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Full text of "From Swatow to Canton (Overland)"

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From Swatow 
to Canton 



Herbert Allen Giles 



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FROM' SWATOW TO CANTON: 



rO^STEIR/L^IISnDJ 



BY 



HERBERT A, GILES, 
Of II. B. M.'s Consuhn Service. 



London - TKUBNEK & CO. 
Shanghai : KELLY & WALSH. . 



SHANGHAI : 

PRINTED AT THE "CELESTIAL EMPIRE" OFFICE. 

1877. 



►O' 






4 ^013/ jy 



CfHttS£»Mf>ANESE LIBRARY 

HWtVAHD.YENCtttNG INSTlTUlt 

AT HARYAXP UHNEROTY 

MAR Id 1940 



DS 793 .K7 G5 1877X 

Giles, Herbert Allen, 1845- 
1935. 

Prom Swatow to Canton 



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NOTE. 



Being under instructions to proceed to Hui-chou Fu 
(M ffl Ml via Ch'ao-chou Fu {% %{ $) and Kia-ying 
chou (|g Jg jffj), in order to verify the good faith of 
the Chinese in posting the Yunnan Proclamation, it 
was obviously more expeditious and more economical 
to push on from the former city to Canton, thence 
to Hongkong, and so back to Swatow. It w^s also 
infinitely more agreeable; for although this trip is 
one which might well claim the attention of any two 
or more residents in Canton, Hongkong, or Swatow, 
desirous of spending a pleasant month surrounded 
by beautiful scenery, — yet an utter isolation from all 
human beings except Chinese and Hakkas, even for 
the short space of three weeks, had made the prospect 
of European society unusually inviting, at the same 
time that it had brought home forcibly to the writer 
the sustained heroism of such real travellers as Cooper, 
Margary, and Elias. 



h. a. a 



H. M. Consulate, Canton, 
1st August, 1877. 



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FKOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 



We left the bridge which stands just above the town of 
Swatow on the 19th of March at 9 a.m. The little rain 
pavilion (]|| 3|£), built at one end of itby some philanthropic 
capitalist to give temporary shelter from the storm to un- 
provided travellers, was soon lost to sight, and we were 
poling up stream through a flat and uninteresting country 
en route for Ch'ao-chou Fu. There being nothing on either 
side of the river worth looking at, we devoted the leisure 
moments of our first day to examining the boats and boat- 
men. We found that out of a total crew of six there was 
one opium-smoker, but he only indulged at night when the 
work of the day was done. He said the sailor's life was a 
bitter one, and that opium gave him strength to work. He 
was fifty-three years of age, wrinkled and skinny. The 
boat was roomy and clean, and divided into two compart- 
ments, giving us the luxury of a bed-room separate from the 
sitting-room. Our servants followed in a second boat. The 
doors were elaborately painted in the gayest style of Chinese 
art, and one of them bore the following appropriate legend : — 

" The moon is bright, the wind is clear, as we sing our evening 
" song. " 



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2 PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

But the panel which should have shewn the second line 
of the couplet had been for some inscrutable reason 
taken out, and the "mother," as the Chinese call the 
first half of a couplet, was left alone to mourn the loss of her 
" son." Further aft we discovered two strips of coloured 
paper, each bearing a response from some local deity to a 
question propounded by the owner of the boat and paid for 
at the rate of thirty cash per response. On enquiring of 
the boatman it turned out that during the preliminaries of 
engaging his craft he had hurried off to his favourite oracle 
and consulted it upon two points, (1) whether the journey 
would be a profitable one for him and (2) as to the disposi- 
tion of the traveller he was about to take on board. The 
replies he received were flavoured with a pinch of Delphic 
salt and ran thus : — 

(1) Pure gold of priceless worth — 

Who shall go and seek it ? 
The superior man will not stoop to pick it up : 
Picking it up his heart will not be at ease. 

(2) Treat others with gentleness 

And your journey will be a happy one, 
On the 3rd or 5th of the moon 

You will meet with a worthy gentleman. 

Now if the curious reader will refer to an Anglo-Chinese 
almanac for the current year, he will find that the 5th of 
the 2nd moon corresponds with the 19th of March — the 
day we left Swatow. 

Here our disti actions came to an end, and we had no 
resource but to listen to the sailors calling to the wind, 
exactly as inhabitants of more civilized countries whistle to 
it, and with the same object. 

20th. — This morning we sighted the tall pagoda which 
stands upon the bank of the river nearly opposite the city 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 3 

of Ch'ao-chou Fu. By one o'clock we were at anchor along- 
side the wonderful structure which apparently once spanned 
the river but is now broken by a gap of over 100 yards. 
Countless banian trees grow out of its masonry and are 
slowly working its inevitable ruin ; yet upon the very bridge 
itself and considerably overhanging the water are shops, 
swarming with workmen, supported by shaky-looking posts 
which do not go straight down into the water but are nailed 
on to the stone-work of the bridge at a very considerable 
angle. The gap is filled up with a bridge of boats which is 
opened from time to time for the passage of junks, when the 
familiar scene is enacted of half-a-dozen Chinamen springing 
across at the last moment and at the risk of their lives 
sooner than waste five minutes of the precious time which 
when we pass will be spent on the other side in gaping at 
the red-haired barbarian. How it is there is such great 
traffic across this bridge is difficult to say. There are very 
few houses on the opposite bank to the city and no shops to 
speak of. A beautiful shrine sacred to the glorious memory 
of Han W&a-kung who was formerly Governor (^ %£) 
here, stands upon the hill-side, and there are some celebrated 
tea-shops near by where the jeunesse doree of Ch'ao-chou Fu 
smokes its afternoon pipe and discusses the news of the day. 
The city is dull-looking and brown, but there is a pleasur- 
able sensation in knowing ourselves exempted from the ca- 
tegory of imbeciles who go to Kuang-tung and yet do not 
visit Ch'ao-chou Fu ; for, as the proverb says, " they go to 
" Kuang-tung in vain," 

mm* mm 

The Chinese declare it is one of the sights of the Kuang-tung • 
province and we are bound of course to believe them, though 



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4 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

we doubt if the European traveller would have guessed as 
much. Within, the city is much like every other city. The 
same bustle and ceaseless activity ; the same shouting and 
screaming; the same steaming restaurants and dangling 
shop-signs that are to be seen from one end of the empire to 
the other. In the evening as we moved slowly up the stream 
we passed a number of huge square-shaped house-boats, 
painted blue, from which issued sounds of the twanging 
guitar mingled with the notes of the wooden-toned Chinese 
flute. No friendly crack or half-open door admitted us to a 
share of the revelries which were evidently already in full 
swing, and it will be a long time yet before the presence 
of a foreigner ceases to change the complexion of any 
Chinese scene upon which he may enter a bidden or an 
unbidden guest. At present it is impossible to see even a 
Chinese city under its normal aspects. The sight of the 
foreigner's hat and boots alone is enough to call together an 
impatient throng, all anxious to get a close view and quite 
preventing the foreigner himself from seeing anything at all 
It is also equally impossible to visit a temple or any other 
object of interest in a thoroughly satisfactory manner, and 
for precisely similar reasons. Consequently we cannot get 
to the very marrow of Chinese society, and posterity will 
laugh at us for our inaccurate conclusions, not knowing that 
they were often drawn from blurred and half-stated premisses. 
But the river is beginning to grow narrower and we can 
already discern the silhouette of hills where really fine 
scenery is to repay the monotony of two uneventful days. 

21st. — There was a scramble among the half dozen villagers 
who collected to see us take early breakfast for two provision 
tins which had been opened the night before. Crosse and 
Blackwell carry happiness into many a Chinese village — 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. & 

which, by the way, will be a capital addition to their list of 
recommendations and for which we expect to receive one of 
their very best Christmas hampers. But so it is. These 
tin pots, valuable to us only for what they contain, will 
have their jagged edges nicely rounded off, a hole drilled at 
either side for a handle of string or wire, and will then be 
used as a receptacle for oil or Chinese soy, to remain in the 
family of the thrifty possessor an heir-loom for ever. Just 
then the whistle of a steamer roused us from a dream of the 
future when the provident Chinaman shall have everywhere 
supplanted the costly and luxurious European. But a 
moment's reflection recalled the fact that we were upon the 
inland waters of China, sacred to the lines which tradition 
says Confucius himself laid down and not yet open to 
desecration by the furrow of a barbarian keel. It was only i 
the travelling pork-butcher blowing on his horn to warn the { 
villagers of his approach. Landing for a stroll along the 
banks of the river, occasionally across the hills whenever the 
stream took a favourable bend, we had occasion to note for 
the thousandth time the courteous reception offered us by 
the half-naked peasants we came across. Invariably a pipe 
of tobacco and sometimes a cup of tea was put before us ; 
we were aware however that the same etiquette which 
requires the offer of these luxuries to the passing stranger 
obliges the latter to refuse them. It is as much as 
the poor fellows can do to get tea and tobacco for them- 
selves : they could ill afford to share their store with 
every chance comer. The water buffalos glared and snorted 
as we passed by, scenting probably the foreign smell 
which Chinamen declare they detect in Europeans. The 
women too did not place much confidence in the apparition 
that every now and then came upon them, but preferred to 



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6 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

observe our movements from a safe distance. They do not 
bandage their feet, having to work in the fields with the 
men. Here and there we passed plantations of the edible 
i bamboo, carefully fenced in from the depredations of thieves 
^ and cattle. We saw acres and acres of the common bamboo 
which is very largely cultivated about here, and from time 
to time met huge rafts of it floating down with the stream 
to Ch'ao-chou Fu. As far as we could make out, the ex- 
ports and the imports each consisted of four kinds of pro- 
duce. The boats going up were all laden with 

Salt, 
Bice, 
Salt Fish, 
Sundries, 
while the traffic down was confined to 
Charcoal, 
Bamboo, 
Firewood, 
Trees. 

Many of the hills are densely covered with pine-trees, which 
accounts for three of the last-mentioned four ; the valleys 
are chiefly planted with bamboo. Apropos of salt, we came 
across a good-sized bunker of it when stowing away our 
things in the space below the deck. The boatmen could not 
resist the temptation of doing a little smuggling on the way 
up. 

The evening had closed in before we reached Liu Ng 
(58 EH)- ^ ^ k ^ e ^ there, the boatman told us, on the 
2nd, 5th, and 8th of the moon \ and when we expressed 
some astonishment at crowding the whole business of the 
place into a single week, he explained that every day of the 
month in which 2, 5, or 8 occurred, was included, thus 
giving nine days in each month at nearly equal intervals. 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 7 

Other fairs in the neighbourhood were held on the inter- 
mediate days, so that there was always a chance of doing 
business somewhere. 

22nd. — This morning we observed a man dancing vigour- 
ously about on a raft at anchor in the middle of the river. 
He took a long step forward and then back again, boxing 
the compass all the time with his body, and looking gene- 
rally ridiculous, the more so as he was dressed according to 
riverine fashion "in the skandalus costume of a Greek 
"slave." We found, however, on enquiry that he was 
only treading rice out of the husk — a human threshing- 
machine. Later on we heard the familiar tick tick 
of the stone-mason's hammer, and looking up we saw 
a small quarry almost at the tip top of one of the 
high hills which came sheer down to the water's edge. The 
hill-side was scored as if by a groove down which the stones 
might be passed from above, but the workmen were not 
engaged in that part of the business as we went by. During 
our morning walk we were much struck by the unusual 
number of tiny joss-houses scattered about at every turn, 
and especially so alongside the river banks, most of them 
dedicated to the sailor's patron saint, the Empress of the 
Sky. Apropos of which goddess, our worthy tai-hong 
(helmsman) in a desultory conversation on general subjects, 
asked us to what spirit (Jfjff sheri) foreign sailors prayed when 
the wind roared and the waves dashed against the prow. In 
an instant the fearful scene of the shipwreck in Don Juan rose 
up before us, and we thought of the mingled oaths and 
prayers, the flowing rum-casks and drunken orgies of that 
supreme moment. So we took a middle course, and told 
him that some trusted to Heaven, and some to their luck, 
but the best and bravest to their own strong arms and hands. 



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8 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

Then he asked us if the God of Thunder ever struck down 
foreign ships and men ; to which we replied that he did, 
mentally substituting electricity for the superstition of our 
unsophisticated friend. He next proceeded to enquire whe- 
ther in our part of the world the thunder ever harmed good 
people. On being informed that unfortunately it did, he 
was kind enough to explain that this was never the case in 
China; whereupon we cut in with the irresistible remark 
that in China there were no good people to harm. He 
laughed at this, and said that at any rate there were very 
few among the mandarins, and that if every man got his 
deserts the God of Thunder would have enough on his 
hands. 

We saw several lofty pagodas on the distant hills and re- 
gretted only that want of time prevented us from making a 
closer inspection of them. We also noticed a group of three 
brick furnaces (j@ jg yen tun), used for creating the dense 
column of smoke by which any important event or national dis- 
aster is communicated to the next station, and so on to the 
capital. Five li, or about two miles, is the regulation distance 
between the stations. But the little house where the 
watch (JJJ ft hsUn kuari) should remain day and night 
on the alert was empty and in ruins, and the 
boatman told us that no one ever lived there now. 
We recollect reading somewhere that Chou Wang 
(M 3E) cause( * one of these beacon-fires to be lighted sim- 
ply for the amusement of his infamous favourite T'a Chi 
Ofi G)> an( l that in an incredibly short space of time the 
whole country was up in arms, to the intense disgust of the 
people when they found out how recklessly they had 
been summoned. And this reminds us of another 
act of this extravagant pair which well exemplifies 



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PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 9 

the wanton cruelty that ultimately brought about 
their overthrow and death. They were carousing one day 
amidst garlands and wine-cups in the celebrated tower which 
Chou Wang had intended should reach the stars ($} J[ 15 
teeh sing lou), when they saw an old man and a young man 
about to ford the river rolling at their feet. After a few 
minutes delay they observed the young man get upon the 
old man's back, and the latter at once plunged in to battle 
with a somewhat rapid stream. " I wonder," said Chou 
"Wang, " what can be the meaning of this. It would have 
" been more natural for the young man to have carried the 
" old one." 

" Most probably," replied T'a Chi, " the young man is a 
" coward. I should say he was the child of old age, and 
" has no marrow in his bones. But let us have them up 
" and see." 

Immediately the unfortunate couple were seized and 
brought into the royal presence, where a leg of each was 
chopped off and T'a Chi's surmise was found to be correct. 
But the legless victims — ah, what of them 1 Why, merely 
that a leg more or a leg less is a trifle in Chinese history. 

