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A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer

Part 3 out of 10

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On the 17th of March, Captain Van Wyk Jurianse sent me word that his
ship was ready for sea, and that he should set sail the next
morning. The news was very unwelcome to me, as, for the last two
days, I had been suffering from English cholera, which on board
ship, where the patient cannot procure meat broth or any other light
nourishment, and where he is always more exposed to the sudden
changes of the weather than he is on shore, is very apt to be
attended with grave results. I did not, however, wish to miss the
opportunity of visiting China, knowing how rarely it occurred, nor
was I desirous of losing the two hundred dollars (40 pounds) already
paid for my passage, and I therefore went on board, trusting in my
good luck, which had never forsaken me on my travels.

During the first few days, I endeavoured to master my illness by
observing a strict diet, and abstaining from almost everything, but
to no purpose. I still continued to suffer, until I luckily thought
of using salt-water baths. I took them in a large tub, in which I
remained a quarter of an hour. After the second bath, I felt much
better, and after the sixth, I was completely recovered. I merely
mention this malady, to which I was very subject in warm climates,
that I may have the opportunity of remarking, that sea-baths or
cooling drinks, such as buttermilk, sour milk, sherbet, orangeade,
etc., are very efficacious remedies.

The ship in which I made my present voyage, was the Dutch barque
Lootpuit, a fine, strong vessel, quite remarkable for its
cleanliness. The table was pretty good, too, with the exception of
a few Dutch dishes, and a superfluity of onions. To these, which
played a prominent part in everything that was served up, I really
could not accustom myself, and felt greatly delighted that a large
quantity of this noble production of the vegetable kingdom became
spoilt during the voyage.

The captain was a polite and kind man, and the mates and sailors
were also civil and obliging. In fact, as a general rule, in every
ship that I embarked in, I was far from finding seamen so rough and
uncivil as travellers often represent them to be. Their manners are
certainly not the most polished in the world, neither are they
extraordinarily attentive or delicate, but their hearts and
dispositions are mostly good.

After three days' sailing, we saw, on the 21st March, the island of
St. Felix, and on the morning following, St. Ambrosio. They both
consist of naked, inhospitable masses of rock, and serve at most as
resting places for a few gulls.

We were now within the tropics, but found the heat greatly moderated
by the trade wind, and only unbearable in the cabin.

For nearly a month did we now sail on, without the slightest
interruption, free from storms, with the same monotonous prospect of
sky and water before us, until, on the 19th of April, we reached the
Archipelago of the Society Islands. This Archipelago, stretching
from 130 to 140 degrees longitude, is very dangerous, as most of the
islands composing it scarcely rise above the surface of the water;
in fact, to make out David Clark's Island, which was only twelve
miles distant, the captain was obliged to mount to the shrouds.

During the night of the 21st to the 22nd of April we were overtaken
by a sudden and violent storm, accompanied by heavy thunder; this
storm our captain termed a thunder-gust. While it lasted flashes of
lightning frequently played around the mast-top, occasioned by
electricity. They generally flutter for two or three minutes about
the most elevated point of any object, and then disappear.

The night of the 22nd to the 23rd of April was a very dangerous one;
even the captain said so. We had to pass several of the low islands
in dark rainy weather, which completely concealed the moon from us.
About midnight our position was rendered worse by the springing up
of a strong wind, which, together with incessant flashes of
lightning, caused us to expect another squall; luckily, however,
morning broke, and we escaped both the storm and the islands.

In the course of the day we passed the Bice Islands, and two days
later, on the 25th of April, we beheld one of the Society Islands,

On the following morning, being the thirty-ninth of our voyage, we
came in sight of Tahiti, and the island opposite to it, Emao, also
called Moreo. The entrance into Papeiti, the port of Tahiti, is
exceedingly dangerous; it is surrounded by reefs of coral as by a
fortress, while wild and foaming breakers, rolling on every side,
leave but a small place open through which a vessel can steer.

A pilot came out to meet us, and, although the wind was so
unfavourable that the sails had to be trimmed every instant, steered
us safely into port. Afterwards, when we had landed, we were
congratulated heartily on our good fortune; every one had watched
our course with the greatest anxiety, and, at the last turn the ship
took, expected to see her strike upon a coral reef. This misfortune
had happened to a French man-of-war, that at the period of our
arrival had been lying at anchor for some months, engaged in
repairing the damage done.

