Christ for whom they have no reverence. But one thing is clear: for good or for evil those little girls are with their awakened intelligences in a perfectly different position from those around them; and if their education is carried further forward—about which there are many difficulties in China—they will be in an increasingly critical position. And then seems to come the great danger. If they become Christians, well and good; they will have the ethics of Christianity to guide their daily life. But if not, removed from Buddhist influences, yet more in need of a guide than those around them, because themselves more susceptible of outside influences, one feels a certain uneasiness about them.

The proceedings wound up with what certainly seemed to give great pleasure: a gift of an article of clothing for every little girl from one member of the Mission, and then the great ceremony of choosing. Little collections of presents, sent out by the Missionary Helpers' Union, had been carefully sorted out and arranged upon the table,—a doll, a needle-book full of needles, an emery cushion, and a bag perhaps on one; woollen muffettees and a picture-book on another; and so on. The little girl who had most marks had first choice, and so on to the last, who had no choice at all, said the kindly lady teacher in great distress, her 241 heart evidently aching for the little one, who must sit by and see all the best things chosen from before her eyes. "But she could have got more marks; it is her own fault," she added indignantly, the severity of the teacher once more gaining the upper hand; for this lady, young though she still was, was not a mere novice, but was teaching in England in a large and well-known Friends' School in the west country before ever she came to China, and came to China with the distinct purpose to teach little girls; into which work she appeared to put her whole heart, until ill-health forced her to come home. Some of the little girls had evidently studied the presents well beforehand, and came up to choose with their minds made up, making the Chinese reverence all round and up and down, then off to their mothers to put their treasures in safe keeping before going back to their seats. But it was pretty to see the indecision on some childish faces, growing redder and redder as first they pressed a white wool doll to their little bosoms, then fondled lovingly one in grey silk. All the dolls had been carefully dressed to suit Chinese notions of etiquette, with sleeves well down to the wrist, and the longest possible lace-trimmed drawers under their long dresses. But one wondered if the little Chinese children would not have preferred Chinese-clad dolls to nurse.

Anyway, each year, being presented with such useful and tempting-looking foreign gifts, although certainly not intended that way, must predispose the little girls to wish to buy foreign things when they grow up, 242 recollecting the delight that foreign things gave them as children. In this way all the trouble of the Missionary Helpers' Union, formed of children at home, thus early trained to interest themselves in missions by being led to work for them, may have commercial results not dreamed of by the little workers. With its reflections my account seems nearly as long as the little ceremony. But I must not omit one feature of it. The Chinese mothers sat on benches all round, flushing with pride as their children distinguished themselves, and the Mission ladies sat in front behind the prizes. Then in came all the Mission babies, with their faces so startlingly clean by comparison with the Chinese as to look like beings from another sphere, rosy, and kicking about their white fleecy shawls and other pure whitenesses. Disdainful, indeed, the babies appeared, and were themselves probably the crowning feature of the show; for the Chinese certainly delight in foreign babies, and are never tired of examining them. I cannot emulate An Australian through China, and reckon up the cost per head; but I think the whole proceeding must have resulted in a certain amount of friendly feeling, and some of joy. Can we confidently say even as much of the Marlborough-Vanderbilt wedding?

There is, however, besides the climate, another sad element in life in China, and that is the dislike of the Chinese to foreigners and distrust of them.


It was sad to hear, shortly after this prize-giving, that there were again anti-foreign placards out on 243 the walls of Chengtu, the capital of the province, of a very violent description, and that the Canadian Mission had already been more than once the object of hostilities in a small way. Yet one would like to know whether in their new buildings they were consulting Chinese taste, or building some hideous European erection which must offend the æsthetic feelings of every Chinaman that sees it. In this city of beautiful roof-curves a foreign house, without any proportion being observed between its windows and wall space, without any sweep of overhanging eaves, and built as no architect, 244 European or Chinese, would build it, strikes a dissonance like a wrong note in music, and must be very irritating to those attuned from childhood to the laws of beauty in architecture. Why we should insist upon the Chinese swallowing our ugly clothes and ugly houses before they receive our beautiful gospel of glad tidings, I never can understand, except by reminding myself that that gospel never came from Shanghai or New York, but from that very Asia where still truth and beauty seem to Asiatics synonymous and interchangeable.

The views of the Chinaman, who has done more than any man of this generation to stir up anti-foreign feeling among his countrymen, are more to the point, however, than any words of mine. Chou-han has for years been circulating tracts of so offensive a nature against Christians that I cannot further refer to them; but here is Chou-han's own letter on the subject to T`an, the Governor of Hupeh. It is interesting, in connection with this letter, to remember that it was T`an's son who was among the first six beheaded by order of the Empress-Dowager when she deposed her nephew, the Emperor, and that T`an, the father, either died of grief or killed himself, heartbroken on hearing of his son's death.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

This is Chou-han's letter to him:

"October 30th, 1891.

"Venerable and Respected Sir.

"Multiplicity of affairs leaves me but little leisure for letter-writing, and it is a long time since I have written to inquire after your health. I would humbly 245 congratulate you on the ten thousand happinesses which attend your downsitting and uprising, and on the abundance of your virtuous deeds and meritorious achievements. With regard to the anti-heresy publications, let me state that they are all of them printed and disseminated by myself, in concert with the officials and gentry, both civil and military, who have the management of affairs connected with the Benevolent Halls. Some time ago a relative of mine, T`ang Chenpih, styled Mungliang, a native of Siangtan, was going to Wuchang, and we unitedly entrusted him with a hamperful of these publications for general distribution. After this a special messenger was sent by T`ang to Siangtan, to inform us that he was imprisoned on account of what he had been doing, and praying that we would come to his rescue, etc., etc. This is amazing! If, indeed, it be wrong to attack this depraved heresy, then I am, so far as the matter of fabricating words and creating disturbances is concerned, the chief culprit. In all reason, you ought to report me to the Throne, deprive me of my official rank, and arrest me as a criminal. What has my relative T`ang to do with the matter? And even should you take off his head and hang it up as a warning to all, how could you by so doing put a stop to the thing itself?

"My special object in writing now is to beg of you to consult with the Viceroy, and set at liberty my relative T`ang and every one of his companions, who together with him are unjustly implicated; also to return to them every article of property which 246 may have been possibly taken away from them. I beg of you to prepare a joint statement of facts, and to impeach me in a memorial. I will respectfully wait my punishment in the provincial capital; I will certainly not run away. If however, your Excellencies will treat good and honest people like fish and pork, and put me aside and not examine me, then I will go at once to Peking, and cry at the gate of his Majesty's Palace. I swear that I will with my own body requite the beneficence of Yau, Shun, Yu, T`ang, Wen, Wu, Cheu-kung, Kung, and Meng, together with the beneficence of his Majesty the Emperor, the Empress-Dowager, and all the ancestors of the Great Dynasty. I shall 247 certainly not allow my relative T`ang and his injured companions to hand down a fragrant name to all coming ages alone. I am anxiously looking for your reply, so as to decide whether to proceed or to stop. It is for this I now write, also wishing you exalted enjoyment.

"Your younger brother and fellow-countryman Chou-han writes with compliments. Chou-han, imperially honoured with the Second Rank, and expectant Taotai in Shensi, a native of Ninghiang, now at his own village recruiting his health."

Translated by the Rev. Dr. Griffith John.

One cannot but admire Chou-han for his outspoken boldness, as also for his persistence in opposing what he believes to be a depraved heresy. On the other hand, turning to his tracts, it is difficult to believe that any one could circulate them with a good intention.

People who do not believe the Chinese would be any better for becoming Christians can be but little interested in missionaries. Those who, on the other hand, really believe we have glad tidings to tell to them may doubt whether quite the right means are being taken to deliver the message. If every one who went out to China lived as a Christian should, it clearly would have a far more striking effect; but whilst Europe remains what it is, that seems at least as unattainable as converting the Chinese. Of those who are converted, I have come across thousands of Roman Catholics who have borne the burning of their houses and devastation of their property. There were four thousand Roman 248 Catholic refugees in Chungking in the summer of 1898. Not a few have been killed. And in the west of China several cases have occurred where men have been offered their lives if they would burn incense upon Buddhist altars, and have refused and been martyred. I do not know how converts could more prove their sincerity than by thus dying. But of Protestant converts, too, I do not think the staunchness has at all sufficiently been estimated. When riot after riot occurred all along the Yangtse, in some cases all the foreigners went away, leaving 249 their converts to shift for themselves. Native evangelists carried on the services, and there were the congregations just the same when the missionaries came back. Whilst, to turn to lesser persecutions, sometimes even harder to bear, how many Chinese Christians have seen their business fall away from them, and from a position of competence have been reduced to poverty! As long as Treaty Ports exist in China, probably their common talk will be that Chinese Christians are no good; for there of all places men of bad character may be expected to join the Christian communities from interested motives: but on the whole, though naturally they cannot attain to all the Christian virtues at once—it will probably require a generation or two to arrive at such an approximation even as we have ourselves arrived at—yet in the matter of staunchness Chinese Christians stand as high as the Christians of any nation at any age.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

If my opinion, however, be anything worth, and on this matter I am not the least sure it is, it is not money so much our missionaries want in the East as sympathetic upholding. Let them feel that their countrymen, not missionaries in name, are wishing them more power, and not taking account of their failures, and they will be upborne to do greater deeds than those of old. Would, however, that missionaries may also believe that those not nominally of their band may notwithstanding be animated by quite as living a Christian zeal!

As it is, the way in which missionaries and merchants 250 eye each other askance is often very painful. As to the differences between the sects, I think these are as much and as needlessly exaggerated as those between different kinds of Chinese. Chinese converts must be further advanced in Christianity than is often the case now to be able to appreciate the difference even between Roman Catholicism and Congregationalism. They see there is a difference in ceremonial. But to that Chinese are much too wise to attach much importance. They fancy all are "good talkees" of different kinds. And are they far wrong? The sincerer the Christian the less importance he always seems to attach to differences of belief and form.

It is sad to reflect that had there not been such fierce rivalries between the cardinals in the thirteenth century, and a consequent Papal interregnum of three years, Kublai Khan's request to the two brothers Polo would have probably been acceded to, and the Chinese become Christians then en masse, after the fashion of the kindred Russian race. Kublai Khan had "begged the Pope would send as many as one hundred persons of our Christian faith; intelligent men, acquainted with the Seven Arts, well qualified to enter into controversy, and able clearly to prove by force of argument to idolaters and other kinds of folk, that the law of Christ was best, and that all other religions were false and naught, and that if they would prove this, he and all under him would become Christians and the Church's liegemen. Finally, he charged his envoys to bring back to him some of the oil of the Lamp which burns on 251 the sepulchre of our Lord at Jerusalem." There is a miniature of the fourteenth century of the great Khan delivering a golden tablet to the brothers. They started for Rome on this mission with a Tartar Baron, but he fell sick and went back. They were three years upon the journey, then delayed, waiting till a Pope, Gregory of Piacenza, was at last appointed. He sent two learned Dominicans with them—two instead of a hundred—and these two friars were terrified by a Saracen outbreak, and turned back in their turn. Again, in the eighteenth century the Chinese would, it seems, have become Christians, but that the Dominicans then came and opposed the Jesuits, who had effected an entrance in 1580, and had gained great influence over the Emperor and the nation. The Dominicans and Franciscans condemned the Jesuit toleration of ancestral worship, and for the second time China was thrown back. The Emperor and his advisers were considering whether Christianity should not be proclaimed the religion of the country, when the coup d'état came. Those of the reformers who have survived, and the Emperor Kwang-shü through them, have thus for the third time been holding out asking hands to Christendom.

In all these cases it has been European enlightenment, as embodied in Christianity, that the Chinese through their Emperors have asked for. But already we hear of governors and high officials actually becoming Christians themselves individually. Up till now none had certainly joined the Protestant Church, and I think 252 none had been baptised into the Roman Catholic Church, for I have always understood in China it was doubted whether a man could become a Christian and retain official place.

China has appealed to Christendom for the third time. May it not be in vain! Of all means for helping her, the Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge seems the most useful at the present juncture, and £20 would bring a new city under its influence, while £200 would enable this Society to permeate a whole new province with its revivifying literature. 253


Buying Curios.—Being stoned.—Chinese New Year.—Robbers.—Protesting Innocence.—Doing Penance.—Medicines.

Before Chinese New Year bargains are to be picked up—in Shanghai lovely embroidered satins, exquisite transparent tortoiseshell boxes, or china of the Ming period. Up-country our buyings are of a different order—a tiger-skin thirteen feet from head to tail, with grand markings, though of course not so thick a fur as is to be had at Newchwang. Head and tail and claws are all intact; and the man who brings it exhibits also its terrible jaws, and points to the holes where the spear entered before the man conquered the tiger. We have besides stone slabs, with the shells of the orthoceras embedded in them, sawn asunder and polished for screens or table-tops. What that most remarkable animal did, with a shell like the horn of an unicorn, not uncommonly over two feet long, and beautifully convoluted, it is hard to think. These pagoda-stones, as they are called, arrive in mass, all to realise money for New Year's debts.

Rocks of various kinds are the special product of the 254 Ichang district, where we could supply all the rockeries of Shanghai with disintegrated conglomerate. Only, unfortunately, at this season fern-stones are not in sufficient beauty to play the part of the Irish pig, and help to pay the rent. But one day an eagle was shown into the drawing-room in splendid condition, with grand yellow beak, and beautiful brown eyes, and neck of blended tints of brown and bronze. The poor creature's feet were tightly tied together; but even as it was, we were careful about admiring its beauties too closely. Eight hundred cash was all that was even asked by its captor, who eventually is said to have parted with the beautiful bird for five hundred cash, or one shilling.

A curious little animal with beautiful long-nailed feet and tiny tail, and a fur so exquisitely thick and soft and feathery one quite longed for a collar of it, had not such luck as the eagle, and died before arriving here; but of these various luxuries—for none of these can quite be reckoned among the necessaries of life—it is a little difficult to choose on which to spend one's spare cash. The fur-shops close before the New Year, which is the more to be regretted as they offer the most fascinating footstool covers—intended for the seats of roomy Chinese chairs—made out of two heads of what are called seven-months' tigers, a thick fur of drab colour with an admixture of rich brown.

Lent by Scotch Presbyterian Mission.

Oranges are what colour the scene,—mandarin oranges, of delicious flavour and thinnest possible skin; and other oranges, slightly indented at either end, and of a flavour peculiar to the district, and highly appreciated. 255 But an attempt to examine the orange-market soon roused a row, when mud and brickbats flew through the air, so well hurled by some of the Hunan boatmen as to raise a lump like an egg on the skull of one of the party before we fairly got away, with our hats knocked over our eyes, and generally somewhat soiled. This stoning experience becomes a little monotonous. 256 I have had hot things thrown at me in Hankow, hot things and stones in Itu, bricks and earth in Ichang, and since then so many things in so many less well-known places. There is a certain amount of excitement attached to it at first; but the most passionate lover of excitement could buy it more pleasurably otherwise. The people you look at always run away, if you look firmly enough; but then those from behind come on, and the men on the outskirts of the throng take the opportunity to throw things under cover of the others. After all, the shrieking and shouting they keep up is about the worst part of the proceeding, making one feel like a mad dog. And to walk through the narrow streets of a Chinese town in that character is not the pleasantest possible experience. We enjoyed it to perfection at Itu, where the people consider they have conquered the English; for a missionary, having taken a house there, was not only persuaded by the British Consul into giving up the house, the owner of which had as usual in such cases been thrown into prison, but had even to pay something himself, instead of having compensation given to him.

Had it not been for the uproarious chorus of "Slay the foreigner!" the tune to which we habitually walked about in remote parts of Hupeh Province, the shops of Itu looked rather inviting. There were beautiful sheep-skins in great profusion; and even in passing I was struck by the delicate beauty of some of the fox-skins. Women's embroidered petticoats were also hanging up for sale; but this was probably a bad New 257 Year's sign. In one of the temples at Itu report says there is an inscription in European characters; but the hooting crowd did not predispose us to research, the less so as over all down fell the silent snow, in the midst of which stalked the most formidable beggar I have ever yet seen, stripped to the waist, covered with skin disease, his face plastered with mud of a livid green hue, his hair wild, and his eyes fierce and shining.

How comfortable the familiar house-boat looks, after one of these raids upon the shore, with luncheon on the table, and the armchairs all equally inviting! But we were stoned at Ichang with no pleasant house-boat to make tracks to; and, what is worse, one of the party wounded, which was a bad precedent, to say the least of it. And we were met by a French gentleman, who said, "I was stoned for a whole quarter of an hour yesterday." It seemed to him, as it did to us, that these little breaches of the peace, acquiesced in, might easily lead to serious consequences. The cry of "Slay the foreigner!" was a novelty that year. It has become very common since then.

But even without stoning, what a business it is shopping in a Chinese city! If you go to a shop, and begin looking at things and asking prices as you might in Europe, all the rabble of the street pours in after you. You cannot make yourself heard, you cannot breathe, you cannot see for the crowd, till the poor shopkeeper by his imploring gestures at last succeeds in making you go away before his shop is sacked, or 258 at least half the things in it broken. The proper way is to send to the shop. Then a young shopman comes, very chirpy and self-satisfied, with a quantity of goods, but very likely nothing that you quite fancy. Then he asks you to tell him what you want exactly. Do you want brocade, or—or——Here follow names of silks you never heard of, and never consciously saw. Do you want to make yourself a skirt or a jacket? What!—neither! And do you not want a whole piece of the silk either? He packs up his goods and goes off. Then you decide to do the next most right thing—are carried to his shop in a sedan-chair, plumped down at the door of it, and glide into it and through into the sitting-room behind with wonderful celerity. The troubled shopkeeper bars one or two gates behind you, and the curious crowd is shut out. You sit down in peace, among round wooden columns, upon one of the straight-backed chairs beside a little black table. All is tranquil. Tea is brought. A pipe is offered. No one is in a hurry to serve you. And when you begin to explain what you want, they treat you like a silly sort of crazy creature that must be humoured, and somehow induced to go away. If, however, you have the good sense to begin by making one or two somewhat important purchases, everything and everybody in the shop will be at your service. The Chinese like buyers. But they object altogether to pricing after the American fashion.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

There is not much more to be bought in Chungking than in Ichang; but there are bed-spreads of deep 259 indigo-blue cotton, with an elaborate pattern traced out on them in a kind of plaster before they are dyed, which consequently become whiter each time the cloth is washed, and which do well for tablecloths. And there are felt rugs, which have been treated in the same way—the whole pattern traced by hand, though, and then the rug dipped in a bright scarlet. Even in Chungking we never can decide whether these rugs look handsome or the reverse. But in the frontier town of Tibet, in the Roman Catholic Bishop's palace, I thought one looked magnificent upon the floor. There are embroideries, of course, to be bought—there are always embroideries all over China. And there are wonderful straw hats from Chengtu, two yards in 260 circumference; and with the straw braid so fine in the centre of the crown, that it has all to be sewn together standing edgewise, not flat, as is usual with hats.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

But China New Year is the great time in every Chinese city, and this account of China New Year in Wuchang, the capital of Hupeh Province, is so much the best I have ever heard, that I must borrow it from the North China Daily News of February 20th, 1891:

"It requires a good conscience to get any sleep on Old Year Night in a Chinese city; the whole population watches the Old Year out. Ask them what they do all the time, they will say they enjoy themselves; again ask them how, they will tell you that they sit and chat all night long. No doubt the opium-pipe and game of chance help away the time. Certainly, firing crackers seems to be a large part of the watch-night service. From dark to dawn and everywhere they bang, bang, bang on the startled air of night, being intended as a sort of greeting to the New Year. All the first half of the night hurry and scurry fill the streets; the city gates are left open, so that belated creditors may not be hampered in the collection of their debts. Then towards midnight the last door is shut, and the last lucky inscription pasted up. This is a very important phase of the New Year. Every house in the empire that can afford it buys antithetical inscriptions for the two lintels of the door, and for the various other places of prominence on the walls. The vocabulary of polite 261 ornament is ransacked, and the five happinesses, the points of the compass, rains, snows, winds, sunshine, country and home, wealth and longevity, are woven into the garlands of elegant phrases in every possible combination. On the doors themselves are pasted new pictures of the 'Door-Gods', who once in the fabled past delivered their monarch from the nightly visits of wandering bogeys, and whose pictures have been found ever since sufficient for a similar purpose throughout the empire. Across the windows are pasted strips of paper—'Chieh, the Supreme Duke, is here; bad spirits, get you gone,' for Chieh in his day, some two thousand years ago, gained great power over spirits, and to-day, though they have wit enough to read characters, they have not wit to know that they are being taken in, and therefore sneak away abashed when they 262 find their old controller is within. Over the door-front is fixed a little mirror, so that any foul fiend who wants to enter, seeing his own ugly face reflected, will think another is there before him, and will fear the consequences of poaching. The 'door of wealth' is then closed, and the transactions of the year are ended. The door will in due time be opened once more with great ceremony, and with proper precautions to ensure that wealth shall flow in.

"As the night passes on, the guests refresh themselves 263 with the food cooked in preparation; for cooking must not go on during the first day or so of the year. A banquet is prepared, and with the first glimmer of the dawn the head of the household goes out beneath the sky, and, spreading a carpet and offering viands, bows down with head to the ground towards the direction of the spirit of happiness. This spirit is changeable; he alters his direction every year, and the high authorities of Peking kindly act as his mouthpiece, giving notice beforehand to the people in which direction to bow. This year the dawn of the year saw many a pigtailed head bowed to the south-west; then followed 264 the worship of ancestors by the whole household; while crackers and incense completed the welcome. At the same time the high officials, from the Viceroy downwards, assemble within the red and yellow walls of the Emperor's Temple. Great heaps of reeds are stacked through the neglected courts, which have been hastily weeded, and as the mandarins approach the whole scene is made ruddy with huge bonfires. The great chair of State—somewhat rickety and of simple local manufacture—acts as deputy for the Emperor, all the officials k`otow in unison, and then for a moment squat in the peculiar fashion observed in the actual presence of their sovereign. The temples of Confucius and the god of war are also visited for similar brief acts of reverence.

"By this time the day has well dawned, and shortly the round of calls begins. Everybody dons his best attire; and the number of buttons of gold on the top of juvenile or rarely respectable heads is marvellous. Most careful must everybody be to utter no word of ill-omen; tiger, death, devil, etc., etc., are all tabooed. For once in the year the foreigner may go on the streets with a fair prospect of not being greeted by the ordinary affectionate terms of abuse; for should any unfortunate youngster in his wonder call out 'foreign devil,' summary chastisement is sure to teach him that the luck of the family is not to be sacrificed even for the pleasure of baiting an outside stranger. The streets are filled with all the world paying calls; the world's wife does not venture out these first few 265 days. And the work-worn city keeps its sabbaths for the whole year all in a fortnight."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.


Like our Easter, the Chinese New Year varies; but it generally comes some time in February.

In a small Chinese town, where there was no buying to be done, one evening we had the gentleman in charge of the telegraph station to tea. He brought his operator with him, a most determined young man of fourteen, who to everything said, "Yes!" Between them they send two messages a day, morning and evening, "Yes" and "All right," and that is all they have to do. "And conceive," said the superior, "that I spent £12 learning English, and therewith bought five thousand words, and then am set down in a place like this, where there is not even anything to eat."

On many of the farmsteads round about Ichang may be seen a large hieroglyph painted in white, the character "Fang," with "Shang" on the top of it, in a circle. It is always very conspicuously placed, and signifies, "This household pays its yearly tribute to the robbers, and must not be molested." The village of Kolopei, just below the Tiger's Teeth Gorge, is said to consist wholly of the class of whom it may be said—as was said to me once of the inhabitants of a network of common lodging-houses not far off Spitalfields, wondering at seeing them dancing and making merry at two o'clock in the afternoon—"What do the people here do? Why, they none of them works for their living."

A day or two after a great fire at Ichang a strange 266 sight was to be seen. A man, who had been accused of helping to steal away some poor woman's child during the confusion, with a white calico placard pasted on to his coat behind attesting his innocence, his pigtail hanging unplaited, and wearing a crown of coarse paper cash, with long streamers of paper cash hanging from it, was going round from shrine to shrine, at each protesting his innocence. A man went before him with a gong, shouting out the whole story. It is to be hoped he was not one of the eight beheaded next day. What would be thought of eight executions in one day in Stamford or Teignmouth? But not so long ago England was equally bloodthirsty. We must remember that.

Another year we saw a similar sight, only much more picturesque. As we were going up-river, we met a boat coming down, and in the bow of it there was a man kneeling quite upright, with hands held up as if imploring. In the great beauty of a still reach in the Gorges it was a very moving spectacle; but it was only a rough-and-ready way of punishing a man accused of having tried to steal from his fellows.

I see I have said nothing of medicines. You can buy rhubarb in bulk quite fresh in Szechuan. It grows chiefly on the Tibetan border. Even under the Sung Dynasty the Chinese had three hundred and sixty-five kinds of drugs and one hundred and thirteen kinds of formulæ. But they use rough decoctions, and make tisanes from their drugs; they never make extracts, nor use minute and accurate weights to dole them out.

The ancient Chinese used metal models to exhibit 267 man's inner structure; and everything that is most rare and dear they think must be useful for a medicine,—snakes, scorpions, the velvet off a deer's horns, a dead caterpillar with grass growing out of its head, tigers' bones, beautiful orchids, of which last whole boatloads float down from Chungking to Ichang. A Chinaman loves medicine; nothing pleases him better than to take it; and the European is always being asked for remedies, not so much because he believes foreign remedies to be good, but because he has found out to his delight and amazement that they are to be had for nothing. One doctor, delighted at the great reputation he thought he was acquiring amongst Chinese, was disgusted to find that as soon as he ceased giving away bottles with his medicines patients ceased to apply for them. But the benefits of quinine are so striking, that a Chinaman is ready to ask for this, even when you put it into his mouth for him. They suffer very much from fever, poor people! and when one thinks how many years they have stood the violent changes of their climate without ever a respite, and how much we ourselves lose our energy when exposed to them, one begins to feel more tolerance for a Chinaman's apparent inertia. Besides, what has he to gain by exerting himself? If he become rich, is not the life of a rich Chinaman so dull that only opium makes it possible to endure it? Once let Chinamen get a taste of the enjoyment of life, and they will be a different people. Now they suffer from fever as we do; they dislike bad smells, too, it seems—for no nation more delights in 268 sweet-smelling flowers; they get depressed, and hipped as we do; and they have no light literature, no sports, very little of a newspaper press, no picture-galleries, no concerts, no bands, no intercourse with women, except of the baser sort. No wonder they look dull. And how they love to be amused! 269


Tiger Soldiers.—Woosung Drill.—General's Gallantry.—Japanese War.—Admiral Ting.—Dominoes with a Sentry.—Viceroy's Review.

At Ichang, a thousand miles up the river Yangtse, there is a regiment of soldiers dressed as tigers; but I never could persuade any of the foreign officials to escort me to see them manœuvre, the European opinion being that not even the presence of an inspecting general would awe the Tiger soldiers sufficiently to make it safe to take a foreign lady to see them. I was told that the Tigers were not really soldiers at all, but that some officer drew pay for them as if they existed; and then when the General came to inspect, all the beggars and riff-raff of the city put on the Tiger uniform over their rags, and turned out in so disorderly a condition that even their officers were afraid of them. And so it turned out that, except from a passing steamer, I never saw Chinese soldiers drill till I did so at Woosung, the new Treaty Port, at the junction of the Whangpoo, on which Shanghai is situated, with the great river Yangtse.

It was a Sunday in autumn, and the early morning 270 air felt keen as we steamed down to Woosung, and landed at the fort. Eleven gunboats in a row, all decorated with large flags, the biggest flag in each boat a different arrangement of black, red, yellow, and white, had prepared us for its being a gala day, but hardly for the pretty sight we found upon the parade-ground, where five hundred men were being drilled with a hundred banners among them, not to speak of bannerets, many of the banners being ten feet square. The men formed in square, in rallying groups, fired altogether, one after the other, all to the sound of a bugle, without a single order being given. Drill sergeants in huge straw hats stood before them, and inspected them; and the men's own dress was picturesque enough—loose jackets with large characters upon them behind and before placed in circles like targets, and large loose-flapping leg-guards of decided colours. To the bugle's note the men folded their banners round the spears they carried, to the bugle's note they again flung them loose to the wind, executing both manœuvres with a singular adroitness. There was never a hitch, and the drill appeared admirable, recalling that to be seen from Birdcage Walk in a very curious fashion; for it was every now and again diversified by a primitively savage jump forward with spears pointed, to the sound of a terror-inspiring yell, and then a sort of goose-step retreat, after which the banners that had been tightly wound round the spears were shaken out again, and the men became civilised soldiers once more, admirably drilled. 273

From a Picture by a Chinese Artist.

After this I saw no more of Chinese soldiers for some time, only noticed that the one Chinese mandarin who showed anything approaching to gallantry towards me was a Chinese general, who, calling upon the Consul with whom we were staying in all his war-paint, was kind enough to take off his necklace for me to admire, when I had broken the ice by praising his embroideries; drew up his gown for me to admire his boots, which, like his necklace, were insignia of his official standing; and finally invited us, whenever we could succeed in effecting a landing there, to spend a long and happy day at new Kweichow. Unfortunately this city, built by order, is so situated, with all the worst rocks in the river just at the foot of it, that hardly any one ever can land there; and we never have succeeded in so doing, which I the more regretted as he was kindly careful to inform me that, though his own wife was dead, his daughter-in-law would do the honours to me. I flattered myself at the time that I had made quite an impression upon the General, who was over six feet one, and fully broad in proportion, and who presented a most gorgeous appearance in long brocade gown embroidered for about a foot round the bottom with waves of the sea and other Chinese devices. He wore also a long satin coat with embroidered breast-plate, and a similar square of embroidery on the back, with the horseshoe cuffs, forced upon the Chinese by the Manchus when the present dynasty came to the throne, falling over his hands. High official boots, an amber necklace of very large beads reaching to 274 his waist, and aureole-shaped official cap with large red tassel, completed his costume. And when he first advanced into the room, and found me seated there with the British Consul, on whom he was paying a visit of ceremony, the huge creature turned back, growing crimson and giggling like a schoolgirl, as he said to one of his attendants (a numerous retinue of pipe-bearers and the like followed him), "Here is one of these foreign women. Whatever am I to do? I never was in a room with one before, and have no notion how to behave." Yet such is army training all the world over, that in five minutes the General was doing the polite in the most finished style.

There must be something in being a soldier—even in being a Chinese soldier. When we travelled with some thirty or so coolies and attendants, it was of course necessary for me to decide upon one man whose duty it was, whenever I got out of my sedan-chair, to follow me with the camera, help me to set it up, and generally attend upon me. Twice I picked out my man, without knowing anything of his antecedents, and in each case found I had selected the one ex-soldier of the company. It was idle for our man-servant to say they were probably bad characters, for a man did not go away from home and become a soldier for nothing. They were so handy and obliging, that, though both, alas! have come to grief since then, I have still a soft corner of my heart for my two Lao Liu's; for curiously enough both rejoiced in the same name, and mightily jealous of each other they were when they ultimately 275 met. When it is considered that their duties varied from carrying my little dog, the untiring companion of all our wild travel, to carrying me myself pick-a-back across a mountain torrent, and included choosing the picturesque view-points for photographs (at least they both thought themselves mighty fine judges on this point), as well as defending me from infuriate peasantry when they rushed at me with mattocks, and regularly carrying me in a sedan when that was the mode of progression, together with collecting and caring for all my little odds and ends of wraps, boots, and the like, it may be seen what a very handy creature a Chinese soldier is, when he—shall we say is after a soft billet, or wants to oblige a lady?

Of course, we had unpleasant experiences with soldiers sometimes. On the S.S. Kuling they stole every portable bit of brass off the steamer whilst making a little voyage in her. On the S.S. Yling they managed to eat up or carry off all the food that had been intended to last for months, whilst their officers were being entertained by my husband at a dinner party.

Then came the Japanese War, and all the river between Ichang and Hankow became gay with most picturesque junks laden with Chinese soldiers going to the war. Their flags flew upon the breeze; they themselves, in their motley and decorative uniforms, sat in groups mounted up on top of the junks. Occasionally the old-world, almost antediluvian music of their long, somewhat mournful trumpets sounded across the water. "Nous allons à la boucherie, à la boucherie, à la 276 boucherie," sang the French recruits in their train-loads hurrying to fight the Germans. These Chinese levies might well have sung the same. But they sat impassive and yellow-faced beneath their high black turbans, apparently in nowise excited or discontented with their lot. How mercifully the future hides from us what may be in store for us on the morrow! And how terrible would it be, could some

"power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as others see us"!

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury.

These Hunan soldiers evidently looked upon themselves as "braves," sure of their rice; good, honest fellows they looked most of them, well grown and well fed. But to us they appeared as victims upon the altar of Chinese corruption and ineptitude. Yet 277 is it our hearts harden in China? There are so many victims in the world one contemplates with more of sorrow than these Chinese soldiers as they floated down the great river in their red and orange, with the black kerchiefs of Hunan binding their yellow brows. To the butchery! To the butchery! Float on, Chinese soldiers, all unconscious of your doom, and convinced beyond the power of argument and canon that there is no race like the Chinese race, and that all other nations are your subjects born—rebellious, perhaps, but to be subject to the end! It is a somewhat similar conviction which carries the Anglo-Saxon race forward—indeed, each nation in turn, till it meets its destiny in the God-appointed hour.

The story of the Japanese War has been written for the Chinese by Dr. Allen, and read with avidity by them. For the English public it has not been written. Contradictory telegrams arrived till people began to look in doubt upon any news emanating from Shanghai. But, indeed, the truth was incredible. It was impossible to believe that the Empress and Li Hung-chang between them had brought their nation to such a pass that no regiment was properly armed. If they had got the guns, they had not got the cartridges that fitted them; but generally speaking they had not got the guns. The men stolidly appreciated the situation; they made no complaint; but when they could they ran away, which was about the only thing they could do under the circumstances. Did not six generals 278 bolt before one battle? Or was that one of the telegrams that reached us in the west of China, where we were even less well informed than people in England? People talked of the feats of Chinese soldiery under Gordon, forgetting always that these feats were performed by Chinese soldiers properly armed, and against soldiers who were also Chinese, and not led by Gordons, nor properly armed. It is still a question whether Chinese will ever stand against a European army. They have the greatest contempt for their own soldiery, call them by a title of contempt—Ping Ting!—regard fighting altogether as barbarous, and long ago were of the opinion now enunciated to the world by the Russian Czar.

By Mrs. Bishop.

By Mrs. Bishop.

After the war was over, the poor soldiers were certainly as badly treated as they could possibly deserve. Their officers pocketed their pay, and then decamped, leaving their men in many cases completely destitute, 279 out at elbows, and far away from their homes. No wonder that they misconducted themselves! Comical enough incidents occurred during the war; as, for instance, when a company of Cantonese soldiers stopped for food and rest at a little village. The villagers willingly disposed of food at good prices; and the soldiers were about to leave, when a village elder informed them that the Japanese were in the neighbourhood, and he would advise them to leave their weapons and ammunition in the village; for if the Japanese saw them armed, they would think they had come to fight, and would kill them all. This seemed good advice to the soldiers; so they requested that they might be allowed to leave their weapons in the village till some future day. The villagers consented, and the guns and cartridges were stacked together; but no sooner had the 280 soldiers started on their way, than the villagers seized the guns, and commenced a deadly fire on the now disarmed braves. Many were killed, and all were robbed of everything about them, until their costume was scarcely as extensive as that usually worn by a Swatow fisherman.

Here is a sad little account of one detachment, taken from a Chinese paper:

"The first batch of Hunan men who are without occupation, property, or income is three hundred and seventeen in number. H. E. ordered them to be taken by gunboat to their homes. Those who belonged to Hengyang were to receive $3 (6s.) each as expenses for their land journey, and those of Changsha $2 (4s.) each. On the day of debarkation, they were marched from the city to Shakuan; but on reaching that place their number had diminished to one hundred and eighty, the others having fallen out, complaining of sickness and fatigue, though the distance they had traversed was only about six miles. These invalids were handed over to the guardhouses along the road for safe keeping, and will be deported with the next batch. The crusade is being continued with great vigour, and no doubt the ultimate number of deportees will amount to many thousands."

When a general intended to review the four battalions of troops that do duty on the Grand Canal, he found that, instead of numbering sixteen hundred, as they ought to do, they practically did not exist, and that, "as was universally the case in the army," the pay of 281 the skeleton force that was maintained was three months in arrear. Their number was simply made up against the general in command holding a review, and as soon as he left the old system of corruption was resorted to.

One of the few men who distinguished himself on the Chinese side in the late war was Admiral Ting; and as illustrating the career of a Chinese soldier, it may be as well to relate his history, for this noble admiral was in reality a Chinese brave. Born of poor parents, and having had to work hard for a living, he entered the army as a private at the age of sixteen; but after a few years was promoted to be an officer. In the war against the rebels in the Western provinces, he fought as a captain in Li Hung-chang's cavalry, and after that was promoted to be colonel of the same regiment. During the Taiping rebellion, he again distinguished himself as an officer.

But when China began to form a fleet in 1880, not having any naval officers, she had to look for some one amongst the officers of the army to take command of her squadron of alphabetical gunboats, and Ting was ordered to fill this post by Imperial Decree. At first, in all matters of navigation, he had to seek help from his subordinate officers, some of whom had been brought up in foreign military and naval schools, and by doing so lost much of his authority. But by degrees he learnt to know as much about navigation and seamanship as any of them; and when in 1884 some one was wanted to go to England to bring out two new cruisers, it was again Ting who was selected. Western civilisation 282 seems to have made a real impression upon him; and after returning from Europe, his great wish was always to form a navy that might be sufficient to defend the Chinese coast, and with this object in view he adopted as far as possible European customs. Many Europeans came in contact with him whilst at Chefoo, and all seem to have been most favourably impressed by him. When the Japanese War began, Ting's views often differed from those of his Government; but he knew that his duty was to obey, and so with resolution he awaited the fate that he clearly saw must one day befall him. For he knew that by the laws of his country his life would be forfeited by the loss of his ships and Wei-hai-wei. After the fall of Port Arthur, he had been deprived of his honours, and ordered to proceed to Peking and give himself over to the Board of Punishment; but owing to the remonstrances of all the European officers of the fleet, this edict had been cancelled, and the brave old soldier reinstated as admiral in command. After the fall of Wei-hai-wei, he knew there was nothing for him but death, and he preferred to perish by his own hand, and thus save his family from dishonour, rather than to be decapitated. All his countrymen approved his action; and so this man, who had risen from the lowliest position, died, as he had lived, respected. Kind and fatherly to his soldiers as to his family, he had been greatly beloved. But in the condition to which Li Hung-chang and the Empress Tze Hsi had brought both fleet and army, what other end could there be for a brave soldier? 283

The army was, indeed, divided against itself. At Kiangyin, on the Yangtse, where there were German instructors, the main powder magazine on the left bank of the river blew up; it was never known whether by accident or design, although it looked like the latter. Two hundred lives were lost, and there were many wounded. The foreigners on the right bank were afraid to cross, as the Anhui soldiers were in a state of mutiny, holding their general prisoner, and intending to kill him. They were decided, should the mutiny spread, to move over to the Hunan men, on whom they could rely, and who would not assist the Anhui men. They knew that the general was keeping back his men's pay; and although the intervention of the Literary Chancellor had been asked, no reliance was placed on his power of pacifying the soldiery, his corruption was known to be so great.

The German officer who had been acting as General at Woosung close to Shanghai up to the spring of 1898 gave a most amusing, though somewhat disheartening, account of his handing over his command. The Chinese did not want to have German officers any more, so a Chinese General was to take command; and first he did not arrive, although the men were all drawn up under arms waiting for him, because he had suddenly found out it was an unlucky day; so he had had his boats moored up a creek, and was quietly waiting there. The German was indignant, and required him once more to fix his day. A Sunday was appointed, and the German sent to inform him that all the men would 284 again be drawn up, and that when he saw the Chinese General riding forward he would give order, "Shoulder arms! Present arms!" then the Chinese General must say, "Order arms!" and then the command would be given over. "But surely I am not expected to ride? I cannot possibly ride," replied the Chinese General. The German persisted he must ride. So on the appointed day there appeared the Chinese General huddled on to a very small pony, with two men holding it one on each side, and a third holding an umbrella over him, for it was raining hard. He at once shouted out his word of command; but as the previous order had not been given, it could not be followed. The German tried to explain this. "Oh," said the Chinese General, "I cannot believe it does any one any good to be kept out in rain like this. Just tell the men they can go away. This will do for to-day." So the men dispersed, and the German cavalry officer felt there was the end of his efforts for many years to uphold discipline.

By Mr. Cecil Hanbury.


Of course, the story is well known of Admiral Lang going off to a Chinese man-of-war to see if discipline were well maintained, and finding no sentry outside the Chinese Admiral's cabin. Going in to protest, he found the Admiral and another playing dominoes. "Really, Admiral," he began, "I thought you had promised me to maintain discipline. How is it, then, I find no sentry outside your door?" "Oh, well, I am very sorry," replied the Chinese Admiral. "But I really was so dull, I just asked him in to play dominoes with me."

The days of old-time Chinese reviews must be numbered, and so I will conclude this chapter with an account of the one great one I have seen. The Viceroy arrived the day before. Great was the show of flags, and the whole city was in a white heat of excitement. We foreigners were all going about, each guarded by two soldiers in front of us, intelligent-seeming, very civil men, in beautiful new clothes, their bright-red waistcoats giving them a very festive appearance. There were besides numbers of men in orange coats, who seemed to have some duty as regarded keeping order; whilst tsaijen (messengers), with pale, anxious-looking faces, sprang forward in dozens to protect me, when I went to examine the parade-ground. All the houses had been removed from it, and a mock city wall with five gates built across it by means of dark-blue cotton, with white chalk lines to simulate the joins of the blocks of stone. All the world (without his wife) had been out drinking tea at tables there, 286 and the scene was what Chungking people call reh-lau, or "really jolly."

The next day we were all to get up at five o'clock, we understood, and dressed in Chinese clothes; for places had been arranged for the foreigners to see the sight, but we were requested if possible not to shock the populace by our queer foreign dress. The city was full of strangers, many of them with very flushed faces—a great contrast in their insouciance to the stream of extremely grave, anxious-looking mandarins in chairs coming back in full dress from waiting upon the great man. The review was beautifully set upon the stage; the Viceroy's entrance could hardly be improved upon:

"Behind him march the halberdiers,

Before him sound the drums!"

In the band there were men with long trumpets, such as those before which the walls of Jericho fell down. They blew, and men advanced through the gates of the city wall, built up of blue cotton, with white chalk marks; other men carried boards with titles; others came following after, and then stopped and stood in front of them, and so on, and so on; executioners with conical scarlet caps, boys with long Reeves' pheasant feathers in their caps, and all the curious insignia so well known in China, till at last there was a long line of them on either side all the way from the mock city wall to the tribune where the Viceroy was to sit, on one side of which was the Chinese bandstand, beside it again the box very politely set apart for 287 foreigners, all hung with green reed-blinds to shield us from the people's stare.

By Mrs. Bishop.

Some of us really had been there since 5 a.m.; but not till about 9.30 did the trumpets sound. Then the great green Viceroy's chair with its multitude of bearers appeared through the city gates, forty banner-men all 288 drooped their beautiful silken banners in the wet before him, whilst the army as one man went on its knees. The Viceroy entered the tribune, and the review began. But that entry could not have been better, if so well done, at Drury Lane. And the rest, too, was excellently staged. There was the usual extraordinary mixture of foreign and native drill,—fours about, hollow squares with the cavalry inside, the "thin red lines o' 'eroes," and volley-firing, with, in between, wonderful advances of the banner-men, shaking the long poles, round which their banners were rolled, and shouting defiance at the foe. Then in and out and round about darted the Tigers, in ochre-yellow cotton made almost in the foreign fashion, coatees cut short, and trousers not baggy, and tucked in at the boot, as it seemed, at first glance. Then they turned round, and revealed the tiger stripings on their backs and on their ochre-yellow hoods. They came on with long catlike strides, then leapt, then hid behind shields painted to represent the tiger's open jaws, then strode stealthily again, and went through many cotillion figures, their round painted shields sometimes forming a tent for all the tigers, sometimes a series of ladders. Then for a very long time men singly or in twos danced before the Viceroy, showing their skill with two-pronged forks made to catch the enemies' clothes, and rakes, and what in the end looked like a highly painted japanned table-top. Then suddenly, from opposite corners of the parade-ground, darted wild horsemen, each in fantastic attire and on a dashing pony, representing an attacking force of 289 savages; and the army fired on every side at once. Then the artillery appeared with the most marvellous of cannon, slight and somewhat dragon-shaped, and muzzle-loading of course, requiring to be laboriously wheeled round after each volley, and resting on some strange, outlandish supports, that had puzzled us foreigners much whilst carried round upon the shoulders of what now proved to be the artillery.

We all felt somewhat mockingly inclined, we Americans, English, and Japanese, looking on from behind the blinds we so often pushed aside to see better. But the worst of it all was, it was all well done; the men appeared well drilled; and though, as the rain fell more and more, the Tigers no longer bounded as at first, and even their stride lost somewhat of its stealth in the general slipperiness, yet the heartrending thought to all of us was, the thing was meant to be real. As a spectacle it was so successful! But those poor men down there would march in that style against modern weapons of precision, used in accordance with modern tactics, and of course had run away! "Poor old China! Poor old China!" rose like a chorus from the pitiful ones. And we wondered, Did the Viceroy realise what he was looking on at? Did his cheeks burn, as our own did? Or did he really know no better, and think it a fine sight, as it was?

