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Title: In the Far East - A Narrative of Exploration and Adventure in Cochin-China, - Cambodia, Laos, and Siam
Author: Adams, W. H. Davenport (William Henry Davenport)
Language: English
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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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  Page 77.


  A Narrative of Exploration and Adventure


  “The Arctic World,” “The Mediterranean Illustrated,”
  &c. &c._




    I. THROUGH LAOS TO CHINA,             9
  III. RETURN TO SAIGON,                133
    V. M. MOUHOT IN CAMBODIA,           176

List of Illustrations.

  LAOTIAN BOAT DESCENDING A RAPID,         _Frontispiece_
  SCENE ON THE MEKONG,                                 13
  PEACOCK-HUNTING,                                     29
  MOUNTAIN-PEAK NEAR BASSAC,                           33
  FUNERAL CEREMONY OF THE LAOTIANS,                    37
  CORONATION OF THE KING OF OUBON,                     45
  ANNAMITES AT LAKON,                                  51
  TAPPING THE BORASSUS PALM,                           59
  BUDDHIST TAT AT NONG KAY,                            63
  MONASTERY OF WAT SISAKET,                            67
  PASSAGE OF A RAPID,                                  71
  RICE-FIELD AND PAGODA AT MUONG MAI,                  75
  PAGODA AT PAK LAY,                                   79
  BAMBOO BRIDGE AT XIENG KHONG,                        83
  FOREST ROAD NEAR MUONG LIM,                          87
  A NIGHT HALT NEAR SIEM-LAP,                          91
  VALLEY OF KON-TCHANG,                               109
  CROSSING A RAVINE,                                  113
  MERCHANT TRAIN IN YUNNAN,                           137
  ANNAMITE LADY AND HER SERVANT,                      141
  CHINESE HOUSE AT KHOLEN,                            151
  VINH-LONG,                                          163
  SCENE AT TAYNINH,                                   167
  CHINESE MERCHANTS OF SAIGON,                        173




A considerable portion of the Indo-Chinese peninsula is occupied by
the extensive country of Cambodia, or Camboja, known to the natives
as _Kan-pou-chi_. It extends from lat. 8° 47′ to 15° N., along the
basin of the Mekong, Makiang, or Cambodia river; and is bounded on the
north by Laos; on the south, by the Gulf of Siam and the China Sea; on
the east, by Cochin-China; and on the west, by Siam. Formerly it was
independent; but since 1809 it has been included within the empire of
Annam, except the province of Battabang, which belongs to the kingdom
of Siam. But since the French established themselves at Saigon in
1858, and have gradually obtained a controlling power in Annam (or
Cochin-China), their influence has also extended to Cambodia.


The largest river of Cambodia, and of the whole Indo-Chinese peninsula,
is the Mekong, Makiang, or Cambodia, which, rising in the mountains of
China, under the name of the Lan-tsan-kiang, flows in a south-easterly
direction across the province of Yunnan; thence, under the name of the
Kiou-long, traverses the territory of Laos; and afterwards, as the
Mekong, intersects Cambodia, dividing the Annam portion from that which
belongs to Siam; separates into several branches, and finally falls
into the China Sea, after a fertilizing course of about fifteen hundred
miles. Its two principal mouths are those of the Japanese and Oubequum
channels. There are several smaller mouths, however, the southernmost
of which is situated in lat. 9° 30′ N., and long. 106° 20′ E.

Very little was known of this great river until the French had made
themselves masters of Saigon. It has since been explored in parts of
its course by M. Mouhot, Lieutenant Garnier, and others. The country
which it waters possesses many features of interest; and the scenery
through which it flows is often of a romantic and beautiful character.
The manners and customs of the people dwelling on its banks are not
unworthy of consideration; and we propose, therefore, to carry the
reader with us on a voyage up this magnificent stream,--penetrating,
under the guidance of Lieutenant Garnier, into hitherto unexplored
parts of Cambodia, and even into China itself.

       *       *       *       *       *


In 1866 the French Government determined on despatching an expedition
to explore the upper valley of the great Cambodian river, and placed
it in charge of M. de Lagrée, a captain in the French navy. M. Thorel,
a surgeon, was attached to it as botanist; M. Delaporte, as artist;
Dr. Joubert, as physician and geologist; and among the other members
were Lieutenant Garnier, to whose record of the expedition we are
about to be indebted, and M. de Carné. After a visit to Ongcor, the
capital of the ancient kingdom of the Khmers, with those vast memorials
of antiquity described so graphically by M. Mouhot, the expedition
proceeded to ascend the great river, passing the busy villages of
Compong Luong and Pnom Penh--the latter the residence of the king of
Cambodia. Here they abandoned the gun-brigs which had brought them
from Saigon, and embarked themselves and their stores on board boats
better fitted for river navigation.


These boats or canoes are manned, according to their size, by a crew
of six to ten men. Each is armed with a long bamboo, one end of which
terminates with an iron hook, the other with a small fork. The men take
up their station on a small platform in the fore part of the boat,
plant their bamboos against some projection on the river-bank, tree
or stone, and then march towards the stern; returning afterwards on
the opposite side to repeat the process. This strange kind of circular
motion suffices to impel the boat at the rate of a man walking at full
speed, when the boatmen are skilful at their work, and the river-bank
is straight and well defined. The master’s attention is wholly
occupied, meanwhile, in keeping the bow of the canoe in the direction
of the current, or rather slightly headed towards the shore. It is
obvious that such a mode of navigation is liable to many interruptions,
and cannot be commended on the score of swiftness or convenience.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE MEKONG]


On the 13th of July the canoes took their departure from Cratieh, and
soon afterwards arrived at Sombor. They then effected the passage
of the rapids of Sombor-Sombor--no great difficulty being experienced,
owing to the rise of the waters. Beyond this point the broad bed of the
great river was encumbered with a multitude of islands, low and green,
while the banks were covered with magnificent forests. The voyagers
noticed here some trees of great value--the yao; the ban-courg, the
wood of which makes capital oars; and the lam-xe, which should be
highly prized by the European cabinet-makers.


On the 16th of July the voyagers again fell in with a series of
formidable rapids. The sharp and clearly-defined shores of the islands
which had hitherto enclosed the arm of the river they were navigating
were suddenly effaced. The Cambodia was covered with innumerable clumps
of trees, half under water; its muddy torrent rolled impetuously
through a thousand canals, forming an inextricable labyrinth. Huge
blocks of sandstone rose at intervals along the left bank, and
indicated that strata of the same rock extended across the river-bed.
At a considerable distance from the shore the poles of the boatmen
found a depth of fully ten feet; and it was with extreme difficulty
the canoes made way against the strong, fierce current, which in some
confined channels attained a velocity of five miles an hour.

Storms of wind and rain contributed to render the voyage more
wearisome and the progress slower. It was no easy task at night to
find a secure haven for the boats; and the sudden floods of the little
streams at the mouth of which the voyagers sought shelter, several
times subjected them to the risk of being carried away during their
sleep, and cast all unexpectedly into the mid-current of the great
river. They slept on board their boats, because the roof was some
protection from the furious rains; but these soon soaked through the
mats and leaves of which it was composed. The weather was warm, and
thus these douche-baths were not wholly insupportable; and when the
voyagers could not sleep, they found some consolation in admiring the
fantastic illumination which the incessant lightnings kindled in the
gloomy arcades of the forest, and in listening to the peals of thunder,
repeated by a thousand echoes, and mingling with the hoarse continuous
growl of the angry waters.

Such are some of the features of the navigation of the lower part of
the Cambodia. But our limits compel us to pass over several chapters
of Lieutenant Garnier’s narrative, and to take it up after the voyagers
had crossed the boundaries of Siam and Cambodia and entered Laos.



Lieutenant Garnier describes the Laotians as generally well made and
robust. Their physiognomy, he says, is characterized by a singular
combination of cunning and apathy, benevolence and timorousness.
Their eyes are less regular, their cheeks less prominent, the nose
straighter, than is the case with other peoples of Mongolian origin;
and but for their much paler complexion, which closely approaches that
of the Chinese, we should be tempted to credit them with a considerable
admixture of Hindu blood. The male Laotian shaves his head, and, like
the Siamese, preserves only a small tuft of very short hair on the
summit. He dresses himself tastefully, and can wear the finest stuffs
with ease and dignity. He chooses always the liveliest colours; and
the effect of a group of Laotians, with the brilliant hues of their
costume set off by their copper-tinted skin, is very striking. The
common people wear an exceedingly simple garb--the langouti, a piece of
cotton stuff passed between the legs and around the waist. For those
of higher rank the langouti is of silk; and is frequently accompanied
by a small vest buttoned over the chest, with very narrow sleeves, and
another piece of silk folded round the waist as a girdle, or round the
neck as a scarf. Head-gear and foot-gear are things little used in
Laos; but the labourers and boatmen, when working or rowing under a
burning sun, protect the head with an immense straw hat, almost flat,
much like a parasol. Personages of high rank, when they are in “full
dress,” wear a kind of slipper, which appears to inconvenience them
greatly, and is thrown off at the earliest opportunity.

Most of the Laotians tattoo themselves on the stomach or legs, though
the practice is much more prevalent in the north than in the south. The
Laotian women do not wear much more clothing than their husbands. The
langouti, instead of being brought up between the legs, is fastened
round the waist, and allowed to hang down like a short tight petticoat
below the knees. Generally, a second piece of stuff is worn over the
bosom, and thrown back across either the right or left shoulder. The
hair, always of a splendid jetty blackness, is twisted up in a chignon
on the top of the head, and kept in its place by a small strip of
cotton or plaited straw, frequently embellished with a few flowers.
Every woman ornaments her neck, arms, and legs with rings of gold,
silver, or copper, sometimes heaped one upon another in considerable
quantity. The very poor are content with belts of cotton or silk; to
which, in the case of children, are suspended little amulets given by
the priests as talismans against witchcraft or remedies against disease.

       *       *       *       *       *

Strictly speaking, polygamy does not exist in Laos. Only the well-to-do
indulge in the embarrassing luxury of more wives than one; and even
with these a favoured individual is recognized as the lawful spouse.


Unhappily, slavery prevails, as it does in Siam and Cambodia. A
debtor may be enslaved, by judicial confiscation; but the “peculiar
institution” is chiefly recruited from the wild tribes in the eastern
provinces. The slaves are employed in tilling the fields, and in
domestic labours; they are treated with great kindness. They often
live so intimately and so familiarly with their masters, that, but for
their long hair and characteristic physiognomy, it would be difficult
to distinguish them in the midst of a Laotian “interior.”

The Laotians are a slothful people, and, when not rich enough to own
slaves, leave the best part of the day’s work to be done by the women,
who not only perform the household labour, but pound the rice, till
the fields, paddle the canoes. Hunting and fishing are almost the only
occupations reserved for the stronger sex.


We have not space to describe all the engines employed for catching
fish, which, next to rice, is the principal food of all the riverine
populations of the Mekong valley, and is furnished by the great river
in almost inexhaustible quantities. The most common are large tubes of
bamboo and ratan, having one or more funnel-shaped necks, the edges
of which prevent the fish from escaping after they have once entered.
These apparatus are firmly attached, with their openings towards the
current, to a tree on the river-bank, or, by means of some heavy
stones, are completely submerged. Every second or third day their owner
visits them, and empties them of their finny victims. The Laotians
also make use of an ingenious system of floats, which support a row of
hooks, and realize the European “fishing by line,” without the help of
the fisherman. There are various other methods adopted, such as the
net and the harpoon; and in the employment of all these the Laotians
display considerable activity and address.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now accompany our French voyagers in their further ascent of the
river. As we have already hinted, its navigation is not without its
inconveniences, and even its dangers.


One evening, for example, they dropped anchor at the mouth of a
small stream which, in foam and spray, came tumbling down from the
mountains of Cambodia. After supper they lay down to rest on the mats
which covered the deck of their vessels. Black was the sky, hot and
oppressive the air; all around were visible the portents of a coming
storm. The distant roar of the hurricane failed, however, to disturb
the sleepers, who were spent and overcome with the fatigues of the day.
But at last they were wakened effectually by a “thunder-plump,” which
quickly flooded their canoes, and drove them upon deck.


In the midst of the elemental disorder, they became aware of a hoarse
growling sound; the waters were violently agitated, and a great crest
of foam rapidly advanced towards their feeble barks. In a few moments
it was upon them. It swept clean over the voyagers and their canoes,
and those of the latter which had been carelessly moored were borne
down the rushing tide. At first an indescribable disorder prevailed;
cries of distress rose in every direction; the canoes dashed violently
against one another, or came into collision with uprooted trunks
floating on the surface of the storm-tossed waters. Fortunately, the
danger was quickly over; and as every boat had contrived to grapple
some branch or rock, the voyagers discovered at daybreak that, whatever
injuries these had sustained, no lives had been lost. The furious gale
they had heard in the distance had raised the waters some twelve feet
during the night; but the inundation subsided as rapidly as it had

Under the shade of wide-branching trees, and closely hugging the shore,
the expedition continued its voyage. The neighbouring forests were
remarkable for their luxuriant vegetation; troops of apes and squirrels
of various species gambolled among the mighty trees, among which rose
conspicuous the superb yao, the king of these forests, the trunk of
which shoots up, free from knot or bough, to a height of eighty or one
hundred feet; and out of which the Laotians hollow their piraguas. In
the morning a wild beast now and then came down to the river to drink;
and night was rendered hideous by the cries and trumpetings of deer,
and tigers, and elephants.

       *       *       *       *       *


At length the voyagers came within hearing of the tremendous roar of
the Khon cataract. Their boatmen, brisker than on ordinary occasions,
hauled or propelled their vessels through a very labyrinth of rocks,
submerged trees, and prostrate trunks still clinging to earth by their
many roots. They knew that their hard labour was nearly at an end, and
that at Khon the expedition would dismiss them, as fresh boats would
be required above the cataract. As for their homeward voyage, what was
it? To ascend the river had been the work of a week; the swift current
would bear them back in less than a day.


The cataract of Khon is really a series of magnificent falls, of
which one of the grandest is caused by the confluence of the Papheng.
There, in the midst of rocks and grassy islets, an enormous sheet of
water leaps headlong from a height of seventy feet, to fall back in
floods of foam, again to descend from crag to crag, and finally glide
away beneath the dense vegetation of the forest. As the river at this
point is about one thousand yards in width, the effect is singularly
striking. But still more imposing is the Salaphe fall, which extends
over a breadth of a mile and a half, at the very foot of the mountains.
In order to examine it at leisure, Lieutenant Garnier engaged a Laotian
to conduct him to an island lying just above it. Before starting, the
guide made certain preparations, of which Garnier could not understand
the necessity, in spite of the Laotian’s efforts to explain them.
Rolling up about his waist the light langouti, he plastered his feet
and legs with a composition of lime and areca juice. This precaution
proved to be far from useless; for, on landing on the island, they
found the soil covered with thousands of leeches, some no larger than
needles, but others two inches and a half to three inches in length. On
the approach of the strangers, they reared themselves erect upon each
dead leaf and blade of grass; they leaped, so to speak, upon them from
every side. The thick coating which the Laotian guide had so prudently
assumed preserved him from their bites; but Garnier, in a few moments,
was victimized by dozens of these blood-suckers, which crawled up his
legs and bled him in spite of all his efforts. He found it impossible
to get rid of his determined antagonists; for one leech which he tore
off, two fresh assailants seized upon him. Glad was he when he caught
sight of a tall tree. He made towards it, scaled its trunk, and, when
out of reach of his foes, set to work to deliver himself from the
creatures which were feasting at his expense. Throwing off his clothes,
he removed the leeches one by one, though it was not without difficulty
that he loosened their hold. Even his waistband had not arrested their
march, for he found that one audacious persecutor had actually reached
his chest.


He felt more than repaid, however, for all his sufferings, when he
arrived within sight of the cataract. With a breadth of two thousand
yards, a prodigious mass of water came down in blinding foam, roaring
like a furious sea when it breaks against an iron-bound coast. At
another point, the flood was divided into eight or ten different
cascades by as many projecting crags, richly clothed in leafage and
vegetation. Beyond, nothing could be seen but one immense rapid,--a
roaring, tumultuous deluge! The sandstone blocks and boulders which
encumbered the river-bed were completely hidden by the whirl and eddy
of the waves; and their position could be detected only by the foam on
the surface, or the vapour floating wreath-like in the air. Further
still, a few black points, a few ridges of rock, and a chain of small
islets, stretched across to the opposite bank, which it was impossible
to approach, and where, apparently, the cataract seemed to attain its
greatest fury. Such was the great fall of Salaphe,--a scene of sublime
grandeur, conveying the idea of everlasting strength and power.

       *       *       *       *       *


While preparing to continue their ascent of the river, Lieutenant
Garnier and his companions visited Bassac, one of the most important
towns in Laos. It is situated in the heart of the richest tropical
scenery; and the members of the expedition found it impossible to
ramble in any direction without coming upon some fresh and beautiful
landscape, or some object of the highest interest. The mountains which
surround Bassac are clothed to their very summits with vegetation; and
down the shadowy glens which furrow their rugged sides sparkle bright,
pure streams on their way to the all-absorbing Mekong. The people of
Bassac are a mild and peaceable race, and they received the strangers
with cordial hospitality. The time was spent most agreeably in paying
and receiving visits; in excursions among the beautiful scenery of the
neighbourhood, the choicest “bits” of which they transferred to their
sketch-books; in studying the manners and customs of the inhabitants;
and in essaying their skill as marksmen against the wild denizens of
the forest.


The larger game are generally caught by the hunters of Bassac in
nets or snares. The chase on a grand scale is almost unknown. In
the forests, however, the hunters sometimes call in the elephant to
their assistance; they are thus able to get close to the wished-for
prey, as the latter do not take alarm at the approach of an animal
so well known. Lieutenant Garnier tells us that he enjoyed his sport
in a modest fashion. Sometimes he spent whole days in traversing the
dried-up swamps, in the shade of dense masses of trees bound together
inextricably by every kind of liana and parasite. To such places resort
numerous companies of peacocks and wild fowl during the hot season; but
their pursuit is always difficult, and frequently dangerous. Indeed,
the Laotians cherish a belief that the tiger and the peacock are
always found in the same localities.

[Illustration: PEACOCK HUNTING.]

       *       *       *       *       *


One evening, seated at the foot of a tamarisk-tree, the fruit of which
a troop of squirrels was busily crunching among the branches overhead,
Garnier and his comrade, Dr. Thorel, took counsel together; with the
conclusion that, on the day following, they would undertake a mountain
excursion, and boldly attempt to scale one of the most elevated peaks.
Accordingly, at dawn they started, attended by their usual escort--a
native, christened Luiz.

