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Cicero, with all the reputation won by his eloquently-rounded periods, was, after all, but a sophist and a lawyer, a plebeian parvenu ; first the panegyrist of Marius, then the flatterer of Scylla; vain and irresolute, without daring and without genius, quite incapable of enforcing so signal a punishment on the conspirators had Terentia not insisted on its execution. In these prisons died also the vile Sejanus, that cruel and uncompromising minister and degraded panderer to the base passions of the brutal but suspicious Tiberius.
How often has it happened to me to fall a musing over the blackened stones, forming walls that have witnessed great, horrible, or famous events—to inquire as it were into their history, entreat them to become audible, and to impart their hidden knowledge. I found myself stargazing in this fashion on the gaunt stones before me, while the custode rattled away his little chapter of knowledge to my companions. But could ye-oh! mysterious masses-speak with tongues of brass, and tell of long-past scenes enacted under your deep and fatal shadow, it would neither be of Jugurtha nor of Catiline I would question ye, but of the blessed Peter, who, for nine months, is said to have hallowed ye by his presence. Historical tradition confidently names this as the locality where he was imprisoned, and as such it will be venerated by every denomination of Christians until the day when earth shall exist no more. I cannot give expression to the contending feelings that agitated me as I glanced round on the very walls where his eyes had rested, and placed my hand on the very pillar to which he was chained, when I pictured his sufferings, his heavenly consolations, and horrible death. Such emotions are overwhelming, and can only be realised in full force on the very localities where, as with Thomas the Apostle, the finger touches the sacred marks, fingers the gaping wounds, and is, as it were, forced into belief. Here is the spring said miraculously to have gushed forth out of the solid stones (and solid indeed they are, and of Etruscan massiveness) in order to enable the apostles Peter and Paul to baptise during their imprisonment the keepers of the prison, Processus and Martinian, who were so powerfully affected by the teaching and example of the apostles, that on the return of Nero from his Grecian expedition (laden with the thousand crowns and chaplets he had won from the fattery of an abject and debased race), they suffered martyrdom in the persecution that then commenced. It is highly improbable that a spring should voluntarily have been enclosed in a dungeon dedicated to agony and solitary death. The water wells up bright and pure, never rising or falling, and is now enclosed in a kind of setting of masonry, and covered by a bronze lid. After the emotions and recollections excited by these prisons I could see no more; the day, too, was already falling, and the light, when we reascended, become pale and dim. I had, during the last few hours, felt, admired, and examined so much, my mind was oppressed by the weight of knowledge it had acquired. On returning home I caught up a pen in furore, determined to convey on paper, however faintly, some idea of the variety offered by one day's sight-seeing at Rome.
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
HOW TO TRAVEL IN CHINA.* M. Huc is decidedly the Marco Polo of the day. His reminiscences of travels in Tartary and Thibet contained more novel and instructive matter than anything that has been published concerning those countries
-with, perhaps, a trilling exception in favour of our countryman, Fortune-since the days of Du Halde and De Guignes, and of our own Bell and Barrow. De Auc and his missionary friend-disguised as monks of the order of the Grand Lama-not only followed but outstepped the means, as they did the limits of research, of their predecessors, the Jesuit missionaries, authors of the “ Lettres Curieuses et Edifiantes."
The present work is a continuation of the former, in which, after relating their travels across the deserts of Tartary and the incidents of their brief sojourn in Thibet, they terminated rather abruptly with their
return to China under escort of the authorities. · M. Huc now takes up the narrative at the point where the last left off-where they were being led to the capital of Sse-Tchouen to be put upon their trial. Two years had elapsed since the missionaries bade farewell to the Christians of the Valley of the Black Waters. Excepting a few months' repose in the lamazerie (monastery of Lama monks) of Koumboum and in the capital of Buddhism, they had been perpetually on the move across the vast deserts of Tartary or over the lofty mountains of Thibet. Two years of indescribable fatigues were, however, not enough; they were still far from being at the end of their trials. They had to cross the frontiers of China and traverse the whole heart of that country to Canton. The journey from Ta-tsien-lou to the capital of Kouang-Tong is perhaps the most remarkable ever performed by an European in China. The cross line from Pekin to the same city, fol. lowed by Macartney, Barrow, and Abel, will not bear comparison with it for extent, or for the insight it afforded of Chinese habits and manners, population, industry, and civilisation.