Our afternoon walk lay along a narrow path carved out 
on the side of the precipitous hills which rise up in many 
places perpendicularly from the water's edge. A great part 
of it was paved with stones to prevent its total disappearance 
with the summer rains. Sometimes we found ourselves as 
much as 100 feet above the level of the river, with nothing 
but a clear fall on one side and a steep cliff on the other 
Had we met a stranger at such points, our attention would 
have instantaneously been concentrated in some engrossing 
object on the wall side. We did come across one little bare- 
legged boy> luckily at an easy place, and we asked him if 



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10 FBOM SW4T0W TO CANTON. 

the road farther on was good ; but he was so terrified at 
meeting such an uncouth, object at such close quarters that 
he said he didn't know, though he had necessarily just 
walked the whole length of it and was evidently an inha- 
bitant of the hills. Farther on, where the hills sloped more 
gradually back, we reached a cottage with no " double coach- 
house" but only a strip of garden fenced in with bamboo 
and a man standing at the door. We begged to know if he 
had taken his evening rice, and also if he had any eggs to 
sell ; but he answered never a word, only pointing with his 
forefinger in the direction we were going as much as to say 
he would prefer our room to our company. So we went on 
our way, rejoicing that we were not as this man, condemned 
to a life of loneliness and desolation on the bank of the 
ChWchou Eu river. 

All the evening we had a slashing breeze from a favour- 
able quarter, contrary, as the tai-kong told us, to his wildest 
expectations at this season of the year. Reflecting that this 
poor man was so saturated with superstitions of all kinds 
that we should only be wasting valuable time in trying to 
convert him to the cause of science, we thereupon directed his 
attention to the responses he had received from his infallible 
fu-sa ; and we further added a response of our own, scrib- 
bled with a lead-pencil on the stern of his boat. It was to 
this effect :-~ 

It you are fair, the wind will be fair. 

A JH JH Jft 

He knew all these characters ; and we might have incauti* 
qusly set him down as a scholar of no mean order, had we 
not discovered on subsequent examination that these four 
words formed near about the sum-total of his stock in trade. 
Our object however was gained. He was convinced that 



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fftOll SW4T0W tO OMtfOtf. 11 

even a barbarian may bring good luck with him though ha 
hasn't a flat nose and betrays an irresistible tendency to 
wash himself much more than is either necessary or good for 
him — two points which seemed to attract the special atten* 
tion of this particular man. He told us that many China- 
men believe washing to be injurious to health, and indulge 
in it as little as possible. Opium-smokers, by the way, are 
proverbially averse to water, for what reason we have never 
been able to find out. The tai-kong was farther lost in 
astonishment at the few paltry characters we had traced, all 
too clumsily, upon his boat. That a foreigner should be * 
able to speak the language of the son of Han was cUgct 
beaucoup; but to write the sacred symbols arranged by 
the prophets of old and handed down from the generation to 
generation, the exclusive property of the black-haired people 
— this indeed was never dreamt of in the philosophy of our 
simple boatman. And lest any student, just entering upon 
a course of Chinese studies, should peruse the jumbled item* 
of this hastily-written diary, let us warn him while there is 
yet time that a knowledge of Chinese characters implies the 
power of writing them ; and thai a man who says he cam 
recognise characters but cannot write them must perforce 
remain for ever an inaccurate and unreliable scholar. There 
are those who will boldly assert the falsehood of the principle 
we have here ventured to lay down; but such wiH always 
be found belong to the ranks of those " who know characters' 
" but eannot write them," and amidst their loudest vocifera- 
tions and most violent statements the minds of their au- 
dience will inevitably wander away to the fable of the mon- 
key who- had lost hie tail 

23rd.— Early this morning we reached Sam-ho-pa ( sg $f 
JJ|), and took breakfest in the presence of a shrieking and 



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12 PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

excited audience. Between our own boat and the bank 
were two other boats, so that the people standing there did 
not get a first-rate view. This difficulty was soon obviated 
by a ferry-man who took three punts off the regular line and 
ran them from the Sam-ho-pa bank round to the other side 
of our boat where they delayed to receive another freight of 
sight-seers for a similar trip. Thus immense numbers were 
gratified by the sight of a very singular wild animal — at 
feeding-time too — and the ferry-man, who charged the usual 
ferry fee of a cash per passenger, realized the earnings of 
several days*in the short space of a single hour. 

The pagodas in this neighbourhood are of only two, or at 
most three, storeys. Such buildings are of course expensive 
and the people here are poor. Yet we noticed no diminu- 
tion in the number or size of the joss-houses scattered about 
the hills. From the cabin of our boat we have counted as 
many as four, all in sight at once. Buddhism has still a 
\firm grip upon the minds of the people which will not easily 
'be relaxed. 

Shortly after leaving Sam-ho-pa we passed the first bond 
fide specimen of terrace cultivation that we had seen during 
ten years residence in various parts of China. "We had fre- 
quently observed some half-dozen and more terraces one 
above the other, cut out at the base of a hill in continuation 
as it were of the valley below ; but here was a high hill 
terraced right away to the very top, and presenting the ap- 
pearance at a distance of an enormous flight of steps. We 
counted the terraces and found there were forty-three. Se- 
veral pretty little farms with brown children and the inevit- 
able water-buffalo at the door relieved here and there the 
monotony of the hills, which for the last ten miles or so had 
been of an unvarying green. Now and then a grave met 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 18 

the eye, looking in its solitary whiteness like the target of a 
distant rifle-butt We noticed only one shut in by the 
horse-shoe of trees which Chinamen love to think excludes 
the wind from the sacred bones of their departed ancestors. 
But all were placed in some gentle dip on the hill-side 
where the good influences of nature collect to lap them in 
eternal slumbers. Our attention was here called off to flocks 
of wild geese flying over head in a northerly direction, and 
forming the two characters ^ jen man and •— yih one as the 
Chinese say is their wont. From these the eye wanders to 
some exquisite groups of bamboo, the tops of which bend grace- 
fully over, for all the world like Prince of "Wales's feathers. 
And now the boatman informs us that away among the hills 
on the right bank are man-eating tigers, and that two child- 
ren were carried away last year by them and one the year 
before. There is evidently enough cover to justify his state- 
ment, and we accordingly accept it without protest. 

We are now passing the very spot where the famous re- 
cluse Lu Chu-ch'i H jft g§ spent so many years of his 
existence 

" Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife," 
in the company of his books alone. A large omnium 
gatherum shop stands upon the site of his one-roomed hut, 
and before it there is an aged banian tree which we should 
like to believe once screened the sage from the rays of a 
July sun. Yet sage as he was, spurning the society of 
his fellow-men, he did not altogether despise some of the 
pleasures of life, as the reader will be able to judge from 
the following anecdote. One night, when he was on a 
visit to the city of Ch/ao-yang, he dined with a party 
of friends, and took such a quantity of wine that he 
was positively unable to walk and fell flat down in 



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14 WBOU SWATOW TO CAHTOH. 

the middle of the street. By and by the Prefect came 
along in his chair, and seeing him lying right in the 
fair-way roared at him to get up. But La Chu-ch*i merely 
raised himself lazily on his elbow and replied " You are 
" the Prefect : that's your business. I'm drunk : that's my 
" business." And he followed up this telling argument by 
an impromptu couplet, as follows : — 

"Though the torrent be swift it can ne'er carry off the 
moon-beam that lights up its bed ; 

" Though the mountain be high yet it cannot arrest the fast- 
flying cloud overhead * 

The original words of which are : — 

mi xm&ma 

Thereupon the Prefect ordered his servants to help the 
stranger home, " For, truly," said he r " this is no ordinary 
"man." 

A bend of the river brought us, during our usual after- 
noon walk, suddenly upon a small Hakka village. Dogs 
flew out and barked in all directions, and we were soon 
^surrounded by a bevy of women and children, with only 
one man among them. The men are ehiefly employed in the 
boat traffic up and down the river ; cultivation of the fielder 
is left to their wives and daughters. They are a simple, 
goodnatured lot, but very dirty. It was amusing to find 
that a native of the Ch'ao-ehou Fu district who waff with 
us and could speak no language but his own, did not under- 
stand these Hakkas as well as we ourselves, and was per- 
fectly unintelligible to them. Every now and then we 
managed to detect a word of mandarin, such as yu (^f ) 
have got, and ch'ien (§£) money, and so succeeded in 
arranging for the purchase of four eggs at about ten times 
their real value. Suddenly one of the womem who had got 



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PROM 9WATOW TO CANTON. 15 

behind us discovered that we had no tail, and a deafening 
shout was raised by the entire Tillage as the news spread 
rapidly from one to another. But they nearly all went into 
fits of excitement when we removed our " Christy's Patent 
" Machine Made " and betrayed a crop almost of Parisian 
closeness. They said we were the first of our race they had 
ever seen, and that there was not a single person in their 
village who could either read or write. For all that they did 
not strike us as being a lower ordor of humanity than the in- 
habitants of many a Welsh out-of-the-way hamlet. Wishing 
them good-bye, we took our way once more along the narrow 
path cut on the precipitous hills which flank the river on 
both sides. We gradually got accustomed to seeing a sheer 
fail of many feet on one hand and nothing to catch hold 
of on the" other but surface-deep plants and weeds. Now 
and then a bridge, to call small things by great names, 
made us wish that in youth we had acquired le pied 
montagnard on some treacherous Alpine path. A gap of 
anything from ten to twenty feet in breadth by about 
sixty-five feet (we omit fractions) in depth, spanned by 
three narrow planks, is sufficiently uninviting to people who 
have not been trained to rope-dancing. On one occasion 
we found the middle plank quite rotted away at the further 
end, so that the iron rivet which held the three together was 
exposed to view, and we experienced a violent rush of blood 
to the head as we stopped there a moment over the gulf 
below to adjust our feet carefully on the two exterior planks 
which were sound. We found, however, that the will could 
exercise considerable control over this rush of blood, and ia 
response to a determination not to let it confuse our thoughts 
we felt it begin gradually to subside. In less dangerous 
places, three bamboos are usually tied together and thrown 



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16 PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

across, and the naked foot of the local mountaineer finds no 
trouble in stepping lightly across. But beneath the barba- 
rian boot, these bamboo poles always feel as if they must 
turn round, besides being smooth and slippery enough to 
make the passage across anything but comfortable and se- 
cure. 

24. — This morning we arrived at the ^ *jg gj| Ta-feng- 
pien rapids which are considered among the most dangerous 
of all about here ; so much so that a proverb has sprung up 
and is now widely used in the Ch'ao-chou department by 
numbers who are quite ignorant of its origin. It runs 

thus : — 

" Lose a pole, and you're back to Sam-ho-pah. w 

For the stream is so swift just at this point that much 
valuable time would be lost if one of the boatmen dropped 
his punt-pole into the water. The usual application of the 
proverb is to any arduous undertaking in which the least 
slip would be fatal. 

Having had unseasonably hot weather up to to-day, we 
are now treated to a temperature which calls for a thick 
great-coat at breakfast. Yet these wonderful boatmen 
make no change in their costume unless it is to wrap up 
their heads in a blue calico turban, leaving their legs and 
backs well exposed to the pitiless north-easter which makes 
us delicate mortals shiver again. From one year's end to the 
other they seem never to put on either shoes or stockings ; 
but, somewhat contrary to our notions, they are very careful 
to keep their heads as warm as they can. Tradition says 
that the turbans worn by the natives in this part of the em- 
pire were first put on at the opening of the present dynasty, 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 17 

when, sullenly submitting to the Manchu power, they 
sought to hide the hated badge of slavery — the shaven head 
and plaited tail which the victorious Tartars imposed upon 
the conquered race. 

Meanwhile we are slowly passing a seven-storeyed octago- 
nal pagoda with a small red temple at its foot sacred to 
3Jfc H the God of Literature, from which point the hills on 
both sides recede inland and leave us to wind our way 
through an open and apparently fertile plain until we reach 
Sung-k'ou |g p where they again take their place on either 
bank of the river. The chilly air has a tendency to sharpen 
the appetite, as we remark during five minutes' conversation 
with the " man at the wheel ; " but this infallible guide 
assures us that the phenomenon is due to the amount of 
wood all round us, which causes digestion to take place more 
rapidly than usual — and we bow forthwith to his decision, 
For is he not a child of the same soil that produced the 
sages of antiquity ? And did not those sages examine 
closely into the nature of things and deduce certain fixed 
laws to remain unchallenged for all time ? But we have 
thrown an apple of discord on to the boatmen's dinner- 
table — the deck. They have taken up the theory of 
cold weather increasing the appetite and are talking for their 
very lives. And as we are rather in the proverb-trade 
to-day, we will just mention a saying apropos of the long 
tongues of these Hakka boatmen. 

" Three Hakkas and three Ch'ao-yang men will talk enough 
to stun you." 

= fi £ a h m m $ a t&wmm a 

But as Mark Twain observed, when he was told that a vessel 
of 1000 tons was bearing down on them, that " 800 tons 
" would be sufficient for him," so we feel it a duty to state 



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18 FROM 6WATOW TO CANTON. 

that peradventure two Hakkas would be enough to do the 
trick without any Ch'ao-yang men at alL Which digre* 
sions are quite diverting our attention from the extraordi* 
nary looking village of Sung-k'ou, which one would certainly 
say had just been burnt out by a fire, so blackened and 
smoky are its houses and walls. The curious feature is the 
height of the houses, nearly all being of three and many of 
four storeys. They are evidently poor miserable tenements, 
with the single exception of the local pawn-shop which 
flaunts its huge sign <gf on a lofty and well-kept outer wall 
We stop here a few minutes only and then pole slowly up 
stream before a large and wondering crowd. The washer- 
woman almost drops her baton with astonishment, 

" Ixion rests upon his wheel," 
and youthful Hakkas scream and shout with excitement 
There is an end, however, to all panoramas, and we were 
soon snatched from their eager gaze, to gaze very shortly 
ourselves upon the hill-side where they say may be traced 
the lineaments of a beautiful woman. But we gazed and 
gazed in vain. Perhaps the lady was shy and would not 
shew herself to strangers, though that excuse will not hold 
good for the gentleman on the other side of the water, whose 
features were equally indistinct. 

At this point we met long rafts of wood coming down 
with the stream upon their difficult and dangerous course. 
They say at Swatow that there are three hard trades for a 
poor man, — 

X, Managing rafts. 

2. Carrying young fish to stock ponds. 

3, Cutting fuel on the hills. 

In the first trade the allusion is to the cumbrous and un- 
manageable nature of the rafts, which are often of immense 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CAJTTON. 10 

extent and very troublesome to guide. To cany young fish 
it m necessary to keep up a very tiresome jogging motion 00 
that the Water in which they are kept shall bo well shaken 
about, otherwise the fish will die. In tha third case the 
fuel-cutter cuts away all day until he is thoroughly tired and 
hungry, and then he his to carry a heavy load home. 

In the afternoon we took our usual walk, but it was short 
and not of an eventful character. We came across a notice 
warning people to abstain from cutting down bamboos in 
the neighbourhood at the risk of incurring the wrath and - 
vengeance of the clan t%, the rightful owners. And farther 
on at the door of a road-side tea-shop, we saw pasted up the 
following "infallible prescription" (fjjj jjf), which was 
stated to be a certain remedy for all kinds of sudden 
and violent complaints such as cholera and like diseases. 
" Take six mace weight of soap-stone : wash and pound fine* 
" Add one mace weight of liquorice, also well washed and 
" pounded. Boil these two in a mixture of yin and yang 
" (male and female, i.e., hot and eold) water : stir in a little 
"honey, and drink to the very dregs. It will then be 
" necessary to leave off beef and dog-flesh, which taken at 
" any subsequent period will bring the disease back again." 
The reader was further requested not to despise this 
prescription because of its simplicity, but to give it a fair 
and impartial trial. We wonder if any one has yet done so, 
and if it did him good. 

