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Title: Intimate China - The Chinese as I Have Seen Them
Author: Little, Mrs. Archibald
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

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

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

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



  [Illustration: THE WAY IN.]



     INTIMATE
     CHINA

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

     With 120 Illustrations

     HUTCHINSON & CO.
     Paternoster Row, London ... 1899



     PRINTED BY
     HAZELL, WATSON, AND VINEY, LD.,
     LONDON AND AYLESBURY.



CONTENTS.


     PRELUDE.

     FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

                                                                  PAGE

     Arriving in Shanghai.--My First Tea-season.--Inside a
     Chinese City.--Shanghai Gardens.--In the Romantic East at
     last!                                                           1


     CHAPTER I.

     ON THE UPPER YANGTSE.

     Boat-travel.--Vegetation.--Trackers.--Terrace of the
     Sun.--Gold Diamond Mountain.--Meng Liang's Ladder.--Great
     Szechuan Road.--Steamer Voyage.--Chinese Hades.--Caves         31


     CHAPTER II.

     A LAND JOURNEY.

     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


     CHAPTER III.

     LIFE IN A CHINESE CITY.

     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


     CHAPTER IV.

     HINDRANCES AND ANNOYANCES.

     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


     CHAPTER V.

     CURRENT COIN IN CHINA.

     Taels.--Dollars.--Exchange.--Silver Shoes.--Foreign Mints     120


     CHAPTER VI.

     FOOTBINDING.

     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


     CHAPTER VII.

     ANTI-FOOTBINDING.

     Church Mission's Action.--American Mission's
     Action.--Tʽien Tsu Hui.--Chinese Ladies' Drawing-room
     Meeting.--Suifu Appeal.--Kang, the Modern Sage.--Duke
     Kung.--Appeal to the Chinese People                           145


     CHAPTER VIII.

     THE POSITION OF WOMEN.

     Official Honours to Women.--Modesty.--Conjugal
     Relations.--Business Knowledge.--Opium-smoking.--Typical
     Women                                                         164


     CHAPTER IX.

     BIRTHS, DEATHS, AND MARRIAGES.

     Missing Bride.--Wedding Reception.--Proxy Marriage.--
     Servants' Weddings.--Love for Wives.--Killing a
     Husband.--Wifely Affection.--Chinese Babies.--Securing a
     Funeral                                                       184


     CHAPTER X.

     CHINESE MORALS.

     How Chinese look upon Shanghai.--A Viceroy's
     Expedient.--Method of raising Subscriptions.--Deserving
     Deities.--Trustworthiness.--Hunan Hero.--Marrying English
     Girls                                                         197


     CHAPTER XI.

     SUPERSTITIONS.

     _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


     CHAPTER XII.

     OUR MISSIONARIES.

     European Prejudice.--French Fathers.--Italian
     Sisters.--Prize-giving.--Anti-Christian Tracts.--Chinese
     Saints and Martyrs                                            230


     CHAPTER XIII.

     UP-COUNTRY SHOPPING AND UP-COUNTRY WAYS.

     Buying Curios.--Being stoned.--Chinese New Year.--
     Robbers.--Protesting Innocence.--Doing Penance.--Medicines    253


     CHAPTER XIV.

     SOLDIERS.

     Tiger Soldiers.--Woosung Drill.--General's
     Gallantry.--Japanese War.--Admiral Ting.--Dominoes with a
     Sentry.--Viceroy's Review                                     269


     CHAPTER XV.

     CHINESE STUDENTS.

     Number of Degrees.--Aged Bachelors.--Up for
     Examination.--Necessary Qualifications.--Crowding.--
     Scarcity of Posts.--Chinese Dress                             292


     CHAPTER XVI.

     A FATHER'S ADVICE TO HIS SON.

     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


     CHAPTER XVII.

     BUDDHIST MONASTERIES.