The Chinese mandarins are like all other Oriental jacks-in-office. They must be kept down. They are, to use M. Huc's words, strong with the weak, and weak with the strong. If the traveller has the misfortune to let them once get the upper hand, he is lost without resources -oppressed and victimised. If, on the contrary, the traveller succeeds in getting the upper hand of them, they are as docile as lambs! But to
* L'Empire Chinois, faisant suite à l'ouvrage intitulé Souvenirs d'un Voyage dans la Tartarie et le Thibet. Par M. Huc, ancien missionnaire apostolique en Chine. 2 tomes. Dec.-VOL, CII. NO. CCCCVIII.
obtain and to hold that position requires an iron resolution. There must not be a moment of misgiving; and hence, from the time the bold ministers of the Gospel crossed the frontier to the time when they reached the haven of commerce and civilisation, there was one continual struggle between them and their escort for domination.
The first struggle had its origin in discussing the manner inwhich the journey was to be performed. The principal mandarin of Ta-tsienlou said horses, the missionaries said palanquins, and according to the rule laid down by them, they persisted till they oonquered. Had they given way in the first instance, they must have given way on all others, till their bodies, they aver, would have been left, like those of many others, in a ditch behind the ramparts of some remote Chinese town. Another struggle ensued on the subject of dress. Arrived at the frontiers of the Celestial Empire, the travellers were glad to rid themselves of their wolf-skin caps and long robes of skin, which exhaled a per. ceptible odour of beef and mutton. A skilful tailor was engaged to make robes of azure after the latest Pekin fashion. Magnificent boots of black satin, with high heels, brilliantly white, covered their feet. Their waists were encircled with the imperial scarlet band, and their heads were adorned with the official yellow cap, from which hung tassels of scarlet silk. Great was the horror excited by such profanation of imperial customs, and such a glaring infringement of Chinese etiquette ! The missionaries, however, insisted that, as strangers, they had a right to dress as they would do in their own country—that is to say, according to their liking. And they carried their point.
At length they left Ta-tsien-lou, to the great satisfaction of the mandarins of the place, with the same escort which had accompanied them from Lha-ssa, reinforced by a few young provincial soldiers, under the command of a long, thin corporal, who marched at their head, his long robe tucked up at his waist, his feet and legs bare, a large umbrella in one hand and a fan in the other. A various country of rugged rocks and fertile flowery valleys, which struck the travellers the more sensibly after their long journey in the deserts and snows of Thibet, brought them to a suspension-bridge on the rapid river Lou, and the town of same name, beyond which they had to cross the Fey-yué-ling, a lofty and rugged chain-a snow-clad offset of the Thibetian mountains-before they finally reached the more level country, with its fine cultivation, its towns and villages, and numerous population. The missionaries speak most highly of the Chinese palanquin-bearers : nothing could exceed their strength, activity, willingness, and good temper. And yet they are only paid at the rate of about a halfpenny for three miles ! The long trains of porters
-men, women, and children-aged and young-carrying brick tea and “scarfs of felicity” in files along the highway from China to Thibet, presented a much less agreeable subject of constant contemplation. These people are the convicts of misery; overworked, overloaded, they travel onwards and onwards with weary feet, supported by an iron-shod stick, the body bent towards the ground, the head seldom lifted up, their countenances expressive of nothing but brutal stupidity and suffering.
As they advanced further into the country and approached the great centres of population, the curiosity of the Chinese with regard to the barbarian travellers became often unpleasantly manifested. The courier who
preceded them for relays of palanquin-bearers, spread the report of their approach; peasants hurried from the fields to see them on their passage, and on arriving at the larger towns they so encumbered the way, that the guards were obliged to use their bamboo-canes to force a passage. At Ya-tcheou—a fine town of the second class—the population actually broke into their hostelry, and they were obliged to make the mandarin in charge of the escort mount guard at their door with a great bamboo in his hand, besides making several tremendous descents upon the people themselves, bamboo-canes-not tracts-in hand. To reason and to act in China, say the missionaries, as one would do in Europe, would be pueri. lity and madness!
It was the month of June, and although sometimes windy, the finest season of the year for travel. The picture given by the missionaries of the country traversed, remind one of the descriptions given in their more northerly travels in the Celestial Empire, and attest that that wonderful region is almost everywhere the same.
“ The country which we were traversing presented a rich and admirable variety; we met a constant succession of hills, plains, and valleys, watered by waters of delicious freshness and purity. The aspect of the country was splendid, the crops were ripening in every direction, and the trees were loaded with flowers or with fruit. Every now and then the exquisitely perfumed air told us that we were traversing great plantations of oranges or lemons.