Before we could come to an anchor we were surrounded by half-a-dozen
pirogues, or boats, manned by Indians, who climbed up from all sides
upon the deck to offer us fruit and shell-fish, but not as formerly
for red rags or glass beads--such golden times for travellers are
over. They demanded money, and were as grasping and cunning in
their dealings as the most civilized Europeans. I offered one of
them a small bronze ring; he took it, smelt it, shook his head, and
gave me to understand that it was not gold. He remarked another
ring on my finger, and seizing hold of my hand, smelt this second
ring as well, then twisted his face into a friendly smile, and made
signs for me to give him the ornament in question. I afterwards had
frequent opportunities of remarking that the natives of these
islands have the power of distinguishing between pure and
counterfeit gold by the smell.

Some years ago the island of Tahiti was under the protection of the
English, but at present it is under that of the French. It had long
been a subject of dispute between the two nations, until a friendly
understanding was at last come to in November, 1846. Queen Pomare,
who had fled to another island, had returned to Papeiti five weeks
before my arrival. She resides in a four-roomed house, and dines
daily, with her family, at the governor's table. The French
government is having a handsome house built for her use, and allows
her a pension of 25,000 francs per annum (1 pounds,041 13s. 4d.).
No stranger is allowed to visit her without the governor's
permission, but this is easily obtained.

Papeiti was full of French troops, and several men-of-war were lying
at anchor.

The place contains three or four thousand inhabitants, and consists
of a row of small wooden houses, skirting the harbour, and separated
by small gardens. In the immediate background is a fine wood, with
a number of huts scattered about in different parts of it.

The principal buildings are--the governor's house, the French
magazines, the military bakehouse, the barracks, and the queen's
house, which however is not quite completed. Besides these, a
number of small wooden houses were in the course of erection, the
want of them being greatly felt; at the time of my visit even
officers of high rank were obliged to be contented with the most
wretched huts.

I went from hut to hut in the hopes of being able to obtain some
small room or other; but in vain, all were already occupied. I was
at last obliged to be satisfied with a small piece of ground, which
I found at a carpenter's, whose room was already inhabited by four
different individuals. I was shown a place behind the door, exactly
six feet long and four broad. There was no flooring but the earth
itself; the walls were composed of wicker work; a bed was quite out
of the question, and yet for this accommodation I was obliged to pay
one florin and thirty kreutzers a-week (about 7s.)

The residence or hut of an Indian consists simply of a roof of palm-
trees, supported on a number of poles, with sometimes the addition
of walls formed of wicker-work. Each hut contains only one room,
from twenty to fifty feet long, and from ten to thirty feet broad,
and is frequently occupied by several families at the same time.
The furniture is composed of finely woven straw mats, a few
coverlids, and two or three wooden chests and stools; the last,
however, are reckoned articles of luxury. Cooking utensils are not
wanted, as the cookery of the Indians does not include soups or
sauces, their provisions being simply roasted between hot stones.
All they require is a knife, and a cocoa shell for water.

Before their huts, or on the shore, lie their piroques, formed of
the trunks of trees hollowed out, and so narrow, small, and shallow,
that they would constantly be overturning, if there were not on one
side five or six sticks, each about a foot long, fastened by a
cross-bar to preserve the equilibrium. In spite of this, however,
one of these boats is very easily upset, unless a person steps in
very cautiously. When, on one occasion, I proceeded in a piroque to
the ship, the good-hearted captain was horror-struck, and, in his
concern for my safety, even reprimanded me severely, and besought me
not to repeat the experiment a second time.

The costume of the Indians has been, since the first settlement of
the missionaries (about fifty years ago), tolerably becoming,
especially in the neighbourhood of Papeiti. Both men and women wear
round their loins a kind of apron, made of coloured stuff, and
called a pareo; the women let it fall as low down as their ancles;
the men not farther than the calf of the leg. The latter have a
short coloured shirt underneath it, and again beneath that, large
flowing trousers. The women wear a long full blouse. Both sexes
wear flowers in their ears, which have such large holes bored in
them that the stalk can very easily be drawn through. The women,
both old and young, adorn themselves with garlands of leaves and
flowers, which they make in the most artistic and elegant manner. I
have often seen men, too, weaving the same kind of ornament.