With swift feet they crossed the rice-plantations and marshes that
separated them from the foot of the mountains; and by a narrow winding
track reached the bed of a dried-up torrent, where they halted for
a brief rest. Thence, plunging into the forest, they slowly climbed
the precipitous heights, occasionally confronted by a rugged steep,
or an immense mass of rock that seemed likely to baffle all their
aspirations, but was eventually conquered by combined skill and
resolution. The forest soon changed its character; the rarefaction of
the air forced itself upon their notice; the daring adventurers rose
above the clouds and vapours of the plain. On arriving at a narrow
ledge of table-land they halted for breakfast. The first requisite was
fresh water; rare enough at that season of the year, and at such a
height! Close beside them, however, was the channel of a spent burn;
and a careful search among the rocks revealed to them a pool, sheltered
from wind and sun, brimming with crystal water,--and tenanted,
moreover, by some mountain-eels, small but delicious. The pool being
very shallow, a supply of the eels was soon obtained.


It did not take long to kindle a fire. The eels were dexterously
grilled; and a savoury and substantial repast concluded with a dessert
of wild bananas. Refreshed and invigorated, the mountain-climbers
resumed their enterprise; and along a narrow crest, so narrow that two
persons could not walk abreast, made their way through a labyrinth of
vegetation. With watchful eye, and hand on trigger, they advanced.
Suddenly a strayed peacock flew in front of them; but as their position
was unfavourable for taking aim, they allowed it to pass by. They
reached at last a kind of natural staircase, the ascent of which was
rendered inconvenient by the showers of pebbles, loosened by their
feet, which rolled to right and left over the precipice. All at
once further progress apparently was rendered impossible by a mass
of withered brushwood; which, on examination, proved to be the den,
happily deserted, of a wild boar.


Beyond this point the crest or ridge grew sharper and sharper; the
shattered and accumulated rocks were held together only by the lianas
which close-clasped them; and the adventurers were forced to crawl
on their hands and knees, holding on by plant or crag. At length the
brave effort was crowned with success. They gained the mountain-top,
and enjoyed a panorama of wonderful beauty, in which peaks and forests
blended their various hues, and wide green plains expanded in the
golden sunshine, and the pagodas of Bassac rose like island-pinnacles
out of a sea of verdure. The glorious picture, in all its variety of
form and glow of colouring, was one on which the eye of man had never
before rested; it was a picture of abounding fertility as well as of
beauty and grandeur, and suggested the idea of almost inexhaustible
resources, which in some future time may be developed by the enterprise
and civilization of the West.



In the course of their descent the explorers gained a broken ridge
of rock, overshadowed by the branches of a stately tree, the
roots of which clung round the weather-worn stones, and seemed to
hold them together. At their approach, a swarm--we might almost say
a cloud--of green pigeons whirled and fluttered out of the depths
of the green foliage; returning to their resting-places after a few
aerial evolutions. The ground beneath was strewn with small fruit, to
which the pigeons are extremely partial; and showers continually fell
about the explorers’ heads, loosened by the movement of the restless
birds. With a little patience, they brought down half a dozen of the
feathered spoilers; and then, through the forest shadows and down the
mountain-declivities, they pursued their homeward march.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following evening, Garnier and Dr. Thorel were invited to join
a young Laotian in his walk. The latter led them across a pleasant
breadth of garden-ground to an open space, strewn here and there with
ashes and the refuse of wood-fires. Behind a clump of tall bamboos,
some fifty spectators, seated in an oval ring, surrounded a couple
of wrestlers, and displayed a lively interest in the various phases
of their strife. At a few paces distant, three men were engaged in
rekindling a fire which had died out for lack of fuel. Some bonzes,
or priests, clothed in full long robes of yellow stuff, were viewing
the spectacle from afar, or wending their way towards the neighbouring
pagoda. Two or three women crouched on the ground, amidst baskets
of fruit and large earthen vessels full of rice-wine, intended as
refreshment for the spectators or the heated athletes.


Among the bystanders was conspicuous a Laotian, attired in a langouti,
and silken vest of dazzling colours, and sheltered by a parasol held
over his head by a boy standing in the rear, who warmly encouraged one
of the combatants, while a portion of the assembly evidently backed his
antagonist. The struggle was protracted. Betting took place vigorously,
and considerable sums were wagered on both sides. The white men seated
themselves apart, in order to study in all its details a scene so
full of animation. It was impossible not to admire the suppleness of
the two athletes,--robust young men, trained to the combat from their
very infancy; impossible not to take an interest in the skill and
agility with which they eluded or endeavoured to surprise one another.
Sometimes they paused, face to face, and regarded each other with
fixed gaze, slightly curving their loins or shoulders; a moment,
and they leaped from end to end of the arena, assuming theatrical
attitudes--and, when occasion offered, dealing a vigorous blow of the
fist which reddened the sun-bronzed skin.



Their Laotian friend informed our travellers that they were witnessing
nothing less than a funeral ceremony! In Laos, cremation is the
universal custom; and the mortuary rites of a Laotian of rank generally
terminate with a gladiatorial combat, at the conclusion and on the very
site of the process of cremation.

The national rule is, that the corpse of a Laotian mandarin shall
be preserved for several days in its shroud within the proper
mortuary-hut. Friends and kinsmen assemble therein, and console
themselves as best they may with abundant eating and drinking; a custom
which prevails elsewhere than in Laos! It does not appear that the
Laotians regard death with any particular apprehension. Their special
anxiety is to prevent the evil spirits from obtaining possession of
the souls of the dead, and playing them malignant tricks. During the
day these spirits will not attempt anything; but at night they gain
courage, and to shelter the deceased from their manœuvres seems to
be no easy task. However, by means of numerous prayers, and more
particularly by keeping up a tremendous clamour, it is generally
possible, the Laotians believe, to avert their disastrous influence.

For this purpose all the bonzes of the neighbourhood are summoned;
and taking up positions around the bier, they chant aloud their
invocations. By day, and especially by night, the family assist them in
keeping watch. The women decorate the coffin with floral offerings, as
well as with ornaments of wax intended to facilitate combustion. The
men, armed with gongs, tomtoms, and any other instrument they can seize
upon, accompany, as noisily as possible, the chants of the bonzes.
“Harmony” is not the object aimed at; but to secure the maximum of

When the day appointed for the final ceremony arrives, the uproar is
redoubled at early morn, as a signal to the friends and relatives of
the departed, who make their appearance in full costume.


A procession is then arranged for the purpose of carrying the corpse
to the place of burning. The bonzes lead the way, the seniors coming
last. Then follows the coffin, supported on the shoulders of a dozen
young men, and surmounted by a kind of bamboo canopy, embellished with
flowers and foliage, and destined, like the coffin, to be consumed on
the funeral pyre. The men march next, with the wealthiest and most
influential of the kinsmen of the deceased at their head. The rear is
brought up by the women and children, carrying long bamboos ornamented
with banderoles of various colours, which are planted in the ground
during the process of cremation.


The pile is reared at one extremity of the burial-ground, where bamboo
poles and the trunks of aged palms have been linked together with
long lianas to form a kind of aerial barrier against the invasion of
the evil spirits. It is composed of pieces of wood of equal length,
carefully arranged in intercrossed layers, and it rises to the height
of a man’s shoulders, so that the bearers, passing half to one side
and half to the other, can deposit the coffin without effort. The men
gather round in a circle; the women stand a little in the rear. The
bonzes recite their prayers, and receive once more the offerings which
the relatives of the deceased never fail to bring for them and their
pagoda; after which the chief priest mounts the pile, and standing
erect, with hands extended over the coffin, pronounces with a loud
voice a concluding prayer.


As soon as he has descended, the attendants set fire to the resinous
materials placed under the pile. A dazzling jet of flame shoots aloft,
and soon envelopes the coffin. The ornaments are consumed in quick
succession; the pile breaks down in a mass of flame and smoke; and
into the midst falls the corpse, released from the charred and burning
coffin. Yet, painful as this spectacle seems, no native exhibits the
slightest emotion. The work of combustion is allowed to complete
itself, and no one touches the ashes of humanity throughout the day.
The women depart, while the men follow the president of the ceremonies
to be present at the gladiatorial show in honour of the deceased which
we have already described.

       *       *       *       *       *



The voyagers next made their way to Oubon, where they arrived in time
to witness the coronation of the king. The chief of every village, and
the leading men of every province, and indeed all the inhabitants,
had been invited to “assist” in the ceremony. On the morning of the
appointed day, the strangers were deafened by an uproar of drums and
gongs and other unmusical instruments. The noisy orchestra surrounded
the palace; while the royal procession wound through the streets of
Oubon, and defiled into its square or market-place. Mounted upon an
elephant of great size, which was armed with a pair of formidable
tusks, the king made his appearance, encircled by guards on foot and on
horseback, and attended by his great dignitaries mounted like himself.
A train of smaller elephants followed, carrying the court ladies.
The _cortége_ finally directed its course to some spacious pavilions
erected for the purpose, where the bonzes of the royal pagoda were
offering up their prayers.

A few minutes passed, and another tableau was presented. The king was
seen enthroned in the largest pavilion. He arose, and, escorted by his
principal officers, advanced into the middle of a wide platform, where
the bonzes, still uttering their prayers, gathered about him. He threw
off his clothes, replacing them by a mantle of white cloth. Then the
bonzes drew apart, so as to open up a passage for him; and he proceeded
to place himself, with his body bent into a curve, immediately
underneath the sacred dragon. Prayers were recommenced, and the king
received the anointing or consecrating _douche_; while a dignitary who
stood at one corner of the dais set free a couple of turtle-doves, as
a sign that all creation, down even to the animals, should be happy on
so auspicious a day.

When the water which was contained in the dragon’s body had completely
douched the royal person, new garments were brought, over which was
thrown a large white robe; and he returned to his place in the centre
of the hall. A grand banquet of rice, and cucumbers, and eggs, and
pork, and delicious bananas, washed down by copious draughts of
rice-wine, concluded the day’s proceedings; and in the evening the town
was lighted up with fireworks, while bands of singers and musicians
traversed the streets.

       *       *       *       *       *


Lieutenant Garnier, after a brief rest, resumed his exploration of
the Mekong, passing through scenery which previously no European had
visited. At night he and his companions halted at the most convenient
spot, lighted a fire, cooked their meal of rice, and took their rest
under the curtain of a starry sky, or beneath such shelter as they
could hastily run up. Fatigue assisted them to a speedy slumber; yet
their repose was often disturbed by the cries of the wild elephants
which, in large numbers, roamed among the hills on the other side of
the river, or by the roar of some tiger prowling along the bank. During
the day their attention was sometimes diverted from the contemplation
of the strange and picturesque scenery which surrounded them, by the
necessity of piloting their boat through the rapids and whirlpools that
obstruct the navigation of the river.


In this way they proceeded to Kemarat and Pennom; and, across an
immense plain, remarkable for its fertility, followed the course of
the river, which runs due north and south, broadening into a lake of
such dimensions that its boundaries cannot be detected by the naked
eye. One morning, as the mists cleared off, they were surprised at the
appearance, on the northern horizon, of dim azure forms, resembling the
deception of the mirage, or clouds of fantastic outline, or rather a
mass of medieval ruins, with lofty towers and pinnacles, and shattered
ramparts. The natives informed them that these were the mountains
of Lakon, at the foot of which they would arrive on the following
day. They found it difficult to believe in the existence of such
mountains, the configuration of which grew stranger and more fantastic
as they drew nearer to them; sometimes exhibiting sheer precipitous
declivities, sometimes overhanging masses, while sometimes each summit
appeared cloven into deep and shadowy chasms. These enormous rocks
of marble of different tints have been heaped up in awful confusion
by some convulsion of the terrestrial crust; and forced, by an
inconceivable subterranean effort, through the sandstone formation
which underlies the superficial strata of the country.


Round the projecting angle of the mountain-mass the river lightly
sweeps; and then its broad waters reflect the huts and pagodas of the
important town of Lakon. The bank was lined with the barks of traders
and fishers; ample nets, suspended to rows of bamboos, dried in the
open air. Sheds erected for the convenience of voyagers, piles of
wood and merchandise, and loaded rafts, gave an air of animation and
activity to the approaches to the town. Our voyagers, well pleased to
regain the society of their kind, made haste to unload their boats,
while native porters carried their luggage to the house set apart for
their accommodation: it stood on the margin of the river, overshadowed
by the branches of a huge mango-tree. Here, as soon as the work was
done, they stretched themselves on the floor, postponing until the
morrow their exploration of the town.


At daybreak they were aroused by the noisy gong of a neighbouring
pagoda. Already the river-bank and the town showed signs of life and
movement. Curious faces were gathered round the strangers’ hut. A large
bag of rice, fruit, fish, and some buffalo-steaks dried in the sun,
arrived, sent by the mandarin provisionally intrusted with the charge
of supplying their wants. The fresh genial morning tempted them forth,
and they went from end to end of the town, which seemed both wealthy
and populous. The pagodas were numerous, the huts well-constructed,
the gardens green and admirably kept. The inhabitants appeared
free and happy. Behind the town, in an open space on the border of
the rice-fields, some bands of travellers lay encamped under roofs
of interwoven foliage. The principal street, which ran along the
river-bank, was shaded everywhere by the trees and creepers of the gay
gardens that skirted its entire course. It made a pleasant promenade,
as through each opening in the rich glossy foliage could be seen the
white sands of the shore, the calm crystal river, the forest thickly
crowding the opposite bank, and, beyond, the long line of the marble

[Illustration: ANNAMITES AT LAKON.]


After this excursion, our voyagers returned to their hut, which they
found an object of attraction to all the curiosity-mongers of Lakon.
The most distinguished ladies of the town had assembled to see the
strangers, and offer in exchange for European ornaments their richest
fruits and freshest vegetables. If Garnier and his companions were
surprised at their appearance, they were still more surprised to find
in the crowd a group of twenty Annamites, who had emigrated from the
French colony of Cochin-China, and had been established at Lakon
for some years. As Garnier’s escort was also composed of Annamites,
the scene between the compatriots thus singularly brought together
was one of unbounded ecstasy. Garnier went on a visit to the little
Annamite settlement, which repeated in every detail the villages of
Cochin-China. In each hut was to be seen the tiny domestic altar, with
its lights, and incense, and small statue of Buddha, and broad bands of
red paper, inscribed with Chinese characters and symbolical designs.
There, too, were the large central table, a mother-of-pearl _plateau_,
a complete “tea-equipage” (to use the late Lord Lytton’s phrase),
and a bed surrounded by mosquito-curtains. And no less conspicuous
was that want of cleanliness, both in dwelling and person, which
characterize the natives of Cochin-China.


We cannot describe all the objects of interest at Lakon, or all the
excursions which Garnier made in its neighbourhood. The geologist and
botanist of the expedition adventured a visit to the Marble Mountains.
With a guide and a couple of elephants, they crossed the river, plunged
into the forest-depths, and found their way to the quarries, where
blocks of marble are excavated for the purpose of being made into lime
of a dazzling whiteness. Then they penetrated into the grottoes and
caverns with which the mountains abound. As they advanced, the scenery
became more and more picturesque, and more and more savage: high rugged
peaks rose above the forest trees; bushes and lianas and parasitical
plants decked with festoons every rocky projection; here yawned a
gloomy chasm, there towered aloft a mighty and awful precipice. But the
scene of scenes burst upon them after they had threaded a gloomy maze
of trees and intertangled bamboos. Two immense walls of sombre rock,
several hundred yards in height, enclosed a broad ravine, which, at
the further extremity, opened on a bare and shining plain. On the left,
the wall extended to a great distance, forming a long line, decreasing
in elevation through the natural effect of the perspective. That on
the right towered above a pile of enormous rocks, heaped together in
the wildest confusion; it seemed to turn like the enceinte of a strong
fortification, and was terminated abruptly by a vertical line, broken
by numerous gaps. Between these lofty barriers lay a barren plain;
afar, some miniature pools glittered with a magical effect in the
“pale moonlight.” The prospect was closed in the distance by the steep
declivities of lofty mountains, surrounding and shutting up, as it
were, this gigantic “cirque” or amphitheatre. About three hundred yards
from the entrance rose two vertical rocks, like a couple of slender
spires, or rather like two enormous tapers--rose to a prodigious
height, isolated, and emerging from a clump of luxuriant verdure which
flourished at their feet. One of these rocks was fully nine hundred
feet in elevation. The other was not so lofty, and seemed to have
partially fallen, the ground being everywhere strewn with its wreck.


From this remarkable spectacle the French _savants_ proceeded to
inspect a superb grotto excavated in the great wall of cliff, near
the two pillar-like masses. By climbing some rocks they obtained an
entry into it, and found it to form a spacious hall, varying from forty
to eighty feet in height, of great depth, with a rounded, vaulted roof.
The ground was thick with stalagmites; while stalactites of the most
various shapes depended from the vault, and glittered, like so many
mirrors, in the light of torches.

       *       *       *       *       *



A day or two afterwards, Garnier and his friends, in returning from
a walk in the environs of Lakon, encountered some Laotians carrying
vessels of bamboo, filled with a liquid which at first they supposed
to be water. On tasting it, however, they discovered that it was the
wine of the country; sweet-flavoured, and by no means disagreeable to
the palate; not unlike, indeed, the product of some of the Rhenish
vineyards. It was palm-wine, freshly made; and to enjoy its _bouquet_
and full flavour it should be drunk in this condition, for it will not
keep more than four-and-twenty hours without fermentation. The Laotians
offered to conduct the strangers to a neighbouring plantation, where
they might observe the different processes of its manufacture. The
offer was accepted, and the party soon arrived at a clearing which was
thickly planted with great borassus palms. To collect the wine,--which
is, in fact, the sap of the tree,--nothing more is necessary than to
make an incision in the middle of the head of the tree, at the point
where the leaves branch off, and suspend beneath a bamboo, into which
the sap falls, drop by drop. In order to reach the summit of these huge
palms, which are straight and smooth as the main-mast of a ship, the
Laotians have invented a simple and ingenious process. They transform
the palm into a veritable ladder, by attaching to the trunk, with small
strips of flexible ratan, projecting laths of bamboo, which, jutting
out to right and left at intervals of twelve to fourteen inches, form
so many “rungs,” and enable the ascent of the tree to be rapidly and
easily accomplished.


