صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

as well as in launch, link, ock, toom, lounge, and others in daily use.

We must, for variety's sake, try a different way of pointing out the forcible Teutonic words beginning with m, taking these chiefly from Shakspeare.

To pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud.' 'The matted woods that clothe Ontario's shore.' Put up thy sword betime; or I'll so mand you.' 'Those detestable maw, thou womb of death."

[ocr errors]

Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.'

Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.'
'Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain-tops.'

I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student.'
His port I love-he's in a proper mood.'
With mop and mow.'

This hand is moist, my lady.'

Upon this moɛs bank.'

A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap,

And mounched, and mounched, and mounched.'
Man was made to mourn.'

The muffled drum.'

Hell is murky.'

Murder will out.'

'Go, muster men.'

All of these words seem to us pregnant with meaning appropriate to the sounds, and chiefly through their several forms of termination. Maze, mar, meek, moan, moil, and mope, may be added to the list, as in their respective ways equally expressive. Two words derived from the Latin may here be pointed out as founded on the true Teutonic principle, namely, monster and murmur. These may be best illustrated by two lines, the first a famous one of Virgil, often quoted as a fine instance of the sound echoing

the sense:

Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingeus, cui lumen ademptum.' Which means—

or a bottle of soda-water at its uncorking. Very different is the slow effect of pose, and well marked the compulsorily quiek effect of pounce; and their meanings are exactly so distinguished. A vision of a protruded lip comes up at the utterance of pout; the noise of much small talk lies in prate and prattle; the mouth contracts inevitably in giv ing forth prim; a poacher, or a wild beast, comes before the mind on hearing prowl; and one feels a kind of consciousness of candle-extinguishing at the very utterance of puff! What sound can a cat emit hut purr? And what can a sick man do but-puke? We shall leave our reader, however, to find out for themselves the other effective words begun with p; and they will not be puzz'ed, we think, in their search, if they push it actively.

We are far from wishing it to be understood, in passing over the terms in the Saxon language beginning with vowels, that these were not used finely in many instances to give the initiative to words; but indubitably the opening and closing of the vocables of that tongue by coNsoNANTS give it much of its force on the whole. Accordingly, it is mainly by adverting to numerous striking examples in illustration of this fact, that we wish ultimately to justify to our readers our desire that modern writers should

not lose sight of the pithy language of their Teutonic ancestors. This is indeed the purpose, the moral of our prein Scotland-and our early Scottish poets and historians sent observations. We see the Saxon speech dying away composed it as purely as their English contemporaries— and we see it losing ground daily in England; the substi tute in both cases being a compound form of expression, which we cannot characterise more pointedly than by call ing it Johnsonian.' There is certainly a gain in conse quence on the side of sonorousness and elegance; but, in our humble opinion, there is such an amount of counterbalancing loss, in the items of point, and pith, and picturesqueness, that the men of letters of the country would do well to hesitate ere they sanction to its fuil extent the proKeats:-gressing innovation. Did our readers ever look closely into the secret of Cobbett's singular pithiness of expres sion? If they have not, they will find, on so doing, that his clearness and his force arose principally from his use of his true vernacular Saxon tongue. Far be it from us to desire the employment habitually in writing of those truly coarse words which it contains, any more than we should wish to see the synonymes for them in use which every language contains; but that it is right to hold every word as coarse, and vulgar, and not employable, merely because it is plain Saxon, seems to us alike a fallacy, an injustice, and a misfortune.

'A monster horrid, shapeless, huge, and blind.'

The word murmur, again, is beautifully used by

The surgy murmurs of the lonely sea.'

[ocr errors]

The adjective surgy' adds greatly here to the picturesque force of the line.

Neigh is one of these words, Teutonically or gutturally enunciated, which gives an admirable idea of the convulsive action implied, like cough and laugh. Nice, too, is a firm, mincing word, as it should be. All must remember the story of the patient angler, who, having fished all day and caught nothing, was yet thoroughly consoled by his having hal, to use his own most empathic phrase, a glorious nibble!' What could be better, again, than Just in the nick of time?' Or, We're a' nodding, nid-nid-nodding?' These terms tell their own story; and we may say the same of various others words beginning with n, as nest e, numb, and the like.

