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question, I went one afternoon to witness the pilgrimage that takes place every day to this miraculous spot. A little altar stands at the foot of the huge tooth, and numberless tablets, certifying to cures, erected by thankful noble visitors and others, are fixed against the rock, with the name, date and year when the cures were effected.

As I stood there, I could not help laughing at the sight of the crowds of men and women with swollen cheeks, bandaged up in cotton wool and kerchiefs, apparently undergoing excruciating agonies through coming out on so cold a day. One after the other they came up, first paying their chin-chins in front of the altar, and then depositing on it what _cash_ they could afford; after which they proceeded to rub one cheek after the other on the Tooth-stone, just as “puss” rubs herself against your legs when you stroke her head. The bandages had, of course, to be removed before the balloon-like cheek could be rubbed on the frozen stone, and to watch the different expressions of relief or increased pain upon their ill-balanced, inflamed faces, gave me as much amusement as any show that I have ever witnessed. Should the pain have temporarily disappeared, the man in charge of the _miracle_ would make it his duty to try and extract more money from the person cured; if, instead of that, the pain had increased, which was generally the case, then, again, he would impress on the agonised sufferer that had he paid a larger sum in the beginning the gods would not have been vexed at his meanness and the pain would have disappeared. Let him, therefore, now pay more _cash_ by way of making up for it, and try again! It is wonderful, too, how shallow people are when they have a pain anywhere!

CHAPTER XV

Police–Detectives–The plank-walk–The square board–The wooden blocks for hands and feet–Floggings–The bamboo rod–The stick–The flexible board–A flogging in Seoul–One hundred strokes for three-halfpence –Wounds produced–Tender-hearted soldiers–Imprisonment–Exile–Status of women, children and bachelors–Guilds and the law–Nobles and the law–Serfdom–A mild form of slavery.

Should you happen to be one of the tender-hearted sort, please pass this chapter and the next over, and I shall not bear you any malice. My present object is to describe some of the punishments inflicted on criminals, and, though they are, as a whole, quaint and original, I cannot say that they are pleasing, either to see or to read about.

First of all, you may not be aware that there is in Seoul a sharp and well-regulated body of police, always ready to pounce on outlaws of any kind; and that there is hardly a crime committed, the delinquent in which fails to be immediately collared. These guardians of the peace do not wear any particular uniform, but are dressed just like the merchant classes; and thus it is that, unknown, they can mix with people of all sorts, and frequently discover crimes of which they would otherwise probably never hear. Instead of being mere policemen, they rather do the work of detectives and policemen combined; for, by ably disguising themselves, they try to get on familiar terms with people about whom they are suspicious; and in many a case, after having become a bosom-friend of one of these officials and acknowledged and confessed his evil deeds to him, the culprit finds himself arrested and very likely beheaded.

In speaking of their mode of arrest, I purposely used the word “collared”; for no better term can express the action of the Corean policeman. The man is taken before the magistrate soon after his arrest, and should he offer resistance he is dragged before him by his top-knot or his pig-tail, according respectively as he is a married man or a bachelor. If he is strong and restive, a rope with a sliding knot is passed round his neck, after his hands have been firmly tied behind his back. After his interview with the magistrate at the _yamen_, if he be found guilty, he is generally treated with very great severity.

If the crime has been only of the minor degree the culprit undergoes the plank-walk, a punishment tiresome enough, but not too harsh for Coreans. The following is a rough description of it. A heavy wooden plank, about twelve feet long and two feet wide, with an aperture in the centre, is used, the man’s head being passed through the aperture and then secured in it in such a way that he cannot remove it. Thus arrayed he is made to walk through the streets of the town, his head distorted by the weight he has to carry, and his body restrained by the dragging of the plank either in front of him or at his back. The passers-by point at him the finger of scorn, as, in his helpless state, he is made to swing from one side of the road to the other with the slightest push, or else is pulled along mercilessly by people who seize the plank and begin to run. He is poked in the ribs with sticks, and gets his head smacked and smeared with dirt; yet has to bear it all patiently, until, twirled round, knocked about, and with his neck skinned by the friction of the heavy plank, he sometimes falls down in a dead faint.

[Illustration: THE PLANK-WALK]

Little or no compassion is shown to criminals by the Coreans. Rather than otherwise, they are cruel to them; and children, besides being cautioned not to follow their bad example, are encouraged to annoy and torture the poor wretches.

A more severe punishment still is the square board, a piece of wood too heavy to allow of the man standing for any length of time, too wide to allow of his arms reaching his face, too big to allow of him resting his head on the ground and going to sleep, and too thick to allow of his smashing it and getting rid of it. Instances are on record of people thus punished having become lunatics after the fourth or fifth day. During the fly season I should think such an occurrence cannot be uncommon. Imagine half a dozen flies disporting themselves in a tickling walk on a man’s nose, eyelids and forehead, without his being able to reach them, owing to this huge square wooden collar! It must be dreadful! Merely the thought of it is enough to give one the shivers.

This last mode of punishment has, I think, been imported from China, for I have also seen it frequently in the Empire of Heaven. The other, which I first described, may also be a modification of this one, but I do not remember having seen it, as I have described it, anywhere except in Corea, at Seoul. There is also in Corea another machine of torture, in which the head and feet are tied between heavy blocks of wood.

The principal, and most important, of all the lesser punishments, however, is flogging. It is that which has most effect on the people, and it is certainly by far the most painful. It is carried out in many ways, according to the gravity of the crime committed. The simpler and milder form is with a small bamboo rod, the strokes being administered on the hands, on the bare back or on the thighs, a punishment mostly for young people. Next in severity, is that with the round stick–a heavy implement–by which it was always a marvel to me, that all the bones of the body were not smashed, judging from the fearful blows which the powerful flogger bestowed on the poor wretches who lay stretched out flat, and face downward, on a sort of bench, to which they were fastened, and on which they generally fainted from pain after the first few strokes had been given. This is considered a low and degrading way of being flogged, and is chiefly limited to people of the lowest standing in society. The implement most generally in use in this line of sport is the paddle or flat board, a beating with which, when once received, is likely to be remembered for ever. I shall try to describe the way in which I saw it done one day in Seoul.

I was walking along the main street when I saw a _kisso_ (soldier), with his hands tied behind his back, being led with a rope and followed by about a score of cavalry soldiers in their picturesque hats and red tassels. A magistrate, in his long white gown and with a huge pair of circular spectacles on his nose, headed the procession. I asked a passer-by what they were going to do, and was soon informed, both by action and by word of mouth, that the man was going to be flogged, whereupon I at once slackened my pace, and joined the procession, that I might, if possible, see how they did this sort of thing in military circles. I had already seen ordinary floggings with the bamboo and the stick, but what attracted me more especially on this occasion, was a long wooden board which a soldier was carrying, and with which, the man who was walking by my side said, they were going to beat him. It was a plank about ten feet long, one foot wide and half an inch thick, probably less, and therefore very flexible. After walking for a short distance, the procession at last made a halt. The man to be performed upon, looked almost unconcerned; and, save that he was somewhat pensive, showed no signs of fear. His hands having been untied, he at once took off his hat–for in the land of Cho-sen a man does not mind losing his life as long as his hat is not spoilt! His padded trousers were pulled down so as to leave his legs bare, and he was then made to lie flat on the pebbly ground, using his folded arms as a sort of rest for his head. The magistrate, with his pompous strides, having found a suitable spot, squatted down on his heels, a servant immediately handing to him his long-caned pipe. The soldiers, silent and grave, then formed a circle, and the flogger; with his board all ready in his hand, took up a position on the left-hand side of his victim. The magistrate, between one puff and another of smoke, gave a long harangue on the evils of borrowing money and not returning it, however small the sum might be. The disgrace, he argued, would be great in anybody’s case, but for a soldier of the King, not only to commit the great offence of borrowing money from a person of lower grade than himself–“a butcher,” but then also to add to his shame by not returning it–this was something that went beyond the limits of decency.

“How much was it you borrowed?” he inquired in a roaring kind of voice.

“A hundred _cash_,” answered the thread of a voice from the head on the ground buried in the coat-sleeves.

“Well, then, give him a hundred strokes, to teach him to do better next time!”

As a hundred _cash_ is equivalent to one penny-halfpenny, to my mind, the verdict was a little severe, but, as there is no knowing what is good for other people, I remained a silent spectator.

The flogger then, grabbing at one end of the board with his strong hands, swung it two or three times over his head, and gave a tremendous whack on the man’s thighs, causing them to bleed. Then immediately another and another followed, each being duly reckoned, the poor fellow all the while moaning pitifully, and following from the corners of his frightened eyes the quick movements of the quivering plank. Soon his skin became livid and inflamed, and, after a few more blows had been given, large patches of skin remained attached to the board. The pain must have been intense. The wretch bit his sleeves, and moaned and groaned, until, finally, he became faint. Meanwhile, I had produced my sketch-book, and had already with my pencil jotted down magistrate, flogger, flogged and soldiers, when the ill-natured official took offence at what I was doing and ordered the flogging to be at once stopped. Had I only known, I would have begun my sketch before. As it was–and the culprit had only received less than one-fifth of the number of blows to which he had been sentenced–the performance was bad enough. There was only one redeeming feature about it, and I must say no one was more astonished at it than myself. Nearly all the soldiers, friends of the offender, blubbered like children while his punishment lasted. This circumstance seemed to prove to me that the Easterns, though apparently cruel, are, after all, not quite so hard-hearted as one might be inclined to imagine. And, mind you, the soldier-classes in Cho-sen are probably the most cruel of all; that touch of sentiment on their part, therefore, impressed me much, and upset entirely those first ideas I had formed about their lack of sensitiveness and sympathy for others.

The order to that effect being then given, two soldiers proceeded to help the man to rise. Calling to him was, however, of no avail. They had, therefore, to lift him up bodily, but when they tried to dress him they found his swollen bleeding legs to be as stiff as if they had been made of iron; wherefore, as they failed to bend them, two other men had to come to their assistance and carry him away. It not unfrequently happens in the case of this cruel method of flogging that a man’s thighs are broken and himself ruined for life, and many have been known to have even died under the severity of the punishment.