       *       *       *       *       *


But we must no longer tarry at Lakon. We must once more launch the
boats of our adventurous voyagers, and continue our exploration
of the great river. It waters a populous country, and large towns
are of frequent occurrence on its banks. We pass Hoûten, with its
pagodas, its mountains, and green woods; Saniabury, with its rude
pottery-manufacture; verdurous islands and shining sandbanks;
and the mouths of the many streams which help to swell the abundant
volume of the Mekong. From Saniabury the French expedition proceeded
to Bouncang, a large and beautiful village at the mouth of the Nam
San; thence to Nong Kay, where a Buddhist tat or pyramidal landmark,
erected to indicate a sacred spot, or to enshrine a relic, has been
washed away from the shore, and now lies half submerged, like a wrecked
ship; and thence to Vien Chan, where the river widens into a channel
of a thousand yards in width, before it enters the mountain region.
Vien Chan, now a heap of ruins, was the former metropolis of the
kingdom of Laos; and relics of antiquity spread over a considerable
area testify to its ancient prosperity and splendour. The remains of
the royal palace are interesting. It does not seem to have been built
of very durable materials, the walls and staircases being faced with,
and the pavement and flooring composed of, bricks, wood, or a kind of
cement; but the entire structure still exhibits a certain elegance
of character, and a remarkable wealth of decoration--the columns
of wood have been tastefully carved and profusely gilded; and the
whole is embellished with mouldings, and arabesques, and fantastic


The absolute silence reigning within the precincts of a city formerly
so rich and populous, was, however, much more impressive than any of
its monuments; more impressive even than the deserted topes or Buddhist
temples which raised their domes in the shadow of the surrounding


These, abandoned by their priests, and constructed of the same
materials as the palace, are rapidly decaying. The rapid vegetation of
the tropics, which softens happily the pitiful aspect of Desolation
with its flowers and verdure, lends to these ruined sanctuaries, at a
distance, a delusive air of age; tall grasses grow everywhere about the
sacred precincts, creepers and parasites twine round each column, and
vigorous trees force their crests through the shattered roofs in search
of light.

The most considerable temple is Wat Pha Keo, the royal pagoda. Its
timber façade, delicately wrought, and sparkling with those plates
of glass which the Laotians and the Siamese cunningly mingle with
their gilding in order to produce a greater effect of brilliancy,
shines forth in the midst of the forest, gracefully framed with
blooming lianas, and profusely garlanded with foliage. Gold has been
unsparingly lavished on the sides of the square columns which
supported the half-shattered roof; and a Byzantine style of decoration,
very remarkable in effect, has at one time covered every inch of
space. Though this mode of ornamentation is by no means lasting,
it is very charming; and the numerous pagodas in Vien Chan thus
embellished produced, at a distance, a wonderful impression of dazzling



To the north, in the midst of the forest, is situated a smaller pagoda,
which has undergone but little dilapidation,--that of Wat Sisaket.
In its interior a number of small statues of Buddha are enshrined in
gilded niches, which cover the wall from floor to ceiling, rivalling
the terraces of Boro Bodor, the celebrated Buddhist monument of Java.
Before the altar was elevated a candelabrum, remarkable for its
originality of design and exquisite finish of workmanship. A few paces
distant from the pagoda was situated the library, an indispensable
appendage of all the temples of Laos; it was partly destroyed. As no
native was near, the French explorers clambered up the worm-eaten
pillars which supported and isolated from the soil the flooring of this
literary tabernacle: in the interior some sacred books were scattered
about; they were composed of long narrow strips cut from the leaves
of a particular species of palm, gilded on the edges, and stitched
together in books. Each contained seven or eight lines of that rounded
writing peculiar to the peoples of the Indo-Chinese peninsula; which
differs, as is recognized at the first glance, from the writing of
India properly so-called, though derived from it. Finally, attached
directly to the pagoda, the travellers found a rectangular gallery,
opening internally on a court,--its walls covered, like those of the
temple itself, with small niches containing Buddha statues. This was
the vihara (_chon-khon_ in Laotian), or monastery, which served as the
residence of the priests ministering in Wat Sisaket.


       *       *       *       *       *


Some miles above Vien Chan, the Mekong enters a narrow valley, which is
sharply defined and enclosed by two ranges of high hills. Its waters,
hitherto majestic and tranquil, which had peacefully unfolded silver
coil after coil over the vast plateau of central Laos, now accelerated
their course, and tumbled and eddied among the rocks, ever restless
and ever noisy. The noble river, which had previously measured its
breadth by thousands of yards, now shut up within two barriers of
constantly-increasing elevation, was now contained in a channel
which rarely attained to five or six hundred yards in width, and from
which it was no more to escape. In dry seasons it occupied only a small
portion of this space, and it had presented a rugged and broken surface
of rock; a grand mosaic, where fragments mingled of all the metamorphic
formations--marbles, schists, serpentines, even jades,--curiously
coloured, and sometimes admirably polished.

[Illustration: PASSAGE OF A RAPID.]

As the travellers advanced the river grew narrower, and, with a width
of three hundred yards and a depth of twenty-five fathoms, flowed
through a wild and wooded valley, uninhabited except by the animals of
the forest. They passed the mouth of the Nam Thon; after which they
came upon a dangerous series of rapids, where the foaming waters,
hurled and driven from side to side, and swung round projecting rocks,
and driven against the foot of precipitous banks, rushed downwards
tumultuously, with all the clang and clash of billows breaking against
a reef. To thread this water-labyrinth, it was necessary to obtain the
assistance of a pilot from a neighbouring village; and even he was
unwilling to promise that the boats of the expedition, light and small
as they were, could be carried up to the next Muong, that of Xieng
Cang. The boats, however, were unloaded, and the stores transferred to
the shoulders of sturdy natives, who bore them along the rocks; while
others towed the boats with many a lusty pull through the whirl and
foam of the rapids. But so laborious and so difficult was the task,
that two whole days were spent in effecting the passage of a few miles.



At length they reached Xieng Cang, or, as it is also called, Muong
Mai, the “new Muong,” which is one of the most important centres of
population on the left bank of the Mekong. The river here broadens
considerably, and its waters are as peaceful as those of a woodland
pool. Opposite to the town rises a beautiful chain of green mountains,
in a series of gently-sloping terraces; and these are intersected by
delightful Eden-valleys, finely wooded, enamelled with flowers, and
brightened by the silver thread of a little brook. The village, or
town, is well built; the houses are very lofty; and the inhabitants are
employed, according to the season, in the manufacture of cotton and the
cultivation of rice. The principal pagoda, situated on the threshold
of the rice-fields, near a grove of graceful corypha palms, is richly
ornamented in the interior, and, among other curiosities, contains
an ancient carved _porte-cierges_ of wood. At the time of Garnier’s
visit, some Birman traders had displayed the contents of their packs
on the steps of the temple, and were selling to the natives their
bright-coloured cotton stuffs and English hardware. A road having been
made westward from Hoûten, Muong Mai is only a hundred leagues from
Moulmein, which lies in nearly the same latitude, and is, as the reader
knows, an English colony, and a busy commercial port, at the mouth
of the Saluen. From this point spread over the interior of Laos the
Peguans, or Birmans of the British possessions, whose knowledge of the
wares most readily purchased by European merchants, and the high price
at which they sell to the natives their English goods, enable them to
accumulate considerable wealth.


       *       *       *       *       *


Resuming their northward route, and bent upon tracing the river up to
its mountain-source, they passed through a fertile and picturesque
country, which has been made known to the Western nations by the
enterprise of the traveller Mouhot. Leaving behind them the mouth of
the Nam Lim, and diverging somewhat to the west, then again to the
north, the voyagers arrived in the neighbourhood of Pak Lay, where they
fell in with a M. Duyshart, a Hollander in the service of the king of
Siam, and employed by him in a series of geographical researches, who
was descending the river to Bangkok. They exchanged scientific notes,
and it appeared that Duyshart had surveyed the course of the Cambodia
or Mekong for one hundred and twenty miles above Luang Prabang.

A few hours after this interesting rencontre, the French expedition
crossed the boundary-line of the kingdom of Luang Prabang, and reached
the extremity of the great rapid of Keng Sao. Successfully steering
their course through its rocks and islets, they arrived at Pak Lay,
a romantically-situated village, buried in the deep shadows of the
primeval forest. To the north of the village, and almost hidden by the
trees, is situated a small pagoda, entirely deficient in the accessory
buildings which usually surround a temple at Laos, but better placed
for the purpose of assisting the self-absorption of its priests and

[Illustration: PAGODA AT PAK LAY.]

       *       *       *       *       *

As the voyagers proceeded up the river, they now began to notice
a gradual change in the character alike of the inhabitants and
the vegetation. The calcareous mountains which dominated over the
river-valley assumed the most irregular and fantastic forms, and forced
it into a constant succession of broken curves and sharp angular turns.
At times a mass of marble suddenly projected its high precipitous
cliffs, which the river bathed with waters sometimes foaming, sometimes


The Mekong was not at its full height at the time our voyagers ascended
it: a great part of its bed lay bare; and a person, on landing, before
he could reach the bank had to traverse wide spans rugged with rocks.
Here and there spread immense sandbanks, on which were erected large
fishing-stations--veritable towns of bamboo--already abandoned by the
fishermen in anticipation of the quick-coming rise of the waters.

For three days the expedition continued its course. Not a single hut
was visible anywhere. The only incidents of their voyage were the
rapids, which occurred at intervals of three or four miles. These, for
the most part, were formed by the shingle and rocks accumulated at
their mouth by the numerous streamlets which the river here receives.
By dint of vigorous exertions, the native boatmen “poled” their light
barks through each swift current. At times the scene was illuminated
by the arrowy flashes of a storm-swept sky; and peals of thunder,
resounding among the mountains in multitudinous reverberations, mingled
with the roar of the waters. Hail frequently fell in heavy showers
during these gales, which lasted usually about half an hour, and
abruptly lowered the temperature four or five degrees.

The river’s course was remarkably direct, and lay almost due north.
At certain points it completely filled its bed; its breadth was then
reduced to about one hundred and fifty yards; and the hills which
bordered it were of so regular an appearance that the stream assumed
all the features of an artificial canal. A series of miniature cascades
flashed their silver spray in all directions, as they descended the
verdurous slopes.

       *       *       *       *       *



Luang Prabang, at which our voyagers in due course arrived, is the
modern capital of Laos. It is picturesque and pleasant to the view, and
enjoys the advantage of a favourable situation. Its houses are very
numerous, and are arranged in parallel lines around a small central
hillock, which, like a dome of verdure, rises above the mass of gray
thatched roofs. On the summit a tat or dagoba elevates its sharp arrowy
pinnacle above a belt of trees, so as to form a landmark for all the
surrounding country. Upon the terraced declivities of this quasi-sacred
eminence are situated several pagodas, the red roofs of which are
vividly defined against the sombre green vegetation. At the foot of the
cliffs, which are about fifty feet high, stretches a row of permanent
rafts, on which numerous huts are erected, composing beneath the town a
kind of second town or river-suburb, connected with the capital itself
by zigzag paths, shining like white ribbons in the distance. Hundreds
of boats of all sizes move rapidly along this floating city; while
large and heavy rafts, coming down from the upper waters of the river,
seek a convenient nook for mooring and unloading their cargoes. At the
foot of the cliffs a crowd of boatmen and porters hurry to and fro; and
the hum of voices mingles confusedly with the murmur of the stream, and
the whisper of the palm-trees which wave their feathery crests upon its
smiling and fertile banks.


After a brief sojourn at this interesting and lively city, the French
voyagers, animated by their desire to open up a new channel of
commercial enterprise, and discover a practicable route from Cambodia
to China, resumed their ascent of the Mekong. They found that, above
Luang Prabang, it narrowed considerably, and resumed its wild and
romantic aspect. The mountains on either hand exhibited a succession of
bold, dark, cloven crests; their lowest terraces, impending over the
river-banks, being frequently ornamented by a pyramid, the tomb of a
pious bonze or the shrine of an imaginary relic, the slender form of
which harmonized well with the character of the landscape.


Passing the confluence of the Nam Hou, they came upon the cavern
of Pak Hou, which the Buddhist priests have covered with religious
decoration, and adorned with the gifts of munificent pilgrims. Thence
they proceeded to Ban Tanoun; and from Ban Tanoun to Xieng Khong, the
second in importance of the towns of the great province of Muong Nan.
There they experienced some difficulty in obtaining permission to enter
the Burmese territory; and, moreover, they found that they had nearly
reached the limit of the navigable portion of the river. Few are the
obstacles, however, which cannot be conquered by resolution and energy;
and on the 14th of June the expedition left Xieng Khong in six
light boats, drawing but little water, and continued the ascent of the
river, which here bends to the westward, and flows across an apparently
boundless plain. It is crossed near the town or village by a graceful
but slender bridge of bamboo, from which may be obtained a charming
view of its graceful sweep through a luxuriance of tropical vegetation.

       *       *       *       *       *



At Muong Lim the expedition were compelled to abandon their boats. Its
members found themselves there in the midst of a population differing
in race from any they had previously met with. They seem, these
Mou-tsen, to be of Caucasian origin. Their costume is very complicated,
and even tasteful; and the tinsel and embroidery with which they cover
their persons gives them a certain resemblance to the inhabitants of
some parts of Brittany. The head-gear of the women has, at all events,
the merit of originality. It consists of a series of rings of bamboo,
covered with plaited straw, and fastened on the top of the head. The
brim of this kind of hat is enriched over the forehead with silver
balls; above are two rows of pearl-white glass beads; on the left
side depends a tuft of white and red cotton thread, from which issues
a loop formed of strings of many-coloured pearls. This coiffure,
which is capable of infinite modifications, is completed with an
abundance of leaves and flowers. The women also wear a tight-fitting
bodice, the sleeves and edges of which are trimmed with pearls, and
a short petticoat reaching to the knee. The legs are wrapped round
with leggings, which begin at the ankle, and cover the whole of the
calf. These leggings, too, are ornamented with a row of pearls about
half-way up. The toilette is completed by ear-rings of coloured beads
or balls of blown silver, bracelets, belts, collars, and shoulder-belts
crossed over the bosom. As for the men, they wear the usual turban,
loose short pantaloons, and a waistcoat with silver buttons. With both
sexes a necessary addition to the attire is a kind of cloak or mantle
of leaves, in shape like a book half-open, which is fastened to the
neck, and in rainy weather is brought up over the head like a loose
cover. The women, when carrying burdens, add to their already complex
costume a wooden board across the shoulders, so made as to fit into the
neck; and to this is suspended the basket containing the load. In front
the board is kept in its place by cords, which are attached to the
waist-belt or held in the hand.


       *       *       *       *       *


Having obtained the necessary authorization to push their researches
further, the adventurers set out from Muong Lim on the 1st of July,
with an escort of natives carrying their instruments, provisions, and
stores. At Puleo, finding the demands of the porters more than their
limited funds could afford to meet, they reduced their baggage to the
smallest possible proportions, and were thus enabled to dispense with
the services of some of their attendants. They found the banks of the
Cambodia frequented by numerous caimans, whose eggs are collected and
eaten by the inhabitants. By day the journey was rendered pleasant
through the constant succession of novel scenes. They made their way
over a hilly and richly-wooded country, occasionally coming upon cotton
plantations of exceeding richness; at other times upon delicious
rills of crystal which spread their silver network over a fresh green
expanse of flower-enamelled sward. Then they crossed a stretch of
fertile rice-fields; and again they plunged into fresh glades, where
a path wound in and out of clumps of palms and tropical trees, and
waving ferns and rare flowering shrubs grew in luxuriant masses.
But sometimes, at night, their experience was rather painful. They
generally constructed a rude shelter of boughs and interwoven leaves;
but this was often insufficient to protect them against the heavy
rains that fell during passing storms, and was useless, of course, as
a defence against the legions of leeches and mosquitoes which haunted
the forest-depths.


After leaving a place called Siem-lap, they arrived on the borders
of a half-dried torrent, the rocky bed of which was strangely bare
of vegetation. The stones, among which a thin thread of water found
its way, were a curious appearance; they were white, and covered with
saline incrustations. The travellers tasted the water; it was warm. The
three or four sources of this singular stream rose, a short distance
off, at the foot of a wall of rocks: as they escaped among the shingle
they exhaled a cloud of vapour, and their temperature was shown by the
thermometer to be not less than 154° F.


Through a beautiful ravine they made their way to the picturesque
village of Sop Yong. The richest and most magnificent vegetation
imaginable grew close to the very edge of the river, and the
travellers were frequently compelled to take to its waters, swollen
as they were by the constant rains, and breast as best they could the
violence of the current.



The next stage after Sop Yong was Ban Passang, which is described as
an agglomeration of villages situated on a fertile table-land, in the
heart of a rice-growing district. It is situated in the territory of
Muong Yong, the chief town lying further to the westward. For Muong
Yong the travellers set out on the 7th of August. They traversed a
plain abundantly watered by streams which all flow into the Nam Yong, a
branch of the great river. Over the chief of these little tributaries,
the Nam Ouang, is thrown a wooden bridge; and this agreeable
accommodation, a very great rarity in the land of the Laotians,
pleasantly surprised our gallant explorers; they looked upon it as the
sign of a more advanced civilization, which before long would exhibit
itself more completely. A considerable portion of the plain was laid
out in rice-fields; the rest was all swamp and morass. They passed by
several villages which wore an unusual aspect of ease and comfort.
Pagodas with curved roofs attracted the eye, and bore witness to the
influence of Chinese architecture and the vicinity of the Celestial


At Muong Yong the expedition was delayed until the 8th of September,
owing to the difficulty of obtaining the permission of the king of
Birmah to cross those Laotian territories which are now included within
the borders of his extensive dominions. The interval was occupied in
short excursions in the neighbourhood, and in studying the manners and
customs of the inhabitants. It was with no small pleasure, however,
that the French adventurers took their departure, and continued their
bold advance into regions of which European geographers knew but
little. Their route led them to the important town of Muong You, where
they paid visits of courtesy to the principal mandarins, the Burman
representative, and the king of Muong You himself. This prince received
them with dignified hospitality, and entertained them at a banquet,
which was “served up” in magnificent style, and with a dazzling
display of gold and silver plate. He is described as a young man of
twenty-six, with a graceful figure and handsome countenance. He was
attired in a dress of green satin, embroidered with red flowers; and
the fire of the rubies which hung pendent from his ears illuminated the
silken reflections of his rich costume. He was seated on cushions
glittering with gold tracery. Around him were ranged in respectful
attitudes the mandarins of the palace; at his feet, the sword and
vessels of gold, finely wrought, which are the symbol of royalty.


From Muong You the expedition struck across a romantic country--as yet
provided with but few facilities for travellers--to Xieng Hong, where
new impediments were thrown in the way of their further progress.
Having obtained admission to the presence of the king, they succeeded,
however, in obtaining the royal favour, and made their way along the
valley of the Nam Yong, which is bounded on either hand by lofty
mountains, to Muong La, or, as it is also called, Se-mao, situated on
the frontier of China; that mysterious land which has preserved its
own strange civilization intact for upwards of two thousand years, and
still offers a sullen resistance to the progressive influences of the



Once upon Chinese territory, they found their march comparatively
easy. Order reigned everywhere; and in all directions could be seen
the evidences of a constant and energetic industry. At Pou-eul, a
village of salt-pits, with its smoke, its dusky houses, its hoarse
sounds of active life, our travellers felt that they were once more in
the midst of a thriving civilization, and could almost have believed
that they were located in a small industrial town of Europe. Numerous
convoys of asses, mules, oxen, and horses ascended and descended the
long sloping street along which were erected the different factories,
carrying thither wood and charcoal and cordage, and carrying away
salt. Above the village rose a pagoda, crowning the summit of a hill
so high that the murmur of the life below could not reach it. Groves
of pines stretched far away on either hand; and along the declivities
were ranged abundant rice-fields, situated one above the other in
symmetrical terraces.