[ocr errors]

The letter p so far differs from the preceding two, in having the power of uniting initially with another consonant, as I and r. Yet the terminative letters give to the Saxon radicals beginning with p their main force. Pack up your awls and begone!' Is not the sentence here most expressive? Paddle bodies forth the action of paddling in the mere sound; and we might say the same of pant. The two verbs, to push and to pat, have meanings akin to each other, and yet well distinguished by the formation of the respective words. Who can use the word pause, also, without a tendency to pause in its utterance? There is a sort of contemptuous sense attached to the adjective pert, which occurs in various other words similarly framed-as flirt and dirt. Our readers may depend on it that such coincidences are not the result of accident, but have their origin in the great fact already adverted to, that the peculiarities and necessities of physical utterance were all important in laying the foundation of primitive languages. Peck and pick have congenial significations, and yet are not undiscriminated. To plod and to plump are expressive words of action; and still more so is the verb to plunge -in the very sound of which is conveyed the sense, not of a mere plump, but of a souse in water over head and ears. Pop is the very sound emitted by a pea-gun, or a pen-gun,

[ocr errors]

We have here been tempted partly to anticipate the line of argument with which we proposed to close these remarks-mainly, we admit, because we find that our cur sory glance at the Saxon vocabulary will occupy yet a third paper, and we feared that our readers might have failed to recognise a good and useful purpose as capable of being elicited from the whole. We have yet to notice the derivatives of several initial letters, and above all, those formed by s with several other consonants, indubitably the most curious and emphatic section of the entire Saxon language. To this and other points, accordingly, we shall attend in a concluding article.

A SALUTARY THOUGHT. WHEN I was a young man there lived in our neighbourhood a farmer, who was universally reported to be a very liberal man, and uncommonly upright in his dealings. When he had any of the produce of his farm to dispose of he made it an invariable rule to give good measure, over good-rather more than could be required of him. One of his friends, observing his frequently doing so, questioned him why he did it, told him he gave too much, and said it would not be to his own advantage. Now, my friends, mark the answer of the farmer: God Almighty has permitted me but one journey through the world, and when gone I cannot return to rectify mistakes.' Think of this, friends-but one journey through the world.-J. Simpson.

[ocr errors]



parently more wondrous still. It is all very well for you to say that the air is set in motion in a different manner, and, thinking you have said something wise enough to settle the matter, let the matter drop; but how these minute disMAN is truly an omnivorous animal. From the philosopher tinctions are impressed upon the sensitive organ is as much who only eats to live, to the gourmand who only lives to a mystery as ever. Think of the certainty with which we eat, all are deeply interested in the great process of deglu- can decide, by sound alone, whether a man is breaking a tition. True, there are some special purposes in eating, coal or chopping a log, hammering on wood or iron, using apart from the general objects of nourishing the body. a file or a saw, a hatchet or an adze. Experience, of Some men eat themselves into a furor of patriotism, others course, teaches us to associate particular sounds with cer into a fervour of charity. Some eat to show their respect tain operations, but there must be an intrinsic difference in for the learned, others to display their sympathy with the the sounds themselves-some wonderfully minute variety poor. Is one man installed into office, or another instated in the way in which the air is set in motion, which our into power-is a school endowed, or a church consecrated, exquisite tympani are able to recognise. And there is or an hospital founded-turtle and turkeys, chickens and something analogous to all this, at least in the minute discapons must die-die that men may live. Such, we say, crimination alluded to, in the phenomena of taste. Think are the special purposes of eating, but still eating is a of the perfection of that organ which can so readily recogsubject of such general interest-an everyday affair, in-nise, so keenly appreciate the flavour of the nectarine, the deed, but one of such universal practice-that we may ven- apricot, the peach; and is all this purely gratuitous gratifiture a few remarks upon the subject. As in everything cation to be despised? If we revel in admiration at the else, so in the matter of epicurism, a happy medium is to be fact, may we not, ought we not, to indulge a due degree of found; for while many men nauseate one with their in- gratitude at the effect? cessant talk about their victuals, and the deep calculations they seem ever to be making on the capabilities of their stomachs, another class affect an indifference that they do not feel, and, for the sake of an assumed intellectualism, pretend that the body, with all its cares and concerns, is not worth a straw. They affect to despise the whole science of gastronomy, and cannot condescend forsooth to tell you what they like or what they dislike. What! do you wise people mind such matters?' quoth the fop to the philosopher, as the latter (a jovial old Greek, no doubt) was enjoying a good dinner; and what was the philo sopher's reply-Do you think that good things were created only for fools?'