Imprisonment is not a favourite punishment with the Corean magistrates, for the infliction of such a penalty means considerable expense to the country, and would be but little punishment to the natives, who, by such confinement, would suffer little or nothing physically, and certainly not at all morally. Some, however, especially of the nobler classes, are kept confined, even for years, in expectation, for instance, of a sentence of capital punishment being carried out, or else in the hope that through influential friends they may obtain the royal pardon. As a rule, particularly with the better classes, exile is deemed a more impressive punishment than imprisonment, and when confiscation of land and property goes with this, the punishment is, of course, all the more severe.

Of banishment there are several different kinds. Thus, there is not only banishment from the city to a distant province, but also that out of the kingdom altogether. Some banishments are for short periods, others for longer periods, others for life. Banishment from the country is generally for life and accompanied by confiscation.

A curious custom prevails at Court, according to which, when a Minister, prince or magistrate incurs the royal displeasure, he is confined for two or three days to his own house, without being allowed to go out. Were the rule broken it would lead to serious trouble, for spies are generally sent to see that the rule is not transgressed. Such a punishment, mild as it is, is much felt by the nobles, and they take, therefore, a good deal of trouble to comply with the Court etiquette in all its minutest details.

Corean law is very lenient to women and children, or unmarried men, which latter class, as we have seen, are classified in the same category as the former. The head of the family is supposed to punish smaller offences as he thinks fit, either by rod or fist, the law only providing the severer forms of punishment for the bigger crimes.

The administration of the law in general is very strange. Some people are responsible, others are not. Certain tradesmen, like butchers, plasterers, innkeepers, carpenters, hatters, etc., have formed themselves into guilds, and in the case of offences committed by a member of one of these guilds he is held responsible to the head of the guild and not to the magistrates of the country. The same holds good in the case of the _mapus_ (horsemen) and the coolie-carriers who constitute, probably, the best-formed and best-governed guild in the country. It has thousands of members all over the kingdom, and not only is the postal system carried on by them, but also the entire trade, so to speak, between the different provinces and towns of the realm. The chief of this guild, until late years, had actually the power of inflicting capital punishment on the members; now, however, the highest penalty he can inflict is a sentence of flogging. Thus it is, that a good deal of the justice of the country is administered by the people themselves, without the intervention of the legal authorities, in which respect they show themselves very sensible. The nobles, too, have the power of flogging their servants or followers, and this is usually done in their own _compounds_. Very often on passing a house the strokes of the paddle may be heard, the howls and screams of the victim testifying to the nature of what is going on. In other cases flogging is generally done in public, for then it is supposed to have more effect. If done in a private enclosure, then all the servants, soldiers and followers are summoned to witness it.

This patient submission to these personal punishments is no doubt one of the last remains of feudalism. In not very remote times, serfdom which bordered on slavery was still in existence in Cho-sen. Men and women became private property either by the acquiring of the land on which they lived, or, by purchase, or by way of execution for non-payment of debts, for under this convenient law creditors could be paid with a man’s relations instead of with ready money.

Slavery in Corea, even when it existed, was, however, always of a very mild form. The women were mostly employed as servants about the house, while the man tilled the ground, but in neither case was rough dealing the rule, and, far less, ill-treatment. They were, too, well fed and clothed; so much so, that many people used to sell themselves in order to acquire a comfortable living. In time of famine this must have very often occurred, and many families whose ancestors under such circumstances stood by the nobles and rich people are even to the present moment supported by them, though no longer as slaves, but rather as retainers and servants. They are perfectly happy with their lot and make no agitation for liberty; in fact, like the bird that has been born and bred in a cage, if left to themselves, they would probably soon come to a bad end.

CHAPTER XVI

Executions–Crucified and carried through the streets–The execution ground–Barbarous mode of beheading–Noble criminals–Paternal love–Shut out–Scaling the wall–A catastrophe–A nightmare.

In Cho-sen, as in other countries, we find not only pleasanter sights, but also those that are disagreeable or even revolting. That which I am about to describe is one which, I have little doubt, will make your blood curdle, but which is none the less as interesting as some of the others I have feebly attempted in this work to describe; I mean an execution as carried out in the Land of the Morning Calm. The penal form of death adopted is beheading, which is not, I believe, so pleasant a sensation as, for instance, that of being hanged–that is, when other persons are the sufferers. Of late years, executions have not been by any means an everyday occurrence in Corea, but here, as in other countries, there is always to be found a good share of people who are anxious to be “off” their heads. There is no reason why people should commit crimes, yet they do commit them and get punished in consequence. They are punished in this world for having broken the limits of society’s laws, and yet again, if what one hears is correct, they are punished wherever they happen to go after their final departure from our very earthly regions. In Corea, as is the case all over the far East, the natives are not much concerned about this future existence and attach little importance to death and physical pain. I have no doubt, in fact I am positive, that the Eastern people feel pain much less than we do, partly because they are accustomed from childhood to be insensitive to bodily agony, but chiefly because they are differently constituted to us. In our case, the brain, by means of which it is that we judge of the amount of pain inflicted on us, has been trained to receive impressions so quickly, transmitted as they are in an instant from any part of the body to the centre of our system, that, indeed, many times we actually feel the pain before it has been physically communicated to us at all. With the Corean, as with the Manchu or the Chinese, a reverse action takes place. With them, the brain works so very slowly that, supposing a bad ache is taking place in any part of the body, whence is being conveyed to the drowsy brain the unpleasant news of the agony that that part is undergoing; well, what in that case happens in the Corean skull? By the time the brain has grasped the idea that the aforesaid part of the body is really in a state of suffering, the pain is almost gone. This, roughly stated, is I believe, a truthful explanation of their going to death with so much bravery.

It is a common occurrence in China for criminals, kneeling in a row to be executed, to crack jokes among themselves, and even at the executioner’s expense. In Corea, they cannot go quite so far as that, for things are done somewhat differently. In the latter country, the prisoners are detained in the gaols sometimes for months and even years, undergoing judgments and sentences, floggings and milder tortures innumerable, so that it is almost with a feeling of relief and gladness that, finally, being proved guilty, they receive the news of their fast approaching end. When their time is come, they are removed from prison, and dragged out into a courtyard, within which, with the first rays of light, have been brought some little carts with heavy and roughly-made wooden wheels, each drawn by a sturdy bull. On the ground some wooden crosses have been set up, and to each of these a criminal is tied with ropes, his chest and arms being bare, and cut into by the tightened cords, and only his padded trousers being left. Each cross with its human freight is then planted and made firm on a bull cart; and then, when all is ready, the ghastly procession, headed by the executioner, a few _kissos_ (soldiers), armed with old fashioned flint locks or with spears, makes its way slowly through the streets of the town, one of the followers proclaiming aloud the crimes committed and the sentences passed on the crucified. Sleepy women and children, with uncombed hair, peep out of the paper windows, while the men hurry down to the street and join the procession in large numbers, making fun at the expense of the poor wretches, and even insulting them; while the latter, hang helpless and defenceless from their crosses, their bodies livid with cold, pain and starvation. Occasions such as these, are regular orgies for the soldiers, and those who follow the mournful _cortege_. Not a wine-shop on the road-side is left unvisited, and continual halts are made that wine may be freely drunk, and food swallowed, as only Corean soldiers know how to do it. Occasionally, a pious passer-by, moved to compassion, may, amid the howls of the crowd, raise his wine-cup to the lips of one of the sentenced, and help him thus to make death more merry. Once this sort of thing is started, the example is usually at once emulated by others, and, as the hours go by, a considerable amount of intoxicating stuff is consumed, not only by the executioner, soldiers and followers, but also by those to be executed. Before very long, however, the bodies of the victims thus carried become senseless and nearly frozen to death. Their heads then hang down pitifully, all blue and congested, and quivering with the jerking of the cart.

“Era! Era! Picassa!” (“Get out! get away!”) the drunken soldiers call out at intervals, as they swallow their last mouthful of rice, and order the _mapus_ to move on to the next eating-place. Crowds of men and children collect round the miserable show and prudent fathers, pointing at the victims, show their heirs what will be the fate of those who do what is wrong. During the whole day are the poor wretches thus carted to and fro, in the streets of the town, stoppages being made at all the public eating-places, where feasting invariably takes place, though it is also almost as invariably left unpaid for.

Only when sunset has come is it that the procession, having made its way towards one of the city gates, finally leaves the town and winds its way through the open country to a suitable spot for the chopping-off process. Executions are not held at any particular spot; and in former days, even a few years ago, it was not an uncommon occurrence to see the dead bodies of beheaded people lying about in the streets of Seoul. Now, however, they generally take the offenders outside the Wall, and inflict the capital punishment miles away from the town.

The execution represented in the illustration, took place on the sixth of February, 1891, and is a reproduction of a picture which I have done from sketches taken on the spot. The men executed on this occasion numbered seven, and the crime committed, was “high treason.” They had conspired to upset the reigning dynasty of Cho-sen, and had devised the death of His Majesty the King. Unfortunately for them, the plot was discovered before its aims could be carried out, and the ringleaders arrested and imprisoned. For over a year they had remained in gaol, undergoing severe trials, and being constantly tortured and flogged to make them confess their crime, and betray the friends who were implicated with them. That, however, being of no avail, the seven men were at last all sentenced to death. Three of them were noblemen, and one a priest; while the others were commoner people, though well-to-do. Here are their names; Yi-Keun-eung, Youn-Tai-son, Im-Ha-sok, Kako (priest), Yi-sang-hik, Chyong-Hiong-sok, Pang-Pyong-Ku.

[Illustration: A STUDY FROM STILL-LIFE]

Having undergone the final drive through the town, by the sound of the big bell at sunset the _cortege_ passed through the “Gate of the Dead;” then, leaving the crowded streets of the capital, it made its way towards the spot where the execution was to take place. The place selected was on a naturally raised ground, nearly 20 lis (61/2 miles) from Seoul, a lonely spot, overlooking a deserted plain. The high road was only a few hundred yards distant, and could be plainly seen as a white interminable line, like a white tape, at the foot of the distant hills.