The expedition had now left the valley of the Mekong, and were wholly
uncertain whether the route prescribed for them by the Chinese
authorities would bring them again in contact with the great Cambodian
river. We propose, however, to follow M. Garnier, as his wanderings led
him through a country hitherto unknown to Europeans.


In the early part of November our adventurers struck the right bank of
the Pa-pien-kiang of the Chinese, which is apparently identical with
the Nam-La, an affluent of the Mekong. Thence they ascended into the
table-land of Yunnan, rendered familiar to English ears in connection
with the enterprise and murder of Mr. Margary; and reached Tong-kuan,
or “the Fortress of the East,”--a strongly-built town, with a large
garrison, posted on a commanding ridge between two river-valleys.
Afterwards they crossed another considerable stream, the Poukou-kiang,
and continued their march through valleys and over hills where the
industry of man has softened the wilder features of the scenery, and
made the wilderness to blossom like a garden. In a few days they made
their appearance at Yuen-kiang, where they seem to have been welcomed
with almost royal honours. The town is large and populous, with every
indication of commercial activity and wealth. It has several handsome
pagodas, which have something of the Buddhist type about them. The
markets are well supplied with provisions of excellent quality and
low price. Oranges are almost “given away;” and potatoes are so cheap
and plentiful that an Irish peasant would think himself in an earthly
paradise. The country around the town is highly cultivated; cotton
being largely grown, and mulberry-trees for the silkworm nurseries.
A rich and radiant plain is watered by the stream of the Ho-ti-kiang,
which, opposite the town, measures about one-fifth of a mile in breadth.


At Pou-pio M. Garnier hired a light canoe, and, in company with some
trading barks, began the descent of the Ho-ti-kiang, which for some
distance swirled in a narrow channel between mountain-walls of two
thousand five hundred to three thousand feet in height. Each torrent
which rent these rocky barriers brought down with it an immense
quantity of stones and pebbles, that encumbered the river-bed with
shoals and banks, and pent up the waters in foaming rapids. M. Garnier
was bound for Lin-ngan, but these numerous obstacles greatly impeded
his progress. But by degrees the river-bed broadened, the heights
receded on either hand, and the stream flowed with a full and tranquil
current through a gently undulating country, well cultivated, and
studded with populous villages.


In due time he reached Lin-ngan, where, as the first European who had
visited it, he became an object of special attraction. An inspection of
the town showed him that it was neatly and regularly built, and of
rectangular form, measuring about two thousand yards in length, by one
thousand in breadth. In the centre were gardens and pagodas decorated
with much taste; and a large and fully-stocked market was a scene of
very picturesque animation.



The attentions which a curious populace lavish upon a stranger are apt
to become a trouble and a burden, as Garnier experienced, when, after
an interesting survey of the environs of Lin-ngan, he returned to the
town. His steps were closely dogged by crowds of idlers and sightseers.
On his arrival at the pagoda where lodging had been provided for him,
behold! the balconies, the towers, the very roofs, were thronged with
wondering eyes.

As he entered the court, the multitude pressed in upon him, and hemmed
him up at last in a narrow space, where they evidently designed to hold
him fast until their curiosity was satiated. Angry and ashamed, he bore
their scrutiny for an hour; when, his strength and patience giving
way, he made a sudden exit into his lodgings, closing the door of the
court behind him. It proved, however, an insufficient barrier against
the surging throng. They broke through it in a second, and were with
difficulty kept back a little by Garnier’s small escort of soldiers,
who had attended him from Yuen-kiang. The lieutenant succeeded at last
in closing the door. Then loud and long were the reproaches which the
rearmost ranks heaped on those in front for having recoiled before a
barbarian from the West!


A stone, hurled through the grating, struck Garnier full in the face;
others followed, until there seemed every likelihood of his undergoing
the tortures of the ancient punishment by lapidation! Yet he yielded
not an inch, but leaning against the door, which shook before the storm
of missiles, seized his revolver, and fired it in the air. Firearms
of such deadly powers are not known at Lin-ngan, and the crowd, in
the firm belief that by discharging his weapon Garnier had virtually
disarmed himself, recommenced their volleys of stones. He fired again,
and again, and again; and the people, terrified by a weapon which
apparently was inexhaustible, fell back in a panic, and the danger
proved to be past.

Soon afterwards Garnier was joined by the rest of the expedition; and
setting out from inhospitable Lin-ngan, the little company of explorers
proceeded on their way to Yunnan, the capital of a province of the same

Yunnan is a town of some importance, with a very numerous and
industrious population. Every thoroughfare presents a scene of the
liveliest activity. The town is surrounded by a high and massive wall;
and from the south gate extends a long broad street, lined with shops,
each of which has on its front a sign in gilded characters, while the
interior is filled with wares of extraordinary richness and variety.
Some Jesuit missionaries are stationed here.

[Illustration: VALLEY OF KON-TCHANG.]



The travellers now entered the green valley of Kon-tchang, through
the leafy shades of which tumbles a sparkling, noisy stream, while on
either hand rise venerable trees, with trunks bent and contorted as
if by some sudden convulsion. Thence they ascended to Mong-kou by a
difficult road, winding round the precipitous flank of a wind-swept
height, the summit of which, some twelve thousand feet above the sea,
was capped with snow. Wild and romantic was the character of the
scenery, reminding the travellers of that of Switzerland. At intervals
the expedition met with a check to its progress from the jealousy of
the Chinese officials, but resolution and tact overcame every obstacle.
Through the broad valley of Tong-chuen they debouched on a small but
well-cultivated plain, where the solid embankment of the bed of a
torrent formed a kind of causeway, raised seven to ten feet above the
surrounding level. From the sides of this elevated dyke issue numerous
canals, which distribute the fertilizing waters of the stream over all
the thirsty fields. Here, as in many other districts of China, the
patient industry of the labourer has transformed a devastating force
into a fountain of wealth and fecundity. The aspect of the plain is
very grateful to the eye. Yellow clusters of the colza mingle with
the white or purple corollas of the poppies. From the ridge which
terminates it is visible a deep cleft in the barrier of mountains that
stretches far along the horizon. This is the valley of the Blue River,
locally known as the Kin-cha-kiang, or “River of the Golden Sand.”

Our explorers came upon this river on the 31st of January. It rolled
its clear deep waters in a ravine two thousand feet below them. Their
route, however, still lay along the mountain-sides, and they suffered
severely from the rigour of the cold and the heavy storms of snow
which beat continually upon their devoted heads. On the 3rd of February
they crossed the most elevated point they had reached in all their
wanderings,--the barometer indicating an elevation of nearly ten
thousand feet. Then they began to descend, each stage opening up to
their enraptured gaze a succession of glorious mountain-views, relieved
by occasional glimpses of finely wooded valleys, and of bright streams
that leaped and bounded in their haste to join the great river of the
plains. As they descended the temperature necessarily grew warmer, and
out of the inclemencies of winter they rapidly passed into the genial
airs of spring.

[Illustration: CROSSING A RAVINE.]



On the 29th of February, from the summit of the col which forms the
little valley of Kuang-tsa-pin, they discovered the lake of Taly, one
of the finest and grandest pictures which had excited their admiration
since they entered on their expedition. The background consists of a
lofty chain of snow-capped mountains, at the foot of which the blue
waters of the lake break up the plain into a maze of low promontories
covered with gardens and villages. A short descent brought them to
the borders of the lake, which they passed to the northward in order
to reach its eastern shore. The many villages through which they
took their way exhibited the cruellest traces of devastation. Only
the cultivated fields seem to have been spared, and these presented
a flourishing appearance. In due time they arrived before the gates
of the fortress of Hiang-kuan; which, erected at the very base of the
mountain, and on the margin of the lake, completely barred the passage.
There they learned from the mandarin in charge, that he would not allow
them to continue their journey, until permission had been obtained from
the sultan of Taly. This reached them on the following day; and, on the
2nd of March, the journey was resumed. They passed through Hiang-kuan,
the walls of which bathe on the one side their feet in the waters of
the lake, and on the other ascend the flanks of the mountain, which
forms a tremendous precipice, rendering the defile very easy of defence.

Beyond, the shore of the lake again expanded into a magnificent plain,
in the centre of which is situated the city of Taly. At the southern
extremity of the lake the mountains again close in upon its waters; and
this second defile is commanded by another fortress--that of Hia-kuan.
Hia-kuan and Hiang-kuan, surrounded by massive crenelated ramparts,
are the two gates of Taly. Defended by brave men they would be
impregnable, and render access to the city impossible except by water.


A great paved causeway crosses the plain of Hiang-kuan to Taly.
Escorted by ten soldiers, the French travellers entered the latter
city by its north gate. In a few moments an immense crowd gathered in
their rear, and lined each side of the great street which traverses
Taly from north to south. Having arrived in front of the sultan’s
palace--a crenelated building of sombre and severe aspect--they
halted to parley with a couple of mandarins who had been sent to meet
them. During this vexatious pause they were surrounded and pressed
upon by the crowd, and a soldier violently snatched off the hat of
one of the strangers--probably in order that the sultan, who was
regarding them from an upper balcony, might the better see his face.
This insolence was punished immediately by a blow which drew blood
from the aggressor’s countenance, and gave rise to an indescribable
tumult. The interposition of the two mandarins, the resolute attitude
of the Annamites, who grouped themselves around the French travellers,
and unsheathed their sword-bayonets, arrested, however, the hostile
demonstrations of the crowd, and they reached without further
_contretemps_ the yamen assigned to them for a residence, situated at
the southern extremity of the town.


Immediately after their arrival, a mandarin of higher rank than any
they had previously seen presented himself as the formal representative
of the sultan, and asked who they were, whence they came, and what they


Through the medium of one Père Leguilcher, a Jesuit missionary,
who had accompanied them, Garnier replied, that they had been sent
by the French Government to explore the countries watered by the
Lan-tsan-kiang; that having arrived in Yunnan some months ago, they
had learned that a new kingdom had been established at Taly, and had
desired to pay their respects to its ruler, with the view of opening
up commercial and friendly relations between France and him. Some
explanations of the scientific object and really pacific character of
their mission were added. Garnier offered an excuse also for having
only presents of small value to offer to the sultan; and for being
unable, along with the officers of the expedition, to appear before
him in suitable costume, the length and difficulties of their journey
having compelled them to leave behind almost all the baggage. The
mandarin replied very graciously that there was no need for apologies
on that score, and that as they were, they would be welcome. To
prevent mistakes, Garnier then asked for details as to the ceremonial
observed at an audience of the sovereign. It was customary, said the
mandarin, to make three genuflexions before the sultan. On Garnier
objecting to this servile homage, he consented to allow the French
usage, with the condition that no one carried arms into the august
presence. After an interchange of compliments, the mandarin took his
leave, while the Frenchmen remained enraptured with his cordiality and

       *       *       *       *       *

Before long he returned, accompanied by a ta-seu--that is, by one of
the eight great dignitaries who compose the council of the sultan.
Both requested Lieutenant Garnier to repeat the explanations he had
previously given as to the objects of the expedition; and he did so, in
the fewest words possible. “You were not, then, sent expressly by your
sovereign to Taly?” “How could that be,” replied the lieutenant, “when
at our departure nobody in France knew that the town had a king?”
They then requested M. Garnier to intrust to them, for the purpose
of showing them to the sultan, the Chinese letters, of which he was
the bearer, to the king of Se-chuen. To this he consented; and they
withdrew, apparently quite satisfied.

The first night at Taly was undisturbed. The lieutenant’s intention
was, if all went well, to leave his companions to rest themselves for
a few days in the city; while he and Père Leguilcher pushed forward
to the banks of the Lan-tsan-kiang, about four days’ journey, and
ascended that river as far as Li-kiang-foo, where the remainder of the
expedition would rejoin him in due course.



At nine o’clock next morning, when he was collecting all the
information necessary for the execution of this project, a messenger
came from the sultan to fetch Père Leguilcher. He did not return
until noon, and then his face was overclouded. The sultan refused
to see them, and had issued orders that they were to quit the city
on the following morning, and return by the route they came. “Make
known to the strangers,” he had said, “that they may seize all the
lands bordering upon the Lan-tsan-kiang, but they will be compelled
to halt on the frontiers of my kingdom. They may subjugate the
eighteen provinces of China; but that which I govern will cause them
more trouble than all the rest of the empire. Dost thou not know,”
he continued, “that it is but three days since I put to death three
Malays? If I grant their lives to your companions, it is only because
they are strangers, and on account of the letters of recommendation
which they carry. But let them hasten their return. They may have
sketched my mountains, and fathomed the depths of my rivers; but they
will not succeed in conquering them. As for thee,” concluded the
sultan, in a softer tone, “I know thy religion, and have read its
books. Mohammedans and Christians are brothers. Return to thy place of
residence, and I will make thee a mandarin, to the end that thou mayst
govern thy people.”

Throughout the interview, the father was kept standing, and not allowed
to speak; overwhelmed with questions to which no reply was permitted,
interpellated and hooted at by the crowd.

To what circumstance, says M. Garnier, was so abrupt a change
attributable? Undoubtedly to the influence of the military advisers of
the king, who would be unable to believe in a purely scientific and
disinterested mission. A despotism sprung from a revolution, abhorred
by the masses whom it overwhelmed with imposts, existing only through
terror and crime, is forced to be cruel and suspicious. The official
relations between the French explorers and the Chinese authorities had
placed the former, with regard to the sultan of Taly, in a delicate
position which justified his mistrust.


During the rest of the day, the travellers were visited by a great
number of Mohammedan functionaries, actuated by curiosity or a desire
to watch their doings. They thought it prudent, therefore, to abstain
from sketching or taking notes. About five o’clock, the sultan sent
for the chief of their escort; who returned soon afterwards, and said
that he had orders to conduct them back to Hiang-kuan on the following
morning. He showed M. Garnier at the same time a sealed document, which
he had to convey to the mandarin of that fortress. A few presents
attached him to the interests of the French explorers, who arranged to
start with him at daybreak and avoid traversing the town. For Garnier
feared lest, the sultan’s suspicions and anger being known, the crowd
should break out into open hostility, or a few soldiers attempt to
satisfy their ruler’s secret desire without actually compromising him.

At nightfall, the lieutenant took care to see that all the weapons of
his party were loaded, and instructed them what steps to take in case
of a surprise. He sought, by liberal promises, to secure the complete
fidelity of the porters.


The night was spent in a painful condition of expectancy. A sentinel
had been stationed at their door, who followed them each time they
went out. M. Garnier dreaded every moment the arrival of an order to
prohibit their departure, and transform their temporary confinement
into definite captivity. About eleven o’clock one of the great
mandarins of the sultan sent to inquire by what route they intended
to return; and received for reply, that they did not know. The night
passed without any other incident.

At five in the morning they were on the march, well armed, and
carefully grouped; they turned the city of Taly by the south and east,
and with scarcely a halt crossed the twenty miles that separated them
from Hiang-kuan. As they were about to enter the first gate of the
fortress, the chief of their escort stopped them, and said he was
ordered, pending the arrival of fresh instructions from the sultan, to
lodge them in a small yamen which he obligingly pointed out.

Garnier pretended to regard as a special act of courtesy what was
evidently neither more nor less than a disguised sequestration, and
replied that, after the cold welcome he had received at Taly, he could
not accept the sultan’s hospitality. Unwilling, however, that this
hurried retreat should look too like a flight, he added that if the
mandarin of Hiang-kuan had any communications to make, he would await
them in the little wayside _auberge_ where he had rested on his way to


The Mohammedan officer objected that he would be assuming a grave
responsibility if he allowed any such modification of the sultan’s
orders. But Garnier was resolute; having determined, if necessary, to
force a passage before he could have time to arouse the garrison of
Hiang-kuan. While the sultan’s lieutenant put his horse at a gallop to
forewarn the governor of the dispute which had arisen, Garnier led his
little company through the fortress gates, without encountering any
fresh obstacles, and in a few minutes was encamped at the _auberge_
already spoken of, with the open country before him.

He had scarcely arrived when the governor of Hiang-kuan sent for Père
Leguilcher. He offered him an enormous price for the revolver which
Garnier had intended for the sultan, and stated that he had orders to
furnish them with a new escort, and two mandarins to accompany them to
the frontier, and regulate the stages of their journey; and further,
that they were to pass the night at Hiang-kuan, and wait until the
following morning for the arrival of the said mandarins and escort.


Garnier replied that he would make a present of the weapon, but that
he did not sell arms; that in his journey he reserved to himself full
liberty of action, and that he cared nothing at all about the mandarins
and the promised escort. This he conclusively showed by starting in the
evening for Ma-cha, a village situated at the northern extremity of the

       *       *       *       *       *


On the 5th of March the journey was continued; and by nightfall the
expedition reached the town of Kuang-tia-pin. Their arrival was
immediately made known to the commandant of the neighbouring fort, who
sent for Père Leguilcher. The good monk was filled with alarm at the
thought of the probable results of the interview. The commandant might
have received orders to separate from their interpreter the little
company of strangers; who, left to themselves, unacquainted with the
language and ignorant of the customs of the country, might the more
easily be entrapped into an ambuscade! On the other hand, the route lay
underneath the guns of the fort, and it was imprudent to come to an
open rupture with its governor. They contented themselves, therefore,
with replying that the evening was too far advanced for a visit, but
that Père Leguilcher would accept the invitation next morning.

This answer did not satisfy; and three soldiers presented themselves
with orders for the father to follow them.

The poor missionary, overcome with terror, thought that his last hour
had come. It seemed to him as dangerous to resist as to obey. M.
Garnier had to decide for him; and he repeated to the soldiers the
reply already given, and desired them to be content with it. They
insisted on their instructions with all the insolence and astonishment
inspired by a resistance to which they were unaccustomed. Alarmed by
their threats, which Père Leguilcher understood much better than his
companions, the missionary wished to comply; but Garnier detained him,
while his Annamite attendants showed the soldiers “the way out.” The
latter retired, vowing that they would return in great force, and that
the heads of the strangers should soon be adorning the posts in the


By this time the travellers had become accustomed to such “brave
words,” and gave little heed to them. They took, however, the necessary
precautions: each man received a revolver in addition to his carbine,
and even Père Leguilcher consented to equip himself with carnal
weapons. All the approaches to the _auberge_ were guarded, and the
utmost vigilance was maintained throughout the night. They were but ten
in number; but as each was equipped with carbine and revolver, they
could discharge seventy shots without reloading, which would suffice to
keep at a respectful distance a whole regiment of Mohammedans. But no
enemy made his appearance.