The whole wound up with a display on the part of the archers. Silken-clad young men with official red silk-tasselled caps, and the corners of their long 290 gowns tucked up, followed each by a soldier-servant holding above the heads of the crowd a quiver full of arrows, made their way up to the Viceregal tribune, and shot at a target white and long-shaped with three red bulls'-eyes one above the other. Each time they did so a big, very big drum was beaten, and a man sprang forward, and picked up the arrow, holding it very ostentatiously at arm's-length. The theatrical effect again was very good; but as far as we could any of us see not one hit any of the bulls'-eyes, and through opera-glasses the paper surface appeared intact, when the Viceroy got into his chair and went off in much the same state as he had come; only every one was wet through now, and the poor little boys with the Reeves' feathers looked particularly deplorable. On a rough computation, on this occasion at Chungking five hundred soldiers turned out, three hundred of whom, including forty banner-men, were versed in foreign drill and wore scarlet waistcoats. The others were either tigers or orange-clad.

As to the Viceroy, he must have been used to it; for was he not going round the province from Fu city to Fu city reviewing troops? and did it not always rain? He therefore must be accustomed to the archers' consequent failures. But we wondered somewhat sorrowfully whether we had had the great privilege of assisting at one of the last Viceregal reviews of the kind, one of the last survivals of antediluvian periods. All nations have passed through similar stages, as the Scottish sword-dances, Highland flings, and English beefeaters 291 remind us. Or could it be that China is going to persist in living still longer in the Middle Ages? In the one case—for we Europeans are nothing, if we are not practical—let us at once buy up one of the painted shields, and Tiger uniforms, and too often brandished banners with their tribes of attended bannerets. In the other, let us stand back, and look aside, lest our hearts should be too much torn by pity when the great catastrophe comes, and China meets a foe who follows his thrusts home, and is determined to reap the full fruit of his victories. 292


Number of Degrees.—Aged Bachelors.—Up for Examination.—Necessary Qualifications.—Crowding.—Scarcity of Posts.—Chinese Dress.

Far more formidable than the soldiery are the literati of China. Soldiering is despised in China; learning is esteemed. The literati also are far more numerous; they arrive in great armies, nominally ten thousand strong or more, and each young man of any standing has his pipe-bearer and three or more servants, possibly in the case of military students a horse or two and attendant grooms as well. In the summer of 1897 at Chengtu there were fourteen thousand candidates, who had already passed the first of the five examinations necessary before entering the highest body in China, the Hanlin College. They were all what is commonly Englished into B.A.'s; that is, Shiu Tsai, or Budding Talent. And there were ninety-six degrees to be conferred! Picture the disappointment in a land where for twelve centuries no official post of any kind has been conferred without preliminary examination. Men go up year after year, year after year, in many cases collecting contributions from friends 293 and patrons towards travelling expenses. Sometimes these contributions are given under promise that, if the needy student do not pass this year, he will not try again. But this is a promise made to be broken. And I believe it is really true, if a man go on competing for his B.A. and failing, at the age of eighty he is considered to have passed.

In 1891 the Governor of Yunnan said that it was also permissible under certain circumstances to bring to the notice of the Throne cases of scholars well advanced in years who have failed to pass their examinations for the degree of chüjen, and begged to recommend for favourable consideration the case of Lien Hsiang-yang, a Bachelor of over eighty years of age, who had failed to pass at the last examination. He had obtained his degree of Bachelor only nine years before, and in the eyes of the memorialist his praiseworthy endeavours to scale the heights of Parnassus ought to meet with some recognition.

By Rev. E. J. Piper.

It is a curious method, that of a Chinese examination. The Literary Chancellor of the province travels round from city to city. Suddenly there is an influx of new faces, and the streets are full of strangers looking about them. Missionaries always say, "The students are swaggering about." When the Consul does not send out a request for Europeans to keep within-doors or to be careful, I straightway order my sedan-chair, and pretend I want to buy something near the examination-hall. Any one, who knows the monotony of always blue gowns and a slouch, would understand 294 that the idea of "some one swaggering" is irresistible. But so far I have never succeeded in seeing even one military student swagger. I know the mandarin swagger, and the Tientsin swagger, which is the most audacious of all, and would make every one in Bond Street turn round to look; and I know the young merchant swagger, which is amusing, and not very unlike a very young London clubman's swagger, when he does swagger. I am afraid it a little went out when high collars came in. But the students I have seen have mostly been pale, very anxious-looking young men, who drop in at our luncheon-time, and look with great interest at our foreign things, sitting on for ever, when they find we have actually specimens of the books of that most useful Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge. Then they turn them over and are happy, till they suddenly wake up sadly to the fact we have no more. "And I wanted to take back copies to all my friends in the 295 town of ——," said one student that I know. But then he did not pass. He is a reformer, a dreamer, as the Secretaries of Legation at Peking dub all of the party of progress in China; for that city seems to deaden the very souls of the Diplomatic Corps, walled up inside it, away from all their own nationals, and full of their parties and theatricals and petty jealousies, unaware apparently that there is a great Chinese nation throbbing across some two thousand miles of country south and west.

Then there are the brilliant students, who pass every time, and are going up for the Hanlin College. They are very much afraid of turning their attention away from the classics for a moment to look even at histories of the Japanese War or of the nineteenth century. They know all about the Röntgen rays, but they dare not be interested. They have got to pass, and to get means to do so they must teach other young men to pass preliminary examinations; and they have brought the latter up with them from some small country town, and are responsible for them. More than the weight of empire seems resting upon their young shoulders; but the fact that they come to see us, and come again, shows that they are interested in foreign affairs. To one I undertook to teach English in a six weeks' holiday last Chinese New Year season. He learnt the alphabet in two days; then he learnt easy words; but why c a t should spell cat, because b a t spelt bat, he could not imagine. The very idea of an alphabet is so strange to a Chinaman. He thinks what 296 you want him to do is to learn it by heart, and he conscientiously learns it. Then when you dodge him he is mortified. As to spelling, I know no way to make him understand it, until he has learnt how to spell; till then it is a mystery to him. He was a most brilliant young scholar, who had already passed his second examination with great éclat, whom I essayed to teach, and every now and then I seemed to see glimmerings of understanding, but then again all became dark, as I tried desperately to teach him to read, so that he might go on teaching himself in his distant country town.

But when the examinations are really on, no more students, swaggering or not swaggering, are seen about the streets. They are all shut up for twenty-four hours, and they come out in batches, according as to when they have done their essays, at the three watches of the night, tired out and hungry. They go up for this preliminary according to their district; then those who are most successful of the different districts are shut up to compete against one another. At each examination a poem must be written in addition to two essays. Not uncommonly students die at these examinations. But the marvel to me is that the Literary Chancellor survives, for he keeps on at it pretty well all the time. Sometimes he is accused of being very much influenced by money bribes as to those he passes; sometimes he is reputed honest.

View larger image.

When the second of two brothers passed in the same year his examination as chüjen (or M.A.), he was carried round Chungking in triumph in a sedan-chair; and a 299 favourite subject of embroidery is the triumphal return of the successful student, with a silk official umbrella borne over his head, himself mounted on a spotted pony, and all the village in its best clothes come out to do him honour.

There are very strict rules as to who may compete at examinations. Barbers are not allowed to go up; and a barber's son having passed brilliantly in Hupeh province a few years ago, his degree was taken from him because of his father's business. On this all the barbers of the principal cities of Hupeh struck work—a terrible position, for no Chinaman can endure life without frequent resort to a barber to shave afresh the front part of his head, and comb and plait his long queue.

But not only must your father not be of low occupation, but you must most emphatically be native born.

The Peking Gazette of February 20th, 1891, records that "the number of provincial graduates being limited, and the right to compete for the degree of chüjen being strictly confined in each province to those, who have attained the standing of natives thereof either through birth or domicile, the intrusion of outsiders is jealously resented, and much contention frequently takes place as to the origin of a successful candidate. The Censorate recently received a petition numerously signed by graduates from Kweichow, in which they represented that a number of persons had attained degrees in their province under circumstances which urgently called for 300 an investigation. The Governor, from whom a report was called for on the subject, admits that the graduates to whom exception had been taken are not natives of the province, although they are, he adds, either domiciled there, or the descendants of officials who have not been able to return to their native places. The province, he explains, was originally the home of the aborigines, and strictly speaking contains no native population of Chinese. The first provincial examination was held in the year 1537, but even then the number of Chinese settlers was very small. During the beneficent rule of the present dynasty influential families have flocked in from other provinces, and literature has received a marked impetus; but the formality of becoming domiciled subjects has very rarely been attended to. Indeed, had a hard-and-fast rule been adopted in the matter, there is good reason for believing that Kweichow would never have emerged from its state of barbarism. The last quarter of a century has witnessed repeated disturbances in the province, which interfered seriously with the regular conduct of the examinations. A great change has recently taken place for the better; but still there are numerous cases where people have become domiciled and have completed the necessary term of residence without having made a formal report of the circumstances to the authorities. The memorialist concludes by suggesting that five of the accused graduates should be debarred from competing next time at the higher examinations, and that the law respecting property qualification and a term of residence extending 301 over twenty years should be strictly enforced for the future."

Again, on April 10th, 1891, "the Governor of Fengt`ien brings forward a grievance on the part of the farmers attached to the Collectorate of Rent Department, a branch of the Imperial household at Moukden. These farmers have hitherto been debarred from competing at the examinations on what would seem to be insufficient grounds, and have asked that their status be thoroughly gone into and definitely established. It appears there are four classes of employés attached to the Collectorate of Rent; namely, the foremen of agricultural labourers, the agricultural labourers themselves, labourers attached to the households of the foremen in a menial capacity, and foundlings brought up in what presumably is an orphanage. The two classes first enumerated are borne on the regular banner-roll by themselves. In a memorial presented to the Throne in 1862 it was requested that permission be given to the foremen to compete and that menials and foundlings be debarred. Nothing was said about the agricultural labourers, and the authorities did not in consequence feel justified in allowing them to enter. These latter have, however, produced regular stamped title-deeds showing that they are the bona-fide holders of banner-land. Strictly speaking, such title-deeds ought never to have been issued to them; but as they bear date as far back as 1791, and as it has been proved that they are actually borne on the same roll as the foremen, it would seem as if there were no 302 distinction between them and the ordinary bannermen. Memorialist would point out that in 1825 the same question was raised with regard to the labourers tilling ecclesiastical lands under the Moukden Board of Revenue, and that it was then decided that all such, who were borne on the regular banner-roll, and whose record was without stain, should be allowed to compete. They accordingly would request that the matter be referred to the Board of Rites for consideration, and they trust the Board will see its way to remove the present restriction.—Let the Board of Rites consider and report."

Yet in spite of all these restrictions "while the students were rushing into the Wuchang examination-hall for a recent competition an errand-boy nine years old was trampled to death and horribly mutilated. The crowd was so dense that it was impossible to extricate the body until the space was cleared."

The literati are generally charged with being the most reactionary body in China. Yet we find "Chang-chih-tung and the Provincial Examiner of Hupeh asking for permission to allow the latter to proceed by steamer to conduct the examinations at Chingchow and Ichang. They describe very graphically the extreme inconvenience and discomfort of the native modes of conveyance, the long delays beating up against the stream, and the risk their papers and other belongings run of being lost or damaged by water. The Examiner mentions that on former trips, when the roads have been flooded, several of his coolies have been drowned 303 by mistaking the paths, and all the inhabitants having fled before the water no accommodation was to be had for man or beast. To proceed by steamer would in every way be a saving, no risk would be run, the journey would be accomplished in two or three days, and the students be saved the vexatious delays they have had to undergo in former years while awaiting the arrival of the Examiner, who has met with delays and difficulties on the road.—Granted."


Alas! when all is over, when men have got the right to compete and have competed successfully—are, for instance, among the ninety-six chosen out of fourteen thousand—what then? According to the Peking Gazette of 304 September 22nd, "ten years ago the Governor of Honan asked that no expectant officials should be sent to the province for a period of two years, in order to relieve the stagnation which prevailed in the lower ranks of the Civil Service. The present Governor states that immediately after the expiration of the above period crowds of expectant officers again began to pour into the province, the evil having been greatly intensified by the renewal of the system of purchasing office. At the present moment there are 60 expectant candidates for the posts of Taotai, Prefect, and Senior Magistrate; over 70 for those of Sub-Prefect and Assistant Sub-Prefect; more than 300 aspiring to be Department and District Magistrates; and 1,020 waiting for minor appointments in the Civil Service. The stream of arrivals continues month after month, and utter congestion is the natural result. Considerable retrenchment is being carried out in the provincial administration, and the great majority of these expectants have little prospect of temporary and much less of permanent employment. A process of weeding out the less meritorious could not fail to be attended with invidious consequences, and all the memorialist can suggest is that the measure introduced by his predecessor should be reinforced for a further term of two years. This will, he hopes, work off to some extent the present redundant supply of official aspirants, and, being applicable only to Honan, will not materially interfere with the funds raised for coast-defence purposes from the sale of the office.—Referred to the consideration of the Board of Civil Office." 305

Whilst, according to a Chinese newspaper in 1891, "there were over two thousand expectant military officials in Nanking alone, all offices were filled, and these expectants have scarcely any hope of obtaining one. A monthly examination in rifle-shooting, with rewards for skilful marksmen, is the only means to afford them a precarious livelihood. On the arrival of the new Viceroy Liu, the yamen was daily crowded by those, who had formerly fought against the Taipings, petitioning for some office or commission."

About fourteen thousand Bachelors are added to the list every year. There are probably close on seven hundred thousand Chinese graduates now living. It is the expectants of office, who are one of China's greatest dangers, men embittered by feeling that they have themselves been unjustly passed over, who have never been given opportunity to show what they could do, and who are incapable of doing what alone lies before them; although in the west of China we have come across one man who had taken a high degree keeping a wayside inn in a very lonely place, believed by our coolies, as it happens, to be the resort of robbers.

Yet notwithstanding all this the desire to learn and the honour for learning seem almost to overtop the desire for money in a Chinaman's breast, and it is difficult to see that there is not some special significance in the curious fact, in regard to the worship of Confucius, that he was once worshipped as a duke, at another time as a prince, then as an emperor, after which his rank was, what we should call, lowered, and 306 he was honoured as "the most wise ancestral teacher Confucius."

Confucius is still their master in preference to Laotze, whom Confucius himself compared to a dragon, and whose writings are so spiritual as to approach closer to the Gospel of St. John than anything else. Both write about "The Way," or, as Laotze calls it, Tao, on which word alone whole volumes have been written. Yet I see, in a note made at the time of a visit, I wrote: "A party of young Chinese called to-day, all ready for their degrees, preparing for the mandarinate, and in the meantime schwa-ing for a few days in a neighbouring guild garden. They had seen the newly arrived Japanese consular officials. One of them said he had read the Tao-teh-ching, Laotze's great book, and praised it as very beautiful. But the nearest they got to a sensible remark was: 'We do not like our women to walk about. Do women with you study equally with men? With us very few can read. I think it is a good thing they should study.' This last clause, though, said timorously, rather more as a feeler than as a decided expression of the speaker's convictions. They went away with some copies of Pastor Kranz's admirable pamphlet against footbinding, which they at once looked into, and pronounced very good. But it was curious to notice how eager they were to learn who the writer was."


And now how can one dismiss the literati without a remark upon Chinese dress? Louis le Comte, Jesuit and Confessor to the Duchess of Burgundy, makes 309 such quaint comments upon it in his letters, written in 1687, I prefer to quote from them; for although they are steadily shortening their jackets and narrowing their sleeves, thus approximating more and more to the European style, the Chinese, having once thought out the best style of dress for their habits and climate, adhere to it still. Father le Comte, writing of their caps, says: "They add also a great flake of red silk, which, hanging irregularly, gives a particularly pleasing grace as the head moves." I have never quite seen it in this way, but, thanks to the good Father, I hope to notice this "pleasing grace" when I return to China. "In riding they wear a sort of long hair, dyed of a brisk shining red, which rain will not deface. It grows white upon the legs of cows in Szechuan, and, receiving this tincture, is dearer than the finest silk." This must evidently be off Tibetan yaks' legs, and is very familiar to me, and also I think very effective. "In summer their neck appears bare, and is no good sight." I quite agree with the Father here; in fact, the more a Chinaman's person is covered up the better, I always think. Their brocades and furs are a "very good sight." "They wear boots always; and when any person visits them, if they have not their boots on, they will make them wait till they go and fetch them." But this probably is rather true of officials than of literati.

In conclusion, I must say I like the young literati of China. They seem to me very much like the young men of other nations, except that they are 310 more easily amused, and amuse me less. I am told they hate foreigners and are very dissipated. It may be so, but they seem to me very good-humoured and easy-going. They love fine clothes, and are sometimes very smartly dressed; and they are on the whole cleaner and somewhat nicer in their ways than the rest of the community. The hope of China, I think, is in the young literati. But I can quite understand that they do not show their best side to missionaries, any more than rather arrogant young agnostics, fresh from the learning of the schools, would to hard-working Evangelical curates, if such curates exist still in England. I have no doubt, however, they are not really quite as nice as they seem to be. Perhaps, however, that is true of all young men.

Note.—Those who wish to see an enlightened Chinaman's views on education may like to refer to Prince Kung's Memorial on the following page. 311


Your Majesty's servant and other Ministers of the Council for Foreign Affairs on their knees present this memorial in regard to regulations for teaching Astronomy and the selection of students.

The sciences being indispensable to the understanding of machinery and the manufacture of firearms, we have resolved on erecting for this purpose a special department in the Tung-wen College, to which scholars of a high grade may be admitted, and in which men from the West shall be invited to give instruction.

The scheme having met with your Majesty's approval, we beg to state that it did not originate in a fondness for novelties, or in admiration for the abstract subtleties of Western science, but solely from the consideration that the mechanical arts of the West all have their source in the science of Mathematics. Now, if the Chinese Government desires to introduce the building of steamers and construction of machinery, and yet declines to borrow instruction from the men of the West, there is danger lest, following our own ideas, we should squander funds to no purpose.

We have weighed the matter maturely before laying it before the Throne. But among persons who are unacquainted with the subject there are some who will regard this matter as unimportant; some who will 312 censure us as wrong in abandoning the methods of China for those of the West; and some who will even denounce the proposal that Chinese should submit to be instructed by people of the West as shameful in the extreme. Those who urge such objections are ignorant of the demands of the times.

In the first place it is high time that some plan should be devised for infusing new elements of strength into the government of China. Those who understand the times are of opinion that the only way of effecting this is to introduce the learning and mechanical arts of Western nations. Provincial governors, such as Tso Tsung-tang and Li Hung-chang, are firm in this conviction, and constantly presenting it in their addresses to the Throne. The last-mentioned officer last year opened an arsenal for the manufacture of arms, and invited men and officers from the metropolitan garrison to go there for instruction; while the other established in Foochow a school for the study of foreign languages and arts, with a view to the instruction of young men in ship-building and the manufacture of engines. The urgency of such studies is, therefore, an opinion which is not confined to us, your servants.

Should it be said that the purchase of firearms and steamers has been tried, and found to be both cheap and convenient, so that we may spare ourselves the trouble and expense of home production, we reply that it is not merely the manufacture of arms and the construction of ships that China needs to learn. But in respect to these two objects, which is the wiser course, in view of the future—to content ourselves with purchase, and leave the source of supply in the 313 hands of others, or to render ourselves independent by making ourselves masters of their arts—it is hardly necessary to inquire.

As to the imputation of abandoning the methods of China, is it not altogether a fictitious charge? For, on inquiry, it will be found that Western science had its root in the astronomy of China, which Western scholars confess themselves to have derived from Eastern lands. They have minds adapted to reasoning and abstruse study, so that they were able to deduce from it new arts which shed a lustre on those nations; but, in reality, the original belonged to China, and Europeans learned it from us. If, therefore, we apply ourselves to those studies, our future progress will be built on our own foundation. Having the root in our possession, we shall not need to look to others for assistance, an advantage which it is impossible to over-estimate.

As to the value to be set on the science of the West, your illustrious ancestor, Kang Hsi, gave it his hearty approbation, promoting its teachers to offices of conspicuous dignity, and employing them to prepare the Imperial calendar; thus setting an example of liberality equalled only by the vastness of his all-comprehending wisdom. Our dynasty ought not to forget its own precedents, especially in relation to a matter which occupied the first place among the studies of the ancients.

In olden times yeomen and common soldiers were all acquainted with Astronomy; but in later ages an interdict was put upon it, and those who cultivated this branch of science became few. In the reign of 314 Kang Hsi the prohibition was removed, and astronomical science once more began to flourish. Mathematics were studied together with the classics, the evidence of which we find in the published works of several schools. A proverb says, "A thing unknown is a scholar's shame." Now, when a man of letters, on stepping from his door, raises his eyes to the stars, and is unable to tell what they are, is not this enough to make him blush? Even if no schools were established, the educated ought to apply themselves to such studies. How much more so when a goal is proposed for them to aim at?

As to the allegation that it is a shame to learn from the people of the West, this is the absurdest charge of all. For, under the whole heaven, the deepest disgrace is that of being content to lag in the rear of others. For some tens of years the nations of the West have applied themselves to the study of steam navigation, each imitating the others, and daily producing some new improvement. Recently, too, the Government of Japan has sent men to England for the purpose of acquiring the language and science of Great Britain. This was with a view to the building of steamers, and it will not be many years before they succeed.

Of the jealous rivalry among the nations of the Western Ocean it is unnecessary to speak; but when so small a country as Japan is putting forth all its energies, if China alone continues to tread indolently in the beaten track, without a single effort in the way of improvement, what can be more disgraceful than this? Now, not to be ashamed of our inferiority, but 315 when a measure is proposed by which we may equal or even surpass our neighbours, to object to the shame of learning from them, and for ever refusing to learn, to be content with our inferiority—is not such meanness of spirit itself an indelible reproach?

If it be said that machinery belongs to artisans, and that scholars should not condescend to such employments, in answer to this we have a word to say. Why is it that the book in the Chao-li, on the structure of chariots, has for some thousands of years been a recognised text-book in all the schools? Is it not because, while mechanics do the work, scholars understand the principles? When principles are understood, their application can be extended. The object which we propose for study to-day is the principles of things. To invite educated men to enlarge the sphere of their knowledge by investigating the laws of nature is a very different thing from compelling them to take hold of the tools of the working man. What other point of doubt is left for us to clear up?

In conclusion we would say that the object of study is utility, and its value must be judged by its adaptation to the wants of the times. Outsiders may vent their doubts and criticisms, but this measure is one that calls for decisive action. Your servants have considered it maturely. As the enterprise is a new one, its principles ought to be carefully examined. To stimulate candidates to enter in earnest on the proposed curriculum, they ought to have a liberal allowance from the public treasury to defray their current expenses, and have the door of promotion set wide open before them. We have accordingly agreed on six regulations, which 316 we herewith submit to the eye of your Majesty, and wait reverently for the Imperial sanction.

We are of opinion that the junior members of the Hanlin Institute, being men of superior attainments, while their duties are not onerous, if they were appointed to study Astronomy and Mathematics, would find those sciences an easy acquisition. With regard to scholars of the second and third grades, as also mandarins of the lower ranks, we request your Majesty to open the portals and admit them to be examined as candidates, that we may have a larger number from whom to select men of ability for the public service.

Laying this memorial before the Throne, we beseech the Empresses-Regent and the Emperor to cast on it their sacred glance, and to give us their instructions. 317


Tseng Kuo Fan.—"Neither envious nor fawning."—Repose of Manner.—Cultivation of Land.—Early Rising, Diligence in Business, and Perseverance.—Dignity.—Family Worship.—Reading.

Some extracts from a Chinese father's letters to his son will probably do more to explain what is thought admirable in a Chinese young man than pages of commentary. The son in this case was the late Marquis Tseng, during many years Chinese Minister in London. The writer was his father, the celebrated Tseng Kuo Fan, in whose honour a temple has been put up at Wuchang opposite Hankow. Grandson of a Hunan farmer, son of a humble scholar, this Chinese Chesterfield passed his first examination at twenty-one; and continuing steadily to pass examinations, he was a Hanlin student at twenty-eight, Chief Examiner for the Province of Szechuan at thirty-two, Deputy-Supervisor of Instruction in Peking, and nominally in charge of the education of the future Emperor at thirty-four. During the Taiping rebellion he had to become a General; and it was during all the troubles of this rebellion his letters were written. It was his devoted brother, then a Viceroy, who published the Life and 318 Writings of Tseng Kuo Fan. The latter, just as his son was becoming a man, wrote to him as follows:

"From my earliest years I have been a student of the ancient sages. Among their thousand words and myriad sayings there is no sentence more striking or suggestive than the little phrase of four characters, pu chi, pu ch`in (neither envious nor fawning). Chi means to be envious of the virtuous, and malignant towards the influential. The fact that any one lacks the spirit or the ambition to walk in the path of rectitude is no reason why he should be afraid of the success of others. Ch`in means that you will sink all to gain name and wealth, and then be in a constant state of unrest lest these treasures should be lost. Such a disposition as either the former or the latter is the characteristic of the 'small man.' As Viceroy of Chihli I constantly see men of equal rank and abilities manifesting a spirit of envy, animated only by the spirit of self-seeking and suspicion. If you desire to secure happiness in this life, you must get rid of the spirit of envy. If you desire to act properly and set a good example, you must abhor the character of the sycophant. The one leads to the other's injury, and the other is the spirit of the robber. I dare not affirm that I have swept my heart of these two evils; but I wish, nevertheless, to warn you and your brothers of these deformities."

Here is a characteristic bit of Chinese advice:

"With regard to your walking, I observe that your manner is too animated. Are you more quiet now? Your utterance is also far too rapid for clearness of 321 pronunciation. You should cultivate more repose of manner. Are you improving in these two respects? These two cautions you are to keep constantly in mind, and see if you cannot make a change for the better."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

One has constantly to remind oneself in China that the stolidity one sees around one is assumed in accordance with etiquette, and that in reality far more emotion is felt than shown in a land where only street arabs dare to be altogether natural and smile when they see one.

In all the throes of the revolution the busy statesman yet had time to think, like Mr. Gladstone, of la petite culture:

"I think it would be well for you to select several plots of land, and devote them exclusively to the raising of vegetables. At our cantonments I have turned many of our braves into gardeners. The land has been laid out in beds thirty feet by five, separated by paths and little water-ways, so that the vegetables should not be drowned after heavy rains. In the province of Szechuan I first saw gardening of this kind. The processes of irrigation are there carried to great perfection; and they seem certainly to have caught the ideas and practice of the ancients. In our region of the country very little land is set aside for the cultivation of vegetables. I wish my family to set the precedent of taking seemingly sterile tracts of mountainous land or wet, marshy places, and making them useful in raising fruit and vegetables. Though the cultivation of tea may yield greater profit in some of the valleys, yet I 322 am convinced if my scheme is carried out no one need complain of poverty in all that region. All that is needed is to be judicious and persevering."

But his letter on hearing of his son's marriage is more striking. It will be observed there is no comment on either the looks or character of the new bride, no hope ever expressed that she may be such as to conduce to his son's happiness. Any such idea would be strange to a Chinaman:

"Your letter containing an account of your marriage has been duly received. It will be a great pleasure to your mother to have a daughter-in-law. I am also greatly rejoiced that the affair is so happily ended. Now that your household is established, it behoves you to follow the example of successful men in regulating your domestic affairs. One habit to be especially cultivated is that of early rising. In summer and winter alike in our family our ancestors were never in bed after four o'clock in the morning. My great-grandfather, Ching Hsi-kung, and grandfather, Hsing Kang-kung, usually arose before daylight in all seasons of the year. My father, Chu T`ing-kung, if he had any important business on hand, would often rise once or twice during the night, and begin operations often before dawn. You yourself can bear witness to that fact. I trust that these family habits, which have been conserved with such good effects these many generations, will not be discontinued. You should set an example of early rising, diligence in business, and perseverance before your wife, and thus 323 lead her to cultivate the same virtues. Here, as in all things, practice makes perfect. As to myself, I have found that when I lacked in perseverance nothing was completed, and character as well as business suffered. This I consider disgraceful in the extreme. Afterwards, when appointed to military command, I made up my mind to execute my sovereign's will to the best of my abilities. However, even in this good purpose I regret that I have so often lagged, much to my shame and discomfiture.

"I observe with respect to your general deportment that you are too frivolous by far. This is a most grievous defect. If there is one virtue more than another which our ancestors emulated, it was that of dignity. In everything it is proper that one observe a decorous and dignified behaviour.

"These three admonitions, then, you are to keep constantly in mind—namely, early rising, perseverance, and decorum. Thus you will preserve the traditions of the family, establish your own character, and that of your household. Lack of perseverance is my crowning defect, as levity is yours. By diligence in the correction of these blemishes, we shall sustain the habits and traditions of our ancestors, cover up my past deficiencies, and complete your own character, which is my highest desire for you. By thus setting an example before your younger brother, you will do more to bring good fortune to the family than in any other way.

"In view of the removal of your uncle to another 324 place, you are now in the responsible position of head of the family. Our ancestor, Hsing Kang, was very particular in the management of his family. There were four things which he insisted upon as of prime importance—namely, early rising, cleanliness, the continuance of the practice of ancestral worship, and, fourthly, wisdom in intercourse with our relatives and neighbours. If they are in trouble, you are always to be ready to lend assistance, and also to rejoice with them in their joy. If they are estranged, you are to act the part of peacemaker. In sickness you are to manifest sympathetic interest, and at funerals you are to offer condolences. These four things, together with your studies and the cultivation of the garden, are to be kept constantly before your mind, and diligently observed. If because of your studies you cannot attend to these various duties, you are still to keep a general oversight, and be well informed as to what is going on.

"With reference to family worship, your mother is to be specially careful to reserve the best utensils in the house for that purpose; also the best of the food and drink are to be used. No family can expect long continuance of prosperity or life which neglects these important particulars."

It should be borne in mind this is the letter of a follower of Confucius and a member of China's most learned Hanlin College; yet he does not treat family worship and the utensils to be used for it as otherwise than "most important." 325

It might be a busy London lawyer writing this advice to his son on study:

"The present will be a good time for you to read extensively in miscellaneous literature, and add to your general information on all subjects. It is most difficult in this busy and confused world to get time for quiet study and meditation. When the opportunity is given you, you should by no means allow it to pass unheeded. On the 16th of next month I expect to start from Nanking on a tour of inspection up and down the river, and may not return till the end of the month. It will give me the greatest pleasure to hear of your perseverance in study, and I trust you will continuously put forth your powers in the line of intellectual advancement."

After noticing the simplicity of spirit and careful attention to details in these letters, it is touching to read this later one:

"To my Son Chi-tse,—

"For successive years I have had my memorials to the Throne copied and filed away. I am now selecting the more important ones to be carefully copied for your use. Together with my letters I trust you will have them carefully deposited at home, so that they can be handed down from generation to generation of our descendants. But the letters to you and your brothers especially are on no account to be cut in boards or printed for the perusal of others. Very few of these letters or memorials are worthy of public notice. The series of essays and poems which I have written after 326 the style of the ancient worthies, and collected in a volume entitled Li T`uan Chai, has been copied, and can be given to others for inspection. It will soon be printed, and disposed of for general circulation. But the letters, memorials, and essays outside of that volume are to be sacredly preserved. Some of these were written when I was a young man, and my style was unformed. Their publication would bring no glory to the family. If any of our friends should crave their perusal, you will in courteous language decline to allow them to be seen."

His directions were disregarded, or we should not have these letters. There is a whole book full of them; but these few extracts will give some insight into the nature of a very exemplary Chinese father's admonitions, perhaps even more from what he leaves out than from what he says. The son thus carefully trained seems in every way to have done credit to his father. One of his sons, again a lad of singular charm and great promise, died early; another seems more pleasant than distinguished. His nephew and adopted son is one of the prominent, though possibly not leading, members of the party of progress in Shanghai. 327


Monastery near Ichang.—For the Dead.—Near Ningpo.—Buddhist Service—T`ien Dong.—Omi Temples.—Sai King Shan.—Monastery of the Particoloured Cliff.

The country round Ichang has always some special beauty, and in autumn it is the tints, shown to especial advantage on the tallow-trees. But one day we gathered by the wayside lovely anemones, still lingering on in sheltered spots; large gentians, with their edges picked out into delicate feathery streamers such as one finds in picotees, the little yellow originator of all the garden chrysanthemums; China asters; China daisies; the cunningly placed red berries of the spindle-tree; and branches crowded with the fairylike red berries of the Chinese hawthorn. And yet we were in the weird, arid, conglomerate region, where, as the botanist of the party said, no flower would dream of growing that could grow anywhere else. The Cherokee roses were no longer in bloom. Are these innocent, white, large roses at the bottom of the American horror of Chinese immigration? It may be remembered that, originating from China, they spread over America with such rapidity that it was assumed they must be of 328 native origin, and from their aggressive nature they were given the name, by which they are still known, of Cherokee.

We made our way to my first monastery, so conspicuous an object to every visitor to these regions, planted on a rocky spur of about fifteen hundred feet high, that not only overhangs precipitously the country beneath, but is separated by a chasm of some one thousand feet from the adjoining hills. Crossing this chasm on a rock bridge about three feet wide, and, as usual in China, railless, required more nerve than one of our party possessed, and the subsequent climb was more trying still up the steps cut out of the steep rock on to the Buddhist temple, that appropriately crowns the whole summit, and which, were it in any more accessible region, would have been "photographed like this and photographed like that," like any professional beauty. As it was, I had never seen a picture of it, and was quite eager to take my camera to photograph the mountain-top, as also the massive wall of conglomerate rock that builds up the col one has to climb in ascending, and from which one obtains one of those extraordinary desolate views characteristic of conglomerate country—a valley ending in an abrupt gully with dry waterbed, and dry waterfalls down precipices marked with pudding-holes, all scoring parallel horizontal lines across their stern surfaces. We came across brecciated conglomerate in which there were some bits of most exquisite glistening marble, and in which we again noticed the peculiarity, that at every fracture it was the 329 marble and stones, of which it was formed, that were cleft through the middle, as evidently more breakable than the apparently soft-looking red cement that bound them together.

The way up was beautiful. We passed by picturesque farmsteads nestling in hollows, elegant shrines, and the grove the Reeves' pheasants particularly love. It is of pendulous cypress, called funebris, but suggesting anything but funereal associations by its pleasing grace. Palm-trees grew on the hillside, also bamboo, cunninghamia, ilex, and beautiful soap-trees, with the great long pods from which the soap is made, and tree-like thorns projecting from their stems, such as must effectually baffle any monkey-climbers. In four examples we saw these thorn branches had again other thorns projecting from them. The path is an easy one, carefully laid out by the priests for the convenience of pilgrims; and although there must be over five hundred steps, they do not come all together; so that few climbs of equal height can be so easily managed as that to the monastery of Yuen Ti Kuan, whose site, if paralleled, could hardly be surpassed. It is like that of some wild eyrie on which an eagle might be expected to build its nest, but where we should hardly expect practical, prosaic (so called) Chinamen to build a place of worship, simply to give themselves the further additional trouble of climbing so high. It seems that after all the Chinese have a religion of their own, which they deem holy, though it is often convenient to ignore this. There are 330 many Shansi men in these parts, and one of our fellow-travellers, a man from Shansi, being asked why this was, when his province used formerly to be the granary of the empire, replied at once, "The hearts of the people have become corrupted."

As we came back, there were about four miles of little lanterns floating down the great river, sped in honour of the dead by a rich Chinese in mourning for his parents. Talleyrand's somewhat brutal "Il faut oublier les morts, et s'occuper des vivants" often recurs to me in China, where there are more grave-mounds round the city than living men inside it. The very handsome old Italian Bishop used to hate these grave-mounds, which he said oppressed him the more the longer he looked at them, and among which, alas! he was doomed to live and die.

It was near Ningpo I first assisted at a Chinese Buddhist service. We had been straying over hills pink and red and orange and mauve with azaleas in their full delicate bloom and perfect beauty. The most exquisite bush of pink azaleas hung over the great waterfall there, and caught some of the spray upon its blossoms, as the stream turned over the edge for its first leap, the flowers constantly wavering with the breeze the rushing waters brought. Wandering by lovely Windermere's side in the English Lake District, I had read Miss Gordon Cumming's description of hillsides striped and banded in colour with azaleas, and thought some day I too must see them. The seasons had rolled round but twice, and now here was I already 333 tired of pink azaleas, which I decided looked too smart on a mountain-side, and preferring the big orange flowers or the deep red, or revelling in the long clusters of sweet-scented wistaria, that hung about like lovely ringlets; looking with exultation at osmundias curving their opening fronds with the full vigour and health imparted to them by the spring, and delighting in the clumps of feathery bamboos, golden stemmed old friends of my childhood; yet admiring almost equally Cunninghamia sinensis on its native heath. We plant little saplings of this last in our gardens, and boast with them even then. Here they were tall and vigorous, and everywhere giving an Oriental character to the ferns and the azaleas, the bamboos and fan-palms.


Then the rich, sweet tones of the Buddhist bell summoned us, and we slept, as it were prisoned, within the dark precincts of the monastery, not even through latticed windows catching any glimpse of outside glories, till solemn sounds roused me in the early dawning, and I stole in at the back of the dark temple, and could hardly believe I was not in one of the Portuguese churches of my childhood. There knelt the priests, with close-shaven heads, and long cloaks broached across the left breast, leaving the right arm bare, and formed of little oblong bits of old gold or ashen grey linen, neatly stitched together, thus symbolising at some expenditure of pains the poverty of rags. They prostrated themselves three times, touching their foreheads to the ground—before the altar, was it not? They bowed and knelt before the altar! They elevated 334 the Host, or at least a cup, one ringing a bell meanwhile, the others prostrate in adoration. Could the resemblance be more perfect? They chanted a monotonous chant—it sounded to me just like a Gregorian—and after many bowings and prostrations and beatings of a dull wooden gong in the form of a skull, processioned round and round before the altar, bowing as they passed, each a rosary at his side, and solemnly chanting. There seemed to be no doubt about the words; I heard them quite distinctly: "Domine, ora pro nobis, ora, ora." Then "Gloria! gloria!" swelled out. And meanwhile, though passing me at intervals so closely I almost felt the frou-frou of their robes, not a priest there seemed to perceive my presence, but all went by with eyes on the ground, fingers and palms close pressed together. A strange feeling came over me, as if I were dreaming. Had the azaleas intoxicated me? Was I in far-away Madeira of my childhood? Were those not Portuguese Roman Catholic priests, not Chinese Buddhists? Were they praying really? To our Father in heaven? Or are there more gods than one? If not, they were worshipping, and I was not. And had this worship gone on after this fashion for thousands of years, before even Christ walked the earth, and lived and died for man? I knelt in prayer behind the Buddhist priests. And then I saw the figure of the Virgin with the Holy Child upon her knee. They call her Kwanyin (Goddess of Mercy).

From Picture by Chinese Artist.

Outside the door stood two beautiful Salisburia adiantifolia, the sacred tree of the Japanese. The 335 breeze rustled through their graceful leaves, resembling the lobes of the maidenhair, and I felt that they could tell me all about it, if they pleased, for they had grown 336 up amongst it. The blue sky overhead tells no tales, and the azaleas were of yesterday. Then a young priest came up to question me, and to ask me if I could say "Omito Fo." "Blessed is Buddha" I took it to mean; and assuredly he must be blessed, if ever man were, for the good that he has done for his kind. But since then I hear that learned men attribute various meanings to the phrase, and their meanings I do not understand. Nor, I am sure, would those priests. They did not look so very clever. I meant what they meant. "Our temple wants new tiles, Omito Fo." "We are very poor, Omito Fo." Praise God Barebones meant the same, I fancy, by his "Praise God." "But Buddha was a man," I hear some one say. Well! then go to Tibet, and tell me what the uninstructed but beautiful Tibetan means, as he walks along the street murmuring, "Om Mani Padmi Hum." "The Jewel is in the Lotus?" What does he mean by saying it, wise man? I do not ask what you think the words may originally have signified or symbolised. Is it not now simply a "Praise the Lord of Life"?

The next monastery we visited was the stately T`ien Dong. Avenues of magnificent trees led up to squares with giant trees enclosing them, terraces, and ponds covered with the sacred lotus. The entrance and approach prepared one for more than man could ever realise inside. The Parthenon would have looked small and the Pantheon empty after that approach. As it was, I certainly did not think much of the temples, and the guest-rooms were dark. But the 337 trees behind were beautiful, and had enticing paths leading on into the wood. There was a very well-dressed Chinaman going in. He turned out to be the captain of a man-of-war. I have often pleased myself since by believing he was Captain, afterwards Admiral, Ting. He asked if we should like to be introduced to his particular friend the chief priest. Within the inner courts there was a blush-rose peony-plant covered with blossom. Before this the post-captain stood in rapt adoration. It was evident that he had really brought us to show us this, as one of the wonders of the world. The Chinese especially esteem peonies of this shade of colour. And it was indeed a lovely sight, and must have carried off the prize at any show at which it was exhibited, so carefully had it been grown, and so completely was it covered with blossom. But I had seen flowers before, never a Buddhist high-priest, nor a Chinese post-captain. The latter led us into the pleasant reception-room. On the couch sulked a mandarin we had met several times already, always wearing a scowl, and a magnificent gown of cream satin richly embossed. He scowled now, and without a feint of courtesy of any kind at once seated himself in the seat of honour. Then the chief priest came in, with nothing to indicate his grandeur beyond particularly civil manners. He had also a bustling cheeriness, which was probably all his own, not belonging to his office, as he begged us to sit at the round table, and partake of the various sweets with which it was spread. Delicious tea was brought 338 in, of a kind very costly even in China, scented with jasmine flowers. Then, having dispensed hospitalities, pointed out the peony, and generally made us welcome, the chief priest bustled away, carrying off the post-captain into some inner apartment. And a comfortable-looking Ningpo merchant, spending a few days at the temple with his family, with that geniality that seems to be a Ningpo characteristic, began to introduce the various members of his family, and generally make friends. But the cream-coated gentleman still sat and scowled. It was disagreeable; and so, though every one says one cannot, I determined to treat this scornful mandarin as if he were after all a human being. And looking round with a bow and a smile, as if I had never noticed his rudeness, I took the seat indicated to me at the table, at which he had already seated himself. After all a mandarin is human. He looked surprised of course, but smiled too; and after that we saw his scowl no more, but received a very polite bow and smile, when after a little while he in his turn went away.

Years passed, and I saw no more of monasteries till we went to Omi's sacred mountain in the far, far west of China.

At one temple, at which we tried to spend the night, we were met by point-blank refusal. The priests said their rooms were full. We might have believed them, had they risen to receive us and offered us tea. But meeting with cold incivility, we believed rather the Temple of the Elephants' Pool was too rich to be beguiled by foreign offerings into receiving heretics, as 339 we pushed on through the gathering night and rising mist up and up along a col-like knife-edge and by beautiful trees to a little temple, where they did their best to make us comfortable according to our to them most strange tastes, and then begged like beggars for some of my husband's clothes, because the young priest in charge of the temple had set his foolish fancy on trying foreign clothes, and like a child could not be turned from his point.

At the top of the mountain we spent a fortnight in the Golden Monastery. The priest whose especial duty it was to entertain strangers received us from the first with great courtesy, but he informed us that anything we ate must be eaten in the privacy of our own apartment. And as at first we had none (for we could not, till we had tried all round and failed, resign ourselves to one room giving on to the mountain-side, out of which it had been dug, and with only one window, that did not open), this resulted in our taking our first meal upon the mountain-top al fresco on the grass, the monastery, however, very kindly supplying us with hot water for our tea. Then, finding no other temple could or would receive us, we promised to take no life whilst upon the sacred mountain, and only to eat our shocking foreign food in the one room assigned to us, having it cooked in the adjoining one, given over to our two servants and eight coolies. The priests used to come in and out all day, and offer us tea and sweetmeats; but they never would even drink tea out of our cups, for fear of any 340 defilement of previous milk still clinging round them. That monastery struck us as both strict and carefully managed, the chief priest, who had the air and bearing of a saint, spending hours in solitary devotion in the temple on the verge of the great precipice.

All the temples on the mountain's top were burnt down a few years ago. But the exquisite Bronze Temple, on the edge of the precipice, to which every province in the empire contributed, has never been rebuilt after its sad destruction, beautiful fragments alone remaining; and the rough pine-wood temples round it appeared all at daggers drawn. Our Golden Temple was bringing an action against another for placing a golden pinnacle as the centre ornament of its roof, thus building up a pretext to filch from it its immemorial golden title; whilst another temple accused ours of having intentionally lit the fire that consumed it. We did not believe this of our temple, for even its boy priests were hard-working, good little boys, who knelt and burnt incense with reverence too; whilst the young priests of the adjoining temples were bold, bad youths, of ribald laughter, importunate curiosity, and great effrontery. There was, however, one temple where the priests appeared always wrapped in devotion, whenever I looked in. They had not yet begun rebuilding, perhaps were still praying for funds, as they knelt among their burnt and charred images.

