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Lunch, basket and tools; the travelling blacksmith, with hii 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 more than seven thousand barbers procuring a livelihood in Canton alone, did we not know that the head, as well as the face, 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 his “celestial 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 l" 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 "immense grubs.” Such a bill of faré 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."
fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened,” Prov. x. 27.
66 The heart is the fountain of life.” 66 Out of it (the heart) are the issues of life,” Prov. iv. 23.
“ If you love your son, give him plenty of the cud gel; if
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.” virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones, Prov. xii. 4.
There are the 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, uacouth, 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 mâchée, representing priests of Fuh (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 chased silver tankards; the elaborately carved ivory model of a Chinese junk; and the light, airy, beautiful lanterns, superbly painted, and admirably ornamented and gilt, will most likely give as much pleasure to others as they have imparted. to me.
An examination of the paintings, view of Canton, representation of the feast of lanterns, view of Whampoa reach and village, a funeral procession, painting of a marriage ceremony, view of Honan, picture of Macao, and others, will do something towards leaving a more favourable impression, with regard to Chinese artists, than that which is generally entertained.
And now if you wish to spend a few hours pleasantly, to correct some prejudices, and to add much to your knowledge of the Chinese people, of their dress, manners, customs, ingenuity, and works of art, from a mandarin of the first class, to the blind mendicant, in his patched habilaments; if leisure serves, and no duty prevents you ; if you have half-a-crown to spare for admission, and an additional eighteen-pence or two shillings for a printed description of the curiosities of the place you can hardly do better than to step into an omnibus, with a heart in love with humanity, and a spirit delighting in forbearance, and pay a visit to the Chinese Collection.
THE RIVER THAMES, THE BRIDGES,
The clock has struck three, the morning is dark and comfortless, and I am wending my way to London bridge, where I wish to arrive while the city is asleep, and where I purpose to remain till I see the sun rejoicing in the east.
I hear a slow, measured, heavy tread, on the opposite side of the road; but it is too dark to discern a passer by, at such a distance, unless he be near a gaslight. It is the tramp of the thick-soled, ill-made boot of a policeman: I envy not the monotonous occupation of the guardians of the night. The first man I hear abroad is a policeman, and the first man I see is a coalheaver. Yonder is a covered wagon, with a double row of horses, about to start on its lumbering pilgrimage; the driver has, at this moment, an old-fashioned stable lantern in his hand.
Perhaps you may wonder how, it being so dark, I can see to make my remarks; but I cannot see to make them. With my paper in one hand, and my pencil in another, I stop for a few moments, now and then, and score down my hieroglyphics in the dark, with the hope of being enabled to decipher them by daylight. There are more gaslights now,
and I discern objects a little more plainly. “ Half past three !" That must be the
cry of some private watchman. To hear the hour of the night, thus publicly announced, is now a novelty. The coffee-stands by the wayside have, as yet, no customers; the early refreshment houses are preparing for their usual visitors; and the noses of the night-cab horses are dozingly exploring the remote recesses of their empty oat bags in quest of provender. Here a cat mews at a door, putting up
her tail as I pass,
and rubbing her side against the panel, to obtain favour with me; and there another darts suddenly forward and disappears in an instant in a cellar hole.
All is quiet at the railway station. A poor lad has just gone by me