Before getting on board again we watch the boatmen haul 
our boat up the last set of rapids we shall pass to-night. At 
this spot, the tai-kong tells us, both passenger and cargo 
boats were very frequently capsized until a year or two ago 
when the Grand Examiner happened to pass by on his way 
to Canton, and hearing of the dangers of the place disembarked 



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20 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

with his suite and passed a whole night in fervent prayer 
to the Empress of the Sky at one of her little temples on 
the bank. Since that time, he assured us, not a single boat 
had been upset. " Poor trusting soul ! " we muttered in a 
language that happily he could not understand, "go on thy 
" simple way, and we will go on ours. It is not for us to criticise 
" too sharply the superstition that drags thee down to earth. 
" For the film that keeps back light from the eyes of our 
" own countrymen, though broken, is not yet drawn away." 
But we bitterly lament our inability to infuse the last brilliant 
paragraph k la Sterne into the mind of this Hakka tai-kong, 
since few things are more appreciated in China than a good 
turgid metaphor. 

25th. — Almost the first thing we saw this morning was a 
large bird sitting at the water's edge and evidently in search 
of its breakfast. The boatmen said it was a fish-catch-bird 

iB $1 Jib ^ ao V™ mao an( * we ta ^ e our ^ quickly and write 
down cormorant. Shortly after we arrived at a busy village 
called B9 f$ iff ^ n 9 ^ 8un 8 ^h anc * saw the first bridge 
across the river since we left Ch'ao-chou Fu. But this was 
only a rickety structure of ill-lashed trestles, and constantly 
succumbs, as we were told, to the swollen stream or an 
extra heavy gale of wind. In the middle was a small plank 
house, where sat the toll-taker and his mate, receiving one 
cash from every passenger. While at some distance off, and 
before our unusual presence had arrested the tide of traffic 
backwards and forwards, we counted as many as thirty-seven 
people on the bridge at once. Just beyond the village there 
was a rapid — it was in fact a day of rapids with us — of 
considerable power and extent, and by its side were waiting 
large numbers of Hakka women to earn some twenty cash 
a piece by helping to haul us up. It took about sixteen 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 21 

women to each boat with the boatmen poling as hard 
as they could all the time, and even then it was as 
much as they could manage. Every now and again one 
of the punt-poles would slip off a stone at the bottom of 
the river and the boatman lose his hold, or the torrent 
would catch the bow at an advantage and whirl it round 
so as nearly to throw all the women on their backs. The 
shrieks of the boatmen during the whole performance were 
perfectly deafening, and it was an auricular relief to find 
ourselves safely at the top. "We next saw how the streams 
which rush down from the hills to feed the river are not 
allowed to waste their kinetic energy. Just above the junc- 
tion there is generally one or more huge wheels, say thirty- 
five feet in diameter, looking exactly like the paddle-wheel 
of a steamer. Transversely across what would be the tire of 
an ordinary wheel are secured joints of bamboo at about 
three feet apart, not horizontally, but nearly at an angle of 
45°. These joints are open at one end only, and when they 
go under water with the wheel turned by the stream, the 
open end is uppermost. They are thus filled with water, 
and so conveyed up to the highest point of the wheel, after 
which the bamboo has its inclination directly reversed and 
the water is shot out of the open end into a trough arranged 
to receive and carry it down to the thirsty paddle-fields 
below. 

Thence on up numerous rapids and through much beauti- 
ful scenery, sometimes soft and green, sometimes rugged and 
brown, but in all cases 

" Meet nurse for a poetic child," 
even of the Mongolian type of bard. And with such ex- 
quisite fields of inspiration at their command, we cannot 
wonder at the flow of verse which has for many centuries 



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22 FROM SWATOW TO OAKTON. 

deluged the empire and to a certain extent continues to do 
so still Yet Chinese poetry has bat few charms ©yen for 
the most enthusiastic student. Crowded allusions and forced 
conceits are apt to pall upon an ear accustomed to the bold 
flights and generous sentiment of Western song; though 
upon an educated Chinaman the effect is all that could be 
desired, Now and then we may pause perhaps longer than 
usual over such a charming couplet as 

which may be roughly rendered : — 

" With wine and flowers we chase the hours in one eternal spring: 

" No moon, no light to cheer the night— thyself that ray must 

bring." 
But as a rule Chinese poetry is hard reading, and does not 
repay the effort. As an instance, however, of the change 
that all things sooner or later must undergo, we may men- 
tion that the celebrated modern poet flj $g g Ho Shao-ehi, 
who was born in the year 1808, actually introduced the 
word " steamer " into a stanza of his written on the occasion 
of a voyage down the Yang-tsze some years ago* The actual 
lines are : — 

3SMIK±*tt*ft 
SSTAgJIftJK 

" At Hankow I went for the first time on a steamer ; 

" The noise stunned me, and the wind and waves prevented 

me from eating and sleeping. 
" Two days and one night we flew along like a horse ; 
" At a Custom-house on the way I met a good friend whose 

wine gushed out like a spring." 
There is some touching story about the way in which this 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 28 

Ho provided a dowry for his daughter, but we have forgot- 
ten it All we recollect of his history is that his integrity 
was above suspicion, and that he had five wives and five 
concubines. 

In the afternoon, while passing a small cluster of houses 
on the hill-side, we were startled at hearing a voice call out 
from one of them "Sir! Sir! are you English?" We 
looked round and saw a smart Chinaman smiling all over 
his face and coming down to meet us. He then explained, 
in fair English, that he had been some time in Calcutta, 
whither he was going to return at the end of the three 
months. He said his name was $£ F9 H Lin Ah-yao, 
and that he was in the employ of a tailor, Harman & Co., 
which he spelt out very creditably — H, a, r, m, a, n. "We 
asked him if he could speak Hindustani, to which he 
replied that he could, and fired off a sentence with 
great volubility. We do not known whether Messrs. 
Harman & Co. have really a local habitation as well as 
a name; in any case, it was refreshing to meet a 
Chinaman in these lonely wilds who shewed no great 
anxiety about the texture of our trousers and shape of our 
hat, and to whom we appeared as a being composed very 
much of the same elements as himself. We bade him 
good-bye, promising on our way through Calcutta to call 
and take a suit of clothes from the establishment of Messrs. 
Harman and Co. ) but we felt at the moment as the 
Ephesian Christians felt when they fell on Paul's neck and 
kissed him — that we should see his face no more. 

Here and there along the banks we passed a spacious rain , 
pavilion, erected by some charitable persons who did not 
omit to set up a stone in some conspicuous part of it, with 
their names ostentatiously carved thereon and the amount 



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24 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

subscribed by each. So, wherever the mountain path was 
extra good, we might be sure of seeing a tablet commemo- 
rating the virtue of those whoput it in repair. Finding 
little to interest us on shore, except the ricks of dried weeds 
and hay piled up on frames about five feet from the ground 
for the water-buffalos to get underneath and pull their food 
comfortably down without waste, we took a seat, like Xerxes, 
on a rocky brow that overlooked the last rapid we were 
going to pass that night. Happily the scene at Salamis 
was not enacted over again upon the hulls of our fragile 
fleet : we got in safely to the top, to dinner, and to bed. 

26th. — At length, after a weary succession of interminable 
rapids we arrived within sight of the city of Kia-ying Chou. 
The first thing to greet our eyes was of course the usual 
pagoda, which was one of the plainest of its kind we had 
ever seen. We then passed a creek leading to another part 
of the town, and noticed some way up a fine stone bridge 
of four large arches. When within about quarter of a mile 
from the landing-place we could see that the mud quay was 
one dense mass of moving blue. The news of our arrival 
had preceded the fact, and the whole city had turned out 
to catch a sight of the barbarian. It was evident that the 
people of Kia-ying were unused to novelties in general and 
barbarians in particular, for when we landed the uproar was 
something tremendous, and it was as much as thirty soldiers 
could manage to make a passage for us to the chair 
and keep us from being crushed into a jelly when there. 
Shouts of " He is come ! He is come ! " preceded 
us along the street as we moved slowly by at a snail's 
pace, and every time we turned a corner there would be a 
general rush of the crowd and mingled cries of " The barba- 
dian ! The barbarian ! The Devil ! The Devil ! " But it 



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ntoM fiWATOw to gaktoh S8 

was all in good faith, as the highwayman eaid when he tied 
his rifled victim to a tree. No offence was meant, and 
accordingly we did not insist on being insulted. We «hatt 
remain barbarians and devils in Chinese eyes for many years 
to come; for with these simple-minded people every one 
who is not of them belongs necessarily bo* fan pang (s§ f$) 
or barbarian nation. As we passed along no person offered 
qb a material insult of any kind; there was no stone- 
throwing and no jostling of the chair or other unpleasantness. 
There was merely an extreme anxiety to get a fair view, and 
in this the sightseers themselves were the only sufferers, as 
they tumbled about and knocked each other over in the 
excitement of the struggle. Meanwhile we looked round 
in vain for any remarkable monument which might attract 
the eye. With the exception of a few common-place joss- 
houses these was positively nothing but long dirty streets of 
dirty shops, evidencing the poverty of the inhabitants. The 
houses which skirt the bank are mostly of two or three 
storeys in height, with a email verandah to each storey over- 
looking the river. Altogether Kia-ying Chou is not a city 
worth visiting for its own sake, as we found out in a very 
short time, hurrying off next morning at day-break en rout* 
for Ch'«ng-16 ( g g§). 

27th. For an hour or two in the early morning we had 
a fair wind, and hoisted the great sails which when fully 
spread out give the appearance of an open fan. These boats 
are flat-bottomed and of very light draught, so that they 
can make no pretence to sail on a wind. But running free 
they will shew as much as 300 square feet of canvas, which 
carries them along even against the stream at a very fair 
pace. Our happiness, however, was of miserably short 
duration. Kain began to fall in torrents, and we were soon 



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26 FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

at anchor, with nothing left us but to wonder how long the 
flimsy bamboo awning would keep the water out. Luckily 
we were not destined to the horrors of a leaking boat ; rain, 
and heavy rain, fell for many hours without causing any 
discomfort in that respect. The river rose rapidly and was 
soon a broad stream, rushing past at about Ave miles an 
hour, and if we had only been going down stream instead of 
up, we should have travelled as fast as we could have 
wished. But the boatmen are unable to pole in the 
rain; the poles get wet and slip out of their hands, 
and their feet can yet no firm hold of the deck. 
As to the rain and cold, they don't seem to mind 
either, always leaving their legs and feet bare, and 
frequently letting their wet clothes dry on them. Of their 
heads they are ever careful, wrapping them up in turbans 
and putting on a large umbrella hat whenever it is cold or 
rainy. And this reminds us of a curious custom among the 
divers on the sea-coast in this part of China. The night 
before they are going to have a spell of diving they all bind 
up their heads tightly with the usual cloth turban, and let 
it remain on all night, declaring that the omission of this 
precaution is sure to entail severe headache and an inability 
to stop under water. Whether this may be mere imagina- 
tion or not, we do not venture to say ; but we will add one 
more short anecdote about which there can be very little 
doubt. A Chinese literate, newly arriving at Swatow, was 
asked by a friend to share a prettily-situated little house on 
the Kak-chio side, beneath which ran a mountain stream. At 
first he seemed very pleased at finding a lodgiug gratis, and 
a congenial companion ; but in a few weeks he took his 
leave, asserting that the water running underneath the house 
" carried all his happiness and good-luck away." 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 27 

28th. — We are seriously thinking that if this rain lasts 
much longer it will carry most of our happiness away, that 
happiness consisting at present chiefly in tinned soups and 
CMteau Pomys, both of which luxuries are disappearing at 
an alarming rate, considering that it may possibly rain for a 
week and so prevent us from moving forward a single yard. 
But we reflect that man should train himself to emulate the 
almighty cash, and be 

" Bound in disposition, square in action.'' 
the character fj being read in the ~£~ Jg ; or as applicable 
to the cash 

" Bound in shape, convenient for use." 
fj being here read in the "f 2g ; the sentence being of 
course a play upon words, and a very fair example of the 
Chinese pun. 

Towards the afternoon there was a slight improvement in 
the weather, and the boatmen set to work to struggle with 
the stream which was every moment widening and increasing 
in rapidity. Inch by inch they fought their way, now cling- 
ing like grim death to the overhanging bamboos on the bank, 
and now scrambling ashore with a line to tow the boat round a 
difficult corner. Sometimes when the river took a wide bend 
we would creep up as far as possible against the extra rush 
of water, and then suddenly letting go everything make a dash, 
as if for dear life, to get to the other side where the current 
was less boisterous and the bank more adapted for towing. 
The slightest relaxation on the part of the boatmen and away 
we would go down stream, losing in one minute the toil 
perhaps of half an hour. It was a most exciting scene to 
watch, enlivened by the shrieks of the sailors as they 



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28 FBOH SWATOW TO CANTOJT. 

changed a long pole for a short one or snatched up a boat- 
hook to make a forlorn-hope grab at the receding bad. Once 
only we noticed the bow of the boat get too far away from 
the shore, and the current was just catching it to whirl it 
round with irresistible force when one of the men seized a 
huge oar, and thrusting it down straight into the water, 
made the side of the boat his fulcrum and by sheer strength 
brought us back parallel with the bank. Another instant 
and we should have been whizzing down stream, probably 
to crash into the boat that was following ua> By looking 
over the river side of his boat, the traveller may enjoy to 
the full that exquisite sense of the Glory of Motion. He 
seems to be cutting through the water at terrific speed, and 
sees and hears the rush of the tide breakimg over the bow. 
But like the peacock, which struts about in the magnificent 
pride of its hundred-eyed tail until by chance it catches a 
glimpse of the hideous feet below, when suddenly down fall 
all its beautiful feathers in humbled vexation of spirit, — so 
will the joy of our traveller be changed into sadness when 
he turns his gaze to the shore and finds that he is really 
moving at the rate of about £ a mile per hour. 

Along the bank we notice a few dripping pedestrians, all 
barefooted, as is the universal custom among the Hahkae» 
but many of them carrying those little hand-stoves contain- 
ing lighted charcoal which are more usually seen in the 
north. Our boatmen, however, do not seem to know the 
meaning of cold any more than the boy Kelson knew the 
meaning of fear. They plunge into the water up to their 
middles and wade along the hall-immersed banks sometimes 
for an hour together. When they get on board they look 
as if nothing had happened ; they make no attempt to dry 
themselves, but sit down as they are and smoke a quiet 



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PBOM SWATOW TO CANTOR. 29 

pipe. Every now and then while towing along the shore 
they execute a raid upon the the vegetables within their 
reach, and cany off whole armfuls without reference to 
ownership. 

