ePub 版

“have been made by reducing the dimensions to the proper scale ; and in every particular, even to the employment of the same descriptions of wood, the oars, sculls, rudders, setting poles, cordage, &c., are fac-similes of those in actual use.”*

XXVII. Three JVatural History Cases.

These are directly opposite the cases just described. They contain a number of interesting specimens of the feathered tribe; among which are the Chinese partridge, various species of song birds, and several varieties of the duck. Immense quantities of this domesticated bird are reared by the Chinese, particularly by those who live on the water. It holds the same rank in the winged race that the pig occupies among quadrupeds. There is a particular kind of boat appropriated to duck-rearing. It has a broad platform projecting over the water for the use of the ducks, who are also honoured with the most roomy apartments within the boat itself. During the day, they are permitted to make cruises on the water or expeditions on land, seeking what they may devour; but they are trained to obey the call of a whistle, and whenever the signal is sounded, they instantly hasten back from their wanderings.

There is one variety here, called the “mandarin duck,” which will attract special notice from the brilliancy of its plumage and the singularity of its wings. Its disposition, too, is as remarkable as its beauty. The female never mates a second time. An interesting anecdote, illustrative of this fact, is related by Davis. Of a pair of these birds in Mr. Beal’s aviary at Macao, the drake happened one night to be stolen. The duck was perfectly inconsolable, like Calypso after the departure

* Silliman’s Journal.

of Ulysses. She retired into a corner, neglected her

food and person, refused all society, and rejected with disdain the proffer of a second love. In a few days, the purloined drake was recovered and brought back. The mutual demonstrations of joy were excessive, and, what is more singular, the true husband, as if informed by his partner of what had happened in his absence, pounced upon the would-be lover, tore out his eyes, and injured him so much that he soon after died of his wounds.

XXVIII. Picture of Macao.

This is by the same artist, and of the same dimensions, as the Picture of Canton, already described. It is a view of Macao, as it appears from the harbour. The town is handsomely situated on a steep declivity, and protected, as it were, in the rear by a mountain wall. One of the neighbouring summits is crowned with a Portuguese church, which shows like a fortress in the distance. The effect must be imposing in approaching by sea, as nearly the whole city is visible, and of a prepossessing appearance. Macao is a place of some importance; and interesting on several accounts. It belongs nominally to the Portuguese, to whom the privilege of building a town there was granted about two hundred and fifty years ago, in consideration of services rendered in clearing the Chinese waters of a desperate gang of pirates; but the government is really in the hands of the viceroy at Canton. Here all foreign merchantmen, bound to Canton, have to procure a chop, or permit to pass the forts, and take on board an inside pilot. This is the utmost limit to which European or American ladies are ever permitted to intrude into the Celestial Empire. Most of the foreign merchants resident at Canton, rusticate at Macao during the summer months. Lintin, that paradise of smugglers, lies to the left of the view contained in this picture.

XXIX. Picture of the Bocca Tigris.

The Bocca Tigris is the entrance of the Canton river, and is so called from the appearance of one of the islands

in front of it. It is, as described by Weddel, the first

Englishman who approached it, “a goodly inlet,” flanked on each side by mountains and fortresses. The latter appear formidable, but, owing to an entire want, on the part of the Chinese, of a knowledge of gunnery, and to other causes, they are without any real efficiency. They have been repeatedly passed without difficulty by English


XXX. Picture of a Marriage Procession.

Opposite the two pictures just described, is another large painting, representing a wedding procession. The bride is carried in a gaudy chair, adorned with flowers, and preceded by a lengthened train of attendants, clad in garments of various colours. There are not less than a dozen sedan chairs in the procession, filled with presents to the bride. These constitute her whole marriage dowery. The persons composing the train are hired for the occasion. There are large establishments in China, provided


with men, chairs, and dresses, to be hired out for escorts
of this kind. The dresses and sedans range through all
the degrees of costliness and elegance. Articles of this
kind, more or less expensive, and a more or less numer-
ous train of attendants, are employed, according to the
rank and wealth of the parties to be united. Houqua, the
rich Hong merchant, expended over $50,000 on a daugh-
ter’s wedding, including the bridal presents. Live geese
are always among the presents, and they are carried in
the procession, being considered, apparently without any
good foundation, patterns of concord and fidelity in the
married state. The beautiful mandarin duck, already
described, would be a fitter emblem. When the bride
reaches the residence of her lord, she is lifted by matrons
over a pan of charcoal,—a usage the exact import of
which is not understood. Various ceremonies follow,
which end in the husband unveiling his bride, whom he
now sees for the first time, and drinking with her the
cup of alliance.
Marriages are promoted by every consideration that
can act upon the human mind. The national maxim is,
that “there are three great acts of disregard to parents,
and to die without progeny is the chief.” The barren-
ness of a wife is therefore regarded as a great calamity,
and is one of the seven grounds of divorce allowed to a
Chinese husband, notwithstanding there would seem to be
an all-sufficient remedy in legal concubinage. The six
other causes of separation are, adultery, TALKATIVENEss,
thieving, ill temper, and inveterate infirmities.
A lucky day for the marriage rites is considered im-
portant. On this point, recourse is had to astrology, and
the horoscopes of the parties are diligently compared.
Sometimes the ceremony is postponed for months, be-
cause the stars are not propitious. These superstitious

notions and observances belong exclusively to no times or country. In the Iphigenia of Euripides, Clytemnestra asks Agamemnon when their daughter shall wed? He replies, “When the orb of a fortunate moon shall arrive.” The spring in China is generally preferred for wedding, when the peach-tree is in blossom. This circumstance is alluded to in a little poem in the “Book of Odes,” thus elegantly paraphrased by the accomplished Sir William Jones:—


Sweet child of spring, the garden's queen,
Yon peach-tree charms the roving sight;

Its fragrant leaves how richly green,
Its blossoms how divinely bright!


So softly shines the beauteous bride,
By love and conscious virtue led,

O'er her new mansion to preside,
And placid joys around her shed.

XXXI. The other Paintings in the Collection.

Of these, though very numerous, our notice must be cursory and general. We take the following remarks from a very good sketch of the Collection, published in Silliman's Journal: “Many of them,” the writer says, “were presented by distinguished men of China, and many were painted by the most celebrated artists of the principal inland cities, including the capital. They represent in the first place all those scenes which are characteristic of Chinese life in its detail, including a series showing every process of the tea manufacture, from the planting to the packing up. The portraits will astonish

« 上一頁繼續 »