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a general laugh from the whole bench and every one present, and thus ended the first day's trial.
Two days afterwards they were summoned to the presence of the viceroy himself, which was the occasion of another struggle upon the question of kneeling in the presence of the representative of majesty, a ceremony which they persisted in resisting, because, had they yielded, they would, they say, have ever afterwards been expected to assume the same suppliant posture before the first corporal who chose to insist upon their degradation. Here the same scene was enacted over again in presence of viceroyalty, all the mandarins and great men being there, while a band of musicians performed sweet music in an adjoining apartment. The viceroy himself received the missionaries in a small room lined with blue paper, and, for all furniture, containing two red cushions, a stand for a candlestick, and a vase with flowers. Pao-hing, the viceroy, was a man of about seventy years of age, tall and thin, and with a kind expression of countenance. He examined the accused carefully, to determine that they were really foreigners. Whilst engaged in this scrutiny he seemed struck with the fairness of their complexions, and asked if they had any recipe for preserving the skin. The missionaries replied that the colour of Europeans differed from that of the Chinese, but that a wise and well-regulated conduct was the secret of health in all countries. “Do you hear that?” exclaimed the viceroy, aloud, to the assembled mandarins. “A wise and well-regulated conduct is the recipe for good health in all countries !" And the red, blue, white, and yellow globules bobbed in sign of assent. Then taking a goodly pinch of snuff, he inquired where they were going. “ To Thibet,” was the answer. “Why, you are just come from Thibet,” remarked the viceroy. “Yes, but we want to go back.” That would not do. The viceroy went so far as to say that Ki-chan had been a great meddler for not letting them alone in Thibet ; but since he had sent them to Tchingtou-fou, they must either go on to Pekin or to Canton. As he was satisfied that they were not mischievous natives but real foreigners, he would dispense with their going to Pekin, but they would be conducted to Canton, and delivered over to their consul. Then, after remarking upon their dress, which was objected to as not conformable to the rites and ceremonies—a point, however, which was not insisted upon-they were dismissed, with manifest kindliness and good feeling.
After spending some considerable time at the capital of Sse-tchouen, which is described as one of the handsomest cities in the Chinese Empire, having wide, well-paved, and clean streets, our missionaries started in all the dignity of red sashes and yellow caps. On issuing from the city a few Christians furtively made themselves known by the sign of the Cross, and a letter from Monseigneur Perocheau was clandestinely thrown into the palanquin. It is not made clear why the vicar-apostolic of a province should have been reduced to so strange a means of communicating with his brother-missionaries.
The traffic which keeps all China in a state of perpetual movement obstructed the highway and raised clouds of dust, but the escort was charged with the duty of clearing the road for the western devils, and insisted, with frequent administrations of the bamboo, upon due respect
being shown to the august strangers. No wonder that “humble missionaries” should have blushed at times for the tyrannical exhibitions of which they were unwittingly the cause. At the first town they arrived at, they were received with a discharge of squibs tied to the end of a bamboo and the most profound salutations, which they exerted themselves to return with usury. As usual, a repast of the most elegant and sumptuous description awaited them at the palatial posthouse. To read the description of these repasts, of the ceremonies attendant upon them, of the brilliancy of the equipments, and the luxury of the furniture, we seem transported to the days when the Venetian nobleman, Marco Polo, first ventured into far-off Cathay. Never were the cards so completely turned upon a people as was done by these humble teachers of the Gospel. They were in name state prisoners, being conducted summarily out of the country, but in reality they were nobles of the first class, as attested by their red and yellow garments ; they were borne in luxurious and gaudy palanquins, they were escorted by a guard of honour, and an impetuous administration of the bamboo awaited any unlucky wearer of a straw hat who did not lift it to the meek disciples of propagandism. If others could count upon such successes, how many would venture to explore the curiosities of the Chinese interior!
After refreshing themselves upon water-melons and other delicious fruits, washed down with iced lemonade, the missionaries continued their journey to Kien-tcheou. (Fou designates in China a city of first class, tcheou a city of the second class or magnitude.) The peculation of the mandarins, as inevitable in China as it is in the imperial territories of the Tsar and the Sultan, soon, however, began to modify the comforts and conveniences provided for them by the exceeding bounty of the Mantchu viceroy of Sse-tchouen. To their great joy, at first, they exchanged the monotony of the palanquin at this city for a boat on the Blue River; but it was several hours after they and their civil and military conductors, their escort and porters, were all safely stowed away in different parts of the vessel, that the great sails of split cane were set, and the ship took its way down the majestic stream, borne along by the wind and current at the same time. Rain coming on, it drove the travellers below, into an atmosphere loaded with the fumes of tobacco and opium, amid a noisy card-playing set of palanquin-bearers and rude soldiery. It was a great change from the palatial post-houses, but they comforted themselves by saying, “Such are the vicissitudes in the life of a missionary !"