29th. — The morning broke cloudy but without rain. We 
accordingly elected to make the best of the flying hour and 
enjoy a walk upon the bank. As we landed, the boatmen 
discovered a fish-trap set close by, and at once drew it up to 
possess themselves of whatever spoil might be found in it. 
But they were disappointed, and threw it back with a growl. 
Very few fish indeed are caught in this river, and such as 
there are do not repay any one but a Chinaman for the cost 
and trouble of cooking them. We noticed several Hakka 
women dipping about along the shore with hand-nets, but 
as fax as we could make out they swept the niggard stream 
in vain. And rightly so ; for were they not transgressing 
the precepts of their mighty master who fished indeed with 
a rod and line, Kke a true sportsman, but never used a 
net % With Confucius fishing was a contest of skill between 
himself and each individual life ; not the deadly blockade 
which only requires time and patience, no thought or ad- 
dress, on the part of cold-blooded besiegers. There were 
days too when the great sage would take his bow and 
wander away* among the hills in search of quarry. We do 
not know with what result History does not say if hie 
hand was steady and his eye quick; but it does tell us in 
plain and simple language that he who would not fish with 
a net scorned also to take the advantage of a " pot-shot." 
Hk birds were killed upon the wing, and thus? regarded by 
him as fair and lawful prize. 

Passing a huge banian, we were so struck by its immense 
girth that we proceeded to measure it with an umbrella. It 



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30 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

took sixteen umbrellas to surround it, which measurement 
we cautiously repeated the other way round and with the 
same result ; but after all the length of the umbrella re- 
mained an unknown quantity and will continue so until 
civilisation regained supplies us with a foot rule. Shortly 
after this we came upon a small market-town or fair, which 
was in a filthy state owing to the late rains. And the 
smells ! those sacred smells, in the very midst of which 
which Chinamen live and breathe and have their being, 
they were there in full bouquet that day. So we hurried 
through with speed, just having time to observe a large 
square of covered sheds — evidently the market-place — sur- 
rounded on all sides by shops, and forgetting, in our anx- 
iety to breathe, to ask the name of the town. 

Later on in the afternoon, we sighted ^ Jj£ Yii-k'eng, a 
busy and prosperous place ; its prosperity being due of course 
to a delicate adjustment of Feng-shui in the shape of several 
correctly placed pagodas in the neighbourhood. Here again, 
as at Kia-ying Chou, the news of our arrival had preceded us ; 
and the prospect of a novel spectacle drew many a blue-coated 
idler to the bank. It was moreover market-day, and the crowd 
was unusually largo. Men, women, and children, were ranged 
in close-packed tiers, and were straining every eye to get a 
sight of the wild man. Not to disappoint them, we placed 
a chair on the little deck outside the housed part of the boat, 
and calmly prepared to run the gauntlet of about four thou- 
sand eyes. Hardly a sound was uttered as our boat was 
poled slowly by at a distance of some ten or fifteen yards 
from the shore. The crowd seem lost in astonishment at a 
human being wearing a different dress from their own, and 
with facial lineaments of other than Mongolian type. They 
stared and stared as if their very eyes would drop out, but 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 31 

there was no excitement and not a word of questionable 
civility. Behind the crowd on the bank, the upper windows 
of one and two storeyod houses were crammed to overflowing. 
The owners, if they had only the wit to think of it, must 
have let them at a good figure, and cleared perhaps their 
quarter's rent For our own part, we now began fully to 
realize one of the intense discomforts of royalty. To be a 
mark for every eye, a bull's-eye for every well or ill directed 
piece of vulgar criticism — " See ! see ! he's moving. He's 
" shutting his eyes ! He's folding his arms ! He's blowing 
" his nose !" — is indeed a high price to pay even for the 
luxury of a throne. And it is needless to call attention to 
the fact that we were paying the price without enjoying 
the throne. But the babies — as the mandarins call 
them — were evidently enjoying themselves. We were 
to them an object of deep wonder, if not of admira- 
tion. Perhaps there were not ten amongst them who 
had ever seen a foreigner, before, and it may be some 
time before they see another. We mean a bond fide 
foreigner, dressed in the full height of barbarian fashion ; 
for there are a few French missionaries scattered about the 
hills at no great distance from here, but they wear Chinese 
clothes and shave the head a la queue de cochon. And the 
conversations that will be held over the rice-bowl and pipe 
when the crowd before us has separated and gathered again, 
each individual member at his own domestic hearth ! How 
they will tell the unlucky absent ones that the red-haired 
barbarian was bearded like the pard, and wore a queer- 
looking hat. . That at the moment he did not appear to be 
drunk or engaged in knocking any one's brains out, as re- 
puted to be the usual occupations of foreigners in China. 
But perhaps he was, cat-like, watching his opportunity, re- 



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32 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

evlard pour mieux muter, (or, as the Chinese put it, 
JR £( $ # & <Xu i ch!iu shen y*h), and spying 
around in search of a rich harvest of Chinamen's eyes 
and hearts. Whatever might be the sense of such home 
gossip, what would we not give to overhear it) The 
torture of being stared at would become a penance of 
love if it could only teach us what the Chinese real* 
ly think and feel with regard to ourselves. It many be 
safely asserted that no one as yet knows this ; for Chinamen 
do not talk unconstrainedly in the presence of foreigners 
any more than we do in the presence of Chinese. But from 
our press they can learn in what light we regard their 
manners and customs, their dress, their superstitions, their 
vices and their virtues ; while we are still without this 
source of a truer insight into Chinese thought than can be 
gathered from the lips of a pedantic and interested teacher. 
Meanwhile we are moving slowly but surely on. The town 
is far behind us, and the garping crowd, still lingering there, 
fades into an indistinguishable bank of blue, until a bend of 
the river hurries away the scene and sweeps it into our 
dreams for ever. 

30th. — An early morning walk through fast-drying mud 
brought us to an elegant pagoda of somewhat unusual form. 
Over the entrance, on a slab of blue stone which looked very 
like date, were carved the two characters |£ |£ (lien~chu) 
4 strung pearls.' The third (of course jg fa) seemed to have 
been broken violently off as if by some malicious hand ; but 
the slab being let deep into the wall, we did not see how this 
could have been readily accomplished. Making enquiries 
among the few villagers who had collected to watch us, 
an old man directed our attention to a root of the deadly 
banian which he said had forced its way us usual behind the 



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FBOH gWATOW TO CANTO*. 33 

state and *t length broken off a piece. This wag unsatisfac- 
tory, for we eould not understand why it should not rather 
have forced out the whole atone instead of merely snapping 
off about* third, and that third at the thinnest part, some 
f of an. inch thick. However, in China age is authority, 
and no one dares dispute the dictum of those who, in the 
exquisite native idiom, are "drawing near the wood." (gj 
51 ?(C $k Chiang chiu mu i). Yet Confucius warned hie 
disciples against a contemptuous treatment of youth, pointing 
out that the future of any young man may, for aught we 
know, be superior to our own present, As it was we accepted 
the patriarch's verdict with a bow, and passed on to examine 
a little kiln for burning up written paper which stood in front 
of the pagoda. What a glorious sample of self-deception is 
this harmless custom, which, by the way, presses upon the 
corns neither of merchant, missionary, nor diplomatist. To 
believe that the spirit of the heaven-born sages who centuries 
back in the immeasurable past gave the art of writing to 
man, has mingled with the vile substance of the paper 
whereon a single character is traced, is just one of those 
strained theories which the Chinese delight to hold* Luckily 
it does no harm to any one, and they may go on piously 
collecting each errant scrap and building votive stoves for 
the consumption thereof, until they and their precious 
symbols of thought shall alike have passed away and left 
not a wrack behind, StiH we can distinctly remember the 
horror with which, as a child, we listened to the story ef 
a wicked boy who threw down the Bible and stamped upon 
it The superstition ^is the same, only confined probably 
with ns to the narrow limits of a single work ; whereas with 
the Chinese it embraces all literature— the pregnant ut- 
terances of the sage, the ribald songs of the Suburra. Beyond 



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34 PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

the stove, and overhanging the precipitous bank of the river, 
was a small temple dedicated to the God of Literature. We 
gently pushed open the door and beheld — not the god himself 
— but another old gentleman in the act of having his head 
shaved. He rose to welcome us, but a glance shewed us that 
the ci-devant temple had been changed, at any rate temporarily, 
into a dwelling-house. There was nothing to attract our 
attention and accordingly we beat a hasty retreat. To 
thoroughly interpret the scene, we need only beg the reader 
to picture to himself a gentleman being shampooed in the 
nave of an English church, while three or four of his servants 
are frying sprats in the chanceL So we bade adieu to the 
String-of-Pearls Pagoda, calling to mind as we did so a 
little volume of poems for the young, entitled " Pearls of 
" Thought strung in Rhyme," presented to us some years ago 
by no less a personage than the authoress herself. A stanza 
of one of these had sunk deep into our very soul, abiding in 
peace side by side with other flowers culled at random from 
the wide field of the magnificent literature of England. The 
subject was the sailor's life, its infinite hardships and danger; 
and the verse in question ran thus : 

A ship ahoy*! I see a boy 

As he sits up aloft in the clouds ; 

His messmates down there nor reck nor care, 

As they pace the deck hx crowds. 

and here we are again diverted momentarily from the main 
issue by our allusion to one at least of the splendid litera- 
tures of the West. For it is almost our daily fate when 
conversing with Chinese strange to the ways of life of the 
European to be asked if foreigners have books — sometimes 
even if they have pens and ink. These are probably the 
most irritating of all questions that could by any ingenuity 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 35 

be invented to discompose the serenity it is so necessary to 
observe towards Chinamen of all ranks and classes. We 
can smile when they enquire if we have beef, mutton, rice, 
corn, and pork, in that mysterious land which lies beyond 
the utmost limits of the known horizon ; or, if we have a 
fixed government, and whether it is true or not that we are 
ruled by a perpetual dynasty of women. All this can be 
passed over with a laugh, and be quietly and briefly ex- 
plained ; but to be asked if we have boolcs, we, the heirs of 
all the ages, whose very children of ten and twelve years old 
possess more real solid knowledge than all the members of 
the Han-lin Academy put together — this is trying indeed. 
Especially so when nothing but a comparatively intimate 
acquaintance with our literature could convince the self- 
satisfied Confucian that we have anything to compare with 
his own most sacred store. But in half an hour we cannot 
give him this, and, so he goes away, believing perhaps that 
we actually have " books " in our wild barbarian tongue, 
but settling it once for all in his own mind that they would 
be of no earthly advantage to the gifted citizens of the 
Flowery Land. We have a valued friend whose daily and 
nightly thought is how to raise the Chinese to a jnst appre- 
ciation of what foreigners have achieved in Literature as 
well as in the sister-realm of Science. He would show them 
that we are not altogether wrapped up in the material bene- 
fits of telegraphy and steam, but that many among us are 

Ever delicately marching 
Through most pellucid air — 

in an atmosphere that the Chinese vainly believe is confined 

only to themselves. He would translate into their own 

expressive language the master-pieces that western nations 

think have helped to make them what they are ; and we* 



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36 FBOM SWATOW TO canyoh « 

should coincide readDy enough with his views but fo* 
the conviction that for many years to come such works 
would command little or no sale. In the first plaee> 
the translations would hare to ho well executed; and 
In the second, the secret of their authorship would hare 
to be rigorously concealed. Otherwise the Kterati would not 
hesitate to damn them unread, suspecting the hated element 
of Christianity to He concealed at the bottom. Mr. Her* 
mann Budler — for we need conceal no nam«s-*was, we 
believe, the first to subscribe to the Polytechnic Institution 
for the Chinese at Shanghai, an establishment about whieh 
we are now hear little or nothing ; and he has since started 
on a more moderate scale a similar undertaking at Amoy. 
All success to those generous efforts for the thankless and 
suspecting objects of them ; but we cannot believe that the 
gems of western literature will ever pass current among the 
Chinese until the day shall come when the proud literate 
not only condescends but is enthusiastically eager to seek 
for them himself. Even then it may be found to be as true 
of nations as the witty Chinese proverb says is the case with 
individuals, namely, that there is a fatal admiration for 

One's own compositions, but other men's wives* 

Thus we maunder on, until we notice what we have never 
before observed in our many long rambles in China — a 
finger-post. A small stone at a forked road informed us that 

& « 

;u m 

the right-hand path would bring us to a village, the left- 
hand path to the bank of the river. These conveniences of 



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FROM SWATOW TO GAHTOW. 37 

life should be common enough amongst the practical Chinese, 
and they may be so, but we cannot recollect ever seeing one 
before. They would form a capital vehicle for that form of 
philanthropic charity which is so often exhibited in bridges 
and roads, and might be duly inscribed with the name and 
address of the giver. No one near seemed to know who had 
put up the particular stone we saw or when it was dona 
We asked a native what he called it, and he said it was a 
51 K V™J U <* " short the way/' late in the afternoon 
we passed the market-town of Jfc f$ Jjif p Ch'i-tu-ho-k'ou, 
above which we anchored for the night. 

31st — The boatmen woke us up before daylight by what 
was for them a most unusual anxiety to get under way. 
We were not long in discovering the cause* At a secluded 
point in a bamboo-shaded bend of the river, they ran the 
boat alongside the bank, and were instantly met by a num- 
ber of suspicious-looking gentlemen with baskets who soon 
relieved them of the smuggled salt and separated in different 
directions. We had noticed the night before the absence 
of our " captain," but we thought he had only gone to visit 
his father and mother, who, he told us, resided in the neigh- 
bourhood. This little affair comfortably arranged, we glided 
quietly on until within a mile or so of Ch'ang-1$, J| ggg, 
when the water became so shallow that we stuck fast every 
minute. We then awaked to the fact that the rain, which 
had caused so much annoyance a few days before, had really 
been a great boon and had enabled us to reach this point 
without any serious stoppage. But now no rain had fallen 
for some days and the river had sunk accordingly. So the 
boatmen set to work in real earnest to push the boat which 
drew say two feet, through more than half a mile of water 
nowhere over one foot ten inches in depth. The uproar 



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00 FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

they made was something hideous, even for ears well habi- 
tuated to the melody of six or seven Chinamen all talking 
at once. They screeched ; they ran up and down the boat ; 
they stood on their heads— or at any rate appeared to do so, 
with their legs far up in the air on the high prow of the 
boat and their shoulders on the puntpoles down at the very 
water's edge. Then some of them would get into the water, 
and at length by dint of many long shoves, and strong shoves, 
and shoves altogether, we positively found ourselves abreast 
of the district city of Ch , ang-le\ But nothing of it can be 
seen from the river : the city lies half-a-mile . distant from 
the shore, and so low that its streets are usually flooded for 
about two months out of every year. The captain then 
presented himself before us with a long face and said he 
regretted that the state of the water would not permit him 
to accompany us to ££ |J|, Ch'i-ling, the farthest point to 
which the traveller can proceed by water and where it becomes 
necessary for him to cross the hills in a sedan-chair. He had 
however sent off for a couple of local boats which drew less 
water than his own and would travel much faster. These 
were alongside in a few minutes and were ordinary open* 
sampans with a bamboo mat bent over the middle part and 
open at both ends ; very different from the luxurious two- 
roomed house-boats, with doors (though porous), in which 
we had made the journey so far. Yet there was nothing to 
be done but to get our baggage moved on board as soon as 
possible ; and while fixing up a mat at one of the open ends 
and two half doors at the other, we comforted ourselves by 
reflecting that after all it was only for a single night. So- 
we sat down to a delicious giblet soup, hoping for the best, 
and at the same time arranging both a great-coat and a 
macintosh within reach. The cup — of sherry — was actually 



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PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 39 

at our lips, when without we heard a gentle sifflement, 
followed by that sound we knew so well, and in a moment 
both candles were blown out by a gust of wind, and rain 
began to patter distinctly on the miserable covering over- 
head. We put down the untasted sherry, lighted one of the 
candles under the table, and prepared for the worst. Hap- 
pily the worst had come. It was nothing : a false alarm ; 
but the sky outside looked threateningly black, and the 
moon forgot to rise. "We had intended to make some pro- 
gress by moon-light this evening ; but the boatmen, wiser in 
their generation, had foreseen a dark night and gone off 
quietly to bed. Now the author of the Hitopadesa tells us 
in one of the early slokas of that tedious work that — 

In the enjoyment of sacred poetry the time of the wise passeth 

[away ; 
But the time of fools in dissipation, slumber and strife. 