On grand occasions, they cast over their ordinary dress an upper
garment, called a tiputa, the cloth of which they manufacture
themselves from the bark of the bread and cocoa trees. The bark,
while still tender, is beaten between two stones, until it is as
thin as paper; it is then coloured yellow and brown.

One Sunday I went into the meeting-house to see the people assembled
there. {73} Before entering they all laid aside their flowers, with
which they again ornamented themselves at their departure. Some of
the women had black satin blouses on, and European bonnets of an
exceedingly ancient date. It would not be easy to find a more ugly
sight than that of their plump, heavy heads and faces in these old-
fashioned bonnets.

During the singing of the psalms there was some degree of attention,
and many of the congregation joined in very becomingly; but while
the clergyman was performing the service, I could not remark the
slightest degree of devotion in any of them; the children played,
joked, and ate, while the adults gossiped or slept; and although I
was assured that many could read and even write, I saw only two old
men who made any use of their Bibles.

The men are a remarkably strong and vigorous race, six feet being by
no means an uncommon height amongst them. The women, likewise, are
very tall, but too muscular--they might even be termed unwieldy.
The features of the men are handsomer than those of the women. They
have beautiful teeth and fine dark eyes, but generally a large
mouth, thick lips, and an ugly nose, the cartilage being slightly
crushed when the child is born, so that the nose becomes flat and
broad. This fashion appears to be most popular with the females,
for their noses are the ugliest. Their hair is jet black and thick,
but coarse; the women and girls generally wear it plaited in two
knots. The colour of their skin is a copper-brown. All the natives
are tattooed, generally from the hips half down the legs, and
frequently this mode of ornamenting themselves is extended to the
hands, feet, or other parts of the body. The designs resemble
arabesques; they are regular and artistic in their composition, and
executed with much taste.

That the population of this place should be so vigorous and well-
formed is the more surprising, if we reflect on their depraved and
immoral kind of life. Little girls of seven or eight years old have
their lovers of twelve or fourteen, and their parents are quite
proud of the fact. The more lovers a girl has the more she is
respected. As long as she is not married she leads a most dissolute
life, and it is said that not all the married women make the most
faithful wives possible.

I had frequent opportunities of seeing the national dances, which
are the most unbecoming I ever beheld, although every painter would
envy me my good fortune. Let the reader picture to himself a grove
of splendid palms, and other gigantic trees of the torrid zone, with
a number of open huts, and a crowd of good-humoured islanders
assembled beneath, to greet, in their fashion, the lovely evening,
which is fast approaching. Before one of the huts a circle is
formed, and in the centre sit two herculean and half-naked natives,
beating time most vigorously on small drums. Five similar colossi
are seated before them, moving the upper parts of their bodies in
the most horrible and violent manner, and more especially the arms,
hands, and fingers; the latter they have the power of moving in
every separate joint. I imagine, that by these gestures they
desired to represent how they pursue their enemy, ridicule his
cowardice, rejoice at their victory, and so forth. During all this
time they howl continually in a most discordant manner, and make the
most hideous faces. At the commencement, the men appear alone upon
the scene of action, but after a short time two female forms dart
forward from among the spectators, and dance and rave like two
maniacs; the more unbecoming, bold, and indecent their gestures, the
greater the applause. The whole affair does not, at most, last
longer than two minutes, and the pause before another dance is
commenced not much longer. An evening's amusement of this
description often lasts for hours. The younger members of society
very seldom take any part in the dances.

It is a great question whether the immorality of these islanders has
been lessened by French civilization. From my own observations, as
well as from what I was told by persons well informed on the
subject, I should say that this has not yet been the case, and that,
for the present, there is but little hope of its being so: while,
on the other side, the natives have acquired a number of useless
wants, in consequence of which, the greed for gold has been
fearfully awakened in their breasts. As they are naturally very
lazy, and above all things disinclined to work, they have made the
female portion of the community the means of gaining money.
Parents, brothers, and even husbands, offer to their foreign masters
those belonging to them, while the women themselves offer no
opposition, as in this manner they can obtain the means for their
own display, and money for their relations without trouble. Every
officer's house is the rendezvous of several native beauties, who go
out and in at every hour of the day. Even abroad they are not
particular; they will accompany any man without the least
hesitation, and no gentleman ever refuses a conductress of this

As a female of an advanced age, I may be allowed to make a few
observations upon such a state of things, and I frankly own that,
although I have travelled much and seen a great deal, I never
witnessed such shameful scenes of public depravity.