The bull carts were stopped some little way below this spot on the flat ground, and then, one by one, the wretched creatures were taken down and removed from their crosses in a brutal manner, and handed over to the executioner. Senseless, they lay on the ground, with their arms tied behind their backs, and a long rope fastened to their top-knots in the hair; until they were carried one after another, and laid flat on their faces, with their chests on the little stools seen in the picture. When they had all been thus stationed, the executioner proceeded to administer blows with his blunt sword until the heads were severed from the bodies. On the occasion in question, several of the bodies were hacked about most mercilessly through the inexperience or drunkenness of this brute. The third man in the illustration, for example, had a good part of his left shoulder cut off as clean as a whistle, although the blow had been meant to strike the neck; but let this suffice for these horrible details. I have mentioned them, partly, that they may be compared with the dexterous doings of the neighbouring Chinese, whose skill in the chopping-off line is beyond description.

The Chinese possess very long, sharp, well-balanced swords, a single blow of one of which will sever the head from the body. Besides, they administer their blows as neatly as the most fastidious of customers might desire, and the victim does not really undergo much pain. The executioners, too, are picked out from among the strongest men, and are so well trained that they never miss a blow. The whole affair, consequently, is over in less than no time; a few seconds being quite sufficient to do away with one comfortably. Truly enough, were it to be one’s lot to be executed, I would desire nothing more delightful than to have one’s head “done” by a Celestial executioner. The Coreans, on the contrary, have not developed the same skill in these difficult matters; and, what with their blunt and short swords, what with their misjudgment of distances, they bungle matters most cruelly. Of course, they are, nevertheless, supposed to kill their victims with single blows, instead of raining them down by the dozen, hacking the unfortunate creatures in a most fearful manner, and lopping off their arms or gashing their bodies before the heads are finally cut off.

The little blocks, upon which the men were laid down, were so arranged that their chests rested on the upper portions, the head in consequence being raised several inches from the ground. The idea in this was to make things easier for the executioner; the same reason also explaining why the straw rope was tied to each man’s top-knot; for in this way another man could hold him fast to the stool when the decapitation was to take place. A somewhat closer examination of the first body in the illustration will at once show how distorted it is. This is what must have happened: in the final struggle with death the owner had attempted to resist his fate, when several soldiers had immediately pounced upon him, with the inevitable result that, in his desperate struggling, the spine had been broken; a strange, yet very natural accident, under the circumstances. The arms being tied together at the elbows behind, the spine had been at great tension, like a set bow, so that a violent assault could not but result in its being fractured, especially considering the weak and frozen condition in which the derelict before us was. That I am probably correct in this explanation seems to be further proved by the fact that his head, when severed, had been taken up and swung to a distance by the angry executioner.

Now, though this way of doing away with criminals may appear a very cruel one to European minds, it is, nevertheless, a decided improvement on the older method of executing prevalent in Corea, as practised for example, many years ago, on some French missionaries and their followers.

The execution of these martyrs was preceded by terrible floggings and tortures, and when they were led to the execution-ground they had two arrows thrust into their flesh, like modern St. Sebastians.

The executioner and soldiers, after having accomplished their bloody work, and converted the execution-ground for the time being into a shambles, retraced their steps to the nearest wine-shop, where the rest of the night was spent in drinking and gorging. The bodies were left as a repast for dogs and leopards; for no Corean with a sound mind could be induced to go near the spot where they lay, lest the spirits of their departed souls should play some evil trick upon them. So much, in fact, were they scared at the idea of passing at all near to the dead bodies that, though the execution took place a few hundred yards away from the high road, the superstitious Coreans preferred going miles out of their way on the other side of the hill range to being seen near (they called it “near”) a spot where so many people had perished.

The morning following this execution I took many sketches of the ghastly scene and the mutilated bodies. I did not leave until darkness began to set in, when, as I was busy packing up my traps to return to Seoul, I was rather startled by the sudden appearance near me of an old man, sad, pale, and worn-out with anxiety. As he crept up to my side, in a most suspicious manner, he looked round, and then, with a violent effort, directed his gaze to the bodies lying a little way off. He was shivering like a leaf, his eyes were staring and his fingers outstretched, yet he could not remove his glance from the dreadful sight. As he was in this tragic position, two coolies, carrying a coffin, appeared cautiously on the scene; but, when still a long way from the bodies, they refused positively to approach any nearer, and all the expostulation of the old man who went down to meet them, all the extra strings of _cash_, the last ones he possessed, were not sufficient to induce them to stir another inch. This fright which had taken possession of them was thus great, partly because of the natural superstitions which all Coreans entertain regarding the souls of dead persons, and also because the fact of being seen or found near these political criminals might in all probability lead to the loss of their heads as well. At last, however, when their terror was somewhat overcome, they promised to go near the bodies if large sums should be paid them; whereupon the old man who had not another _cash_ in the world, seemed to act as if he were in a state of thorough despair. I watched his face and thought that he was actually going to collapse. Not a word of complaint, however, did he utter to me. Intense grief was depicted on his face, and I had pity on him. He was old, too, and his features were refined. He opened his heart to me.

“That,” lying dead there, with his head Heaven only knew where, was his son! He had been a nobleman; that one could see at a glance, but was poor now, “cashless,” having spent his fortune in his efforts to bribe the officials to let his son be released. His money had come to an end, and there his son lay dead. The risk he was running, he well knew, was very great, in thus coming to remove the body of the one he loved. Were the officials only to know that he had visited the spot, he would straightway be imprisoned, accused of complicity, tortured, and then put to death; notwithstanding this, however, he felt sure that darkness would protect him, and so in his anxiety he had come to remove his son’s body, that he might during the night bury it on one of the distant hills. He had given the coolies the little money he had to help him in his enterprise, and now that he was only a few yards from his beloved he could not get them to proceed. He was himself too weak to move the body.

I took him by the arm, and we approached the bodies. The near view of them made him shudder and turn pale, and as he rested on my arm he was shivering all over. Not a word did he utter, not a lamentation did he make, not a tear did he shed; for, to show one’s feelings is considered bad form in the land of Cho-sen. I could well see, however, that his heart was aching. He bent over the bodies, one after the other; then, after a lengthy examination, he pointed to one, and murmured:

“This is my son, this is my son! I know him by his hands. See how they are swollen, and nearly cut by the rope?”

Next, after a good deal of uncertainty, for the face was smeared and streaked with blood, we found the head pertaining to the body. The old man, with paternal love, then proceeded, if he could, to stick the head on the body again, but–this was impossible.

“Please, sir,” he begged of me, in a tone of lamentation, “help me to take my son as far as the coffin.”

I consented, and, with the utmost trouble, we carried the body down the hill, afterwards coming back for the head. In two mats, which had been carried inside the hearse, we wrapped the corpse up as well as we could, and then bundled him into the coffin. All this time a careful look-out was maintained, to see that no one else was about to spy over the deed, but once the corpse was in its coffin, the coolies quickly took the hearse on their shoulders, and all sped away, not without repeated “kamapsos” (thanks) being given me by the old man.

That was the only body which was removed, all the others being left to rot or to be eaten up by wild animals.

When I examined the expressions on the faces of the beheaded wretches, it did not seem as if any of them had at all enjoyed what had taken place; on the contrary, rather than otherwise, there was plainly depicted on their now immovable features an expression of most decided dissatisfaction. Without doubt, they had undergone a terrible agony. In some cases the eyes were closed, in others they were wide open, staring straight in front. The pupils had become extremely small. The lips of all were contracted, and the teeth showed between, tightly closed. Streaks of blood covered the faces, and it was very apparent that the noses, ears, and sometimes the outside corners of the eyes, had been bleeding, this being probably due to the violent blows received from the sword. In a word, the expression which had become stereotyped upon their faces was that of great pain and fright, although none of them, with the exception of the one who had resisted at the last moment, showed it in any other way. The muscles of the arms also were much contracted, and the swollen fingers were of a bluish colour with congested blood, and half-closed and stiff–as if made of wood.

By the time that the old man, his coolies and their sad burden had got well out of sight, on their way up one of the distant hills, I had finished packing up my sketches and painting materials. Then, as I retraced my steps towards Seoul it became quite dark. On the way, however, I purchased, for the large sum of three _cash_ (the tenth part of a penny), a small paper lantern, with a little candle inside–the latter leading me to the extravagance of an extra _cash_; and, armed with this lighting apparatus, all complete, I proceeded towards the East Gate.

This little lantern, which was exactly similar to those used by the natives, came in very handy on this occasion. These lanterns are the most ingenious things that can be imagined for the money. Each has a wooden bottom, and a bent cane acts as a handle. A nail is provided in the centre of the wooden bottom, wherein to stick the candle, and the flame is protected by white tissue paper pasted all round the lantern.

[Illustration: A NATIVE LANTERN]

In due course I reached the East Gate, but only to find it closed, for it was now long after sunset. I then tried the “Gate of the Dead,” having no objection to enter the town for once as a “deceased”; but, although the “departed” have the privilege of leaving the town after dark, they are not allowed to come in again; for which reason it really seemed as if I had before me the fine prospect of having to put up at one of the dirty native inns just outside the Gate until it should please Phoebus to show his welcome fire-face again above the mountain line.