Ah! that same gratuity of goodness in creation-that is the point which makes us wiser and better to reflect upon; that is the point which, whether in the cheerful trifling of a discursive gossip or the hushed solemnity of a sober reverie, makes the eye swim and the bosom bound. What munificence of kindness in the matter of taste! Let us then pause for a moment on the wonders of sensation, than which none are more wonderful than this same sense of Whether it is some subtle chemical affinity, or some inexplicable nervous irritability, by which the palate appreciates so nicely all the exquisitely minute gradations of sweet and sour, bitter, acrid, bland, how passing wonder is the effect produced! Science is not easily satisfied; the astonishing acumen of scientific investigation has traced the mechanism of the human frame to a surprising extent, yet in this path of deduction there is ever a gap Somewhere. You may pause, with the uninitiated, upon the threshold of investigation, and at once confess your astonishment; or you may go with the theorist through the whole maze of glands and ducts, papilla and nerves, until you reach the brain, and there, in the modus operandi of the brain upon the mind, you have a greater gap than any. And be it so, however we may delight in the profound researches of modern science (albeit unable to follow them); however we may rejoice in the mechanism of nature, so far as we can trace it, we are content that there should be this hiatus somewhere in the chain of cause and effect, resolvable alone into the will of the Supreme-that we should feel our own incompetence, adore and praise. One great and marvellous point in all the senses is the exquisite nicety of discrimination which belongs to them. Look at hearing, for instance--the vibrations of the air upon that marvellous organ the tympanum of the ear. We seem to approach the subject-at a most respectful distance, indeed, but still we feel some approach to its apprehension when we turn our attention to the production of musical tones. The regular waves of sound, the vibratory substances, the mathematical ratio of rapidity necessary to produce different notes, all this seems to give us some conception of the subject, but when we turn our attention to the recognition of what are specifically called noises, in contradistinction to musical tones, the affair becomes ap

A remarkable circumstance connected with this subject, and one that has been often noticed, is that man is the only omnivorous animal. He alone is provided with a case of instruments adapted to the mastication of all substances teeth to cut, and pierce, and chump, and grind; a gastric solvent, too, capable of contending with anything and everything-raw substances and cooked, ripe and rotten; nothing comes amiss to him. Other creatures are generally restricted to one sort of provender at most. They are carnivorous or graminivorous, piscivorous or something ivorous, but man is the universal eater. He pounces with the tiger upon the kid, with the hawk upon the dove, and upon the herring with the cormorant. He goes halves with the bee in the honey-bell, but turns upon his partner and cheats him out of his share of the produce. He grubs up the root with the swine, devours the fruit with the earwig, and demolishes the leaves with the caterpillar; for all these several parts of different vegetables furnish him with food. Life itself will not hinder his appetite, nor decay nauseate his palate; for he will as soon devour a lively young oyster as demolish the fungous produce of a humid field. This propensity is indeed easily abused; viands of such incongruous nature and heterogeneous substance are sometimes collected as to make an outrageous amalgamation, so that an alderman at a city-feast might make one shudder; but this is too curious an investigation-it is the abuse of abundance too, and we know that abuse is the origin of all evil. The fact should lead us to another point of appreciation of goodness and beneficence. The adaptation of external nature to that of man has often been insisted on-the adaptation of man to all circumstances, states, and conditions, is carrying out the idea. The inferior animals are tied down even by the narrowness of their animal necessities to a small range of existence; but man can seldom be placed in any circumstances in which his universal appetite cannot be appeased. From the naked savage, snatching a berry from the thorn, to the well clad, highly civilised denizen of the court, surrounded by every comfort, every luxury; from the tired traveller, who opens his wallet and produces his oaten cake beside the welling lymph which is to slake his thirst, to the pursy justice, in fair round belly with good capon lined,' who spreads the damask napkin on his knees, tucks his toes under the table, and revels in calipee and calipash, what an infinite diversity of circumstances? Man, with all his natural and artificial necessities, all his social and domestic dependencies-more dependent, indeed, upon his fellows than the fowls of the air-from the grand exuberance of nature, and his remarkable adaptation to it in the point alluded to, finds subsistence under circumstances in which other animals might starve.