       *       *       *       *       *


At daybreak, after having passed in review before them all their
porters, and appointed the town of Too-tong-tse as a rendezvous,
Garnier and his companions, on horseback, escorted the Jesuit
missionary to the gate of the fortress. They then informed the
commandant that the father had come to pay the desired visit, but that
it could not be prolonged beyond ten minutes; if at the expiration of
that time the father had not returned, they would come in quest of him.
This peremptory message was intended to produce an impression on people
accustomed to see everybody trembling before them. Such language to
them would be terrifically novel! It had a good effect. The governor of
the fortress contented himself with communicating to Père Leguilcher
the order he had received from Taly to escort them to the frontier. The
father replied in the words which Garnier had addressed to the governor
of Hiang-kuan, and his interlocutor did not insist; he even begged him
to shorten the interview, for fear, he said, he should overstay the
time allotted, and arouse the impatience of the “great men.” And so, an
hour later, the whole party arrived in safety at the worthy father’s
residence, where they enjoyed ten days of entire rest, rendered
necessary by the fatigue and emotion they had recently undergone.

On the 7th another messenger arrived from the fort, with a request
that Père Leguilcher would come “alone” to consult with the governor
on the stages of the travellers’ journey. No notice was taken of the

       *       *       *       *       *


In spite of the rapidity with which M. Garnier had been compelled to
pursue his march, he contrived to collect some interesting particulars
of the country, its inhabitants, and resources.

The lake of Taly, situated at an elevation above the sea-level of
upwards of seven thousand five hundred feet, measures about twenty
miles from north to south, with an average breadth of two miles. Its
depth is very considerable,--exceeding three hundred and twenty feet
at some points. There appear to be several islands scattered towards
the south-east. The level of the lake is higher than that of the
neighbouring rivers, and its overflow may possibly help to feed those
on the north and east, which belong to the Blue River basin. Ostensibly
it pours forth its waters at its southern extremity by a river which
empties itself into the Mekong. At the mouth of this river, which is
not navigable, stands the fortress of Hia-kuan, already spoken of.
Shortly after issuing from the lake, it divides into two branches, but
these unite again lower down. During the rainy season the waters rise
fully seventeen feet; in the dry season, the chain of the Tien Song
mountains, on the western shore of the lake, send down a succession of
violent squalls, which greatly impede its navigation. This chain, the
elevation of which is estimated at sixteen thousand feet, is clothed
with snow for nine months in the year. On the opposite bank rises a
mass of heights belonging to a range of inferior importance. Between
these mountains and the lake some richly-cultivated fields slope gently
to the edge of the deep blue waters.

The lake abounds in fish, which are principally caught by birds trained
for the purpose. The process adopted is better than that known in
Europe as _de pêche au cormoran_.


The fishermen set out at early morn, making a tremendous din and
clamour, so as to awaken the attention of the numerous troops of birds
slumbering around them. They embark on board flat-bottomed boats, each
provided with a well, which they allow to drift along slowly, while one
of them, stationed at the bow, throws into the water enormous balls
of rice. The fish hasten in immense shoals to enjoy the banquet; and
the fishing-birds, flocking round the boats in great numbers, dive and
reappear immediately, each with a fish in its bill. As fast as they
fill their pouch, the boatmen empty it into the interior of the bark,
leaving to each winged fisher just enough to satisfy its appetite and
encourage its ardour. In half an hour each boat is loaded, and the
boatmen hasten to dispose of their stores at the nearest market.

       *       *       *       *       *


The plain of Taly formerly contained upwards of one hundred and fifty
villages, which the sultan has attempted to repeople almost exclusively
with Mohammedans. The eastern shore is inhabited by the Min-kia and
Pen-ti populations, who are descended from the first Chinese colonists
whom the Mongolian dynasty sent into Yunnan after the conquest of
that province. The Min-kia come from the neighbourhood of Nankin.
The women do not mutilate their feet; and the young people of both
sexes wear a kind of bonnet, of original form, ornamented by a silver
pearl. Evidence of their admixture with the former inhabitants of the
country is found in their costumes and language. These ancient Chinese
emigrants are treated with contempt by pure-blooded Chinese; and hence
results an antagonism which not a little contributed to ensure the
neutrality of the Min-kia, at the beginning of hostilities between
the Mohammedans and the Imperialists. But, after a while, the despotic
and violent acts of the rulers of Taly exasperated even this pacific
race; and, led by an energetic chief named Tong, the Min-kia long
maintained a successful resistance against the Mohammedans. Tong fell
in battle in 1866, and the conquerors pursued his family with merciless
vengeance. At present, the natives of the districts contiguous to
Taly, disorganized and without a leader, submit to, while hating, the
domination of the sultan. The Pen-ti occupy more particularly the plain
of Tong-chuen, north of the lake, and the district of the Pe-yen-tsin.
Their costume is original and characteristic.


Under different names, the Lolos, or representatives of the
autochthonous race, inhabit the summits of the mountains, and assert
their independence. With their continual forays they harass the
dwellers in the plains. Certain districts in the vicinity of Pien-kio
pay to one of these tribes, the Tcha-Su, an annual sum by way of
blackmail, in order to secure their cattle. Even this payment, however,
does not protect them from occasional depredations; and they cannot
claim, when their herds are carried off, more than half their value.

A considerable trade is carried on between Taly and Tibet, consisting
of imports of _kuang-lien_, a bitter root much used in Chinese
medicine, woollen stuffs, stag-horns, bear-skins, fox-skins, wax, oils,
and resinous gums. Exports from Yunnan include tea, cottons, rice,
wine, sugar, mercery, and hardware.


The industrial production of the kingdom of Taly has diminished
considerably since the war. Formerly, it was of much importance from
a metallurgical point of view. The copper mines of Long-pao, Ta-kong,
and Pe-iang are the most valuable in the whole country, where are also
found deposits of gold, silver, mercury, iron, lead, and zinc. At
Ho-kin paper is made from bamboo. The stems of the plant are made up
into bundles of equal length, which are peeled and macerated in lime.
They are afterwards placed in an oven, and steamed for twenty days;
then they are exposed to a current of cold water, and deposited in
layers in a second oven, each layer being covered with a coating of
pease-meal and lard. After another “cooking,” they are converted into
a kind of paste, which is extended on trellis-work in excessively thin
layers, and dried in the sun. In this way the manufacturers turn out
their sheets of a paper coarse and uneven enough, but very stout.



The French expedition, finding further progress impossible, resolved
at length on retracing its steps to Saigon, and accordingly set out in
that direction on the 15th of March. On the 3rd of April it arrived at
Tong-chuen, where Lieutenant Garnier heard of the death of his chief,
M. de Lagrée. Four days later, the gallant little band, several of its
members suffering from fever, resumed its march. On the 9th, M. Garnier
crossed the deep swift waters of the Ngieoo-nan in a ferry-boat, which
runs on a cable moored from bank to bank. On the 11th he reached


Here he and his comrades met with a kindly welcome, and were
lodged in the house of a native priest, who had charge of the few
Christian inhabitants of the town. The crowd, as usual, displayed an
extraordinary amount of curiosity and importunity. The _tche-hien_, or
administrator of the Tchao-tong district, paid them a visit immediately
on their arrival, and invited them to dine with him on the following
evening. The repast included fourteen courses at the least, to say
nothing of the cucumber-seed, the mandarinas, and the li-tchi, served
up as preliminaries. There was nothing, however, peculiarly worthy of
the attention of gourmands, except a dainty dish of pigeons’ eggs, and
a particular kind of fish, caught in a neighbouring pond, the flesh
of which had a peculiar flavour. During the repast, the ladies of the
household closely scrutinized the features of the strangers through a
lattice, laughing heartily at their awkwardness in using the Chinese

Tchao-tong, like all Chinese towns of importance, is surrounded by a
bastioned wall, of rectangular plan, measuring about a mile and a half
each way. Considerable suburbs prolong to the north, east, and west
the streets which abut on the gates of the town. The latter has never
been captured by the Mohammedans, and its inhabitants cherish a fierce
hatred against the rebels of Taly.

The plain of Tchao-tong seems to be the most extensive in Yunnan,
and is carefully cultivated--a large portion of its area being
appropriated to the growth of poppies for the manufacture of opium. Its
inhabitants complain of want of water; and, in fact, their only sources
of supply are some tiny rills, almost dry in the hot season. There are
extensive deposits of anthracite and peat. A small pond, abounding in
fish, lies to the south-west.



Tchao-tong is one of the most important commercial _entrepôts_ between
China and Yunnan. Enormous convoys of raw cotton, of English or native
cotton stuffs, and of salt from Se-chuen, are here exchanged for the
metals--tin and zinc more particularly--furnished by the environs
of Tong-chuen, the medicinal substances which come from the west of
Yunnan and the north of Tibet, and the nests of the _coccus sinensis_,
which yield the pe-la wax. This insect breeds on a species of privet
which grows in the mountainous parts of Yunnan and Se-chuen, and
is thence transported to other trees favourable for the production
of wax, which flourish in the warmer lowlands. Necessarily, these
nests must be conveyed from point to point with great rapidity, lest
the newly-hatched insects should die before arriving at their new
abode; they are stored away in large baskets, divided into numerous
compartments, and their bearers frequently accomplish thirty or forty
leagues at double quick marching step.

       *       *       *       *       *


Resuming their journey, M. Garnier and his companions traversed a
country of great beauty, studded with villages, and broken up into
romantic highlands and wooded valleys, watered by copious rivers.
On the 20th of April they reached Lao-oua-tan, a busy town on the
Huang-kiang, at the point where the navigation of the river begins.
Here they embarked on board a large boat with a capacity of thirty to
forty tons, and began the descent of the river, admiring the skill with
which the Chinese carried them through the successive rapids. In a
couple of hours they arrived at Pou-eul-tou, a small port on the left
bank, where Garnier and his companions landed, while their baggage and
a part of the escort continued the journey by water. Garnier pressed
forward through a truly Arcadian valley to Long-ki, the residence of
the Vicar-Apostolic of Yunnan, Monseigneur Ponsot. It is needless to
say that he was received with the warmest hospitality.


The next stage was Siu-tcheou-fou, a lively and busy town, where
several Roman Catholic missionaries are stationed. Thence, in
a couple of junks, the travellers descended the Blue River to
Tchong-kin-fou, the great commercial centre of the province of
Se-chuen. Resting here a while, they then continued their voyage to
Han-keou, entering a region which has been carefully explored and
described by officers of the British navy. The river all along its
course presents an animated scene,--the junks ascending the stream
being towed by boatmen on the banks, who time their steps to a rude
and noisy song. M. Garnier arrived at Han-keou on the 4th of June,
and once more entered upon the enjoyment of the comfort and security
of civilized life, after a long, difficult, and perilous expedition,
in which he had added largely to our knowledge of a region of vast
commercial resources. On the 10th he embarked on board a steamer
for Shanghai,--arriving there on the 12th. After a week’s stay he
set out for Saigon; where he presented himself on the 29th, and was
received with the honours due to his courage, his patience, and his
perseverance. He has shown that the Mekong must hereafter become
an important highway of commerce, and one of the great channels of
communication with Yunnan and Tibet.



We owe some additional information respecting the great river of
Cambodia to Dr. Morice, who travelled in Cochin-China in 1872.


Of the Annamites, the inhabitants of Cochin-China, he says at the
outset, that his first feeling with respect to them was one of
disgust. Those faces more or less flattened, and often devoid of all
intelligence or animation; those livid eyes; and, especially, that
broad nose, and those thick upturned lips, reddened and discoloured by
the constant use of betel-nut, do not answer to the European ideal of
beauty. But after a long acquaintance with them, he, as is the case
with other Western visitors, began to discern a glimpse of meaning in
most countenances, and even to make distinctions between the ugly ones.
He met with some eyes which were not oblique, some noses which had
an almost Caucasian character, and his repugnance gradually disappeared.

Still, from the most favourable point of view, they are a race of low
stature and unprepossessing appearance; feeble, deficient in stamina,
and never likely to make a noise in the world. Their French rulers grow
into giants when compared with these dwarfs; and their muscular energy
is far inferior to that of Europeans, whether owing to natural causes
or to want of hygienic knowledge. As for their complexion, while some
are deeply tinted, others are quite wan and pale. In two respects only
can the Annamites be said to surpass their masters: in their ability to
row ten hours consecutively, and in the impunity with which they can
encounter the burning rays of a tropical sun.


As for their character, it is that of a people whom slavery, ignorance,
and sloth have rendered poor, timid, and apathetic. Yet they are
capable of being raised to a higher moral and intellectual standard.
They have many serious defects, it is true; they are deficient, for
example, in the artistic sentiment. Even of the latter evidence is
found in some surprising mural paintings, which reproduce, with loving
fidelity, all that is bright and living in nature,--birds, insects,
flowers. But, as a rule, the Annamites are insensible to the arts.
Their shrill monotonous music is terrible to a cultured ear; and it may
be doubted whether ours is agreeable to them. Of sculpture they know
only the rudiments; their poetry is indifferent; they cannot dance.
Their literary research is confined to an acquaintance with a few
Chinese characters; and their scientific acquirements are a blank.


Then as to their attire. They never abandon their clothes until they
fall into rags and tatters, though they are insufficient to protect
them against the variations of their climate, and more particularly
against the keen frosty mornings of December and January. Their huts or
hovels, nearly all built upon piles, half in the water and half in the
earth or mud, are singularly unhealthy. The cultivation of rice, and
their occupation as fishermen, have rendered them almost amphibious.
Water rises frequently to the floor of an Annamite house, particularly
in high tides, but it does not discompose the owner; who, in such an
event, crouches contentedly on the domestic hearth, or rocks to and
fro in his rude hammock, murmuring some monotonous air, or smoking a
cigarette shaped like a blunderbuss.


At Saigon (or Sai-gun), the French settlement and seaport, situated
at the mouth of a river of the same name, the traveller finds much
to interest him. The Botanic Garden, for instance, will well repay
inspection, stocked as it is with rare, beautiful, and curious
specimens of tropical vegetation. Close at hand lies the so-called
Plain of the Tombs; the scene, a century agone, of numerous battles
between the inhabitants of Lower Cochin-China and the Annamites; and,
between 1860 and 1864, of several engagements between the Annamites and
the French. The uniformity of its vast expanse is broken by a number
of mounds or tumuli; some on a modest, others on a splendid scale.
Constructed of earth or brick, they are covered with a kind of cement,
on which are depicted in vivid colours the figures of fantastic animals
and impossible plants, while the name and titles of the deceased are
inscribed in conspicuous characters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, one day, Dr. Morice chanced to be the spectator of an Annamite
funeral, which is always celebrated with a certain amount of pomp,
and attended by a numerous train of mourners. The coffin is planted
in the centre of a small portable house, made of paper painted in
brilliant colours, and cut into curious shapes. A score of bearers
carry this miniature temple, resting upon their shoulders the bamboos
which support it. A company of persons with torches scatter along the
road their prayers to Buddha, traced on golden and silver papers, and
set fire to them. In the rear march the friends and relatives of the
departed, some uttering forced lamentations, all smiling “in their
sleeves;” for these singular people are never so moved by their sorrow
that they cannot laugh at a jest, or at any incident of which they
immediately seize, as by intuition, the comic side.

       *       *       *       *       *


Here too he saw some geckos: indeed, they were numerous enough to
be considered the genii of the place. Inhabiting the forests and
waste places, as well as the huts of the Annamites and the houses
of the French, this large lizard, so common in Cochin-China, is one
of the animals which give to the fauna of the country its peculiar
character. Does the reader know what a gecko is like? If not, let him
try to conceive of a gigantic terrestrial salamander; its skin, of
a bluish-gray, covered with a quantity of tiny tubercles rising in
the middle of an orange-tinted patch; its great eyes having a large
gold-yellow iris; while, owing to the sucker-like lamellæ that line the
under surface of its feet, it is able to walk easily on the smoothest
surfaces, and utterly to defy the laws of gravitation. Its cry, to
which it owes the name given to it in every language, is curiously
sonorous; and when first heard, fairly startles the hearer. A shaky
grumble or grunt serves as prelude; then, five, six, or eight times,
lowering its voice regularly half a tone on each occasion, it jerks out
its cadenced notes, which are sometimes written _gecko_, and sometimes
_tacke_; the performance terminating with a grunt of satisfaction.


The gecko grows as familiar with man as the domestic cat or
dog,--entering human habitations freely, and rendering valuable service
by the eagerness with which it devours flies, spiders, and other
insect-plagues. During the day, it lurks generally in some obscure nook
or dark corner; but at dusk sallies forth in search of prey, running
up or down the steepest walls with wonderful swiftness, and giving
utterance to a quick shrill noise by smacking its tongue against its
palate. So flexible is its body, that it can adapt itself readily to
any depression or irregularity in the surface of the ground, forming
apparently a component part of it. This deception is facilitated by its
dulness of colouring. It is a home-keeping animal, and never strays
to any great distance from the lair which it has chosen. Despite its
ugliness and its cry, which at night, when a dozen are heard replying
to one another, becomes insupportably wearisome, it is one of man’s
most useful allies in the animal-world, and merits his respect.

A word as to the formation of its wide feet. All the toes are broadened
considerably at the edges, and their under surface is divided into
numerous transverse laminæ, from which exudes an adhesive fluid. Its
claws are sharp, crooked, and retractile like those of a cat.


Another animal of the same group, but much smaller, and closely
resembling the tarenta of which the Toulonese are so afraid, is the
_margouilla_, the “con-tan-lan” of the Annamites. It inhabits trees
and houses with equal complacency. Every evening, when the tapers
are lighted, it may be seen promenading along the ceiling, where it
pounces upon the insects, uttering from time to time its short cry
of satisfaction, which may be translated by the syllable _toc_ ten
times repeated. It is partial to sugar; but as it is the inveterate
enemy of the mosquitoes, no one begrudges it a dainty morsel from the

       *       *       *       *       *


From Saigon Dr. Morice made an excursion to Kholen, the second town in
size and population in Cochin-China. It lies about three miles from
Saigon, but is connected with it by a line of villages, of pagodas, and
of the country-houses of the wealthier Chinese merchants. Kholen is the
centre of all the Chinese commerce of the colony. The amount of rice,
stuffs, and products exported from China, which is sold there, almost
passes belief; and the stranger surveys with interest the animation of
its busy streets, and the numerous Chinese junks and Annamite sampans
moored alongside its quays.


Among its peculiarities may be specialized its parks or preserves of
crocodiles. A barrier of long and solid piles surrounds a space of
about twenty square yards on the river-bank; in the mud and slime
thus enclosed, and regularly inundated at high water, sprawl from one
hundred to two hundred crocodiles. When the people wish to sacrifice
one of these monsters, two of the piles are lifted up; a running knot
is flung round the neck of the largest of the herd, which is then
hauled outside; its tail is fastened close to its body lengthwise;
its feet are cut off, and used to garnish its back; the jaws are tied
together with ratan; and these vegetable bonds are so firm that the
huge creature is incapable of movement, and can offer no defence. As
for the flesh, though rather leathery, it appears to have a certain
value, and is not so strongly impregnated with the odour of musk as
some writers pretend. On Annamite tables it figures as a favourite dish.