There were outlying temples on distant points of vantage, each inhabited by a solitary priest. One had long attracted us by its exquisite neatness, and the propriety 341 and cleanliness of its arrangements. Its occupant was away on a pilgrimage, but he returned before we left the mountain, and we were not surprised to find him a young man of great gravity and much courtesy. We had already studied his kitchen, with its kettle hanging from the rafters by a chain and a jointed stick; also observed his closet-bed, which, in accordance with the stricter rule, was but a wooden seat, so that neither day nor night could he lie down. We now saw how carefully washed were the feet in his straw sandals; also what superior straw sandals he had brought up to sell to pilgrims who had worn out theirs; and how particular he was to make no profit upon the transaction, when we bought a pair, and inadvertently slightly overpaid for them. But our acquaintance was not long or intimate enough to arrive at anything of the spiritual life beneath that exterior propriety. He it was who told us there was a way down the back of the mountain into the Wilderness, where the wild cattle roam, and that, though bad, he could not say other than that it was possible, seeing he had just passed along it—this though he could see our coolies' imploring gestures, and hear their rather audibly muttered curses. They had every one of them sworn there was no path. But there was, and the young hermit could not say otherwise. We often thought of him, as we all fell headlong going down that path, that certainly did exist, and enabled us to proceed to our next sacred mountain without descending into the burning, cholera-stricken country. 342

There were only three priests at the temple on the Sai King Shan. One was old and useless; one was shivering with ague, which seemed strangely out of place on the mountain; but we did not learn how long he had been there—only relieved him with quinine. And the whole work and administration seemed to be carried on by the young priest, who had led us up the mountain, and who by various begging excursions had amassed enough money to buy it for four hundred gold dollars, so as to save it from the havoc of the wood-cutters, who had for years past been cutting down all the trees. This young priest took care of the potatoes, collected the mushrooms that made such an exquisite symphony in cream and brown when spread out in the sunshine to dry, and did everything, it seemed, that was done. But we could not find out that religious services were among the number. It was the aged priest who lit sticks of incense before the images in the morning.

Since then, however, we have stayed in a monastery with which his and the Golden Temple on Omi both are associated. The Monastery of the Particoloured Cliff is only about fifteen miles from Chungking. The entrance is at once striking, from the perspective of the carefully planted shrubs, the flights of steps, the carvings, and careful adjusting of the path, with sudden corners, so that it never leads straight onward, admitting free access to evil spirits. This is a prevalent Chinese superstition, leading to the almost universal practice of placing screens across their entrances either within or 343 without. It is a part of their Fung shui, their wind and water religion.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Much etiquette was observed in the method of our admission into Hoa Ngai. We brought gifts, as we were told was the usage. And polite monks received us, and bade us wait first in one reception-room, then in another, whilst higher and higher dignitaries were brought to parley with us. Finally we were conducted 344 through a long outlying wing, the strangers' quarter, and led through one or two bedrooms, all full of beds, carefully curtained, and each bed with rolls of most comfortable-looking wadded quilts, evidently quite new and fresh, from the brightness of their scarlet colour—a gift from some recent wealthy guest, we were informed. The floors were clean; everything was in order—no dust anywhere; and the attendants at once swift and quiet in making all those last final arrangements, that must be deferred till the arrival of guests. But best of all was the view from the window—the peaceful sunset framed in a setting of trees, the chastened lights and shadows, with the fresh country air coming in so clean and pure through the open window. But one must have lived in a Chinese city to appreciate that as we did. The priests came to and fro to inquire if we were content. Only after some time did they signify that by their rules I must not share that room with the wide-open window and the peaceful outlook, but retire to the women's quarter, all along the long corridor again, down an outside staircase, along the corridor below, then through a great door with many bolts into one bedroom leading on into another, both full of beds, but otherwise untenanted, and as clean as the rooms above, only without a view, and with the dank smell of the earth outside, instead of the fresh country air. Presently we were asked to take tea with the priests—tea and many sweets. A few priests were told off each day to prepare special food for the guests—generally, of course, pious 345 pilgrims, come to pray. There were over fifty priests in all, and we saw the orders for the day hung up on the wall, as if for a regiment. We also saw all the others sitting at their severely simple meal, never occupying opposite sides of the same table, but always the same side of several tables; and in the midst to the back on a raised seat the chief priest, not eating with the others—he always ate apart—but sitting there whilst they ate.

In the early dawning we had been each day wakened by the call to prayers and the solemn chanting. One day I sprang out of bed, and followed the sound, which seemed to come from farther down the corridor beyond my room, out of a side temple. Only a few had assembled already, but priests continued to come in till the chapel was full. None but a few of the priest-boys paid any heed to my unaccustomed presence, excepting the chief priest, when he came in. He was an old man of over seventy, and had now sat by at our evening meal more than once, and talked with us—a great mark of condescension, we were told, only shown to honoured guests. Presently he came forward with a kindly smile, and, taking me by the two shoulders, very kindly but firmly pressed me into the place he desired me to occupy. And the next minute I saw the reason of this. For, still chanting, the monks began to procession round and round the chapel, and in and out among the seats, forming the most curious figures, and ever quicker and quicker, ever with bowed heads, and fingers and palms pressed close 346 together. The wild, simple chant rose and waned as they processioned, close on fifty Chinese Buddhist priests, moving as fast as ordinary people when they dance the Caledonians, all chanting and not looking up. At last I felt as if I could bear no more. It may have been the early hour, the strange chant, the quick moving to and fro. Anyhow, I tried to go to my husband's room, and fell insensible on the stone passage just as I reached the top of his staircase. I recovered consciousness in an agony as to what Buddhist priests might think suitable treatment for a fainting lady, if they any of them found me there; and that gave me strength to drag myself along to my husband's room. They were chanting still, the sweet, wild music of the chant softened by distance now, or I might have thought it was all a dream, as I looked out upon the gentle hills and sky framed in their setting of trees, and breathed the fresh country air again.

They were very strict in that monastery; they would not hear of our cooking anything for ourselves in our own room, beyond boiling water for tea; but their vegetarian diet quite satisfied all our wants. There was some sort of chanting all day in the principal temple—a droning kind of chanting, from certain priests told off for the purpose. We often looked in; for, uncommon enough, the central image was beautiful, with a certain grave serenity. It was very ancient, they told us. And we believed this. For the images of to-day are made for money, and lack the air of sanctity. This image recalled Byzantine pictures in 347 Russian churches—very set, very firm, yet withal so kind, and above all so holy.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

But the really ancient temple was under the over-hanging cliff, from which the whole place is named, with the water from that cliff dripping over it, and making the steps by which one ascends so slippery one had to walk warily. There the images were of the true Indian type, with supple, graceful figures, erect carriage, sloping shoulders, and small waists, all as unlike the Chinese figure as possible. But perhaps the 348 figure of Puhsien differed from the Chinese type as much as anything by the seraphic smile, that seemed to illumine even the dark cavern in which it was shrined. Afterwards we saw Indian divinities, with low-necked dresses and bare arms, an abomination in China, carved on a headland of the Ya, by their Indian type showing their great antiquity. Close by was the place where the priests, when dead, are cremated. It seemed to have been recently rebuilt. We also visited the chief priest's grave, solemn by reason of its surrounding trees rather than from its architectural adornments. But the most striking feature of the whole place was its exquisite cleanliness and propriety, and the perfect order in all the land around, that belonged to the monastery, and that might have been a model farm, so carefully was it weeded and watered and tended. The chief priest, as far as we could ascertain, was elected for three years only, and our chief priest's time was nearly drawing to an end; but before it did so he would have the yearly ordination.

The monastery was exquisitely situated, partly on a little knoll, partly on the more sloping side of the hill. It and its outbuildings must have covered about six or seven acres. And the sound of worship seemed never silent there. But it was when we considered how great must be the force religion brought to bear, before out of such a slatternly, untidy, filth-loving race as the Chinese it produced this spotless, orderly, exemplary establishment, that we were perhaps most impressed. And as we sat within those peaceful 349 precincts, listening to the rich, deep sounds of Buddhist bells, so far more musical than those of Europe, with the hum of chanting penetrating to us, softened by distance, and realised that this ancient worship dated from ages ago, having been only reformed by Gautama—that prince who gave up his father's throne, and the love of father, wife, and child, to spend and be spent for the people—it was impossible for us to believe that for all those centuries God had left these people, trying after it, without a way to approach Him, or that this long-continued worship could be altogether unpleasing to the Most High.

"The old faiths, grown more wide,

Purer, and glorified,

Are still our lifelong guide."



Crowd.—Nuns.—Final Shaving.—Woven Paces.—Burning Heads.—Relationships.—A Living Picture.

I have attended an ordination in St. John Lateran's at Rome, of which my principal recollection is how the Italian young men wriggled as they all lay flat upon the marble floor whilst something was sung over them. Was it a Te Deum? It certainly was very long. The whole service, indeed, seemed very long drawn out. I have also a remembrance of nearly fainting from weariness at an ordination in Exeter Cathedral; and can still recall the thrill of awestruck admiration with which I regarded the reader of the gospel on that occasion, who, as I understood, had passed first, and who yet was overcome by emotion, so far was he from esteeming himself worthy of this honour, in thinking of the work that lay before him. Certainly, long though the proceedings were—and they must have been very long if they seemed so to me, for in those days I was an enthusiast about cathedral services—yet never for a second did reverence of the highest quality cease to brood over all the scene. Thus, when invited by the abbot 351 himself to assist at an ordination in one of the strictest of Chinese monasteries, there was some element of wonder mixed with the fortitude with which I prepared for a barbarous burning rite, and soupe maigre to see it on. Nor was that flask of whisky forgotten that is such a support to the traveller, remaining always full under all emergencies because never wanted. It was not in this case. But as the only European, whose account of such a ceremony I had heard, reported two or three monks carried away fainting, and a general odour of burning flesh, I thought it might be.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

The large beautifully situated monastery was already full when I arrived; and my husband, who had transmitted the abbot's invitation, and himself had been there two days, informed me his was the only bed with one man in it. "They sleep head and feet," he said, as if this added to the comfort of it. "I can't think where they will put you. They are very, very full; and they are playing cards or smoking opium all the time in my room. But they are very polite,—some one is 352 always 'keeping me company.' I cannot read a word." Indeed, he wore the dazed air of being too much kept company with. At the head of a flight of steps, at the entrance to the women's quarter, a dark den with two beds was, however, found for me; and though several ladies most obligingly offered to occupy the other bed, and "keep me company" all night, I retained undisturbed possession of the two, whenever the door was barred. When it was not, people "kept me company" (pei); ladies, priests, young men friends, and young men who were not friends, but might become such, all crowded in together with some young monks, whose behaviour somewhat surprised me.

Attending meals of an abundant, yet meagre, description with the other ladies, and returning the ladies' calls, I was again and again surprised by the easy behaviour of these young monks, who were apparently especially taken by my gloves, and would feel my hand gloved and feel my hand ungloved, and generally hang around. One seemed very well brought up, and began every sentence with "Omito!" generally finishing it in that way too, and accompanying every remark by a set little bow. We thought perhaps he was a lad—a child—and my husband positively screamed when, on being asked his age, he answered twenty-six. "Did you ever see a young man of twenty-six with such an innocent countenance?" he asked. "Well, I don't know," I said evasively, "I suppose it is all right; but I may as well tell you that never in all my life have I had my hand squeezed as since I came into this 353 monastery. They all do it, every one of them; so I suppose it means nothing." I hastened to add, "But they are in all the ladies' rooms too." "What! in the Chinese ladies' too?" "Yes!" I persisted. "Oh, well, well!" We resigned ourselves to the ways of the country. It was not till two days later the truth dawned upon us that this innocent-faced young man, and some others, who were older and could hardly be described in that way, were nuns, guests like ourselves, and that there were besides sixteen young women going to be made nuns, together with the fifty-two young men who were going to be made priests. We were so glad we found out.

All the day through there were invitations to tea and sugar-plums with the abbot and past abbots (each only rules for three years, and then retires into a picturesque suite of rooms and garden to himself), and all the while again and again sounds of gongs and drums and chanting, and peeps at strange novices, young people with shaven heads, clad in "Liberty-tinted" gowns—dull red, ruddy brown, old gold, cream—kneeling, or prostrating themselves quite flat, or winding in and out with pacings and slow and quick movements. On the morning of the day, after many services in the night and dawning, there was the final shaving. Then each knelt in turn, and had his head felt all over the front, and with great care, by a seated priest with immovable countenance of the Indian type, and long taper, talonlike fingers. If a hair could be felt, back to the barber! If quite smooth, little circles were traced 354 with Indian ink upon the polled pate—this was done by the eye, and often one had to be effaced and retraced; then a tiny packet was handed to the kneeling one. It was some time after this ceremony the abbot, in dull cream, with over-gown of rich red satin, like the others, all made of tiny bits sewn together to simulate rags and poverty, and passed under the right arm, but clasped over the left breast, black-hooded, and bearing in lifted hand before his face a golden jui, or sceptre, entered the large principal temple, and sat on a chair placed upon the altar, a scourge borne behind him, draped with red silk, being placed to his left, and what looked like a censer to his right. Then four priests, with many kneelings and flat prostrations, stood before the altar, seven of the novices following in like fashion, and joining the long line, seven at either end. Each carried a long piece of cloth to spread upon the floor on which to lie prostrate; and as the two lines stood facing each other before the altar, the two in the centre raised the kneeling-cloth to their eyes, and with it solemnly tso-i'd to each other; then each, turning quickly to the right, went through the same ceremony with the man he now found himself confronted with; and so all along the line, only the reverence growing less and less, till the last man hardly got the cloth up as high as his shoulders, for they had to be very quick. The wooden gong was being beaten faster and faster. And now the priests led off; and each set of nine, keeping to its own side of the temple, went through the quickest "woven paces" I have yet seen, curving in and round upon 355 one another, and round the huge stone monoliths that support the vast graceful temple roof, whose erection still remains a mystery, so lofty is it and so large its span, so ample its unsupported roof-curves. It was like the quickest possible follow-my-leader, so that the end of the tail came up always smiling all over, and breathlessly trying to get through the figure. Meanwhile, at the side, towards the back, another dignitary sat in state, and two novices knelt, and went flat, and came forward, and practised taking incense-sticks from the altar with fingers widely spread after a fashion that does not look easy and does look mystic. But what was the meaning of it, or the dance, no one seemed able to say.

No number of inquiries, not even a direct letter and special messenger to the monastery, had been able to elicit even the day of the great ceremony, much less the hour; but, since the evening before, we had heard of two o'clock, and at two o'clock precisely in they came. We ladies were crowding on to the few seats in one corner; the male guests, silken-clad, fur-lined, were swelling it about at the sides of the temple, the centre of which appeared already quite filled up by the priests of the monastery, and other priests and men guests, who were all greeting one another, going about, standing in groups, and generally wearing a pleased, excited appearance. Meanwhile, the populace, in serried mass, were looking in through all the many half-doors on all sides, the tops of all the doors being thrown wide open. There was music. Was 356 it the wooden gong or the drum? It was quick, near. It seemed to throb with the intense excitement pervading the building. And in twenty minutes all was over. Every one had come in, the abbot clad as before, all the novices in over-gowns clasped over the left shoulder—both over- and under-gowns of what we call art colours. All had spread out their cloths and knelt and prostrated themselves, before a priest took up his position standing behind each, and extended both hands to hold the novice's head quite steady, fingers wide dispread, so as especially to shield the eyes, all of course closed. Some adhesive mixture was applied to the Indian ink circles; then a priest, standing in front of each novice, took out of the packet previously given him nice little cones of charred sandalwood and saltpetre, and stuck them on the places indicated; and some one else set them alight; and there were sixty-eight young men and women, all kneeling, with their eyes closed, their faces turned up to heaven, and with nine little charcoal cones smouldering on each of their bare pates, whilst they prayed one and all, as it seemed, with all their hearts. For if the heart is pure, you do not suffer, is the saying. My husband says he kept his eyes fixed on the three nearest him, and never saw them wince, or blanch, or utter a sound, or move a muscle. But my place was by the nuns, and one moved, so that one of the smouldering cones fell off and into her bosom, and had to be replaced; and another did not cry out, but roared—roared like a child. Yet such was the din made by the excitingly discordant music, that when I 357 stepped but two off I could not hear a sound from her; so there may have been many others crying out also. I saw one nun press a cloth again and again to her eyes, and take it away apparently soaked by her tears; but her face was steady and upturned, and her expression was that of very earnest prayer. Meanwhile, the cones smouldered down till they just charred those marks with which we are familiar on priests' heads; then they went out, though all that day and on into the next several little unburnt lumps were still adhering to the poor consecrated heads.

We went away to tea and sugar-plums, leaving the new-made monks and nuns still praying; and when we came out, they had only adjourned to another temple to pray. At ten o'clock at night they were calling on Sergiafu (Buddha, Sakyamuni, what you will), thirty-four standing up quite straight, chanting, whilst the other thirty-four were lying prostrate, then going down in their turn whilst the others rose up and chanted. This they did at the rate of three prostrations and uprisings a minute. They are supposed to make ten thousand in the twenty days. It seemed to make me drowsy; so, having twice fallen off asleep whilst they prayed and rose and fell, I went to bed, leaving them still at it, to be thrice awakened by the gong calling to fresh prayers, and, when I arose the following morning, to find the whole set processioning from one dead abbot's grave to the other, praying at each. One of our Chinese gentleman friends we left in the temple at night. At eleven o'clock he was turning in. Then some one 358 proposed ten more rounds of cards, and they played till daybreak. It was only the week before we had been invited to the funeral feast of his grandmother, when, with the coffin in the guest-room, a light underneath it, the ladies of the family played cards all night in a bedroom opening out of the guest-room, though their eyes were dilated either from tears or want of sleep, their heads bound with white mourning-cloths of the same coarse texture as those worn by the peasant. Was it not something like this at one time in our own country at a funeral feast?

Whilst in this monastery, we discovered another mistake we had fallen into. We had long known this friend as the honourable member of a certain mandarin family, and often mused over the condition of affairs it revealed,—that we knew, as we thought, six young men of much the same age, all sons of one father, but of different mothers. We had known them for years, and had photographed the different mothers with their sons, had assisted at their weddings and their funerals, dined with them, and been dined by them, and often speculated as to the character of the dead father and the previous social status of his various wives. Now Squire No. 4 proposed to take us to a breakfast party at the country seat of Squire No. 2 in that neighbourhood, on which a stiff cross-questioning arose; and at last we discovered that the numbers indicated daughters as well as sons, and amongst what we believed to be brothers were three sets of cousins. "But we make no distinction," said our friend suavely. "And you 359 make no distinction between elder brother and younger? Strange, we do." So it goes on. Years in China only serve to show one one's mistakes.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

"Pray come back, and bring any of your friends who would like to spend a happy time here," were the parting words of the priests; whilst the nuns assured us there was going to be a much grander ceremony on the morrow, if only we would stay for it, and we must and should. But we had gone through our purgatory of intervening day and night with a certain object, which happily we had gained, and could endure no more. The lady guests had been very kind to us. They assured me they were strict vegetarians at home as well as there, and were certainly devout and greatly interested in the nuns, some coming forward to hold their heads during the ordination ceremony. Two at least, however, 360 appeared to be regular opium-smokers—they said on account of illness. But it was impossible to detect that they were in the least ashamed of smoking opium, or that any one else, nun or priest or any one, thought they had any reason to be. Yet this was a very strict monastery, where neither wine nor flesh meat was allowed. We noticed, moreover, that the abbey lands were bright with healthy-looking opium poppy-plants.

One further memory I have carried away. The temple treasures were all set out for show on tables in the men's guests' dining-hall, which looked out on to a tiny shut-in garden, the walls of which were brightened by tufts of Chinese primroses in full fragrant flower. Gowns of many rich soft tints were hanging on racks at one end, and the sun was streaming in upon embroideries and satin vestments they were showing me, when a dignitary, again of Indian type—long face, very sad dreamy eyes, and high narrow forehead—came in and arrayed himself in a gown of the most brilliant orange silk; then, black-hooded, paused by a table, and, bending slightly, referred to a large volume lying upon it. The pose, the colouring, and the lighting made one of those perfect little pictures that one treasures in memory for years; and now, when people denounce Buddhism to me, my mental eye sees once more that living picture in vivid orange and sunset-lit shadows, to which not the most consummate artist could have added one touch without injury. 361

"How strange are the freaks of memory!

The lessons of life we forget,

While a trifle, a trick of colour,

In the wonderful web is set."

There may be many lessons to be learnt from a Buddhist ordination; many deep meanings are doubtless signified by its ritual: I only attempt here to recall the colouring. 362


Luncheon with a Chief Priest.—Tigers.—Mysterious Lights.—The View of a Lifetime.—Pilgrims.—Glory of Buddha.—Unburied Priests.

It was very hot in Chungking in 1892—too hot, we feared, for us to bear, worn out as we were by the emotions and excessive heat of the river journey, entered upon too late in the summer. So, while we yet could, we secured four bearer sedan-chairs, with blue cotton awnings six yards long, after the fashion of this windless province, and, with bath-towels to bind round our heads, and sun-hats, and dark glasses, and all that following necessary for a land journey of between twenty and thirty men, were carried for a fortnight through a rich agricultural district, a region of salt wells and petroleum springs, on through the white-wax country to the foot of sacred Omi. A letter written at the time to a cousin, with whom I had two years before driven through our own lovely Lake country, and who I knew shared my delight in strange surroundings and the unexpected, will best reproduce the exhilaration consequent on emerging from the green luxuriance of semi-tropical vegetation with its steamy hothouse air. It was 363 written from our first resting-place upon the romantic mountain-side.

"Wan Nien Sze, July 26th, 1892.

"With whom do you think we have been lunching to-day? I have had tea with gold-miners in Alaska, and luncheon in a lumber camp in British Columbia, and dinner with a party of Chinese merchants in Chungking; but to-day, of all people in the world, it was with the chief priest of a Buddhist monastery on the sacred mountain of Omi! And very good the luncheon was! I really felt fed—always a matter of question when one is living upon tinned things. He did not sit down with us; but he entertained us by his conversation, and we had our own tablecloth and forks and spoons, and our own servant to wait upon us. The room was all set out with red cloths beautifully embroidered in pale blue, hanging on the front of the side-table, over the backs of the chairs, and down from the seats, on which were cool summer cushions. There were twelve courses besides the rice; and quite a number of monks and pilgrims assembled to see us eat. Our room opened into the temple, where Puhsien (gigantic) sat upon the altar on a sort of leopard. I believe some people say Puhsien was the son of Sakyamuni or of Gautama, pronounce them how we will. But the high-priest says, 'Omito Fo!' (Blessed is Fu, or Buddha!) as a greeting, and interlards all his talk with it: 'I am so glad you like your dinner, Omito!' 'We are very poor; we want two hundred thousand tiles to roof the temples, Omito!' etc., etc. 364 We found beignets of pumpkin flowers in dough perfectly delicious. But our man-servant says, 'Yes, but you put in a catty [1⅓ lb.] of flour, and you get only three ounces.'

"It was a regular charity lunch; for directly it was over the high-priest entered into further details,—how the rooms we were lodging in wanted repairing, and how everything did (which is quite true), and how we could see every one who came to worship was very poor, and the last Europeans who lodged there gave about £15, and he thought it would be so nice if we gave £25. And he brought the subscription list out, and the brush to write with; and positively would not let our Boy write down £2 10s.—twice as large a sum as I thought necessary. Then another priest begged too. They begged and begged, till I said at last, determined to interrupt them, 'There is a Tibetan image in the temple behind I do so want you to come and show me.' Then every one burst out laughing at such a very palpable attempt to change the conversation. However, our modest sum got written down, and the chief priest nearly wept. He came to show us the Tibetan image, and he seemed to find it absolutely uninteresting. It holds a little white rabbit in one hand, and a rosary with very large beads in the other, and looks as conceited as it is possible to look. But as he said it was made on the mountain and not in Tibet, we did not photograph it and him together.

"As far as we can make out, this mountain was sacred long before Buddhism; and every day crowds of 365 pilgrims come—numbers of Chinese women, with their bandaged feet wrapped up in husks of Indian corn to make it easier to walk up the steep flights of steps that lead up ten thousand feet to the top of the mountain. How they manage it, I cannot think. The saying is, 'If you are a bad man with sins unrepented, and go up the mountain, you die.' Six men are said to have thus died this year. There is a wonderful bronze Puhsien riding on a colossal bronze elephant, beautifully made, each of its feet standing on a lotus flower. This is in a temple just behind ours, with a dome, and made of bricks, both very unusual in China, and said here never to have been built, but to have come in a single night.

"But I cannot tell you how I wish to get away from all these temples. They begin to oppress me so,—all the people prostrating themselves, and then offering incense before each image in turn (and there are so many!), and lighting a candle before each. They arrive with great baskets full. And they come out of the temple with a rapt expression. And then our white long-haired terrier springs out on them, and they start so! We do not know what to do; because they call him a lion-dog (he is the Chinese idea of a lion), and seem to regard him as a semi-sacred thing. I do not want him to go into the temples at all. And the 366 thresholds are so high he cannot get over; but there is always some one who will hand him over, and then the conceited dog shakes his sides and frisks about among the worshippers. This worship has been going on for thousands of years; and yet I do not believe any one has an idea about Puhsien!

"Then there is Kwanyin over and over again, like a Byzantine Virgin and Child, with a very sweet face on this mountain, and a child on her knee. And women come and pray for children, and carry away little dolls. The more I think of it, the less I know what I believe about it all. Nara, where they had worshipped for so many years in Japan, seemed to be haunted. But this mountain does not feel haunted, nor as yet does it feel sacred. But so far we are only up three thousand feet, with mosquitoes all alive about us, and scissor-grinders shrilling their souls out in just, I should think, the highest note possible for the human ear to hear, besides others more like other scissor-grinders.

"Then, though this temple seemed clean on first arrival by comparison with Chinese inns, its dirt now has a very materialising effect upon one's susceptibilities. It is beautifully situated on a spur of the mountain, with an amphitheatre of mountain-peaks girdling it in except on one side, where it looks down on the lesser hills and rivers we came up from. There are trees, and, we are assured, tigers, a man having been eaten by one ten days ago. But as I am also told eight men together were going up a peak not far from here, and of the eight five were 367 killed by tigers, I am not quite sure whether one can believe everything one is told on Omi-shan. At all events, the tiger-mosquitoes seem a more real danger at present. We had sixteen nights in Chinese inns to get here from Chungking, travelling always westward; so I cannot think many Europeans will come, till there are steamers running to Chungking, and Cook has organised through-tickets. But the chief priest thinks if he could only do these rooms up many foreigners would come, and all give him many taels, and then the temples could all be restored."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

By Mr. Upcraft.

There are many wonders upon this sacred mountain, one the so-called Glory of Buddha, which we saw every afternoon during the fortnight in August we spent on its summit. Another, more puzzling to me, we only saw once. We were called out about nine o'clock on a keen, frosty night to see the lamps of Kiating, the city ten thousand feet below us, that had come up to be lighted. Some rich donor has given the lamps of Kiating particularly high lamp-posts to facilitate this miracle. Certainly, on each out-jutting spur of the mountain, as 368 we looked down from the edge of the great precipice, we saw a large luminous light apparently quite stationary, and in effect recalling the lamps of Piccadilly at night. Some people say this must be caused by electricity. Certainly, on Mount Omi we always seemed to look down upon the storms of thunder and lightning that evening after evening cooled the hot country below us. But the most beautiful sight was to turn away from the grand views as far as the eye could reach over the rivers and hills and cities of China, and, standing on the verge of the precipice, look just in the other direction, across the sea of mountains with serrated edges or slanting-backs, two flat-topped table-mountains conspicuous among them, till there at last up in the sky, "as if stood upon a table for us to look at," as some Chinaman said centuries ago, stood the long range of the snowy giants of Tibet, with great glaciers clinging to their sides, and catching the first rosy light of morning, whilst all the other intervening mountains were still wrapped in their blankets of mist and night.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Many beautiful descriptions have been written of Mount Omi, that mountain that stands alone in its sacredness in the far west of China, with an all-round view from its summit, where the beholder stands on the verge of one of the most gigantic precipices in the world, said by Mr. Baber to be a mile deep. But it would be hard to surpass that of Fan Yü-tsz, of the Ming Dynasty, who tells how he saw the Wa-wu, and the snowy mountains "running athwart like a long city wall," and India, and the mountains of Karakorum, together with all the 371 barbarous kingdoms, the great Min River, and the rivers of Kiating, the Tung, and the Ya; and winds up by saying: "The advocate and I clapped our palms, and cried out, 'The grandest view of a lifetime!'" The cloud effects from Fujiyama's top are different, but not finer; and Fuji has no snowy mountains of Tibet to look out upon. The all-round view from the ever popular and most beloved Rigi seems a plaything sort of pretty pigmy view by comparison.

And day after day, year after year, all the year round, pilgrims come and prostrate themselves on the different out-jutting bastions of the cliff upon boards laid in the wet grass for their convenience while they venerate Puhsien, who, they say, came up from India on his elephant and settled here; just as their ancestors probably came, before ever Buddha was, to venerate the sun-god, as we call him now, we not apparently having even yet learnt enough to say simply God, as if there were, or could be, God this and God that,—not one God, the Father of All—to use the simple comprehensive Chinese phrase, "The Above All!" The men and women of the province come in great numbers: the men with their brows bound with the white Szechuan handkerchief like Dante, and with mouths like the old Greek gods, with rich, regular curves; the women with their skirts only to their knees, and feet of the natural size or only slightly deformed, and in each case bound with Indian corn-husks, the better to contend with the steep stone steps that lead up and down the ten thousand feet of mountain-side. 372 Men from Yunnan come too, with extraordinarily heavy and knotted young trees for walking-sticks, shod, not with iron points, but small iron spades, that they may if need be re-make the road as they go along. Military dandies even from far Ningpo are carried up the mountain in sedan-chairs (this last a work of great difficulty); whilst old men and very weak women manage to get up in a sort of basket carried on a man's back, their feet holding on round his waist after the fashion that children are carried pick-a-back. And in the winter the Tibetans come, men and women all together, all in furs, and saying, "Om Mani Padmi Hum!" instead of the familiar, "Omito Fo," the habitual greeting on the mountain-side. Some of the wild tribes also come, without pigtails, like decent people, but with their hair strangely sticking out in front of their heads, as if they wore their tails in front. And all prostrate themselves, and do reverence—unless it be the few Europeans who have strayed so far west through China—as they look over the edge of the great precipice, and there on the mist below see the circular halo of three primary colours, very brilliant, and in its central brightness the shadow of their own head and shoulders, or, if their heart be such, Puhsien himself riding on his elephant, as he came from India more than two thousand years ago. Where the pilgrims most do congregate some pious donor has had strong iron chains fastened between iron supports; and in another place there is a low stone wall: but so great is the indifference to its depth that so lofty a precipice inspires,—we ourselves 373 once resided on a fifth story, and found many of our visitors unable to look out, and ourselves suffered somewhat from dizziness; but on moving to the eleventh floor of the same building felt nothing of the kind,—so great is the indifference to its danger that this great precipice inspires, that not a day passes but people are getting outside the chains, or standing on the top of the low wall, the better to see down below.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

And there, as we look down upon the beautiful trees far beneath us, and the flowers finding here and there a foothold, we become aware of a cave, that looks quite inaccessible now, although it may not always have been so; and below the cave, just a little way farther down the precipice, something—we cannot quite make out what. We saw it from the first, and then turned away to look at the city of Kiating, picturesquely situated at the junction of its three rivers, or to notice how swollen the rivers are with the recent heavy rains, 374 or to catch a distant glimpse of the one Taoist monastery on the mountain, perched like an eyrie on its most picturesque out-jutting spur, or, as so often, to watch the mist roll up. Oftenest it comes flying up from the hot lowlands at our feet; but at times it crawls up like a great white bear, lifting first one paw, then another, yet always securing its foothold even on the sheerest edge of the precipice. At other times it comes up like a sinuous serpent; and sometimes, enfolding all the landscape, it flows over the precipice from the top like a Niagara of mist. But always as the mist lifts, and we lean over the precipice, scanning closely, we see that cave, which surely no man could ever reach, and, below, something curious lying aslant on an edge of the cliff; yet never is our curiosity sufficiently awakened to lift an opera-glass, and see what it may be: it looks so small and insignificant—just something out of place in the vast landscape, that is all.

Then we see other caves, and hear wild talk of aborigines, who live, or lived, in them. The coolies talk of nothing but aborigines and the unconquered Lolos. One of them has been two years among the latter as a soldier; and he tells how his general's wife was taken prisoner by them, and put upon an ox to ride, since she could not walk, and describes them as a sort of Highlanders, wearing a skirt and a wrap, and not rude at all to those they carry off—only wanting to get ransom-money. Then we meet a pilgrim, who is standing staring at some caves far below with protruding eyes; and he says, "There 375 are tigers in there!" then stands speechless. But on our laughing we are told again of six men already this year eaten by tigers. It is a comfort to laugh even over tigers; for the high, rare air affects the nerves even of our coolies, and every one is asking for quinine as a cure for neuralgia. For foreign medicines are known in the West, and "They never cost anything," as some women with a sick child said with great energy, and confidence that we must be able to cure the child, and for nothing, as missionaries or foreigners (here the two words are treated as synonymous) always did. Then, as one coolie after another sickened, and we ourselves could hardly breathe or bear the aching of our heads, we were told a very dangerous air came up over the precipice, and how a Taoist priest, who was going to live in a cave on the mountain, dropped down dead of it. And none of our Chinese would hear of a cave being possibly full of gas, or that the air on the top of the mountain was so much lighter than that below that a little time is needed to get accustomed to it.

And whilst explaining scraps of modern science, we forgot all about the Taoist priest who died, till one day again we were hanging over the cliff, watching for the Glory of Buddha below, when we noted a Chinaman gazing down more intently than devoutly. "Do you see him?" he asked. "I could not find him this morning; and I would not believe what they all said, that a Taoist priest lay there. But what else can it be? Do you look through your far-seeing glass, and 376 say what you see." So we looked at that something out of place, that had at once caught short-sighted eyes intently scanning, yet without arresting our attention sufficiently even to wonder what it might be. Yes! certainly there lay, across a fallen tree, what looked like a man with a hood on, like that the chief priest here wore, with an old basket at his feet. "Yes, that's it—that's it. All the Taoists wear that! With his feet in a basket! That is how they say he lies. He has lain there two years, they say; and last year his clothes looked blue, and now they look whitey-brown. Next year, I suppose, they will all fall to pieces. I suppose it must be a man. I would not believe it at first." "No, no; it is not a Taoist priest," said the young Buddhist, whose duty it was to be agreeable to visitors. "It is just some clothes people have thrown down." But, in the first place, no human hand could throw clothes so far. They must long before have, fluttering, caught upon some rugged edge. Next, nothing thrown could so exactly take the semblance of a man,—the hood worn just as the chief priest wears his, only the head fallen forward somewhat, and the lower part of the person in dust-coloured clothes evidently fast approaching decay, but even yet lingering on just where they would be if a man lay there wearing them. The idea of clothes thrown down certainly would not hold water. The idea of a sort of Guy Fawkes figure did at one time present itself; but whilst it seemed possible that some enthusiast might attempt to climb to that inaccessible cave, and so climbing fall and perish, it 379 did not seem possible that any one would be foolhardy enough to climb there for the purpose merely of placing a lay figure there, or could do so, carrying a lay figure. Yet, not wishing to be too credulous, we approached the chief priest the next time his picturesque figure in grey silk gown and black hood appeared beside the parapet, and propounded the theory of clothes. His dark eyes grew luminous with a sad smile; his is a face in which a painter would delight, with its rich dark shades, well-marked features, and general air of an Oriental saint of the early Christian era. "Those are no clothes," he said, sadly smiling. "A Taoist priest lies there."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

And could there be a grander grave for a dead man,—the great white mists of Omi his winding-sheet, the Glory of Buddha floating above him his memorial cross, the bosom of Omi's inaccessible precipice his last resting-place? Year by year, day by day, pilgrims kneel, and knock their foreheads on the ground, then hold out hands of supplication over his prostrate form; the bells are struck, the prayers are chanted, the incense burns, above the unburied priest's last resting-place. Never now will hand of man touch him more. He lies secure. He sought to pass away from the contamination of the world, and in pure ecstasy of devotion pass his days in an untrodden cave. And it seems that God—our God, his God, the Lord and Father of us all—accepted the offering without requiring the year-long daily sacrifice. There are no signs of struggle in the orderly disposed garments. It seems as if his spirit 380 passed away as his foot stumbled, and he fell across the fallen tree.

And to make it grander still, he has won no immortal name thereby. The young priest in the temple on the summit says, "That is no unburied saint lies there—only clothes!" He takes us to a neighbouring shrine of his own faith to see a real unburied saint. As we ascended the mountain, we were struck by an image upon an altar from its likeness to a man in its little human imperfections, all covered with gilding though it was, as well as decked out in somewhat tawdry bright embroidered satins. We only noticed, and passed on, repelled by a large and really rather offensively ugly representation of Puhsien standing behind it. The front figure was seated on a large lotus flower, with its legs tucked up underneath it, just as the chief priest at our temple tucked up his legs when he sat to have his photograph taken, putting on his best vestments for the purpose, and looking no longer like an early Christian, without his hood, and with his bald shining head. "There! that was a priest here in the time of Kang Hsi," said the young priest. "It is his very body, not embalmed. It would not decay, and so he was——" Now, did he say canonised? "Few foreigners know of this——" Now, did he say God or saint? So much turns upon a word sometimes, and so few foreigners know Chinese well enough to be clear about these delicate distinctions.

A set of dandies in rich-coloured silks from Kiating, 381 with yellow incense-bags and double purses, invaded the temple, not for the purpose of staring, as we were doing, but to worship. They prostrated themselves, burnt their joss-sticks, and struck the gong before the gilded old man upon the altar just in the same way that they did before the other images. And they looked so picturesque doing this, it seemed a pity to wait to set up the camera till they had gone, and then only to photograph the gilded old man upon the altar and the priest of seventy-one of to-day who ministers before it. The living old man was quite excited by the proceeding, and completely unaware that photography demanded the posture, generally most congenial to a Chinaman, of repose.

Even through all his gilding, the face of the other old man upon the altar gave an idea of holiness, and this in spite of his having as typically slanting eyes as any Chinaman living. Some of his teeth were gone, and his mouth had a little helpless sort of crookedness about it that was very touching. It seemed impossible then and there to hear anything of his history; but it seemed equally impossible, looking at him, to doubt that he had been a good man, a Vicar of Wakefield simple sort of good man, and probably deserved as well to have his body set upon an altar and worshipped as any mere man might. But the place of sepulture of the unburied Taoist priest strikes the imagination as far finer, recalling the grand lines upon the burial of Moses. Angels bore Moses to his sepulchre, we are told. No one has borne the Taoist priest. Even the winds 382 of heaven cannot touch him, as he lies sheltered by the great precipice on which he perished.

"Stars silent rest o'er him,

Graves under him silent.

Here eyes do regard him

In eternity's stillness."

Thus, at but a little distance from each other, on the summit of the sacred mountain of Omi, in this land where more importance is attached to burial than in any other, two Chinamen await unburied the consummation of all things,—the one a disciple of Buddha; the other, of that even less known Laotze, Buddha's Chinese contemporary: the one covered over with gilding, raised upon an altar, and certainly apparently worshipped as a god; the other lying prone upon the mountain-side, his poor perishable garments growing threadbare in the snow and rain. But when the mists gather round the mountain-top, and the sun shines slanting from the west, it is above the ardent disciple of Laotze that the Glory of Buddha floats—the man who sought the grimmest possible retreat from the snares of this world, and, thus seeking, found, we trust, the joys of Paradise. 383


In Memory of a Dead Wife.—Of a Dear Friend.—Farewell Verses.—Æsthetic Feeling.—Drinking Song.—Music.—Justice to Rats.

It is so much our habit in China to think the Chinese have no sentiment, that I have thought it might be interesting to gather together what indications I have observed during eleven years' residence among them, leaving the reader, if of a judicial frame of mind, to sum up and formulate his own conclusions.

One of the most poetic events in history used to seem to me in childhood that crowning of his dead Queen by King Pedro, to which Mrs. Hemans consecrated some of her most pathetic verses. To this day I cannot think of the beautiful dead Inez de Castro in all the grandeur of her coronation robes, seated upon her throne, without feeling something of the faint, cold shuddering which the poetess imagines. Yet when I went for the first time to a grand Chinese house in the Arsenal at Shanghai, and found it all dressed out with signs of mourning, white cloths, and balls of twisted white cotton, people all in their best dresses, 384 and preparations complete for three days of theatrical performance, though I was startled to find that all this was to commemorate the birthday of the wife of the master of the house, lying quiet in her grave already these twenty years, the twenty-years-in-China-and-not-know-a-word-of-the-language men all said it was quite usual, and seemed surprised and annoyed that I should find it affecting. Alas! to this day I have never learned whether he loved her very much, nor quite satisfied myself whether it was really her birthday or the day of her death they were thus celebrating. But, interpret 385 it all after whatever fashion, there was surely in this some indication of sentiment.

Again, there are many suicides in China, and habit seems to make both Europeans and Chinese callous. Yet when a German who had returned to China happy in the belief a girl he knew would follow and marry him, and on hearing she had changed her mind, or for some other reason would not come, thought it better to leave a life that for him held no promise, the following poem appeared in a Shanghai paper:


In memory of the late ——.

'Es lebe,

wer sich tapfer halt!'

Goethe's 'Faust.'

The wild prunes blossom, red and white,

In wintry air.[1]

Heavy with orange, in sunlight,

The groves are fair.

The pearl-like river, silent, sure,

Glides to the sea:

A spirit, mutinous but pure,

Sets itself free.

Love, flowers, and music erst were thine;

But love, to thee

A blight, was bitter as the brine

Of the salt sea.

From these thy noble spirit yearned

Towards nobler schemes;

Dreams of a nobler age returned,

Alas! but dreams.

Last on the river-girdled spot—

Thy spacious home,

Spacious but lone, for one was not

That should have come—

We sat and talked of modern creed

And ancient lore;

Of modern gospel—gush and greed,

Now to the fore.

Thy fervent hope it was to join

The best with best;

To break down the dividing-line

Of East and West.

O friend! albeit of alien race,

For evermore

Shall be with me thy noble face,

Too sicklied o'er

With a world-sorrow e'en too great

For thy great heart,

Since from us, who still serve and wait,

Thou wouldst depart.

Farewell! The swift-wheeled ship will bring

To thy far West

The tidings, while I, grieving, sing

Thee to thy rest.

Ku Hung Ming.

Viceroy's Yamen,
Wuchang, December 4th, 1893."

The Englishman who could write as good a poem in Chinese has not yet been born; but I quote it because of the sentiment it expresses. 387


The young Chinese to whom I tried to teach English took leave of me, when I left for England, in very elegant Chinese verse, to which I wish I could do justice by translation. The sentiment of it was very appropriate. He regretted my departure, wondering what he should do without me; for to him I had been like the snow, which, by covering up and protecting the plants, makes the young shoots grow, as I had made his intelligence burgeon. This struck me as a very happy expression of sentiment, and, as I was assured by Chinese scholars, equally felicitously expressed.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

The Chinese love of beautiful curves, spending time and money on the roof-cornices and outside ornaments of even quite a poor cottage, indicates a deep-seated sentiment for the beautiful, as do also the trees in their towns, some of which have almost as many trees as 388 houses, as also their love of flowers. In the flowering season a bough of blossom may be seen in a vase on the counter of even the darkest little shop; whilst no literary man would think his writing-table complete without a vase for one lovely blossom, and no woman would think herself dressed until she had stuck a flower on one side of her glossy hair. But every one probably would acknowledge that the Chinese have a very strong æsthetic sentiment. Here, however, is an adieu to the Old Year much resembling one of Burns' songs in its sentiment, or want of it:


The voice of the cricket is heard in the hall;

The leaves of the forest are withered and sere;

My spirits they droop at those chirruping notes

So thoughtlessly sounding the knell of the year.

Yet why should we sigh at the change of a date,

When life's flowing on in a full steady tide?

Come, let us be merry with those that we love;

For pleasure in measure there's no one to chide."

Translated by W. A. P. M.


But this Chinese drinking-song, which could without exciting any special comment appear upon a New Year's card of to-day, was published in the Chinese Book of Odes 500 B.C. Twelve centuries later we find a decidedly prettier sentiment and finer touch in Li-tao-po, one of China's favourite poets A.D. 720. It is interesting to notice that four of China's poets, Tze-ma-hsiang-yu, Yang-hsiung, Li-tao-po, and Su-tung-po, were all born and spent their earliest years in Szechuan, 391 on the borderland of Tibet, and the yet unconquered Lolo country, like our own English Border country, China's cradle of legend and song.

This is an attempt to render the best-known ode of China's favourite bard, A.D. 720:


Here are flowers, and here is wine;

But where's a friend with me to join

Hand to hand and heart to heart

In one full cup before we part?

Rather than to drink alone,

I'll make bold to ask the moon

To condescend to lend her face

To grace the hour and the place.

Lo! she answers, and she brings

My shadow on her silver wings;

That makes three, and we shall be,

I ween, a merry company.

The modest moon declines the cup,

But shadow promptly takes it up;

And when I dance, my shadow fleet

Keeps measure with my flying feet.

Yet though the moon declines to tipple,

She dances in yon shining ripple;

And when I sing, my festive song

The echoes of the moon prolong.

Say, when shall we next meet together?

Surely not in cloudy weather;

For you, my boon companions dear,

Come only when the sky is clear."

Translated by W. A. P. M.

The fancy if not the sentiment of this song is so pretty, that it is hard to see how the nation that 392 produced it can be rebuked for want of sentiment by the nation that to this day sings, "Drink, puppies, drink." Indeed, I think this Chinese drinking-song dating from the eighth century A.D. the very prettiest I have ever met with in any literature. It has three if not four of such graceful conceits as would alone make the success of a modern bard. But they are old, very old. And China, too, is old; and is said to produce nothing of the kind now.