I had learned that there was, at no great distance away, a spot where, at the risk only of breaking one’s neck, it was possible to scale the city wall; wherefore, having consulted a child as to the exact locality, besides tempting him with a string of _cash_, I proceeded to find it, and soon, under his guidance, reached it. The wall at this spot was, I may mention, about twenty feet high. Having, then, fastened my paint-box and sketches to my back by means of a strap, and slinging the paper lantern to my arm, I proceeded, hampered though I was, to make trial of my cat-like qualities in the matter of wall climbing. Placing the tips of my fingers and toes in the crevices between the stones and in other gaps in the wall, I managed with some little difficulty, to crawl up a certain height. The wall was nearly perpendicular, mind you, and, owing to the cold frozen nature of the stones, my fingers got so stiff that I had hardly any power left in them. Then, too, the weight of the heavy paint-box on my shoulders was more conducive to bringing me down again than to helping me up. In my mind’s eye, accordingly, I saw myself at every moment coming down with a bang from my high position to the frozen ground below, and began to think that I should be fortunate if I succeeded in coming out of my wall-climbing experience with only half the ribs in my body reduced to atoms, and one or two broken limbs in addition. Making a special effort, however, I got a few feet higher, when I heard a mysterious voice below murmur: “You have nearly reached the top.” I received the news with such delight that, in consequence of the fresh vigour which it imparted to me and which made me try to hurry up, one of my feet slipped, and I found myself clinging to a stone, with the very ends of my fingers. Oh what a sensation! and what moments of anxiety, until, quickly searching with my toes, I got a footing again.

That slip was fatal, for, owing to the jerk it gave me, the unsteady candle inside the paper lantern fell out of its perpendicular position and produced a conflagration. Then, indeed, was I placed in the most perplexing position, for, here was I, holding on to the wall, I do not know how, with the lantern and my sleeve on fire and my arm getting unpleasantly warm, and yet utterly unable to do anything to lessen the catastrophe. Only one thing could be done; and I can assure you, the few remaining feet which had to be climbed were got over with almost the agility of a monkey. Thus, at last, I was on the top.

This adventure made a very good finish for what had been a most exciting day; and, now that the faithless lantern was burning itself out, and dwindling away down below, and that the fire in my sleeve was put out, I had to remain in darkness. I stumbled along the rampart of the wall until I could get down into one of the streets, where, having roused the people, I was able to purchase another light, and reach home again in safety. After the hearty meal which I then partook of, I need scarcely add that a greater part of the night was spent in dreaming of numberless bodyless heads rolling about around me, and of people being burned alive, until I finally woke up next morning with a fearful shock, and the thought that I was being precipitated from the top of the Tower of Babel.

CHAPTER XVII

The “King’s procession”–Removing houses–Foolhardy people–Beaten to death–Cavalry soldiers–Infantry–Retainers–Banners–Luxurious saddles–The King and his double–Royal palanquins–The return at night.

[Illustration: THE KING MEETING THE CHINESE ENVOYS]

The official life of the King of Corea is secluded. He rarely goes out of the royal palace, although rumours occasionally fly about that His Majesty has visited such and such a place in disguise. When he does go out officially, the whole town of Seoul gets into a state of the greatest agitation and excitement. Not more than once or twice a year does such a thing happen; and when it does, the thatched shanties erected on the wide royal street are pulled down, causing a good deal of trouble and expense to the small merchants, etc. People fully understand, however, that the construction of these shanties is only allowed on condition that they shall be pulled down and removed whenever necessity should arise; an event which may often occur, at only a few hours’ notice. The penalty for non-compliance is beheading.

The moment they receive the order to do so, the inhabitants hurriedly remove all their household goods; the entire families, and those friends who have been called in to help, carrying away brass bowls, clothes and cooking implements, amid a disorder indescribable. Everybody talks, screams and calls out at the same time; everybody tries to push away everybody else in his attempts to carry away his armful of goods in safety; and, what with the dust produced by the tearing the thatch off the roofs, what with the hammering down of the wooden supports, and the bustle of the crowd, the scene is pandemonium.

I well remember how astonished I was when, passing in the neighbourhood of the royal palace, early one morning, I saw the three narrow, parallel streets which lead to the principal gateway being converted into one enormously wide street. The two middle rows of houses were thus completely removed, and the ground was made beautifully level and smooth. Crowds of natives had assembled all along the royal street, as well as up the main thoroughfare, leading from the West to the East gate; and the greatest excitement prevailed amongst the populace. The men were dressed in newly-washed clothes, and the women and children were arrayed in their smartest garments. Infantry soldiers, with muskets, varying from flint-locks to repeating-rifles, were drawn up in a line on each side to keep the road clear. There were others walking along with long, flat paddles, and some with round heavy sticks, on the look-out for those who dared to attempt to cross the road. As generally happens on such occasions, there were some foolish people who did not know the law, and others who challenged one another to do what was forbidden, well knowing that, if caught, severe blows of the paddle would be their portion. Every now and then, howls and shouts would call the attention of the crowd to some nonsensical being running full speed down the middle of the road, or across it, pursued by the angry soldiers, who, when they captured him, began by knocking him down, and continued by beating him with their heavy sticks and paddles, until he became senseless, if not killed. When either of the last-mentioned accidents happened, as occasionally was the result, the body would be thrown into one of the side drain-canals along the road and left there, no one taking the slightest notice of it.

[Illustration: CAVALRY SOLDIER WITH UMBRELLA-HAT]

Cavalry soldiers were to be seen in their picturesque blue and brown costumes, and cuirasses, and wide-awake black hats adorned with long red tassels hanging down to the shoulders, or, as an alternative, equipped with iron helmets and armed with flint-locks and spears. In their belts, on one side, they carried swords, and on the other, oil-paper umbrella-shaped covers. When folded, one of these hat-covers resembles a fan; and when spread out for use, it is fastened over the hat by means of a string. Those warriors who wore helmets carried the round felt hats as well, fastened to the butts of their saddles.

This cavalry equipment was in great contrast, from a picturesque point of view, with the comical imitations of the European mode of equipment exhibited by the infantry soldiers. One peculiarity of these cavalrymen was their instability in the saddle. Each cavalier had a _mapu_ to guide the horse, and another man by his side to see that he did not fall off, each having thus two men to look after him. A charge of such cavalry on the battle-field must, indeed, be a curious sight.

In the olden time it was forbidden for any one to look down on the king from any window higher than the palanquins, but now the rule is not so strictly observed, although, even at the time when I witnessed these processions, nearly all the higher windows were kept closed and sealed by the more loyal people. The majority, therefore, witnessed the scene from the streets.

The procession was headed by several hundred infantry soldiers, marching without the least semblance of order, and followed by cuirassed cavalrymen mounted on microscopic ponies in the manner above described. Then followed two rows of men in white, wearing square gauze white caps, similar to those which form the distinctive badge of the students when they go to their examinations; between which two rows of retainers, lower court officials, and _yamens_, perched on high white saddles, rode the generals and high Ministers of state, supported by their innumerable servants. Narrow long white banners were carried by these attendants, and a dragon-flag of large dimensions towered above them. Amid an almost sepulchral silence, the procession moved past, and after it came a huge white palanquin, propped on two long heavy beams, and carried on the shoulders of hundreds of men.

When the court and country are not in mourning, the horses of the generals, high officials and eunuchs bear magnificent saddles, embroidered in red, green and blue; the ponies led by hand immediately in front of the King’s palanquin being also similarly decked out.

Curiously enough, when the first royal palanquin had gone past the procession repeated itself, almost in its minutest details, and another palanquin of the exact shape of the first, and also supported by hundreds of attendants, advanced before us. Puzzled at this strange occurrence, I inquired of a neighbour:

“In which palanquin is the King?”

“No one knows, except his most intimate friends at Court,” was the answer. “In case of an attempt upon his life, he may thus be fortunate enough to escape.”

If such an attempt were made success would not in any case be an easy matter, except with a gun or a bomb; for the King’s sedan is raised so high above the ground that it would be impossible for any one to reach it with his hands. Besides, it is surrounded by a numerous escort.

The sedans were constructed after the model of a large square garden-tent with a pavilion roof, the front side being open. The King–somebody closely resembling him is selected for his double–sits on a sort of throne erected inside.

On another occasion, when I saw a similar procession accompanying the King to the tomb of the queen-dowager, the two palanquins used were much smaller, and were fast closed, although there were windows with thick split bamboo blinds on both sides of each palanquin. The palanquins were covered with lovely white leopard skins outside, and were rich in appearance, without lacking in taste.

When the King’s procession returned to the palace after dark, the beauty and weirdness of the sight were increased tenfold. Huge reed-torches, previously planted in the ground at intervals along the line of route, were kindled as the procession advanced, and each soldier carried a long tri-coloured gauze lantern fastened to a stick, while the palanquins were surrounded with a galaxy of white lights attached to high poles. A continuous hollow moaning, to indicate that the King was a very great personage, and that many hundreds of men had undergone great fatigue in carrying him, was heard as the palace gate was approached, and a deep sigh of relief arose from thousands of lungs when he was finally deposited at his door. Propped up by his highest Ministers of state, who held him under the arms, he entered his apartments; after which the lights were quickly put out, and most of the crowd retired to their homes.

On such occasions as these, however, the men are allowed out at night as well as the women.

CHAPTER XVIII

Fights–Prize fights–Fist fights–Special moon for fighting–Summary justice–The use of the top-knot–Cruelty–A butcher combatant –Stone-fights–Belligerent children–Battle between two guilds–Wounded and killed–The end of the battle postponed–Soldiers’ fights.

One of the characteristic sights in Cho-sen is a private fight. The natives, as a rule, are quiet and gentle, but when their temper is roused they seem never to have enough of fighting. They often-times disport themselves in witnessing prize-fights among the champions of different towns, or of different wards in the same town, and on these occasions large crowds assemble to view the performance. The combatants generally fight with their fists, but, like the French, are much given to use their knees and feet as well in the contest. Much betting, also, goes on amongst the excited spectators, and it is not seldom that a private contest of this kind degenerates into a free fight.

The lower classes in the towns thoroughly enjoy this kind of sport, and the slightest provocation is sufficient to make them come to blows. The curious point about their fighting is that during the first moon of the new year all rows can be settled in this rough and ready manner, without committing any breach of the law. Hence it is that during that moon, one sees hardly anything but people quarrelling and fighting. All the anger of the past year is preserved until the New Year festivities are over, but then free play is straightway given to the bottled-up passions. Were a man even to kill his antagonist during a fight at this legalised season, I doubt whether he would be imprisoned or punished; very likely not.