     Monastery near Ichang.--For the Dead.--Near
     Ningpo.--Buddhist Service.--Tʽien Dong.--Omi Temples.--Sai
     King Shan.--Monastery of the Particoloured Cliff              327


     CHAPTER XVIII.

     A CHINESE ORDINATION.

     Crowd.--Nuns.--Final Shaving.--Woven Paces.--Burning
     Heads.--Relationships.--A Living Picture                      350


     CHAPTER XIX.

     THE SACRED MOUNTAIN OF OMI.

     Luncheon with a Chief Priest.--Tigers.--Mysterious
     Lights.--The View of a Lifetime.--Pilgrims.--Glory of
     Buddha.--Unburied Priests                                     362


     CHAPTER XX.

     CHINESE SENTIMENT.

     In Memory of a Dead Wife.--Of a Dear Friend.--Farewell
     Verses.--Æsthetic Feeling.--Drinking
     Song.--Music.--Justice to Rats                                383


     CHAPTER XXI.

     A SUMMER TRIP TO CHINESE TIBET.

     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


     CHAPTER XXII.

     ARTS AND INDUSTRIES.

     Porcelain.--Bronzes.--Silver-work.--Pictures.--
     Architecture.--Tea.--Silk.--White Wax.--Grass-cloth.--
     Ivory Fans.--Embroidery                                       425


     CHAPTER XXIII.

     A LITTLE PEKING PUG.

     Enjoyment.--Anticipation.--Regret                             446



_AFFAIRS OF STATE._


     PRELUDE.

     PART I.--GETTING TO PEKING.

     House-boat on the Peiho.--Tientsin.--Chefoo.--A Peking
     Cart.--Camels.--British Embassy.--Walking on the
     Walls.--Beautiful Perspectives                                457

     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                                                          473


     CHAPTER I.

     THE CHINESE EMPEROR'S MAGNIFICENCE.

     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


     CHAPTER II.

     THE EMPRESS, THE EMPEROR, AND THE AUDIENCE.

     A Concubine no Empress.--Sudden
     Deaths.--Suspicions.--Prince Chʽün.--Emperor's
     Education.--His Sadness.--His Features.--Foreign
     Ministers' Audience.--Another Audience.--Crowding of the
     Rabble.--Peking's Effect on Foreign Representatives           515


     CHAPTER III.

     SOLIDARITY, CO-OPERATION, AND IMPERIAL FEDERATION.

     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


     CHAPTER IV.

     BEGINNINGS OF REFORM.

     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


     CHAPTER V.

     THE COUP D'ÉTAT.

     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



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                  PAGE

     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

     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

     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 Chʽing, Prince Chʽün, 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

     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



DRY STATEMENTS.

(TO BE CARRIED WITH THE READER, IF POSSIBLE.)


     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     "

     That of France in 1896                             38½    "

     One alone of China's eighteen provinces, Kiangsu,
     has over                                           39½    "

     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.



  [Illustration: SHANGHAI FROM THE RIVER.]



PRELUDE.

_FIRST IMPRESSIONS._

     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 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 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.

  [Illustration: SHANGHAI CREEK, WITH DRAWBRIDGE.]

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 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 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 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, 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.

  [Illustration: TEA-GARDEN IN SHANGHAI CHINESE CITY.
   _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, 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 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.

  [Illustration: PORTERS WAITING FOR WORK.]

In old days the Hankow tea trade was a great business. Tea-tasters
came out from England in 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.

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 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 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."

  [Illustration: THE BUBBLING WELL.]

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."

  [Illustration: SOOCHOW CREEK, SHANGHAI.]

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 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 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
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 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 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."

  [Illustration: GUILD GARDEN AT KIANGPEI.
   _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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: PAVILION IN COUNTRY GENTLEMAN'S GARDEN.
   _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
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.

  [Illustration: STREET SCENE.]

When we were last there, a dainty-looking Chinese 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 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_!

  [Illustration: WHEELBARROW.]



CHAPTER I.

_ON THE UPPER YANGTSE._

     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 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.