To turn to comparatively more modern days, Lu-pe-Ya's Lute, Englished and reduced into poetry by Mrs. Augusta Webster, shows a sentiment for friendship and for music deep in the Chinese breast. It is, I suppose, because I am so very unmusical that I rather enjoy Chinese music. It seems to me very merry, especially its funereal chants.

People often wonder if the Chinese enjoy European music. Two Englishmen were invited not long ago to a military mandarin's house to hear one of his sons, a great musician, play. The latter could only perform if perfect silence were observed by the audience and a vase of flowers and lighted incense before him to help his inspiration. Unfortunately, after all these preparations, it appeared his was a stringed instrument, to be laid upon the table and played with the nails—the most difficult instrument to play upon that the Chinese possess; and the melody, if it were a melody, was so low, the Englishmen came away quite unable to judge of its beauty. "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard——" However, some other 393 young military mandarins had played a duet on flutes, and another performed on a flageolet, both very agreeably.

It may interest those interested—and who of us in China are not?—in the great opium question to hear that a young lad of sixteen went away from the dinner-table to smoke opium. "How dreadful!" said one of the Europeans. "A lad of sixteen to smoke opium! He will never live!" "Why, look at my five sons, all born since I smoked," said the host; "I began when I was twenty. But, indeed, his family are rather glad he smokes. You see, my guest is a very rich young fellow from up the river, who has no father; and if he did not smoke opium, he would be sure to be getting into mischief with women or gambling. Now, smoking opium, they think, will keep him at home." Is not this rather a novel view of the question?

The old legend of the Fairy Foxes, which I Englished some years ago, and brought out in Mr. Hasegawa's very pretty crêpe paper series, shows a sentiment of kindness for animals with which some people are unwilling to credit a nation that emphatically does not say, "What a beautiful day! Let us go out and kill something." Both that and The Rat's Plaint, translated from the original Chinese and rendered into verse by my husband, and very beautifully illustrated as well as reproduced on crêpe paper by Mr. Hasegawa, might be circulated by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The latter's quaintness—it is a very old Chinese legend—alone 394 makes the reader pass over the very nice sentiment for poor pussy, as well as the homely Chinese sense of justice, stating the rat's case in the first instance so very plainly as almost to make the reader incline to his side.

There is an easy-going live-and-let-live character about the Chinese, which makes them very pleasant employers, as all steamship captains will testify, and which, perhaps, accounts for their not hurrying off the face of the earth the rats that are such a great pest in a Chinese city. An English Consul, on undoing a not yet used camera, found that to get at the gum used they had eaten through each fold of its dark chamber. One year in Chungking they made a hole through a strong wooden case we thought safely closed down, opened the tins of milk just as we should have done ourselves, and evidently dipped their tails in, and fished out all the milk those tails could reach. We have often thought this worthy to be a Spectator story. But, however incredible it may sound, it is true; and when we opened the case, we found all the top layer out of two dozen tins of milk opened and half emptied in this way. Worse still, that same year—there was famine in the land, and human beings were dropping down dead of hunger every day by the river-side—there was a hole one morning in our dear little pony's back, said to be caused by the wicked rats.

The Chinese easy-going liberal disposition and sense of justice have been immortalised in The Rat's 395 Plaint, translated by my husband, where the poor rat's case is made out as I never saw it till I read it there; though in the end the rat is awarded punishment, and pussy-cat installed in her high place as favoured friend in every homestead. And so herewith an end of Chinese sentiment.




Drying Prayerbooks Mountain.—Boys' Paradise.—Lolo Women.—Salt-carriers.—Great Rains.—Brick-tea Carriers.—Suspension Bridge.—Granite Mountains.—Tibetan Bridge.—Lamas.—Tibetan Women.—Caravanserai at Tachienlu.—Beautiful Young Men.—Lamaserai.—Prayers?—Fierce Dogs.—Dress.—Trying for a Boat.

There are many summer trips that are a joy in the remembering, but a trip to Chinese Tibet had never fallen to the lot of any European woman before. And it was the more delightful, perhaps, because we never thought of anything of the kind when we started. But there is a drawback to living on a mountain-summit that it is such a climb to come back again when you go out; and our quarters on Mount Omi were not too comfortable! Only one small room for living and sleeping in, like a back room in a Canadian log-hut, and without a window to open, makes one restless after a time. So we thought we would gently stroll on to another sacred mountain, whose flat top was a very striking feature in the landscape. And we went 397 down into what is called the Wilderness, where there are wild cattle and wild men, and for about a week wandered on, passing along by the boundary of the unconquered Lolos, and up the most magnificent ravine I have seen or can imagine, down which a torrent had swept but a week before from the Sai King, or Drying Prayerbooks Mountain, to which we were bound, drowning twenty-six people in one hamlet alone.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

Climbing the Sai King was rather a formidable affair. But for the guidance of a young priest, returning from 398 one of those begging excursions by means of which he had bought the whole mountain-summit, we never should have reached the top before darkness set in; and in the dark no man would dare to move upon the Sai King. For not only are there all manner of wild beasts, but the path leads along the narrow edge of a col, and then up staircases, till at last you arrive at three ladders, one of twenty-seven rungs, before you find yourself at the top of the awful precipices that girdle it all round, in a sort of park with firs and rhododendrons, the latter at least twenty feet high, moss hanging from them in garlands, as well as a foot deep upon the ground. It is a veritable boys' paradise (and as such I have described it at length in the Nineteenth Century of January, 1896), with squirrels and deer and birds innumerable, large very sweet white strawberries in the greatest profusion, raspberries abundant, currants plentiful, mushrooms in bushels. There are glorious views from the brink of precipices, when you can break your way through the rhododendrons and look over, hearing the rivers murmuring some five or six thousand feet below, and seeing the Tibetan summits like a sea of mountains.

But I have mentioned nearly all there was to eat on the Sai King Shan, and our room was almost more cracks than room, so that we shivered inside it even when almost blinded by wood smoke. And when the wind howled and the rain poured in like a waterspout, it did occur to us to wonder what we should do if one of the ladders were carried away. Besides, by dint 399 of thinking about it, the going down those ladders became increasingly terrible. I had paused in the middle of coming up, and, looking between my feet, had seen the mists moving and the cataract falling four thousand feet sheer below me, and through a rift in the clouds had caught a sight of the great precipice to the north, greater even than that on Omi. We found ourselves wondering whether it would be wise to look down and gaze on everything, if clear, when descending. When we had got as far as that, it seemed more prudent to go down at once. And it was then we saw from the bottom the great north precipice, that is the most glorious east end of a world's cathedral. Looked at from where one will, one could not but feel in comparison how poor was a temple made with hands. Yet there in the valley six thousand feet below was the chapel and priests' house, built by their own hands with their own money by the people of the wholly Christian village of Tatientze. And here, close to the summit of the mountain, where a cord used to hang over the precipice to get down by, was the cave where two Buddhist sisters, till last year, lived seven years "to purify their souls." There was a little platform in front of the cave where they could stand and look out upon the glories of the Creator's handiwork, if so minded. Did they stand there, those two sisters? Did they worship there? Did they in the end purify their souls? Or did they find it was a mistake, thus retiring from their kind? Their father used to send them rice, which was let down to them 400 by the cord, and a stream poured over the precipice in a sort of waterfall hard by. And they only went away the year before because the tidings had come of their mother's death.

Again we wandered on, or rather walked hard, for one day across the mountains, till we came to a village full of conquered Lolos, women fearless and frank as American girls, riding and walking with a grace I have never seen equalled; their men with elaborate ceremonial of politeness, but, alas! too much given to the delights of drink. We would gladly have learned more about them. But now we heard six days more would bring us to Tachienlu, in Chinese Tibet, and all our following were wild to get there, and to get fur coats, the Chinaman's ambition. As for ourselves, we wondered if it were worth while to go on, but we were certainly in no hurry as yet to get back to Chungking. Our last news from there was that it was 100° in the shade, and cholera worse than ever. Thirty thousand people, we learnt afterwards, died of it in the course of the summer, and it was worse still at Chengtu, the capital of the province, by which we had purposed returning.

Not at all particularly anxious for fur coats, not at all distinctly remembering what we had read of Tachienlu, we decided to go on if we could get ponies, and thus decide for ourselves if it were worth while. But now came the difficulty. With ponies grazing all round, we never could succeed in hiring one. Certainly they were very small, and we very big by comparison. Every one told us we must get ponies at Fulin. So 401 to Fulin we pushed on. But this was thirty-six miles, over any number of passes, one seven thousand feet high, so we were obliged to stop a little short of it that night. Next day, however, we got there for breakfast. We had formed high expectations with regard to Fulin. For six days we had seen men staggering along under crushing weights of salt, two hundred pounds to each man, too much exhausted by their burdens even to look up. And they had all been bound for Fulin. People may not want to be missionaries in China, but I do not think any European could travel there and not wish to undo the heavy burdens, and I have seen no beasts of burthen whose sufferings have so moved my heart to pity as these salt-carriers. Salt is such a hard, uncompromising load, and it was so pitiful to notice how they had to protect it from being melted by the sweat that streamed down their poor backs. Then the passes were so high, and the paths so narrow and so wild, and the heat so great. It seemed as if any human heart must break, if it contemplated beforehand all it would have to undergo to carry one load of salt from Kiating to Fulin. Then, however often we calculated it, what they were paid, how many days they spent upon the journey, how many days going empty-handed back, we never could make out that the poor carriers were any the better off at the end of all their exertions. Of course they must be, or they would not make them; but it must be by a miserable pittance indeed. It appeared now, too, that Fulin, though well-to-do enough, was but the 402 distributing centre for two very rich prosperous valleys and the country beyond, and there were no ponies to be had there. Later on in the day, however, when we really did succeed in hiring capital ponies, we no longer wondered that it had been difficult to get any for such a journey as we were undertaking. For what road there had ever been had been carried away in several places, and so had the bridges. The mountains looked exactly as if, according to the Chinese saying, a dragon had really turned round at the top, and clawed and scored and gashed the mountain-sides. All the people were going to market, as they always are in Szechuan, and in one place was a crowd busy remaking a bridge in order to get over, whilst farther on three of the strongest men of the company had stripped, and, holding hands, were cautiously trying fording. Then the others followed their example, and for a moment or two were carried off their legs by the furious stream. The hills were terrible, and, clambering up one, a mule in our company failed to establish its footing, and, turning over and over, reached the bottom dead. Just the moment before I had been wondering whether my tiny pony could make the final effort necessary to attain the top of that hill.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

After Nitou, which proclaims on a stone tablet that it is the western boundary of the black-haired or Chinese race, Tibet seems to begin. We climbed a pass nine thousand feet high, then descended again for five miles, always in uninhabited country, full of flowers. Especially lovely in that September weather 403 was the small but very luxuriant deep purple convolvulus twining round the acacia mimosas. Just as we passed out of the mist—it was unfortunately always misty at the tops of the passes—we met a Lama quite resplendent in crimson and old gold, and then passed troops of men carrying brick tea. One man carried seventeen bars, each weighing twenty pounds; others fifteen, thirteen, or eleven. A boy of fourteen, of ten, even one of seven, was carrying, the latter four half-bars, poor wee child! Just as we were sorrowing over the children, trees glorious with coral flowers flashed upon our sight. And on the second day after leaving Nitou we once more came upon the great Tung river, by the side of which we had before travelled for one whole afternoon, separated only by it from the unconquered Lolo country. Never a boat nor raft upon the Tung, except one to take people back into Lololand from a great theatrical performance, at which all 404 the countryside had mustered. And once we saw a boat by the side of it, but hauled up high and dry. It was a round skin-boat, for all the world just like the coracles the ancient Britons used. We came also upon a terrible gully, descending by a severe slant directly into the river. A shower of stones was almost continuously rattling down, mixed with a little water; every now and then the shower slackened somewhat, and then first one and then another large stone would come down, wildly bounding from side to side; after that, the shower would be stronger than ever. When the erratic blocks came bounding down, no one put his feet in the footprints left by some one else across the shifting torrent of stones, that here constituted the whole of the great brick-tea road, the great main road between Peking and Lassa. At other times they paused behind a projecting rock, to watch for a good opportunity, and then ran for it. And the usual thing seemed to be to laugh. Our little dog had its misgivings in the middle, and paused, to be half kicked, half thrown across. For it was an anxious moment for our carrying coolies and the heavily laden brick-tea men. Meanwhile, our cook amused himself by pitching stones into the air, and it was eerie to observe that, wherever thrown, and however often they bounded, they all ended by falling into the deep, swift waters of the unnavigable Tung.

The next wonder was the celebrated bridge, three hundred feet long, and with hardly any drop in the nine iron chains of which it is composed. Planks were laid loosely upon the chains, starting up at each of 405 the ponies' steps, and the whole bridge swayed like a ship at sea. Two guardians of the bridge at once rushed forward, and placed their arms under mine to support me across, taking for granted that I should be frightened. But looked upon as a yacht pitching and tossing, the bridge really did not make bad weather of it, so I preferred to walk alone and to notice how sea-sick our coolies looked. Just at that point the Tung vividly recalled the Rhine at Basle, but with probably a greater volume of water. That afternoon the scenery began to be as wild and gloomy as we had anticipated, granite mountains increasing in size and narrowing in upon us, the road taking sudden drops down precipitous gorges of four or five hundred feet, and then at once up again. There were prickly pears all about, and pomegranate-trees in hedges, the air full of thyme and peppermint and aromatic scents. Tibetan villages, just like the pictures, were visible on the far left bank of the Tung,—two-storied houses, with tiny holes for windows, and door uncomfortably high up, so that no one could get in, if once the entrance ladder were drawn up; roofs set so as apparently to let in a free current of air. Not a tree visible, not a man moving: there never is in the pictures! Impossible, however, to get across the Tung to look at them; and when isolated houses were visible on our side, it was always in inaccessible eyries.

The little pony I rode, not one of those excellent ponies we hired the first day for a few hours only, had come down twice on both knees with me on its back. 406 It was evident its little legs might have been stronger. And as I rode along these granite precipices, my hands were hot with terror, until at last I could bear no more. For some time beforehand I had been looking at the road in front, curving round two headlands—granite precipice above, granite precipice below—the road overarched by the rock, and had wondered how all our party would get by. "We met one hundred and fifty people coming from that direction before our luncheon," I said to myself. "I know it because I counted them. And if anything, I left out some, when the road was too alarming. They must all have got by alive! And all these brick-tea men now coming along with us, of course they are all intending to get by alive. It can't be so bad!" But it was of no use! I could not ride along that road, with the pony slipping and stumbling among the stones, and sliding down the little descents at the corners with both its hind feet together. Yet the road was good for those parts, being all of granite and painfully chiselled out; so the pony-boy, a most lively youth of fifteen, was greatly shocked at my dismounting.

We slept that night where the Lu joins the Tung, cutting a granite mountain in half to do so, the half that is left standing towering some three or four thousand feet above our heads. The Lu is the fullest glacier stream I have ever seen. It has a great deal more water to carry than the Thames at Richmond, and sometimes it is compressed into a width of six yards, with a tremendous fall, coming straight, we are 407 told, from a lake at the foot of the great glacier we saw first with such delight from the summit of sacred Omi, about a hundred miles away as the crow flies. All day we rode or walked up the defile, that would have been too solemn but for this rollicking glacier stream tumbling head over heels all the way down it, with side cataracts leaping down, equally overfull of foaming water, equally in hot haste to reach the Tung. The road was all the way so bad that at last my only surprise was to find that there were places the ponies could not manage, and that on one occasion they had, twice in five minutes, to ford a stream with the water well up to my feet, as they stumbled among the big boulders in order to avoid a bit of road that all the heavily laden brick-tea men had managed. It seemed too absurd that those ponies could not, they had done so much already. But at last the pony-boy waved his arm, as if to say, "There's Tachienlu! I've got you there at last! You can't get into trouble now, I think, along what we call the bit of smooth road in front. And I wash my hands of you!"

We rode on, past our last Tibetan bridge. How often they had haunted my childhood's dreams! And now I saw a woman seat herself astride the stick hanging from the cord drawn taut across the stream, and, resting one arm upon a very smooth piece of bamboo that runs along the cord, hold with the other hand a series of loops of cords hanging from it, and allow herself to be pulled across. I longed to do likewise, and went the length of seating myself on the 408 stick; but the foaming torrent below meant certain death if one could not hold on, nor did I know at all what reception the Tibetan men on the other side might give me, so I got off again. People say it is easy enough to go as far as the slope of the cord is downwards, but very hard to pull oneself up the other side, and that just at the centre the impulse to let go is almost overmastering. We passed flagstaffs with lettered pieces of cloth hanging from them inscribed with prayers, passed rocks with prayers chiselled on their smooth surfaces, into the little frontier town at the junction of three valleys, with granite mountains hemming it in all round, one terminating in a sharp little granite pyramid, quite a feature in the view, and in what looked exactly like a fortress with three big cannon pointed in different directions.

We had already met one most exciting party of Tibetans, the men fine-looking, one even more than that, the women rosy and pleasant-faced and very short-skirted, but evidently all thinking it an excellent joke not to let me look at them, and such fleet mountaineers that, though I ran, I could not keep up with them, and they were all out of sight, merrily laughing, before we had half seen them. But now at Tachienlu far more wonderful people became visible. It was as if every wild tribe on the borders of China were represented, and a piece of the garment of each patched into the garment of every other. And in and out among them strode the Lamas, right arm and shoulder bared, like Roman senators in dull-red togas, their 409 arms folded and their attitude defiant. A beggar passed singing, with a face like Irving's, only glorified. He had bare feet, but his face was sublime. Then strode by what looked like a tall Highlander, with a striped garment of many colours draped round him, boots of soft woollen coming to the knee, and edged with a coarse stuff of brilliant red and yellow. Next, two wild-looking men, with blue hats, that were hats and hoods all in one, slouched upon their heads, a red disc in the centre of each, their most luxuriant hair, in innumerable very fine plaits, twisted round and round, and fastened at one side with large red and yellow rings. Tibetan women, with fine, rather Irish features, black eyes and hair, and rosy cheeks, were smiling on us from the doorsteps, their hair plaited with a red cord, and twisted in a most becoming coronal round their heads. They had large silver earrings with red coral drops, red cloth collars fastened by large silver clasps, always a lump of coral in the centre of the middle one, and a large turquoise in that on either side. They had silver châtelaines hanging from their waists, though often only a needlebook on the châtelaine, large silver bracelets and strings of coral beads on their arms, and their fingers covered with enormous rings.

Every one looked at us and smiled. Could anything be more different from the reception we were accustomed to in a Chinese city? Every one looked at us as if to say, "Are not you glad to have got here?" We felt more and more glad every minute, but a little bewildered too. It was all so strange; the streets 410 were so full of corners and of strange-looking people, all looking and smiling at us. And they seemed to go on for ever. When were we going really to arrive?

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

But when we reached the caravanserai, or inn, where Baber stayed and Mr. Rockhill and all the foreigners, where Prince Henry of Orleans and Mr. Pratt were shut up as it were, the place looked so forbidding we hesitated to enter, till reassured by hearing the strident tones of our Chinese butler inside. The rooms actually upstairs—after we had gone up the staircase, embedded in filth and hair—were a most agreeable surprise, almost as good as an attic in a London East-End lodging-house at first sight. Buttered tea was served at once, and before many minutes were over the lady of the inn, a very handsome Tibetan, had invited me to a little repast in her private room: tea buttered, of course—and really very good—Tibetan cheese like very fresh 411 cream-cheese, and tsamba, a kind of barley-meal, and excellent when kneaded into a ball with buttered tea. Lamas strode in and out of the courtyard, and stared, swinging praying-wheels. All manner of men and women looked in. It was quite enough to sit at the window and look down at the kaleidoscope below, for every one came in and gave us a glance. And that was just what we wanted to do to them. But they would not sell their praying-wheels, and the Lamas would not let me look at the amulets which they carry on their breasts in square cases, sometimes crusted with turquoises. Surely never was there a people more bejewelled. The dirtiest man we saw would have a jewel or two stuck in his hair, and as likely as not a huge ring on his finger.

There were five flagstaffs hung with prayers on our inn, besides a long cord, hung with them, stretched across the roof. People were muttering "Om Mani Padmi Hum" as they passed along the street; and as the last sound at night was the Lamas' trumpets calling to prayers, so we were roused before dawn by the men in the room below us reciting continuously "Om Mani Padmi Hum" over and over again for two hours at least. One began to say it oneself: "The jewel is in the lotus,"—a pretty saying enough, which might mean anything. But, alas! we could see no more of the Tibetans at their devotions. At the first lamaserai we visited the temple doors were closed, and the Lamas signified by gestures that no key could be found to open them. They were not uncivil there, although 412 rather peremptorily forbidding me to use my eyeglass till they had themselves examined it, to see what effect it might have on the brilliantly coloured pictures in the temple porch. They also forbade me to photograph, yet allowed me to do so in the end, and acquiesced in my going upstairs to get a better place for the camera. There I saw that the door of each Lama's room, giving on the colonnade running round the courtyard, was locked and padlocked with a padlock of such portentous size as to suggest many thoughts. Only one door downstairs had been open, where a very small Lama was repeating his lessons out of what looked like a most beautifully written and illuminated book; for, the paper in the window being torn out, we could see all over the room, which looked like a particularly dirty, dilapidated little stable. But when I asked the small boy's leave to go in, wishing to examine his book, he sprang to the doorway, and the attitude into which he threw himself, forbidding me to enter, was superb. It said "Avaunt, Satanas!" and indicated that all the lightnings of heaven would fall, if I took but one step forward. And, though amused, I could not but admire the little boy for so pluckily standing his ground. But when another little Lama, on our coolies somewhat roughly ordering him to keep clear of the camera, threw himself into an attitude of boxing, it seemed so ridiculous that, just to test him, I laughed, then clenched my fist, and made as if I would fight too; on which he laughed heartily, showing he could quite understand a joke. 413

Most of the buildings at Tachienlu appeared in the last stage of decay, especially the temples. One was so full of birds' droppings that we imagined they could never have been cleared away since the day it was built. Two fierce dogs were chained across the threshold; and though I found I could just squeeze myself in out of reach of either, I noticed none of our Chinese coolies cared to follow. Tibetan dogs are noted for their fierceness, and are one of the great difficulties of travel in Tibet. There were boys burning something that had a horrible smell in the great incense-burner in front, while a priest, attended by a boy, was beating a gong and chanting within. This was the only sign of worship we came across. But the passageway between the back and front temple was all hung with oblong bits of paper, on which prayers were written. One day we met two very wild-looking Tibetans, each bent under a load of three huge pieces of slate inscribed with prayers; and presently we met a string of Tibetan women, bent more than double under loads of five, six, or even as many as seven bars of brick tea, each weighing twenty pounds. The world often seems rather topsy-turvy to a traveller.

A dark door like a house door, a dark passage merely partitioned off from a shop, then an alley-way that seemed to be used as a slaughter-house, led up to Kwanyin's temple, a very conspicuous and rather coquettish building on a hill overlooking the town. When we got there, followed by a crowd of the usual tiresome little Chinese boys, and also by two most 414 beautiful Tibetans, on pushing open the door we found numbers of neglected prayers hanging from the rafters, old broken beams lying in a heap, a staircase so rickety that no one liked to go up it, and, at the top of it, a barred door, sufficiently saying "Not at home." One of the Tibetans had such a quantity of hair, and such ringlets, that one of our coolies, with Chinese insolence, touched it to see if it was real. The Tibetan was elderly, and evidently well seasoned to the world, and only laughed at the liberty. But his companion—a beautiful youth, with a face of that feminine type that one only sees now in old books of beauty, arched eyebrows delicately pencilled, aquiline nose, features all too delicate for this workaday world—blushed vividly, and looked so unutterably pained that I longed to apologise, only we lacked a mutual language. He had himself a yet more inordinate quantity of hair, some of which must have been horse-hair, frizzed and raised so as to simulate the high pompadour style; but I think the ringlets that shadowed his translucent complexion must have been his own.

Then we went on to the great lamaserai, some distance from the town upon the Lassa road. We walked between walls of prayer-slates on either hand, with prayers streaming to the wind on all the hilltops and on every point of vantage; and having crossed the Chinese parade-ground, with a very beautiful weeping-willow and an avenue of specially fine alders of a local variety, saw a temple all golden points and golden balls outside, and attached to it a long melancholy 415 building rather like a workhouse, but for tall, narrow baskets in all the windows ablaze with Tibetan Glory—a brilliant orange marigold. Several little boy Lamas sat on the doorstep playing with a dead rat, which they were pulling about by a string, one little crimson-clad boy screaming with delight at the dead creature's antics. We had just been warned to take up our little dog because of the fierce dogs inside, and the little Lamas now laughed and cried out at the sight of a dog being carried.

There were many coloured cylinders on each side of the entrance gate—prayer-wheels—and it was curious to notice the expression of one of these children, when, thinking I was imitating him, I turned one of the cylinders the wrong way. He shrieked, and the expression of concentrated rage in his knotted eyebrows was a revelation to me. I hastened to turn the cylinder the right way with a smile, and the little fellow was pacified, while all the children set off running—as it appeared afterwards—to announce our coming, and have their own fierce dogs shut up.

We found ourselves in a very large courtyard—a long parallelogram—handsomely, indeed gorgeously, painted. Opposite to the entrance gate were the closed doors of the temple, with no way of opening them visible, brilliantly coloured pictures on either side of them. The summits of the temple were so heavily gilded as to look like solid gold, so also were two deer about the size of collie dogs, sitting one on each side of a large golden disc, curiously worked, placed on the temple front above the door. On the top of 416 the temple were several of those curious Tibetan ornaments of which I neither know the name nor the purpose. Two looked like very tall, narrow, golden flower-pots, handsomely ornamented; two like sticks with ropes hanging down all round them, girt transversely with white paper bands. Could they possibly be meant for state umbrellas? The cords were black, and looked as if made of hair. The front of the temple was of stone, painted red, but the top of it looked as if it consisted of billets of wood all laid close together, of a dull red-brown. There was a brilliantly painted colonnade, with outside staircase leading at intervals to an upper verandah, all round the courtyard, excepting just where stood the temple; and to its left a specially gaudy house. In front of this latter was again a collection of black hanging ropes, and on the top of this a human skull!

While I was noticing all these details, Lamas all in crimson, each with the right arm bare, continued to troop into the courtyard and into the verandah above, from which at first they looked down, making eyes and smiling the Lama's smile upon a woman. But suddenly, as a loud voice, with the tone of authority, became audible in the distance, the smiles vanished, and the Lamas stood round quite expressionless with folded arms. I had just stepped forward to examine more carefully that human skull, startled by the horror of it amidst all the gorgeous colouring around, when the blood rushed to my heart, as there came a sound, and close upon the sound two large 417 Tibetan dogs sprang out through an inner gateway and made straight for me.

It passed through my mind at once, that it was useless to try to quell Tibetan dogs, as one so often quells Chinese dogs. I remembered that they are said never to let go, and I knew now at once that voice in authority had been ordering the dogs to be loosed. Sick with terror, I yet thrust the iron point of my alpenstock into the jaws of the foremost dog; but the fierce creature, although with such tremendous leverage against it, tore it from my grasp, and shook the long stick in its teeth as if it had been a straw. My husband sprang forward to the rescue, though still holding our own little dog in his arms. One of our coolies, a really brave, strong ex-soldier, followed him, and together the two managed somehow to beat off the dogs, and then we all ran for it. My recollection is that to the last not a Lama—and there must have been at least forty of them standing round, all draped in crimson—moved a muscle even of his countenance. We had bowed politely on entering, and asked leave; but we did not bow as we came away thus hurriedly to the sound of more and more dogs baying in the distance.

There were shrines full of little clay pyramids covered with images of Buddha; there were more and finer prayer-slates by the principal entrance, by which we came out. But whether the Lamas ever pray, God knows, I don't!

As we passed back into the town again, from the 418 shop from which a handsome woman, beautifully bejewelled, had gone out that morning with her handmaid to do her own washing in the pure glacier stream, we heard a jolly laugh ring out from the same jovial Lama we had left there talking to my handsome friend as we passed out.

The Roman Catholic priests here say that the people believe in nothing except their Lamas, and we feel a little inclined to think, if they believe in them, it is no wonder that they believe in nothing else. Whatever any one may think of missions in China—and I am grieved as well as greatly surprised to find how little interest people generally take in them—every one must wish well to missionaries to Tibet; for the priesthood must have an extraordinarily paralysing effect, that this physically gifted people, still with princes of their own, should have sunk under Chinese control, in spite of the impregnable natural fastnesses of their mountains, and the defence established by their climate. Whilst we were there, in September, the thermometer varied from 56° to 60°, but the winds blew so keenly off the glaciers that many people were wearing heavy furs, and the price of them had already gone up.

Buying, indeed, we found most exhausting work at Tachienlu. At home, when one feels like buying, one goes to the shops; but the people who have anything to sell drop in at Tachienlu from early morning till late, late at night, merry rosy little maidens with a keen eye to business, or wonderfully withered old crones. They ask any price at first; then just as 419 they are going away say quietly, "What would you like to give?" after which they stand out by the hour for an additional half-rupee for themselves, to give which a rupee has to be carefully cut in two. An aged chieftain, with a most beautiful prayer-wheel and rosary, both of which, he says, are heirlooms and cannot be sold, brings a beautifully embroidered red leather saddle-cloth for sale; while a Tibetan from the interior brings first a Lama's bell, then cymbals, then woollen clothes of soft, rich colours, and little serving-maids appear with cast-off clothes, expecting us to buy them all. It is interesting to notice how very fashionable is a Tibetan lady's dress—a sleeveless gown, that opens down the front like a tea-gown, a skirt with box pleats so tiny and so near together as to be almost on the top of one another, carefully fastened down so as to lie quite flat, and lined at the bottom with a broad false hem of coarse linen, so as to avoid unnecessary weight. Yet even as it is, the weight of this silk skirt is prodigious. Over this is worn a jacket, and over this an apron girt round rather below the waist with a variety of girdles. But it is hard to say what a Tibetan girl really does wear, for the seventeen-year-old daughter of the inn, finding herself rather coming to pieces, began rectifying her toilette in my presence, and I lost count of the garment below garment that appeared in the process, all girdled rather below the waist. The finish of the toilette, even in ordinary life, seems to be an unlimited supply of jewellery and dirt, the finger-nails, besides being deeply 420 grimed, being also tinged with red. The men wear turquoises in their hair, and often one gigantic earring, besides rosaries and big amulet-cases. And the general effect is so brilliant one rather loses sight of the dirt. But indeed, after travelling through China, it would be difficult to be much struck by dirt anywhere.

It is very trying that they have such a very quick perception of a camera. I have spent hours with a detective half hidden behind a pile of woollens at our window, and tried every expedient. But they are said to think the photographer gets their soul from them, and then has two to enjoy, whilst they themselves are left soulless. At last, however, after a great deal of coaxing, six Tibetan women stood up in a row, encouraged to do so by the elder daughter of the inn, who is married—though probably after the Tibetan fashion—to a rich Yunnan merchant, who occupied one wing of the courtyard, filling it with beautiful wild men, but himself absorbed in his opium-pipe. I was afraid to place them, or do anything beyond asking the aged chieftain to leave off turning his prayer-wheel for the one second while I took them, although I longed to arrange them a little, and was disappointed that the daughter of the inn had not put on any of the grand clothes and jewellery she had exhibited to me.

The last day or two the yaks were coming into town in droves to fetch the brick tea away. All those we saw were black, although the yaks' tails for sale were white. They were rather like Highland cattle 421 for size, and seemed very quiet, although looking so fierce, with long bushy manes and tails, and long shaggy hair down their front legs. The last day we were at Tachienlu we got a perfectly clear view of the snowy mountains and glacier to the south, as we stood outside the north gate beyond the magnificent alders there. All that day we rode down the narrow granite defile that leads up from the Tung, and then we heard it really would be possible to cross the river and see the Tibetan villages on its left bank, if we could walk for two miles higher up to where there was a boat.

My husband was suffering from neuralgia, but he very heroically consented to my going without him, a proceeding which our Chinese servant so highly condemned, that he became almost violent before I started early next day with all four of the yamen runners, sent by the Chinese Government to protect us, and one of our soldier coolies to protect me from the yamen runners. As the Tung would not be passable again till we reached the city of the great chain bridge, I had thus a long day to look forward to through unknown country; and knowing how the Tibetans feel about photography, there was a certain amount of anxiety about the proceeding. But what a disappointment awaited me! We walked the longest two miles ever human being walked, till we came to the place where the boat was on the other side of the river. The coolie had run on ahead to hail it. But in spite of his shouting no one moved in the village opposite. We had been warned that nothing would induce the 422 people to come across with the boat till they had breakfasted, so we sat down and waited.

We saw a man and boy come out to till the ground. The boy lay on his back, and looked at us and sang to himself. All four yamen runners shouted, and waved strings of cash. A shepherd came out with a herd of goats, another with cows and goats. We judged by the smoke that breakfasts were preparing. We even saw one man come out upon his flat roof with what we decided to be an after-breakfast pipe. We thought he must come now. Yes! Surely there was some one coming to the boat! No, it was a man with a basket on his back, evidently wanting to cross to our side. He sat down and waited. Presently another man came out and sat down beside him. They became quite happy, those two—setting to at once in what probably is a never-ending occupation for them, hunting 'mid their rags for vermin! Two other moving bundles of rags came slowly down and joined them—one apparently a man, the other looking rather like a woman. They also sat and hunted! At last the boy moved; he went to the village, we thought, to call some one. Our hopes rose. All my men shouted together. A man came to the water's edge! Another! They looked at us. They looked at the boat. They felt the boat, but they did not push it into the water; and they went away. We were in despair. We made feints of going, and then came back again. At last there was nothing for it but to go really. The beggars in their rags on the other side got uneasy then. They 423 even shouted to us, begging us to stop; but it was of no use. Hours afterwards, as we coasted a granite headland, we saw that boat still high and dry. I would so gladly have risked my life in it.

But now, besides retracing our long two miles—now under a burning sun—we had twenty-two miles to get over in order to join the rest of our party and get shelter for the night. It was a comfort to find some more coolies with lanterns sent to meet us before we had to cross the chain bridge, for there are often planks missing in it and others with great holes in them. We went across in a phalanx. I held on to the coolie on my left, he reached an arm out to secure the man with the light, and the coolie on my other side supported my elbow. It seemed we got on best when we all went in step together, although I should not have thought so. On arriving, we found that, when our carrying coolies had crossed, some yamen runners had attacked them, and in the scuffle that ensued the fur coat of the coolie, who had gone with me, had been stolen out of a basket. So my husband was just starting for the yamen to tell the tale. "I know all about it," said the magistrate, "and it is quite true they were yamen runners, who acted very wrongly. You want them punished? Behold!" And the curtain behind him was drawn back, and there were two men with their heads in cangues. But the coolie from whom the coat had been stolen stood up before the magistrate, and stoutly maintained those were not the men. "How could you know in the confusion?" asked the magistrate. "Can you identify 424 the men? If so, and these are not the right ones, I will punish the others also."

So there we were, but not the fur coat! What a comfort it was, though, to rest after that long, hot day! And how luxurious to be carried next day in a sedan-chair along the beautiful banks of the swift-flowing Tung! Then six days' travelling, against time now, along the great brick-tea road, through scenes of varying beauty, among gigantic ferns and waxen begonias nestling into the walls, past long ranges of black-and-white farm-buildings, shadowed by large, beautiful shade-trees; a day and a half on a bamboo raft down the exceedingly pretty but turbulent Ya, with the waves washing up to our knees at all the bad rapids; after which five days down the conjoined rivers Ya, Tung, and Yangtse; and then home in Chungking again, after the most adventurous and by far the most varied and interesting summer outing that it has yet fallen to my lot to make. 425


Porcelain.—Bronzes.—Silver-work.—Pictures.—Architecture.—Tea.—Silk.—White Wax.—Grass cloth.—Ivory Fans.—Embroidery.

Even if I had the knowledge, it would be useless to attempt to write exhaustively of Chinese porcelain in one chapter; but a few shreds of information about it may be new to the general reader. Julien's theory that it was first made between the years 185 B.C. and A.D. 87 is set aside by Dr. Hirth, the greatest living authority upon ancient Chinese porcelain. The latter believes it was first made during the T`ang Dynasty, which lasted to A.D. 907; but there are no specimens of porcelain extant before the Sung Dynasty, which ended in 1259, the majority even then being of the class known as "celadons," which survived owing to their thickness and strength. The prevailing colour of these celadons is green, the colour of jade; and yellow is mentioned as one of the ingredients used for producing this colour. They were mostly made in the south-west of the province of Chekiang, taken by river to the Amoy waters, and thence distributed by Arab traders to Japan, Borneo, Sumatra, the west of Asia, and the east coast of Africa, in which last, curiously enough, large numbers 426 have been discovered. They have been freely imitated at King-teh-chen, the great porcelain factory of China, as well as in Japan; but collectors should, it seems, have no difficulty in distinguishing the genuine articles, from their extreme hardness.

The safest guide to Chinese porcelain is Hsiang-tse-ching, who was collecting and cataloguing it whilst Shakespeare was writing his early poems, and whose richly illustrated catalogue has been translated. The most exquisite Chinese porcelain seems to have perished from its fragility, and the extraordinarily large demands of the Imperial Palace had apparently in old days the same effect European demands are said to have now. When the Palace ordered a hundred thousand pairs of cups or vases—the Chinese always want pairs—naturally the Government factories were obliged to supplement the most expensive and rare colours by others less costly and more simple, whilst the highest order of artistic excellence had to give way to mechanical repetition. Modern collectors get the bulk of their specimens from the dispersion of articles furnished to meet such vast orders; and the Ming porcelain is naturally somewhat coarse in make, faulty in shape, and decorated with paintings which, though characterised by boldness of design, have usually been executed without much care.

The ancient bronzes of China only became an object of interest to Chinese collectors about eight centuries ago. From that date on great attention has been paid to the inscriptions upon ancient vases, and it is very 427 difficult to deceive Chinese archæologists, from their thorough knowledge of their own past history. A vase dating from the Chow Dynasty, and preserved at Silver Island near Chinkiang, has attracted especial attention. A former Viceroy of Kwangtung, Yuen-yuen, writing at the beginning of this century, describes his visit to Silver Island to see this vase. He examined it critically, and described it minutely in his four-volume archæological collection. He studied its colour, shape, and dimensions, and especially the inscriptions of forty characters. He was himself a scholar of the highest attainments, and his judgment in regard to the epoch to which this valuable relic of former ages belongs has been accepted and endorsed by succeeding scholars. The vase was much coveted by the notorious Yen-sung, an unprincipled statesman, who made great efforts to add it to his private collection in Peking in the Ming Dynasty. Yuen-yuen refers to these abortive designs, because, Yen-sung being a good judge of all relics of old times, this is an additional testimony to the genuine antiquity of the vase, and it indicates the deep interest felt in it by the archæologists of the Ming Dynasty. Beside the descriptions of it in the ordinary works which give details on bells and vases generally, monographs have been published on this particular vase showing that the best-informed native scholars are at one in the regard felt for it as genuine.

Twenty years ago the Chin Shih So was published, and this work with its profuse illustrations helped to spread the knowledge both of the new-found Han 428 Dynasty sculptures and of the earlier bronze vessels. Rich men and scholars became sensible of the great pleasure to be derived from archæological research. And this has become a real feature of modern Chinese life. Men of means and leisure visit all celebrated monuments to study them for themselves, and take back with them rubbings to preserve at home. The large demand that there is in China for rubbings of ancient inscriptions is very remarkable. The bells and vases have now, like the stone drums, after much cautious inquiry and no little collision of opinion, secured a place stronger than ever in the judgment of the well informed in the Chinese reading class.

"It was about A.D. 166 that a king of Rome sent an embassy which arrived from the borders of Annam, bringing tribute of ivory, rhinoceros-horn, and tortoise-shell. From that time began the direct intercourse with that country. The fact that no jewels were found among the articles of tribute must be accounted for by the supposition that the ambassadors retained them for themselves." In the following century, the third, Western traders resorted to Canton; so that it appears the Cantonese have been afflicted by the presence of barbarians for no less than sixteen hundred years. Possibly this explains how the Mæander pattern on old Chinese bronzes so resembles the Greek "key" pattern, and why the lions' heads at the approach to the tomb of the first Ming Emperor at Nanking have rings in their mouths, thus exactly resembling the lions' heads so often to be seen on the mahogany cellarettes of our grandfathers, 429 possibly also why the Chinese Buddhist ritual and that of Roman Catholics are so strikingly similar.

According to Dr. Hirth, paper already existed in China in the second century. But to leave these ancient researches and come down to modern times.

It was a real pleasure to me at Kiukiang to see Chinamen hammering away at silver ornaments exactly after the method advocated in Mr. Leland's (Hans Breitmann's) excellent volume in the Art at Home Series, and just as so many amateurs are now making admirable brasswork at home—laying a thin sheet of metal on pitch, and working at the background with a hammer and sharpened nail or punch, thus making the pattern, previously traced out, start into high relief. The more roughly this work is done, the handsomer is its effect; so that it seems better suited for brass sconces for candles or doorplates than for silver hair ornaments. But it was pleasant to find these Chinamen in their little shops provided with a plentiful supply of sharpened nails, together with the familiar punches.

It is not an equal pleasure to study modern Chinese paintings. Centuries have passed since they were what we must imagine from the story of Wu Taotze, the Chinese Giotto, who flourished in the eighth century. It is related that, when he was commanded to paint a landscape upon the walls of the great Hall of Audience at the Palace, he begged that he might work alone and undisturbed. When he announced that all was ready, the Emperor and the Court, on entering, found the artist standing alone in front of a great curtain. 430 "As the folds of drapery rolled away, a marvellous and living scene was spread out before the amazed spectators,—a vast perspective of glade and forest, hill and valley, with peaceful lakes and winding streams, stretching away to a far horizon closed in by azure mountain-peaks; and in a wild, rocky foreground, in the very front of the picture, stood a grotto, its entrance closed by a gateway. 'All this, sire, is as naught,' said the painter, 'to that which is concealed from mortal gaze within.' Then at a sign the gate opened, and he passed through, beckoning his royal master. But in a moment, before the entranced Emperor could move a step, the whole eerie prospect faded away, leaving the blank and solid wall. And Wu Taotze was never seen again."

"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard——" The pictures that never were painted, the poems that never were written!—the Chinese thought it all out long ago, how those that were only imagined were the best. And yet we think them a people without sentiment or artistic sensibility—we, with our fairest scenes disfigured by coarse advertisements, every silken detail in our theatres given us by Mr. So-and-so, only the acting left out.

By Mrs. Archibald Little

The glorious white falcon attributed to the Emperor Hui Tsung at the beginning of the twelfth century and the exquisite pictures of flowers and birds to be seen at the British Museum show whence the Japanese borrowed their art inspiration; but in China, its birthplace, it is wanting now, though probably in 433 many rich official residences glorious specimens are still to be found such as I have myself been delighted by in Japan, where alone and at the British Museum I have seen Chinese masterpieces of painting. Before Giotto was born the Chinese were painting living human figures such as they cannot paint now. It is, however, true that in Chungking, the only Chinese city I know really well, there is to this day an artist who paints flowers as a connoisseur, the head of an English technical school, pronounced only one man in England could. And how does this poor artist sell his pictures? Of course, it will never be believed in England that he is an artist at all, when I tell the sad truth—he sells them by the square foot! And when you decide to buy a picture, he—measures it!

The popularly received opinion is that there is no architecture in China. Houses and temples alike are built with wooden pillars, raised off the ground upon stone bases. The roofs are placed upon the pillars, and only when the roofs are finished are the walls built up like screens. The proportions often strike me as very beautiful; and the cunningly contrived perspectives add much to their dignity. But, as in Japan, whilst moved to admiration by the approach, one often has a disappointed feeling of not arriving at anything in the end. At the same time, the conception of a Chinese house, like the design of Peking, strikes me as very lordly; the courtyards are extremely graceful and elegant, whilst the beautiful sweep of the roofs makes European roofs painfully mean by comparison. Indeed, a European 434 house now usually gives me the same effect as a face would divested of eye-lashes. The Chinese roofs in the west of China and at Peking are, however, far more beautiful than those generally to be seen along the east coast.

To turn to Chinese industries. When tea was first discovered, all sorts of medicinal properties were attributed to it. It is to be hoped the virtue lay rather, as we are told now it does with whisky-and-water, in the hot water; for if not, what does the poor Tibetan get out of the £150,000 he is said to spend on tea at Tachienlu, the frontier city—for 65 per cent. of wild scrub leaves, scrub oak, etc., are said to be mixed up in the brick tea he receives? And the cost of the tea in the Tachienlu market is nearly doubled before the Tibetan receives it at Batang; at Lassa it has quadrupled its price. It is only for the last four centuries the Tibetans have had silver to exchange for tea; till then it was exchanged for horses, a good horse being valued at 240 lb. of tea. Even to this day the tea trade is much too limited for the four million of Tibetans; and the many thousand Tibetans who cannot afford tea use oak bark instead, astringency being the quality they desire to relieve them from headache and excessive meat-eating. The tea trade with Russia still thrives; but that with Europe has been killed by the much more carefully grown and prepared tea of Ceylon and India—though melancholy experience must ere long teach people that this tea has altogether other and more undesirable properties than the soothing, refreshing beverage of China. 435


It is, however, no wonder that the China tea trade has languished. Home industries are universal in China, and each peasant who farms a bit of land grows his tea, picks it and dries it, according to his own ideas. To introduce any improvement it would be therefore necessary to educate the great mass of peasant cultivators. European tea-buyers' exhortations have so far proved fruitless; and it is distressing to see the utter want of care with which the tea-plant, with its glossy green leaves and delicate white blossom, is treated, compared with the untiring labour expended upon the poisonous poppy-plant. The latter is carefully weeded, planted in regular lines, with the earth mounded round its roots, and presents an appearance of the 436 most perfect vigorous health, with its erect stalk over five feet high, its blue-green leaves, and beautiful blossoms. Sometimes it stands out brilliant crimson against a transcendently blue sky, making the eyes ache with the gorgeous colour contrast; at others it is white, delicately fringed and pink-tipped, or pink, or scarlet, or scarlet and black, or with the purple of the purple iris, or oftenest of all—and perhaps, after all, most beautiful—white of that frail fair whiteness that makes it impossible to think of crime or vice as connected with it—impossible even to believe in the existence of so foul a weed as vice being able to exist in a world that produces so frail and pure a flower, able to stand upright in the full heat of a China noonday sun and remain unwilted. The tea-shrubs, on the other hand, are old and gnarled, planted irregularly just anywhere, and never by any chance weeded. The same want of care is shown in the drying of the young leaves, picked just as they are opening out off their young shoots. At the same time, if Scotland would take to China tea, there would not be so many cases of tea-poisoning as there now are in Glasgow; but the beverage is a mild one, that must seem tasteless to whisky-drinkers. It has the further apparent disadvantage that an equal amount of leaf will not make anything like the same strength of decoction that Indian tea will.