For about fifteen days, in truth, things are simply dreadful in the streets. Go in one direction, and you see people quarrelling; go in another, and you see them fighting. The original _causa movens_ of all this is generally _cash!_

When a deadly fight takes place in the streets, you may at once set it down as having arisen over, say, a farthing! Debts ought always to be paid before the old year is over; and, occasionally, grace is allowed for the first fifteen days in the first moon; after that, the defaulting debtors get summary justice administered to them. Creditors go about the town in search of their debtors, and should they come face to face, generally a few unparliamentary remarks are passed, followed by a challenge. Hats are immediately removed, and given for safe keeping to some one or other of the spectators, a crowd of whom has, of course, at once assembled; and then the creditor, as is customary under such circumstances in all countries, makes a dash for his debtor. The main feature about these fights, so far as I could judge, was the attempt of each antagonist to seize hold of the other by his top-knot. Should this feat be successfully accomplished, a violent process of head-shaking would ensue, followed by a shower of blows and scratches from the free hand, the lower extremities meanwhile being kept busy distributing kicks, really meant for the antagonist, but, occasionally, in fact often, delivered to some innocent passer-by, owing to the streets of Cho-senese towns not being as a rule over-wide.

When in a passion, the Coreans can be very cruel. No devices are spared which can inflict injury on the adversary, and scratching and biting during these fights are common concomitants. One afternoon, as I was returning from a call at the Japanese Legation, and was proceeding down a slight incline, riding Mr. Greathouse’s horse, I witnessed a dreadful scene. A butcher and another tradesman were settling questions in their own delightful way, and were knocking each other about. At last, the butcher felled the other man with a blow of a short club–like a policeman’s club–which is often made use of in these fights. As the man lay motionless on the ground, the other, far from being content with what he had done, seized a huge block of wood, one of those upon which they chop up the meat, and, lifting it up with a great effort, dropped it on his antagonist’s head, with a dreadful sounding crack, which smashed his skull, as one would a nut. Then, sitting triumphantly on the wooden block, he solicited the compliments of the spectators.

Special interest is taken when the women fight, that is, among the very lowest classes, and frequently the strings of _cash_ earned during the day are lost or doubled on the odds of the favourite.

The better classes, it must be said to their credit, never indulge in fist-fighting in public, though occasionally they have competitions in their own compounds, champions being brought there at great expense and made to fight in their presence. I believe they consider it to be degrading, either first, to lose one’s temper, or secondly, to administer justice in such a fashion.

The most important contests of all are the stone and club-fights, which are a national institution, approved by the Government and patronised by everybody. They sometimes attain such large proportions as to be regular battles. Supposing that one town or village has, from motives of jealousy or other causes, reason to complain of a neighbouring city or borough, a stone-fight during the first moon is invariably selected as the proper method of settling the difference. Private families, with their friends, fight in this way against other private families and their allies; and entire guilds of tradesmen sometimes fight other guilds, several hundreds of men being brought into the field on either side.

Children are much encouraged in this sport, it being supposed that they are thus made strong, brave and fearless; and I have actually seen mothers bring children of only eight or nine years old up to the scratch, against an equal number of lads urged on by their mothers on the other side. One boy on each side, generally the pluckiest of the lot, is the leader, and he is provided with a small club, besides wearing on his head a large felt hat with a sort of wreath round the crown, probably as a protection against the blows that might reach his head. After him come ten, twenty, or more other children in their little red jackets, some armed with a club like their leader, the others with armfuls of stones. A good mound of this ammunition is also, as a rule, collected in the rear, to provide for the wants of the battle. The two leaders then advance and formally challenge each other, the main body of their forces following in a triangle; and when, after a certain amount of hesitation, the two have exchanged a few sonorous blows with their clubs on each other’s skulls, the battle begins in earnest, volleys of stones are fired and blows freely distributed until the forces of one leader succeed in pushing back and disbanding the others.

A fight of this kind, even among children, lasts for several hours, and, as can well be imagined, at the end of it there are a great many bleeding noses and broken teeth, besides bruises in profusion. The victor in these fights is made much of and receives presents from his parents and the friends of the family. The principal streets and open spaces in Seoul, during the fighting period, are alive with these youthful combatants, and large crowds assemble to witness their battles, taking as much interest in them as do the Spaniards in their bull-fights, and certainly causing as much excitement.

More serious than these, however, are the hostilities which occasionally take place between two guilds. When I was in Seoul, there was a great feud between the butchers and those practising the noble art of plastering the houses with mud. Both trades are considered by the Coreans to belong to the lowest grade of society; and, this being so, the contest would naturally prove of an envenomed and brutal character. A day was fixed, upon which a battle should take place, to decide whose claims were to prevail, and a battle-field was selected on a plain just outside the South Gate of the city. The battle-field was intersected by the same small frozen rivulet which also crosses Seoul; and it was on the western side, near the city wall, where stood a low hill, that on the day appointed I took up my position to view the fight, sketch and note-book in hand.

The two armies duly arrived, and placed themselves in position, the butchers on one side of the stream, the plasterers on the other. There were altogether about eighteen hundred men in the field, that is to say, about nine hundred on each side. As I could not get a very good view from my high point of vantage, I foolishly descended to the valley to inspect the fighting trim of the combatants, with the result that when the signal for the battle to begin was given I found myself under a shower of missiles of all weights and sizes, which poured down upon me with incredible rapidity and solidity. Piles of stones had been previously massed together by the belligerent parties, and fresh supplies came pelting down incessantly. I must acknowledge I did not enjoy my position at all, for the stones went whistling past, above my head, fired as they were with tremendous force by means of slings.

The confusion was great. Some men were busy collecting the stones into heaps again, while others were running to and fro–going to fetch, or carrying, fresh ammunition to the front; and all the time the two armies were gradually approaching one another until at last they came together on the banks of the narrow stream. Here, considering the well-directed pelting of stones, it was difficult to say which army would succeed in dislodging the other. Those on the opposite side to where I was made a rush upon us, but were fired upon with such increased vigour that they were repulsed; then, however, concentrating their forces on one point, they made a fresh attack and broke right into our ranks, fighting _corps a corps_, and pushing back the men on my side, until the whole of their contingent was brought over to our side of the stream. I was not, of course, taking any active part in the fighting, but, seeing the bad turn the struggle was assuming, I made up my mind that I was destined to have my own skull broken before the fray was over. Though the duelling was fierce, however, each man being pitted against his opponent with clubs and drawn knives, and hammering or stabbing at him to his heart’s content, I, somehow, was in no way molested, except of course, that I was naturally much knocked about and bruised, and several times actually came in contact, and face to face, with the irate enemy.

If you can imagine eighteen hundred people fighting by twos in a comparatively limited space and all crowded together; if you can form an idea of the screaming, howling, and yelling in their excitement; and if you can depict the whole scene with its envelopment of dust, then you will have a fair notion of what that stone-fight was like. The fighting continued briskly for over three hours, and many a skull was smashed. Some fell and were trampled to death; others had very severe knife wounds; a few were killed right out. When the battle was over, few were found to have escaped without a bruise or a wound, and yet, after all, very few were actually killed, considering how viciously they fought. Indeed, there were in all only about half a dozen dead bodies left on the battle-field when the combatants departed to the sound of the “big bell” which announced the closing of the city gates.

After a long discussion on the part of the leaders, it was announced that the battle was to be considered a draw, and that it would, therefore, have to be renewed on the next afternoon. The argument, I was told, was that, though the other side had managed to penetrate the camp on my side, yet they had not been able to completely rout us, we having made a firm stand against them. For the following two or three days, however, it snowed heavily, and the fighting had to be postponed; and on the day it actually did take place, to my great sorrow, I was unable to attend, owing to a command to go to the palace. To my satisfaction I was subsequently informed that the plasterers, that is to say, my side, had ultimately come off victorious.

The police generally attend these battles, but only to protect the spectators, and not to interfere in any way with the belligerents. Soldiers are prohibited from taking any active part in fights which have no concern for them; but they may fight as much as ever they please among themselves during the free period allowed by the law. The fights of the latter class are usually very fierce, and are invariably carried out with bare chest and arms, that their uniforms may not be spoiled.

When that dreadful fortnight of fighting is over, the country again assumes its wonted quiet; new debts are contracted, fresh hatreds and jealousies are fomented, and fresh causes are procured for further stone-battles during the first moon of the next year.

Such is life in Cho-sen, where, with the exception of those fifteen days, there is calm, too much of it, not only in the morning, in accordance with the national designation, but all through both day and night; where, month after month, people vegetate, instead of live, leading the most monotonous of all monotonous lives. It is not surprising, then, that once a year, as a kind of redeeming point, they feel the want of a vigorous re-action; and, I am sure, for such a purpose as this, they could not have devised anything wilder or more exciting than a stone-battle.

The King himself follows with the utmost interest the results of the important battles fought out between the different guilds, and reports of the victories obtained are always conveyed to him at once, either by the leaders of the conquering parties, or through some high official at Court.

CHAPTER XIX

Fires–The greatest peril–A curious way of saving one’s house–The anchor of safety–How it worked–Making an opposition wind–Saved by chance–A good trait in the native character–Useful friends.

I was one evening at a dinner-party, at one of the Consulates, when, in the course of the frugal repast, one of the servants came in with the news that a large conflagration had broken out in the road of the Big-bell, and that many houses had already been burnt down. The “big-bell” itself was said to be in great danger of being destroyed.

Giving way to my usual curiosity, and thinking that it would be interesting to see how houses burn in Cho-sen, I begged of my host to excuse me, left all the good things on the table, and ran off to the scene of the fire.