       *       *       *       *       *


From Saigon Dr. Morice’s next excursion was to Gocong, which lies in
the centre of a district famous for its rice-fields. Thence he made
his way to Hatian (or Cancao), of which he gives a lively description
furnished to him by a French colonist:--

“Hatian-of-the-Roses is a small gem of flowers and verdure; magnificent
pagodas, wooded hills, the limestone mass of Bonnet-à-Poil; everything
which one finds nowhere else.”

But, says Dr. Morice, he forgot the fever.

There can be no doubt that Hatian is a lovely spot. It is situated
on the borders of a lake which opens into the Gulf of Siam; a lake
bordered on the west by ranges of green hills, luxuriantly clothed
with magnificent trees. To the east extends a vast plain, in the
centre of which rises the isolated mass of limestone known as the
Bonnet-à-Poil. The fields are enamelled with flowers and studded with
flowering bushes; and winding paths lead through a succession of scenes
of the most various beauty.


The plant chiefly cultivated is the pepper-plant. On a soil raised
several feet above the ordinary level are disposed parallel rows of
sticks like those which are used in the Kentish hop-gardens, and round
each of these coils a vigorous plant. It takes five years for a plant
to become productive. Maize is also cultivated, but not to so large an


While Dr. Morice was at Hatian, its Annamite inhabitants celebrated
their feast of the _Têt_ or New-Year’s Day, in which are oddly mingled
the religious rites of Buddhism, and the worship of the manes of
their forefathers, the fear of the devil or _Maqui_, and the noisiest
possible manifestations of popular mirth. It lasts at the least seven
days,--with the rich much longer; and the entire settlement gives
itself up for this period to the most unrestrained enjoyment.

Before each house, on a table covered with a mat, is to be seen the
offering of meat and drink, rice-spirit in a small white porcelain
teapot, tea, betel with all its ingredients, fish, various kinds of
Annamite vermicelli, roast duck, a quarter of pork, rice, bananas,
and oranges. All this display is set out with flowers; then a couple
of small tapers are lighted, and the manes, or domestic spirits, are
respectfully invited to come and take their share of the consecrated
love-feast. More: on a plate supported on a moderately high post,
other and more delicate offerings are displayed,--composed generally
of a bouquet of only two species of flowers, the one violet-tinted,
the other yellow. As they are seen everywhere, it is probable that
a symbolical meaning attaches to the union of these two flowers.
Moreover, the rich plant an areca, the poor a large bamboo, in front of
the various oblations, and to the top of each fasten a tiny basket of
ratan, divided into five compartments. Finally, the altar of Buddha,
which forms an indispensable appendage of every hut, is decked out with
special pomp; and strips of yellow, red, and violet papers, inscribed
with Chinese characters, are affixed to every door. These are intended
to avert the presence of the evil spirit during the new year.


Meantime everybody, clothed in their best attire,--men, women, and
children,--that is to say, in a striped tunic and pantaloons blue,
red, yellow, violet, green, often with the two legs of different
colours,--sallied forth to exchange greetings, or amuse themselves as
best they might. Among the pastimes most in favour were the following.
Javelin-throwing; in which a long lance of black wood was made to
pass through a ring suspended from a post about three feet high, and
this at a distance of six to nine yards. This game, which resembles
the old Scotch exercise of tilting at a mark, requires considerable
skill on the part of those who engage in it. Still more popular,
especially among women and children, was the swing, single or double.
And it was not without astonishment that the traveller found here, in
the far East, a kind of “merry-go-round,” such as we see at our fairs
and holiday fêtes, with a score of persons enjoying its revolutions.
There was also the game of shuttle-cock, which was launched either
with hand or foot. In the midst of all this turmoil might be heard the
monotonous tomtom, the isolated sounds of some three-stringed guitars,
and especially the sharp reports of petards, which are indispensable at
every festival, and resemble sometimes the file-firing of infantry.


For this great yearly revel every Annamite saves up his money
for months, and when it comes he disburses his little store most
conscientiously. Frequently an itinerant troop of actors comes--at
least in the principal towns--to contribute its part to the general
rejoicings. As it is the wealthy citizens who in turn defray the
expense of its representations, we need hardly say that they are very
largely attended. The plays included in their repertory are always
of a noisy character, and plentifully sprinkled with coarse jokes,
at the expense of the military mandarins, husbands, and especially
the Chinese. Actors hideously painted, with the view of giving them a
formidable appearance, perform in desperate combats, diversified by
guttural cries and heroic poses of the most ridiculous character.

       *       *       *       *       *


During his sojourn at Hatian, Dr. Morice paid a visit to a singularly
constructed edifice--the ancient Chinese palace of the Maqueuou. This
Chinese worthy, it is said, was a simple fisherman; but as the products
of his avocation did not enrich him with sufficient rapidity, he
began to cultivate a little ground, and started a pepper plantation.
One day, while digging, he turned up a store of money,--a supply so
ample that it enabled him to bring over to Hatian a large number of
his compatriots. He trained them, enrolled them, practised them; and
the result was that, one fine morning, Hatian, enriched and largely
increased in population, declared itself independent of the empire of
Annam, or rather Cambodia, and raised Maqueuou to the throne. He built
for himself a splendid palace, and lived for many years afterwards,
enjoying the rare pleasure of witnessing the realisation of his dreams.
But when he died his organizing genius died with him. Hatian was again
annexed to the empire, and the palace fell into ruin; only its four
walls are now extant.

The European stranger visits the spot with a feeling of respect for the
memory of a bold and energetic man. With some difficulty he clears a
path through the luxuriant vegetation, and arrives in front of walls of
Cyclopean solidity. Two vast halls, almost choked with balsam, daturas,
caster-oil plants, parasites, and refuse, form the entrance. Then come
four smaller apartments, in better condition, and each provided with a
great circular window. Here some geckos have established their abode,
saluting the stranger with astonished glances and piercing cries.


Next comes an immense chamber, almost exactly square; and several tombs
or memorial buildings are here overshadowed by venerable trees. The
highest, raised in honour of Maqueuou himself, consists of successive
courses of masonry, diminishing gradually from base to summit.
Unfortunately, built of bad materials, it has been seriously injured by
the action of the sun and the rains. A swarm of bees was domiciled in
one of the crannies; and a tree, the seed of which had probably dropped
from the bill of some wandering bird, soared upward from the very
apex of the pyramid. Four smaller monuments, all oblong in shape, and
traditionally appropriated to Maqueuou’s family, are scattered around
the former. They still bear traces of the carving with which they were
formerly decorated.

Solitude and silence prevail within the precincts of this vast ruin.
The geckos, the birds, and a squirrel or two, are its only inmates.

Another remarkable object is the so-called pagoda of Maqui, or the
devil. Dr. Morice was greatly surprised to see appended to its walls
a complete series of water-colour sketches, on very stout paper,
representing the tortures of an Inferno which would bear comparison
with Dante’s. The satellites of the Annamite devil are shown in
those pictures as engaged in the variety of occupations which the
old medieval legends attributed to the imps of Beelzebub. They are
roasting, impaling, cutting to pieces, and flaying the guilty; throwing
them into caldrons of boiling water, grilling them over fires, and
flinging them to the hungry jaws of enormous tigers.



That Hatian is not without its unpleasantnesses, Dr. Morice discovered
in an unexpected fashion. Some workmen, in pulling down an old wall,
came on the lair of a large serpent, which lay in “multitudinous coils”
hatching its store of eggs. As everybody knew Dr. Morice’s zoological
tastes, the workmen sent him immediate information of their “find,”
and he quickly arrived on the spot, armed with a stick and a long
and strong pair of nippers. Had it not been for its eggs, the animal
would probably have retreated; but it remained rolled up in its hole,
showing only its spotted and dusky-coloured head. To seize its neck
with his nippers, was Dr. Morice’s instant manœuvre; and then, to the
great terror of the Chinese workmen, he raised it up bodily, and
proceeded to carry it off in triumph. Meanwhile, the irritated creature
discharged at its captor’s forehead a jet of liquid, from which,
at the time, he felt no disagreeable sensation. On reaching home,
Dr. Morice deposited the reptile and its eggs in a chest lined with
straw; which he nailed down carefully, and raised above the ground on
vessels of water, as a protection against the attacks of ants. Then,
and not till then, he washed his forehead, bathing, with due caution,
the part touched by the fluid discharge; but still not believing that
the serpent was one of the venomous kind. He troubled himself no more
about his prisoner until, a few days later, he found in his chamber
four tiny serpents, which he took up in his hand, in spite of their
angry hissing. These he transferred to a glass jar. The next morning,
wishing to examine them, he was unpleasantly surprised to find them
rearing their head erect and expanding their neck laterally; and still
more disagreeably surprised to detect on the neck thus expanded the
characteristic V. They belonged to the genus of the spectacled serpent,
the _naja_ of India, the dreaded _cobra capella_!


Dr. Morice hastened to bore some large holes in the chest containing
the serpent and the eggs, and by means of these he introduced into the
interior a quantity of burning sulphur. When, after a sufficient time
had elapsed, he opened it, he found the mother and eighteen young ones
suffocated, while four eggs still remained intact. How had the others
been hatched? The circumstance was a novel one, for it was supposed
that only the great serpents--the pythons and boas--hatched their eggs.
At all events, it was an interesting fact that this animal had remained
faithful to its brood. Among the sixteen young serpents, only one was a
female, and most of them had already once changed their skin. They were
about thirteen inches long, and their fangs were clearly discernible.
Dr. Morice felt that he had good reason to be thankful that he had not
been wounded by the _cobra capella_ when he so rashly pounced upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

We next find our unwearied travellers undertaking a journey to Chaudoc,
which is situated near the mouth of the Mekong. On both banks of the
river, but more particularly on the right bank, are arranged the
numerous Annamite huts; and above them frown the grim walls of a fort,
which is in itself of the size of a small town. The province, of which
Chaudoc is the capital, includes one hundred and five villages, and has
a population of eighty-nine thousand souls, of whom eight thousand are
Cambodians and sixteen thousand Malays.

[Illustration: VINH-LONG.]


Five days later Dr. Morice was at Vinh-Long, the fort of which is
equal in magnitude to that of Chaudoc. In the rear of the great muddy
moats and embankments of earth, sustained by huge piles, rise the
officers’ barracks, and the entrenched redoubt containing the soldiers’
quarters and the hospital. Bamboos and tall grasses have overgrown a
portion of the immense enclosure, and in their tangled mass enormous
pythons are frequently killed, while the _najas_ lie asleep in the dank
inextricable vegetation of the trenches. The town itself is not without
a certain agreeableness of aspect; its broad, straight streets are
shaded by gigantic cocoa-nut palms.

       *       *       *       *       *


Still continuing his explorations in the districts watered by the
mouths of the Mekong, which forms a considerable delta, traversed by
innumerable canals and branches, Dr. Morice arrived at Tayninh, which
lies to the east of Saigon. It lines the river-bank for some distance;
the houses of the Annamite population being built, not of mud and clay,
as in the western districts of Cochin-China, but of good solid
timber, and with much care and good taste. Their roofs are also of
better construction: instead of the leaves of the water-palm, a close
fine thatch is used, to which the action of the atmosphere soon gives
a pleasant tint of age. Flourishing coffee-plantations surround the
town, in the rear of which spread the shadows of a mighty forest, that
spreads far up the sides of a chain of granite mountains of moderate
elevation. The highest of these is the “Black Lady” (_Nui-ba-dinh_).
On the summit, in a picturesque nook, stands a celebrated pagoda, the
cells of its bonzes being excavated out of the neighbouring rock. The
pagoda owes its repute to the neighbourhood of a miraculous spring; and
this spring rejoices in a legend, which may be told as follows:--


A bonze of indescribable holiness, who loved to offer up his prayers
in the high places of earth, climbed the mountain one day in order to
make his devotions on its lofty summit. Despite his sanctity, however,
he was human; and as the mountain was of great elevation and equal
barrenness, he soon grew faint with hunger, but more particularly with
thirst. Disdainful, like all sages, of purely physical needs, he had
not taken the precaution of providing himself with these precious
necessaries of food and drink, which are the first thought of ordinary
mortals. What was he to do? He began to pray; and lo! as he prayed, an
enormous rock, which reared its dark front before him, was suddenly
cleft open, and revealed to his delighted gaze a crystal spring falling
into a basin of stone. From that time the well has never ceased to pour
out abundant waters, which heal all the diseases of humanity;--though,
strange to say, men, women, and children still die in Cochin-China!

Ten minutes’ climbing brought Dr. Morice face to face with this
perpetual marvel. His companions hastened to drink copious draughts of
the fresh cold water; but Dr. Morice, rejecting the legend, and having
less confidence than he ought to have had in temperance principles,
resorted to his pocket flask, poured out a glass of French wine, and
drank to the majesty of the glorious mountain.

[Illustration: SCENE AT TAYNINH.]

       *       *       *       *       *

On another occasion Dr. Morice took part in an exciting adventure,
which had a painful issue. A tiger, whose depredations had become
intolerable, having carried off the best dog of one of the best
hunters of the country, it was decided that he must undergo immediate
and condign punishment.

The tiger is not often hunted in Cochin-China, where the elephant, that
living fortress, does not place at the disposal of the European its
high shoulders and formidable tusks. The inhabitants generally resort
to snares.



“An expedition having been resolved upon, we surrounded,” says Dr.
Morice, “the hill which served as a retreat for the monster. More than
one hundred and fifty natives were present, shouting, gesticulating,
and creating the most awful clamour which ever troubled a tiger’s
siesta. As for us, the French inspector, a French soldier, and myself,
we were in the plain, sprinkled with small mounded graves, which
extends behind Tayninh, and waited in patience until it pleased the
tiger to show his precious skin. It seemed to be his opinion that
the boldest policy was the best; for in less than half an hour after
we had drawn our noisy cordon he emerged from the wood, and advanced
towards us. He was received with a rolling fire. Of our four balls
one at least struck him, for he made a movement of pain, and turned
towards the soldier who had accompanied us. That our movements might
be more free, we had separated at some distance from one another. The
soldier immediately leaped upon a mound about three feet high, and
with his loaded gun in his hand bided the wounded animal’s onset. A
second ball from the inspector’s rifle hit him; but disregarding this
new provocation, and yearning for his prey, he dashed towards the
tumulus. With one bound he was at its foot, where he reared himself
erect. Then took place a strange and lamentable scene, which showed
how even the bravest lose their self-possession when face to face
with these terrible beasts. That the soldier was a man of courage,
numerous incidents had proved: it was he who had shown the most ardour
in organizing the expedition; he had in his hand a first-rate rifle,
and only the length of his arm apart was the white chest of the tiger,
which seemed to await his death-dealing bullet. Well, for a few seconds
he contented himself with striking the outstretched paws before him
with the butt-end of his musket. The tiger extended his body, seized
with one of his claws the unfortunate man’s leg, and began to drag him

“A man touched by a tiger is a dead man,” says a German naturalist;
“and it is useless to risk the life of another in an attempt to snatch
from the cruel beast the mutilated victim whose sufferings will soon be
terminated by death.” Such cold-blooded reasoning never prevails on the
scene of action. Both the doctor and the inspector pursued the tiger
as he still hauled along their comrade’s body; and two bullets, more
fortunate than their predecessors, arrested his course for ever.

On examination, they found that their unfortunate companion had
sustained a severe wound. Dr. Morice amputated his thigh in the hut
to which he was transported; but, whether from loss of blood, which
Europeans can ill afford in tropical latitudes, or from the violence of
the shock to the nervous system, he died that same night.

       *       *       *       *       *



From this painful scene it is pleasant to turn to the market-place of
Tayninh, with its various specimens of the human race. Cambodians are
tolerably numerous; their comparatively tall stature, their dark skin,
their thick and heavy lower jaw, their hair cut close like the bristles
of a brush, and especially their air of passive savagery, give them
an appearance totally different from that of the Annamites. The two
races detest each other cordially. The Annamite, proud of his lighter
complexion, of his more advanced civilization, to say nothing of the
numerous defeats he has inflicted on his neighbour, looks upon him as
little above the Moïs or wild people of the mountains. The Cambodians
are savages, he says, whose nature is radically bad and vicious; they
think nothing of law or order; they are stupid, and almost devoid
of reason. On the other hand, the Cambodian, with his gloomier and
more silent disposition, his deeper religious sentiment, regards with
compassion the volatile Annamite. A cordial understanding between the
two peoples will hardly ever be possible. The Cambodian, in spite
of his somewhat coarse features, is more Hindu than Indo-Chinese;
and both his language and his writing have affinities with those
of the aboriginal inhabitants of the great Indian peninsula. He is
the morose and untamable denizen of the hills and woods; while his
neighbour is the sociable and light-humoured inhabitant of the plains.
Unhappy is the Cambodian! Hemmed in between the Siamese on the one
hand, and the Annamites on the other, who together have robbed him
of his richest provinces; rendered stationary by the operation of a
feudal law which prevents him from acquiring lands of his own,--a
vigorous hand is needed to support him, and enable him to preserve his
autonomy, while the ameliorating influences of European civilization
are gradually brought to bear upon him.

       *       *       *       *       *


Such are the two races which occupy the provinces watered by the lower
branches of the great Cambodian river. In the large towns and seaports
is found a considerable admixture of the Chinese element. Trade and
commerce are almost entirely in the hands of Chinese merchants, who,
here as elsewhere, exhibit an extraordinary amount of patience,
industry, and thrift; and, here as elsewhere, untiringly amass large
and even enormous fortunes. They preserve their nationality unaffected
by the conditions in which they are placed; always a people apart, and
always as distinct from the races around them as are the Jews from the
nations of Europe.




Much of the interesting and valuable information we have acquired of
late years in reference to Siam, Cambodia, and Laos, we owe to the
indefatigable labours of Henri Mouhot, the eminent French naturalist,
who penetrated into regions previously unknown to Europeans in the
years 1858, 1859, and 1860, and devoted himself to the service of
Science with equal ability and zeal. He finally fell a victim to his
heroic ardour--being seized with fever while on his way from Na-Lê to
Luang Prabang, in Laos, on the 19th of October 1861, and dying, almost
alone, with the exception of two faithful native servants, on the 10th
of November.


He spent nearly four years in exploring the interior of Siam. As
his biographer tells us, he first travelled through that country,
then entered Cambodia, and afterwards made his way up the Mekong as
far as the frontier of Laos. There he visited one of the wild and
unconquered tribes which occupy the border-land between Cambodia and
Laos and Cochin-China. Crossing the great lake Touli-Sap, he extended
his researches into the remote provinces of Ongcor and Battambang,
discovering some immense ruins of high antiquity, and more particularly
those of the Temple of Ongcor the Great, which, with its terrace,
portico, galleries, and peristyles, is perhaps a monument unparalleled
in the world. The bas-reliefs with which it is adorned indicate
considerable artistic skill on the part of those who designed and
executed them. But what impresses the observer, not less than the
beauty and grandeur of the various parts of the huge pile, is the size
and number of the blocks of stone of which they are constructed. In a
single temple as many as fifteen hundred and thirty-two columns! What
means of transport, as Mouhot remarks, what a multitude of workmen,
must such an enterprise have required, seeing that the mountain whence
the stone was extracted is thirty miles distant! In each block may
be seen holes an inch in diameter, and an inch and a fifth in depth,
varying in number with the size of the blocks; but no traces of them
are found in the columns and sculptured portions of the glorious
structure. According to a Cambodian legend, these are the impressions
of the fingers of a giant, who, after kneading an enormous quantity
of clay, cut it into blocks and carved it, and then converted it into
stone by pouring over it some wonderful liquid.