China silk is also in a bad way; but, indeed, all over the world now it seems difficult to get healthy silkworm eggs. To turn, however, to an especially 437 Chinese industry, and one which still seems to me even, after seeing it, to border on the marvellous—the white or vegetable wax of China. The processes essential to its use began about six centuries ago. The tree which produces the white wax insect grows in the Chienchang valley, on the far or western side of the unconquered Lolos, a valley about five thousand feet above the level of the sea. The Kew authorities pronounce that this tree is the Ligustrum lucidum, or large-leaved privet, an evergreen with very thick dark-green glossy foliage, bearing clusters of white flowers in May and June, succeeded afterwards by fruit of a dark-purple colour. In March brown excrescences become visible, attached to the branches; and if these be opened, a crowd of minute insects, looking like flour, will be discovered. Two or three months later these develop into a brown insect with six legs. And as the Chinese have discovered that these insects would not continue to flourish on the trees, their birthplace, they make them up into paper packets of about sixteen ounces each; and porters, each carrying sixty of these packets, hurry by night along the dangerous mountain paths to Kiating, a city about two hundred miles to north and east, and place them there on severely pollarded trees of the Fraxinus chinensis. It is this flight by night that has always fascinated my imagination, even before I traversed the successive high mountain passes, descending into the valleys over-grown by ferns and lit up every here and there by waxy clusters of the beautiful begonia flower that 438 there flourishes as a wallflower. But it would be impossible to carry the insects through the noonday heat, as it would develop them too fast. Therefore, at the season of the carriage of the insect, all the city gates along the route have to be left open at night to facilitate the passage of the army of running porters. And to think of the rough, rocky ascents and descents those poor porters have to stumble along! The packages of insects are each wrapped in a leaf of the wood-oil tree; rice straw is used to suspend the packet under the branches of the ash-tree; rough holes are drilled in the leaf with a blunt needle, so that the insects may find their way out; and they creep rapidly up to the leaves of the ash-tree, where they nestle for about thirteen days. They then descend to the branches, and the females begin to develop scales on which to deposit their eggs, and the males to excrete what looks like snow as it coats the under side of the boughs and twigs, till at the end of three months it is a quarter of an inch thick. The branches are then lopped off, and the wax removed, chiefly by hand, and placed in an iron pot of boiling water, where it rises to the surface, is skimmed off, and deposited in a rough mould. This is then the extraordinary hard white wax of commerce, used to coat the ordinary tallow candles, and give the tallow greater consistence, thus enabling the Chinese to carry tallow candles about in the paper lanterns that supply still the place of lamps, gas, and electric lighting for the greater part of China. It is used also to size 439 paper and cotton goods, as furniture polish, and to impart a gloss to silk.


There is a tribute of white wax sent every year to Peking; and to see it going down-river in native junks, or being trans-shipped from that more romantic mode of travel into an ordinary steamer, has a certain fascination for me: but the real romance about the white wax is that hurried midnight journey across the Szechuan mountains before it has ever come into the world at all. And it rather spoils the interest than 440 otherwise to be told such dry facts as that from Hankow every year fifteen thousand piculs of white vegetable wax are exported, Chinkiang, Tientsin, Canton, and Swatow each requiring one thousand piculs, Shanghai absorbing seven thousand, and exporting four thousand more to other places. But any one who has been benighted on a lonely hillside or on the banks of some unknown river knows the transport of delight with which a light in the distance is recognised. With what joy one gradually convinces oneself it is coming towards one, and in the end has to restrain oneself from embracing the always sympathetically joyful lantern-bearer; and so in those twinkling lights along little-trodden paths, or in scattered Chinese homesteads of many curves and courtyards, once more the romance attaching to the white wax reasserts itself.

Grass-cloth is another very interesting Chinese industry. It is produced from a nettle, and with large wooden things like butter-pats and a rough bamboo thumb-protector the women beat out the fibre on the threshing- or drying-floor in front of the farmsteads. I often wonder grass-cloth is not more common in England. Perhaps it lasts too long to pay to import. It is very cool, and like a glossy kind of linen, but far more durable. Cotton goods are made at home. They do not crease as our cottons do; they let the air through like cellular goods, and are therefore very wholesome wear in summer; and they last for ever.

Ningpo carvings, fanciful and rich, but in rather perishable wood, Canton ivory carvings, and silks 441 generally, are too well known to need description. Only, till I went to China, I had no idea new patterns of silks came out nearly every year even in that most conservative country, and are much sought after. Fans are recorded as having been used to keep the dust from the wheels of the chariots as far back as the Chow Dynasty, 1106 B.C. Ivory fans were invented by the Chinese 991 B.C.; but it was not till the fifteenth century the folding-fan, long before invented by the Japanese, found its way into China. In the west of China it is, however, still not etiquette to carry such a fan to a party; for it looks as if you had no servant to stand behind your chair and hold it for you when you do not want it. The Chinese ivory fans are carved all over right through till the whole looks like lace, the part not taken up by the design being very delicately cut in short perpendicular lines.

But probably the art and industry carried to the greatest perfection in China is that of embroidery. English people do not appreciate what Chinese embroideries really are, because such a quantity of work is done by men working at frames, and merely for so much a day. The best has always been done by ladies, working at home, and putting all the fancy of a lifetime into a portière, or bed-hanging. One of the most fairylike pieces of embroidery I have ever seen was mosquito-curtains worked all over with clusters of wistaria for either the Emperor or Empress, and somehow or other bought, before being used, out of the Imperial Palace by a European collector. The 442 rich yet delicate work upon the very fine silky material made these mosquito-curtains a thing to haunt the dreams of all one's after-life.

Whilst, however, the handiwork of the Chinese appears to me unsurpassed, and their colour arrangements in old days, before the introduction from Europe of aniline dyes, are much more agreeable to me than those of Japan, there seems to be nothing to satisfy the soul in Chinese artistic work, which gratifies the senses, but appeals to none of the higher part of man. I should, however, say quite the same of that of Japan, which got all its art originally from China, and has never, I think, quite arrived at the ancient dignity of Chinese art, although at the present day Japan's artistic work is certainly far more graceful and pleasing.

One day in the neighbourhood of Shanghai we walked along a path where, marvellous for China, two people could walk abreast, and, crossing a variety of creeks in a variety of ways, came upon the ruins of a camp, finally reaching two tall chimneys, a landmark in the scene. Our puzzle was what fuel they could possibly find to burn inside those tall chimneys. It turned out to be rice husks. A man sat on the ground, and with one hand worked a bellows, thus making forced draught, while with the other he threw on a tiny handful of rice husks, not enough to choke the bright flame roused by the draught. Another man weighed out crushed cotton seeds into a little basket, emptied them into a vessel on the fire till it just boiled, then 443 emptied them again into another vessel—if you can call it such—a sort of frame of split bamboo twisted, kneaded it, all hot as it was, with his feet, and then piled it up ready to be pressed, always with a bit of basket-work flattening it on the top. We waited to see the cakes pressed. They were like cheeses, each with their twisted bamboo rings round them. When as many as could be were fitted into the trough, then by putting in wedges the bulk was reduced to rather less than half what it at first appeared, during which time a constant stream of oil was flowing through the trough. A man hammered the wedges, towards the end using a stone hammer so heavy I could only just lift it. It was rather amusing to see the politeness of these men. One of them wanted to smoke. But before doing so he offered his pipe both to my husband and to myself, quite with the air of expecting his offer to be accepted. I had an ulster, and they all admired the material of it very much, saying each in turn they were quite sure it was pi chi (long ells). There were buffaloes crushing the cotton seeds, walking round and round with basket-work blinkers over their poor eyes. Curiously enough, the heavy millstones they wheeled round, all of hardest granite as they were, yet were decorated with carvings. One had the key pattern, or a slightly different scroll; also characters, very carefully carved, to the effect that it was the fairy carriage and the dragon's wheel.

It seemed strange to come upon this touch of æstheticism in this very homely sort of factory, whose 444 whole plant must have cost so very little, and which was in consequence, though so well adapted for its purpose, yet so simple that it might well serve as an illustration for an elementary primer in mechanics. Indeed, this factory at home, and in the fresh air, was the very ideal Ruskin writes about, and that the Village Industries Society at home has lately been formed to realise, if yet it may be, in England. It has been realised during long centuries in China, and yet the millennium has not arrived.

We went back through a long, crowded, flourishing street. At an open doorway there were young priests sitting inside, chanting. They had musical instruments and gongs. A man behind a table was very busy stamping envelopes such as Chinese officials use, very large and covered with characters. He was good enough to pause, and show us the letters these envelopes were to contain, very long and beautifully written, and most neatly and cunningly folded. There was some one very ill in the house, and these letters were addressed to heaven, describing circumstantially his sad case. They were presently to be burnt, and thus delivered. The lanterns with which this house was decorated were blue for semi-mourning. Only a few doors farther off, curiously enough, we came upon a wedding. The doors stood wide open, and we saw a long vista of courtyards and ting-tzes, all with open doors, and at the end what I fancied were a number of smartly dressed servants standing. There was a band in the first courtyard, with the quaint, pretty-looking instruments 445 of crocodile-skin which I had before so much admired in Shanghai Chinese city. Every one seemed so obliging, I asked to look inside the wedding-chair. It was remarkably smart, really beautifully embroidered all over outside. But, to my intense disgust, the cushion on which the bride was to sit was an old common red cushion, worn at the corners, and actually dirty, and the inside of the chair had not even been swept out. 446



He was only six months old when we first knew him, with long silky ears, and a little head covered with delicate yellow down, undeveloped puppy body, but a grand white chest, and black muzzle; he had fine long moustachios and long black eyelashes, from between which looked out engaging lustrous eyes of a singularly intelligent expression. He weighed just about three pounds at his utmost; and when he stretched himself to his greatest length, he was only a hand and a half long. But his port and his attitudes were those of a lion, or, when engaged in worrying a piece of cord dangled invitingly before him, for all the world just like those of a Chinese monster, only in miniature. In some ways he was like a kitten rather than a puppy, so graceful and gentle in his movements, with long claws, too, at the tips of his little feathery feet, and a way of purring when he was pleased. He made many little plaintive sounds, as if he were talking to himself; and sometimes it almost seemed as if he were talking to other people too, so articulate were they. His tail was his weak point—it 447 was too long. But some people said, that as he grew older it would curl up and look shorter. We do not know if this would have been so, nor whether his body might have developed into being too long or too thin, or something. In size he was like a puppy, and his head and chest were lovely. It was very difficult to avoid treading upon him, he was so small and noiseless in his movements. So he wore three little rattles round his throat, for he was too small to wear real Peking bells. And it was extraordinary the genius the little creature had for crying out before he was hurt, and as if he had been half killed too. But no one ever saw little Shing-erh—Little Apricot, as he was called, from his colour—put out, or angry about being hurt. He was always pleased, always full of life, ready to fall off fast asleep, or spring up wide awake, without a moment's notice, and never afraid of any person or thing.

Property of Mrs. Claude Rees

When bought of a Chinaman in the streets of Peking, he showed no distrust, but nestled at once into European arms, went home in them, and growled when strangers approached his master's door, or sprang up delighted to welcome his master himself. He was carried about in a coat pocket, or sat in an office drawer, gravely watching the writing of manifests by the hour together; 448 or at times trotted gaily through the streets, ever and anon stopping to sniff out some to him perfectly delicious bit of nastiness. Who so delighted as little Shing-erh, when he found out he could actually run up the stairs to the dining-room? And from that moment he was always fancying it luncheon-time or dinner-time; for there was no doubt of one thing—the little sleeve-dog did enjoy being fed. He enjoyed caresses also. If he would not come when he was called, there was always one way to secure his attention, and that was to pet Wong, our other dog, a Shantung pug, about five times Shing-erh's size. Then the little one would come at once. Poor Wong! He had been used to being called 'Little Wong,' and treated accordingly, and at first he growled, and even bit the new-comer. After that he looked heartbroken for a day or two, went home by himself when taken out walking, and resisted all the little one's efforts to draw him into a game of romps, till an idea struck him, and he began to jump on to sofas and armchairs; for did he not see the little one on them made much of? Once he even jumped right up into my lap, and tried to nestle there. And he tried to bite bits of cord, or our hands. But his teeth were very different from the tender milk-teeth of the little sleeve-dog, who could not bite any one if he tried. So these advances of his had to be summarily repelled. And gradually, though somewhat sadly, Wong reconciled himself to the situation; submitted to everyone's offering the little one crumbs of delicacy, while he sat up on his hind legs unnoticed, although chin-chinning beautifully 449 with his two front paws; submitted when the little one bit his ears, or flew at his eyes, or pulled his tail, in order to attract his attention; and even condescended to be played with occasionally.

It was a great affair taking little Shing-erh out; for he found the world so full of interest, and would look round with intelligent eyes, wagging his tail, as much as to say, "All right! but look what a delightful place I find myself in." It was impossible to be angry with him, though it made progress through the streets very slow at times. Then when one took him up and carried him as a sort of punishment—for he did dearly love to run—he would look so grave and serious, one longed to see him frolicking once more. The only way was to walk very fast; then the four little feet would go galloping along, the tiny puppy bent on showing he could run as fast as other people. He was never afraid of any dog, but quite big dogs used to run away from him, he was so lionlike in his advances; and when he went to pay a visit to any other dog, he always first drove his host into a corner with his tail between his legs. Then only would the little one make up to him, and gradually they would have a game of romps together. But just because we were so fond of him he was a great anxiety; for any Chinaman could put him up his sleeve and run away with him quite easily. And every one took a fancy to him; though not every one, like two sweet little children, asked first if they might carry him, next if they might kiss puppy-dog, and finally if they might exchange a baby-sister of the same age for him. 450

One day, holding him up for a child to stroke, I noticed that the little one's breath, till then always so sweet, smelt a little. It had been very cold coming up-river in the winter weather, and it was still colder going on, damp and raw; and we hardly knew how to keep ourselves warm, much less the little puppy-dog. So it seemed hard to prevent him from lying close to the stove; but possibly it was that which made him ill. Or it may have been the little bones people gave him on the steamers. Every one used to ask deferentially, "May I give the little dog this? There is no meat on it." But there was a little meat sometimes, and all the while there was poor Wong begging unnoticed. But, then, Wong was very particular what he ate—he liked some things, disliked others; while as to little Shing-erh, we never found out what he did not like to eat whilst he was well. But now we noticed he no longer cared to play. He would take a run outside for a little while, he dearly loved to forage under the dinner-table, and pick up stray crumbs; otherwise he wanted always to be nursed, making little cooing sounds of satisfaction as he curled himself up on one's lap, his little feathery head and long ears showing off to great advantage as he did so. He was learning to sit up like Wong and beg too, and even did so sometimes without anything to lean his feeble puppy back against; and he had almost learnt to give a paw when asked. We used to talk of all we were going to teach him, believing firmly that nothing was beyond our puppy's capacity. We used to think how pleasant it would be 451 when our new house was built and the garden laid out, and the little one could run freely about in it without anxiety as to his being stolen. But from the day we arrived up-country, it became increasingly evident that something was amiss with our tiny dog. He could not eat biscuit soaked in milk, his regular food whilst in Shanghai. He refused rice, unless fish were mixed with it. He showed himself ravenous for fish. Perhaps it would have been wiser to have been guided by the little creature's preferences. But bones and meat were always very attractive to him, and they could hardly have been the best food. He did not want to run after the first few days, sitting down upon his haunches, looking very serious when set down. How the country people admired him, when we carried him about, calling him, "Little sleeve-dog," "Cat-dog," "Little lion," and asking leave to stroke him, or stroking him without leave. "He comes from Peking," they would say; and they looked at him with pride and pleasure.

Property of Mr. George Brown, H.B.M. Consul.


At last a day came when we despaired of his life. A Chinaman said, "Let me take him, and nurse him. I think I can cure him. You see, he is a Chinese dog, and you do not understand how to treat him. I can be with him all the while." So from our great love for him we let him go in his little quilted basket, with his quilted coverlet of gay patchwork, and little red pillow made expressly for himself, because he was so fond of making a pillow of an arm or a hand.

But in an hour or two he was brought back. He had thrown in his lot with Europeans, and the little Chinese dog would not eat from the hands of strange Chinamen, nor do anything they wished. His eyes were already glazed, and he seemed already half dead when he was brought back. So because all seemed over, and as if it did not matter what we did now, we held him quite close to the stove and poured port-wine down his throat. The little glazed eyes became limpid once more, and he looked up, content to be with us. Then I sat with him on my lap, thinking still of him as dead, and only waiting for the end. But the little dog rallied so, that that night, when taken upstairs, he struggled out of his basket on to the bed, where he had always loved best to sleep. He liked to lie there, with his little black-and-tan head looking so droll on the white pillow. Put down on the floor, for fear he should fall off—for, alas! his little legs gave way under him, and he tottered once as he tried to cross the bed—he actually ran about the room, till he found the water-jug, stood up on his hind 453 legs, and deliberately dipped his pretty head into it and drank.

Perhaps that draught injured him, for the Chinese declared cold water must be fatal to him. Anyway, after that his rallying power appeared to have abandoned him. But even then he still used to look up and listen with great intensity when he heard his master's step upon the stair, recognising that to the very last. But though he lingered on all the next day and night, and on into the next morning, he was always growing weaker, till at last he could not swallow the spoonfuls we gave him every two hours. Once or twice he had fits of barking; but as he lay quite still and barked, we hoped he was quite happy, thinking he was fighting and vanquishing some other dog rather than suffering pain. Yet after such long drawn out dying it was a relief in the end when on the twelfth day up-country we saw the little thing lie quite still and stiff; though, as we looked at the graceful little head curled round with its two silky ears, our eyes filled with tears, and we felt almost as if we had lost a child.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

The little dog had been of no use, and required much looking after; yet he had endeared himself to all who knew him. His dainty ways, his bright good humour, and intense pleasure in the society of his friends perhaps accounted for this. And yet our hearts smote us as, after the little one was taken from us, and we stooped to caress poor faithful Wong with a warmth to which of late he had been unaccustomed, the honest creature sprang on to the seat beside me with extraordinary 454 effusiveness, and began leaping about and catching at our hands with the exuberance of long-repressed affection. Next night, though provided with a beautiful kennel full of straw downstairs, Wong slept out in the cold and rain in the courtyard outside our door, as he had been used to do in the old days. We tried to pet him, and make up for our loss by being additionally kind to all other dogs we saw. But when I see the pencil I once gave Shing-erh to gnaw, with all the marks of his little teeth, or his little rattles, the aching comes again to my heart, thinking of what 455 might have been, and how if we had known better we might perhaps have preserved the life of the pretty pet, who so implicitly trusted and relied upon us.

As the intensest feelings ever become less intense if spoken about, so that in all ages the greatest danger has been for teachers of religious faith lest they should themselves cease to feel whilst infusing faith in others, so I have sought to take the edge off my grief by writing some account of little Shing-erh, aged twelve months when he died. Anyhow, whenever we leave China behind us, there will be a tenderer feeling in our hearts whilst thinking of the blue-gowned race, because of this little creature born and bred amongst Chinamen, and yet so engaging, so fastidious in all his ways, and so entirely without any fear.

Since then Wong is dead; and Jack, our faithful friend, and constant companion during nine years of travel, a beautiful long-haired terrier from Shantung, he too lies in a little grave, though his lustrous, intelligent eyes haunt me still. Let no one lightly enter on a Chinese dog as companion; they make themselves too much beloved, become too completely members of the family. Even Nigger, the black Chow dog that my husband kept before our marriage, and whose greeting he looked forward to all the long voyage out to China—even Nigger seems like a living personality to me, and I can hardly believe I never saw him. Beloved dogs, companions of a life too solitary, because amongst an uncompanionable race, Requiescant in pace! Good-bye, Shing-erh! good-bye, Jack! Others may, 456 but I can never look upon your like again. There must be some subtle unnoticed quality in the Chinaman to breed such dogs; and the sweet little Szechuan ponies, miniature race-horses in form, and almost human in their intelligence, are fitting companions for the dogs, and doglike in their faithful, cheerful friendliness.





Part I.—Getting to Peking.

House-boat on the Peiho.—Tientsin.—Chefoo.—A Peking Cart.—Camels.—British Embassy.—Walking on the Walls.—Beautiful Perspectives.

It was in 1888 we first arrived in Peking, and we felt at once convinced that, whatever wonders it might have to offer, nothing—no! nothing could surpass the wonder of the journey. And when it is considered that every high official throughout the empire had to travel this same way in order to be confirmed in each appointment, the wonder of it is enhanced. From Tientsin you could always ride to Peking, if you were strong enough. Sir Harry Parkes did it in the day, the year before he died. But if not equal to riding eighty miles at a stretch, or eighty miles relieved (?) by nights at Chinese inns, you had in 1888 to travel the way we did, taking boat up the Peiho as far as Tungchow.

We left Tientsin at two o'clock on Thursday, and reached Tungchow at 9 p.m. on Sunday, having been very lucky, as it appeared. We had a south-west 458 wind all Friday, spinning us along certain reaches of the ever wriggling, rather than winding Peiho. Along the reverse reaches the men had to tow or pole us. On Saturday the wind was so high that we had to lie to in the middle of the day, the men being unable to make any way against it by towing. And we only made a very few miles that day. In the afternoon it rained, and was altogether cheerless. But on Sunday we had a fine westerly wind blowing us on. Although a river, the Peiho in this part of its course is decidedly more canal-like and uninteresting than the English canal down which I had had some thought of travelling the year before, till I decided it would be too tedious. But after all there is a charm about this exceedingly slow method of progression. The world does not really stand still with you, but you feel as if it did. You get interested in the boats you pass and meet; some coming down stream, laden with plants in pots—two dwarf orange-trees, with oranges on them, I saw once—or bringing down straw braid, or taking up brick tea—such quantities of brick tea, which had, I suppose, come all the way down the Yangtse from poor water-beleaguered Hankow of the willow avenues and ravening mosquitoes, and round farther by sea from Shanghai to Tientsin, and whose progress on strings and strings of dignified camels Siberiawards we subsequently saw. What brick tea costs in the original instance I do not know. But when I think of the labour expended on its transport I feel it ought to be precious indeed to the Siberians. 461


Every now and then we got out and walked along the banks, looking backwards at the long zigzagging procession of boats behind us, each with one large sail, or at times each with a bare mast, looking like a long line of telegraph-poles. And beside us was the line of real telegraph-poles, forerunners of the coming railway that has since been opened; and we knew that the foreigners who would approach Peking in the old historic manner were already numbered. For there will be nothing to tempt people to provide themselves with all the necessaries of life for a three or four days' trip, now that the railroad is open and you can book direct. There is nothing to be seen upon the road that cannot be seen as well elsewhere,—mudbanks, sandhills, millet- and sorghum-fields with poor crops, fairly nice trees, fences gay with convolvulus flowers, mud houses, mud roofs, and level mudbanks crowded with all the disreputable refuse of a poor Chinese village; then wood-cutters (one or two substantial coffins stood out prominently alongside of them; wood seems too precious for anything but coffins in those parts), a mule and a pony ploughing, or a donkey or an ox, never a pair of animals of the same kind. All these one looks at with a pleasant interest as one saunters or floats by. But you can see them elsewhere; or you can never see them, and yet be none the worse for the miss.

It is true that by the old method you could shut yourself into the boat cabin, and study colloquial Chinese according to Sir Thomas Wade, or write letters 462 home to say how you were enjoying yourself, or drink tea, or smoke, just as your previous way of life disposed you to act, there being no restraining influence further than the size of the cabin. A native boat is not quite as luxurious as a Shanghai house-boat, though it is well enough, except in the matter of its being impossible to open the cabin door from the inside. So that when we were shut in, I always thought how, if the boat should heel over, we should be drowned inside like mice in a trap. Another exception must be made—not in favour of the cracks which grow portentously larger, as the boards shrink with the increasing dryness of the air, and which must let in an inordinate draught in winter, when the air is more cold than kindly. Even towards the end of September we found it hard enough to keep warm at night. We had two cabins, but one was pretty well all bedstead, being a raised ottoman sort of a place, under which boxes could be put, and on which mattresses were laid. We had to provide ourselves with everything we wanted, even to a cooking-stove. But then we paid only nine and a half dollars for our boat, including drink money. This at the then rate of exchange was under thirty shillings. The men fed themselves. So did we. It is tiresome that, travelling in China, nothing is to be bought by the way, beyond chickens and eggs, and sweet potatoes (delicious!) and cabbage (horrible!). It is tiresome, also, that the makers of tinned things do not put dates upon their tins; therefore in the outports—which Shanghai fine ladies always pronounce as if they were 463 only peopled by "outcasts"—people have to put up with the tinned milk that somehow did not sell at Shanghai. It is a pity that the local representatives of the Army and Navy Stores do not see to this, and put dates on their tins. It would be well worth the "outcasts'" while to pay extra for recently tinned butter and milk, if they could rely upon the dates. As it was, our milk was very nearly butter, though it could not quite be used for that, and it certainly was not milk.

The Concession at Tientsin is either so far away from the Chinese town, or so satisfactory to its inhabitants, that they never stray away among the Chinese. On landing at the bridge of boats in the native city, while our servants made a few purchases, I found I excited as much interest as if there had not been a European colony within a thousand miles. It was, however, a particularly friendly crowd that accompanied me. A boy danced in front, clapping his hands, as if to bid the people in the street make way; another boy was very eager to point out all the sweet cakes he thought nicest; two old women and an old man went down on their knees to beg; an old man was washing very old shoes upon the bridge; another was selling odds and ends of old things, that looked as if they never had been new. There were sweet potatoes cooking; there were various other buyers and sellers, and crowds passing by, both on foot and in boats. Sometimes the bridge would be opened, sometimes closed to let the foot passengers go by. There was 464 always a crowd; whichever way of progress was open, people were always progressing by it before it was ready for them. Nobody pushed, nobody was rude; every one appeared pleasant. But there, looking down the long straight reach of the river, was the tall tower of the ruined Roman Catholic Cathedral, recalling the massacre of 1870—a massacre that might so easily have embraced all the Europeans in the Concession, had not the rain mercifully come down in torrents and dispersed the mob. It did not seem possible, when we were there, to think of any danger of the kind threatening the exceptionally thriving-looking settlement.

I have not seen any Concession yet I liked the look of so well as that of Tientsin. There is a go-ahead look about the place, with all its goods stored in heaps on the Bund with only matting over them, instead of, as elsewhere, in warehouses; which makes it contrast especially with Chefoo, that sleeping beauty, whom no fairy prince has yet awakened. Perhaps, when he does, the merry wives of China, who used to resort there every summer, may find it hardly as charming as it was in its tranquillity and freedom from all restraint. But it was so tranquil, so absolutely uneventful, that our summer month there seemed only like a dream to look back upon. Its coast-line is beautiful; but it is a coast-line with nothing behind it, as it were—like the cat's smile in Alice in Wonderland, a grin and nothing more.

But it was at Tungchow in the old days that the tug of war in getting to Peking used to begin. You had 465 bought all your stores, and furnished your boat, and spent days and nights in it; but all that was nothing to the great business of getting to Peking. There were thirteen miles yet to do, and the question was, How did you mean to try to get over them? My own firm conviction now is that the easiest way would have been to get up very early in the morning and walk. But as it was, I came into Peking in the traditional style, feet foremost in a springless cart, holding on hard to either side. We started at eleven in the morning from Tungchow, paused for an hour at a wayside inn to eat and rest, and did not reach Peking till six, only just before the gates were closed. At first starting I thought the accounts of the road had been exaggerated. It is true it was so dusty at intervals I was more reminded of a London fog than anything else. It is true I could not leave go with either hand without getting a tremendous bump on the head. But still I did not think the road was quite as bad as I had expected. Alas! the road was so bad we had not started by it at all, but were simply getting along by a way the carts had made for themselves. At Pa-li Chiao we came upon the real grand stone road, with the grand bridge made by the Ming Dynasty—when they moved their capital from Nanking to Peking, in order better to repel invading Tartar hordes—and never in the centuries since repaired by the Tartar horde of Manchus, who at once conquered them, when they thus obligingly put themselves within easy reach at the very extreme limit of their vast empire. 466

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

There was the road, with huge blocks of stone, some of them five feet long, and wide and thick in proportion, but sometimes worn away, sometimes clean gone. Now to hold on like grim death! How the smartly varnished little carts with their blue tops kept together at all I cannot imagine. But I know I immensely respected the mule that could pull us into and out of the holes and ruts, into which we dropped with a veritable concussion, not a jolt. Of course it was a new sensation—but a new sensation it can do no one any good to experience; and before I had had half an hour of it I had had enough, and asked for a donkey. However, the donkey brought was so tiny that, after a rest on its poor little thin back, I tried the cart again. The road did not seem quite so bad as before, until we got nearer the capital. Then—then I got out and walked. There was no help for it. And walking was decidedly less fatiguing. But an increasing crowd 467 followed me. Every one spoke to me—I hope complimentarily. Men selling clothes waved them at me, and sang to invite purchase. It was hard work to avoid the carts, and donkeys, and mules, and camels, and men carrying things, and Manchu women with feet of the natural size, violently rouged faces, and hair made up into teapot handles, sticking out quite six inches behind their heads, or made into stiff wings, projecting about three inches on either side, and always with flowers stuck into their hair. It was hard work to avoid all these, and to keep up with the carts, and disagreeable to be choked and smothered in dust, and to feel oneself all the while appearing to every one as an escaped lunatic—ploughing through dust on one's own feet, instead of being driven along properly. But anything was better than jolting along that road till the great mock fortress came into view. We were about to enter the gates. The crowd there was too great to try to press through; so I climbed into the cart once more, and thus entered Peking comme il faut, in a springless cart.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

It is the custom to say the road to Peking from Tungchow is desperately uninteresting. It may be so. I feel I ought hardly to hazard an opinion, for I was afraid to leave my eyeglasses dangling, and thus only once or twice managed both to get them out and up to my eyes sufficiently steadily to see through them; but to my shortsighted gaze there appeared to be a constant series of interesting graves and gateways and monsters, which I longed to examine more closely. Then the long procession of camels carrying brick tea northwards, 468 or coming south empty to fetch it, did not become monotonous, even after I had seen some thousands or more of them. The men riding upon them had handkerchiefs tied in a very simple way, which, however, I at once saw was the original of the old homely English sun-bonnet. The men walking by their sides had conical oil-paper hats, which were equally evidently the original of the Nice hats of my youth. They had even red linings to them, such as I had so often worn myself in Europe, and three little spots of black, whose nature I could not quite make out, but which on my hats used to be represented by three little stars of black velvet. I had always thought a Nice hat looked 469 Chinese, and, since I came to China, that it would be the very thing to wear in summer; and now here I found these camel-drivers wearing the old original model, which probably the Jesuits carried over long ago to North Italy.

The camels placed their springy hoofs softly on the hard, stony road. Those that wore bells carried their arched necks high. Their grave eyes looked down kindly on the clouds of dust. Between their two humps rode a man, as in a natural saddle. Their yellow necks shone in the slanting rays of the sun, while the great tufts of hair at the tops of their legs stood out darkly. I thought I should grow tired of them, but I had not even by the time we had reached the gate of Peking, at the end of our long day's travel of thirteen miles.

"Is this inside the city or outside the city?" I asked at last of my stout carter, when we seemed to have been travelling an interminable distance through roads rather like Clapham Common, if there were no grass upon it, and two rows of booths cutting it into three divisions—two of booths and one of road—so wide and uncared for and wildernesslike was this last. "Inside the city," answered he haughtily. I felt as if I had been very rude to ask, and longed to apologise, if I had hurt his feelings. But the road was so unlike a city street. It was like a large caravanserai, or like the encampment of a savage tribe. The shops that skirted the road had gaily gilded fronts, and every now and then a shopkeeper sent out men to scoop up the liquid filth at either side, and sprinkle it upon the dust by 470 way of somewhat keeping it down. The smell resulting left nothing to be desired. Long before we reached Peking I had decided that the Chinese were a docile, peaceable nation of traders, overrun by a northern horde so incurably barbarous, that not even centuries of contact with the Chinese had been able to civilise them, though it might have made them so effeminate that they would soon become effete. I now began to wonder how long Peking could go on accumulating filth within its walls without breeding a Black Death or other awful pestilence.

We drove on and on. At last we turned down a very disreputable, dilapidated sort of mews; and there was the French Embassy to the right, very smart in fresh paint; the Japanese Embassy, very perky, with a European gateway; the German Embassy, dignified and fresh painted. Round the corner stood the English Embassy, with a massive but somewhat jail-like portal.

In the Middle Ages it often seems as if it must have been very pleasant for the lords and ladies. And in Peking it is very pleasant to live in a ducal palace. From the moment the Embassy servant stepped forward with a fly-flap, and courteously flapped the dust off our boots, everything was charming. We never wished to go outside again to face that vile mews, with its holes, its dust, its smells. We forgot all about it, as we looked at the stately perspective of the inner entrance of the Palace,—its ceilings richest blue and brilliant green, relieved by golden pomegranates and dragons; its mortised beams projecting, all highly 471 painted, green, red—green, red. Not a sound penetrated within its sheltered courtyards. The wood-carvings were beautiful, the galleries long enough to satisfy all desire for walking. The Chinese decorations satisfied our eyes. At last—at last we had come upon something Oriental in China, æsthetic, eye-satisfying. At the same time we were surrounded by every English comfort, enjoying delightful English society! Why ever go outside the Embassy compound? Could Peking possibly have anything to show worth encountering such horrors as those of its entry, a survival from those Middle Ages so agreeable to read about, so disagreeable to live in?

By Mr. Stratford Dugdale.

But one evening we took the one Peking walk, along the summit of the walls. There was something pathetic, as well as ludicrous, in thinking of European attachés and their wives, European diplomatists and 472 their families, having for a pleasure-walk the walls of Peking. The horrors of the approach to them can only be realised by those who know what the entourage of the walls of a Chinese city is generally like. They cannot be described in a book, that may lie on an English drawing-room table. Arrived at the top, you find a wilderness of thorns and plants and trees, and there in and out amongst them a narrow way, along which a lady can barely manage to walk without tearing her dress. From the walls you see the yellow roofs of the Imperial Palace buildings within the inner wall, inside the Forbidden City. And you wonder what it must be like to be a Chinese Emperor, brought up under one of those yellow roofs, and never allowed outside that Forbidden City, except for a ceremonial visit to a temple, to pray for rain or fine weather. You see the green-tiled roofs of the princely ducal buildings, far more effective than the yellow by the evening light. On the one side you look at the "Outside City," the China town; on the other the "Inside City," the Tartar town, where the Embassies, etc., are. In the centre of this last, four-square, is placed the Forbidden Imperial City. Then you look out into the distance upon the western hills, beautiful in the sunset light. But it is fast growing dark. As we came out, the sun was still too hot to be pleasant. Now already it is too dark to discern distant objects. We turn back to that oasis in the wilderness of Peking, that fairy palace, the Ying-kuo Fu. We reach once more the beautiful perspective, that makes us long for 473 the British Minister to stand in state with his following, holding a reception of Chinese mandarins, that we might see them all grouped according to their dignities against such a picturesque background. Then looking at the blue and green and golden dragon beams, at the sunshine and the stillness of the courtyards, we feel inclined, like Germans, to evolve the rest of Peking out of our own inner consciousness. Oh, rest ye, brother-mariners, we will not wander more!

Part II.—The Sights of Peking.

Tibetan Buddhism.—Yellow Temple.—Confucian Temple.—Hall of the Classics.—Disgraceful Behaviour.—Observatory.—Roman Catholic Cathedral.—Street Sights.—British Embassy.—Bribes.—Shams.—Saviour of Society.—Sir Robert Hart.

The "sights" of Peking have not been on view of late years. It seems a pity, considering how many people have travelled thither hoping to see them. And yet I am not sure that it is not a relief. It seems a duty one owes oneself to go and see those one can, and the people even at those behave with an insolence and indecorum such as I am not quite sure if even seeing the sight makes up for. Anyway, the Temple of Heaven has been closed of late years—that Temple in which to this day worship is offered by the Emperor on behalf of his people, in accordance with a ritual more ancient than any other still in use. The Temple of Agriculture is closed; ditto the Clock Tower and 474 the Bell Tower; ditto, they say, all that remains of the Summer Palace. Even the Examination Hall we could not succeed in getting into. Whilst his one great friend advised us not to attempt the Lamaserai, where the living Buddha in Peking resides, such a set of rowdies are the Lamas. They demand exorbitant sums for opening each fresh gate; they lay forcible hands upon visitors, and finally demand what they please for letting them out again. That very thrilling tale of horrors "The Swallows' Wing" is only a little heightened version of what a traveller who went in might have to undergo. We rode up to the gate, and the expression of the Lamas outside, who thought we were coming in, was enough for me. I have studied the expressions of Neapolitan priests, but they do not compare for vileness with those of these Lamas: the Lamas, too, look fierce—fierce, coarse, and insolent. They of course redouble their demands and insolence, when ladies are among the visitors. The living Buddha himself can only be approached in the guise of a tribute-bearer bringing offerings: a bottle of brandy, a pound of sugar, and a tin of Huntley & Palmer's mixed biscuits, sugared, are said to be the most acceptable. And we considered sending this information to Messrs. Huntley & Palmer for advertising purposes. But even with the biscuits and the brandy there has to be a good deal of arrangement, all of which demands time. And, after all, the living Buddha is only occasionally en statue; at other times he receives like any other Tibetan. And whether one 475 cares to associate with Tibetans at all, except for missionary purposes, is a question. That Buddhism, which with the Chinese is so pure and humane a religion, they have transformed into something so gross, it seems their very gods are unfit to look upon; the God of Happy Marriage impossible to show to a lady, as said the Russian gentleman who had made a collection of images, Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan! Chinese images are all fit for any one to see, as their classics are fit for any one to read; Indian images are questionable; but about Tibetan there seems no question at all, and he simply asked me to advance no farther into his museum, as my husband examined them. It was impossible for me even then not to think that living surrounded by those horrible emblems of divinity, his whole drawing-room full of them, must have some effect upon the unhappy man's character. As I stood among them, an evil influence seemed to emanate from them, and the subsequent career of their unhappy collector confirms the theory; for but a few years later he was dismissed from the Chinese Customs for some crime too bad to mention, dying shortly afterwards. The collection has been bought by a German museum. Let us hope those dreadful Tibetan images are not now poisoning the minds of blue-eyed Germans.

Tibetan musical instruments for sacred purposes are made of virgins' bones (the virgins killed expressly, we were told, but I doubt this); their sacred pledge-cups, of human skulls. They prefer necklaces each bead of which is made out of a tiny portion of a 476 human skull, thus each bone representing a human life. Their idols are represented as wearing human skins, with girdles hung with human heads. So much as this I was allowed to see in this wonderful collection of gods and praying-machines, where meekly pious or coarsely jocund Chinese images sit cheek-by-jowl with graceful, slender Indian deities, and cruel, devilish Tibetan images. After all, no nation's conception of God can be higher than the nation; but it is at least, as a rule, supposed to be as high. Judging them by their idols, it was better, I thought then, to keep out of the way of Tibetan Lamas—little thinking it was to be my good fortune in subsequent years to penetrate into Tibet itself, nor how rudely there I should find the Lamas treat me.

Even the tomb erected to the Banjin Lama at the Hoang Ssu (Yellow Temple) repelled me, in spite of intricate marble carvings, considered well worth the seeing. The workmanship was good, but the outline was simply hideous. Not even purple-blue sky, and golden sunshine, and old fir-trees, with golden-balled persimmons nestling beside them, relieved it from its native ugliness. But alongside of it was a great two-storied building in true Chinese style, that we indeed admired. It stood four-square, with a grandly massive porte-cochère, answering all the purposes of a verandah, so vast was it. We looked at the simple, graceful curves of its two stories of roofs, the upper definitely but only slightly smaller than the lower, and wished that, when it fell to our lot to own a house in China, 479 it might be after this model. For two stories seem advisable for health, and nothing could surpass in roof-grace those grand curves, modelled, it is said, upon the upturning boughs of forest trees, though more probably upon the tent of former ages.


The Confucian Temple, where there are tablets to Confucius and his four great followers, may be called a satisfactory sight, and has remained open of late years. Viewed as a picnic place, it is delightful. The vast courts, with their old, old fir-trees, gave me far more pleasure even than the marble balustrades, or the ancient granite so-called drums we had gone to see. But even there the behaviour of the people was what anywhere else one would call insolent in the extreme. The importunity, sores, and dirt of the Peking gamins render them also a detestable entourage. Things reached their climax, however, at the Hall of the Classics. The open door was as usual banged to in our faces, as we came near; and we were then asked through the closed door how much we would give to get in. Then as soon as we got in, all the detestable rabble following us were let in too, much though I begged they might be kept out. I do not think I had up to that time seen anything so neglected and dilapidated as the Hall of the Classics, the building in all China which one would most expect to see kept in good order, nothing being so much esteemed in China as learning, and especially the learning of the ancients. Some workmen, with almost no clothing, were apparently employed in making it dirtier; but 480 directly we entered they left off doing whatever it was, and devoted themselves to horse-play of the coarsest description, standing upright on their hands, pirouetting their feet over the heads of the crowd who came in with us, knocking some of them down, and rolling them in the dust. They even went so far as to sit down in their more than semi-nude condition on the same bench on which I was sitting, and as near me as possible; whilst all the while there was such a shouting and noise, it was impossible for my husband and me to speak to one another.

It is all very well to remind oneself one is in the presence of a great work, and to try and feast one's soul upon proportions and perspectives in the presence of such lewd behaviour of people of the baser sort. To put it prettily, I was distracted by a great pity for people whose chances in life seemed to have been so small; in plainer English, my temper began to rise. The porcelain arch we had come to see was certainly beautiful, a masterpiece, but not soul-satisfying. We duly noticed the elaborate eaves, protected by netting from the birds. But then came the usual question: How much would we pay to get out? They locked the door in our faces, demanding more money before they would let us out. My husband could stand no more. He was just recovering from a dangerous illness; but he took up a big beam, and smashed open the door. It fell, lintel and all, and the latter so nearly killed a child in its fall the crowd was awed. This just gave us time to get on our 481 donkeys. Then Babel broke loose again, and the storm continued till we had ridden half an hour away, our donkey-men nearly indulging in a stand-up fight in the end, one of them brandishing at the other a very gracefully carved sceptre, that I had just picked up at a fair, to my intense delight. "A nice fellow you are," shouted one to the other. "You ate up all the biscuits, and now you don't know the road. You are worth nothing at all." So that was the way the biscuits had disappeared: the donkey-men had levied toll on our luncheons, and we had suspected the Peking gamins. As there are other porcelain arches in Peking, it might be as well for other visitors to avoid the Hall of the Classics altogether, we thought.

It is horrible to write expressing so much dissatisfaction in the presence of the far-famed masterpieces of a great empire, and the more so as we were very sorry to be leaving Peking, and should much have liked to spend a winter there, studying it all more thoroughly. But Sir Harry Parkes, when he came back to it, said it was returning to "Dirt! Dust! and Disdain!" and the only objection the passing traveller would be likely to make to this sentence is that it might contain a few more D's.

The Observatory is a delightful sight—always barring the behaviour of the custodian, the most loathsome wretch I had yet encountered. And he wanted to feel me all over; did feel all over the Legation Secretary who kindly accompanied us, finally ransacking his pockets for more money than he had thought needful 482 to bestow upon him. The weird, writhing bronze stands of the old instruments, with their redundancy of carving, will be for ever imprinted on my brain. Both those that stand below in a neglected courtyard, and those high above the wall, standing out against the sky, commanding the great granaries and the lovely mountains of the west, with the whole city of Peking lying in between, its courtyards filled with fine trees, giving the whole the aspect of a vast park rather than a populous city—all are beautiful. These wonderful instruments were made under the instructions of the old Jesuits, who so nearly won China to Christianity (would have done so, probably, but for the jealousy of the other religious orders), and who were for years the guides and counsellors of the Chinese Emperors. As to the outside of the pavilions within the Forbidden City, all one was allowed to see of them then, the glittering yellow Imperial roofs are like my childish idea of a fairy palace. There they stand upon their hills, dotted about among the trees, so glittering and graceful, I thought I should never tire of riding past the Green Hill, across the Marble Bridge.

Lent by Mr. Willett.