The first and grossest abuse of this exuberance is the vice of gluttony, than which a more disgusting and debasing propensity exists not in the catalogue of crime. Why, the kindred vice, more fatal in its results, more extensive

in its disastrous consequences, seems at least more excusable in its commission. The very madness that men court in the grape has for it often the excuses (paltry though, they be) of hilarity, and hospitality, and good fellowship, to plead. Or there may be keen misery, deep anguish of heart, from which a man flies to the transient, foolish, cowardly refuge of the bottle; but gluttony! for a man to go quietly, grossly stupifying himself by over-feeding to stultify his faculties and overcome his energies, and bury his soul in his body; yes, we say, making his body, not the temple but the tomb of his spirit, and all for the paltry gratification of his palate--faugh! And there positively are men who make eating not the means but the end of their existence, who make the gratification of their animal appetite a species of idolatry. We should shrink from fixing such a stain upon our fellow-creatures had not the honest indignation of an apostle painted the picture. We can understand a man's making an idol of his children, his wealth, his talents; we can understand his attempt to deify nature, reason, liberty; but that there are those whose God is their belly!' What a startling fact! On the other hand, there is the abuse of asceticism. We know that the different varieties of delicious flavour constitute a source of enjoyment of a purely gratuitous description. | All the purposes of nourishment, it has been frequently remarked, might have been achieved without them; and we hold it as an axiom that where enjoyment is the obvious end of the Creator's goodness, not to enjoy is to abuse. We have, indeed, few instances of absolute asceticism in these days. The nasty saints who thought cleanliness crime and eating an iniquity are passed away, and, save some poor old miser, who occasionally offers up his wretched attenuated carcass upon the altar of mammon, few are found to starve themselves; but, as hinted above, there is a modification of this folly in the affectation of intellectuality, much less pernicious in its results, it is true, but much less respectable in its motive; for the deep, stern, religious infatuation of the anchorite is wanting in the vanity and folly of the modern vapourer.

[ocr errors]

Miss is too ethereal-minded to think of culinary things. She wishes she was a butterfly, to sip the nectar of a flower-not a grub, mind you, to live upon its leaves. She dotes upon Byron, because he was thin, and wore his collar open, and she thinks, as she puts her hair in paper, what a world of vanity, what a gross, corporeal, ultramaterial world it is. Her friend Constance is a strongminded woman-she has got a very masculine soul-she is rigidly intellectual, and thinks eating and drinking waste of time. She fancies that she knows Greek, because she has learned the English words derived from that learned language in an old spelling-book. She affects hard words, has some misty, hazy ideas about astronomy, but thinks gastronomy utterly beneath her. Again, others think eating ungenteel. Nothing with them is so vulgar as feeding-want of appetite is interesting. We know of one young lady who kept a plate of sandwiches in her bedroom, thrusting them into a drawer when she heard any one approach, that she might seem to be a little eater at lunch-time. Some sacrifice comfort to vanity. They are too poor to possess both, so they dispense with the comforts, almost the necessaries of life, that they may indulge in finery and display. That fine Cashmere shawl has cost many a scanty meal; that grand satin dress has been pinched out of many a pound of beef. We seem to be rather hard upon the ladies in these remarks, and, with all our known devotion to the fair, we must confess that they are chiefly to blame in this matter. Men, with all their faults, are, in our humble opinion, much more rational in the matter of eating and drinking.