  [Illustration: BOW OF TRAVELLING-BOAT.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

  [Illustration: ENTRANCE TO YANGTSE GORGES.
   _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 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 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.

"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. 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 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 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 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 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 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."


  [Illustration: TRACKERS.
   _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 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 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 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?

  [Illustration: POLING A BOAT UP A RAPID.
   _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, 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 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; 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.

  [Illustration: IN THE NIUKAN GORGE.
   _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 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.

  [Illustration: WHITE EMPEROR'S TEMPLE, LOOKING DOWN THE GORGE OF THE
   FEARSOME POOL, OR BELLOWS GORGE.
   _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 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 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.

  [Illustration: NEW AND GLORIOUS RAPID.
   _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.

  [Illustration: TREE MOVED 100 YARDS BY LANDSLIP THAT FORMED NEW RAPID.
   _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 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 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.

  [Illustration: IRON COVER OF BOTTOMLESS WELL.
   _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.

  [Illustration: AT FENGTU.
   _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 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.



CHAPTER II.

_A LAND JOURNEY._

     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 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 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 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 _kʽotow_ (bow
till they touched the ground with their foreheads), and to apologise.

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 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 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 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, 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 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.

  [Illustration: FREE SCHOOL.
   _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.

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 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 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.

  [Illustration: POPPIES AND TERRACED RICE-FIELDS.
   _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 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.



CHAPTER III.

_LIFE IN A CHINESE CITY._

     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 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.

  [Illustration: CHUNGKING, COMMERCIAL CAPITAL OF WESTERN CHINA.]

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 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 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.

  [Illustration: DINNER PARTY IN THE GARDEN OF A MEMBER OF THE HANLIN
   COLLEGE,--WHITE CLOTH SPREAD IN COMPLIMENT TO EUROPEANS.
   _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; 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 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.

  [Illustration: MORNING TOILETTE.]

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, 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.

  [Illustration: OUTSIDE GOVERNOR'S RESIDENCE IN CHUNGKING.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

Cats are very much prized in a Chinese city, because of the fierce
depredations of the rats; and in 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
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 talk more than she feels
inclined, there is, indeed, no reason why they should ever come to an
end.

  [Illustration: COUNTRY HOUSE NEAR KIUKIANG.]

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: A CHINESE COUNTRY CLUB, OR GUILD GARDEN.
   _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 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 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 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!

  [Illustration: A HOT DAY.
   _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 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.



CHAPTER IV.

_HINDRANCES AND ANNOYANCES._

     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 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
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.

  [Illustration: MARKET STREET OUTSIDE CITY.]

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 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.

  [Illustration: THE OLDEST OFFICIAL IN THE PROVINCE OF SZECHUAN.
   _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 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 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 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. 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 very fond of us? The marvel to me is that they dare
associate with us at all.

  [Illustration: GIVING EVIDENCE IN A COURT OF JUSTICE.
   _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 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 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 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:

"THE HAPPY CONSUL.

     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
     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. 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, 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.



CHAPTER V.

_CURRENT COIN IN CHINA._

     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.

"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 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.

"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."

  [Illustration: CHINESE MODE OF SALUTATION.]

"Well, that is what he says," she repeated rather wearily, after
having waited a little to see if he would 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."

"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 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 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 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 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 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.

"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 kʽung_).

"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 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."

  [Illustration: 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 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.



CHAPTER VI.

_FOOTBINDING._

     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 Pʽan-fei, a favourite of the Emperor Ho-ti, of the Chi
Dynasty, whose capital was Nanking, was so 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 Pʽan-fei as to have had golden
lotus flowers strewn on her path for her to walk on. But there is
another tradition that Tʽan-ki, the wife of the last Emperor of the
Shang Dynasty, who in despair burned himself in his palace with all
his treasures in 1120 B.C.--that Tʽan-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.