As the servant had announced, the fire was, indeed, in close proximity to the “big-bell.” Two or three large houses belonging to big merchants were blazing fast, the neighbouring dwellings being in great danger of following suit. There is in a Corean house but little that can burn, except the sliding doors and windows, and the few articles of furniture and clothing; so that, as a general rule, after the first big flare-up, the fire goes out of its own accord, unless, as was the case in the present instance, the roofs are supported by old rafters, which also catch fire. What the Coreans consider the greatest of dangers in such contingencies happens when the heavy beam which forms the chief support for the whole weight of the roof in the centre catches fire. Then, if any wind happens to be blowing, sparks fly on all the neighbouring thatched roofs, and there is no possibility of stopping a disaster. Such things as fire-engines or pumps are quite unknown in the country, and, even if there were any, they would be useless in winter time, owing to the severe cold which freezes all the water.

On the night in question, that was practically what happened. Two houses adjoining one another were burnt out, and, the roofs having crumbled away, the long thick beams alone were left in position, supported at either end by the stone walls of the houses, and still blazing away, and placing the neighbouring houses that had thatched roofs in considerable danger.

I was much amused at a Corean, the owner of one of these latter, who, to save his thatched shanty from the flames, pulled it down. His efforts in this direction were, however, of no avail in the end; for the inflammable materials, having been left in the roadway in the immediate neighbourhood of the conflagration, caught fire and were consumed.

The King had been informed of the occurrence, a very rare one in Seoul, and had immediately dispatched a hundred soldiers to–look on, and to help, if necessary. Some individuals, too, more enterprising than the rest, exerted themselves to draw water from the neighbouring wells; but, by the time they had returned to the spot where it was required, it was converted into one big lump of ice. Finally, recourse was had to the old Corean method of putting out the fire, namely, by breaking the beam, not an easy job by any means, and then, when it had fallen, covering it with earth.

The soldiers had brought with them–conceive what? A ship’s anchor! To this anchor was tied a long thick rope. Their object was, of course, to fix the anchor to the burning beam, which being done, fifty, sixty or more strong men could pull the rope, and so break the beam in two and cause it to fall. Well and good; but where was the warrior to be found who would volunteer to go up on the summit of the frail mud-and-stone wall and hook the anchor in the right place The affair now wore a different aspect altogether, no one being willing to go; whereupon the officer in command reprimanded his troops for their lack of pluck.

Among the soldiers, however, there was one man, stout and good-natured looking; and he, being taken aback apparently by the officer’s remarks, at once asserted that he, at all events, was not lacking in courage, and would go. For him, accordingly, a ladder was provided, and up he went, carrying the anchor on his back. When he reached the last step, he stopped and, turning to harangue the people, told them that the beam was a solid one, and that a very hard pull would be required; after which, amid the applause and cheering of the spectators, he balanced himself on the wall and threw the anchor across the beam. A body of men, about a hundred strong, then seized the rope and kept it in tension. Next, in a commanding tone of voice, our brave hero on the wall gave the signal to start, when, all of a sudden, and much sooner than he had expected, with the vigorous pull the anchor dug a groove in the carbonised wood, and, slipping away, caught him in its barbs across his chest, and dragged him with a fearful bump on to the road, with a great quantity of burning straw and wood, amidst which he was dragged for nearly twenty yards before they were able to stop.

After this compulsory and unexpected jump, it was a miracle that he was not killed; for the height was over fourteen feet, and the course traversed through the air over twenty. Notwithstanding this, however, when he was at length rescued from the grasp which the anchor kept on him with its benevolent arms, though considerably shaken, he did not seem much the worse. Still, being asked to go again and hook the ungrateful grapnel a second time to the still burning beam, he declined with thanks and a comical gesture which sent everybody into screams of laughter.

After this another man volunteered, and he, being more cautious in his method of procedure, was successful in his efforts. So much time, however, had been wasted over these proceedings, that now another house was burning fast, and by-and-by others also got attacked.

As ill-luck would have it, the wind rose, to the great horror of the inhabitants whose houses were to windward. Many of their abodes had thatched roofs, and these seemed certain to go. The sparks flew in abundance across the road, and nothing, except a change of the wind, could now save those houses. The simple-minded Coreans, however, attempted a curious dodge, which I heard afterwards is in general use under such circumstances. Numerous ladders having been procured, men and women climbed on to the roofs which were in peril. What do you suppose they intended to do? I am sure you will never guess. They went up for no less a purpose than to manufacture another wind by way of opposition to the strong breeze that was blowing towards them. Here is how they did it: they all stood in a row at intervals on the upper edges of the roofs, and, having previously removed, the men their coats and the women their cloaks, they waved these rapidly and violently together, in the full assurance that they were getting the upper hand in the contest against the unkind spirits who superintended gales and breezes. All this went on in the most ludicrous manner; and, as soon as one person was exhausted, he was immediately replaced by another, prayers at the same time being offered up to the spirits as well of the fires as of the wind. The loudness of these prayers, I may add, grew and decreased in intensity, according to the aspect which the fire took from moment to moment; if a flame rose up higher than usual, louder prayers were hurriedly offered, and if the fire at times almost went out, then the spirits were for the time being left alone.

The conflagration went on for a considerable number of hours and destroyed several houses. No one sustained any serious injury, though one old man, who was paralytic and deaf, had a very narrow escape. He had got left, either purposely or by mistake, in one of the houses. Two out of three of the rooms had already burnt out, and he was in the third. And yet, when they had pulled down the outside wall and brought him safely out, he expressed himself as astonished at being so treated, having neither heard that any fire was in progress, nor being aware that two-thirds of his own house had already been destroyed!

Here again, let me note a good trait in the Corean character. Whenever, through any unexpected occurrence, a man loses his house and furniture, and so gets reduced from comparative wealth, say, for seldom does a Corean possess more, to misery and want; in such circumstances his friends do not run away from him, as usually is the case in more civilised countries; no, instead of this, they come forward and help him to re-build his house, lend him clothes and the more necessary utensils of domestic use, and, generally speaking, make themselves agreeable and useful all round, until he can spread out his wings once again, and fly by himself. Thus it is, that when a man’s house has been burnt out it is no uncommon occurrence for friends or even strangers to put him up and feed him in their own homes until he has re-constructed his nest. Looking, therefore, at both sides of the medal, the man of Cho-sen may have a great many bad qualities from our point of view, yet he also undoubtedly possesses some virtues on which we who are supposed to be more civilised and more charitable, cannot pride ourselves. Believe me, when things are taken all round, there is after all but little difference between the Heathen and the Christian; nay, the solid charity and generosity of the first is often superior to the advertised philanthropy of the other.

CHAPTER XX

A trip to Poo-kan–A curious monastery.

One of the most interesting excursions in the neighbourhood of Seoul, is that to the Poo-kan fortress. The pleasantest way of making it is to start from the West Gate of Seoul and proceed thence either on horseback or on foot, along the Pekin Pass road, past the artificial cut in the rocks, until a smaller road, a mere path, is reached, which branches off the main road and leads directly to the West Gate of the Poo-kan fortress. This path goes over hilly ground, and the approaches to the West Gate of the fortress are exceedingly picturesque.

The gate itself much resembles any of those of Seoul, only being of smaller proportions. It is, however, situated in a most lovely spot. As soon as we have entered, a pretty valley lies disclosed to our eyes, with rocky mountains surrounding it, the highest peak of which towers up towards the East. The formation of these hills is most peculiar and even fantastic. One of them, the most remarkable of all, is in the shape of a round dome, and consists of a gigantic semi-spherical rock.

Following the path, then, which leads from the West to the South Gate, and which winds its way up steep hills, one comes at last to the temples. These are probably, the best-preserved and most interesting in the neighbourhood of the Corean capital. When I visited them, the monks were extremely polite and showed me everything that was of any note. The temples were in a much better state of preservation than is usual in the land of Cho-sen, and the ornaments, and paintings on the wooden part under the roof were in bright colours, as if they had been only recently restored. There are, near these temples, by the way, tablets put up in memory of different personages. In other respects, they were exactly similar to those I have already described in a previous chapter.

At last, on the left hand side, I came upon the old palace. As with all the other palaces, so in this case there are many low buildings for the inferior officials besides a larger one in the centre, to which the King can retreat in time of war when the capital is in danger. The ravages of time, however, have been hard at work, and this place of safety for the crowned heads of Corea is now nothing but a mass of ruins. The roofs of the smaller houses have in most cases fallen through, owing to the decayed condition of the wooden rafters, and the main building itself is in a dreadful state of dilapidation. The _ensemble_, nevertheless, as one stands a little way off and looks at the conglomeration of dwellings, is very picturesque; this effect being chiefly due, I have little doubt, to the tumble-down and dirty aspect of the place. As the houses are built on hilly ground, roof after roof can be seen with the palace standing above them all in the distance, while the battlements of the ancient wall form a nice background to the picture.

[Illustration: A MONK]

The most picturesque spot of all, however, is somewhat farther on, where the rivulet, coming out of the fortress wall, forms a pretty waterfall. After climbing a very steep hill, the South Gate is reached–the distance between it and the West Gate being about five miles–and near it is another smaller gate, which differs in shape from all the other gates in Corea, for the simple reason that it is not roofed over. Just outside the small South Gate, on the edge of a precipice, are constructed against the rocks a pretty little monastery and a temple. The access to these is by a narrow path, hardly wide enough for one person to walk on without danger of finding himself rolling down the slope of the rock at the slightest slip of the foot. The Buddhist priest must undoubtedly be of a cautious as well as romantic nature, for otherwise it would be difficult to explain the fact that he always builds his monasteries in picturesque and impregnable spots, which ensure him delightful scenery and pure fresh air in time of peace, combined with utter safety in time of war. In many ways, the monastery in question reminded me of the Rock-dwellers. Both temple and monastery were stuck, as it were, in the rocks, and supported by a platform and solid wall of masonry built on the steep incline–a work which must have cost much patience and time.

The temple is crowded inside with rows of small images of all descriptions, some dressed in the long robes and winged hats of the officials, with dignified and placid expressions on their features; others, like fighting warriors, with fierce eyes and a ferocious look about them; but all covered with a good coating of dust and dirt, and all lending themselves as a sporting-ground to the industrious spider. The latter, disrespecting the high standing of these imperturbable deities, had stretched its webs across from nose to nose, and produced the appearance of a regular field of sporting operations, bestrewn with the spoils of its victims, which were lying dead and half eaten in the webs and on the floor.