“ In the fields and on all the numerous paths we saw that laborious Chinese population incessantly occupied with agriculture and with commerce, villages with their strangely roofed pagodas, farms embosomed in groves of bamboos, and banyan-trees, hostelries, and restaurants at short distances all along the highway, besides an infinite number of small tradesmen who sell to passers-by fruits, bits of sugar-cane, cocoa-pastry, soups, tea, rice wine, and a great variety of Chinese sweetmeats ; all this was like a reminiscence of our olden travels in the Celestial Empire. A strong odour of musk, peculiar to China and to the Chinese, proclaimed to us, also, in a most sensible manner, that we were definitively reaching the Middle Empire.
“ Those who have travelled in foreign countries must have remarked that all nations have an odour which is peculiar to them. One can distinguish without trouble, Negroes, Malays, Chinese, Tartars, Thibetians, Indians, and Arabs.” .
The same thing has been remarked lately of the Russians. Some persons are more susceptible upon this point than others. When we first land in France, after being some time away, we are always sensible of a remi. niscence of the national odour. Dogs are remarkably sensitive to the difference they ferret out a Frank in Constantinople in a moment, and however well our missionaries were disguised in China, the dogs always made them out. Add to the above graphic descriptions that every here and there along the highway were monuments erected to chastity, whether in virgins or in widows" à la viduité et à la virginité," as our travellers express it. They are triumphal arches in wood or in stone, covered with sculptures, which, as usual, represent fabulous animals and nondescript birds and flowers. The effect of these numerous arches is very pretty—they abound alike along the highways and in the towns.
At Khioung-tcheou, a second-class city, the travellers were received in a Koung-Kouan, or little palatial post-house, decorated with exceeding taste. Such edifices are met with throughout the empire, and are only used by the great niandarins when on their travels. Here servants, dressed in splendid robes of silk, served up a sumptuous repast, and attended upon their guests with exquisite politeness and a strict adherence to the rites and rules of the Chinese ceremonial. These richly-dressed servants turned out to be Christians, but they only acquainted the missionaries with the fact under the favour of darkness and secresy.
A monastery of Bonzes, at which they made a short stay before entering the provincial capital of Tching-tou-fou, is described in a manner which reminds us of the great monastic establishments of Spain. Magnificent buildings, richly decorated, were surrounded by parks, gardens, and fish-ponds, swarming with delicate turtles and fish artificially fattened.
At Tching-tou-fou, the residence of a viceroy, the missionaries were at once ushered into a court of justice - the residence of a mandarin prefect-upon whose enormous gates were painted two monstrous divinities armed with gigantic swords, but their quarters were afterwards changed to the residence of a mandarin justice of lesser degree. The chief mandarin exhibited to them a breviary and crucifix which had belonged to Monseigneur Dufraise, apostolic vicar of the province of Ssetchouen, who was put to death in Tching-tou-fou in 1815.
Four days after their arrival at the capital, they received information that everything was prepared, so that their trial should be at once entered upon. An immense crowd had assembled around the court of justice to see the two devils of the western seas. The great mandarins who were to take part in the ceremony arrived one after another, with their staffs and their satellites, clothed in long red robes, and with hideous pointed hats of black felt or iron-wire, surmounted by feathers from pheasants' tails. They were armed with old rusty sabres, chains, pincers, and other instruments of torture.
After many extravagant displays and uncouth noises, the missionaries were ushered into the great court of justice, having on their way to pass through a double row of executioners, who shouted out in a loud voice altogether—"Tremble! tremble !" and at the same time they shook their instruments of torture with an appalling energy. Everything had been got up in a manner calculated to impress the accused with a high sense of the wealth, the power, and the magnificence of the flowery empire. The walls were covered with handsome red hangings, upon which sentences were written in large black characters, gigantic lanterns hung from the roof, and behind each mandarin judge a host of attendants stood, bearing their various insignia of office. This first interrogation went off very favourably. The accused were ordered to kneel, but successfully resisted the indignity. The objects seized at Lha-ssa were exhibited to them, and ultimately they got into a discussion concerning the pronunciation of the European alphabet, which led the accused to remark facetiously to the assembled great men that they had been brought there to be put upon their trial, and instead of that, they had been converted into schoolmasters—a remark which was followed by