  [Illustration: CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLICS OF MANY GENERATIONS.
   _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
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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: WOMAN'S NATURAL FOOT, AND ANOTHER WOMAN'S FEET BOUND TO
   6 INCHES.
   _By Dr. E. Garner._]

  [Illustration: WOMAN'S NATURAL FOOT, AND ANOTHER WOMAN'S FEET BOUND TO
   4½ INCHES.
   _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 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, 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 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 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.



CHAPTER VII.

_ANTI-FOOTBINDING._

     Church Mission's Action.--American Mission's
     Action.--Tʽien 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 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 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."

  [Illustration: CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC BURIAL-GROUND.
   _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 man very much, and said if her father did not give
her to Yü Chʽien (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, 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 Tʽien 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 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 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 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 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.

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' 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 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.

  [Illustration: FAMILY OF LITERATI, LEADERS IN THE ANTI-FOOTBINDING
   MOVEMENT IN THE WEST OF CHINA.
   _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 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
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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: BRIDGE NEAR SOOCHOW.]



CHAPTER VIII.

_THE POSITION OF WOMEN._

     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 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._"

  [Illustration: MEMORIAL ARCH LEADING TO CONFUCIUS' GRAVE.]

"_February 6th, 1891._--Li Hung-chang submits a case of filial piety
which was brought to his notice 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
Pʽeng-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 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 Pʽeng-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. 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 Mahʽing 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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?

  [Illustration: A COUNTRY HOUSE PARTY.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

  [Illustration: FOOT SHUTTLECOCK.
   _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, 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.

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 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 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
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 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 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 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.



CHAPTER IX.

_BIRTHS, DEATHS, AND MARRIAGES._

     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 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 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.

  [Illustration: WEDDING PROCESSION.
   _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, 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
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
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 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 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 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 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 crime, the city having
by order been moved to the river-bank, where it now stands among its
groves of waving bamboos.

  [Illustration: NEW KWEICHOW, BUILT BY ORDER.
   _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 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 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.



CHAPTER X.

_CHINESE MORALS._

     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 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 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 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 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._"

  [Illustration: MEMORIAL ARCH.
   _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 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 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, 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 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.

  [Illustration: SHOES TO MEND.]

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 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 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, 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.



CHAPTER XI.

_SUPERSTITIONS._

     _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 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 had not gladdened the
neighbourhood for hundreds of years.

  [Illustration: ICHANG FROM THE CITY WALL, HALL OF LITERATURE, AND
   PYRAMID HILL.
   _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? 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.

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 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 of emotion experienced, whether
pleasurable or the reverse?

  [Illustration: MONASTERY.
   _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 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 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 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."

  [Illustration: THE 564 IMAGES OF HANGCHOW.]

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 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 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 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-tʽao_,' for girl, or sometimes
'_lao-pʽo_,' to indicate that they are old married women. But these
cunning schemes cannot, however, always be regarded as 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 cherishing growth, will become Buddhas or Genii, and not
ghosts."

  [Illustration: PAVILION OF THE MOON IN GROUNDS OF GOD OF WAR'S TEMPLE.
   _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 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 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.



CHAPTER XII.

_OUR MISSIONARIES._

     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: "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."

  [Illustration: MISSIONARY GROUP AT OUR HOUSE-WARMING.
   _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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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.

  [Illustration: SOOCHOW, WITH MISSION CHURCH.]

It was sad to hear, shortly after this prize-giving, that there were
again anti-foreign placards out on 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, 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 Tʽan, the Governor of Hupeh. It is
interesting, in connection with this letter, to remember that it was
Tʽan's son who was among the first six beheaded by order of the
Empress-Dowager when she deposed her nephew, the Emperor, and that
Tʽan, the father, either died of grief or killed himself, heartbroken
on hearing of his son's death.

  [Illustration: TEMPLE TO GOD OF WAR, YÜNYANG.
   _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 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, Tʽang 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 Tʽang 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 Tʽang 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 Tʽang and every one of his
companions, who together with him are unjustly implicated; also to
return to them every article of property which 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,
Tʽang, 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 certainly not allow my
relative Tʽang 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: COLOSSAL GILDED BUDDHA.
   _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 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 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 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.