One great practical point in this subject-and we love to glean a little wisdom from the lightest topic-is to overcome that fastidiousness to which some people are so prone. We know that while many tastes are to be acquired, there may be much natural and constitutional difference among individuals; but if tastes are to be acquired, so are distastes, and distastes are very disagreeable things. Fastidiousness is often the result of affectation, but it is not

unfrequently real. The palate has been taught to disap. prove, the very stomach to refuse certain species of food, wholesome and nutritious; and it is the more important to observe this point, because it is frequently acquired in very early life. If, on the one hand, children ought to be discouraged in the vice of greediness, to which they are so liable, so, on the other, should that fastidiousness be overcome to which they may be exposed. A man knows not into what circumstances he may be thrown; his indulged fastidiousness at home may be preparing for him an immense amount of inconvenience abroad. We have often pitied most sincerely men, on a journey, for instance, who really could not eat what others have partaken of with relish and satisfaction. For ourself, we hard y know the edible substance in earth, sea, or sky on which we could not make a meal. We would not commit so egregious a piece of affectation as to say that we do not like a good dinner, or that there are not some things that we especially affect: but we do say, and we think it a most valuable advantage, that we possess in full man's omnivorous capabilities. We have fed in the hall of Isis, under the auspices of his majesty the lord-mayor, the acknowledged king of feasting, and we have fed on the mountain-side, without so much as a drop of mountain dew' to qualify the cold element; and between these two extremes nothing in reason and season has come amiss at feeding-time. We say 'reason and season,' because we do not intend to try the train-oil of the Esquimaux, nor the rats and mice of the Chinese; we abide by the cuisine of civilised nations.

The English, as a nation, indeed, are stigmatised as great, if not gross eaters; but we think this is an unfounded allegation. We verily believe that the French, for instance, eat a great deal more, and care a great deal more for eating, than the English. Compare London in this particular with Paris. Your sober London citizen, after a moderate breakfast, seldom eats anything but a solitary chop, if he does so, until the afternoon, dines on a dish or two, and peradventure indulges in a single pint of port. If he has not finished business, indeed, the matter is generally dispatched in a still more summary manner-despatched as though it were a waste of time, and hindered him from more important avocations. Those of a lower grade, who have only their brief hour to make the most of, repair to the tavern, the ordinary, or the eating-house, and perhaps with one dish and one draught of porter settle the affair. But Paris! Did it never strike you that the grand business of the gay metropolis was gormandising? Positively one half of the population seems to find employment in feeding the other half. Every other house seems to be a café traiteurs or restaurateur, and how they all live by keeping others alive is an unapproachable problem. Then look at a Frenchman in the matter of gastronomy. His cup of coffee in the morning is temperate enough, though sometimes laced with a little Cognac; but look at his dejeuner a la fourchette, with some half-dozen dishes! and then in the afternoon he sets in to the serious business of the table. Such a multitude of dishes as under the o'd sumptuary laws of England would have been denied an alderman, tickles his palate and provokes his critical acumen. The remainder of the day is devoted to eating or amusement, and the positive quantity of provender consumed is prodigious. We believe that a Frenchman often devours as much bread at dinner as would serve an Englishman for a day or two.

There are two points connected with our subject that deserve a little attention-cookery and carving; and, with regard to the first of these, our happy medium is peculiarly desirable, for, while some people disgust you with their incessant talk about the preparation of their food, others are so careless that good victuals seem to be thrown away upon them. Besides the positive waste committed in consequence of the mistress of a family knowing nothing of cookery, there are certain little points of harmless gratification that a woman owes to her home and her husband, which it is neither wise nor amiable to overlook; and though it is disgusting to see a woman in the respectable ranks of life always dabbling in sauce-pans and stew-pans,

it is n shame to her, but very much the reverse, to unde stand something of culinary concerns, to know when her servants do their best, and to see that they do it. Milton seems to have had an eye to this in several passages. He even makes our great mother skilful in the combination of different flavours :

So saying, with dispatchful looks, in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent,
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order. so contrived as not to mix
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change.'

Again, in his charming ode, he says

Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,

Are at their savoury dinner set.

Of herbs and other country messes.
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses.'