As a proof of what I assert, I will mention a little affair which
happened one day before my hut.

Four fat graces were squatted on the ground smoking tobacco, when an
officer, who happened to be passing, caught a glimpse of the
charming picture, rushed up at double quick pace and caught hold of
one of the beauties by the shoulder. He began by speaking softly to
her, but as his anger increased, he changed his tone to one of loud
abuse. But neither entreaties nor threats produced the slightest
effect upon the delicate creature to whom they were addressed; she
remained coolly in the same position, continuing to smoke with the
greatest indifference, and without deigning even to cast upon her
excited swain a look, far less answer him a word. He became enraged
to such a pitch, that he so far forgot himself as to loosen the
golden ear-rings from her ears, and threatened to take away all the
finery he had given her. Even this was not sufficient to rouse the
girl from her stolid calmness, and the valiant officer was, at last,
obliged to retreat from the field of battle.

From his conversation, which was half in French and half in the
native dialect, I learned that in three months the girl had cost him
about four hundred francs in dress and jewellery. Her wishes were
satisfied, and she quietly refused to have anything more to say to

I very often heard the feeling, attachment, and kindness of this
people spoken of in terms of high praise, with which, however, I
cannot unreservedly agree. Their kindness I will not precisely
dispute; they readily invite a stranger to share their hospitality,
and even kill a pig in his honour, give him a part of their couch,
etc.; but all this costs them no trouble, and if they are offered
money in return, they take it eagerly enough, without so much as
thanking the donor. As for feeling and attachment, I should almost
be inclined to deny that they possessed them in the slightest
degree; I saw only sensuality, and none of the nobler sentiments. I
shall return to this subject when describing my journey through the

On the 1st of May I witnessed a highly interesting scene. It was
the fete of Louis Philippe, the King of the French; and the
governor, Monsieur Bruat, exerted himself to the utmost to amuse the
population of Tahiti. In the forenoon, there was a tournament on
the water, in which the French sailors were the performers. Several
boats with lusty oarsmen put out to sea. In the bows of each boat
was a kind of ladder or steps, on which stood one of the combatants
with a pole. The boats were then pulled close to one another, and
each combatant endeavoured to push his antagonist into the water.
Besides this, there was a Mat de Cocagne, with coloured shirts,
ribbons, and other trifles fluttering at the top, for whoever chose
to climb up and get them. At 12 o'clock the chiefs and principal
personages were entertained at dinner. On the grass plot before the
governor's house were heaped up various sorts of provisions, such as
salt meat, bacon, bread, baked pork, fruits, etc.; but instead of
the guests taking their places all around, as we had supposed they
would have done, the chiefs divided everything into different
portions, and each carried his share home. In the evening there
were fireworks, and a ball.

No part of the entertainment amused me more than the ball, where I
witnessed the most startling contrasts of art and nature. Elegant
Frenchwomen side by side with their brown, awkward sisters, and the
staff officers in full uniform, in juxta-position with the half-
naked islanders. Many of the natives wore, on this occasion, broad
white trousers, with a shirt over them; but there were others who
had no other garments than the ordinary short shirt and the pareo.
One of the chiefs who appeared in this costume, and was afflicted
with Elephantiasis, {76} offered a most repulsive spectacle.

This evening I saw Queen Pomare for the first time. She is a woman
of 36 years of age, tall and stout, but tolerably well preserved--as
a general rule, I found that the women here fade much less quickly
than in other warm climates--her face is far from ugly, and there is
a most good-natured expression round her mouth, and the lower
portion of her face. She was enveloped in a sky-blue satin gown, or
rather, sort of blouse, ornamented all round with two rows of rich
black blond. She wore large jessamine blossoms in her ears, and a
wreath of flowers in her hair, while in her hand she carried a fine
pocket handkerchief beautifully embroidered, and ornamented with
broad lace. In honour of the evening, she had forced her feet into
shoes and stockings, though on other occasions she went barefoot.
The entire costume was a present from the King of the French.