CHAPTER XIII.

_UP-COUNTRY SHOPPING AND UP-COUNTRY WAYS._

     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 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.

  [Illustration: PUNCH AND JUDY.
   _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. 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. 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: STONE ANIMALS AT GENERAL'S GRAVE. A PEASANT SEATED ON
   ONE WITH STRAW HAT.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

There is not much more to be bought in Chungking than in Ichang; but
there are bed-spreads of deep 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 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.

  [Illustration: ENTRANCE TO FAIRIES' TEMPLE, CHUNGKING.
   _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 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
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 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 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
_kʽotow_ 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 days. And the work-worn
city keeps its sabbaths for the whole year all in a fortnight."

  [Illustration: PLAY AT A DINNER PARTY IN A GUILDHALL.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

  [Illustration: AUDIENCE AT A PLAY IN A GUILDHALL.]

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 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 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 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!



CHAPTER XIV.

_SOLDIERS._

     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 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.

  [Illustration: JUNK.
   _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 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 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
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"!

  [Illustration: CAPTAIN OF CHINESE GUNBOAT.
   _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 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 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.

  [Illustration: SOLDIER.
   _By Mrs. Bishop._]

  [Illustration: SOLDIER.
   _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, 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 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 (6_s._) each as expenses for their land journey,
and those of Changsha $2 (4_s._) 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 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 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?

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 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.

  [Illustration: GUNBOAT SOLDIERS.
   _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, 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
foreigners, all hung with green reed-blinds to shield us from the
people's stare.

  [Illustration: SOLDIERS.
   _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 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 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 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 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.



CHAPTER XV.

_CHINESE STUDENTS._

     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 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.

  [Illustration: TEMPLE OF GOD OF LITERATURE.
   _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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: MAP OF CHINA, SHOWING CHIEF EXAMINATION CENTRES.]

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 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 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 over twenty years
should be strictly enforced for the future."

Again, on April 10th, 1891, "the Governor of Fengtʽien 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
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 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._"

  [Illustration: OUTSIDE CONFUCIUS' GRAVE.]

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 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._"

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 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."

  [Illustration: APPROACH TO CONFUCIUS' GRAVE.]

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 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 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.

     MEMORIAL OF PRINCE KUNG ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COLLEGE
     FOR THE CULTIVATION OF WESTERN SCIENCE (1887).

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
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 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
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 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 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.



CHAPTER XVI.

_A FATHER'S ADVICE TO HIS SON._

     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 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 chʽin_ (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. _Chʽin_ 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 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."

  [Illustration: FORTRESS OF REFUGE, COUNTRY HOUSE, AND MEMORIAL ARCH.
   _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 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 Tʽing-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
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 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."

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 the style of the ancient worthies, and
collected in a volume entitled _Li Tʽuan 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.



CHAPTER XVII.

_BUDDHIST MONASTERIES._

     Monastery near Ichang.--For the Dead.--Near
     Ningpo.--Buddhist Service--Tʽien 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 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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: NEAR NINGPO.]

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 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).

  [Illustration: SALISBURIA ADIANTIFOLIA.
   _From Picture by Chinese Artist._]

Outside the door stood two beautiful _Salisburia adiantifolia_, the
sacred tree of the Japanese. The 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 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 Tʽien 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 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
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 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 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 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.

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
without. It is a part of their _Fung shui_, their wind and water
religion.

  [Illustration: ENTRANCE TO MONASTERY.
   _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 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 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
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 Russian churches--very set, very firm, yet withal so
kind, and above all so holy.

  [Illustration: BUDDHIST IMAGES CUT IN CLIFFS ON THE RIVER YA.
   _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 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 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."



CHAPTER XVIII.

_A CHINESE ORDINATION._

     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
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.

  [Illustration: AT FENGTU, CHINESE HADES.
   _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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: BEGGING PRIEST, ONCE A GENERAL.
   _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, 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.