The place goes by the name of the “Temple of the Five Hundred Images;” but I think that this number has been greatly exaggerated, though there certainly may be as many as two or three hundred.

The most interesting feature about this monastery is that at the back of the small building where the priests live is a long, narrow cavern in the rocks, with the ceiling blackened by smoke. This cavern is about a hundred feet in length, and at its further end is a pretty spring of delicious water. A little shrine, in the shape of an altar, with burning joss-sticks and a few lighted grease candles, stood near the spring, and there a priest was offering up prayers, beating a small gong the while he addressed the deities.

The descent from the temple was very steep and rough, over a path winding among huge boulders and rocks for nearly three miles. Then, reaching the plain, I accomplished the remainder of the distance to Seoul, over a fairly good road, and on almost level ground, all the way to the North Gate, by which I again entered the capital.

CHAPTER XXI

Corean physiognomy–Expressions of pleasure–Displeasure–Contempt–Fear –Pluck–Laughter–Astonishment–Admiration–Sulkiness–Jealousy –Intelligence–Affection–Imagination–Dreams–Insanity–Its principal causes–Leprosy–The family–Men and women–Fecundity–Natural and artificial deformities–Abnormalities–Movements and attitudes–The Corean hand–Conservatism.

The physiognomy of the Coreans is an interesting study, for, with the exception of the Chinese, I know of few nations who can control the movements of their features so well as do the Coreans. They are trained from their infancy to show neither pain, nor pleasure, grief nor excitement; so that a wonderful placidity is always depicted on their faces. None the less, however, though slightly, different expressions can be remarked. For instance, an attitude peculiar to them is to be noticed when they happen to ponder deeply on any subject; they then slightly frown, and with a sudden movement incline the head to the left, after previously drawing the head backwards. If in good humour or very pleased, again, though the expression is still grave and sedate, there is always a vivid sparkle to be detected in the generally sleepy eyes; and, curiously enough, while in our case the corners of the mouths generally curl up under such circumstances, theirs, on the contrary, are drawn downwards.

Where the Coreans–and I might have said all Asiatics–excel, is in their capacity to show contempt. They do this in the most gentleman-like manner one can imagine. They raise the head slowly, looking at the person they despise with a half-bored, half “I do not care a bit” look; then, leisurely closing the eyes and opening them again, they turn the head away with a very slight expiration from the nose.

Fear–for those, at least, who cannot control it–is to all appearance a somewhat stronger emotion. The eyes are wide open and become staring, the nostrils are spread wide, and the under lip hangs quivering, while the neck and body contract, and the hands, with fingers stiffly bent, are brought up nearly as high as the head. The yellowish skin on such occasions generally assumes a cadaverous whitish green colour which is pitiful to behold.

On the other hand, when pluck is shown, instead of fear, a man will draw himself up, with his arms down and hands tightly closed, and his mouth will assume a placid yet firm expression, the lips being firmly shut (a thing very unusual with Coreans), and the corners tending downwards, while a frown becomes clearly defined upon his brow.

Laughter is seldom indulged in to any very great extent among the upper classes, who think it undignified to show in a noisy manner the pleasure which they derive from whatever it may be. Among the lower specimens of Corean humanity, however, sudden explosions of merriment are often noticeable. The Corean enjoys sarcasm, probably more than anything else in the world; and caricature delights him. I remember once drawing a caricature of an official and showing it to a friend of his, who, in consequence, so lost the much-coveted air of dignity, and went into such fits, that his servants had to come to his rescue and undo his waist-girdle. This, having occurred after a hearty meal, led to his being seized by a violent cough, and becoming subsequently sick. Were I quite sure of not being murdered by my readers, I would like to call it _see_-sickness, for it was caused by–seeing a joke!

Astonishment is always expressed by a comical countenance. Let me give you an illustration. When we anchored at Fusan in the _Higo-Maru_, many Coreans came on board to inspect the ship; and, as I looked towards the shore with the captain’s powerful long-sight glasses, several natives collected round me to see what I was doing. I asked one of them to look through, and never did I see a man more amazed, than he did, when he saw some one on the shore, with whom he was acquainted, brought so close to him by the glasses as to make him inclined to enter into a very excited conversation with him. His astonishment was even greater when, removing his eyes from the lens, he saw everything resume its natural position. When he had repeated this experiment several times, he put the glasses down, looked at them curiously with his eyebrows raised, his mouth pinched, and his hands spread apart at about the height of his waist, and then looked at me. Again did he glance at the optical instrument, with his mouth wide open; then, making a comical movement of distrust, he quickly departed whence he had come. When he had got fairly into his row-boat, he entered into a most animated conversation with his fellows, and, judging by his motions as he put his hands up to his eyes, I could see that the whole subject was his experience of what he had seen through the “foreign devil’s” pair of glasses.

Admiration is to a great extent, a modification of astonishment, and is by the Coreans expressed more by utterance than by any very marked expression of the face. Still, the eyes are opened more than usual, and the eyebrows are raised, and the lips slightly parted, sifting the breath, though not quite so loudly as in Japan.

Another curious Corean expression is to be seen when the children are sulky. Our little ones generally protrude their lips in a tubular form, and bend the head forward, but the Cho-senese child does exactly the reverse. He generally throws his head back and hangs his lips, keeping the mouth open, and making his frown with the upper part of his face. Jealousy in the case of the women finds expression in a look somewhat similar to the above, with an additional vicious sparkle in the eyes.

Notwithstanding the fact that it is not uncommon to hear Coreans being classified among barbarians, I must confess that, taking a liberal view of their constitution, they always struck me as being extremely intelligent and quick at acquiring knowledge. To learn a foreign language seems to them quite an easy task, and whenever they take an interest in the subject of their studies they show a great deal of perseverance and good-will. They possess a wonderfully sensible reasoning faculty, coupled with an amazing quickness of perception; a fact which one hardly expects, judging by their looks; for, at first sight, they rather impress one as being sleepy, and dull of comprehension. The Corean is also gifted with a very good memory, and with a certain amount of artistic power. Generally speaking, he is of an affectionate frame of mind, though he considers it bad form to show by outward sign any such thing as affection. He almost tends to effeminacy in his thoughtful attentions to those he likes; and he generally feels much hurt, though silently, if his attentions are not appreciated or returned. For instance, when you meet a Corean with whom you are acquainted, he invariably asks after the health of yourself, and all your relations and friends. Should you not yourself be as keen in inquiring after his family and acquaintances, he would probably be mortally offended.

One of the drawbacks of the Corean mind is that it is often carried away by an over-vivid imagination. In this, they reminded me much of the Spaniards and the Italians. Their perception seems to be so keen that frequently they see more than really is visible. They are much given to exaggeration, not only in what they say, but also in their representations in painting and sculpture. In the matters both of conversation and of drawing, the same ideas will be found in Cho-sen to repeat themselves constantly, more or less cleverly expressed, according to the differently gifted individuality of the artist. The average Corean seems to learn things quickly, but of what they learn, some things remain rooted in their brains, while others appear to escape from it the moment they have been grasped. There is a good deal of volubility about their utterances, and, though visibly they do not seem very subject to strong emotions, judging from their conversation, one would feel inclined to say that they were. Another thing that led me to this suspicion was the observation that the average Corean is much given to dreaming, in the course of which he howls, shouts, talks and shakes himself to his heart’s content. This habit of dreaming is to a large extent due, I imagine, to their mode of sleeping flat on their backs on the heated floors, which warm their spines, and act on their brains; though it may also, in addition to that be accounted for by the intensity of the daily emotions re-acting by night on over-excited nervous systems. I have often observed Coreans sleep, and they always impressed me as being extremely restless in their slumbers. As for snoring, too, the Coreans are entitled to the Championship of the world.

The Coreans are much affected mentally by dreams, and being, as we have already seen, an extremely superstitious race, they attach great importance to their nocturnal visions. A good deal of hard _cash_ is spent in getting the advice of astrologers, who pretend to understand and explain the occult art, and pleasure or consternation is thus usually the result of what might have been explained naturally either by one of the above-named causes, or by the victim having feasted the previous evening on something indigestible. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the Corean mind is seldom thrown off its balance altogether. Idiocy is not frequent, and lunacy is uncommon.

Insanity, when it does exist, generally exhibits itself under the form of melancholia and dementia, and is more frequently found among the upper than among the lower classes. With the men it is generally due to intemperance and excesses, and is occasionally accompanied by paralysis. Among the women, the only cases which came under my notice were of wives whose husbands had many concubines, and of young widows. Suicide is not unfrequently practised among the latter; partly in consequence of the strict Corean etiquette, but often also caused by insanity when it does not follow immediately upon the husband’s death. Another cause of melancholia–chiefly, however, among the lower classes–is a dreadful complaint, which has found its way among the natives in its most repulsive form. Many are affected by it, and no cure for it seems to have been devised by the indigenous doctors. The accounts one hears in the country of its ravages are too revolting to be repeated in these pages, and I shall limit myself to this. Certain forms of insanity are undoubtedly a common sequence to it.

Leprosy also prevails in Cho-sen, and in the more serious cases seems to affect the brain, producing idiocy. This disease is caused by poverty of blood, and is, of course, hereditary. I have seen two forms of it in Cho-sen; in the one case, the skin turns perfectly white, almost shining like satin, while in the other–a worse kind, I believe–the skin is a mass of brown sores, and the flesh is almost entirely rotted away from the bones. The Coreans have no hospitals or asylums in which evils like these can be properly tended. Those affected with insanity are generally looked after by their own families, and, if considered dangerous, are usually chained up in rooms, either by a riveted iron bracelet, fastened to a short heavy chain, or, more frequently, by an anklet over the right foot.