So we solemnly repeated these lines over the curled-up forms 
of our snoring sailors, blanked them all round, and retired 
to rest ourselves. 

1st ApriL — Wonderful to relate, our cook — a Chinaman 
forsooth ! — passed a sleepless night. Consequently he 
roused up the boatmen long before it was light and made 
them struggle onwards a few li before breakfast. After that 
refreshing meal — no jaded gourmand's milkless tea and but- 
terless toast, but such a breakfast as only a traveller's diges- 
tive organs can successfully cope with — we found ourselves 
strolling slowly along the bank amidst scenery that reminded 
us of the valley of the Thames. The river continued of a con- 
siderable breadth, but so shallow that nothing but a flat-bot- 
tomed Chinese sampan could have floated us comfortably 
along. It is even doubtful if we shall reach |£ {jg| Ch'i-ling 
Possibly we may be obliged to disembark at ^f j£ Ch'ing-ch'i 



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40 FROM SWATOW IO CJLNTON. 

which However will only increase our land journey by About 
three miles. On the hill-side we noticed a larger number 
than usual of those earthen-ware urns wherein lie ooneealed 
the bones of some departed ancestor, collected perhaps from 
the broken coffin or the demolished grave by the pious hand 
of a descendant Sometimes a small stone is erected near, 
informing the passing world that the remains of such and 
such a one are within, reposing in their City of Old 
Age (f£ J|). We cannot say whether this term for the 
last resting-place of the dead is general in China, or merely of 
local use ; but we may assert that we observe throughout 
this gnat empire a singular delicacy and refinement in the 
selection of the language and ceremonies applicable to Death 
and Burial The religion of the people is made up of so 
many and varied elements that it is difficult to say what is 
the popular belief of the masses as to the life to which they 
look forward after the dissolution of the body. They believe 
in a future state ; but what that state is supposed- to be we 
have found it impossible to discover. The mysteries of 
Nirvana have no meaning for the poor and uneducated, 
however much they may satisfy the cravings of some; 
and the Hall of Heaven (5J «g£) is far too vague and im- 
material &r the ordinary pork-loving Chinaman. He would 
require a place where there was plenty to eat and drink, no 
cold and shivering, no grasping and ruthless officials, but a 
tongue-tied wife and a quiver full of children and grand- 
children. Then we could imagine him basking bis sleek form 
in the sun of -everlasting happiness, and uttering from the 
very bottom of his heart— 

u Deus nobis h»c otia fecit 1 " 
But we wander feom the point— if perchance it may be 
conceded that we have a point— which was to make a few 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 41 

desultory remarks on the subject of Chinese graves. In the 
first place no tomb-stone is ever seen in China engraved 
with other names than those of a father and mother, a 
grandfather and grandmother. No " Sacred to the memory 

" of , daughter of , aged only 19," as we 

once saw in Highgate Cemetery, carved at the base of a marble 
chair which the gentle spirit of the young girl had vacated 
for ever, leaving her mantle hanging negligently over the 
back and a dead dove lying on the ground beside. " Only 
"19 " — what power and pathos in a single word, requiring 
no italics in the original inscription, emphasised as it is by 
the marble scene above. To return once more. "We have 
said that all tombstones in China are erected to the memory 
either of a father or mother; but as mortality amongst 
children is naturally as great here as in any other country it 
becomes a question what is done in the case of the death of 
a little one. Strange as it may seem, if a boy, he is made a 
father at once by having some other child posthumously pre- 
sented to him as his son ; and then, when a suitable monu- 
ment has been erected, the son will in years to come worship 
there the spirit of his departed father. But if a girl — ah ! 
hers is a sad fate. No son can be made over to her to fulfil 
those duties by which the Chinese set so much store ; but 
when night has thrown its own dark pall over the scene, she 
will be hastily laid in a small hole, within reach, if con- 
venient, of the family vault — 

" In sight of heaven, though feeling hell " 
debarred for ever from participation in the feasts and cere- 
monies which the Chinese believe can alone give the depart- 
ed spirit rest. We said the " family vault " because it is 
usual for the sons of a family with any means at all to pre- 
pare the grave, as well as the coffins, of their father and 



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42 FKOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

mother long before the need actually arises. And the old 
people love to visit the well-chosen spot where they hope 
that their bones will some day lie ; and their names and 
surnames are carefully inscribed thereon, leaving only the 
date blank. But hereby hangs a tale. The colour of the 
characters on a tombstone is a matter of the highest import* 
ance. A common custom is — but customs vary much in the 
Eighteen Provinces — to paint all the characters red .at first. 
Bed is the colour of joy; and the passer-by sees at a glance 
that the vault has no occupant but is only there in readiness 
against that day which sooner or later must come to each in 
turn. When that day does arrive, and the father or mother 
is to be deposited within, the ming % — anglic^, Christian 
name— of the defunct is painted black or green. So with 
the survivor ; but nothing except the ming of each is chang- 
ed, for the dynasty is still flourishing and the surname still 
lives in the son whose duty it is to transmit it to posterity 
even as his forefathers have handed it down to him. There 
is yet another piece of formality to be observed with re- 
gard to the wording of the inscription. It will be best ap- 
preciated by those young ladies who have been accustomed 
to read the future through the mystic medium of cherry- 
stones: — "Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, gentleman, apo- 
11 thecary, ploughboy, thie£* The Chinese have a similar set 
of words: — "Life, age, illness, death, sorrow;" and it is 
imperative that the epitaph on a grave should be so con- 
structed as to end with one or other of the first two auspicious 
words and not with either of the three last ill-omened sounds. 
This sentence (££, jg, Jg, ft, ^) 87iSng,lao f ping, sm, k\ 
is of almost universal use, though we have heard that a 
variation of four characters only (££, ||£, Jg, |g) Sheng,wang 9 
seu, chueh, is better known in the province of Fokien. But 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 43 

all this time we are lying anchored in front of the village of 
W §S» Ch'ing-ch'i, for we can get no farther ; and here we are 
to remain until tomorrow morning at break of day when the 
land journey is to begin. This being the case, we spent the 
afternoon in scrambling over the hills which reminded tl* 
very much of the scenery of North Wales, excluding of 
course the variation of terraced paddy-fields and the bamboo*. 
2nd. — Long before dawn we were awakened by the pre* 
scient " boy," who foresaw that there was a good day's work 
in store. In a momentary absence of mind, thinking only 
of the twenty odd miles of mountain road before us, we 
reproached him somewhat for having waked us too soon and 
professed our intention to slumber again. But he knew 
better, as we afterwards found to out cost. So We swal* 
lowed a hasty meal, put our valuables together, and ex- 
changed the boat for the bank. There we found a crowd of 
porters and chair-coolies surrounding two consequential* 
looking Chinamen, one seated at a table with pen, ink, and 
paper before him, and the other standing before a temporary 
weighing-machine suspended between three poles like a gipsy 
kettle. It appeared that the system was to charge so much 
— 6 J cash — per catty for the conveyance of baggage or 
merchandise across the hills, and that consequently every- 
thing had to be carefully weighed before starting. Here 
was a fine field for the native love of screaming inherent in 
every Chinaman's breast. Every one of the sixty-seven 
individuals standing round that weighing-machine spoke — 
bawled at once, and each at the very top of his voice. Th* 
din was indescribable, and we retired to survey the scene 
from a distance. Meanwhile we thought they never would 
have finished ; the sun rose higher and higher while the best 
part of the day was being wasted. At last this part of tha 



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44 FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

business was over, and when the headman of the baggage 
hong came and calmly informed us that we should have to 
pay on eight hundred catties, say 1000 lbs weight, of luggage, 
we felt that any energy to dispute the accuracy of his 
scale, still less his own immaculate honesty, had long since 
ebbed away. So we accepted his estimate, reconciled to 
anything by the prospect of a near departure. But tired 
and exhausted as we wero by the long drawn out scene we 
had just witnessed, we had arisen to go just about one hour 
and a quarter too soon. For though the luggage had been 
duly, if humourously, weighed, this process had to be 
repeated amongst themselves by the coolies engaged to 
carry it. It was a trying time. Not one would carry an 
ounce more than any other, and the distribution of packages 
among them led to a drama which no language could put 
before the reader with a fraction of its actual vividness ; we 
will therefore beg leave to shroud our description within the 
limits of a single word — Rideau 1 

It was close upon eight o'clock when our caravan moved 
slowly off and began to climb the steep hills beyond which, 
at a distance of some twenty three miles, lay the town of 
5l£ HI Lao-lung — our Promised Land. By a happy chance 
the sky had clouded over, but without prospect of rain, or 
we might have had some miserable hours, perhaps a night, 
to spend in a dirty Chinese hovel. So we gave ourselves up 
to thorough enjoyment of the delicious morning air, and the 
exquisite views that opened one after another upon us. We 
had taken the precaution to engage four coolies to carry our 
chair, two at a time ; and as we walked a great deal, 
especially up the steepest parts, we had no fear of over-tiring 
the largely-developed calves of these sturdy mountaineers. 
Besides we found to our astonishment a first-rate road, 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 45 

usually about eight feet broad, occasionally rather narrower ; 
and this rejoiced us the more as we not unfrequently had a 
fall of two or three hundred feet on one side, when our 
thoughts, diverted from the beauty of the landscape, con- 
verged involuntarily upon the position of our centre of 
gravity. We met such strings of people too, and they 
always would take the inside, so that every now and then 
there seemed to be nothing below us but an uncomfortable 
thickness of space. And here we may say that before the 
end of the journey we were utterly astounded at the ceaseless 
traffic to and fro across these hills. During an eight hours' 
march we never once covered one hundred yards of ground 
without meeting some man or woman carrying a burden. 
Nor did we but very rarely meet individuals : generally 
long files of women, so long that we once counted as 
many as seventy-four carrying tubs of oil (lamp-oil and 
tea*-oil for the hair), two women to each tub. A great 
many were carrying loads of tea-cake (^> |^) — no connec- 
tion with Sally Lunn — which is still used as soap, and 
sometimes as manure, by the inhabitants of out-of-the- 
way regions. It is made from the husks of the tea-seed out 
of which the oil has been expressed. Apropos of these 
women, it was impossible not to notice their extreme mo- 
desty of expression. Some of them were young and nice- 
looking ; but all looked overworked. A few wore straw 
sandals on their feet ; the majority walked barefooted over 
the stony paths, though there was not one without a bracelet 
of some kind upon her arm. All this time we hardly ever 
lost sight of the river which gradually dwindled to a thread 
of water splashing among the rocks, until at last we reached 
the summit of the chain of hills alongside the very source 
that gave it birth. It was a beautiful spot. A cluster of 



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46 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

three or four magnificent trees shaded two buildings, one on 
either side of the road, joined by a lofty arch-way which 
served as a resting-place and shelter for travellers. "While 
our coolies were refreshing themselves with tea and pipes, 
we entered the building on the left, over the door of 
which were inscribed the characters §g §| ^. It was 
a Buddhist temple, and several priests were busily en- 
gaged in trimming the lamps and renewing the burnt-out 
joss-stick. There was nothing to see but two old women on 
their knees before the shrine of the world-honoured One, 
so we turned and left them to their devotions, passing across 
to the building on the other side of the way. There we 
moved in a totally different atmosphere — purer, holier far, 
than the rank odour of Superstition we had just quitted. 
We stood in the presence of a Spirit we too could adore ; for 
the Spirit of Literature, common to all ages and to all na- 
tions, was there enshrined, and breathed its influence around. 
We were in a chapel sacred to the undying memory of Han 
Wen-kung, and an image of this brilliant " statesman, phi- 
" losopher, and poet," reposed majestically upon the altar. 
On either side were his faithful followers £j| =f* ChangTs'ien 
and ^ H Li Wan who accompanied him in his wanderings 
when he had incurred his imperial master's displeasure and 
was nominated governor over this then wild and uncultivated 
territory. There he sat, neglected, and, but for the dumb 
statues who shared his solitude, alone ; while at the distance 
of a few yards flourished with a yet unstricken vitality the- 
idle forms and ceremonies of that religion he had made such 
an effort to overthrow. With a sigh we sought to appease 
the manes of Intellect defeated in its struggle with the most 
loathsome of all monsters that prey upon humanity, and fled 
the humiliating scene. But as we turned to take a last 



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PROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 47 

glance at the hallowed spot, two remarkable because widely 
different objects appeared to force themselves upon our 
notice. The first was an inscription over the entrance — 

St & M it or " ^ wiU ** Purified who enter here" : 
and the second — ah ! the second, what was that, hanging 
upon the shadow-wall (§J §£) which should bar the entrance 
to all things noxious or profano? It was a copy of the 
Margary proclamation. 

Descending the pass on the other side we found ourselves 
for some miles moving in a valley of paddy-fields and mud 
cottages alongside a tributary of the river for which we were 
steering our course. In some places the bed of the stream 
was very wide, though recent drought had reduced the actual 
flow of water to its narrowest limits. However at one point 
in the valley we had to cross a long wooden bridge, without 
railing like the generality of Chinese bridges, and in the 
middle about fifty feet from the ground. We at first 
thought of dismounting from the chair and finding our own 
-way across, but the bridge was six planks (about a foot each) 
in width, and did not seem at all formidable at the shore 
end. Neither should we, more or less accustomed by this 
time to dizzy heights, have experienced any discomfort even 
at the highest elevation, had not a string of coolies carrying 
large mat packages calmly started to meet us from the other 
end when we were about one-third of the way across. We 
had seen these wretches on the opposite side and had given 
them credit for sense enough to wait until our chair had 
passed the bridge before coming on themselves. Not a bit 
of it. Chinaman-like they accepted the risk, leaving the 
issue to fate ; and stepped lightly towards us as if it was the 
merest trifle in the world. And it might have been to 
them, sure-footed mountaineers, and pedestrians to boot 



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48 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

But to us, whose youth knew no steeper or more dangerous 
climb than the kerb-stones of Holborn Hill, and suspended 
as we were between the shoulders of two fallible men fifty 
feet above the dry gravelly bed of a river with nothing but 
six narrow planks between us and the Infinite, which scant 
allowance we were now to reduce by just one half — to us, 
indeed, the prospect was anything but reassuring. At such 
junctures we always fancy that the senses of seeing and 
hearing — especially the latter — are very much intensified. 
The eye seems to take in the minutest details, and 
the ear to note every rustle that stirs the air. This 
may or may not be sheer imagination ; at any rate 
the coolies approached nearer and nearer in their dread 
march until we were temporarily relieved by seeing them 
put down their packages on the bridge, as we thought at the 
moment, to allow us to pass them more easily, but really to 
get a prolonged view of the outlandish creature in the chair. 
Our chair-bearers went on without relaxing their pace. 
We grazed by the first three or four packages, having about 
i of an inch to the good, the eyes of every gaping coolie 
fixed upon us in a stony idiotic stare, when we saw about 
two yards ahead a package which the careless owner — who 
we excommunicated him internally ! — had put down corner- 
wise, and against which our then accurate sense of sight told 
us we must inevitably bump. We were not tongue-tied : 
we could have spoken when we first noticed it, but the 
recollection flashed across us that the bearers were Hakkas 
and would not understand a word. To speak might flurry 
them, and would certainly flurry us ; so we decided to go 
on, revolving even in the short space of two yards the best 
method of escape, how to throw ourselves over the side of 
the chair as the chair itself was going over the side of ths 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 49 

bridge, what to clutch at, and similar desperate particulars. 
Meanwhile, our time was at hand. The chair, as we had 
foreseen, struck — to our ears, crashed like thunder — against 
the corner of the misplaced package. The chair shivered 
from one end to the other, and the coolies were stopped 
short, for the package was heavy and did not yield an inch. 
"We experienced a violent rush of blood to the head, over 
which we had little or no control, probably because the 
issue was so absolutely in the hands of others. However, 
the coolies steadied themselves without any apparent effort ; 
the fiend whose carelessness had caused us so many seconds 
of unutterable discomfort straightened his package to a line 
with the others, and we crossed the bridge in safety. 