     "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.



CHAPTER XIX.

_THE SACRED MOUNTAIN OF OMI._

     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 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. 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 10_s._--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 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 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 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."


  [Illustration: JACK (LONG-HAIRED SHANTUNG TERRIER).
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

  [Illustration: SACRED TIGER.
   _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 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.

  [Illustration: GREAT PRECIPICE OF MOUNT OMI.
   _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
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. 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 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.

  [Illustration: PRIEST AND PILGRIMS ON EDGE OF OMI PRECIPICE.
   _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, 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 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 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 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."

  [Illustration: CLOUD EFFECTS ON MOUNT OMI.
   _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 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, 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 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.



CHAPTER XX.

_CHINESE SENTIMENT._

     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, 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 it all after whatever fashion, there was surely in this
some indication of sentiment.

  [Illustration: GUARD-HOUSE NEAR THE ARSENAL.]

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:

"AVE ATQUE VALE!

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.

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.

  [Illustration: ROOF AND ROOF-END AT CHUNGKING.
   _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
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:

"ADIEU TO THE OLD YEAR.

     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._

  [Illustration: BRIDGE AT HANGCHOW.]

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, 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:

"ON DRINKING ALONE BY MOONLIGHT.

     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 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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: BRIDGE AND CAUSEWAY ON WEST LAKE.]

FOOTNOTE:

[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.



CHAPTER XXI.

A SUMMER TRIP TO CHINESE TIBET.[2]

     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 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.

  [Illustration: SACRED SAI KING MOUNTAIN.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]

Climbing the Sai King was rather a formidable affair. But for the
guidance of a young priest, returning from 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 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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: BRICK-TEA CARRIERS ON THE GREAT BRICK-TEA ROAD.
   _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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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?

  [Illustration: CARAVANSERAI AT TACHIENLU.
   _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 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 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.

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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

FOOTNOTE:

[2] Reproduced from the _Cornhill Magazine_ by the kind permission of
the Editor.



CHAPTER XXII.

_ARTS AND INDUSTRIES._

     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 Tʽang
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 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 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 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, 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. "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.

  [Illustration: IN A CHUNGKING GUILD-HOUSE.
   _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 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 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.

  [Illustration: PACKING TEA.]

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 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 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 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 paper and cotton goods, as furniture
polish, and to impart a gloss to silk.

  [Illustration: CHINESE HYDRAULIC APPARATUS.]

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 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 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 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
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 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 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.



CHAPTER XXIII.

_A LITTLE PEKING PUG._

     Enjoyment.--Anticipation.--Regret.


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 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.

  [Illustration: PEKING PUG (SHORT-HAIRED).
   _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; 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 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.

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 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.

  [Illustration: PEKING LION DOG (LONG-HAIRED).
   _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
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.

  [Illustration: ON A MOUNTAIN ROAD.
   _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
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 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, 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.

  [Illustration: A WHEELBARROW STAND.]



_AFFAIRS OF STATE._



PRELUDE.

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 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.

  [Illustration: INTERIOR OF GOVERNOR'S OFFICIAL RESIDENCE AT HANGCHOW.]

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 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
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 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 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.

  [Illustration: FARMER AND WATER BUFFALOES.
   _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
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.

  [Illustration: PAPER-BURNING TEMPLES.
   _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, 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 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 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 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?

  [Illustration: APPROACH TO MING EMPERORS' TOMBS, PEKING.
   _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 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 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 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 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 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, 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.

  [Illustration: 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.]

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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: LOTUS POND AND DAGOBA IN EMPEROR'S GARDEN.
   _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 _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. 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: MOUNTAIN VILLAGE, WITH SHAM BEACON FIRES TO LEFT,
   FOOCHOW SEDAN-CHAIR IN FRONT.
   _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 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 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 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 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.



CHAPTER I.

_THE CHINESE EMPEROR'S MAGNIFICENCE._

     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 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.