These things are not beneath the notice of the poets. It is
the characteristic of genius to elevate its subject into ele-
gance, and not to allow its subject to depress it into vul-

Akin to cookery is carving. What a pleasure it is to see a truly graceful woman doing the honours of her husband's table! Not with intense solicitude, as if her heart was in the kitchen, and she sat on the tenter-hooks of suspense, fearing every dish should prove a failure, but with case, and pleasantness, and kindly hospitality, while every dish, under the hands of dexterous carvers, is duly apportioned. Why there is no greater mark of civilisation in the whole history of man than the way in which he takes his meals, and carving is a very considerable item in the account. You shall see some men carve a fowl, for instance, as though they made a few passes over it with the wand of Harlequin, and the thing was done, while others do so wrench and dislocate it as to make one's very joints ache. Brutus-stern, sober, cold curmudgeon as he wasknew something about carving, and could appreciate it. He says

'Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,

Not hew him as a careass fit for hounds'

a cool way of talking about assassinating Cæsar; and for our own part we would much rather carve a fowl than a friend: yet you see he held the notion that there is a great difference in the way in which a thing is to be cut up. Some men are very awkwardly situated for want of a little dexterity in carving-bashful men in particular. We are not particularly bashful, but we do confess to a little low intrigue in placing ourself at table for the purpose of avoiding an unintelligible dish. We have known people go without some particular viands because they could not venture on the carving of them. Two strangers at an innbreakfast mutually declined a fow! because neither of them liked to carve before the other. They became good friends in the course of the day, and the fact came out in the way of gossip. Another cold fowl appeared at dinner. What was to be done? They were not to be disappointed again; so when the waiter's back was turned they cut it by main force down the middle, and each pocketed his portion, to be dealt with at an after period.

But enough of this bald, disjointed chat.' Let us be merry and wise; and as brevity is the soul of wit, appropriate the soul if we cannot accomplish the body. Not entirely useless will our gossip be if it throw out a hint against gluttony on the one hand and affected stoicism on the other. If it warn us against an inconvenient fastidiousness, or if it urge us to take a wider and more grateful glance upon the exuberance with which the Giver of all Good has scattered his bounties on all hands around us, so shall we be induced in this sense to use the good gifts of His providence without abusing them. Above all, if it hint to us not to judge one another hastily, let not the man who heedeth these things call his brother a churl because he heedeth them not, and before we too hastily set down a man as gross, sensual, grovelling, let us remember how the words, a gluttonous man, a wine bibber,' were nee employed.


No. XI.


STOPPING one day in our wanderings through Canton to look at some Chinamen cutting wooden types, a gentleman belonging to the American Baptist Mission accosted us, and, having introduced himself, kindly offered to show us a few objects of interest. He took us first to the Ningpo exchange; a place where the native merchants from Ningpo transact their business and reside while at Canton. It contained, besides a public hall, some dining and sleeping apartments; places also for idols, and the paraphernalia connected with their worship; together with a theatre. Our conductor then took us through a large dwellinghouse belonging to Pun-din-qua, one of the Hong merchants; and here we found the passages, stairs, and other internal arrangements so complicated and bewildering that, if left to ourselves in the interior, we should have felt considerable difficulty in getting out again. The floors were paved with earthenware and porcelain slabs, and the partitions between many of the apartments were composed of translucent plates of pearl shells. Marble tables and curiously carved couches and chairs were scattered over the rooms, while chandeliers, and the peculiar Chinese lanterns, hung in abundance from the roofs. The walls were adorned with sentences from favourite authors, also with drawings in china-ink, and with slabs of marble having indistinct figures of trees and other natural objects depicted on them as if by the hand of nature, but really by some artificial process. In the library we found a pretty large collection of Chinese books on shelves, arranged in utter defiance of all plan or symmetry. In one of the open courts there were flowers in pots, and some plants of the sacred lotus in boxes mounted on wheels. High up on one of the side walls of this court was fixed a large red-painted board, having gilded on it a Chinese word signifying happiness. From the roof of the house we saw the garden with its fish-ponds and pavilions, and also a great part of the city, with two pagodas nearly in ruins.