As a relief to the above scene we forthwith met two men 
carrying a pig in a bamboo cage shaped like a sausage. The 
pig's four legs hung down through the large meshes of the 
cage, and the expression on its face was ludicrous in the 
extreme. This may be the usual way of carrying pigs in 
the Kuang-tung province. We hope it is, and that the 
practice will some day become general in the empire ; for it 
is infinitely more humane than the northern system of tying 
the wretched animal's four feet together and carrying it on 
a pole with its back downwards. Shortly after this we 
reached the Half-way House, where the chair-coolies are in 
the habit of taking their midday meal. It reminded us of 
another Half-way House where we had once refreshed our- 
selves with bread and cheese and mild ale while passing 
through the beautiful county of Buckinghamshire. That 
establishment was called by the singular name of the Five 
Alls, which was most obligingly explained to us by a half- 
tipsy reveller at the bar who told us he was a native of the 
place. "You see," said he, "the king governs all, the 



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50 FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

" soldier fights for all, the parson prays for all, the doctor 
" heals us all, and the lawyer cheats us all. And so they 
" calls this house the Five Alls, and I should be much 
" pleased, Sir, to join my friend Bill here in drinking your 
" very good health." No bread, no cheese, no beer, satisfied 
the craving stomach at this Half-way House, separated by 
ten thousand miles of sea and sky from that ; neither found 
we here any uproarious Bacchanalian to amuse us with his 
drunken wit. Tho coolies settled themselves down to their 
rice and fat pork and sweet potatoes, most of them finishing 
up with a whiff of the invigorating opium-pipe. We walked 
on ahead, vainly hoping to escape the little cfowd and take 
a quiet lunch in peace. But the people would not hear of 
it ; they determined to interview us, and closely followed at 
our heels. Finally we scrambled up a steep piece of rock, 
and there, partly hidden by a large tree and partly by our 
own umbrella, we managed to bolt three hard-boiled eggs, a 
piece of seed-cake, and half a tumbler of sherry. On we 
went again, up hill and down dale, but always along an 
excellent road which left nothing to desire. Houses became 
more numerous and of more extensive proportions. They 
were all built in the form of a square with a small court- 
yard in the middle, but not a single window or opening of 
any kind in the outer walls except one entrance protected 
always by a most substantial looking door. This told its 
own tale; and in the plan of these detached and often 
solitary homesteads we read many a melancholy tale of 
sacked houses, murdered families, and scattered household 
gods. Another strange phenomenon here presented itself 
for solution — a suddenly and largely increased percentage 
of beggars. Ever on the watch to discover the real 
standard of material prosperity now enjoyed by the 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 51 

people of China, we Lad kept a careful account of tho 
beggars seen with our own eyes between Swatow and 
the furthest point we had reached by water, namely 
W S8» Ch'ing-ch'i, including our visit to the city of 
Kia-ying Chou. So far the number had amounted to only 
five. The people of Kia-ying Chou and its vicinity ap- 
peared indeed to be miserably poor ; but poverty and starva- 
tion are not synonyms, and what we saw of the city sup- 
plied us only with a single example of the " rice-seeker " 

(ft Wi 65 )• ** was ^ er P*" 38 ^ the temple of Han 
Wen-kung, situated, by the way, exactly on the bound- 
ary line between the districts of J| $gg Ch'ang-16 and gg ]\\ 
Lung-ch'uan, that we were startled from a dream of full 
stomachs by an endless panorama of destitution. We cal- 
culated that in the last twelve miles of our journey we met 
one beggar to every hundred yards ; and yet throughout the 
eleven or twelve miles of road which led from ^f f£ 
Ch'ing-ch'i to the temple we had not seen a solitary one. It 
was still a problem to us, when the chair-coolies put on a 
sudden spurt, hurried through the busy town of jgg $g 
Lao-lung, and put us on board a large passenger-boat which 
was there awaiting our arrival. The first thing we did was 
to come into violent collision with the roof which was just 
about two inches too low ; and this, following on the fatigu- 
ing land journey just accomplished, reduced us to a state of 
limpness that could only be removed by a well-starched — 
Exshaw's is the best — glass of soda-water. The next thing 
we did was to gaze reproachfully at the beam which had 
scattered our few remaining ideas, when lo ! we beheld 
thereon a scroll of red paper bearing the usual words of 
welcome : — 

T »Hft» , 

" Joy when you raise your head," 



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52 PEOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

and the bump we had to show on the top of ours formed an 
excellent commentary upon the text. Apropos of the rela- 
tive height of Chinese and Europeans, a Chinaman informed 
us only the other day that his own people were once tall 
and muscular, but that they had sadly deteriorated in the 
last few hundred years. The giants-in-those-days theory is 
of course common to China with the rest of the world ; un- 
fortunately they have no skeletons or armour or gauntlets of 
the heroes of old to shew them how utterly unfounded that 
theory is, for though Chinese civilisation may have remained 
stationary for many centuries we cannot believe it has ever 
lost a position once occupied. The Chinese themselves are 
never tired of salving the wounds of to-day by a reference to 
their glorious Past. We laugh in our sleeve whenever we 
see them laying on thick layers of the unction flattering to 
their souls. We believe that at the brightest epochs of 
Chinese history the standard of moral purity, intellectual 
culture, and physical comfort, was never higher than it is at 
this moment, and that every day which dawns upon China 
is raising it more and more. The laudator iemporis acti, 
otherwise known as the celebrated character in Gil Bias 
who insisted that the peaches of his youth were finer than 
those of his old age, is positively the rule in China instead 
of being as he now is with us a rare and almost extinct 
species. With us no one is fool enough to wish that he. 
had lived in the days of King Alfred or under the rule of 
Good Queen Bess. If he regrets at all his existence in the 
whirl and rush of the nineteenth century, it is because he 
looks ahead one or two hundred years even to a further 
development of the resources of man and a final settlement 
of several undecided, though hardly doubtful, questions of 
the day. All this time the evening lias been ebbing fast 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 53 

away. We have given up all chance of leaving till the 
morning, and devote ourselves to settling down. The hoat 
is so large that it carries us, servants and all. A partition 
in the middle leaves ample space at our end for a sitting- 
room and bed-room with an imaginary line of demarca- 
tion between. Beyond these, and fenced off by a sliding 
door, is the family oratory with a small altar in 
it on which already smoke various offerings of pork and 
vegetables by the dim light of three tiny red candles. A 
horrid thought arises within us, simultaneously with a com- 
mon and well-known Chinese proverb. We plan a sacrilege 
of the deepest dye, and the proverb guides us to our prey. 
We want a bath-room ; and that sacred chamber, scene of 
so many heart-felt invocations and vows of incense for the 
nostrils of the spirit, seems to be marked by destiny for our 
own. The Chinese themselves say that 

" Money can move the gods," 

and we determined at once to put the practical value of this 
saying to what we imagined would be a crucial test. Need 
we relate the issue of our scheme 1 Need we inform the 
reader that with the aid of one shining, ringing, life-inspiring 
Mexican dollar, the gods were moved ; and that there, in 
the very Presence-chamber of the Empress of the Sky, were 
our barbarian ablutions performed 1 

3rd. — We now found ourselves much* more comfortable 
than we had hitherto been. The boat did not rock about, 
and we were able to spread ourselves out. Our captain, too, 
was an exceedingly pleasant old fellow, and we should have 
been tempted to call him an honest-looking man but for the 
caustic saying that 

" Honesty is another name for imbecility." 

jg sf g ft m m % 



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54 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

and such is truly the case in China. A smart, clever servant 
invariably makes a good thing out of the master he serves 
so well. The open-faced, simple-minded boy who blushing- 
ly limits his commission to five or at most ten per cent, can 
never be broken of handing round spinach with oyster pat- 
ties and calling his mistress " Sir." We must take the long 

with the short— £11! Si £2 — somQ P refer the one type ' 
some the other. 

But we are fast gliding past g| )H Ltmg-cVuan without 
paying proper attention to its pagodas and a particularly 
quiet and peaceful-looking temple on the river bank. The 
scenery is pretty, though not equal to what we have seen 
already. The river widens. Every now and then we stick 
on a mud-bank and wish it would deepen. But the cur- 
rent is in our favour; we have no longer to contest 
every foot of the way, and it is pleasant to be quit of the 
shrieks of struggling boatmen. So we give up the day to 
the uninterrupted luxury of — thought. 

4th. — Which reminds us that a Chinaman placed in the 
same position as ourselves would infallibly have spent his 
leisure hours in sleep, in spite of the Confucian fulmen 
against persons who so indulge during the day-time. 
"Kotten wood," said the master, "cannot be carved" — 

?R ?K ^P rT J5£ *& — w ^ en k* 8 atten ti° n was called to a 
sleeper who should have been employing himself more pro- 
fitably in some other way. It is marvellous how Chinamen 
seem to have acquired a power of sleep. Not only can 
they go straight through the night with gongs and fire- 
crackers clanging and banging all round them; but at 
any given moment in the day they have only to shut 
their eyes and they are sound asleep within two minutes. 
We do not remember ever to have seen a Chinaman occu- 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 55 

pied in solid thought. If not reading, writing, walking, 
eating, smoking, or chopping woody he is quite sure to be 
enjoying a comfortable nap. Hence, perhaps, the stately 
utterance of Confucius that u Learning without thought is 
labour lost "— ^ fljj ^ Jg glj gj — warning his countrymen 
that they must not only continue to acquire knowledge but 
digest and arrange the knowledge they have already acquired. 
But we owe, and here offer, to our readers a very ample apology 
for presuming to quote from the profane pages of this benighted 
old pagan. The highest authorities are almost unanimous in 
their opinion that nothing good or great has ever or will 
ever come out of the teachings of him whom twenty odd 
centuries of erring millions have foolishly regarded as a sage. 
It has been quite by mistake that the Chinese have so long 
allowed Confucius to be venerated as a mouth-piece of 
Wisdom and Virtue ; and now that they are gradually com- 
ing within reach of the influence of western religions, wo 
are called upon by Dr. Legge* to believe that " the faith of 

* We are sure that nobody wiU feel greater satisfaction than Mr. 
Giles at the marked change which has come oyer the views of Dr. 
Legge with respect to the teachings of Confucius since he penned 
the sentence quoted by Mr. Giles in that portion of his Diary that 
we print to-day. The Doctor's paper on Confucianism in its rela- 
tion to Christianity is a monument of liberal views, as the following 
sentences abundantly show: — " The teaohings of Confucianism on 

''human duty are wonderful and admirable On the last 

"three of the four things Confucius delighted to teach— letters, 
" ethics, devotion of soul, and truthfulness — his utterances are in 
" harmony with both the law and the Gospel. A world ordered by 

" them would be a beautiful world What can be more excel- 

" lent than the doctrine of the five human relations, and the five 
•« virtues pertaining to them ?— than the lessons of Mencius about 
" benevolence and righteousness ? — than the oft-repeated inculcation 
*« of the superiority of influence in leading men to the right course, 
«« over force ? — than the exhibition of the power of example ? When 
" Confucius made the golden rule his own, and repeatedly enun* 



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56 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

" the nation in him will speedily and extensively pass away." 
We do not think it will, any more than that the Chinese 
will speedily and extensively put away the troublesome 
fashion of wearing a tail and take to the more convenient 
custom of the western barbarians. The chief outcry against 
them in California is that they will persist in keeping to 
their own manners and customs, and utterly refuse to adopt 
American habits of dress, food, or anything else. How then 
can we believe that they will be in such a hurry to get rid 
of what must be dearest to them of all — a deep-seated faith 
in the inspiration of their master? Christ tells us to " Love 
" one another." Confucius had uttered the same precept in 
identically the same words several centuries before. ~($t all 

K il ^ St A> Lun Y ^ XIL ) We look u P on the former 

44 dated it, he did the greatest service to his country. It has been 
44 said that he only gave the rule in a negative form, but the 13th 
44 chapter of the Doctrine of the Mean, and other passages as well, 
14 show that he understood it as a positive rule, and held that it was 
44 then only fulfilled when the initiative was taken in carrying it 
44 into practice. If a hall were somewhere to be erected to contain 
44 the monuments of the sage3 and benefactors of mankind, on the 
44 statue of Confucius there should be engraved his conversation 
44 with Tsze-kung, related in the 23rd chapter of the 15th book of 
44 the Analects." Dr. Legge farther holds that the God of Confu- 
cius was the God of Christianity, though imperfectly understood, 
but still represented as a Being powerful and supreme, righteous, 
holy, and loving. We think such extracts as the foregoing are 
sufficient to clear Dr. Legge from any charge of bigotry or narrow- 
mindedness. — Celestial Empire, June 16, 1877. 

We regret that we have not yet seen Dr. Legge's paper. All we 
know of it is that it has been excluded — and consequently the noble 
admissions above quoted — from the list of papers published by the 
Committee of the late Missionary Conference. In other words, one 
of the greatest living authorities on the Chinese language was 
specially invited to contribute a paper to the so-called Conference ; 
and because found to be too broad, too liberal for the narrow pre- 
judices of an ignorant majority, was flung back rudely in his face. 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 57 

as a divine command straight from the Throne of the Al- 
mighty, and reckon it perhaps the most beautiful of all the 
sayings of the Saviour. We slur over the latter with almost in- 
decorous haste, and unctuously speak of its author as a poor 
heathen " striving after light. 1 ' But it should never be for- 
gotten that this is precisely the attitude of the Chinese 
themselves. The precept they have inherited from Confuci- 
ous is the precept for them ; put in the mouth of the barba- 
rian teacher " Yah-soo " its eloquent morality is gone. For 
Dr. Legge's treatment of the words above quoted, we refer 
the reader to VoL 1, page 124, of his Chinese Classics, where 
he will find (in note 22) that the translator not only con- 
siders the replies of Confucius enigmatical and difficult to 
understand, but also omits to mention the very obvious 
identity of gg \ At jen and " Love one another." It 
would seem hard thus to cheat even a pagan out his just 
due, did we not know the Chinese to be quite competent in 
this respect to look after their own interests, and likely to 
wreak an ample vengeance on the unoffending texts of the 
Old and New Testaments. Personally, we can only say — 
once again with Confucius — that we " hate the manner in 
" which purple " is made to " take away the lustre of ver- 
4t milion." 