After this experience of river navigation, our travellers gave up the boat at Kien-tcheou, and resumed their palanquins, not, however, without lengthy discussions with the mandarins, who profited most by the first system. But so great was the power and influence of these strange men, that at their next station, Tchang-cheu-hien, they actually insisted upon and procured the liberation of three Christians who had been imprisoned for not joining in a time of dearth in supplications to the great rain dragon. This persecution was the more unreasonable, as, according to our travellers, the Chinese Buddhists do not themselves believe in the efficacy of an immense pasteboard or wooden dragon; and when sometimes, after being duly invoked and paraded in procession, no advantages result from the ceremony, they curse the idol, stone it, and even tear it ignominiously to pieces.
Between Tchang-cheu-hien and Leang-chan there was a bit of bad road, and the escort was obliged to scatter itself over the country to press countrymen to the service of the palanquins. The missionaries acknowledged that it gave them pain to see the poor country people thus torn from their labours to toil on the highway without remuneration; but they comforted themselves with the reflection that they were in no way charged with reforming, as they went along, whatever abuses they might meet with in the Celestial Empire! It was quite different when anything concerned themselves. At every town or station they came to there were difficulties and struggles with the mandarins of the escort or of the place; at Leang-chan they went so far in asserting their power against the recognised authorities of the country, in the defence of some Christians of the place who had sent them a present of fruit, that they themselves acknowledged that if they had had men of any energy at all to deal with they must have suffered an ignominious defeat. As it was, encouraged by a first success, when the subject of litigation was brought to trial before the authorities, the missionaries, relying upon the virtues of their red and yellow insignia, usurped the place of the mandarin prefects and magistrates who could only boast of imperial dragons embroidered on their tunics, and blue globules on their caps. Taking the seats of the presiding magistrates, and leaving to the latter a less dignified position, they actually went through the farce of a mock trial of a fellowChristian, interspersing this strange proceeding with a variety of moral precepts, and no small amount of theological disquisition.
At Yao-tchang, their next station, there being no palatial post-house, our tempest-tossed, yet ever-buoyant missionaries, took up their quarters in the public theatre, whose interior is described as being decorated with granite columns. The next morning their conductor, the mandarin Ting, having woke them up by some effective touches of an enormous drum, which was fixed at one of the angles of the stage, he went through a series of performances, partly conversational and partly gymnastic, much to his own satisfaction and to the no small astonishment of his more serious companions. Having once more exchanged their palanquins for a boat at this place, the missionaries took the opportunity to compliment Ting upon his histrionic abilities. This so gratified the worthy mandarin, that he insisted upon going through another performance, in which he was assisted by the two military mandarins. There is not, our travellers assure us, a people in the world who carry the passion for theatrical representations so far as the Chinese do. "They are essentially a nation of comedians and of cooks. “These men,” say the missionaries, “ are endowed with such extraordinary elasticity and activity, both of mind and body, that they can undergo any transformation, and express the most opposite passions; there is something of the monkey in their nature, and when one has lived some time among them, one asks oneself how they have been able to persuade themselves in Europe that China was like a vast academy, full of wise men and philosophers, when in reality their gravity and their wisdom, with some few official exceptions, are only to be found in their classical books. The Celestial Empire resembles one immense fair, where, amidst a perpetual ebb and flow of dealers, buyers, idlers, and thieves, one meets on all sides tumblers and mountebanks, clowns and play-actors, striving incessantly to amuse the public.”
There are theatres everywhere, in cities, towns, and villages, and the actors perform night and day alike. The theatres often form part of the pagodas and of the bonzeries; they may be said, indeed, to form part of the religion of the Chinese : rich and poor, mandarins and people, are alike carried away by the same theatrical furor.
A pleasant sail of four hours brought the travellers to Fou-ki-hien, & city renowned for its scholastic and philosophical establishments. Instead of a palatial post-house they were appropriately lodged in the “ Temple of Literary Compositions,” and as usual the first result was a quarrel-only in this case with a doctor of letters, whom they forcibly expelled their apartment. This little act of impetuosity was, however, palliated by their afterwards relieving a citizen of a great log of wood, which he had been condemned to carry for a fortnight, for using opprobrious epithets towards the western devils.