“All the mouldings, sculptures, and bas-reliefs,” says Mouhot, “appear
to have been executed after the erection of the building. The stones
are everywhere fitted together in so perfect a manner that you can
scarcely see where are the joinings; there is neither sign of mortar
nor mark of chisel, the surface being as polished as marble. Was this
incomparable edifice the work of a single genius, who conceived the
idea, and watched over the execution of it? One is tempted to think
so, for no part of it is deficient, faulty, or inconsistent. To what
epoch does it owe its origin? As before remarked, neither tradition nor
written inscriptions furnish any certain information upon this point;
or rather, I should say, these latter are as a sealed book, for want of
an interpreter,--and they may, perchance, throw light on the subject
when some European savant shall succeed in deciphering them.”

From the Mekong valley M. Mouhot passed into that of the great
Siamese river, the Menam, visiting the province of Pechaburi. Thence
he returned to Bangkok, and after suitable preparation started on
an expedition to the north-east of Laos. His wanderings took him
to Phrabat, Saohaïe, Chaiapume, and Korat. Returning to Chaiapume,
he struck off in a westerly direction, and visited Poukieau,
Monang-Mouna-Wa, Nam-kane, and Luang Prabang, capital of West Laos.
At the time of his death he was bound for the provinces south-west of

It will form, we think, a useful supplement to the account of the
Mekong given in the preceding pages, if we condense M. Mouhot’s
narrative of his partial ascent of that great river.

       *       *       *       *       *


We will take up our traveller’s route at Kamput, on the sea-coast,
where he had an interview with the king of Cambodia, and obtained
carriages to convey him to Udong, the capital. Udong is situated about
one hundred and thirty-five miles to the north-east of Kamput, and
four miles and a half from an arm of the Mekong which forms the Great
Lake. After traversing a marshy plain he and his followers entered a
noble forest, and “under green leaves” proceeded to Udong, resting at
night in stations provided for the accommodation of travellers. These
are about twelve miles apart, and are not only spacious but handsome.
The road all the way proved to be in excellent order, and averaged
from eighty to one hundred feet in width. A broad track in the middle
is reserved for vehicles and elephants, while on either side extends
a belt of turf, covered with shrubs, and bounded by the lofty and
majestic trees of the forest. On drawing near the capital, M. Mouhot
saw that the country exhibited signs of cultivation: fields of rice
waved luxuriantly, and the country residences of the Cambodian nobles
were surrounded by beautiful gardens. The capital was protected by a
large moat, surmounted by a parapet, and enclosed by a palisade ten
feet high. There were no sentinels at the gate, however, and M. Mouhot
entered unchallenged; nay, more, without let or hindrance passed into
the palace-court of the second king of Cambodia.



This distinguished personage soon heard of the stranger’s arrival,
and despatched a couple of pages to summon him to his presence.
Mouhot would have excused himself on the plea that his luggage had
not arrived, and he was not in suitable attire. He was told that the
king had no dress at all; and before he could invent a second excuse,
the king’s Chamberlain arrived with a more peremptory message. Mouhot,
therefore, repaired to the palace, the entrance of which was guarded
by a dozen dismounted cannon, and was shown into the audience-chamber,
the walls of which were whitened with chalk, and the floor paved with
large Chinese tiles. Here, waiting for the king’s appearance, were
collected several Siamese pages, from twenty-five to thirty years
of age, all dressed alike in a langouti of red silk. As the king
entered every forehead touched the ground. His manner was graceful and
self-possessed, and the questions he asked were pertinent and sensible.
Was M. Mouhot French or English? What was his business in Cambodia?
What did he think of Bangkok? Then, with all the ease of a European
sovereign, he held out his hand for Mouhot to kiss; and the latter
withdrew, well pleased with the interview.


An inspection of the city showed him that it contained a population
of about twelve thousand souls; that it consisted in the main of a
street one mile in length; and that the houses were built of planks
or bamboos. It presents a very lively appearance, however, from the
numbers of persons who are drawn to it by considerations of business
or pleasure. “Every moment,” says Mouhot, “I met mandarins, either
borne in litters or on foot, followed by a crowd of slaves carrying
various articles: some, yellow or scarlet parasols, more or less huge
according to the rank of the persons; others, boxes with betel. I also
encountered horsemen, mounted on pretty, spirited little animals,
richly caparisoned and covered with bells, ambling along, while a troop
of attendants, covered with dust and sweltering with heat, ran after
them. Light carts, drawn by a couple of small oxen, trotting along
rapidly and noisily, were here and there to be seen. Occasionally a
large elephant passed majestically by. On this side were numerous
processions to the pagoda, marching to the sound of music; there,
again, was a band of ecclesiastics in single file, seeking alms, draped
in their yellow cloaks, and with the holy vessels on their backs.”

       *       *       *       *       *


From Udong, with waggons and elephants provided by the king, M. Mouhot
proceeded towards the Great Lake. The road was in excellent condition,
and at some points built up more than ten feet above the level of the
low, wooded country which borders on the great arm of the Mekong. The
watercourses were spanned by handsome bridges of wood or stone. At
Pinhalu, a village on the right bank of the river, is the residence
of the French Vicar-Apostolic of the Cambodia and Laos mission. Here
our traveller embarked in a small boat for Pemptielan, situated on
the Mekong, about forty miles north of Pnom Penh. The branch which he
descended was fifteen hundred yards wide, and its banks were inhabited
by a tribe called the Thiâmes. Pnom Penh, which Mouhot reached after
a perilous voyage, is the great bazaar of Cambodia. It contains a
population of about ten thousand, nearly all Chinese; while double that
number of Cochin-Chinese and Cambodians live upon the river in their
boats. An active trade is carried on here in rice, fish, glass, brass
wire, and cotton yarn.


Just below this busy town M. Mouhot’s boat passed into the main channel
of the Mekong--the “Mother of Rivers”--and began to ascend it, steering
towards the north. Shoals of porpoises accompanied it, occasionally
bounding out of the water with a lively splash; red-billed pelicans
watched for their finny prey from the reedy banks; and storks and
herons stood in silent meditation.

The current of the Mekong, as we have already stated, flows with great
rapidity, and renders navigation slow and laborious. It took M. Mouhot
five days to pass the island of Ko-Sutin; and the rate of velocity
increasing as he advanced to the northward, he was seldom able to
accomplish more than two miles a day. On arriving at the rapids and
cataracts he was compelled to abandon his boats and embark, with his
followers and stores, in light canoes; and even these it was necessary
at times to carry ashore, and convey along the bank on men’s shoulders
until a smooth part of the river was gained.

At Pemptielan Mouhot landed, and delivered to its mandarin a letter
from the king, ordering him to furnish the traveller with all the
appliances requisite for his overland journey. He immediately started
him on his way with a suitable number of waggons drawn by oxen, but the
soil in the forests was so marshy that they were continually sinking
in some deep slough, from which they could be extricated only by the
greatest exertions. Thus their progress was limited to sixty miles in
five days. At length he reached the village of Brelum, in the centre
of a district occupied by the savage Stiêns. Here, in order to study
their manners and the physical features of the country, he remained
three months, though it is difficult to conceive of a situation less
pleasing to or suitable for a man of European culture. The gloomy
forests around were infested with elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers,
buffaloes, and wild boars. More formidable, because less easily
avoided, were the snakes, scorpions, and centipedes which swarmed in
every direction, and constantly made their way into the houses. Brelum,
however, is the seat of a Roman Catholic mission, and from its head,
Father Guilloux, the traveller received a cordial hospitality which
alleviated the dreariness of his sojourn.


He describes the Stiêns as dwelling in villages, each of which forms
a distinct and independent community. They love “the deep shade of
the pathless woods,” where they live on the products of their bow and
arrows. They work with great skill in iron and ivory; and the women
weave and dye a delicate stuff, which they wear in the form of a long
loose scarf. In the neighbourhood of their villages, if the country
be open, they cultivate various kinds of vegetables and fruit-trees,
as well as rice, maize, and tobacco. In the fields thus planted they
spend the rainy season, building small huts, raised above the swampy
ground on piles--a protection at once from the swollen waters and
the leeches, the latter of which are a plague of no inconsiderable


There is a certain peculiarity in their method of cultivating rice.
On the beginning of the rains the Stiên selects his piece of ground,
and with nimble hatchet clears it of its growth of bamboos, but not
attempting to meddle with the large trees. As soon as the canes have
dried he sets fire to them, and in this way clears his ground and
manures it simultaneously. Then he takes two long bamboos and lays
them in a line on the ground; with a dibble in each hand he makes on
either side a row of holes about an inch and a half deep, at short
distances. Having finished _his_ share of the work the man retires to
enjoy his ease, while his wife enters on the scene, and from a basket
slung to her waist dips out a handful of rice, a few grains of which
she drops into each hole with equal neatness and rapidity. No more is
necessary. Nature does the rest. The heavy rains soon wash the soil
over the holes; and the heat of the climate soon causes the seed to
germinate. Meanwhile the cultivator sits and smokes in his hut, or
proves his skill with bow and arrow at the expense of the goats, apes,
or wild boars. At the end of October is reaped the harvest. Generally,
for some weeks previously much privation and distress are experienced,
and the improvident Stiên, who never takes thought of the morrow in
the season of plenty, is reduced to feed upon wild roots, maize seeds,
young bamboo shoots, and even serpents, bats, and toads. For this sorry
fare the Stiên compensates himself as soon as the harvest is gathered.
A general feasting commences: one village inviting the inhabitants
of another; oxen being freely slaughtered; and eating and drinking
prevailing from morn to night, and almost from night to morn, to the
sound of tambourine and tomtom.

       *       *       *       *       *


Like the Annamites, the Stiêns wear the hair long, but twisted up,
and fastened by a bamboo comb, with a pheasant’s crest on the top
of a piece of brass wire by way of ornament. They are mostly of
tall stature, strong, and well-limbed; with regular features, thick
eyebrows, and a good forehead. Their hospitality is abundant, and a
stranger, on his arrival, is immediately entertained with rice-wine,
a pipe of peace, and a fatted pig or fowl. Their dress is simplicity
itself,--a long scarf about two inches wide; and even with this they
dispense when “at home” in their cabins. They have neither priests nor
temples; and their religion appears to consist of a belief in a supreme
being called _Brâ_; to whom, on occasions of calamity and suffering,
they sacrifice a pig or an ox, and sometimes a human victim.


They are very careful in burying their dead; and a member of the family
of the deceased invariably visits the grave daily, to sow a few grains
of rice for his sustenance. Prior to any meal, they spill a little rice
for the same purpose; and similar offerings are made in the fields
and places which the dead were accustomed to visit. Plumes of reed
are attached to the top of a long bamboo, and lower down the stem are
fastened smaller bamboos containing a few drops of wine or water; and,
finally, on “a slight trellis-work raised above the ground” some earth
is laid, with an arrow planted in it, and a few grains of cooked rice,
a leaf, a little tobacco, and a bone spread about.

The Stiêns believe that animals have souls; that these wander about
after death; and that, therefore, it is necessary to propitiate
them, lest they should be troublesome and vexatious. Sacrifices are
accordingly offered, in proportion to the size and strength of the
animal; and the reader will conceive that in the case of an elephant
they are on a very grand scale. The North American Indian, it may be
remarked, cherishes a similar superstition in respect to the bear and
the buffalo.


According to M. Mouhot, a Stiên is seldom seen without his cross-bow
in his hand, his knife slung over his shoulder, and a basket--for his
arrows, and the game they bring down--on his back. In the chase he
displays the most untiring energy, gliding through the woods “with
the speed of a deer.” In the use of the cross-bow practice brings
perfection. For the larger animals the arrows are steeped in a poison
which is described as being peculiarly rapid and fatal in its effects.

The Stiêns, let it be said in conclusion, are, like most savage races,
exceedingly partial to ornaments, and particularly to bracelets made of
bright-coloured beads. The men usually wear one above the elbow, and
one at the wrist; but the women load both arms and legs. Brass wire and
glass ornaments form their currency; a buffalo or an ox being valued
at six armfuls of thick brass wire, which is also about the price of a
pig. A pheasant, however, or a hundred ears of maize, may be procured
for a small piece of fine wire or a bead necklace.

Both men and women perforate their ears, widening the hole annually by
the insertion of plugs of bone or ivory fully three inches in length.
A plurality of wives is allowed to the chiefs and richer men of the
tribe; the poor are content with one wife, simply because they cannot
afford to maintain a harem.

       *       *       *       *       *


About the fauna of this portion of the Mekong valley little need be
said, and that little we shall confine to the tiger, which is as strong
and ferocious as his celebrated congener of Bengal. Yet a couple of
men, with no other weapons than pikes, will frequently sally forth to
the attack. When the object of their daring enterprise is discovered,
the stronger of the two hunters lowers his pike. Sometimes, if not
emboldened by hunger, the tiger refuses the challenge, and bounds into
the forest shade; more frequently he charges with a sudden rush, and
then, if the force of his leap do not carry him over the head of the
hunter, he falls upon the pike, which the hunter raises by pressing
the handle on the earth. Immediately his companion rushes forward,
and plunges his weapon into the animal’s flank; then the two, by sheer
force, pin him to the ground, and hold him there until he dies. If the
first man miss his aim, and break his pike, his death is certain; and
not seldom his comrade also perishes.


But generally a tiger-hunt brings to the front all the men of the
village, together with volunteers from the neighbouring villages. Led
by the most experienced among them, they track the animal to his lair,
which they proceed to enclose with a circle--each man being posted at
a convenient distance, but so as to leave no space unguarded through
which the tiger may escape. “Some of the most daring then venture into
the centre,” says Mouhot, “and cut away the brushwood, during which
operation they are protected by others armed with pikes. The tiger,
pressed on all sides, rolls his eyes, licks his paws in a convulsive
manner as though preparing for combat; then, with a frightful howl,
he makes his spring. Immediately every pike is raised, and the animal
falls pierced through and through. Accidents not infrequently happen,
and many are often severely hurt; but they have no choice but to wage
war against the tigers, which leave them no rest, force the enclosures,
and carry off domestic animals and even men, not only from the roads
and close vicinity of the houses, but from the interiors of the
buildings. In Annam, the fear inspired by the tigers, elephants, and
other wild animals, makes the people address them with the greatest
respect; they give them the title of ‘grandfather’ or ‘lord,’ fearing
that they may be offended, and show resentment by attacking them.”
It is a pity that poets and romancists, when enlarging on the joys
of a savage life, its freedom from the restraints of civilization,
and the opportunities it affords for communion with Nature, omit all
reference to its inconveniences,--such, for instance, as the immediate
neighbourhood of an elephant or a tiger!

       *       *       *       *       *


After a sojourn of three months among the Stiêns, M. Mouhot returned
to Udong by the route which he had previously followed. Of Pnom Penh,
he says that it is situated at the confluence of the Mekong with its
tributary, which he proposes to name the Mé-Sap. This arm or tributary
it is which forms the great Cambodian lake Touli-Sap; an immense sheet
of water, upwards of one hundred and twenty miles in length, and four
hundred miles in circumference, and as full of motion as a sea. Its
shores are low, and covered with half-submerged trees; but in the
distance may be seen a magnificent range of mountains, with the clouds
resting on their summits.


To the east of the Great Lake lies the province of Ongcor, or Nokhor,
in which, and along the banks of the Mekong, lie ruins of immense
grandeur, bearing witness to the ancient wealth and populousness of the
kingdom of Tsiampois (Cochin-China). To the most remarkable of these
monuments, the great temple of Ongcor-Wat, we have already alluded. Its
founders are unknown. Ask the Cambodians, and they reply: “It is the
work of Pra-Enn, the king of the angels;” or else, “It is the work of
giants;” or, “It was built by the leper King;” or, “It made itself.”


Two miles and a half to the north of Ongcor, on the summit of Mount
Bakhêng, rises another magnificent Buddhist temple, not less than one
hundred and twenty feet in height. At the foot of the mountain two
stately lions, each formed, with its pedestal, out of a single block of
limestone, keep watch in the silent shadows of the forest-trees. Thence
dilapidated stone staircases lead to the mountain-top, from which a
view of singular beauty and extent is obtained. On the one side are
visible the wooded plain and pyramidal temple of Ongcor, with its noble
colonnades, and the mountain of Crôme,--the horizon being bounded by
the shining waters of the Great Lake. In the opposite direction extends
the long mountain-chain, the quarries of which, it is said, supplied
the materials of the temples; and among the dense masses of foliage at
its feet glimmers a fair and silvery lake. The entire region is now
as lonely and deserted as formerly it must have been full of life and
cheerfulness. The solitude is disturbed only by the occasional song of
bird, or wild, unearthly cry of beast of prey.

A smooth surface has been obtained on the top of the mountain by
laying down a thick floor of lime. At regular intervals are four rows
of deep holes, in some of which still stand the columns that formerly
supported two roofs, and formed a corridor leading from the staircase
to the body of the building. The arms or branches of this gallery were
connected with four towers, built partly of stone and partly of brick.
In the two of these which are in the best preservation are kept large
rudely-fashioned idols, evidently of great antiquity. In one of the
others is a large stone, with an inscription still visible; the figure
of a king with a long beard is carved upon the outer wall.


A wall, says Mouhot, surrounds the top of the mountain, and encloses
yet another building--quadrangular in shape, and composed of five
stories, each about ten feet high, while the basement story is two
hundred and twenty feet square. These stories form so many terraces,
which serve as bases to seventy-two small but elegant pavilions; and
they are embellished with mouldings, colonnades, and cornices. M.
Mouhot describes the work as perfect; and is of opinion that, from its
good state of preservation, it must be of later date than the towers.
Each pavilion, it may be assumed, formerly contained an idol.

On either side of the quadrangle ascends a staircase, seven feet wide,
with nine steps to each story, and lions on each terrace. The centre
of the terrace formed by the last story is simply a mass of ruins from
the shattered towers. Near the staircase lie two gigantic blocks of
fine stone, wrought as smooth as marble, and shaped like pedestals for

       *       *       *       *       *


[So far from M. Mouhot. It will be interesting, however, to supplement
his description with the details given by Lieutenant Garnier.