5th. — We spent a long morning in the company of 
a most agreeable gentleman of highly-cultivated mind, 
"Full' of wise saws" if void of "modern instances," 
who came to pay us a visit and went off delighted, 
like many others we met on the journey, with a present 
of some of Messrs. De La Eue & Co.'s beautiful Christ- 
mas cards. He remained a good three hours, but we 
" chatted of Heaven and discoursed of Earth " (gg Jl £ j&) 
and the time slipped pleasantly away, though it was 



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58 ntOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

somewhat wearisome to have to go oyer much of the 
old, old ground. Of course he held decided views as 
to the flatness of the earth, and believed in the existence of 
a spiritual world, acknowledging at the same time that the 
Buddhistic and Taoist religions were mere inventions of man 
for his own ulterior purposes. Wo managed by degrees to 
divert the conversation to a subject in which we have always 
felt a deep interest — the universal system of bribery. Wo 
presume the reader to be aware that no mandarin could pos- 
sibly live, and properly perform the duties of his position, 
on the salary allowed him by the Emperor. A Tao-t'ai, for 
instance, gets about £200 a year; a petty polioe magistrate 
(16 fit 19) no * more *k ftn ,£18, and so on. But it 
must ever be borne in mind that the fees received are 
the property of the incumbent for the time being. This 
alters the case very materially ; for just as with us a transfer 
of land, we will say, costs a certain amount in fees, which 
sum is the property of the State, so with the Chinese is 
there a, fixed amount payable on similar official transactions, 
with the sole difference that such fee is the lawful property 
of the officiating mandarin. Every officer of the Chinese 
Government derives a large portion of bis income from these 
legitimate sources, and if he could limit his aspirations to 
the not insignificant income thus accruing to him, his ad- 
ministration would be free from the taint that now attaches 
to it. But in nine cases out of ten his present position was 
purchased only by a considerable outlay of hard cash, and 
in every single instance the favour of his immediate superior 
can only be retained by conformity to a time-honoured usage. 
Five occasions present themselves annually upon which 
every subordinate official seeks to oil the wheel, the smooth 
revolution of which implies his continuance in office. There 



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PBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 09 

10 His Excellency's or Hia Honour's birthday, and the 
birthday of His Excellency's or His Honour's lady. Be- 
sides these, there are the three great festivals of the 
year, upon each of which certain sums of unvary- 
ing amount are expected from every subordinate and 
presented to every superior. Our friend spoke very 
candidly and sensibly upon this subjeot. Ho said it was 
absolutely necessary to receive presents or to fall out of the 
ranks altogether from inability to propitiate the less 
scrupulous palms above. He told us one point of which we 
were before ignorant, namely, that expectant (£| ^g) 
officials make no presents "upon the occasions above men- 
tioned. These officers are attached to given districts and 
take their turn in being deputed to perform whatever duties 
may be required of them, in the process of which they 
manage, by a little well-timed extortion, to scrape together 
enough to support themselves and their families. But even 
if appointed to act temporarily in such a post as that of 
magistrate, they are not expected to make the usual presents 
of money. It will, however, be regarded as a delicate 
attention on their part if they forward a sample of anything 
for which their particular region may be famed — a chest or 
two of tea, a few boxes of sweetmeats, or a roll of silk. The 
result of the system is evidently this : — instead of a large 
revenue flowing direct into the coffers of the State, from 
which the pay of the executive, reduced to the lowest 
possible figure, is drawn, we see in China vast sums of 
money working their way upwards from the people to the 
Throne, but so mutilated by numerous and greedy hands 
on the way that the ultimate residuum is barely sufficient 
for the luxuries and vices of an eastern palace and leaves 
no balance to be applied for the advantage of those to 



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60 FfcOV gWATOW TO CANTON, 

whom By right every farthing of it belongs. Behind the 
rest of the civilised world in theory and practice alike, the 
Chinese still believe that the people were made for officials 
to prey upon. They cannot see that every officer of govern- 
ment — to a certain extent, the Son of Heaven himself— is 
bat a servant elect of the people, entrusted with the adminis- 
tration of the revenue and of justice, in deference to superior 
abilities evinced at the great competitive struggles. An 
official in China — let us hope nowhere else — thinks he is of 
different flesh and blood from the merchant who grovels at 
his feet. He will not see that it is this very merchant who 
places him where he is, gives him the pas, and invests him 
with a dignity not his own, for what must be exceedingly 
obvious reasons. When we employ a domestic servant to 
make our bed and clean our boots we do not fall down and 
worship him. He takes his place in the kitchen and touches 
his hat to us in the street. But when we engage a man to 
decide difficult questions of right and wrong, or take action 
in delicate matters upon which enormous interests may hang, 
then we do well to say " This man shall walk into dinner 
"before us; we will take off our hat in his office; we 
•' will pretend that he is a different being from ourselves. n 
By doing so we shall attach a weight to his judgment that 
in the eyes of the masses it would not otherwise possess ; 
and he on his part, while conniving at the deception, will 
recognise the true value of his position and the source from 
which it is derived. How exactly opposite are the opinions 
held by the Chinese. According to their view, the earth 
is given by Heaven to the reigning Emperor, to be ruled 
indeed for the welfare of the people, but still to be ruled, 
the people themselves having no voice in the question as to 
how their own interests shall be protected. It is the duty 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 61 

of the Emperor to surround himself with the most talented 
of his subjects to aid him in the administration of govern- 
ment ; and it is their duty to see that the districts confided 
to the care of each are tranquil and undisturbed. Floods, 
drought, famine, pestilence, and the whole category of 
national misfortunes, are ranged under one convenient head- 
ing — the Will of Heaven ; manifested, say the Chinese, in 
token of the mis-government of those in high places. But 
the material prosperity of the people — the producers, with- 
out whose labour the baseless fabric of officialdom would 
crumble into dust — that is but a paltry unit in the sum of 
mandarin calculations. Hence we see in China bad roads, 
tumble-down bridges, and undredged water-ways, except 
where the philanthropy of the individual comes to the rescue 
of the many. Hence we see the tillers of the soil moistening 
their coarse rice with cabbage-water, and rarely knowing 
the luxury of meat ; while the table even of the petty man- 
darin is covered with a profusion of unnecessary and oft- 
times costly delicacies. 

6th. — It has just occurred to us that in our notes of yes- 
terday there is nothing at all about the country through 
which we were slowly passing. In truth, there is very 
little to say. Day by day the scenery decreases in beauty ; 
the hills become brown and uninteresting ; the dense groves 
of bamboo thin down almost to disappearance. We spent 
part of the afternoon in watching the movements of a little 
girl and boy, aged six, the twin children of our estimable 
captain ; and were much struck, as often before, by the 
thoughtfulness and self-reliance of these little bodies. The 
boy ran up and down the side of the boat leaning on his 
undersized punt-pole as if our fate depended entirely on his 
particular exertions. Whenever we ran aground, he was 



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62 FROM gWATOW TO CANTON. 

invariably the first in the water, pushing away with all 
his might and taking his fait share of the shrieks and argu- 
ments that accompanied each such scene. Every day at 
meal-times this mite of a boy was left in sole charge of the 
helm of our huge boat* seventy-two feet long, often with 
rocks on either side and junks before and behind. His 
sister too would take her turn with the pole or add her tiny 
weight to one of the heavy sweeps at the bow. But the 
prettiest sight of all was to see her sitting Chinese fashion 
on the tip edge of the gunwale of the small punt attached to 
our stern, busily engaged in preparing the family dinner. 
The way in which she would take up a bunch of onions, 
wash it in the river, so careful all the time to let none drop 
in, then remove the uneatable portions and finally chop up 
the whole with a sharp cooking-knife previous to throwing 
it into the boiling fat on the fire — all this, we say, performed 
quietly and with an air of supreme nonchalance, while 
preserving her equilibrium on the punt and ignoring the five 
to ten feet of water below, was a remarkable development of 
intelligence in a child only six years of age. She wore no 
shoes or stockings, of course : but like all the women re- 
velled in the luxury of a silver bracelet on each arm. What 
these two children thought of the outside barbarian we shall 
not take upon us to say. On one point, however, they 
betrayed decided, and as long as the voyage lasted, unaltered 
sentiments — a marked approval of the skill of Messrs. Hunt- 
ley and Palmer in the preparation of their " Mixed Biscuits." 
But Hui-chou Fu is already in sight ; we can plainly trace 
the outline of the district city wall, and we concentrate all 
our attention upon the abode of immortal Poetry and death- 
less Love. We landed at the nearest point to the entrance 
gate and passed right through the District into the Prefec- 



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MtoM 3WAT0W TO CANTON. 1?T n 68 

iwal city, which we bisected in like manner. The streets 
were blocked up by a large crowd, collected partly to view 
the barbarian, and partly an elaborate religious procession 
which was dragging its slow length along amidst the plaudits 
of the onlookers. It is evidently a flourishing city. There 
was an appearance of wealth and prosperity in the shops 
which contrasted favourably with the staring poverty of 
the regions through which we had so lately passed. Beyond 
this we saw nothing unusual in the city of Hui-chou Fu, 
except perhaps the large hats worn by the women and 
covered with dark blue calico overhanging the brim all 
round by about six inches, and looking like a flat parasol with 
a deep fringe. The effect of these was extremely picturesque, 
and very convenient for the wearer who, if troubled by the 
gaze of man, could completely shade her features from view 
by a slight inclination of the head. So we urged on the 
steps of our chair-bearers towards the famous spot, one 
glimpoa of which was to repay us for three weeks of travel 
and fatigue. For in China, more so than in many other 
countries, any journey of more than Ave or six days' dura- 
tion is inseparably connected with considerable bodily dis- 
comfort The traveller must live entirely on tinned provi- 
sions, and in no long time the very smell of an Oxford 
sausage becomes positively unbearable and revolting. His 
bread is soon exhausted or mouldy ; and unless his morning 
palate is characterised by the freshness of youth, a plate of 
boiled rice will sadly furnish forth his breakfast table. No 
fresh meat to be had anywhere ; only Chinese pork, which 
no foreigner can or ought to eat, and a few tough old deni- 
zens of the dunghill, carried on board, poor wretches, with 
their heads downwards and slain before one's very eyes. 
Well did Mencius say that if the superior man heard the 



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64 FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

dying scream of the victim he would not endure to eat of 
its flesh ; and that therefore the cook-house with its horrid 
shamhies should stand at a distance from the house. We 
found it so, though we base thereon no claim to superiority 
of any kind ; for the logician will recollect that the subject 
and predicate of a Universal Affirmative are not necessarily 
convertible terms. A French poet once made the same 
complaint in almost identical words, 

J'ai reconnu le soir le coq infortunS 
Qui m'avait le matin a Paurore naissante 
Reveille brusquement de sa voix glapissante. 

Then again no fish is to be got, and the brain stagnates for 
want of a due supply of phosphorus. The season for fruit is 
over ; the eggs, obtainable by thousands, have known the 
waxing and waning of more than a single moon ; and the 
water with which one's morning coffee is prepared, barely 
changes colour under the process. Apropos of want of fish, 
Confucius (what ! that pagan again 1) tells us that dwellers 
on the sea-shore are cleverer but more untrustworthy than the 
inhabitants of the hills who, if they are stupid, are at any 
rate virtuous and honest. But we are losing sight of our story. 
A few minutes more and we had passed through the city 
gate, and there before us in the sunny calm of an April after- 
noon lay the much-extolled Western Lake. Here it was 
all but eight hundred years ago the banished statesman Su 
Tung-p'o (H Jfc jjg) poured forth his soul in poetry or 
forgot his troubles in the smiles of his beloved Chao-yiin 
(®l 31)* ^ ere ** was ^ afc **er delicate health gave way, 
and here she was finally laid to rest on the shore of this 
beautiful lake, leaving her lord and master inconsolable and 
alone. 
We stepped into an ornamental little boat and proceeded 



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FROM IWATOW TO CANT OK. 65 

to view the beauties of the place. Passing through one 
of the two Five-Eye bridges, so-called because they have 
five arches, we landed first at a tiny island in the cen- 
tre of the lake, entirely occupied by a pretty little 
building named Mid-water Pavilion (j)( jgi 2§C). The view 
from this was decidedly such as might charm a poet's eye, 
even without those associations which here the poet himself 
has bequeathed ; but it must not be mentioned in the same 
breath with the choice morsels of our own lake scenery at 
home. We visited the seven-storey pagoda without succeed- 
ing in finding out the date at which it was erected. We 
sat in the guest-chamber of the temple from the window of 
which, as a scroll above it informed us, we could take in at 
a glance the various beauties of the lake ; and the declining 
sun was just beginning to burn the crests of the western 
hills when our tour was completed, — all save a reverent 
pilgrimage to the little white pavilion which shelters the re- 
mains of Chao-yiin. We had reserved this for the last ; for 
it is really the great attraction of the place. Beneath the # 
pavilion, open to the four winds of heaven, there stood a 
small stone table, and on either side, facing the entrance, 
were scrolls, on which we found engraved the following 
couplet-— the dying words of the ill-fated girl. 

" Like a dream ; like a vision ; like a bubble ; like a shadow ; 
like dew ; like lightning. 

" No life ; no annihilation ; no defilement ; no purity ; no 
gain ; no loss." 

It was with this consciousness of the vanity of life that the 
gentle spirit of Chao-yiin melted away " into the infinite 
" azure of the past ; n and it was with these words still 
ringing in his ears that her disconsolate lover erected this 



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66 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

pretty building over her tomb, and called it the Pavilion of 
the Six Likes. But stay — this fresh-looking newly-painted 
kiosque has surely never braved the winds and storms of 
eight long centuries of time ? Ah no ; an inscription there 
tells us that it was re-erected in the reign of Tao Kuang, 
scarce forty years ago. So we turn at once to the tomb-stone 
itself, anxious — strange feeling — to touch the very slab 
which Su Tung-p'o must have so often watered with his 
tears. There it stands, of a dull brown colour, bearing an 
inscription written in the Lesser Seal character — majestic 
relic of a semi-barbarous and unpractical age. We approach : 
we could almost kneel, as the scales of time fall from our 
eyes, and we stand in the presence of the Past. 