The Roman Catholic Fathers, who have for centuries lived under the shadow of the Imperial Palace, were having then to turn out before the New Year, as also the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, with their innumerable foundling children. For it was said that the Empress herself intended to reside in the Fathers' European house. It was she who originally so objected to the high towers of the church, as destructive of 485 Fung shui. Then she was saying she observed ever since they were built she had been particularly fortunate, and she begged that church and towers and organ might be handed to her intact, together with Père Armand David's valuable collection of birds. Fortunately, there are counterparts of these in Paris, for it was feared she might give one specimen to one favoured courtier and one to another, and thus destroy the whole value of the collection. For the shrewd Father, observing the extraordinary pride of the Chinese heart, beside their own somewhat demure-coloured birds and butterflies, had placed a collection of the most gorgeous specimens from Brazil and Java, that he might say drily, when showing Chinese officials round, "See how favoured are the other nations of the earth!" From the towers the Empress may possibly intend to look down upon the Palace garden, as no one hitherto has been allowed to do. For the Fathers were only allowed to retain their cathedral on condition that no one ever mounted the towers, from which a bird's-eye view can be obtained of nearly the whole Palace garden. The church, it was then announced, she would use as an audience hall, and, it was added, receive foreigners in it. But such great changes as this have not yet come about in Peking. No people better than Chinese understand saying they will do a thing, and yet not doing it.

But, whatever happens in it, Peking, as long as it exists, can never lose its character of a great caravanserai, in which one is always coming upon the unexpected. 486 For instance, a Red Button's funeral, as we saw it one day, with about a hundred of the greatest ruffians, misshapen, patched, tattered or naked, hideous, yet rejoicing in being employed, each with a long red feather stuck strangely upright in the oldest-looking Jim Crow sort of felt hat, carrying a banneret or a parasol; the red chair of the official carried aloft; then afterwards paper images of his wives, etc.! Or, if not a dignitary's funeral, one comes across a bird market, every man with a well-trained, red-throated bird sitting on a stick, crooked like a magnified note of interrogation, or a hooded hawk. Then a street row—filth unutterable! Perhaps a hundred camels sitting in little rings round their baggage, and not obstructing traffic in the least; elegant curios laid out in the dust of the street for sale; three carts all at once stuck in the same rut, all their horses and mules resting, panting, after vain efforts to get them out; Manchu women, with natural feet, very long silk gowns of the most villainously tawdry hue; or mandarins in exquisitely coloured silks, with only two wheels to their carts, and those far behind it, so as to indicate their dignity, twenty gaily clad retainers trotting after them on ponies! At one moment squalor and filth, such as to make one think of St. Giles's as cleanly by comparison; at the next or at the same moment gorgeous shop-fronts, all of the finest carving, with most brilliant gilding.

But of all the sights on view in Peking, the finest sight to my mind was the British Legation—a grand old Chinese palace, at that time perfectly kept up, and 487 gorgeous in colouring, deepest blue, pure green, golden-dragoned, and lighted up with vermilion touches. Whether one looked at the mortised beams, projecting outside as well as inside, and thus forming the most complex, highly coloured eaves, or at the decorated beams in the reception-rooms, each one a revelation of colour to a London art-decorator, the eye was alike perfectly satisfied. And at that time, owing to the exquisite taste of the then British Minister's wife, as also probably to the liberality of Sir John Walsham himself, the decorations of the Embassy thoroughly harmonised with its architecture and colouring. If Peking outside was an embarrassment of D's, the Legation was then all cleanliness, comfort, and charm.

One cannot help reflecting sadly on what an object-lesson the capital conveys to all the innumerable officials who have to travel thither, as also to the crowds of young men who go there year after year to compete for the highest honour to be obtained by competition—admission to the Hanlin College. When the distances are considered in an empire about as big as Europe, and also the difficulties of travel in a country without roads and without railways, it is the more astonishing this custom was ever started and can still be kept up. Each expectant is mulcted in a heavy sum, as bribes to the officials about the Palace. Thus the rabble of Peking live by tribute from the whole empire. And so rooted is the custom, even the gatekeeper at the British Legation would demand his toll, whilst the sums that have been paid to get into 488 the Imperial Palace often run into six figures. And all who come to Peking know how things are administered there by bribery and corruption, and see for themselves that nothing there is cleaned, nothing ever put in order. As Sir Robert Hart himself says, but for the clouds of dust continually kept in movement by the winds, and brought in from the ever-increasingly impoverished country round, they must have been all dead men in Peking long ago. The dust serves as a great disinfectant, whilst it so permeates all clothing worn there, that no dress in which one has once gone out in Peking seems fit ever to put on again for any other purpose.

Peking is probably the only large city in the whole world where no arrangements whatever are made for sanitation or even for common decency. The result is alike startling and disgusting to the traveller. But on inquiry it becomes even worse. There were drains—sewers—in the time of the Ming Emperors, and it is now the duty of a special official to report upon their condition every year, and see that they are kept in order. But the drains are all closed up; and though a boy in peculiar clothing is let down into them each year, as it were at one end, it is another boy, though in the same peculiar clothing, who is taken out at the other end.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

China is the land of shams and middle-men, and the official from the country sees all this, and, sore with the undue lightening of his own purse, goes home, having learnt his lesson to exact bribes himself, and 489 himself rest satisfied with shams, and report all in order, when he knows that it is not so. Far from feeling ashamed of the state the roads in his own province have got into, he remembers those of Peking, that are so much worse. Indeed, through all the country, since the incoming of the Manchu Dynasty, it has been the deliberate official intention to neglect the roads, thus making it the more difficult for the people to assemble together and revolt against their alien rulers. Probably, too, he sees the Tsung-li Yamen, the office created of late years in order to transact business with European nations. Tsung-li Yamen sounds well, but the building 490 is a dirty, dilapidated shed, that might pass muster for a cowhouse on an English gentleman's estate, if it were cleaned and fresh painted. To the Chinese mind this building being set apart to hold interviews with the representatives of Foreign Powers sufficiently indicates in what esteem they are held by his Government, and what amount of courtesy he is intended to mete out to them.

The foreigner, on the other hand, travels away, having learnt his lesson too, if he be of a reflective mind, and that is, very briefly, that there is no hope for China under the present dynasty. The Manchus may have been a very fine people when they first entered China; but since then they have lived like gentlemen, according to the common saying, not earning their living, but as pensioners of the State, nominally ready to be called out to fight, if wanted, in time of war. They do not enter into business, they do not study, and they have lost their martial qualities and become as effeminate as Chinamen. The Chinese Empire has been decaying ever since it came into their hands; and ever since I have known China the Chinese have been saying the Manchu Dynasty has ruled its appointed number of years, and that it is now high time for what they call a Saviour of Society to appear, as so often in the past.

This Saviour of Society would probably have appeared long ago, but for the help the nations of Europe, and especially England, have given towards the centralisation of China. In the old days it is true the Viceroys 491 were appointed from Peking; but each Viceroy ruled pretty well as he pleased in his own province, with his own exchequer, his own army, and his own navy. We found it inconvenient to deal with so heterogeneous a mass without any definite head, and threw our weight into the scale of the Chinese Empire. First we helped to crush the Taiping rebellion, which but for our intervention would probably have succeeded, and by force have made the Chinese people at least nominal Christians. Then through Sir Robert Hart the different Viceroys have been impoverished; the money that in former times would have gone to their private purses or to the administration of their provinces has been diverted to Peking. The theory was that it would be used for the good of the nation. But probably we shall some day know how much the Empress has used for her private pleasures, according to the recent indictment of her by the one great incorruptible Viceroy, Chang-chih-tung, and how much has been absorbed by Li Hung-chang, and all the army of Palace eunuchs and hangers-on.

The Chinese are a people of traders, and patient; they look on, and say mentally, "No belong my pigeon," that is, "Politics are not my business." But they dislike the Empress; they know the young Emperor has been used merely as a puppet; and as to the idea of a Chinese Empire, it is one that has never made its way into their heads. And thus it is a grave question, when in the last Chino-Japanese war all the great Yangtse was a moving procession of junks piled high 492 with human braves, their pigtails coiled about their heads, and their black head kerchiefs giving them somewhat a piratical air, whether these men of Hunan ever meant to fight the Japanese. They would have been ready enough to fight the men of Anhui; and when the European settlement of Shanghai found itself between a regiment of either force, the position was so evidently critical, that very urgent remonstrances had to be addressed to the Chinese authorities to move away either one force or the other. But the Hunan men never fought the Japanese, and it remains a question whether they ever intended doing so.

Even the passing foreigner must feel at Peking that it is not the throbbing heart of a great country, as London is, as Paris is; but the remains of the magnificent camp of a nomad race, that has settled down, and built in stone after the fashion in which in its wanderings it used to build in wood. 493


The Emperor at the Temple of Heaven.—Mongol Princes wrestling.—Imperial Porcelain Manufactory.—Imperial Silk Manufactory.—Maids of Honour.—Spring Sacrifices.—Court of Feasting.—Hunting Preserves.—Strikes.—Rowdies.—Young Men to be prayed for.

Almost all we can know of the Emperor of China is by hearsay. He lives in his Palace inside the Forbidden City, which again is inside the Manchu City, separated from the Chinese City, where are the lovely, gilded curio shops. When he goes abroad, which he never does, except to worship at the temples, all the people are ordered to keep within-doors, and the most any outsider can do is to peep at him through the crack of a door or from behind a curtain. But as I think some details of his State may be interesting to the general reader, and indeed would well repay thinking over, I have extracted an abridged translation from a Chinese newspaper's account of the present Emperor Kwang-shü's visit to the Temple of Heaven in 1888, when, it must be remembered, he was only a boy between sixteen and seventeen. Those who do not care for the accounts of pageants can 494 easily skip it. Those who read it will, however, learn much of Chinese usage therefrom, and will perhaps better realise how remarkable must be the character of the lad who, brought up from the age of four as the central figure in such ceremonies, yet dared to place himself at the head of the party of progress, and to introduce innovations. People in England, angry with him for being overcome, think he must be a young man of weak character. But contrast him with one of our European princes, read what he has attempted, which I hope to describe in a following chapter, and then decide which is the stronger character. Kwang-shü has always been of weak physique—not unnaturally, considering that he has never known what it is to go out into the country, and take free, healthy exercise. But probably this has been his salvation. Had he been a young man of strong physique, he could never, probably, have withstood the promptings of his own nature, together with those temptations of wine and women, by which he has been surrounded from his earliest years. That he should not have taken proper precautions for his own protection and that of his supporters is hardly wonderful, considering that from babyhood he has been treated as too august a personage even to be seen. Probably he had learnt to believe his will was law, and must be executed. It is little wonder if he now looks ill and his wife sorrowful, even if the suspicions of poison be unfounded.

SHAN CH'ING.     PRINCE CH'ÜN.     LI HUNG-CHANG. Son of general (Tartar).     Emperor's father (Manchu).     (Chinese.)

"On February 20th, 1888, the Emperor of China 497 went in person to the Temple of Heaven to pray for the harvest, with the usual ceremonies. The day before his Majesty passed in the Hall of Abstinence, in prayer, fasting, and meditation.

"On February 19th, at the fifth drum (the fifth watch, before daylight), the T`ai Ch`ang Sze (a high bureau entrusted with the arrangement of such ceremonials) placed a Yellow Table (the Imperial colour) in the Hall of Great Harmony, the T`ai-hwo Tien. South of the Emperor's seat was placed an incense-burner, shaped like a small pavilion; and in another similar erection, east of the left-hand pillars, stood a scroll, on which a sentence of prayer was painted in the choicest caligraphy. To the west of the right-hand pillars of the building stood yet another pavilion, to contain the mounted rolls of silk, which were painted with similar inscriptions. The Masters of Rites and the Readers of Prayers stood respectfully waiting outside the gate of the Hall of Great Harmony, holding in front of them the silken scrolls in baskets and the incense in bronze censers.

"The Chief of the Ceremonial Bureau, already mentioned, called by Mr. Mayers the Court of Sacrificial Worship, accompanied by other officers of the Bureau, was waiting inside the Hall; and when the time arrived, he proceeded, with the Imperial Astronomer, to the Gate of Pure Heaven, to announce to the Emperor that it was two quarters of the Hour of the Hare (i.e. 6.30 a.m.), and his Majesty issued from the above-named gate, riding in a sedan-chair, passed through 498 the back left gate, and thus to the Hall of Great Harmony, where his sedan-chair was deposited at the northern steps, and he entered the building and stood in front of the left pillars, facing the west.

"Four officials of the Hanlin, or Imperial Academy of Literature, were standing outside the right-hand door of the building, facing east. The Readers of Prayers now issued from the inner cabinet, holding in front of them, respectfully elevated, prayers written on scrolls of paper, and entered the middle gate of the Hall of Great Harmony, the silken scrolls and incense being borne after them into the Hall. In front of them were borne a pair of incense-burners. The Masters of Rites, ten in number, conducted them, preceding them, and mounted the central steps as far as to the Vermilion Dais. The Readers of Prayers, those who bore the prayer-scrolls, and the bearers of silken scrolls and incense, having entered the central gate of the Hall, reverently laid down their burdens one by one on the Yellow Table, and retired after three k`otows (prostrations), touching the ground with the forehead.

"The Chief of the Court of Sacrifice then opened a prayer-scroll, and the Master of Rites spread a cushion on the ground. The Emperor advanced in front of the Yellow Table, and reverentially inspected the objects lying on it, after which he performed the genuflection called 'once kneel and thrice k´otow,' and then took up his position again, standing as before. The Chief of the Court of Sacrifice rolled up the prayer-scroll 499 again, and the cushion on which the Emperor had just knelt was removed.

"The Readers of Prayers now advanced to the Yellow Table, and made three k´otows. They respectfully took from the table and bore aloft the prayer-scrolls, the silken scrolls, and the incense, which they deposited one by one in the graceful pavilionlike stand meant to receive them. With three more k´otows, they retired.

"The mandarin in charge of the incense now carried a box full of incense to the incense-stand, placed it gently there, and withdrew.

"The bearers of the prayer-scrolls then left the edifice by the central door, the stand containing the incense preceding them, and that which contains the silken scrolls following behind. The Chief of the Court of Sacrifice, kneeling, informed the Emperor that this part of the solemn rite was over.

"His Majesty mounted his sedan-chair again, and returned to the Palace.

"The clock struck 9 a.m., and the Emperor, in dragon robe and a cap of ermine surmounted by a knob of crimson velvet, issued from the Palace gate called the Pure Heaven Gate, seated in a summer chair borne by eight men. Passing successively through the back left gate, the centre left gate, and the Gate of Great Harmony, he arrived at the Mid-day Gate, where he descended from his sedan-chair, and ascended his great jade palanquin, borne on the shoulders of thirty-two men. As he mounted, the equerries-in-waiting held a 500 vermilion ladder or flight of steps, leading up to the palanquin, to assist him in getting in. All the bearers were dressed in outer robes of red silk and inner robes of ash-coloured linen. On their feet were fast-walking boots of the same grey material, with thin soles, the upper part round the ankles being of black fur. They wore caps of leopard-skins, dappled as if with coins of gold, with red velvet plumes, kept in position by gold filigree plates, from which floated yellow feathers down their backs. The palanquin is eight feet high, and weighs about 1 ton 16 cwt.; but the bearers walked swiftly under its weight, like lightning-flashes or shooting stars rushing across the sky, and at every five hundred yards they were relieved by a fresh set of thirty-two men.

"When the Emperor ascended the great jade palanquin, the sedan with its eight bearers still followed him. Beside the palanquin walked two of the Chief Equerries to support it.

"Ahead of this stately procession rolled the five gigantic cars, ordinarily drawn by elephants, which animals were this year absent from the fête by permission of the Emperor, to whom the danger of their suddenly getting ungovernable had been pointed out.

"Behind the Imperial palanquin were marching ten men armed with spears hung with leopards' tails, ten men with swords, and a dozen men carrying bows and arrows, all representatives of the Tartar corps of the Body-guard.

"Behind them came walking about a hundred of the 501 highest Manchu nobility, Princes, Emirs, sons of Emirs, Dukes, Marquises, and Earls, Assistant Chamberlains (who command in turn the Palace Guard), General Officers of the Brigade of Imperial Guards, the Comptroller of the Household, and the Prince of the Imperial blood who, as President of the Clan Court, preserves the Genealogical Record or Family Roll of the Ta Tsing Dynasty, all armed either with bows and arrows or with large swords. As soon as this noble company arrived outside of the Middle Gate, they all mounted their chargers, having before that been obliged to walk on foot.

"The rear was brought up by two Assistant Chamberlains, with their suite, bearing two immense yellow dragon standards.

"Outside the Mid-day Gate were kneeling a great number of civil and military mandarins in Court dresses, who may not accompany the procession, being not of sufficiently high rank, and so pay their respects to it thus as it defiles past.

"The stone road to the Temple of Heaven, which is about two and a half miles long, although not yet mended with stones as intended, looked neat, with all its inequalities hidden under a uniform covering of yellow soil. At the mouth of every road or street, whether within the wall of Peking or outside it, which ran into the route of the procession at right angles to its course, were mat sheds, draped outside with blue cloth, serving as tents for Chinese infantry (Green Standard), who mounted guard at each corner, armed with whips, to 502 keep order and silence amongst the people in these streets. At every five paces of the road along which the procession passed stood a guardsman of the vanguard, in full uniform, sword by his side and whip in hand. The gates and doors of every house and shop were closed, and red silk decorations hung in festoons in front of them, all along the route; and in front of every sentry station were displayed bows and arrows, swords and spears, arranged in symmetrical order, with decorative lanterns and satin hangings. The Emperor, having arrived at the left gate of the brick wall of the Temple, exchanged his great jade palanquin for a sedan-chair with eight bearers only, and, on entering the west side of the sacred path inside the Left Gate of Prayers for the Year, descended, and on foot walked up to the Chamber of Imperial Heaven, holding a stick of incense burning in his hand in the prescribed manner, after which he inspected the victims (oxen, etc.) laid out there, the sacrificial vessels of bamboo and wood, and, returning to the west side of the sacred road, got into his sedan-chair again, went out at the Gate of Prayers for the Year, and repaired to the Hall of Abstinence, to pass a season in holy contemplation in the Immeasurable Chamber.

"The duty of patrolling the Temple of Heaven, etc., devolves upon the Princes of the Blood on these occasions. But Princes descended from chiefs of the Manchu Dynasty before their conquest of China, accompanied by the Emperor's aide-de-camp, the Chief of the Eunuchs, and other officers, kept patrol outside 503 the apartment, when the Emperor, in the Immeasurable Chamber of his Hall of Abstinence, at four o'clock in the morning, commanded supper, which was duly served by the gentlemen-in-waiting, whilst the bronze statue bearing on its head the inscription 'Abstinence' was set up, fronting his Majesty as he sat.

"The Chief of the Court of Sacrifice, already mentioned, had arranged a prayer-mat on the ground outside the Chamber of Prayers for the Year, and had set up the Tablet of Shang Ti (the Supreme God) in the interior of the Chamber, facing south, with, on the right and left, the Tablets of the Emperor's Ancestors, facing east and west respectively. A great curtain had been hung up outside the door of the Chamber.

"The Emperor, in his sacrificial vestments embroidered with the golden dragon, a Court cap of white ermine on his head, surmounted with an immense pearl set in a gold ornament representing nine dragons, and a necklace of one hundred and eight precious pearls round his neck, issued from the Hall of Abstinence at the appointed hour, riding in a summer sedan-chair borne by eight men, entered the Temple, and reached the Left Gate of Prayers for the Year through the west gate of the brick wall of the Temple. Here alighting, he walked into the Chamber of Prayers for the Year, and adored Shang Ti (Supreme Ruler) and his own august ancestors. The animal victims and the sacrificial vessels of various sorts were here already laid out in the prescribed order.

"The Reader of Prayers knelt in front of his 504 Majesty, holding up the prayer-scroll in both hands, and reverentially recited the prayer. As it was still dark inside the building, another official of the Court of Sacrifice knelt beside him with a candle to throw a clear light on the written words of the prayer. When the prayer had been read, the Emperor knelt three times, nine times k`otowing, then rose again to his feet. The incense-bearer brought the incense, the winecup-bearer brought the cup, the silk-bearer the silk, and the official with the cushion spread it on the floor. The Master of the Ceremonies then ushered his Majesty to his place. The Emperor knelt again thrice, and k`otowed nine times, and when he rose again the musicians played three antique airs.

"The paper ingots and the offerings of food from the carcases of the animal victims were held up and presented, as prescribed by ancient forms. Officers of the Board of Ceremonies, of the Court of Sacrificial Worship, and of the Court of Imperial Entertainments, holding respectively in both hands the prayer-scroll, the silken prayer-scrolls, and the incense-case, advanced to the great incense-burner, and solemnly burned all these objects to ashes. The Chief of the Court of Sacrificial Worship then knelt, and announced to the Emperor that the ceremony was finished.

"His Majesty, ascending the summer sedan-chair, returned to his chamber in the Hall of Abstinence, to change his attire and have some repose. Then getting into his palanquin again, he was carried through the inner and the outer gates of the Temple, the State 505 musicians performing an ancient melody. The cortège, in the same order as before, passed through the Cheng Yang Gate, and the Emperor burned incense in the Buddhist Temple and the Temple of Kwan Ti (the God of War). There Taoist priests in full attire knelt to receive him at the left of the entrance. When this ceremony was finished, the Emperor passed through the Ta Tsing Gate, the music ceasing as the bell tolled out from over the Mid-day Gate. Passing through the T`ien Ngan Gate, the Tuan Gate, the Mid-day and the T`ai Hwo Gates, and the Chien Tsing Gate, he returned to his Palace in Peking, and the procession dispersed.

"The Emperor entered the Palace, paid his respects to the aged Empress, and went to his Cabinet.

"The knowledge that our Emperor thus worships the gods and reveres his ancestors so devoutly, and 506 prays for the people that they may be fed and clothed, well protected, and happy all over the land, must surely fill us with loyalty and admiration for his august person."


On March 2nd of the same year it is recorded that "the Emperor went at 2.20 p.m. in a sedan-chair to the Pavilion of Purple Light, where, seated under a yellow silken canopy, he enjoyed the sight of the Mongol Princes partaking of the banquet which had been laid out for them by his orders, including milk-wine (koumis) and milk-tea. Eight champion wrestlers then had a few bouts at this sport, the winners obtaining prizes of silk and meats and wine. The soldiers' trained horses and camels then were put through some circus tricks, and there was fencing with sword and spear. After this the visitors were entertained with Mahomedan songs by the Mahomedan camp, and with an exhibition of pole-climbing and tightrope-walking, music by a trained band, horseraces, and singing-boys, concluding with a fine display of fireworks. The Mongol Princes, rising from their places at the end, respectfully thanked his Majesty for his kindness to them, and the Emperor returned to his Palace in his chair at about a quarter to five.

"When the Mongol Princes come to Court at Peking from their country every year, they are presented by the Emperor with several hundreds of rolls of silk, and also with a sum of about £685 for travelling expenses, issued from the Board of Revenue through the Colonial Office. In case the Board of Revenue does not issue 507 this money in time for the strangers to receive it before they start, the Colonial Office is empowered to issue it in advance, sending in an account to the Board of how it was distributed, as a mark of consideration for men from afar."

In 1891 a Chinese paper gives us a list of the china sent from the great porcelain works at King-teh-chen, near Kiukiang, for the Imperial household: "The usual supply for the year comprised 80 pieces of the finest quality and 1,204 round articles of a high-class kind. In addition to this there was a special indent for 1,414 plates, dishes, cups, and vases, to be distributed as presents on the occasion of the Emperor's birthday. The total cost amounted to £4,000; and as the yearly allowance is £1,500, there is a debit balance of £2,500, which will be deducted from the surplus remaining over from previous years."

In 1890 the Peking Gazette tells us that "Yu Hsiu, the director of the Imperial silk factories at Nanking, etc., applies for an extension of the time originally allowed him wherein to execute a special order for certain goods which the Emperor intends to distribute as presents. He states that in the eighth moon he received an order through the Office of Supernumeraries for embroidered robes, large and small rolls of satin and silk gauze, amounting in all to 4,183 pieces, to be ready for delivery in two months' time. As these are intended for presents, he naturally must devote all his time and attention thereto, and endeavour to have them ready as soon as possible; but he would 508 point out that, of the embroidered robes, there are 210 requiring very careful fine work, and of the other articles 3,970 pieces of different patterns, forming a very large total, to complete which his machinery is inadequate. Under these circumstances, and considering that the appointed time for delivery is close at hand, he is afraid he will be unable to execute the order by the end of the tenth moon.

"The necessary funds for carrying on the work he estimates at £19,500, and he will, in concert with the Governor of the province, take measures to have this amount collected as soon as possible. He proposes, in the first instance, to raise the sum of £10,000, and at once set to work on the ceremonial robes; and some of the satin, together with the silk, he hopes to be able to deliver within the year as a first instalment. The remainder of the order he trusts will be ready by the spring. By this means he will have adequate funds to carry on the work as required, and greater care can be devoted to the finish of the various articles. As, however, he dare not do this on his own responsibility, he would ask the Imperial sanction to execute the order in the manner proposed.—Granted. Let the Yamen concerned take note."

In 1891 it is again the Peking Gazette that tells us on May 1st: "Of the one hundred and thirteen Manchu ladies presented to the Empress-Dowager to be selected as maids of honour, thirty-three were chosen and distributed about the Palace to learn their duties. Thirty were ordered to be placed on the list of expectants. 509 The rest were sent back to their families, carrying with them gifts of much value."

Again the Peking Gazette tells us in 1891: "It is a long-standing custom of China in the spring of each year for the Emperor to perform the ceremony of offering a sacrifice to the Patron Saint of Agriculture, and for the Empress to offer a similar one to the Patron Saint of Silkworms. By these means it is intended to encourage agriculture and sericulture in the empire. The first sacrifice to the Patron Saint of Agriculture since the death of the Emperor Tung Chih was offered last spring by the present Emperor, who had not until that time taken over the reins of government. The fourth day of the third moon of the present year was appointed for offering a sacrifice to the Patron Saint of Sericulture. As her Majesty was wearing mourning for the late Prince Ch`ün, two maids of honour of the first grade were ordered to act on her behalf."

Prince Ch`ün was the father of the Emperor, a man held in high esteem; and of him the Peking Gazette says in 1891: "His innate humility and modesty made him receive such favours with ever-increasing awe and respect. He never once availed himself of the privilege which we granted him of using an apricot-yellow chair and, quoting the precedent established in the case of the Palace of Perpetual Harmony, he reverentially begged that his Palace, which had the good fortune to be the birthplace of an Emperor, should be reclaimed by the State."

In the photographs extant it may be noticed the 510 youthful Emperor greatly resembles his father in appearance.

As giving a little further insight into the mediæval usages still observed in the Court at Peking, it may be interesting to notice that in 1891, "after the Clear-Bright Festival, the Court of Feasting, in accordance with the usual custom, presented forty different kinds of vegetables, such as cucumbers, French beans, cabbages, etc., to the Throne, for the use of the Imperial tables"; whilst the following extracts from different Chinese newspapers show some of the troubles of the Palace.

In 1891 the Hupao records: "The Imperial hunting preserves are outside the Yungting Gate of Peking. The park is twelve miles in extent, and contains trees of great size, hundreds of years old. It is stocked with wild animals of varied descriptions; predominating among them is the red-deer. As for the last twenty years no hunt has been organised [poor young Emperor never allowed to go out!], the game have greatly increased in numbers. The soldiers who keep guard over the place daily poach on the preserves, and of late the inhabitants round about the place have managed somehow to get within the walls and trap the deer. The market is full of red-deer meat, which the dealers term donkey flesh or beef, to evade inquiries on the part of the police. The authorities have finally got wind of the matter, and by strict watching caught three poachers, who have been handed over to the Board of Punishments. The guards have 511 received a severe reprimand and stringent orders to prevent further poaching."

In old days the Manchus were a great hunting race, but they seem to have lost all manliness, all the men now vegetating upon the pensions assigned them since the conquest of China. But the Empress-Dowager, whom Chang-chih-tung, the incorruptible Viceroy of Hupeh, has openly accused of intercepting and appropriating to her own uses the money voted for the army and navy, continues to enjoy herself. And again a Chinese newspaper records: "The Empress-Dowager lately paid a visit to the garden built for her by the present Emperor, and took a trip on the Kun-ming Lake in a steam-launch." Whilst the Shenpao relates: "More than twenty large firms have taken over contracts for finishing the Eho Palace gardens, which have been built by the Emperor as a place of recreation for the Empress-Dowager, after her retirement from managing the arduous affairs of State. Her Majesty prefers to visit and stay in them during the summer, and the time appointed to have the gardens in a complete state for her reception is very near. More than ten thousand workmen have been engaged to hasten the work. Of these, three thousand or more are carvers, who have caused much trouble while working in other portions of the Imperial Palace ere this. Knowing that the date for completing the gardens was near at hand, they struck for higher wages, and in this demand all the carpenters joined. They were receiving individually three meals and about eightpence 512 per diem. They demanded half a crown a day. On their employers refusing to comply with this exorbitant request, a signal gun, previously agreed upon, was fired, and thousands of workmen, carvers, carpenters, and masons began to make threatening demonstrations. The officials on guard, finding the police unable to cope with the multitude, especially as the carpenters were armed with axes, quickly sounded the alarm, calling on the rifle brigade, Yuen-ming-yuen guards, and cavalry for assistance. These came with all speed and surrounded the strikers. The officials and the head firms now began to negotiate, and all parties were satisfied with an increase of 8d. a day for each man."

Strikes and riots, indeed, it seems of late years have not been infrequent in Peking; and this account of Tientsin workmen may well follow here, as showing what has to be contended with:

"The Tientsin workmen engaged in the manufacture of iron rice-pans are, as a rule, desperate and lawless characters. They are divided into clans, and fighting seems to be their only pastime. When a row or a fire occurs, they are the first to be on the spot, quarrelling and fighting. Laws are inadequate to restrain them. Their motto is 'Death before cowardice,' and to their credit it must be said that even under the most harrowing tortures none of them have ever been known to cry for mercy. Any one showing weakness under physical suffering is boycotted by the rest of the gang; and he being a rowdy, and knowing no better, feels abjectly humiliated thereby, and considers life but 513 a void when burdened by the curses of his sworn brethren. The authorities take great pains in putting down such lawlessness, but their efforts so far have not resulted in much success, as will be seen from the following occurrence. Some time during last winter a quarrel broke out between the patrolmen on one side and the rice-pan workmen on the other or east side of the river. The quarrel did not at first produce a fight, but sowed the seeds of hatred and thought of vengeance on the part of the rowdies. The New Year festivities seemed to reconcile all parties; but soon mistrust and suspicion again revived, and both sides prepared for battle. Great vigilance was observed, and they slept, as it were, with swords and spears ready by their sides. Such a state of things could not continue long. About a week ago, one cold and stormy night, about twelve o'clock, a band of rowdies five hundred strong, fully equipped, marched by stealth to the quarters of the guards, who were then all out on duty. The rowdies had the whole place to themselves. They tore down the barracks, seized the arms, and destroyed all personal effects. Leaving ruin and devastation in their wake, they turned their steps homewards, but were pursued and overtaken by the guards, who gathered to the number of several hundreds. A skirmish followed, resulting in the utter rout of the rowdies. Two of them were captured and several were wounded. The guards suffered also to some extent. When the soldiers from the garrison camps came upon the scene, both parties had disappeared." 514

The Tientsin men throughout the empire are known as rowdies, but the rowdies of the streets of Peking (possibly originally from Tientsin) are certainly the worst.

There are only two other men, who can be compared in position with the Emperor of China. One is the Emperor of Russia, also now a young man; the other is the Dalai Lama, popularly reputed to be never allowed to live beyond a certain very youthful age. The Peking Gazette of July 5th, 1891, says: "Sheng-tai, the Resident in Tibet, reports the fact that on the fifth day of the first moon of the present year the Dalai Lama did, in accordance with immemorial usage, descend from the mountain, and, accompanied by a large body of priests, proceed to the great shrine and offer up prayers for the welfare of the nation. Memorialist furnished him with a body-guard for his protection. The Dalai Lama appears to be able to keep his men well under control, and it is satisfactory to be able to report that throughout Tibet everything is in a peaceful condition."

Considering the case of these exalted personages, we may easily indulge in the somewhat hackneyed thankfulness that our lot has placed us in some humbler sphere. But just as it often seems to me in England, the poor rich get left out by all teachers, preachers, or other apostles of glad tidings; so let us at least not pass by on the other side, like the Pharisee of old, but pause to breathe a prayer for the three young men appointed, not by themselves, Emperor of Russia, Emperor of China, and Dalai Lama of Tibet! 515


A Concubine no Empress.—Sudden Deaths.—Suspicions.—Prince Ch`ün.—Emperor's Education.—His Sadness.—His Features.—Foreign Ministers' Audience.—Another Audience.—Crowding of the Rabble.—Peking's Effect on Foreign Representatives.

According to Chinese usage or unwritten law, the concubine of an Emperor can never become Empress-Dowager; yet Tze Hsi, the concubine of the Emperor Hien Fêng, and mother of the late Emperor Tung Chih, has ruled over China in this capacity since 1871. For a time she nominally shared the power with Tze An, the childless widow of the Emperor Hien Fêng. In like manner for a while the youthful Kwang-shü, her step-sister's son, has been nominal Emperor. But the ease with which she resumed the reins in September, 1898, sufficiently shows that she had never really let go of them. Tze, which was also the name of the late Empress Tze An, means "parental love," whilst An means "peace." Hsi, the second name of the present Empress, means "joy," and is pronounced she. Tze Hsi is undoubtedly a remarkable woman. Besides having directed the 516 destinies of China for twenty-seven years, without being in the least entitled to do so, she is said to be a brilliant artist, often giving away her pictures; and she also writes poetry, having even presented six hundred stanzas of her poetry to the Hanlin College. Some people suspect her of having been instrumental in causing the death of the Emperor Hien Fêng, as also of his and her son Tung Chih. She is more than suspected of having caused the death of her sister, the mother of the Emperor Kwang-shü. The two ladies had a violent altercation about the upbringing of the child, and two days after his mother died—of pent-up anger in the heart, it was announced. The beautiful Aleute, widow of her son Tung Chih, certainly died by her own hand, which is considered a very righteous act on the part of a widow; but had her mother-in-law, the Empress Tze Hsi, not thought that she might become a dangerous rival, probably Aleute would not have killed herself.

Lent by Society for Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge in China.

It is of course well known that Kwang-shü was not the natural successor to Tung Chih. He was simply chosen as Emperor by his ambitious aunt because he was the very youngest person who had any claim, and 517 she thus secured to herself a longer lease of power. Her sister was notoriously averse to it, and the little Kwang-shü was stolen by the Empress Tze Hsi from his cradle to bear the burden of an honour unto which he was not born. The child is reported to have cried. He was then four years old. His father was the poetical Prince Ch`ün, who made one great tour, and wrote a collection of poems on the novel objects he saw during his travels. An Englishman, who knew him, describes him as rather jovial than otherwise, but his portrait hardly confirms this description. He was certainly respected during his lifetime, and after his death, as before mentioned, he was extolled in the Peking Gazette for the meekness with which he had abstained from arrogating to himself high place, in spite of being the father of an Emperor. Probably, however, his life would have ended sooner if he had, and he knew it. As it was, there were suspicious circumstances about his death, as some people thought there were about that of the Marquis Tseng, a former Chinese Minister very popular in England, whilst he resided here. Dr. Dudgeon, years ago a member of the London Mission, was his medical adviser, and he himself relates how Li Hung-chang, celebrated for his abrupt speeches, accosted him with, "Well, and how much did you get for poisoning the Marquis Tseng?" "I poison the Marquis Tseng! That was very foolish of me, considering he was my best-paying patient." Then, after a pause, "But if I did, how much was it your Excellency paid me to put him out of the way?" Li Hung-chang 518 lay back in his chair and chuckled, not offended but delighted with the retort. But although the Marquis Tseng, there is every reason to suppose, died of illness, it seems impossible to say so of Prince Kung, who opposed the policy of the Empress Tze Hsi, and died almost directly afterwards, as was again said, of pent-up anger.

The quarrel between the Empress and her sister was about the method of education of the youthful Kwang-shü. The former is openly accused of having taught him to play cards and drink wine. And the marvel is, not that Kwang-shü is a young man of weak physique, and lacking in the characteristics of a Cromwell or a Bismarck, but that he is, in spite of all, a young man with aspirations and a real wish for his country's good. During all my stay in China I have never heard one single story to his disadvantage, except that at one time people had an idea he was subject to epileptic fits, which seems not to have been true, and that ten or twelve years ago I have heard it said that at times he had ungovernable fits of rage, during which he would throw anything that came handy at the heads of those who opposed him. This may have been true—he was but a boy at the time—but the story has never been confirmed, nor were those who told it the least confident that it was true. From Chinese I have heard but one account: "The Emperor is good. But what can he do?" Of the Empress, on the other hand, there seems but one opinion—that she loves money. Sometimes people add that she has taken with ardour to gambling. But never 519 have I heard any Chinaman suggest that she had the least care of any sort for the interests of China or the Chinese. They do not speak of her as clever. They speak of her generally in connection with Li Hung-chang, the unscrupulous; and they shake their heads over them both. According to report, she has a piercing eye. But a lady, who had been some years in the Palace embroidering, seemed surprised at hearing this, and implied that she had never noticed it.

I have heard many descriptions of the young Kwang-shü. They all agree on one point—that he looks sorrowful. "Very sorrowful?" I asked the other day of an Englishman, who had seen him just before his deposition. "Yes, very sorrowful." "Sick and sorrowful? or more sorrowful than sick?" "More sorrowful than sick." A private letter I once saw, written by a man fresh from being present at an audience, gave the impression of his being altogether overcome by the youthful Emperor's sadness, which, as far as I remember, was described as a cloud, that seemed to envelop him, and remove him from the rest of the world. This sadness seemed to be heightened by an extreme sweetness of disposition. The youthful Emperor smiled on seeing the beautifully illuminated book in which the German address of congratulation was presented, looked at it for a moment, then laid it down, and once more was so full of sorrow it was impossible to contemplate him without emotion. If my memory serves me, the writer used stronger, more high-flown expressions than I am daring to make use of. Repeating 520 them at the time to the Secretary who had accompanied the British Minister, I asked him if the Emperor had made at all the same impression upon him. He paused a moment, looking grave; then said firmly, "Yes, I think quite the same."

Here is an extract from an account written on the occasion of the audience of the Diplomatic Corps in 1891:

"All interest, however, centred in the Emperor himself. He looks younger even than he is, not more than sixteen or seventeen. Although his features are essentially Chinese, or rather Manchu, they wear a particular air of personal distinction. Rather pale and dark, with a well-shaped forehead, long, black, arched eyebrows, large, mournful, dark eyes, a sensitive mouth, and an unusually long chin, the young Emperor, together with an air of great gentleness and intelligence, wore an expression of melancholy, due, naturally enough, to the deprivation of nearly all the pleasures of his age and to the strict life which the hard and complicated duties of his high position force him to lead. As he sat cross-legged, the table in front hid the lower part of his person. In addressing Prince Ch´ün, he spoke in Manchu rather low and rapidly, being perhaps a little nervous."

And now it may be well to give a translation of the best account I know, that of the Ost Asiatische Lloyd, of the audience of the Foreign Ministers in Peking at the celebration of the sixtieth birthday of the Empress-Dowager. 521

"Early in the present month the Representatives of the Treaty Powers in Peking were officially informed by Prince Kung, the new President of the Tsung-li Yamen, that the Emperor desired to receive the Foreign Ministers in audience in celebration of the sixtieth birthday of the Empress ex-Regent; and, further, that, as a special mark of good-will, the audience would be held within the precincts of the Inner Palace—i.e. in the so-called 'Forbidden City.' This audience took place on Monday, November 12th.

"The theatre of this solemn function of State was the Hall of Blooming Literature, a somewhat ancient building in the south-east quarter of the Palace, which is used for the annual Festival of Literature, held in the second month, on which occasion the Emperor receives addresses on the Classics from distinguished members of the Hanlin College. According to a Japanese work, entitled A Description of Famous Places in the Land of Tang (i.e. China), which gives an illustrated description of the ceremony, all the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the different Ministries in Peking, as well as high office-bearers, have then to be present.

"On the present occasion the Representatives of the Foreign Powers and their suites entered by the Eastern Flowery Gate, which is the sole entrance in the east wall of the Inner Palace. The sedans were left there, and the visitors proceeded on foot through a wide walled-in courtyard, past the Palace garden, to the Hall of Manifested Benevolence, a smaller threefold building in which formerly offerings were made to 522 the mythical Emperors and to the ancient worthies, and which was utilised on this occasion as waiting-room for the Ambassadors. These were now received by the Princes and Ministers of the Tsung-li Yamen, and thence conducted, after a short delay, through the Wen-hua pavilion. From there the Envoys and their suites were conducted to the audience chamber by two Palace officials, and then led to the throne by two Ministers of the Tsung-li Yamen. At twenty minutes before twelve o'clock the doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, the Ambassador of the United States, was presented, while the others followed in order of seniority. The remainder of the ceremony was carried out as at previous audiences. The Ambassador, followed by his suite, approached the dais with three bows, and saluted the Emperor seated thereon at the top of a flight of steps: he then spoke a few words commemorating the solemn occasion. The letter of felicitation from his sovereign was then handed in, after each respective Embassy interpreter had translated it into Chinese; it was then taken by Prince Kung or Prince Ch`ing, who stood at the Emperor's side and acted alternately with each presentation, and translated by them into Manchu. The Prince in question then laid the letter on a table covered with yellow silk before the Emperor. The monarch inclined his head as he received it, then spoke a few sentences in an audible tone to the Prince kneeling at his left, in which he expressed his delight and satisfaction. The Prince, after leaving the dais, repeated the Emperor's words in Chinese to the interpreter, who 523 again repeated them in the language of his country to the Ambassador.

"This completed the audience: the Ambassador left the hall bowing, with the same ceremonies, and conducted as on entering. Oriental ceremonial was thus conspicuously and worthily maintained.

"The Wen-hua-tien has three entrances in its southern wall, led up to by three flights of stone steps: as long as the Ambassador was the bearer of the Imperial handwriting, he was given the most honoured way of approach, that is, the great central staircase and the centre door, which otherwise are only made use of by the Emperor in person; the exits were made through the side door on the left.

"The proceedings were characterised by a distinct majesty of demeanour. As mentioned above, the 524 Emperor was seated on a raised dais at a table hung with yellow silk; behind him were the customary paraphernalia—the screen and the peacock fan; at his right stood two Princes of the Imperial House; at his left the Prince of Ke Chin and Prince Kung or Prince Ch`ing. In the hall itself two lines of guards carrying swords were formed up, behind which stood eunuchs and Palace officers. The most interesting feature in the whole ceremony was of course the person of the youthful monarch, clad in a sable robe and wearing the hat of State. His unusually large brilliant black eyes gave a wonderfully sympathetic aspect to his mild, almost childish countenance, increased, if anything, by the pallor due to a recent fever.

"Upon leaving the hall of audience, a strikingly picturesque scene disclosed itself. On either side (i.e. east and west, from the open staircase leading south) were displayed the long rows of the Palace gardens in form of a hollow bow. In front and rear swarms of officials were moving about, clad in long robes, with the square, many-coloured emblems of their respective ranks embroidered on them behind and before; with all their air of business no haste or hurry could be perceived. Everything was being done in the solemn and majestic manner characteristic of the Chinese official style. Turning to the right, one noticed, at the extreme edge of the wide court, the high wall covered with glazed yellow tiles which encloses the long row of the central halls of the Palace, and again to the south of these the threefold Tso-yi-men, or 'Left Gate of Righteousness,' 525 and beyond that, but towering far above it, the mighty construction of the Tai-ho Hall, which by its architectural features is the most conspicuous building in the whole Imperial City. As in everything Chinese, the effect was produced not so much by the execution of the details as by the vastness of the proportions and the majesty of the surroundings.

"The Wen-hua-tien itself is an old building, sixty or more feet in width and of almost the same depth, which had been arranged as well as might be for the occasion. The entrance was adorned with silken hangings and rosettes, and pillars had been erected on the stone staircases adorned with dragons, with yellow silk wound round them; the centre steps and the floor were carpeted. It cannot, however, be denied that the Wen-hua-tien is not comparable either with the Cheng-kuang-tien or the Tze-kuang-ko, the two halls in which the former audiences were held, either in size or in its internal arrangements. On the other hand, we cannot sufficiently congratulate ourselves on the fact of the Chinese Court having at last resolved to open the door of the 'Inner Palace' to the Foreign Representatives. These doors have been so long and anxiously guarded, that it was a hard matter for the Court to give way in the weary discussions over the audience question—how hard may be inferred from the number of years it has taken to bring about this final solution."

By Mr. J. Thomson.

An account of another audience, given at the time in the Chinese Times, since defunct, but then published at Tientsin, the nearest Treaty Port to Peking, gives 526 a few details that are perhaps the more interesting from their contrast with the very careful account above quoted, obviously written by a gentleman connected with Diplomacy:

"When the procession reached the North Gate, leading into the garden near the Marble Bridge, the Ministers and others left their chairs and proceeded on foot to a kind of small pavilion, where a collation was served, and where the party waited an hour surrounded by mandarins and a crowd of roughs—chair-coolies (not those of the Legations, who had been left outside), workmen, gardeners, porters, and coolies—who peered in at the windows, and even allowed themselves to make digital examination of the uniforms and decorations of the Ministers. After a lapse of an hour the party were conducted into three tents erected at the foot of the steps of the Tze-kuang-ko, where, divided into three groups—Ministers, attachés, and interpreters—they remained half an hour. Then the Emperor arrived, and M. Von Brandt was the first to enter the presence, where he remained exactly five minutes, all ceremonies included. He was followed by the other Ministers in turn, the audience occupying barely five minutes for each. Then the suites of the Ministers entered, in three ranks. Three salvoes were given on entrance and three on retiring, backwards.