On leaving this place, Mr S. led us through several streets decorated in a very showy manner for one of the annual festivals. From cords stretching across the street, between the houses, were suspended beautiful chandeliers and other glass ornaments, with festoons of coloured silks intervening, and, at intervals, groups of figures brilliant with paint and gold-all hanging aloft, above the heads of the passengers.

Going among the shops about sunset, we entered some where the inmates were engaged at their evening meal. The tables were laid out with small dishes of strangelooking mixtures, with a supply of rice standing on one side, intended evidently for the bulk of the repast. Every person was furnished with a couple of chop-sticks, a small porcelain spoon with a short handle, a diminutive cup for tea, and a basin for holding rice. Instead of tea some had a hot mixture containing samshoo-a spirit distilled chiefly from rice: a most disagreeable taste it had. The shopkeepers take only two regular meals a day-the first between nine and ten in the morning, and the second about sunset; but they have always tea beside them, and take it frequently (without cream or sugar) in the intervals of business. When making purchases we often got a cup of excellent tea from them, and, knowing our taste, they generally produced sugar-candy with it.

Returning next day to the ship, we landed at the village of Whampoa, and visited Kang-fooug's manufactory of soy, preserved ginger, samshoo, &c. Soy is made from the seeds of a leguminous plant-a species of dolichos. They are first boiled soft, then mixed with flour, and allowed to ferment in earthen pots for some months; a quantity of salt is then added, and the mixture is strained, and again set aside in earthen vessels to improve by age.

It was sold from the manufactory for twelve dollars a pecul (1333 lbs.)

At Whampoa our comprador took us also to see an opium-smoking establishment. We had no difficulty in getting admission to witness the process, notwithstanding that death is the penalty denounced against the owners of these places, and blows and imprisonment to those that frequent them. Two Chinamen were indulging in a whiff when we went in. They were reclining on a bamboo-couch, with a pipe, a glass lamp, and a little extract of opium, contained in a minute vase of tortoise-shell, lying between them. If a common round ruler were bored nearly throughout, and into the side of it, towards the closed end, were fixed a knob with a small aperture drilled through it to the internal cavity, a pretty good representation would be formed of the sort of pipe they were using. The method of smoking was as follows: One of them took a wire and dipped it in the opium, which was about the consistence of treacle. The portion thus raised he held over the lamp until it was dried up; then taking the end of the pipe in his mouth. and bringing the bowl close to the flame of the lamp, he kindled the opium on the wire, thrust it into the small aperture of the bowl, and immediately sucked through. He did not puff out the smoke as people do from tobacco, but drew it in by a long inhalation, and let it escape through his nose. The pipe had then to be re-charged by the wire as at first.

[ocr errors]

Leaving Whampoa and proceeding down the river, we landed on French Island, much against the will of our sampan-men, who feared lest we should be ill-used by the natives; but feeling sufficiently valorous in the possession of a double-barrelled gun and our constant companions, the Penang lawyers,' we clambered up one of the hills and had a good view of the country. The hill was partially covered with trees, and its sides were formed into terraces for the growth of sweet-potatoes and other vegetables. Graves were also scattered about, each with its semicircle of ornamental mason-work. The Chinese always bury their dead, if possible, on hills, and they visit the tombs once a year to present offerings, and to invoke the aid of their departed relatives.

Leaving this place without molestation, we next landed on Danes' Island, the low grounds of which were covered with rice, sugar-cane, sweet-potatoes, &c., and the hills, as usual, sprinkled with graves. One small eminence is devoted to the burial of Europeans that die among the shipping. Proceeding further down, we landed at a small village called Chung-Chow, where there is a six-sided pagoda of three storeys, and several temples. One of the latter is built against a precipitous rock, and consists of two storeys. The ground floor contains two or three gilded images, with joss-sticks and sandal-wood burning before them. In the small upper room (which is approached by a flight of stone steps) there are no images, but a plain altar built against the bare rock which forms the back wall of the temple. On the altar there is a small upright tablet inscribed with a few Chinese characters, and surrounded by an ornamental border, the whole being partially enveloped in a piece of cloth. Beside this simple shrine stood a figure of a bird. I was very anxious to have these things explained, but our guide could tell us nothing about them; and indeed it was generally very evident that the common people knew little, and cared less, about any of the forms of religious worship practised among them.