The characters are remarkably clear-cut and distinct for a 
monument eight hundred years old ; at which we inwardly 
rejoice, for our knowledge of the Seal character is limited, 
and we hail any aid that is likely to lighten the labour of 
deciphering them. We hurry on, like impatient novel- 
headers to the denouement of a sensational story, to the ex- 
treme left hand column which contains the date — when, oh 
horrors ! what vision of unreality is this that meets the 
straining eye 1 " The sixth year of Chia Ch'ing " (1802)— 
impossible ! impossible ! But it was so. The very tomb- 
stone as well as the Pavilion had undergone the fate of re- 
storation. There was nothing on that sacjed spot, except 
incorporeal history, to carry us back more than seventy-five 
years. It was a bitter disappointment, though not the first 
of the kind we have experienced in China. The oldest em- 
pire in the world seems to have no antiquities to shew. 
Her classics are ancient beyond doubt, older far than the 
earliest records of the existence of literature in Greece. But 
her buildings and her monuments are of to-day ; to-morrow, 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 6T 

they too may be gone. Yet previous to the restoration we 
have just mentioned there must have been a Pavilion and a 
tombstone on the exact spot where now stand the unsatisfac- 
tory works of so recent a date. In witness whereof we ap- 
pend translation of a " Note on the West Lake at Hui-chou," 
written by a celebrated Lan Lu-chou (|g ]fe ffi) 9 and to be 
found in the sixth volume of the only edition we know of 
his collected essays- 

Towards the end of the year 1731, being on my way to Canton, 
I stopped at Hui-chou ; and hearing that to the west of the city 
there was a lake — the finest of all the three "Western Lakes " — 
I was seized with a desire to pay it a visit. Accordingly, one 
bright moonlight, I set off with a party of friends ; and on issu- 
ing from the city gate, a beautiful scene burst upon our view. 
There lay more than three miles of serpentine, with clearly- 
defined hills and pale, green water, bridges and minarets 
in every direction, exactly like the west lake of Hang- 
chou. Long ere our feet could carry us thither we were already 
in the midst of it all,* astonished to find such beautiful scenery 
on that side of the hills. Then following Su Tung-pVs em- 
bankment, we crossed the new west bridge, and went up into 
the " Six Likes " kiosque. We dropped a tear on the grave of 
Chao-yiin, took a look at the Orphan Hill, and visited the pool 
of Hsi-tzil. Su Tung-pVs embankment and the Orphan Hill 
are nothing more or less than a plagiarised repetition of our old / 
friends of Hang-chow. I was not much pleased ; but to Su 
Tung-p'o in his days of exile it brought back the beauties of 
Hang-chou, the two being as alike as the halves of a tally ; and 
scholars will not be likely to find fault with the borrowed grace 
of the vaiious names. Besides much money has been spent upon 
it, and the spirit of Shih-erh still haunts the spot. Su Tung-p'o 
has in fact made the place his own, his Chao-yiin corresponding 
to the Hsi-tzu of Hang-chou. [Our author here gives an unin- 
teresting list of the temples, pagodas etc., of the Western Lake 
and its neighbourhood.] But I had not time to take note of all 

* Headers of Dante will recollect the lines 

" Co' pid ristetti e con gli occhi passal 
Di 1& dal fiumi cello— " 



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68 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. \ 

of them. Ah ! if this lake were only placed at Su-chou or at 
Chefoo where the surroundings would be more in keeping, nei- 
ther of the other two western Lakes would bear comparison with 
it. But alas, flung down in such an out-of-the-way place, its beau- 
ties are lost in this wild uninhabitable spot where it now lies ; and 
not even the residence of SuTung-p'o and Hsi-tzu can save its love* 
ly hills and streams from obscurity. It is as some precious object 
with a grievous flaw. My own home has nothing much to boast 
of in the way of scenery. Would that I could take this lak e 
and place it near old Kao's grotto to be one of the sights of the 
south east of China. I fear that inasmuch as men daily grow 
more civilized and more calculating, an envious eye will be cast 
upon it, and by and by the waters will be drained off and the 
stream that feeds it dammed up, all to plant a few more acres of 
grain. Now, as I cannot take it with me, I will not be ans- 
werable for its ultimate fate. I will however quote some words 
that were formerly uttered on the subject : — " Had this ground, 
" before it became a lake, been an encampment whereon an army 
" of soldiers had resisted the enemy, then the people would not 
" dare to injure it, and this would ensure the preservation of the 
" lake for ever." 

April 7th. — The lofty pagoda of Hui-chou is fading 
rapidly away, and with it almost the last traces of the 
gorgeous scenery which has surrounded us for the past three 
weeks. In the distance we perceive the silhouette of Lo-fou 
Hill (H gi ilj) looming darkly through the rain-clouds 
that completely shroud its summit. According to a proverb, 
it is very difficult to climb : — " Of ten who go to Lo-fou 
" Hill, nine don't reach the top." (-f* jg| jg £g % JjJ $). 
Yet upon this mountain there said to be over one hundred 
monasteries, and consequently several thousand priests. 
The latter do not belong to the ordinary run of scoundrels 
who make a business of their religion as they would of any 
other trade, but their ranks are replenished by disgraced 
mandarins or wealthy philosophers who have seen the vanity 
of all earthly objects (;g ig{ "J* jjjt |£ as the novels say) 



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FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 69 

and retire hither to die. On the other side, the left hank of 
the river, we notice an enormous archway, standing near 
some small rocks and looking like the remmant of a mighty 
viaduct. It turns out to he natural rock, scooped out hy 
the quarrymen into that particular shape ; and now below it 
several little huts have been raised, and even a shop or two 
for the sale of tea, tobacco, and rice. We spend a few 
minutes in watching a man who passes us in a "jump white" 
boat (jjfc £|) but he does not seem to catch anything. 
Sitting concealed under an awning at one end of his crank 
little canoe, he exposes two white boards in such a way as 
to catch the eye of any passing fish. The latter, yielding to an 
instinct which impels towards anything bright, jumps 
wildly over the board and is forthwith seized by the fisher- 
man. "We also meet a few professional dredgers, — coolies 
who wait about at shallow points when the water is low, and 
with the aid of a shovel-like apparatus clear a channel in 
front of any boat that may happen to be drawing more water 
than is convenient. But we soon get tired of the dreary 
mud-banks on either side, and indulge, for want of better 
occupation, in the usual passenger trick of consulting the 
captain upon the probable date of our arrival at Canton. 
It was a positive relief when a boat came alongside and our 
servant brought in a card bearing the following remarkable 

inscription =H& & « Ifc # It IB Jiff 8* fff #E g $ 

9t SS if* — which being interpreted is neither more nor less 

* We would here point out the extremely bad selection of charact- 
ers used to represent the word London. The Chinese are so fond of 
inverting, especially in the case of their so-caUed " dissyllables " — 

e# g# St -8 or •§ Sjt~~ ***** ** " dan 8 erous to al l° w two characters 
to come together in the same sentence without making sure that 
there is no loop-hole for what Confucius would term " deflected " 
thoughts (|ft jfjjj Jg). What the result is in the present instance, 



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70 FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

than " T'ung Chao-an, a faithful disciple of Christ, of the 
" London Mission Society for the department of Hui-chou, 
" hows his head." We have a wholesome horror of native 
Christians. The first servant we ever had in China hore 
upon his "brow the sign of " charity with all men." In less 
than a fortnight he borrowed, without mentioning it, eight 
dollars from a private box of ours.' His motive was doubt- 
less a good one. He wished perhaps to subscribe largely 
for a new pulpit at the chapel where he was accustomed to 
worship. But hell is paved with good intentions, and the 
rude magistrate ordered him fifty blows with the bamboo. 
When he entered our service, a piece of flesh about the size 
of an acorn hung below his chin, attached by a single thread 
of skin. Nothing could induce him to have this disfigure- 
ment removed; for Confucius had sanctioned the foolish 
principle that mutilation of the body is an insult to one's 
parents, and that as our mortal coil is received from them 
at birth so should it pass from our possession to the grave. 
We saw our quondam domestic once again, some six months 
after his dismissal from our service. The button of flesh 
was gone ; he had lost it in a scuffle at a tea-shop. Since 
then we have not put our faith in " converts." We find 
that a pagan cook makes excellent pancakes if he is only 
taught that the fat must be boiling before the batter is 
poured in ; and that a pagan valet folds one's dress-coat to a 
nicety, ignorant though he may be of the existence of the 
Ten Commandments. All this time the " faithful disciple " 
is waiting patiently at our outer gates. Our first impulse is 
to send him empty away; but we are informed that he 
cemes on official business and is a runner in the yam§n of 

we shall leave to the inquisitive student of the Chinese written lan- 
guage. 



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FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 71 

the District Magistrate of Po-lo (jj $j). Now here is a 
direct contradiction of terms. No Christian could possibly 
be a runner ; consequently no runner could be a Christian, 
however fervent might be his protestations of faith. Eun- 
ners have no salaries ; they have to " find themselves," and 
they do this most effectively by robbing and cheating the 
people in every direction. Theirs is the corruption that 
must be attacked first, before proceeding to touch the bribery 
system of the mandarins. They are the dregs of China, 
hard-hearted, unscrupulous villains. Yet we have now to 
account for finding in their very midst a '" faithful disciple " 
of the gentle Eedeemer. And this difficulty is enhanced by 
the notable fact that no mandarin is a Christian; the 
magistrate of Po-lo would be therefore unlikely to tolerate 
the presence among his dependants of a convert to the hated 
faith. So th9 disciple contrives " a double debt to pay." 
Convert and runner by turns, he manages to secure the ad- 
vantages of both. Is there other explanation than this 1 

We pass the busy, filthy, market-town of Shak-lung 
(/B fl)> an( * ancnor below it for the night. 

8th. — " Your foreign style of dress is much more conve- 
" nient but less comfortable than ours," remarked the Chi- 
nese literary friend who (see ante) paid us a visit this 
morning and helped us to pass a pleasant hour or two in 
international gossip. 

" Granted," we replied, " that it is more convenient than 
" the picturesque but unwieldy fashion of your own honour- 
" able nation ; we, who are accustomed to it from youth 
" upwards, do not find it at all uncomfortable. Put us into 
" Chinese dress and for the first few days we should hardly 
" know what to do with ourselves." 

" True enough ; " answered our friend, " of course you would 



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/Z FROM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

" feel strange for a short time ; but I should say that with 
"those narrow sleeves and tight-fitting waistcoats you 
" foreigners wear, it must be quite impossible to catch the 
"fleas ; whereas we * * * * " 

" And so," as Mark Twain says, " he cheered the way with 
" anecdote," throwing here and there rays of light upon 
many a subject that for us had hitherto remained obscure, 
and strewing the path of conversation with the flowers of a 
well-stocked mind. He was a fair specimen of the Chinese 
gentleman. He was widely read in the literature of China. 
He thought the earth was flat, and wore his sleeves deep 
for the convenience of catching fleas. But we are neglecting 
our real task ; the dreary mud-flats are fast passing unnoted 
away, and the City of Earns is in sight. Alas ! should 
any too indulgent reader have accompanied us thus far upon 
our travels, we fear he must have already discovered that 
we " study nature rather in men than fields, and find no 
" landscape afford such variety to the eye, and such subject 
" to the contemplation, as the inequalities of the human 
" heart." 

And the moral of our story is this : — For three weeks we 
have been passing through scenes rarely profaned by the 
presence of an outer barbarian. In that time we have 
covered some five hundred miles of lovely country, through 
which the Flying Scotchman would have whirled us in a 
single night. We have been chiefly struck with (1) the 
density of population all along the line of our route ; (2) 
with the extreme poverty, but not destitution, of the people ; 
and (3) with their intense religious feeling. For the first 
two, a relief is at hand ; and a knowledge of its advan- 
* tages is surely if slowly penetrating these thick layers of 
over crowded humanity. Emigration from Swatow to the 



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FBOH SWATOW TO CANTON. 73 

Straits, which under its present honourable aspects should 1 
be encouraged to the full by all who take an interest in the 
welfare of China, is increasing year by year ; and hundreds 
of returning emigrants, each with his little hoard of easily- 
earned dollars, now succeed in persuading more timorous 
friends and relatives to accompany them on a second trip to 
the distant El Dorado. Every mail brings bulky packets of 
Chinese letters, all containing drafts of various amounts for 
the families of these adventurous rice-winners. The people 
of the districts round about Swatow now thoroughly under- 
stand that kidnapping is a thing of the past, though the 
term has unfortunately not yet disappeared. For it is a 
favourite trick of the unscrupulous rowdies of the neighbour- 
hood to extort money by threatening a charge of kidnapping ; 
— a trick at which yam en-runners, gate-keepers, lictors, etc., 
are only .too ready to connive, on condition of sharing the 
spoil. But this is merely one of the penalties of citizenship 
in the Flowery Land, the privileges of which outweigh in 
a Chinaman's patriotic eyes all the advantages of an alien 
freedom, law, order, and civilisation, put together. 

As to the intense religious feeling of which we have 
spoken, and of which we met with such overhelming proofs 
at every turn, it is amusing to an outsider to watch the 
struggle of two distinct faiths and numberless sects over what 
they are pleased to consider the dying carcase of Chinese 
superstition. To us it seems vital enough, and, with certain 
modifications to suit the spirit of the times, likely even to 
not-live its tempest-tossed rivals of the "West, But supposing 
we were to succeed in weaning the Chinese from their own 
religious beliefs, their fear of a material hell, their hope of a 
sensualistic heaven, — with what should we fill the void? 
Necessarily with our own diversity of sects and opinions, 



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74 FBOM SWATOW TO CANTON. 

questions of candles, flowers, and vestments, the Tweedle- 
dum and Tweedledee of eastward and other positions, which 
but few of us can regard with unmixed feelings of pride. 
It is here, however, that the safety of the Buddhist-Taoist 
superstition will be found. Pulled a dozen different ways 
by a dozen different claimants, each of whom asserts that his 
own is the way and the rest perdition, the Chinese will in 
all probability elect to remain where they are. Our views 
may possibly be altogether wrong ; for, to parody the mock 
humility of a Chinese statesman, we see the heavens through 
a pea-shooter or as a man sitting at the bottom of a well. 
"We shall console ourselves, however, by reflecting that if 
time does show these opinions to be baseless and false, they 
will but share the fate of nearly all that have preceded them 
and certainly of many that will come after. 



[Cost of trip, for one traveller and three servants, say 
$250.00.] 



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ERRATA. 



Page 16, line 15, 


dele, ho-pa. 


„ 26 „ 11, for yet 


read get 


„ 37 „ 9, „ short 


,, show 


„ 56 last line, ,, was 


,, it was 



„ 64 ninth line from bottom, for was „ was that 
„ 73 fifth ,, „ „ „ not „ out 



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ON SALE 

At Messrs. Kelly & Walsh's, Shanghai. 
At Messrs. Lane, Crawford & Co., Hongkong, 



Giles's Chinese Sketches . $8 

„ Dictionary of Colloquial Idioms in the Mandarin 

Dialect $8 

,, Two Chinese Poems — (the H ^ @ an ^ ^e 

=f* ^p 3t> metrically translated) $1 

, , Synoptical St itdies in Chinese Character $ 2 

,, Handbook of the Swatow Dialect (spoken in Sin- 
gapore and the Straits) $1 

„ Chinese without a Teacher (being a collection of 
easy and useful sentences in the Man- 
darin Dialect : with a Vocabulary) ,..$ 1 
,, Record oj the Buddhistic Kingdoms (translated 
from the Chinese : with copious notes ; 
also preface and appendices now 

translated for the first time) $1.50 

Balfour's Waifs and Strays $3 

w 



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This book should be returned to 
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A fine of five cents a day is incurred 
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