"The audience itself was conducted as follows: M. Von Brandt, the German Minister, delivered a very short speech in English, which M. Popoff, Russian, translated into Chinese; Prince Ch`ing repeated it, 527 kneeling, in Manchu, at the foot of the throne. The Emperor said a few prepared words in reply, which were translated in the reverse order, and the Ministers retired. The Emperor was at a distance of seven or eight yards from the Europeans, raised on a dais with a table in front of him. Behind him stood the Pao-wang and the Ko-wang; at the foot of the dais Prince Ch`ing; and on either side soldiers with side arms. The hall was not a large one; the Europeans were placed near the centre, between two pillars. The rabble crowded up the steps of the Tze-kuang-ko, and no order was kept."

This crowding of the rabble is eminently Chinese, as also that no steps were taken to save the Representatives of the various countries of Europe from the impertinent and dirty hands of workmen and coolies. It is extraordinary to think of European diplomatists submitting to it. Of course they would not have done so, but for the mutual jealousies among themselves. It is this that always gives China her advantage. It is also remarkable that Herr von Brandt should have spoken in English, a fact ignored in German newspapers, although it must have been prearranged, and doubtless after much consideration. But the fact that all this assemblage of Ministers Plenipotentiary with attendant secretaries allowed a Chinese rabble thus to insult them in their official capacity will perhaps make intelligible in England, why our hearts often grow hot within us, while sojourning in China, and our cheeks sometimes burn with shame 528 for our country, which we know to be so strong, and which allows itself at times to be so humiliated by a nation, that naturally becomes more arrogant, seeing itself allowed thus to act. I do not know who the writer of the following poem is; but he expresses my feelings with more calm and dignity than I could myself; therefore I hope he will not be displeased by my quoting it.

By Mr. Stratford Dugdale.



March 6th, 1897.


'Tis said it was the spirit of the land

That grew upon them—they were mostly men

Of birth and culture, whom their native states

Had chosen to send forth, ambassadors!

From many a favoured shore where truth and light

Had made their home, where peaceful arts had shed

Their brightest rays; from fields of classic song

Whose softening accents ring from age to age,

They came to far Cathay—a little band

Prepared to bear the torch of progress on

And carry it throughout that heathen land.

'Twas with the noblest purpose they had left

Such shores as none could leave without regret,

Where every passing day can stir the pulse

With throbs unknown to Oriental sloth:

So all their peers had bade them speed and give

Fair promise of the deeds that they should do;

How, like their forbears, they should help to clear

A way through ignorance and vicious pride

To harmony—and better thus the world.


But to each one it fell (we know not how;

'Tis said it was the spirit of that land)

That soon his pristine ardour died away;

It seemed almost as if the mouldering walls

Of that Peking, which typifies decay,

Shut out all purpose, shutting in the man—

As if each roof, in that foul street, where lodge

The envoys of proud states, had thrown the shade

Of apathy on those, who dwelt below,

To rob them of their power and their will.

It was as though o'er all the city's gates all hope

Of fruitful work left those, who entered there;

It was a piteous thing to see the ebb

Of energy and zeal, to mark the growth

Of passive rust on minds, that once were keen. 530

As pebbles taken from the running brook

Lose all their brightness 'neath th' insidious moss,

So, 'neath the flagstaffs of the greatest powers,

In men (who loved these flags for all they told

Of chivalry and honour, right and truth)

Grew up a tolerance of ways Chinese,

A certain toying with the flight of Time,

With jugglery of words, and willingness

To let things right themselves; then later still

It seemed as if the mind of petty trade,

Haggling and bargains (which be as the breath

Of China's nostrils), crept into their souls,

So that, forgetting all their nobler aims,

Each sought to introduce cheap cloth and iron nails.


'Twas to this weak, ignoble end they lost

Their unity, competing one and all,

While Chinese "diplomats" were still and smiled,

And China's monarch held them all to be

Barbarians, unfit to see his face.

'Twas pitiful to see the highest aims

Give way before base purposes of greed,

To watch the little path, that had been won

By sturdy valour of the foremost few,

Grow thick and tangled by the many weeds

Of late diplomacy: to see the loss

Of early treaties in these latter days.


Meanwhile, the people of that heathen land,

Like sparrows that have found a blinded hawk,

Grew insolent apace, and year by year

Respect and wholesome fear gave way to scorn.

The common herd, not slow to ape the moods

Of those above them, met with sullen looks,

Hustlings, and jeers the strangers in their midst;

Then, as it seemed, the passive spirit grew

With every insult, words gave place to deeds,

Till fire and plunder were the common lot 531

Of unprotected merchants and their wares.

And still their leaders slept; at times it seemed

(When some new outrage made the country ring)

As if the spell must break and wrath be roused

With strength to crush all China at a blow.

But well the wily Mongol played his game

With honeyed speech and temporising gifts:

And ever came the necessary sop—

Some contract, loan, monopoly, or pact—

At sight of which all wrongs were laid aside,

And men who had "full powers" used them not,

Forgetting the traditions of their race.

And thus things went from bad to worse, while men

Sat sadly wondering what the end would be,

And at their parlous state, of which no cause

They knew, except the spirit of the land.

But of those latter days, and what befell

Leaders and led, not mine to-day to tell.





Everybody Guaranteed by Somebody Else.—Buying back Office.—Family Responsibilities.—Guilds.—All Employés Partners.—Antiquity of Chinese Reforms.—To each Province so many Posts.—Laotze's Protest against Unnecessary Laws.—Experiment in Socialism.—College of Censors.—Tribunal of History.—Ideal in Theory.

Possibly that state of society in which the individual is the unit is a more advanced form of civilisation; but it is impossible to understand China unless it be first realised that the individual life is nothing there, and that the family is the unit; and yet further, that no one stands alone in China, as is so painfully the case in England, but that every one is responsible for some one else, guaranteed by some one else. And here, to those who wish to read a really exact, circumstantial account of the Chinese and their ways, let me recommend John Chinaman, by the Rev. George Cockburn, quite the best book I have read on the subject, and one that deserves a wider circulation than it has attained, being written in terse, epigrammatic English, with a flavour of Tacitus about 533 it. Alas! the writer is no more,—a silent, reserved, black-browed Scotchman, with a fervour of missionary zeal glowing under a most impassive exterior. The riot, in which all our own worldly goods in China were destroyed, wrecked for ever the nervous system of his strong, handsome, brave young wife. And what with that and the details of daily life, all laid upon the shoulders of a man by nature a student and a visionary, he left China, and soon after passed away beyond the veil, where, if we share the Chinese belief, let us trust his spirit is gladdened by words of appreciation of the one little volume in which he embodied the fruits of years of work and thought in China, dying, as far as I remember, almost as it appeared. The wreckage of missionary lives and hopes is one of the tragedies of European life in China, and one which a little more understanding and sympathy on the part of missionary boards at home might often, it would seem, avert.

But to return to the Chinese. If you engage a servant, he is secured by some one to a certain amount, and all you have to do is to ascertain whether the security is in a position to pay should the other decamp with your property, also whether a higher value is likely to be at his disposition. If yours is a well-arranged household, this head man engages the other servants and secures them, reprimanding and discharging them at his pleasure. He, of course, gets a certain amount of the wages you think you are paying them. This, in China, the land of it, is called a "squeeze." But it 534 seems perfectly legitimate, as indeed all squeezes seem legitimate from the Chinese point of view, only sometimes carried to excess. It is the same in business. It is not quite the same in official positions, because there the Viceroy of a province pays so much to get his post, and so do the lesser officials under him. The theory in China is that superior men will always act as such, whatever their pay may be. Therefore a Chinese Viceroy of to-day receives theoretically the living wage of centuries ago. Practically he receives squeezes from every one with whom he is brought in contact, and has paid so much down to acquire the post that unless he holds it for a term of years he is out of pocket. The post of Taotai, or Governor of Shanghai, is one of the most lucrative in China. Tsai, who has made friends with all of us Europeans as no Taotai ever did before—dining out and giving dinner parties, and even balls—Tsai is known to have paid so much to obtain the post as would represent all he could hope to get in every way during two years of office: about £20,000. He was dismissed from his post November, 1898; but possibly may be able to bribe heavily enough to get it back. Li Hung-chang and his two particular dependants of former days, the late Viceroy of Szechuan, degraded because of the anti-foreign riots there, and Shêng, Chief of Telegraphs and Railways, etc., etc., have all done this again and again. When English people were laughing over Li's yellow jacket and peacock feather being taken from him, certain eunuchs of the Palace were growing rich over the 535 process of getting them back again. The eunuch in the closest confidence of the Empress is always said to charge about £1,000 for an interview, and till lately none could be obtained but through him. When a man has enormous wealth, and is degraded, every one naturally feels it is a pity nothing should be got out of him, and he equally naturally is willing to pay much in order to be reinstated in a position to make more. Until the officials of China are properly paid, it is unreasonable to expect them to be honest. And yet some are so even now: not only Chang-chih-tung, the incorruptible Viceroy of Hupeh and Hunan, who, it may be noticed, is constantly being invited to Peking, but—never goes. But others in subordinate positions are pointed out by Chinese: "That is one of the good old school of Chinamen. He takes no bribes, and is the terror of the other officials."

In family life Chinese solidarity has its inconveniences, but it altogether prevents that painful spectacle to which people seem to have hardened their hearts in England, of sending their aged relatives to the workhouse instead of carefully tending them at home as the Chinese do, or of one brother or sister surrounded by every luxury, another haunted by the horror of creditors and with barely the necessaries of life. If you are to help your brother, you must, of course, claim a certain amount of authority over his way of life. In China the father does so; and when he dies, the elder brother sees after and orders his younger brother about; and the younger brother, as a 536 rule, submits. In each of those large and beautiful homesteads in which Chinese live in the country, adding only an additional graceful roof-curve, another courtyard, as more sons bring home more young women to be wives in name, but in reality to be the servants-of-all-work of their mothers, and the mothers of their children—in each of these harmonious agglomerations of courtyards, it is the eldest man who directs the family councils. Thus, when a man dies, the deciding voice is for his eldest brother, not for his eldest son; than which probably no custom could tend more to conservatism, for there never comes a time when the voice of youth makes itself heard with authority.

Not only are all the members of a family thus knit together by mutual responsibilities, but families are again thus knit. It is the village elders who are responsible if any crime is committed in the district. It is they who have to discover and bring back stolen articles; it is they who have to quiet disturbances and settle disputes about boundaries. The principle of local self-government has in the course of centuries been perfected in China, where all that Mr. Ruskin aims at appears to have been attained centuries ago: village industries, local self-government, no railways, no machinery, hand labour, and each village, as far as possible each self-sufficing family, growing its own silk or cotton, weaving at home its own cloth, eating its own rice and beans, and Indian corn and pork. Schools are established by little collections of families, or tutors engaged, as the case may be. In either case 539 the teacher is poorly paid, but meets with a respect altogether out of proportion to his salary. It is all very ideal; but the result is not perfect, human nature being what it is. In many ways, however, it appears a much happier system than our English system, and perhaps in consequence the people of China appear very contented. As a rule in the country each family tills its own bit of ground, and—where opium has not spread its poisonous influence—has held the same for centuries. The family tree is well known, and Chinese will tell you quietly "We are Cantonese," or "We are from Hunan," and only careful inquiry will elicit that their branch of the family came thence some three centuries ago.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

In the towns the guilds represent family life on a larger scale. A man comes from Kiangsi, let us say, to Chungking, over a thousand miles away, and having probably spent months on the journey. He has brought no letters of introduction, but he straightway goes to the guild-house of his province, with its particularly beautiful green-tiled pagoda overlooking the river, a pale-pink lantern hanging from the upturned end of each delightful roof-curve, and there, making due reverence, he relates how he is So-and-so, the son of So-and-so, and straightway every one there knows all about him, and can easily ascertain if his story be correct. Here are friends found for him at once, a free employment agency, if that is what he is after, or a bureau of information about the various businesses of the city, their solvency and the like. Here is a lovely 540 club-house, where he can dine or be dined, have private and confidential conversations in retired nooks, or sit with all the men of his province sipping tea and eating cakes, while a play is performed before them by their own special troupe of actors, who act after the manner of their province. I do not know who first started 541 the legend that Chinese plays last for days, if not weeks. But it is not true, any more than that green tea is rendered green by being fired in copper pans and is poison to the nerves. Tea is green by nature, though it may be rendered black by fermentation, and is always fired in iron pans; and weak green tea as drunk in China is like balm to the nerves compared to Indian tannin-strong decoctions. In like manner Chinese plays are really short, though they make up in noise for what they lack in length.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

If occasion needed, the guild would see after the newcomers funeral, even give him free burial if the worst came to the worst. And though we reckon the Chinese people such an irreligious race, and the guild-houses are naturally only frequented by men, chiefly by merchants (for the Chinese are a nation of traders), yet in every guild-house there is a temple. And before every great banquet part of the ceremony of marshalling the guests to their seats (and a very stately ceremony it is) is pouring a libation of wine before an altar in the banqueting-hall, before which also each guest bows in turn as he passes to the place assigned him.

But probably the custom that has the greatest effect upon Chinese life is that, just as twelve centuries ago they introduced competitive examinations, to which we have now in our nineteenth century of Christianity turned as to a sheet-anchor, so centuries ago the Chinese resorted to the principle of co-operation. In a Chinese business, be it large or be it small, pretty 542 well every man in the business has his share; so that you are sometimes astonished when a merchant introduces to you as his partners a set of young men, who in England would be junior clerks. Even the coolie wrappering the tea-boxes says "We are doing well this year," and works with a will through the night, knowing he too will have his portion in the increased business this increased work signifies. The way, indeed, in which Chinese work through the night is most remarkable. Men will row a boat day and night for four or five days, knowing that the sum of money gained will thus be quicker earned, and only pausing one at a time to take a whiff at a pipe or to eat. They will press wool all through the night to oblige their employer without a murmur, if only given free meals whilst doing this additional work. The truth is, the habit of industry has been so engendered in Chinese as to be second nature, their whole system tending to encourage it, whilst ours, with our free poor-houses and licensed public-houses, tends rather in the other direction; our Trades Unions seem trying all they can to further diminish the incentives to good work on the part of skilled workmen by denying them any higher wage than that obtained by the incompetent. Co-operation after the Chinese model will, it is to be hoped, eventually put this right again. There is so much we might learn from the Chinese; but we have never followed the system we press upon Oriental nations, of sending out clever young students to other countries to see what they can learn that would be 543 advantageous among our own people. In some ways China would serve as a warning. But a civilisation, that reached its acme while William the Norman was conquering England, and that yet survives intact, must surely have many a lesson to teach.

Besides all this mutual support and responsibility, Chinese customs are such that, as people often say somewhat sadly, you cannot alter one without altering all. The people here referred to are not the twenty-years-in-China-and-not-speak-a-word-of-the-language men, but Europeans who have tried to study the Chinese sympathetically. As it is, if you were to alter their houses and make them less draughty and damp, then all their clothing must be altered. That is again the case if you try to encourage them to play cricket—for which there is no sufficient level space in the west of China—or take part in other sports. But if you were to attempt to alter their clothing before you had rebuilt their houses, they would all be dying of dysentery or fever. In like manner, if you attempted to dragoon the Chinese into greater cleanliness, or into taking certain sanitary precautions, you would require a police force, which does not exist. But how to obtain that until you have got this self-respecting, self-governing people to see any advantage in being dragooned?

The solidarity of the Chinese race is one of the reasons it has lasted so long upon the earth, and its civilisation remained the same. It is twenty-one centuries since the Emperor Tze Hoang-ti said "Good government is impossible under a multiplicity of 544 masters," and did away with the feudal system. It is twelve centuries since the Chinese found out what Burns only taught us the other day, that "A man's a man for a' that," and, giving up the idea of rank, began to fill posts by competitive examinations. Another of their most remarkable methods we shall probably copy whenever we begin seriously to consider Imperial Federation. They never send any man to be an official in his own province. Thus we should have Canadian officials in places of trust here or in Australia, and Australians in England or Canada. And to each province in China so many Government posts, civil and military, are assigned. If England had followed this method, there might be the United States of England now instead of America, for no system is better calculated to knit closely together the outlying regions of a great empire, than that in accordance with which every official in turn has to be examined as to his qualifications for office at the capital, and to return there to pay his respects to his sovereign before entering upon each new office.

The contemplation of China is discouraging: to think it got so far so long ago, and yet has got no farther! The Emperor Hoang-ti, who lived 200 B.C., may be supposed to have foreseen the deadening effect that government by literary men has upon a nation, for he burnt all their books except those that treat of practical arts. He was even as advanced as Mr Auberon Herbert, and warned rulers against the multiplication of unnecessary laws. Laotze, China's 545 greatest sage, although too spiritually-minded a man to have gained such a following as was afterwards obtained by Confucius, again insists that the spiritual weapons of this world cannot be formed by laws and regulations: "Prohibitory enactments, and too constant intermeddling in political and social matters, merely produce the evils they are intended to avert. The ruler is above all things to practise wu-wei, or inaction."

The Chinese, it seems, experimented in socialism eight centuries ago. The Emperor Chin-tsung II., at a very early age, and led thereto by Wu-gan-chi, the compiler of a vast encyclopædia, conceived the idea that "the State should take the entire management of commerce, industry, and agriculture into its own hands, with the view of succouring the working classes and preventing their being ground to the dust by the rich." To quote again from W. D. Babington's Fallacies of Race Theories: "The poor were to be exempt from taxation, land was to be assigned to them, and seed-corn provided. Every one was to have a sufficiency; there were to be no poor and no over-rich. The literati in vain resisted the innovations, the fallacy of which they demonstrated from their standpoint. The specious arguments of the would-be reformer convinced the young Emperor and gained the favour of the people. Wu-gan-chi triumphed. The vast province of Shensi was chosen as the theatre for the display of the great social experiment that was to regenerate mankind. The result was failure, complete and disastrous. The people, neither driven by want nor incited by the hope of 546 gain, ceased to labour; and the province was soon in a fair way to become a desert." Mencius, Confucius' greatest follower, taught that "the people are the most important element in the country, and the ruler is the least." Mencius openly said that if a ruler did not rule for his people's good it was a duty to resist his authority and depose him.

Whilst other nations have vaguely asked Quis custodiet custodes? the Chinese invented the College of Censors and the Tribunal of History, both selected from their most distinguished scholars. It is the duty of Censors to remonstrate with the Emperor when necessary, as well as to report to the College, or to the Emperor himself, any breach of propriety in courts of justice or elsewhere. They have no especial office but to notice the doings of other officials. The Tribunal of History is busy recording the events of each Emperor's reign; but no Emperor has ever seen what is written about him, nor is any history published till the dynasty of which it treats is at an end. Chinese history is full of examples of the courage and adherence to truth with which the members of this tribunal have been inspired.

It is all so beautiful in description, one sighs in thinking it over. But it must be remembered that it was yet more beautiful, startlingly beautiful, at the period of the world's history when it was all originated, and that to this day the Chinese peasant enjoys a degree of liberty and immunity from Government interference unknown on the Continent of Europe. There is no 547 passport system; he can travel where he pleases; he can form and join any kind of association; his Press was free till the Empress Tze Hsi, probably inspired by Russian influence, issued her edict against it in 1898; his right of public meeting and free speech are still unquestioned. Public readers and trained orators travel about the country instructing the people. The system of appealing to the people by placarding the walls has been very far developed in China. There is there complete liberty of conscience. And at the same time, as all people who know China will testify, the moral conscience of the people is so educated that an appeal to it never falls flat, as it often would in England. Try to stop two men fighting, saying it is wrong to fight, and you will hear no one say in China, "Oh, let them fight it out!" Appeal to the teaching of Confucius, and every Chinaman will treat you with respect, and at least try to appear guided by it. How far in Europe would this be the case with a citation from the Bible?

The system of education, the crippling of the women by footbinding, and consequent enfeebling of the race, together with the subsequent resort to opium-smoking, are the three apparent evil influences that spoil what otherwise seems so ideal a system of civilisation. Possibly we should add to this, that the system of Confucius—China's great teacher—is merely a system of ethics, and that thus for generations the cultured portion of the nation has tried to do without a religion, although falling back upon Taoism and Buddhism to meet the needs of 548 the human heart. That any civilisation should have lasted so long without a living religion is surprising. But Buddhism has evidently had an enormous influence upon China, though its temples are crumbling now, its priests rarely knowing even its first elements. The good that it could do for China it has done. And now another influence is needed.

By Mrs. Archibald Little.




Reform Club.—Chinese Ladies' Public Dinner.—High School for Girls.—Chinese Lady Doctors insisting on Religious Liberty.—Reformers' Dinner.—The Emperor at the Head of the Reform Party.—Revising Examination Papers.—Unaware of Coming Danger.—Russian Minister's Reported Advice.

On February 12th, 1896, a newspaper correspondent wrote from Peking: "The Reform Club established a few months ago, which gave such promise of good things to come, and which has been referred to frequently in the public prints in China, has burst. It has been denounced by one of the Censors, and the Society has collapsed at once. The Club has been searched, the members, some fifty or more Hanlin scholars, have absconded, and the printers have been imprisoned. Such is the end, for the present at least, of what promised to be the awakening of China. It 550 was initiated and supported largely at least by three well-known foreigners, two of them well-known missionaries, and it met with much support and encouragement from all classes. Its little Gazette was latterly enlarged and its name changed. One or more translators were engaged to translate the best articles from the English newspapers and magazines, of which some two dozen or more were ordered for the Club. The members contributed liberally, we understand, towards its expenses; and if ever there was hope of new life being instilled into the old dry bones of China, it was certainly confidently looked for from this young, healthy, and vigorous Society. It has been conducted, we believe, with great ability; differences among the leaders have cropped up, but after discussions the affairs of the Club have each time been placed on a more secure and lasting basis. Foreign dinners at a native hotel have been part of the programme; and this element is not to be despised by any means. The Chinese transact nearly all their important business at the tea-shops and restaurants, and certainly a good dinner and a glass of champagne help wonderfully to smooth matters. We regret exceedingly the decease of the Reform Club."

People in general laughed about it a little. There had before been the short statement: "A Censor has impeached the new Hanlin Reform Club, and it has been closed by Imperial rescript."

Thomas Huxley once wrote that "with wisdom and uprightness even a small nation might make its way 551 worthily; no sight in the world is more saddening and revolting than is offered by men sunk in ignorance of everything except what other men have written, and seemingly devoid of moral belief and guidance, yet with their sense of literary beauty so keen and their power of expression so cultivated that they mistake their own caterwauling for the music of the spheres."

It was in this strain Europeans in the East meditated. But on returning to China in the autumn of 1897, I found in Shanghai evidences of progress and reform on all sides. A Chinese newspaper, generally spoken of in English as Chinese Progress, was being issued regularly, and newspapers edited by friends of its editor were coming out in Hunan and even in far-away Szechuan. The Chinese "Do-not-bind-feet" Society of Canton had opened an office in one of the principal streets of Shanghai, and was memorialising Viceroys, as also the Superintendents of Northern and Southern trade. Directly on arrival I received an invitation to a public dinner in the name of ten Chinese ladies, of whom I had never heard before. It was to be in the large dining-hall in a Chinese garden in the Bubbling Well Road, the fashionable drive of Shanghai, and by degrees I found all my most intimate friends were invited. We agreed with one another to go, though wondering a good deal what the real meaning of the invitation was, and why we were selected. The hall is a very large one, sometimes used for big balls, with rooms opening off it on either side; and after the English ladies had laid aside their wraps in a room to 552 the right—one or two Chinese gentlemen, who had evidently been superintending the arrangement of the dinner, encouraging them to do so—we asked where our Chinese hostesses were. They were already assembled in the rooms opening off the hall to the left, and I still remember the expression of intense anxiety on the Chinese gentlemen's faces as they saw us leave them and advance to join their womenkind, none of whom spoke any English, nor knew anything of English ways and manners. At first the Chinese ladies did not exactly receive us; but when we began to go round and bow to each lady in turn, after the Chinese fashion, one after another stood up and smilingly greeted us. Then those of us who could talked Chinese, and one or two of the Chinese ladies began to move about, exhibiting the ground-plan of a proposed school for the higher education of Chinese young ladies. And thus gradually we began to understand what it was all about. But on that occasion it was the English ladies who were frivolous, the Chinese who were serious. For they were so elaborately dressed, so covered with ornaments, English ladies were always breaking off and saying, "Oh, do allow me to admire that bracelet!" or "What lovely embroidery!" whilst the Chinese ladies very earnestly pointed at their ground-plan, and looked interrogations. It gradually came out that it was the Manager of the Telegraph Company and his friends who were bent upon starting this school; that this being a new departure they thought it well for the ladies interested to confer with the ladies of other nations 553 accustomed to education; and that, considering who was likely to be helpful, they had asked a few missionary ladies, and all the officers and committee of the T`ien Tsu Hui ("Natural Feet Society"), thinking that the foreign ladies, who had started that, must be interested in helping Chinese women.

Presently we were summoned to dinner by an intimation, "Chinese ladies to the left, foreign ladies to the right!" "Because of the fire," was added sotto voce, for Chinese, in their often triple furs, have naturally a horror of fires; but we refused to be thus summarily separated, as we sat down about two hundred women to a dinner served in the foreign style, with champagne, etc., and were rather alarmed to find our hostesses allowing their little children to drink as freely of champagne as of their own light Chinese wines.


That dinner was the beginning of an interchange of civilities between foreign and Chinese ladies such as had never occurred before. The daughter of Kang, commonly called the Modern Sage, after the title given to Confucius, was naturally one of these ladies. She wore Manchu dress, which puzzled us, as she is Cantonese. Her father had never allowed her feet to be bound, and she had herself written an article against binding, which had appeared in a Chinese newspaper; thus she, like several other Chinese ladies, considered the dress of the Manchus, who never bind feet, the most convenient. The relations of Mr. Liang, editor of Chinese Progress, were also present. At the subsequent meetings some of the Chinese ladies pleaded earnestly 554 that Europeans should take shares in the school. They did not want their money, they said, but feared that unless there were European shareholders their Government might seize all the funds. The European ladies, however, could never quite satisfy themselves as to the various guarantees necessary. There were, indeed, many difficulties about starting this new school, as may be seen by the following letter, written by two Chinese lady doctors, who had been asked in the first instance to undertake its management. They had been educated in America, where they had passed all the necessary examinations very brilliantly; and it was the idea of the lustre they had thus conferred upon their own nation in a foreign land, that had first led a wealthy ship-owner, running steamers on the Poyang Lake, to conceive the idea of a school for girls. It had been warmly taken up by the late tutor of the ladies of the Imperial Household, who had been dismissed from his post because of his radical notions, 555 and was thus free to devote himself to advancing education generally. The Manager of the Telegraph Company then became the leader, and the prospectus of the school was published in the North China Herald, with the names of the two Chinese lady doctors as its managers. On which they wrote the following letter to the editor, which, as I afterwards ascertained, was bonâ fide written by themselves, not at foreign instigation. They even refused to accept any corrections, saying if they wrote it at all it must be their own letter. It is so striking as the composition of Chinese women, that I am sure I shall be pardoned for giving it in extenso.

"Sir,—In your issue of December 24th appeared a translation of the prospectus of a school in Shanghai for Chinese girls; and since our names were given to the public as would-be teachers, we hope you will permit a word of much-needed explanation. If you, Mr. Editor, give such welcome to this sign of progress as is expressed in your editorial, then much more should those of our own people, who may be prepared to appreciate its possibilities. Yet the joy might not be without alloy.

"Several months ago the prospectus was brought to us as yet in an unfinished state, and parts of the first and last clauses referring to the establishment of Confucianism did not appear. Had these been there, we should not have allowed our names to go down as teachers. In making this statement, we realise that we only escape the charge of 'narrow-mindness' by the fact that we decidedly are not foreigners. We love 556 our native China too much to fail to realise the truth in your admission 'that a slavish adherence to Confucianism alone has done far too much to limit and confine the Chinese mind for centuries,' and it is because we are not hopeful of the result 'when reverence for Confucianism is to be combined with the study of Western languages and sciences' that we cannot lend ourselves to the project as it seems to be drifting. It was with the express understanding that there should be entire religious liberty, that we consented to take up this work, and religious liberty would admit all who found moral and spiritual support in Confucianism to avail themselves of it. The tablets, that Confucianism cherished, might be set up by its supporters near the school, but not in the grounds: as might Christian churches be opened, if friends were found to build them. Such a course would conserve liberty of conscience.

"Now, according to the prospectus published in that very excellent Chinese journal The Progress, twice a year sacrifices are to be made in this school to posthumous tablets of Confucius and such worthy patrons of the school as may be honoured by a place in its pantheon. Had the statement been made that twice a year days would be set apart as memorial days to these distinguished personages, upon which occasions their lives should be reviewed to us in a manner to inspire young girls by their examples, no one would join more heartily in paying honour to their memory than ourselves. But the idea of sacrifice to human 557 beings seems too blind in the light of this nineteenth century for any participation on our part. We have seen other countries, and learned of the sages of other lands; and although it may be only because of prejudice, yet we can truly say that we honour none as we do our own Confucius. But honour to the best of human beings is not unmixed blessing when it creates an idol and holds the eyes of the devotees down to earth. We do not think it the sentiment that will make the education of women successful or even safe. The educational institutions for women during the time of the Three Dynasties were not of the excellent things that Confucius sought to reestablish. Had he done so, how could he have uttered such words as these?—'Of all people girls and servants are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar to them, they lose their humility. If you maintain your reserve, they are discontented' (see Legge's Classics). Alas that we have no record that the Master ever turned his attention to a remedy for such a sad state of affairs!

"One there was who never spoke in disparaging tone to or of women. Only His sustaining counsel could give us courage to start out upon the pathway, slippery as it must needs be in the present stage of China's civilisation, along which educated women must needs pick their way. We do not feel that we should be doing our country-women best service in starting them out with only a Confucian outfit. 558

"This prospectus is, no doubt, intended to be a working-plan that will carry the co-operation of the largest number. We realise it is easier to see its inconsistencies than to unite opposing factions. Doubtless it embraces a truly progressive element in the land which has compromised under the proposed cult. The articles at first brought to us contained two sections aimed against concubinage and girl-slavery. When we reflect upon these destroyers that have fixed upon the vitals of Chinese home life, and then read the substitution of the words referring to Shanghai girls, 'especially in the Settlements,' Mencius' words recur to us (see Legge's Classics): 'Here is a man whose fourth finger is bent and cannot be stretched out straight.... If there be any one who can make it straight, he will not think the way from Tsin to Ts`oo far to go.... When a man's finger is not like that of other people, he knows he feels dissatisfied; but if his mind differs, he feels no dissatisfaction. This is called "Ignorance of the relative importance of things!"' We fear the day of our Chinese deliverance is not quite at hand.

"The Spirit that can mould the hearts of men has been abroad and wrought in the hearts of many, or they would not so ardently desire something progressive; but we regret to see it quenched even in a reviving flood of Confucianism. Let us intreat you, friends of China's progress, to lend your influence to the leaders of our people, that they strive not to bottle the new wine (spirit) of progress in old bottles, 'else the 559 bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish.'

"Mary Stone, of Hupeh,
"Ida Kahn, of Kiangsi.

"Kiukiang, December 27th, 1897."

Somehow, however, all difficulties were surmounted, and in June, 1898, I had the pleasure of writing the following account of the first high school for girls opened in China:

"Turning off to the left from the long green avenue but a few minutes before arriving at the Arsenal, the visitor comes upon the pretty conglomeration of buildings in which the much-talked-of Chinese young ladies' school has now actually been opened. There are the usual Chinese courtyards, with somewhat more than the usual fantastic Chinese decoration, ornamental tiles making open screens rather than walls, through which the wind can blow freely, yet at the same time giving a feeling of privacy; as also writhing dragons and birds and beasts. It is quite Chinese, and very pretty and æsthetic. But the windows are foreign, and there is no house in the European settlement more airy, nor perhaps so clean.

"But the matter of interest is not the building, nor the furniture, but the teachers and the taught. There they stood, the sixteen young girls, who are the first promise of the regeneration of China; and judged as young girls they certainly promised remarkably well. It is natural to suppose that several 560 of them are the children of parents of more than ordinary enlightenment. But whether they are or not, they certainly looked it. Their manners were naturally very superior to those of the girls one is accustomed to see in Chinese schools. They were readier to laugh and see a joke. But if some of those girls do not decidedly distinguish themselves in the years to come, it will be the fault of their instructors, or I am no physiognomist. They were busy with reading-books, and the teacher, a nice quiet-looking Chinese woman, had not the least idea of showing them off, so it was hard to test them. She said she could not say yet herself which were the brightest girls. Several had natural feet, and most of the others were eager to state they had "let out" their feet. None were the least smartly dressed, but several had very well-dressed hair, and were very neatly shod. One girl had the Manchu shoe without that objectionable heel in the middle, that must make walking on it like walking upon stilts.

"The bedrooms were all upstairs, four girls in a room, and nothing could have looked cleaner and neater than the arrangements: white mosquito curtains round the bed, a box under each for the girl's clothes, a stool for her to sit upon; one shining wardrobe amongst the four; a washstand with rail at the back on which to hang towels, and a looking-glass in the centre. The teachers had rooms to themselves. The teacher of sewing was upstairs, with only too exquisitely fine work all ready to spoil the poor girls' eyes and exercise 561 their patience. There was another lady, who has been teaching drawing in the Imperial Palace, painting for the Empress there. Whether she is only on a visit to recover her health, or is now teaching drawing in this school—they have a drawing mistress—I did not quite make out. But she is the sort of woman whom one seems to know, by her clever, thoughtful, extremely observant face, before ever speaking to her; and when I found she was from Yunnan, we sat and chatted about 'Mount Omi and Beyond' in quite a friendly way. One of Miss Heygood's Chinese pupils is to come in on Monday and begin teaching English, as they think a Chinese teacher will do for a beginning. Probably she will understand Chinese difficulties better than any of us could. But it is a question whether her pronunciation can be quite satisfactory.

"A good deal of the furniture was foreign, and it seemed to be all foreign in the long reception-room, to be eventually used as a class-room, where on Wednesday, June 1st, a large company of foreign ladies sat down to a most excellent Chinese dinner, with knives and forks for those who wanted, and champagne served freely. The two previous days gentlemen had been received, and June 2nd was to be exclusively for Chinese ladies. One of the daughters of Mr. King, Manager of the Telegraphs, presided at one end of the table at which I was, and his daughter-in-law sat at the other end. There was another table in an adjoining room. Mrs. Shen Tun-ho and Mrs. King Lien-shan had cards printed in English with 562 'Chinese Girl School Committee' in the corner. Mrs. Mei Shen-in had on hers, 'Native Director of Chinese Female School.'

"It is difficult for ladies to decide what guarantee is obtainable that any money they may contribute will be well used, and not diverted from the purpose for which it is intended. But if some of the active business men of Shanghai can make the necessary inquiries on these heads, certainly what was to be seen on June 1st sufficiently spoke for the great energy and care displayed by the Ladies' Committee, and Mr. King, who is understood to be the prime mover in the matter. Every detail seemed to have been well seen after. Even baths and a bath-room are provided. Each girl is only to pay six shillings a month; and this being so, it is not to be wondered at that already another house is being secured, and there are promises of sufficient girl pupils already to fill it. There is also talk of opening another girls' school."

And now in 1899 I hear that already a third school for girls has been started by Mr. King, whose energy in the matter is the more to be admired when it is considered that he is so deaf all communication with him has to be carried on in writing. But, alas for China! Mr. Timothy Richard, the inspiring secretary of the Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge, has had to take over the schools and put in a European manager, to save them from the Empress Tze Hsi's grasping fingers.

Lent by Rev. Gilbert Reid.

But a few days after the ladies' dinner—a very merry 563 one—we were invited by three Chinese gentlemen to meet the Mr. Wên before mentioned as late tutor to the ladies of the Imperial Household. There were only four other Europeans, and a little party of Chinese men, all members of the Reform party. It is perhaps as well not to give their names, two of that little company being at this moment under sentence of death themselves, together with all their relations. When last heard of they were hiding, but some of their relations 564 had been seized. The dinner was a very sad one. They had evidently invited Europeans as a drowning man catches at a straw, to see if they could devise anything to save the Chinese people. But to each suggestion made they said it was impossible. There was nothing—nothing to be done at Peking. Corruption prevailed over everything there. There was nothing—nothing to be done with the various Viceroys. There was nothing to be done by an appeal to the people. The only thing was to go on writing and writing, translating from foreign languages, and thus gradually educating the people in what might be useful to them. The memory of that dinner cannot easily pass from those present. Some of us walked away together too sad for words, and all that evening a great cloud of depression rested over us. For we felt we had witnessed despair; and when a Chinaman, usually so impassive, gives way, it makes the more impression.

But then happened the astonishing, as always occurs in China; and when next heard of, the Emperor of China himself, the youthful Kwang-shü, was at the head of the Progress party. All that has been told of Kwang-shü has always been very interesting and pleasing. Chinese people all speak well of him, and say he wishes for his country's good. But then they shrug their shoulders, for they have always maintained he has no power. At one time he was said to be studying English, at another reading Shakespeare in translation. On the occasion of the Empress Tze Hsi's sixtieth birthday all Christian women in China 565 were invited to subscribe for a handsome copy of the New Testament, which was eventually presented to her in a silver casket beautifully chased with a fine relief of bamboo-trees. The Chinese version was specially revised for this presentation, in which Christian Chinese women took the greatest interest. No sooner had the book been presented than the Emperor sent an eunuch round to ask for a copy of the same volume. There was not as yet any copy of quite the same version, and the one sent was in the course of a few hours returned with several comments, understood to be in the Emperors own handwriting, pointing out the differences, and asking that the same version might be sent to him. He at the same time applied for copies of the other books prepared by Europeans for the instruction of Chinese.

In 1894 he took one of those sudden steps that a little recall some actions of the German Emperor, and signified his intention to look over each essay and poem himself, and place the competitors at the Peking examination according to their excellence. It may be imagined what was the astonishment and consternation of the examining board of high Ministers of State, who had just examined them, and marked out the standing of each man according to their own inclinations. There were two hundred and eight competitors, and it took the Emperor three whole days to look over the papers. At the end of that time the list was turned nearly upside-down, for three men placed amongst the last by the examining board were now marked out by the 566 Emperor as among the six entitled to the highest honours. Amongst the competitors was the lately returned Minister to the United States, Spain, and Peru. He had a brevet button of the second rank; and having lately received the post of Senior Deputy Supervisor of Instruction to the Heir Apparent, he had to present himself as a competitor—notwithstanding his years and previous services abroad. In the list of the examining board he stood amongst the first thirty, and was recommended to a higher post of honour. In the Emperor's list he was placed in the third class; and in the decree classifying the essayists, in which the Emperor stated definitely that he had done so after himself looking over each paper, this ex-Minister was ordered to take off his brevet second-rank button, being degraded from the post of Deputy Supervisor to that of Junior Secretary of the Supervisorate. There were many other changes made of the same nature.

Naturally such an action did not tend to establish the youthful Emperor in the good graces of the more corrupt of his counsellors. But it showed energy and initiative, uncommon in Chinamen, also a desire to do his duty and right wrongs. It is certainly unfortunate for himself that he did not from the outset set to work to make to himself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness. But brought up from his earliest years as an Emperor, it is not unnatural that he should have expected all people to bow down before his will as soon as he asserted it. And it is a little unreasonable to expect from a young man, palace born and bred, who 567 never even once had taken a country walk or ride, or enjoyed liberty of any kind, the character of a Bismarck or a Napoleon. That his advisers were equally unaware of the dangers awaiting him is shown by their having taken no precautions even to save themselves. It was indeed Kwang-shü who advised Kang to fly from Peking, not Kang who advised Kwang-shü to be careful. And that the plot that dethroned the young Emperor was kept carefully secret is also shown by the British Minister, a man of experience, and who has travelled about the world, and is of course amply provided with all the necessary means for obtaining information, being actually absent from Peking at the time, which naturally he never would have been had he known the crisis was imminent. The German and American Ministers were also absent, and, more remarkable still, Sir Robert Hart, Inspector-General of Chinese Imperial Customs. The moment was indeed probably chosen in consequence by the Empress.

Surrounded by temptations—his aunt and adopted mother is openly accused of having tried to teach him to take delight in cards and wine, and it is one of her duties both to select a wife for him and to surround him with concubines—the young man seems to show rather the disposition of an anchorite. All testimonies agree that he is not of a vigorous physique: indeed, bred and nurtured as he has been, how could he be? In health, as in many other ways, he always recalls to me our own Prince Leopold, the late Duke of Albany. 568

It is greatly to be regretted that when that very amiable, gentle-looking young man, now Czar of Russia, was in China, he and the young Emperor of China did not meet. Both apparently have aspirations, both are weighted by a weight of empire no one man can sustain single-handed, both surrounded by powerful, unscrupulous men, who will not hesitate to wield their well-intentioned and apparently sincere nominal rulers to their own advantage, as also possibly to the destruction of those nominal sovereigns.

There is a curious tale told that a late Russian Minister at Peking acquired a great influence over the Chinese Emperor by speaking to him after this style: "There are but few countries now that are regulated in accordance with the principles of decorum. In England and Germany it is true there are emperors, but in England it is six-tenths the people's will and only four-tenths the sovereign's. In Germany it is rather better: there it is six-tenths the Emperor and four-tenths the people. As to France and America—dreadful—dreadful! Only China and Russia are properly constituted countries, where the Emperor governs and the people obey, according to the will of Heaven. What friends, then, ought not these two countries to be, and how terrible for Russia it would be if China were to fall, for then she would stand alone, the one properly constituted empire in the world! Equally, how dreadful it would be for China if Russia were to fall away! As for us, we cannot feel easy about China. We remember that after all your Imperial 569 Majesty's is an alien dynasty, governing over a people of another race, the Chinese, and your capital is so near the frontier you could easily be pushed over the border. Your Imperial Majesty should really take precautions to establish yourself more safely. Now, all positions of high honour are in the hands of Chinese, who might easily band together and depose the reigning dynasty. As each high position falls vacant, Chinese should be replaced by Manchus; then alone would you be safely established on the throne of your ancestors, and Russia could feel safe, knowing China to be so."

Thus and much more. Such conversations can be easily overheard and repeated by the crowds of attendants always present at interviews in China. It was repeated to me in June, 1898. I did not know if correctly or not. I do not know now. But for the last year high post after high post has been conferred upon Manchus, than which no policy could be more unwise, for it is calculated to exasperate the Chinese; nor have the Manchus, who have long ago lost their manliness, living as pensioners of the Court, any longer the capacity for government. 570


Kang Yü-wei.—China Mail's Interview.—Beheading of Reformers.—Relatives sentenced to Death.—Kang's Indictment of Empress.—Empress's Reprisals.—Emperor's Attempt at Escape.—Cantonese Gratitude to Great Britain.—List of Emperor's Attempted Reforms.—Men now in Power.—Lord Salisbury's Policy in China.

In considering the recent bolt from the blue, as it seemed to the outside world, at Peking, it is necessary to say a few words more about the Reform leaders. Kang Yü-wei, commonly called the Modern Sage, is a Cantonese. He has brought out a new edition of the ancient Classics, which he contends have been so glossed over by numbers of commentators as to have lost their original significance. In especial he says the personality of God was originally clearly stated in them, that it is the commentators who have hidden this, and that only by a return to the belief in a living God can China once more take her proper place among the nations. He also insists upon the brotherhood of man. Missionaries, who know him, dwell upon his learning and enthusiasm. The only British Consul I have heard speak of him, dwelt rather upon his want 571 of practicality, and described him as a visionary of about forty and impracticable. He saw him, however, at the most agitating moment of his career, during his flight from Peking. When it is considered that he is a man of not large means, who has no official post, who must have devoted his time mainly to study to have passed the examinations he has and revised the Classics, and that at this comparatively early age he is the undoubted leader of the army of youthful literati of China, a man in whom those I have spoken with seem to have unbounded confidence, it is clear that this account of him must be a little overdrawn. Probably he is not a practical man. But that he has evidently an extraordinary gift for winning and guiding adherents cannot be denied. A representative of the China Mail describes him as "an intelligent-looking Chinese of medium height, but not of unusually striking appearance. For a native who does not speak any Western language, Kang has imbibed a wonderful amount of ideas" [this is only a rather amusing instance of European superciliousness], and the impression he left upon his interviewer was that he has a firmer grasp of the situation than the majority of his compatriots. It may be considered that some of his views are those of a visionary, but there can be no doubt of his earnestness; and it must be borne in mind that there never yet was a reformer in any country whose views were not at first believed to be outside the range of practical politics. For those who are interested in the present crisis in China, it is better to give the China Mail's 572 interview with Kang Yü-wei, to be followed by his own open letter to the papers.

"Before proceeding with the interview, Kang wished to thank the British people for the kind protection they had afforded him, and for the interest the English people were taking in the advancement of the political and social status of China and the emancipation of the Emperor. He also wished to explain that the reason why he had not consented to an interview before was that he was very much distressed upon learning that his brother had been decapitated and that the Emperor was reported to be murdered. The excitement and anxiety of the past fortnight had unnerved him, and he was disinclined to see any one or to discuss the events which had led up to his flight from Peking.

"After this preliminary statement, Kang Yü-wei proceeded with his story.