The ascent of the so-called mountain, he says, is easily accomplished:
after a little time the traveller arrives at a kind of platform
excavated in the rock, the surface of which appears formerly to have
been carefully levelled with cement. A small brick building attracts
the eye; it is erected over the imprint of Buddha’s foot, the gilding
and outlines of which are, like the building itself, of very modern
date. But we soon discover, in the rock, numerous holes which served
as foundations for the columns of the temple; and beyond, some of
these columns are still standing. If we follow up the traces of this
colonnade, we arrive at an enclosure which was opened of old, perhaps,
by a monumental gate; but there are not sufficient vestiges extant to
enable us safely to reconstruct this part of the edifice. Within the
enclosure, and symmetrically placed on either side of the colonnade, we
find two ruined buildings; and in their interior numerous statues and
fragments of statues have been carefully preserved by the inhabitants.
Continuing our exploration westward, we arrive at length at the foot
of the principal monument. This consists of five terraces excavated
on the crest of the hill in exact gradation. Their general plan is
rectangular, and one recedes behind the other at least thirteen feet.
We ascend them by means of staircases constructed in the middle of each
side, and guarded by stone lions mounted upon pedestals. At the angle
of each terrace, and about thirty feet from each staircase, are raised
admirably built little turrets, sixteen feet in height. Each of these
sixteen turrets contains a statue.



In the centre of the upper terrace is a platform or base, about three
and a quarter feet high, and measuring one hundred feet from north to
south by one hundred and three feet from east to west. On this base
were raised of old the towers which dominated the neighbouring country.
But it is occupied now by a mass of ruins. By carefully examining
them, we are able to make out that these towers were three in number,
of which the central was the largest, and that they faced the east.
The view from the summit of the ruins is truly enchanting. At our feet
extends the verdurous sea of forest, its vague and undefinable murmurs
just audible to the attentive ear. In a northerly direction the dense
forest-shadows stretch far and far away until lost in the dim horizon;
and the eye seeks vainly to discover in its midst the crests of some of
the lofty monuments of Ongcor. To the south-east, however, the towers
and colonnades of Ongcor-Wat are clearly marked out upon the great
open plain; and the few groves of palms and clusters of fruit-trees
which surround it give to the landscape an Oriental character of poetry
and grace. Westward, a small lake reflects in its glassy surface the
surrounding verdure. To the south we catch glimpses, through the warm
vapours which veil the horizon, of the Great Lake.

What a fairy-like aspect, from the summit of these towers, must the
mountain itself, in the old time, have presented, with its lions, and
its turrets, and its staircases of stone descending even to the plain
and to the city of Ongcor-Thôm, with its ramparts and its innumerable
gilded towers, which the forest now covers with its vast monotonous
shroud of verdure!

From the extent of the débris accumulated at the foot of the monument,
we may conjecture that formerly a double row of buildings of brick
surrounded it; these were probably occupied by a garrison or a numerous
military guard. The position of Mount Bakhêng with reference to the
neighbouring city made it a kind of Acropolis; and doubtless it was so
used from the very foundation of the city. But while Mouhot ascribes
the monument which it supports to the very infancy of Cambodian art,
the leader of Garnier’s expedition considered it of later date. The
fashion of the ornamentation and the style of the architecture seemed
to him almost identical with those of other Khmer ruins. Moreover, in
his opinion this architecture sprang into existence, so to speak, all
at once; was complete in itself; had neither a period of development
nor one of decay;--as if it had been introduced from without by a
conquering race, which afterwards had been swept away by some sudden

       *       *       *       *       *


After a careful survey of the ruins of Ongcor and Ongcor-Thôm (or “the
Great”), M. Mouhot returned to Bangkok, and made preparations to visit
the north-eastern provinces of Laos.

While at Bangkok he witnessed a succession of fêtes, of which he
records details so interesting, that, by way of digression, we venture
to transfer them to these pages.


The river Menam, he says, was covered with large and handsome boats,
gay with gilding and gorgeous with elaborate carving; among which the
heavy barges of the rice-merchants, and the small craft of poor women
carrying to market their betel-nuts and bananas, seemed out of place.
It is only on such occasions as these that the king, princes, and
mandarins display their wealth and pomp. The king, when Mouhot saw him,
was proceeding to a pagoda to make his offerings; and was followed by
his mandarins, each in a splendid barge, with rowers attired in the
brightest colours. In their train came a number of canoes filled with
red-coated soldiers. The royal barge was easily distinguished by its
throne and canopy, and by the profuseness of its carving and gilding.
Some of the royal children sat at the feet of the king, who waved a
recognition to every European he saw.

All the vessels lying in the river were dressed out with flags; while
every floating house had an altar erected, on which various objects
were placed, and aromatic woods burned with pleasant odours. In the
court barges the various dignitaries, mostly men of “good round
paunch,” lay indolently upon triangular embroidered cushions spread on
a kind of dais. They were surrounded by officials, women, and children,
either kneeling or lying flat, and holding the golden urns which are
used for spittoons, or the golden tea-pots and betel-boxes. Each boat
carried from eighty to a hundred rowers, wearing a large white scarf
round the loins, and a red langouti, but leaving the head and greater
part of the body bare. They lifted their paddles simultaneously, and
struck the water in excellent concert; while at the prow stood a slave
with an oar to prevent collisions, and another at the stern employed
an oar for steering purposes. At intervals the rowers raised “a wild,
exulting cry of ‘Ouah! ouah!’” while the voice of the steersman, in a
louder and more sustained note, rose above the rest.

       *       *       *       *       *


From this holiday city, however, M. Mouhot tore himself away, and
entered on his lonely and hazardous journey. He soon reached the pure
breezy air and picturesque scenery of the mountains of Nophaburi and
Phrabat, and ascended the Menam to Saohaïe, the starting-point for all
caravans going to Korat. He thence continued his voyage to Khao-Khoc,
which has been fortified by the king of Siam as an asylum in case of a
European invasion of the south. Here he resided for some months, on the
borders of a vast unexplored forest, studying the manners and customs
of the Laotians. In February 1861 he arrived at Chaiapune. It was
not until he had encountered and conquered obstacles that would have
broken the heart of any man less enthusiastic or less courageous that
he succeeded in making his way to Korat. As he describes it as “a nest
of robbers and assassins, the resort of all the scum of the Laotian
and Siamese races,” the rendezvous of “bandits and vagrants escaped
from slavery or from prison,” he would hardly have found it a pleasant
resting-place; and as soon as he could obtain a supply of elephants for
himself and his followers, he resumed his journey, striking, across the
country to Poukieau.


Here he ascended gradually a range of mountains abounding in resinous
trees and frequented by deer, tigers, elephants, and rhinoceros. This
chain extends directly north, continually increasing in height and
breadth, and throwing off numerous spurs towards the east, where the
deep shadowy valleys collect their waters, and pour them into the


Throughout this mountainous region elephants are the only means
of transport. Every village, consequently, possesses one of these
valuable animals; some no fewer than fifty or a hundred. Otherwise,
intercommunication would be impossible for seven months out of the
twelve. “The elephant,” says Mouhot, “ought to be seen on these roads,
which I can only call devil’s pathways, and are nothing but ravines,
ruts two or three feet deep, full of mud; sometimes sliding with his
feet close together on the wet clay of the steep slopes, sometimes
half-buried in mire,--an instant afterwards mounted on sharp rocks
where one would think a Blondin alone could stand; striding across
enormous trunks of fallen trees, crushing down the smaller trees and
bamboos which oppose his progress, or lying down flat on his stomach,
that the cornacs (drivers) may the easier place the saddle on his back;
a hundred times a day making his way, without injuring them, between
trees where there is barely room to pass; sounding with his trunk the
depth of the water in the streams or marshes; constantly kneeling down
and rising again, and never making a false step. It is necessary, I
repeat, to see him at work like this in his own country, to form any
idea of his intelligence, docility, and strength, or how all these
wonderful joints of his are adapted to their work--fully to understand
that this colossus is no rough specimen of Nature’s handiwork, but a
creature of especial amiability and sagacity, designed for the service
of man.”

After leaving Korat, Mouhot crossed five considerable rivers--the
Menam-Chie, the Menam-Leuye, the Menam-Ouan, the Nam-Pouye, and the
Nam-Houn,--all tributaries of the mighty Mekong; and the last-named
river he once more reached, at Pak Lay, in lat. 19° 16′ 58″, on June
the 24th, 1861. The Mekong here is much broader than the Menam at
Bangkok, and dashes through the mountain ravine with the impetuosity of
a torrent and the roar of the sea. Its navigation between Pak Lay and
Luang Prabang is interrupted by several rapids.


Luang Prabang, where Mouhot arrived on the 25th of July, is a
pleasantly-situated town, occupying an area of one square mile, and
containing a population of eight thousand. The mountains which, both
above and below it, enclose the broad and copious Mekong, form at
this point a kind of circular valley or amphitheatre, nine miles in
diameter, and, with their woods, and luxuriant verdure, and lawny
slopes, combine in a picturesque panorama, reminding one of the Alpine

The town extends on both banks of the stream, but chiefly on the left
bank, where the houses surround an isolated mount about three hundred
and fifty feet in height, covered by a pagoda.[*]

[*] A fuller description of Luang Prabang, as given by Garnier, who
visited it six years after Mouhot, will be found on page 78.


An important tributary of the Mekong, the Nam Kan, skirts on the
east and north the little hill at the foot of which Luang Prabang is
situated, and divides the latter into two unequal parts, the larger
of which lies to the south of the point of confluence. The banks of
this stream, for a considerable distance inland, are lined with an
uninterrupted series of pagodas and great gardens, in the latter
of which the betel-nut is cultivated, and peaches, plum-trees, and
oleanders flourish: a sign that the traveller here enters a very
temperate region, where the fruits and plants of Central Asia may be
successfully cultivated.

In the southern district of the city is placed the palace of the
king, an enormous aggregate of huts, enclosed by a high and strong
palisade, and forming a rectangle, one side of which is contiguous to
the base of the central mount. As this sacred hillock is there almost
perpendicular, the ascent to its pagoda-crowned summit is effected by
a flight of several hundred steps excavated in the rock. A daily and
excessively animated market is held under some sheds situated near
the junction of the Nam Kan and the Mekong; but they are insufficient
to accommodate all the vendors, and open booths, stalls, or shops are
prolonged for upwards of half a mile in a wide street parallel to the


M. Garnier remarks that this was the first market, in the European
sense of the word, which he had seen since leaving Pnom Penh. This
sudden activity, he adds, and comparatively considerable commerce,
to judge from the numerous and diverse types which at Luang Prabang
represented all the nations of Indo-China and India, were obviously
due less to a change of race or increased product of the soil than to
a radical difference of government. The countries of Southern Laos, in
their era of independence, had been celebrated for their wealth and
commercial enterprise; but Siamese tyranny and monopoly have blighted
their prosperity. If life be reviving at Luang Prabang, it is because
the Siamese court have awakened to a perception of the fact that a
milder rule was essential for so powerful a province.


The foundation of Luang Prabang appears to date only from the early
part of the eighteenth century. No reference to it occurs in the
careful account of Siam compiled by the Jesuit missionary La Loubère
in 1687-88. Its distance from the theatre of the wars which desolated
Indo-China in the eighteenth century, greatly contributed to assure
its prosperity, and was probably one of the principal causes which led
to its foundation. Its government skilfully contrived to obtain the
nominal protection of China, by sending an envoy once every eight years
with a couple of elephants, as a sign of homage; and it has secured the
goodwill of the Annamite empire, by consenting to pay a small triennial
tribute. The mountainous country to be traversed before an army can
reach Luang Prabang, and the energy which its population owes to the
admixture of numerous savage and warlike tribes inhabiting the borders
of Tonquin and Laos, invest this province with exceptional means for
resisting aggression on the part of Siam.

       *       *       *       *       *

But we have exhausted our space; and, after leading the reader into
territories which have before them a splendid future, and following
with him the course of the great Cambodian river into regions almost
unknown to Europeans--regions the resources of which are immense, but
need the science and energy of Europe for their development--we must
bring our narrative to a close.

We have accompanied Mouhot to Luang Prabang. Thence he returned to Pak
Lay, where, he says, he had the pleasure of again seeing the beautiful
stream which he had come to regard as an old friend. “I have so long
drunk of its waters,” he writes; “it has so long either cradled me on
its bosom or tried my patience,--at one time flowing majestically among
the mountains, at another muddy and yellow as the Arno at Florence.”


Revisiting Luang Prabang on the 25th of July, he left it again on the
9th of August. A few months later his adventurous career, as we have
already stated, was terminated by an attack of jungle fever.

Hitherto, it has been to the research and adventure of French
travellers that geographers have principally owed their knowledge of
the Mekong. Let us hope that before long some Englishmen will follow in
their steps!


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=EARLY GENIUS=, As Illustrated by Bacon, Galileo, Newton, Cimabue,
Giotto, Michael Angelo, Julius II., etc. By the author of “Success in
Life,” etc. Finely illustrated. 16mo, cloth extra, $1.50.

18mo, cloth extra, 75 cts.

=GALILEO, THE ASTRONOMER OF PISA.= Colored frontispiece. 18mo, cloth,
50 cts.

=GAUSSEN=, (Prof. L.).--=WORLD’S BIRTHDAY= (The). A book for the young.
Translated by Mrs. CAMPBELL OVEREND. With colored plates. 16mo, cloth,

=GOOD OUT OF EVIL.= A Tale for Children. By Mrs. SURR, author of
“Sea-Birds and the Story of their Lives,” etc. With 32 illustrations.
16mo, cloth extra, 75 cts.

=HAPPY HOLIDAYS AT WOODLEIGH HOUSE=; Or, Aunt Elsie and her Guests. 8
tinted illustrations. 16mo, cloth extra, $1.25.

=HERSCHELS= (Story of the). A Family of Astronomers. Colored
frontispiece. 18mo, cloth, 50 cents.

=HOLY WELL= (The). An Irish Story. With colored frontispiece. 18mo,
cloth extra, 25 cts.

=IN THE FAR EAST.= A Narrative of Exploration and Adventure in
Cochin-China, Cambodia, Laos and Siam. 16mo, cloth extra, many
illustrations, 75 cts.

=KANE= (Dr.), =THE ARCTIC HERO=. A Narrative of his Adventures and
Explorations in the Polar Regions. By M. JONES. Fully illustrated.
16mo, cloth extra, $1.00.

=KIRBY= (Mary and Elizabeth).--=AUNT MARTHA’S CORNER CUPBOARD.= Stories
about Tea, Coffee, Sugar, Honey, etc. With colored frontispiece,
vignette, and numerous woodcuts. 12mo, cloth extra, $1.00.

=LEONIE=; Or, Light Out of Darkness; and, =WITHIN IRON WALLS=; A Tale
of the Siege of Paris. Twin Stories of the Franco-German War. By ANNIE
LUCAS. 12mo, cloth extra, $2.00.

=LITTLE ROBINSON OF PARIS=; Or, The Triumph of Industry. From the
French by LUCY LANDON. Tinted frontispiece and vignette, 18mo, cloth,

Hazel,” etc. With colored frontispiece and vignette. 12mo, cloth extra,

=MASTER AND SERVANT=; Or, Richard Owen’s Choice. By Mrs. LAMB. 18mo,
cloth limp, gilt edges, 10 cts.

=MERCHANT ENTERPRISE=; Or, Pictures of the History of Commerce from the
Earliest Times. By J. HAMILTON FYFE. With illustrations. 12mo, cloth,

=MILLER= (Mrs. Hugh).--=STORIES OF THE CAT=, and her Cousins, the
Lion, the Tiger, and the Leopard. Colored frontispiece, and many
illustrations. 18mo, cloth extra, 75 cts.

---- =STORIES OF THE DOG=, and His Cousins, the Wolf, the Jackal, and
the Hyena. With Stories illustrating their place in the Animal World.
Illustrated. 18mo, cloth extra, 75 cts.

KATE THORNE. 12mo, cloth extra, $1.50.

=NEBULÆ AND COMETS.= Colored frontispiece and vignette, and numerous
illustrations. 16mo, cloth, 50 cts.

=NOBLE WOMEN= (Stories of the Lives of). By W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS.
12mo, cloth, $1.25.

=NO CROSS, NO CROWN=; Or, The Dark Year of Dundee. A Tale of the
Scottish Reformation. By the author of “Spanish Brothers.” Illustrated.
12mo, cloth, $1.50.

=PAULL= (M. A.).--=VIVIANS OF WOODIFORD=; Or, True Hearts make Happy
Homes. By the author of “Tim’s Troubles,” etc. Illustrated. 12mo,
cloth, $1.50.

=PENDOWER.= A Story of Cornwall, in the Time of Henry the Eighth. By M.
FILLEUL. 12mo, cloth extra, $2.00.

=PLANETARY SYSTEM= (The). Colored frontispiece and vignette, with
numerous illustrations. 18mo, cloth, 50 cts.

=PORTER= (Rev. J. L.), A.M.--=GIANT CITIES OF BASHAN= (The), and
Syria’s Holy Places. Illustrated. 12mo, cloth, $1.50.

=SEA AND THE SEA-SHORE= (The). Lessons in the Study of Nature and
Natural History. With numerous engravings. 12mo, cloth extra, $1.00.

=SNOWDROP=; Or, the Adventures of a White Rabbit. With colored
frontispiece and vignette, and twenty illustrations. 16mo, cloth extra,

=SPANISH BROTHERS.= A Tale of the Sixteenth Century. By the author of
“Dark Year of Dundee.” 12mo, cloth, $2.00.

=STARS= (The). Colored frontispiece and vignette, and numerous
illustrations. 18mo, cloth. 50 cts.

frontispiece and vignette. 18mo, cloth extra, 50 cts.

Colored frontispiece and vignette. 18mo, cloth, 50 cts.

=SUN AND MOON=--Their Physical Character, Appearance and Phenomena.
Colored frontispiece and vignette, and numerous illustrations. 18mo,
cloth, 50 cts.

=SWEDISH TWINS= (The). A Tale for the Young. By the author of “The
Babes in the Basket.” 18mo, cloth extra, illustrated, 75 cts.

=THRESHOLD OF LIFE= (The). A Book of Illustrations and Lessons for the
Encouragement and Counsel of Youth. By W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, $1.50.

colored frontispiece and vignette. 12mo, cloth extra, $1.00.

Colored frontispiece and vignette. 12mo, cloth extra, $1.00.

=UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS.= A Tale of the New World. By the author of
“Spanish Brothers.” 12mo, cloth, $2.00.

=WHICH IS MY LIKENESS?= Or, Seeing Ourselves as We See Others. By
COUSIN KATE. With tinted plates. 12mo, cloth extra, $1.50.

=WHITE-ROCK COVE= (The). A Tale for the Young. With six colored plates.
12mo, cloth extra, gilt edges, $1.50.



Transcriber's Note

Illustrations have been moved next to the relevant text, and may no
longer match the locations in the List of Illustrations.

The following apparent errors have been corrected:

advertisement "CAMPBELL OVERON" changed to "CAMPBELL OVEREND"

advertisement "Reformation," changed to "Reformation."

Archaic or inconsistent spelling and punctuation have otherwise been kept as printed.

The following are used inconsistently in the text:

Battambang and Battabang

Birman and Burman

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Far East - A Narrative of Exploration and Adventure in Cochin-China, - Cambodia, Laos, and Siam" ***

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