  [Illustration:
       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 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 Tʽai Chʽang 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 Tʽai-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 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 _kʽotows_ (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 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 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 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
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 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 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 _kʽotowing_, 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
_kʽotowed_ 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 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 Tʽien Ngan Gate,
the Tuan Gate, the Mid-day and the Tʽai 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 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."

  [Illustration: LATE VICEROY TSO TSUNG-TANG.]

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 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 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. 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 Chʽün, two maids of honour of the first grade were
ordered to act on her behalf."

Prince Chʽün 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 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 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 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 8_d._ 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
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."

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!



CHAPTER II.

_THE EMPRESS, THE EMPEROR, AND THE AUDIENCE._

     A Concubine no Empress.--Sudden
     Deaths.--Suspicions.--Prince Chʽün.--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 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.

  [Illustration: EMPEROR KWANG-SHÜ, 1875.
   _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 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
Chʽün, 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 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 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
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.

"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 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 Chʽing, 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 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 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 Chʽing. 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,' 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."

  [Illustration: PRINCE KUNG.
   _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 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 Chʽing repeated it,
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 Chʽing; 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 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.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT WALL.
   _By Mr. Stratford Dugdale._]



"SIC TRANSIT."

          _March 6th, 1897._

I.

       '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.

II.

     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.
     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.

III.

     '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.

IV.

     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
     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.
          Q.

  [Illustration: INCENSE-BURNER.]



CHAPTER III.

_SOLIDARITY, CO-OPERATION, AND IMPERIAL FEDERATION._

     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 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 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 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 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 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.

  [Illustration: COUNTRY HOUSE IN YANGTSE GORGES.
   _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 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 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.

  [Illustration: KIANGSI GUILD-HOUSE IN CHUNGKING.
   _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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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.

  [Illustration: DOWNWARD-BOUND CARGO-BOAT.
   _By Mrs. Archibald Little._]



  [Illustration: BRIDGE AT SOOCHOW.]



CHAPTER IV.

_BEGINNINGS OF REFORM._

     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 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 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 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 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 Tʽien 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.

  [Illustration: MR. KING, MANAGER OF THE CHINESE TELEGRAPH COMPANY AND
   FOUNDER OF HIGH SCHOOLS FOR GIRLS.]

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 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, 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 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 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.

"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 Tsʽoo 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 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 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 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 '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.

  [Illustration: WÊN TING-SHIH, THE REFORMER, LATE TUTOR TO THE LADIES
   OF THE IMPERIAL HOUSEHOLD.
   _Lent by Rev. Gilbert Reid._]

But a few days after the ladies' dinner--a very merry 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 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 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 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 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.

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
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.



CHAPTER V.

_THE COUP D'ÉTAT._

     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 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_ 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
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, 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
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 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 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 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 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 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
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.

"'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. 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."

  [Illustration: HEAD EUNUCH OF THE EMPRESS-DOWAGER.
   _Lent by Rev. Gilbert Reid._]

  [Illustration: KIAOCHOU, SEIZED BY GERMANY.]

"'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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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."

  [Illustration: BRITISH AND CHINESE FLAGS, JUNE 15TH, 1898: TOWN OF
   WEI-HAI-WEI IN DISTANCE.
   _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
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 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.


AN OPEN LETTER FROM KANG YÜ-WEI.

     "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 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 Tʽang Dynasty], but can only emulate the example of
Shên Pao-sü in weeping. [This was a minister of Tsʽu (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 Tsʽu,
and by his importunity succeeded in carrying his point.]

"I, therefore, now send you copies of his Majesty's 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 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."


  [Illustration: FERRY AT ICHANG.
   _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 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; 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 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 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 _kʽotowed_ 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 (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 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. 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
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.

  [Illustration: APPROACH TO MING EMPEROR'S TOMB, NANKING.]

_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.

_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.

_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 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 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
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 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 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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MR. and MRS. ARCHIBALD LITTLE.


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