We went into a flower garden beside this village, and a little boy belonging to it was very attentive in pointing out the various objects of interest, and giving us a few flowers. In return we presented him with a rupee, not having at the time any smaller change. The little fellow's gratitude was boundless: he tsin-tsin'd over and over again; shook our hands and patted our arms, as though we had enriched him for life. He then ran and gathered for us some buds of a sweet-smelling white flower, which the Chinese and Malay women often wear in their hair; and he gave us also a basket made of flower-buds fastened on a wire frame.

[ocr errors]

On the occasion of another visit to Canton I had an opportunity of witnessing a theatrical exhibition, called in the Anglo-Chinese jargon Sing Song. The stage was placed in front of a house, and the audience, which was numerous, stood partly in the open air, and partly in a semicircle of houses which, being open towards the stage, served as boxes. The dresses were fine and rather tasteful, but there were no painted scenes, nor much apparatus of any kind; and the noise produced by the crashing of gongs, the beating of bamboos, and the squeaking of a sort!! of fiddle, was most hideous. I did not stay long enough | to get any glimpse of the nature of the plot, but there was abundance of loud talking, fighting, and absurd gesticulation, and the audience seemed much interested. These theatrical establishments are supported, I believe, chiefly by government.

Another day we visited an excellent specimen of a Chinese garden, a mile or two up the river from the factories. It contained beautiful pavilions, bridges, artificial rock- il work and caverns, shady walks, sheets of water covered | with lotus-plants and water-lilies, canals with fancy barges floating in them, large cages full of beautiful birds, toge ther with monkeys and other animals chained to the trees, or enclosed in wooden houses. The owner (who was a Hong merchant) had his summer residence here, and the house was fitted up in a more airy and ornamental manner than the one we examined in town. It contained a sort of museum of curiosities, comprising ancient Chinese arms and dresses, pictures, models of machines, such as a steamboat and a locomotive engine; also a camera-obscura, a Pekin carriage, and such like. On the ground-floor was a large dining-room with one side of it formed of glass, for the purpose of affording a full view of the stage of a theatre erected outside. In this house we saw by accident two | small-footed ladies, very good-looking, and having their ¦ shining black hair curiously dressed up and ornamented with flowers and jewellery. Returning along the canal that leads to this place, we were frequently saluted with Fan-kwy-lo (see the foreign devils)!' by the children on the banks.

Besides frequent visits to Canton, we often landed near the ship, and had rambles among the villages and ricefields in the neighbourhood. In general we could do this without molestation, but occasionally we had the native dogs set at us, and now and then the band of idlers that commonly collected about us from curiosity would have manifested a slightly riotous disposition. We made a point, however, of taking such things good-humouredly, and always got off unscathed, although we were never without the means of active self-defence when it should be requisite. After a day's exposure to a hot sun on one of these excursions I took a fever, which confined me to the ship for a fortnight; and by the time I had got pretty strong again the weather was so much broken up by the changing of the monsoon that I had very few more oppor- | tunities of looking about me. In the beginning of November we had a great deal of rain, and the thermometer fell so low as 58 deg., while, about the commencement of the previous month, it had been as high as 88.

Wishing to see Calcutta next, and the ship in which I then was being homeward-bound, I left her and joined another. We began to drop down the river on the 12th November; passed the Bogue early next morning; and on the day following went through the narrow, winding pas sage called Capsing-Moon, and anchored at Hong-Kong, where we made a stay of five days. The town of Victoria stretches about two miles along the sea-shore, at the foot of a pretty lofty ridge, the sides of which are a good deal excavated for the streets and houses. The town was then only in the course of being built, but it already contained many handsome edifices, and gave every indication of turning out a smart place. The principal building stone is white granite, dug in large blocks from the debris of the mountains.

After getting business through at Hong-Kong, the captain came off one afternoon, and gave orders to have the ship under weigh. Instead of this, however, the crew

« السابقةمتابعة »