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true, that they possess much common sense, and make devoted wives and tender mothers, it is more to their credit than to be regarded as "golden lilies" in their generation.
The Chinese tragedian, in his splendid costume, will rank in the estimation of the visitor with mandarins of the first class, until he consults his book, and finds out that he is but an actor. The juggler is one of a large class in China, and no jugglers, throughout the world, in dexterity and daring, surpass them. One of the recorded feats of this singular class of people shall here be given :—"Two men from Nankin appear in the streets of Canton; the one places his back against a stone wall, or wooden fence; the upper part of his person is divested of clothing. His associate, armed with a large knife, retires to a distance, say from one hundred to two hundred feet. At a given signal, the knife is thrown with an unerring aim in the direction of the person opposite, to within a hair's breadth of his neck, immediately below his ear. With such certainty of success is the blow aimed, and so great is the confidence reposed by the one in the skill of the other, that not the slightest uneasiness is discernible in the features of him whose life is a forfeit to the least deviation on the part of the practitioner. This feat is again and again performed, and with similar success, only varying the direction of the knife to the opposite side of the neck of the exposed person, or to any other point of proximity to the living target, as the spectators may desire."
The parasol there, beautifully enriched with embroidery and gold thread, is one of the kind carried on state occasions. Parasols, umbrellas, and lanterns, are of very general use in China. It is said, that at the feast of lanterns, when a general illumination takes place, not less than two hundred millions of lanterns are blazing, at the same time, in different parts of the empire.
Here are a few common-life Chinese characters. The itinerant barber, with his shaving and clipping implements; the spectacled shoemaker, with his work-bench, basket, and tools; the travelling blacksmith, with his anvil, furnace, and bellows; and the boatwoman carrying her child, cannot be regarded without interest \ and we naturally enough compare them with those among us who follow the same trades. It would puzzle us to account for the fact ofmore than seven thousand barbers procuring a livelihood in Canton alone, did we not know that the head is shaven in China, and that no Chinaman ever shaves himself.
The specimens of agricultural implements, though rude, are curious; they are mostly of wood, shod with iron. Agriculture is much encouraged in China. The emperor himself, once a year, ploughs a piece of land, in imitation of the Shinnung, "the divine husbandman." We must not suppose that "hiscelestial majesty" goes forth into the fields like one of our English labourers, with his wooden bottle of drink, to do "a day's work:" most likely his performance is more akin to the custom among us, of a great person laying the first stone of a public building, with a mahogany mallet and silver trowel. Two, and sometimes three crops of rice, their staple grain, are grown and gathered in the year; millet is also extensively cultivated. The two inscriptions, suspended in the recess, are quite in character: the one, "If you would be rich, rear the five domestic animals, namely: pigs, cows, sheep, fowls, and dogs;" the other, "Labour induces reflection, and reflection virtue." The sedan scene, and the pavilion, a perfect resemblance of an apartment in a wealthy Chinaman's habitation, show how different to ours are the customs that prevail in China. How odd it would be to us, to receive a crimson card of invitation, entreating us to bestow "the illumination of our presence on the inviter!" or to be received, by our worthy Chinese host, with the salutation, joining his closed hands, and raising them three times to his head, "I have heretofore thought, with profound veneration, on your fragrant name!" And how strange to be supplied with ivory chopsticks tipped with silver, and to have set before us, by way of repast, "salted earth worms," and "smoked fish," in porcelain saucers, "stews in bowls," "soup made of birds' nests," "figured pigeons' eggs cooked in gravy," "balls made of sharks' fins," "sea fish, crabs, pounded shrimps," and "immensegrubs." Such a bill of fare would make most of us sigh, in sincerity, for "the roast beef of old England."
The model summer houses, the retail china shop, as seen in the streets of Canton, and the silk mercer's shop, attract much attention, bringing before us, as they do, the manners and customs of the people; while the infinity of screens, lanterns, vases, jars, lamps, porcelain vessels, reckoning boards, fruit stands, flower baskets, lacquered boxes, incense vessels, garden pots, fans, and fifty other kinds of articles, demand, by their profusion, more than one visit from the spectator.
The China ware, carved boats and figures, embroidered articles, dresses, silks, caps, shoes, musical instruments, mineral shells, cutlery, castings, necklaces, specimens of ornithology, fish, insects, implements, books, and paintings, seem hardly to have an end; while the knowledge that every article on which the eye rests is of Chinese workmanship, greatly increases the interest felt by the spectator.
Many Chinese maxims bear a strong resemblance to the proverbs of Solomon. "Virtue is the surest road to longevity; but vice meets with an early doom." "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened," Prov. x. 27.
"The heart is the fountain of life." "Out of it [the heart] are the issues of life," Prov. iv. 23.
"If you love your son, give him plenty of the cudgel; if you hate your son, cram him with dainties." "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes," Prov. xii. 24.
"A virtuous woman is a source of honour to her husband: a vicious one causes him disgrace." "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones," Prov. xii. 4.
There are superb screens of ornamented silk, paintings of magnificent flowers, and rich and tasteful gildings. The costly cabinet from Soochow, a beautiful production of art; several specimens of carved bamboo roots, wild, uncouth, and hideous, but wondrously imposing. The ancient yellow vase, with the raised green dragon, a mythological emblem of the great dragon attempting to swallow the moon. Two figures in papier machee, representing priests of Foh;priests, indeed! most people would call them "jovial old boys!") A splendid cameo, given to Mr. Dunn, the proprietor of the Collection, by Houqua, the Hong merchant. A large ornamental blue vase, and an elegant porcelain bowl of enormous size. These, and the carved and gilt chair of state; the elegantly