Another short navigation led them to Ou-chan. Towns, indeed, succeed one another along the courses of the great rivers in China like villages. Here a new grievance presented itself. They were well received and well treated at the palace, but the mandarins failed to wait upon their excellencies ! The demon of impatience hurried them off to the court of justice, but not a blue globule or a painted dragon was to be seen. Hereupon they informed their conductor, Ting, that they would not leave the town till they had seen the prefect. The mandarin only smiled. “He had gradually," writes M. Huc, “accustomed himself to the barbarity of our dispositions and the inflexibility of our resolutions." In this instance the Chinese had not told a falsehood; the prefect was really absent, sitting like a coroner upon an inquest, only without a jury. The presence of blows or wounds upon a body, even in an advanced state of putrefaction, are said to be determined in a very extraordinary manner in China, by exposing the body to the vapour of wine, when in an hour or two the marks of blows or wounds are said to show themselves quite distinctly. The Si-yuen, or “washing in the ditch," a medico-legal book of great learning, shows that the Chinese have an infinite variety of means of committing murder and suicide. The latter practice is exceedingly common throughout the empire. This is because the law renders those who have been the cause of a suicide responsible. Hence, whenever a person seeks to revenge himself upon another, he puts himself to death, instead of his enemy.
The mandarins of Ou-chan carried their civilities so far as to request the travellers to spend another day in their city. Custom and the invariable rites and ceremonies of the country demanded that this should be understood in a precisely opposite sense, and so our travellers took it. The effect of conversations and discussions, always carried on with the authorities in a sense precisely opposed to what was really intended to be conveyed, and oftentimes related at length by our travellers, assumes sometimes a most ridiculous aspect; and we feel, from their own expositions of things, that when they were designated “their excellencies,
devils was what was really meant. To offer anything, to give no 'end of pressing invitations, is the practice throughout China, but it would attest the greatest ignorance of the ceremonial rights to accept. It is like the Englishman in Persia, who remarked to a khan, “ What a beautiful horse you have got?” “Do you think so ?” said the khan; “it is yours. You cannot do me a greater honour than to accept it as your own." When the Englishman was foolish enough to send for the horse, reserving a large present for the domestics, he not only got no horse, but was laughed at as an unpolished brute, who was ignorant of the common forms of society. To offer a thing which it is never intended for a person to accept, is by no means, as M. Huc thinks it to be, de la pure Chinoiserie.
Thus, notwithstanding the pressing invitations of the mandarins of Ou-chan, our travellers continued their journey the next day, as it behoved persons who knew how to conduct themselves, and who had studied the rites elsewhere than in the deserts of Mongolia. This part of the journey was in palanquin, across a rocky and arid country, and they crossed the frontier of the Sse-tchouen, or “ four valleys,” the largest and finest province in China, to enter into Hou-pé. At Pa-toung, the first town they came to, they were lodged in a kind of Institut, an offset of the great corporation of letters, which was organised as far back as the eleventh century before Christ, and which is at present in a sad state of decadence. At the next stage, Kouei-tcheou, a large port, with much commercial movement, they again took to the river, with which, they remark, no other river in the world can compare for the multitude of human beings that it supplies with means of existence, or the prodigious number of vessels that it bears upon its waters.
No sooner on the river than an incident occurred, in which the courage of the missionaries displayed itself in a more remarkable manner even than when they drove the judges from their benches and tried their own case themselves. Having to pass a custom-house, the officers boarded their ship, and, to the horror of all on board, especially those most concerned, a contraband cargo of salt was discovered below. The row that ensued was tremendous: the mandarins shouted, the sailors quarrelled, the escort blustered, but the custom-house officers were resolute in detaining the vessel. In such a difficulty, the missionaries adopted a decisive manner of settling affairs. They seized upon mandarins, escort, smugglers, and custom-house officers all alike, shut them up in a cabin together, and bade the sailors continue the navigation to I-chang-fou, the next great city. Here, for the first time, they found the palatial post-house a mere ruin, tenanted by a numerous troop of rats. They accordingly took themselves off, bag and baggage, to the house of the prefect. We wonder what their reception would have been in a provincial city of France, had they intruded in such a manner even upon a sous-préfet, still less upon a préfet, in all the importance of their political and departmental functions? The unfortunate Chinese prefect tried to get rid of his visitors by offering to send water-melons to the post-house. This failing, he invited them to stay in his house, the due observance of the rites demanding that upon such an invitation they should take their immediate departure. They chose, however, to exhibit themselves this time in the light of occidental