Families in Corea are generally small in number. I have no exact statistics at hand, for none were obtainable; but, so far as I could judge from observation, the males and females in the population are about equal in number. If anything, the women slightly preponderate. The average family seldom includes more than two children. The death-rate of Cho-sen infants is great, and many reasons can account for the fact. In the first place, all children in Corea, even the stronger ones who survive, are extremely delicate until a certain age is attained, when they seem to pick up and become stronger. This weakness is hereditary, especially among the upper classes, of whom very few powerful men are to be found, owing to their dissolute and effeminate life.

Absolute sterility in women is not an uncommon phenomenon, and want of virile power in the male part of the community is also often the subject of complaint; many quaint drugs and methods being adopted to make up for the want of it, and to stimulate the sexual desire. A good many of the remedies resorted to by the Corean noblemen under such circumstances are of Chinese manufacture and importation. Certain parts of the tiger, dried and reduced to powder, are credited with the possession of wonderful strengthening qualities, and fetch large sums. Some parts of the donkey, also, when the animal is killed during the spring and under special circumstances, are equally appreciated. The lower classes of Cho-sen–as is the case in most countries–are more prolific than the upper ones. The parents are both healthier and more robust, and the children in consequence are stronger and more numerous, but even among these classes large families are seldom or never found. Taken as a whole, the population of Corea is, I believe, a slowly decreasing quantity.

The Corean is in some respects very sensible, if compared with his neighbours. Deformities, artificially produced, are never found in Corea. In civilised Japan, on the other hand, as we all know, the women blacken their teeth and shave their eyebrows, while there are numberless people in the lower classes who are tattooed from head to foot with designs of all kinds. In China, too, people are occasionally deformed for the sake of lucre, as, for instance, to be exhibited at village shows, and the Chinese damsel would not consider herself fascinating enough if her feet were not distorted to such an extent as to be shapeless, and almost useless. The head-bands worn by the men in Corea are probably the only causes which tend to modify the shape of their heads, and that only to a very small degree. These head-bands are worn so very tightly from their earliest youth, that I have often noticed men–when the head-band was removed–show a certain flattening of the upper part of the forehead, due undoubtedly to the continuous pressure of this head-gear. In such cases, however, the cranial deformation–though always noticeable–is but slight, and, of course, unintentionally caused. The skull, as a whole, in the case of those who have worn the head-band is a little more elongated than it is in the case of those few who have not; the elongation being upwards and slightly backwards.

Natural abnormalities are more frequent. I have seen numerous cases of goitre, and very often the so-called hare-lip. Webbed fingers also are frequently noticed; while inguinal hernia, both as a congenital and as an acquired affection, is unfortunately all too common. The natives do not undergo any special treatment until the complaint assumes alarming proportions, when a kind of belt is worn, or bandages of home manufacture are used. These are the more common abnormalities. To them, however, might also be added manifestations of albinism–though I have never seen an absolute albino in Corea–such as, large patches of white hair among the black. Red hair is rarely seen.

The Corean, apart, that is, from these occasional defects, is well proportioned, and of good carriage. When he stands erect his body is well-balanced; and when he walks, though somewhat hampered by his padded clothes, his step is rational. He sensibly walks with his toes turned slightly in, and he takes firm and long strides. The gait is not energetic, but, nevertheless, the Coreans are excellent pedestrians, and cover long distances daily, if only they are allowed plenty to eat and permission to smoke their long pipes from time to time. Their bodies seem very supple, and like those of nearly all Asiatics, their attitudes are invariably graceful. In walking, they slightly swing their arms and bend their bodies forward, except, I should say, the high officials, whose steps are exaggeratedly marked, and whose bodies are kept upright and purposely stiff.

One of the things which will not fail to impress a careful observer is the beauty of the Corean hand. The generality of Europeans possess bad hands, from an artistic point of view, but the average Corean, even among the lower classes, has them exceedingly well-shaped, with long supple fingers, somewhat pointed at the end; and nails well formed and prettily shaped, though to British ideas, grown far too long. It is not a powerful hand, mind you, but it is certainly most artistic; and, further, it is attached to a small wrist in the most graceful way, never looking stumpy, as so often is the case with many of us. The Coreans attach much importance to their hands; much more, indeed, than they do to their faces; and special attention is paid to the growth of the nails. In summer time these are kept very clean; but in winter, the water being very cold, the cleanliness of their limbs, “_laisse un peu a desirer_.” I have frequently seen a beautifully-shaped hand utterly spoilt by the nails being lined with black, and the knuckles being as filthy as if they had never been dipped in water. But these are only lesser native failings; and have we not all our faults?

The two qualities I most admired in the Corean were his scepticism and his conservatism. He seemed to take life as it came, and never worried much about it. He had, too, practically no religion and no morals. He cared about little, had an instinctive attachment for ancestral habits, and showed a thorough dislike to change and reform. And this was not so much as regards matters of State and religion, for little or nothing does the Corean care about either of these, as in respect of the daily proceedings of life. To the foreign observer, many of his ways and customs are at first sight incomprehensible, and even reprehensible; yet, when by chance his mode of arguing out matters for himself is clearly understood, we will almost invariably find that he is correct. After all, every one, whether barbarian or otherwise, knows best himself how to please himself. The poor harmless Corean, however, is not allowed that privilege. He, as if by sarcasm, calls his country by the retiring name of the “Hermit Realm” and the more poetic one of the “Land of the Morning Calm”; “a coveted calm” indeed, which has been a dream to the country, but never a reality, while, as for its hermit life, it has been only too often troubled by objectionable visitors whom he detests, yet whom, nevertheless, he is bound to receive with open arms, helpless as he is to resist them.

Poor Corea! Bad as its Government was and is, it is heart-rending to any one who knows the country, and its peaceful, good-natured people, to see it overrun and impoverished by foreign marauders. Until the other day, she was at rest, heard of by few, and practically forgotten by everybody, to all intents an independent kingdom, since China had not for many years exercised her rights of suzerainty,[4] when, to satisfy the ambition of a childish nation, she suddenly finds herself at the mercy of everybody, and with a dark and most disastrous future before her!

Poor Corea! A sad day has come for you! You, who were so attractive, because so quaint and so retiring, will nevermore see that calm which has ever been the yearning of your patriot sons! Many evils are now before you, but, of all the great calamities that might befall you, I can conceive of none greater than an attempt to convert you into a civilised nation!

FOOTNOTES:

[4] After a cessation of many years a tribute was again exacted from Corea in 1890, in consequence of overtures being made to Corea by Japan, which displeased China.

INDEX

Abnormalities
Adoption of Children
Adultery
Alphabet
Astronomers
Archery
Army instructors
Aryan

Bachelors
Beggars
Beverages
Big Bell
Body-snatching
Bonzes
Bridges
” (crossing the)
Buddha
Buddhism
Burial ground

Cereals
Chang
Charity
Chemulpo
Children
Chinese Customs Service
Chinese invasions
Chinese settlement
Cho-sen
City wall
Clans
Classes and castes
Clothes
Compradores
Concubines
Conflagrations
Confucianism
Conservatism
Consulate (British)
” (German)
Coolies
Corea (the word)
Cotton production
Crucifixion
Cultivation
Currency

Decorations
Deformities
Divorce
Documents
Dragons
Drainage
Dreams

Education
Eunuchs
Evil spirits
Examinations
Executions
Exile
Exorcisms
Expressions
Expression after Death

Falcons
Families
Features
Feron (l’Abbe)
Fights
” (Stone-)
Filial love
Fire-signals
Floggings
Food
Foreigners
Free nights for men
Funerals
Furniture
Fusan
Fuyn race

Games
Gardens
Gates (City)
Gate of the Dead
Ghosts
Girls
Gods (minor)
Graves
Greathouse (Clarence R.)
Guechas or Geishas
Guilds

Hair-dressing
Hanabusa
Hands
Han River
Haunted palaces
Head-gear
Hiaksai
Hospitality
Hotels
Houses
House-warming

Illumination (Modes of)
Inns
Intelligence

Japanese
” settlements
Jinrickshas
Joss-houses

Kim-Ka-Chim
King
Kite-flying
Kitchen
Kiung-sang
Korai
Kung-wo

Language
Lanterns
Law
Legations (American, Chinese, Japanese, Russian) Le Gendre (General)
Leopards
Leprosy
Lin
Lunacy

Mafu
Maki
Man of the Gates, The
Mapu
Marks
Marriages
Married Men
Mats
Messengers
Metempsychosis
Mile posts
Min-san-ho
Min-Young-Chun
Min-Young-Huan
Missionaries
Monasteries
Mongolian type
Mono-wheeled chair
Mourning
Mulberry plantation
Music

Names
” (women’s)
Nanzam (Mount)
New Year’s festivities
Nunneries

Offerings
Oppert
Oxen

Pagoda
Phoenix
Palaces
Palace (Royal)
” (Summer)
Palanquins
Paternal love
Pekin Pass
Physiognomy
Pipes
Plank-walk (The)
Pockets
Police
Politics
Ponies
Poo-kan
Port Hamilton
Prayer-Books
Procession (King’s)
Proverbs
Punishments

Queen (The)

Religion
Respect for the Old
Rice
Roads
Rosary
Royal Family
Russian villa

Sacred Trees
Sacrifices
Saddles
Satsuma ware
Scenery
Scepticism
Schools
Sea-lions or tigers
Sedan-chairs
Self-denial
Seoul
Seradin Sabatin (Mr.)
Serfdom
Shamanism
Shinra
Shoes
Shops
Singers
Smoke signals
Snakes
Soldiers
Sorcerers
Spectacles
Spinning-tops
Spirits
Spirits of the mountains
Square-board (The)
Sterility
Stone-heaps
Streets
Students
Studies
Suicides
Sunto

Tailors
Tai-wen-kun
Telephones
Temples
Throne
Tide
Tigers
Tooth-stone
Tortoise
Toys

Umbrella hat

Wang
Washing clothes
Water-coolies
Wedding ceremony
Widows
Wind-making
Wives
Women
Women’s looks
Women’s rights
Wuju kingdom