"'You all know,' he said, 'that the Empress-Dowager is not educated, that she is very conservative, that she has been very reluctant to give the Emperor any real power in managing the affairs of the empire. In the year 1887 it was decided to set aside thirty million taels for the creation of a navy. After the battleships Tingyuen, Weiyuen, Chihyuen, Chênyuen, and Kingyuen had been ordered, and after providing for their payment, the Empress-Dowager appropriated the balance of the money for the repair of the Eho Park Gardens. Later on, when it was decided to set aside or raise thirty million taels for the construction of railways, she misappropriated a large portion of the 573 money. The first intention had been to construct the railway to Moukden, but it was never carried farther than Shanhai-kuan, the remainder of the money being used for the decoration of the Imperial Gardens. Every sensible man knows that railways and a navy are essential for the well-being of a country. But in spite of the advice of one or two of her counsellors the Empress-Dowager refused to carry on these schemes, and thought only of her personal gratification. She has been steadily opposed to the introduction of Western civilisation. She has never seen many outside people—only a few eunuchs in the Palace and a few Ministers of State who have access to her.'

"'Through whom does she conduct the affairs of State?'

"'Before the Japanese War Li Hung-chang was the man she had most confidence in. After the war Li Hung-chang was discarded, and she seemed to repose most confidence in Prince Kung and Jung Lu. As a rule, however, she retains absolute control in her own hands. There is a sham eunuch in the Palace, who has practically more power than any of the Ministers. Li Luen-yên is the sham eunuch's name. He is a native of Chihli. Nothing could be done without first bribing him. All the Viceroys have got their official positions through bribing this man, who is immensely wealthy. Li Hung-chang is not to be compared with him. Before she handed over the reins of government to the Emperor, a year or two ago, the Empress-Dowager used to see many Ministers, 574 but since then she has only seen eunuchs and officials belonging to the inner department. I have seen her myself. She is of medium height and commanding presence, rather imperious in manner. She has a dark, sallow complexion, long almond eyes, high nose, is fairly intelligent-looking, and has expressive eyes.'

"In answer to a query, 'Who inspired the new policy at Peking?' Kang replied: 'About two years ago two officials, Chang Lin and Wang Ming-luan, sent a memorial to the Emperor advising him to take the power into his own hands, stating that the Empress-Dowager was only the concubine of his uncle, the Emperor Hien Fêng; therefore according to Chinese law she could not be recognised as the proper 575 Empress-Dowager. The result of this memorial was that the two officials were dismissed for ever. They were Vice-Presidents of Boards, one being a Manchu and the other a Soochow man. The Emperor recognises that the Empress-Dowager is not his real mother. Since the Emperor began to display an interest in affairs of State, the Empress-Dowager has been scheming his deposition. She used to play cards with him, and gave him intoxicating drinks, in order to prevent him from attending to State affairs. For the greater part of the last two years the Emperor has been practically a figure-head against his own wishes. After the occupation of Kiaochou by the Germans, the Emperor was very furious, and said to the Empress-Dowager, "Unless I have the power, I will not take my seat as Emperor; I will abdicate." The result was that the Empress-Dowager gave in to him to a certain extent, telling him that he could do as he liked; but although she said this with her lips her heart was different.'

"'How do you know this?' asked the interviewer. 'Did you hear it yourself?'"

"Kang's reply was: 'No, I heard it from other officials.'

"'Who recommended you to the notice of the Emperor?'

"'I was recommended to the Emperor by Kao Hsi-tsêng, one of the Censors, a native of Hupeh. Then Wêng Tung-ho, the Emperor's tutor, who is supposed to be one of the most conservative officials 576 in China, but is not actually so, devoted some attention to me, and Li Tuan-fên, President of the Board of Rites. These officials wished to introduce me to the Emperor, to give me some responsible office, and to put me beside the Emperor as his adviser. The Emperor ordered me to hold a conference with the Ministers of the Tsung-li Yamen. On January 3rd last the conference took place. All the members of the Yamen were present; I was received with all respect as their guest. The conference lasted about three hours.

"'I had to say that everything in China must be reformed and follow Western civilisation.'

"'How were your suggestions received?'

"'They did not say openly. I could see that the majority of them were against reform. The Viceroy Jung Lu made the remark, "Why should we change the manners and customs of our ancestors?" To this I replied: "Our ancestors never had a Tsung-li Yamen [Board to deal with foreigners and foreign affairs]. Is not this a change?" The first thing I suggested was that China should have a properly constituted judicial system—that a foreigner should be engaged to work conjointly with myself and some others to revise the laws and the Government administrative departments. That I hold to be the most important change. This must be the basis on which all other changes and reforms must rest. The construction of railways, the creation of a navy, the revision of the educational system, every other reform will follow; but unless we can change the laws and administration all 577 other changes will be next to useless. Unfortunately, the Emperor has been pushing on the other reforms before preparing the way for them. That has contributed to bring about the present crisis.

"'The following morning Prince Kung and Wêng Tung-ho reported the conference to the Emperor. Prince Kung was against me, although I have heard it said that he admired my abilities, and thought me clever and able. But he said of me: "He is talking nonsense; he speaks about changing the ways of our ancestors!" Wêng Tung-ho gave my proposals his support.

"'The outcome of the conference was that I was ordered by the Emperor to submit my proposals to him in the form of a memorial. The gist of my memorial was as follows. I told the Emperor that all the customs and ways and manners of his ancestors must be renewed. Nothing could be usefully followed so far as Chinese history was concerned. I advised the Emperor to follow in the footsteps of Japan, or in the footsteps of Peter the Great. As a preliminary step I advised the Emperor to command all his Ministers of State and all the high officials in Peking to go before the places where they worshipped the gods, and also to the Ancestral Halls, there to make an oath that they were determined to introduce reforms. My second suggestion was to have the laws and administration revised; my third, that he should open a Communication or Despatch Department, through which any one would be able to memorialise the Throne. To illustrate what I 578 considered lacking in the Chinese system, I pointed out to the Emperor that the Ministers of the Grand Council were the tongue, the Viceroys and Governors of Provinces the hands and feet, the Censors the eyes, and the Emperor the brain. I said: "You have no heart, no motive power, no proper law, no means of finding out the desires and opinions of your people. The responsibility is too widely diffused; you cannot carry things through effectively. When you want to know anything, you refer to your Ministers and Viceroys, who represent the tongue and feet; but these are not thinking organs—they can only act upon orders given them." I advised the Emperor to select young, intelligent men, well imbued with Western ideas, to assist in the regeneration of the empire, irrespective of their position, whether they were lowly born or of high degree; that they should confer with the Emperor every day and discuss the measures for reform, first devoting their energies to a revision of the laws and administration. The old officials must be dispensed with. I advised him to appoint twelve new Departments:—(1) Law Department; (2) Treasury; (3) Education (engaging foreign teachers); (4) Legislative Department; (5) Agriculture; (6) Commercial Department; (7) Mechanical Department; (8) Railway Department; (9) Postal; (10) Mining; (11) Army; (12) Navy,—all the twelve Departments to be modelled on Western lines, and foreigners to be engaged to advise and assist. Throughout the provinces, in every two prefectures, I suggested the establishment of a sort of Legislative Council, whose chief duty would 579 be to give effect to the instructions of the twelve Departments, to police the country, to introduce sanitary measures, to construct roads, to induce the people to cultivate the land under modern methods, and to spread commerce. Each of these Councils should have a President, appointed by the Emperor himself, irrespective of birth, degree, or position; and each President should have the liberty to memorialise the Emperor direct, in the same manner as Viceroys and Governors of the Provinces, to whom he was not to be subject. In effect these Presidents were to have the same social rank as the Viceroys. The President was also to have the power to recommend a man to go to each district to co-operate with the gentry and merchant classes in giving effect to the new reforms. My memorial also showed how funds were to be raised. I pointed out the enormous loss of revenue that occurred yearly. Taking the magistracy of Nanhai (which is my native district), I informed the Emperor that the total revenue derived from that district was $240,000 per year, but the actual amount going into the Imperial Purse was only something over $20,000. I recommended a complete change of the system, under which the whole of the revenues of the country would go into the Imperial Purse. Comparing China with India, and adducing from the experience of India the financial resources of China, I told the Emperor that from ordinary taxes the sum of four hundred million taels could be raised annually, and if the likin were abolished and a tariff properly adjusted, banknotes issued, stamp duty established, and 580 other financial reforms adopted, at least another three hundred million taels could be raised, making in all seven hundred million taels. With this money in hand it would be an easy thing to get a navy to protect our coast and to establish naval colleges for the training of officers. State railways could also be constructed and other necessary reforms effected.

"'I was told that the Emperor was highly pleased, and said that he had never seen a better memorial nor such a good system as I proposed. He recommended the memorial to the consideration of the Tsung-li Yamen for report. Prince Kung, Jung Lu, and Hsü Ying-kuei were against it; but the Emperor pressed for a reply, which was never given in detail. All the Ministers would report was that the memorial was so sweeping, that it practically meant the abolition of the present great Ministers, and therefore they did not like to report upon it themselves. You will have seen in the newspapers that the Emperor had already adopted many of the recommendations contained in my memorial.

"'I also sent to the Emperor two books written by myself, one entitled The Reform of Japan and the other The Reform of Russia by Peter the Great. Subsequently I sent another memorial, advising the Emperor to be determined and not to dally with the proposals for reform.

"'To this memorial the Emperor replied with an Edict. On June 16th I was granted an audience with the Emperor. It lasted for two hours. I was received at 5 a.m. in the Jênshow Throne-hall. Port Arthur and 581 Talienwan had just been taken over by Russia, and the Emperor wore an anxious, careworn expression. The Emperor was thin, but apparently in good health. He has a straight nose, round forehead, pleasant eyes, is clean-shaven, and has a pale complexion. He is of medium height. His hands are long and thin. He looked very intelligent, and had a kindly expression, altogether uncommon amongst the Manchus or even amongst the Chinese. He wore the usual official dress, but instead of the large square of embroidery on the breast worn by the high officials the embroidery in his case was round, encircling a dragon, and there were two smaller embroideries on his shoulders. He wore the usual official cap. He was led in by eunuchs, and took his seat on a dais on a large yellow cushion, with his feet folded beneath him. He sent his attendants away, and we were left alone; but all the time we were conversing his eyes were watching the windows, as if to see that no one was eavesdropping. There was a long table in front of him with two large candlesticks. I knelt at one of the corners of the table, and not on the cushions in front of the table which are reserved for the high officials. I remained kneeling during the whole of the audience. We conversed in the Mandarin dialect.

"'The Emperor said to me: "Your books are very useful and very instructive."

"'I practically repeated what I said in my memorial about the weakness of China being owing to the lack of progress. 582

"'The Emperor said: "Yes, all these Conservative Ministers have ruined me."

"'I said to him, "China is very weak now, but it is not yet too late to amend." I gave him the example of France after the Franco-Prussian War. In that case the indemnity was much greater than China has paid to Japan. The territory lost was greater, because France had lost two provinces and China had only lost one (Formosa). I asked him how it was that France had been able to recuperate so rapidly, whereas China had done practically nothing during the three years since the close of the war.

"'The Emperor listened very attentively, and asked me to give the reason.

"'I replied that the reason was that M. Thiers issued proclamations to the people of France advising the abolition of corrupt methods and asking their co-operation for the rehabilitation of the country, at once instituting reforms which would enable the country to recover the ground it had lost. The outcome was that the whole population of France was as one man working for one single object. Hence its quick recovery. In China, however, we have still the old Conservative Ministers, who put every obstruction in the way of reform; and I told the Emperor that that was the main reason why the country was now in its present sad condition, worse off than it was three years ago, at the close of the China-Japan War.

"'I asked him to look at the difficulties Japan had to overcome before she could reform on modern lines. 583 There the military or feudal party had more power than our present Conservative Ministers, but the Mikado adopted the proper course by selecting young and intelligent men, junior officials, some of whom he set to work out the reforms in the country, whilst others went abroad to learn foreign methods, and returned to make Japan the powerful country which it is to-day. I repeated to him what Peter the Great did to make Russia powerful, saying, "You, the Emperor, I would ask you to remove yourself from the seclusion in which you live. Come boldly forward and employ young and intelligent officials. Follow in the footsteps of the three rulers of whom I have spoken to you, and you will find that the reforms will be more easily carried out than you at present imagine. In case China is unable to produce a sufficient number of intelligent men to give effect to the reforms you initiate, I strongly advocate the employment of foreigners, particularly Englishmen and Americans."

Lent by Rev. Gilbert Reid.



"'I said to him: "You must cut your coat according to your cloth,' and advised him to approach the matter carefully and deliberately. To illustrate what I meant, I pointed out that if he wished to build a palace he must obtain plans, then buy the bricks to build the palace according to design. "You may be told that China has reformed during the last few years. In my opinion nothing has been reformed. China has simply done what I have advised you not to do. She has been buying bricks to build a house before deciding on the plan or design; she is attempting to make a big coat out of an insufficient quantity of cloth." I told the Emperor: "Your present Government is just like a building with a leaky roof; the joists are rotten and have been eaten by white ants. It is absolutely dangerous to remain longer in the building. Not only must you take off the roof, but you must take down the whole building, and even raze the foundation. How could you expect your present old Ministers to reform? They have never had any Western education. They have never studied anything thoroughly about Western civilisation, and they could not study now if you asked them. They have no energy left. To instruct them to carry out reforms is like asking your cook to become your tailor, your tailor to become your cook, or your barber to become your chair-coolie and your chair-coolie to shave you. The result of that would be that you would not get a good coat, you would get nothing good to eat, your head would be hacked. Your Majesty is careful to select a proper tailor, a proper cook, a proper barber, 585 and a proper chair-coolie. But in the administration of your empire, which is far more important, you do not take so much care as in your own personal affairs."

"'To this the Emperor replied: "I am very sorry; I have practically no power to remove any high Ministers. The Empress-Dowager wants to reserve this power in her own hands.'

"'I said: "If your Majesty has no power to remove Ministers, what you can do is to employ young and intelligent officials about you. That would be a step better than nothing."

"'The Emperor said: "I know it perfectly well that all the Ministers have paid no proper attention to Western ideas and do not care to study the progress of the world."

"'I said to the Emperor: "Perhaps it is their wish to get a knowledge of Western ideas, but they have too much to do under the present system, and they are much too old. Their energy is gone. Even if they are willing they cannot do it. The chief education of China in the study of the Classics is useless, and the first thing the Emperor must do is to abolish these examinations and establish a system of education on the lines of Western countries." I asked the Emperor: "Can you do away with this kind of examination?"

"'The Emperor said: "I have realised that whatever is learned in Western countries is useful, but whatever is learned in China is practically useless, and I will carry out your recommendations"; which he did. I advised the Emperor to send his own relations to travel in foreign countries in order to learn from them, and that 586 he might be surrounded by men who had experience of the world. In conclusion, I said: "There are many other things I should like to say, but I can memorialise you from time to time." I advised him strongly to cement his relations with foreign countries.

"'The Emperor replied that the foreign countries nowadays were not like the insignificant states of former times. They appeared to be highly civilised countries, and it was a pity his own Ministers did not realise that as he did. A good deal of the trouble seemed to arise from their failure to recognise this fact.

"'In December last I had advised his Majesty to form an alliance with Great Britain. Before parting 587 I said to him: "You have given decorations to Li Hung-chang and Chang Yin-huan. That is a Western act. Why do not you put in your Edicts that you intend to introduce Western customs?"

"'The Emperor only smiled.

"'From June until I left Peking, I have sent many memorials to the Emperor, but have never had another audience. I was allowed to memorialise him direct. This is the first time in the present dynasty that an individual in my position has been allowed to memorialise the Throne direct.'

"In answer to a question, Kang stated that Chang Yin-huan was not associated with him in the proposed reforms. He was pleased with the programme of the Reformers, but he did not take any active part in promoting the reforms. All the men arrested were junior officials in the various secretariats in Peking, all interested in reform.

"Asked when the first symptoms of trouble appeared, Kang stated that the signs of opposition were raised when the Emperor issued his Edict dismissing two Presidents and four Vice-Presidents. One of these Presidents is a relative of the Empress-Dowager—Huai Ta-pu, President of the Board of Rites. On the following day Li Hung-chang and Ching Hsin were removed from the Tsung-li Yamen. These dismissed officials went in a body and knelt before the Empress-Dowager and asked for her assistance, saying that if she allowed the Emperor to go on in this way the whole of the old officials would soon be dismissed. Then these officials 588 went to Tientsin and saw Jung Lu, who may be said to be the best friend of the Empress-Dowager. Rumours got about that the Emperor intended to dispose of the Empress-Dowager, and she then determined that Jung Lu should take the first step. That was on or about September 14th or 15th. On September 17th an open Edict was issued by the Emperor, asking why Kang Yü-wei was still in Peking and did not proceed to Shanghai at once to attend to the establishment of the official organ. 'That was a hint to me to go away. An Edict of this sort is generally issued to a Viceroy or a Chief General, and not to men of my rank. The morning I saw this Edict I was highly astonished. On that evening a special private message was sent to me by the Emperor. The message was sent in writing. Part of it appeared in the China Mail last night. I happened to be out, and did not receive the message till the morning of September 18th.

"'On the morning of the 18th I received two special messages from the Emperor, one dated September 16th and the other September 17th. The first one read:

"'"We know that the empire is in very troublous times. Unless we adopt Western methods it is impossible to save our empire; unless we remove the old-fashioned Conservative Ministers and put in their stead young and intelligent men, possessed of a knowledge of Western affairs, it is impossible to carry out the reforms we had intended. But the Empress-Dowager does not agree with me: I have repeatedly advised her Majesty, but she becomes enraged. Now I am 589 afraid I shall not be able to protect my throne. You are hereby commanded to consult your colleagues and see what assistance you can give to save me. I am very anxious and distressed. I am anxiously waiting for your assistance. Respect this."

"'The second message was as follows: "I have commanded you to superintend the establishment of the official organ. It is strongly against my wish. I have very great sorrow in my heart, which cannot be described with pen and ink. You must proceed at once outside (abroad), and devise means to save me without a moment's delay. I am deeply affected with your loyalty and faithfulness. Please take great care of your health and body. I hope that before long you will be able to assist me again in reorganising my empire, and to put everything upon a proper basis. This is my earnest wish."

"'After I received these letters, I had a meeting with my colleagues as to the best thing to be done. I saw Mr. Timothy Richard, the English missionary, and asked him to see the British Minister at once. Unfortunately Sir Claude Macdonald was at Pehtaiho. Then I sent to the American Legation, but was told that the American Minister had gone to the Western Hills. If Sir Claude Macdonald had been at the British Legation, I believe measures could have been devised to avoid this crisis.

"'In the city everything was quiet. There was no sign of an impending crisis. Nobody anticipated trouble; nobody was in fear of his life. On the 19th I heard 590 from my friends that the position was getting more serious. Up to this time I had remained in my quarters in the Canton Club. At four o'clock on the morning of the 20th I left the city, passing through the gates, leaving all my baggage behind in the care of my brother. I retained a compartment in the railway carriage, and travelled direct to Tangku by rail. At Tientsin I boarded the Indo-China steamer Lienshing and asked for a cabin. When the people on board saw I had so little baggage they said: "You must go and get a ticket at the office before we can allow you to come on board." I went back to Tientsin again and went into an hotel—not an hotel of my own countrymen, but the hotel of another province. I had been advised to shave my moustache off and to change my dress, but I left myself to fate. I stayed overnight at Tientsin, and early in the morning went on board the Chungking. I had to go as an ordinary Chinese passenger, because I was afraid if I asked for a cabin I should again be refused a passage on account of the absence of baggage. Mr. Timothy Richard offered me an asylum at his house, but as I had received instructions from the Emperor to proceed abroad I thought it best to leave the capital. I got no letter from the British Legation; I had no communication with the British Legation. The steamer called at Chefoo, where nothing unusual happened. When I arrived at Woosung, the British Consul was kind enough to offer me a place of safety on board H.M.S. Esk. I believe Mr. Richard must have gone to the Legation at Peking, and that 591 instructions were given to the British Consul to be on the look-out for me. I was surprised at this, but I am very grateful to Messrs. Brenan and Bourne (British Consuls) and to the captain of the ship for the kindness they showed to me during my stay at Woosung.'

"'What do you intend to do?'

"'The Emperor has instructed me to go abroad and procure assistance for him. My intention is to approach England in the first instance. England is well known to be the most just nation in the world. England has twice saved Turkey, once at the sacrifice of twenty thousand men and a large sum of money, and I think England will come to the assistance of the Emperor of China now. While I was in Shanghai, I requested the British Consul to wire to the Foreign Office at home asking for this assistance to his Majesty. Personally, I think it is to England's interest to take this opportunity to support the Emperor and the party of progress, for by so doing they will be helping the people of China as well, and the people of China will consider England as their best and truest friend. If England does not take steps now, I am afraid that when the Siberian Railway is finished Russian influence will predominate throughout the whole of China. If England succeeds in replacing the Emperor on the throne, I have no hesitation in saying that the Emperor and the Reform leaders will not forget her kindness. When I left Peking, the Emperor was still in good health.'

"Before leaving Kang was asked if he had anything 592 further to add to the interview—anything he had forgotten.

"He replied: 'I should like it to be stated that when I saw the Emperor I said I did not go to Peking for money or position. I simply went there to try to do my best to save the four hundred millions of China. I told him I would not take any high position until I had been instrumental in carrying through the proposals for reform I had made to him; then I would accept anything his Majesty was pleased to give me. Had he given me position then, it would simply have created jealousy among the old Ministers; besides, I did not feel that I had done anything to warrant such elevation. The Emperor was good enough to send me two thousand taels as a special reward—a thing, I believe, which has never been done in the history of the present dynasty.'

"The interview concluded with a request on the part of Kang to urge the English people to take steps for the protection of the relatives of Liang, who had been arrested by the officials in the district of Canton. These relatives, we understand, consist of his foster-mother, aunt, uncle, brother, and his nephew and two others."

By Mr. Stratford Dugdale.

This interview was on October 7th. It was on September 22nd that Kang's six colleagues had been summarily beheaded in Peking. Three were members of the Hanlin College, the highest body in China—namely, Lin Hsio, Yang, and Lin Kuang-ti. One was a Censor—Yang. The others were Kang's younger brother, and Tan Tze-tung, son of the ex-Governor 593 of Hupeh. It is Tan who went to his death saying, "They may kill my body, but my spirit will live in the lives of others," and again, "My country will yet be freed from the tyrants that now enthral her in their grasp of ignorance and corruption."

A newspaper correspondent wrote from Hupeh: "Nothing but sympathy is felt for poor old Tan, our ex-Governor, the father of Tan Tze-tung, who was beheaded in Peking. It is said that for a long time the news of his son's death was kept from him, and was finally told him by our Viceroy, Chang-chih-tung himself, when the latter went on board his ship to bid him farewell on his departure from Wuchang." And again, a few days later: "Our late Governor, H.E. Tan, is reported dead. The native story is that he took the execution of his son at Peking and his own degradation so much to heart, that he committed suicide on his way home."

It is related that none of the victims conducted themselves otherwise than as heroes, excepting only the Censor, who was so utterly astounded at the fate befalling him as to plead with his executioners. He had never known Kang, said he had taken part in no plot, and wept bitterly as he was hurried through the streets. It is related also that all were given decent burial with the exception of Kang's own young brother, whose body no man dared touch.

Kang Yü-wei's ancestral home is in the small village of Fangchun, right opposite the walls of Canton City, and separated from it by the Pearl River. Late on 594 the night of September 23rd the quiet village was all excitement at the sudden disappearance of all the members of Kang's clan, leaving no trace of their whereabouts. Explanations came, however, the next morning, when a force of runners from the district magistrate made their appearance in the village, and, surrounding the old Kang homestead, began searching for the inmates. Only four persons were found in the place, consisting of farm-hands, and these were taken across the river into the city by the runners for want of more important prisoners.

Kang's uncle, who kept a large grain shop in Canton, had a narrow escape from arrest, the warning to get away arriving only a few minutes before the police made their appearance, while his employés also got away in the nick of time. The premises were then sealed up, as also was the ancestral hall of the Kang clan in their native village of Fangchun. A flourishing school established by Kang in the old city temple of Canton was also sealed by the local authorities, but fortunately for the twenty-odd scholars there they received warning and escaped before the yamen runners made their appearance.

Mr. Liang, the editor of Chinese Progress, was warned by Kang in time to fly himself, but four of his relatives had been captured. It was under the agitation of all these events that Kang Yü-wei wrote the following letter, which only one Chinese newspaper had the courage to publish. Perhaps, considering what has followed, it is kinder to suppress its name. 595


"Respected Seniors,—

"The overpowering calamity which fell from Heaven on the fatal 5th day of the 8th moon (20th September), bringing such unexpected and fearful changes over the empire by the usurpation of the Imperial power by the antitype of those vile and licentious ancient Empresses Lü and Wu, followed by the deposition and imprisonment of our true Sovereign, causing thereby heaven and earth to change places and obliterating the lights of the sun and moon from his Majesty's loyal subjects, have, I know, filled with universal indignation the hearts of the people.

"Our youthful Emperor's intelligence and enthusiasm made him bend his energies to inaugurate new measures of reform for the country, to be put into practice in due time one after the other, and all who owed his Majesty loyalty and allegiance learning this raised our hands to our heads with pleasure and danced with joy. The False One [or Usurper] attempted to introduce avarice and licentiousness into the Palace, in order to tempt our Sovereign to destruction; but his Majesty spurned them with scorn, and these evils were unable to defile the Palace atmosphere. Then one or two traitors of the Conservative element, finding their objects prevented, threw themselves prostrate around the Usurper and besought her to resume the reins of power. (Note.—Owing to the cashiering of Huai Ta-pu, President of the Board of Rites, and his colleagues, Huai and Jung Lu were at the bottom of the whole 596 plot.) The False One then, contrary to all rights of heaven and earth, seized the reins of power and issued a forged edict calling for physicians for his Majesty, thereby foreshadowing that the Emperor would be poisoned. To-day, therefore, we know not whether his Majesty be alive or dead. This indeed is that which makes gods and men indignant and feel that heaven and earth will never pardon nor allow such to triumph long.

"This Usurper, when she came into power in former years, poisoned the Eastern Empress-Consort of Hien Fêng; she murdered with poisoned wine the Empress of Tung Chih; and by her acts made the late Emperor Hien Fêng die of spleen and indignation. And now she has dared to depose and imprison our true Sovereign. Her crime is great and extreme in its wickedness. There has never been a worse deed. Although the writer, your humble servant, and Lin, Yang, Tan, and Liu [four of the six martyrs] all received his Majesty's commands in his last extremity, we, alas! have not the power and strength of Hsü Chin-yi [who restored the Emperor Tsung-chung to the throne after deposing the Empress Wu Tsêh-tien of the T`ang Dynasty], but can only emulate the example of Shên Pao-sü in weeping. [This was a minister of Ts`u (Hunan), who over two thousand years ago went weeping to beseech the powerful King of Chin (Shensi) to avenge the deposition of his master the King of Ts`u, and by his importunity succeeded in carrying his point.]

"I, therefore, now send you copies of his Majesty's 597 two secret edicts to me, and crave your assistance in publishing them to the whole world either in the Chinese or foreign newspapers. This will, I earnestly trust, bring strong arms to our Sovereign's rescue. His 598 Majesty has always accepted the fiat of his ancestors in recognising the mother who bore him as his own mother, and not an Imperial concubine as his mother. The False One in relation to the Emperor Tung Chih was the latter's mother; but as regards his Majesty Kwang-shü, our Sovereign, she is but a former Emperor's concubine-relict [Hien Fêng's]. According to the tenets of the Spring and Autumn Records (written by Confucius), although Queen Wên Chiang was the mother of King Chuang of Lu, yet that did not save her from being imprisoned by her own son on account of her licentious conduct; much more in the present case, then, should punishment be administered to one who was but merely a Palace concubine. What right had this woman to depose our bright and sagacious Emperor? If this could be clearly set forth in the Chinese and foreign newspapers and be published to the world, I verily believe that from Peking to Yunnan and the sixteen ancient divisions of China some hero must surely arise to avenge our Sovereign. With my humble compliments,

"(Signed) Kang Yü-wei."

By Mrs. Archibald Little.

It is hardly necessary to comment upon the extreme pathos of the letters of this young man of twenty-seven, for twenty-three years nominal Emperor of China, but now, at the first attempt to take the power into his own hands, summarily deposed. It is believed that it was his attempt to summon soldiery to his aid that led to the Empress's coup d'état. Some say the 599 Reform party were advising that the Empress-Dowager should be asked to retire to a palace in the country.

"The following is the list of the proposed 'Council of Ten' who were to have assembled daily in the Maoching Throne-hall to advise the Emperor on reform measures, as given by the Sinwênpao:

"1. Li Tuan-fên (President of the Board of Rites to be President of the Council).

"2. Hsü Chih-ching (Senior Reader of the Hanlin Academy, and at the time of his disgrace acting Vice-President of the Board of Rites).

"3. Kang Yü-wei (Junior Secretary of the Board of Works and a Secretary of the Tsung-li Yamen).

"4. Yang Shen-hsiu (Censor of the Kiangnan Circuit).

"5. Sung Peh-lu (Censor of the Shantung Circuit).

"6. Hsü Jên-chu (Literary Chancellor of Hunan).

"7. Chang Yuan-chi (Hanlin Compiler).

"8. Liang Chi-chao (M.A., ex-editor of Chinese Progress).

"9. Kang Kuang-jên (M.A., and younger brother of Kang Yü-wei).

"10. Hsü Jên-ching (Hanlin Bachelor, son of Hsü Chih-ching and brother of Hsü Jên-chu).

"With reference to the punishments meted out to the above-noted ten: (1) Li Tuan-fên was cashiered and banished to Kashgaria for ever; (2) Hsü Chih-ching, imprisoned in the dungeons of the Board of Punishments for life; (3) Kang Yü-wei, proscribed and ordered to be sliced to pieces at moment of capture; 600 his family to suffer death, together with his uncles, aunts, and cousins, and their ancestral graves to be razed; (4) Vang Shen-hsiu, one of the Martyred Six; (5) Sung Peh-lu, disappeared the day he was cashiered and dismissed for ever—September 23rd—but is reported to have been captured afterwards while travelling overland for the South; (6) Hsü Jên-chu, cashiered and dismissed for ever; (7) Chang Yuan-chi, a man of great wealth, also cashiered and dismissed for ever; (8) Liang Chi-chao, proscribed and now a refugee in Japan; (9) Kang Kuang-jên, one of the Martyred Six; and (10) Hsü Jên-ching, also cashiered and dismissed for ever. As for Li and Hsü, the first and second of the list given above, their place would also have been by the side of the Martyred Six on the fatal evening of the 28th ultimo, had they not been aged men, high in rank.

"It is reported from reliable sources at Peking that on the day of the Empress-Dowager's coup d'état (September 22nd) no less than fourteen eunuchs who were the Emperor's own personal attendants, and on whose devotion he was in the habit of relying, were ordered to execution by the Empress-Dowager. The reason given why this sanguinary deed has not become widely known is that the executions took place in the courtyard of the chief eunuch's office, inside the Palace grounds, where refractory and rebellious eunuchs are always attended to, unknown to the outside world."

It is not surprising that, according to the Peking correspondent of the Sinwênpao, in October, 1898, a 601 great fear of some impending disaster seemed to have fallen over the capital, and numbers of houses had the words "Speak not of State Affairs" written on slips of red paper posted over the lintels of each household; the idea being that something must have very recently happened in the Palace at Eho Park, which the powers that be desired to keep secret from the world for the time being.

The railway had been crowded the past week with officials from the provinces returning to their homes. They were afraid to remain where every word they uttered was liable to be considered treason. When they reached their homes, we may expect their reports to their friends and adherents would not increase their loyalty to the Manchu Dynasty.

And yet, in spite of all this, people are surprised that the young man of twenty-seven, without funds, without an army, did not assert himself more. The silence of Kwang-shü is perhaps the noblest action of a much-enduring life.

There was a pathetic story current in Peking that he contrived once to escape from his prison in the island at the Southern Lakes, Eho Park, where he had been confined by the Empress-Dowager since the coup d'état; but that when he got to the Park gates, the Imperial guards, all creatures of the Empress-Dowager, shut the great gates in his face. A crowd of eunuchs, who dared not offer his person any violence or attempt to use force in preventing his walking to the Park gates, followed him in a body, and upon the 602 gates being closed they all knelt in front of the Emperor beseeching him with tears to have mercy on them and not attempt to escape, for it would mean the death of all of them as well as of the guardsmen at the gates were he to do so. The guardsmen also k`otowed and joined in the general prayer, while on the other hand they sent one of their number to apprise the Empress-Dowager of the matter. The Emperor finally took pity on his suppliant subjects, and quietly returned to his prison.

To Europeans this may seem too strange to be true; to those who know China it is so Chinese as to seem probable. That an Emperor should be moved by the tears of his subjects is what Chinese would expect.

It must be remembered that Kang escaped through the intervention of British Consuls, by the protection of a British man-of-war, and was lodged for safety in the gaol at Hongkong at first. Thence he proceeded to Japan, where other Chinese reformers had preceded him, under Japanese protection. The North China Herald of October 3rd, 1898, publishes the following tribute of gratitude from the fellow-provincials of Kang Yü-wei to the Consuls, Admiral, and people of the "Great Empire of Great Britain," for saving Kang from the clutches of the opponents of reform, purporting to represent the sentiments of the Shanghai Cantonese:—The contents of the post envelope were (1) a red card with the words, "Presented with bowed heads by the people of Kwangtung 603 (Canton) Province"; (2) another red card bearing the words, "The people of Kwangtung Province reverentially beg to present their united thanks to the people of the great, unequalled Empire of Great Britain for this proof of loyalty, kindness, majesty, courage, and love of strict justice"; and (3) a sheet of letter paper containing the words, "We, the people of Kwangtung Province, crave permission to express our deep gratitude to their Excellencies the Consuls and the Admiral of the Great Empire of Great Britain for their great kindness to us.

"Reverentially presented by the people of Kwangtung Province.

"We further beg the editor of the North China Daily News to give publicity to the above in its valuable columns, and hope personally to give thanks therefor."

Since then, on October 31st, 1898, the following memorial was presented to the British Consul-General, Mr. Brenan. He could not, as an official, receive it, but the pathetic document cannot but be read with interest.

"Sir,—The avarice and extortions of the mandarins of China and their underlings were the cause of the Emperor's estrangement from his people; and it was this estrangement that has led to his present weakness and their distress.

"Recognising the need for reform, the Emperor in his wisdom and good judgment began, during the fifth moon of the present year, to issue edicts, having 604 for their object the complete renovation of the Empire. The main subjects dealt with were as follows:

"1. The substitution of men of modern ideas and learning for old and useless officials.

"2. The establishment of colleges and technical schools for the advancement of scientific knowledge, after the most approved methods of Western nations.

"3. Conferring the right to memorialise the Throne direct upon all officials throughout the empire, without distinction of rank.

"4. The abrogation of the classical essay system of examinations for degrees and offices.

"The above edicts caused much rejoicing among the people, who recognised in them a great power for the immediate uplifting of the empire, and its future prosperity.

"We, your memorialists, are firmly convinced that if the reforms embodied in the Imperial Edicts could have been put into operation for twenty or thirty years, great and beneficial changes would have been brought about, which would have resulted in the entire change of the customs of the land, and establishment of better relations with the West. Thus we could have looked forward confidently to the inauguration of an era of universal peace.

"But now, through the machinations of evil men and the short-sighted policy of the Empress-Dowager, our Emperor has been imprisoned, the lives of many faithful officers have been ruthlessly taken, and all the Imperial Edicts calling for reform have been revoked. 607 All educational societies have been interdicted, and the native newspapers have been suppressed. Moreover, the lives of all those favourable to reform are in the gravest danger.

"We, your memorialists, being loyal Chinese subjects, regard with great indignation such unwarrantable action on the part of the Empress-Dowager; but we have no power to rectify this unhappy state of affairs.

"Therefore we pray you, sir, according to that equity which is recognised among all nations, to pity China in her distress, by sending a cablegram to the Government, urging your people to assist us by restoring the Emperor to his rightful throne, and by filling the offices of State with faithful and enlightened men.

"Thus will the renovation of China be due to the favour of your Sovereign Ruler, and to you, sir, who forwarded the memorial.

"P.S.—Chinese officialdom is at present divided into two classes, the old and new—Conservatives and Reformers. The former have placed their reliance on Russia to help them, in return for which Russia will gain enlarged territory. The Reformers look to Great Britain and the United States for help, knowing that the policy of these two nations is to keep the Chinese Empire intact. Should the reactionists triumph in their present schemes, there is no power that will prevent the division of China among all the nations of the earth. The Reformers have no power. They can only weep at their country's distress, while they present this memorial asking for your honourable country's 608 assistance. The first thing to be done is to liberate the Emperor and to restore him to power, and to remove the Empress-Dowager. A proclamation from the Emperor calling his people to his protection would be loyally responded to by all his faithful subjects throughout the land.

"A joint memorial from the scholars—literati—of China.

"24th Year of H.M. Kwang-shü,
"9th moon, 17th day.
"(October 31st, 1898)."


An attempt has been made to show that the Reform party, with the young Emperor Kwang-shü at their head, brought on themselves all that has happened by urging foolish reforms, and moving too fast. A slight summary of the Emperor's decrees will show that all he had done was for China's good.

June 13th, 1898.—The Emperor issued a decree commanding the establishment of a University at Peking, and also ordered Kang Yü-wei to appear at a special audience.

June 15th.—He dismissed his tutor, Wêng Tung-ho, and announced his intention of sending some of the Imperial Clansmen and Princes to travel abroad and learn.

June 20th.—He ordered the Tsung-li Yamen to report on the necessity of encouraging art, science, and modern agriculture. It was ordered that the construction of the Lu-han railway should be expedited. 609

June 23rd.—The classical essays were abolished as a necessary part of examinations.

June 27th.—The Ministers and Princes were ordered to report on the proposal to adopt Western arms and drill for all the Tartar troops.

July 4th.—The establishment of agricultural schools in the provinces to teach the farmers improved methods of agriculture was commanded; and on the same day the liberal-minded Sun Chia-nai was appointed President of the Peking University.

July 5th.—The Emperor ordered the introduction of patent and copyright laws.

July 6th.—The Board of War and the Tsung-li Yamen were ordered to report on the proposed reform of military examinations.

July 7th.—Special rewards were promised to inventors and authors.

July 14th.—Officials were ordered to do all in their power to encourage trade and assist merchants.

July 29th.—On the recommendation of Li Tuan-fên, since banished to Kashgaria by the Empress Tze Hsi, the establishment of educational boards was ordered in every city throughout the empire.

August 2nd.—The Bureau of Mines and Railways was established.

August 9th.—Journalists were encouraged to write on political subjects for the enlightenment of the authorities.

August 10th.—Jung Lu and Lin Kun-yi were directed to consult on the establishment of naval academies and training-ships. 610

August 22nd.—It was ordered that schools should be established in connection with Chinese Legations abroad, for the benefit of the sons of Chinese settled in foreign countries.

August 24th.—Ministers and Provincial Authorities were urged to assist the Emperor in his work of reform.

August 28th.—The Viceroys Lin Kun-yi and Chang-chih-tung were ordered to establish commercial bureaux for the encouragement of trade in Shanghai and Hankow.

September 1st.—Six minor and useless boards in Peking were abolished.

September 7th.—Li Hung-chang and Ching Hsin were dismissed from the Tsung-li Yamen, and the issue of chao-hsin bonds was stopped, because the provincial authorities had used them to squeeze the people.

September 8th.—The governorships of Hupeh, Kwangtung, and Yunnan were abolished as a useless expense.

September 11th.—The establishment of schools of instruction in the preparation of tea and silk was approved.

September 12th.—The Tsung-li Yamen and Board of War were ordered to report on the suggestion that the Imperial Courier posts should be abolished in favour of the Imperial Customs post; and the establishment of newspapers was encouraged.

September 13th.—The general right to memorialise the Throne by closed memorials was granted; and on the same date Manchus who had no taste for civil 611 or military office were allowed to take up trades or professions.

September 14th.—The two Presidents and four Vice-Presidents of the Board of Rites were dismissed for disobeying the Emperor's order that memorials should be sent to him unopened, whatever their source.

September 15th.—The system of budgets as in Western countries was approved.

It will be at once evident that the Emperor and his party had raised up many powerful enemies, and should—had they been wise—have secured the assistance of the army in the first instance. It was when they attempted to secure troops that the end came. It is also evident that several of the reforms were what every one would agree are absolutely necessary for China; and although they may have made too many at once, the exact rate at which reforms can be successfully carried has never been calculated. Nor is there any evidence even yet that they were going too fast for the country. They would always have moved too fast for the officials whose offices they abolished. At the same time there is a certain sort of doctrinaire flavour about this multiplicity of schools started at once, and encouragement given to newspaper writers.

Since then the Empress-Dowager has in her own name gone rather further in the opposite direction—and raised up a yet larger number of enemies—forbidding the establishment of societies of any sort, and ordering the officials to arrest the members and punish them according to their responsibilities. The chiefs are to be 612 executed summarily, and the less responsible banished into perpetual exile. This affects the Patriotic Association, as also the new societies that were formed for the engaging of teachers and purchase of scientific books after the Emperor's decree doing away with the five-chapter essay, and ordering that mathematics should be an essential subject in examination. The Empress has also suppressed all newspapers, and summarily sentenced their editors to death. She has also ordered that no further steps should be taken to drill or arm the soldiery according to Western methods, but that they should revert to bows and arrows, and to the contests in running and lifting heavy weights of ancient usage. The Emperor had signified his intention of presiding at the next military examinations, which were to have been in target-shooting with modern weapons of precision. The Empress has now announced that, instead of this, not even the candidates need present themselves at Court. And all the promising schemes for opening lower and middle schools of Western learning are nipped in the bud—those for girls, as before mentioned, in Shanghai, having for safety been put under foreign management.

The most powerful man in China for the moment seems to be Jung Lu, a Manchu who has spent most of his life in military offices at Peking, but was at one time general in Shensi, and as Viceroy of Chihli—the office so long held by Li Hung-chang—was much liked by foreigners at Tientsin. He is reported, however, not to have slept for two nights 613 with anxiety as to what the British fleet was doing at Pehtaiho just before the coup d'état; and if that is the case, he is not a man of that iron stuff that his mistress will long be able to lean upon. The real power behind the Throne, according to Kang, is a sham eunuch, Li Luen-yên, the man whom every one who wants an audience has for years past had to bribe heavily. Li Hung-chang, the Empress's firm adherent during all her long tenure of power, is beginning to be known in England. Of Shêng, once his creature, but who managed during Li's absence in Europe to attain such lucrative posts as to look down upon his former patron, the following story is told. His health never being very good, Shêng had been accustomed to get leave of absence from Tientsin in winter, and go to enjoy himself in his native city of Soochow, the Paris of China, and with also a much softer climate. During the Japanese War it was felt impossible to give a man in such high place leave of absence. But he was dispensed from regular official work, and allowed therefore to close the public offices under his control. This was done, and they were reopened by him as gambling-houses, where every man of business in Tientsin must lose his money if he hoped to put through a job or a contract under the corrupt administration of Shêng. It may be remembered the British Government demanded the latter's head a few years ago; but, as in the case of Chou Han, who disseminated the vile anti-Christian publications from Hunan, their demands were put off by being told he was either not to be 614 found, or mad, or something or other. It is men like this that must corrupt any nation in which they hold high power. It is men like this who are always ready to receive high bribes from foreign powers. The countries that wish to see China decadent, feeble, torn by internal divisions, and under their control, have a direct interest in supporting the late Dowager, now usurping Empress, Tze Hsi, and the men who rally round her.

But those who do not wish to appropriate Chinese territory, but rather that both the Chinese and themselves should enjoy tranquillity, so as to develop each their own territories to their highest capacity, must wish to see in power men like Chang-chih-tung, the one Viceroy never even accused of peculation, and who never visits Peking, and other men of high aims and upright conduct—making mistakes possibly, but at least trying their best to elevate and guide the most peace-loving and law abiding people that ever existed. The Chinese may, as Lord Wolseley has predicted, make good soldiers some day. But from time immemorial they have despised war. And as in our men-of-war I have heard that in battles in old days mattresses would be hung over the ships' sides to protect them, so we might do worse than interpose between fiery, mysterious India and the other nations of Asia the impenetrable, apparently yielding, but never really yielding, big feather-bed of vigorous, healthy China, relieved from her corrupt and disastrous Mandarin system, with her men's minds freed from the cramping influence of a too ancient system of education, and her women set upon 615 their feet so as to be once more able to bear noble sons. With all the nations of the West contending who is to have its bones to pick, it is necessary that some nation or nations should in the first instance stand by China. But once let some great Western nation make it plain to the world that he who attacks China attacks her, and there will be no attack. And let China's feet but once be set firmly in the ways of progress, and there will be no going back.

I conclude with the words of the man whom I believe to be the wisest statesman of the day, although to my mind he too often lacks the decision to act in accordance with his own judgment. Lord Salisbury in June, 1898, said: "If I am asked what our policy in China is, my answer is very simple. It is to maintain the Chinese Empire, to prevent it from falling into ruins, to invite it into paths of reform, and to give it every assistance which we are able to give it, to perfect its defence or to increase its commercial prosperity. By so doing we shall be aiding its cause and our own." Excepting through the Victoria College, years ago established in Hongkong, where and when, may I ask, has the British Government acted on this policy laid down by the Prime Minister with the strongest following of any Minister of modern times?

Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.

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[1] The imagery is taken from a line in Chinese poetry—

"In November the wild prunes first blossom on the mountain-pass"—as the death of Mr. — took place in that month.

[2] Reproduced from the Cornhill Magazine by the kind permission of the Editor.