The queen's husband, who is younger than herself, is the handsomest
man in Tahiti. The French jokingly call him the Prince Albert of
Tahiti, not only on account of his good looks, but because, like
Prince Albert in England, he is not named "the king," but simply,
"the queen's consort." He had on the uniform of a French general,
which became him very well; the more so, that he was not in the
least embarrassed in it. The only drawback were his feet, which
were very ugly and awkward.

Besides these two high personages, there was in the company another
crowned head, namely, King Otoume, the owner of one of the
neighbouring islands. He presented a most comical appearance,
having put on, over a pair of full but short white trousers, a
bright yellow calico coat, that most certainly had not been made by
a Parisian artiste, for it was a perfect model of what a coat ought
not to be. This monarch was barefoot.

The queen's ladies of honour, four in number, as well as most of the
wives and daughters of the chiefs, were dressed in white muslin.
They had also flowers in their ears, and garlands in their hair.
Their behaviour and deportment were surprising, and three of the
young ladies actually danced French quadrilles with the officers,
without making a fault in the figures. I was only anxious for their
feet, as no one, save the royal couple, wore either shoes or
stockings. Some of the old women had arrayed themselves in European
bonnets, while the young ones brought their children, even the
youngest, with them, and, to quiet the latter, suckled them without
ceremony before the company.

Before supper was announced, the queen disappeared in an adjoining
room to smoke a cigar or two, while her husband passed the time in
playing billiards.

At table I was seated between Prince Albert of Tahiti and the
canary-coloured King Otoume. They were both sufficiently advanced
in the rules of good breeding to show me the usual civilities; that
is, to fill my glass with water or wine, to hand me the various
dishes, and so on; but it was evident that they were at great
trouble to catch the tone of European society. Some of the guests,
however, forgot their parts now and then: the queen, for instance,
asked, during the dessert, for a second plate, which she filled with
sweetmeats, and ordered to be put on one side for her to take home
with her. Others had to be prevented from indulging too much in the
generous champagne; but, on the whole, the entertainment passed off
in a becoming and good-humoured manner.

I subsequently dined with the royal family several times at the
governor's. The queen then appeared in the national costume, with
the coloured pareo and chemise, as did also her husband. Both were
barefoot. The heir apparent, a boy of nine years old, is affianced
to the daughter of a neighbouring king. The bride, who is a few
years older than the prince, is being educated at the court of Queen
Pomare, and instructed in the Christian religion, and the English
and Tahitian languages.

The arrangements of the queen's residence are exceedingly simple.
For the present, until the stone house which is being built for her
by the French government is completed, she lives in a wooden one
containing four rooms, and partly furnished with European furniture.

As peace was now declared in Tahiti, there was no obstacle to my
making a journey through the whole island. I had obtained a
fortnight's leave of absence from the captain, and was desirous of
devoting this time to a trip. I imagined that I should have been
able to join one or other of the officers, who are often obliged to
journey through the island on affairs connected with the government.
To my great surprise I found, however, that they had all some
extraordinary reason why it was impossible for me to accompany them
at that particular time. I was at a loss to account for this
incivility, until one of the officers themselves told me the answer
to the riddle, which was this: every gentleman always travelled
with his mistress.

Monsieur ---, {78} who let me into the secret, offered to take me
with him to Papara, where he resided; but even he did not travel
alone, as, besides his mistress, Tati, the principal chief of the
island, and his family, accompanied him. This chief had come to
Papeiti to be present at the fete of the 1st of May.

On the 4th of May we put off to sea in a boat, for the purpose of
coasting round to Papara, forty-two miles distant. I found the
chief Tati to be a lively old man nearly ninety years of age, who
remembered perfectly the second landing of the celebrated
circumnavigator of the globe, Captain Cook. His father was, at that
period, the principal chief, and had concluded a friendly alliance
with Cook, and, according to the custom then prevalent at Tahiti,
had changed names with him.

Tati enjoys from the French government a yearly pension of 6,000
francs (240 pounds), which, after his death, will fall to his eldest

He had with him his young wife and five of his sons; the former was
twenty-three years old, and the ages of the latter varied from
twelve to eighteen. The children were all the offspring of other
marriages, this being his fifth wife.

As we had not left Papeiti till nearly noon, and as the sun sets
soon after six o'clock, and the passage between the numberless rocks
is highly dangerous, we landed at Paya (22 miles), where a sixth son
of Tati's ruled as chief.

The island is intersected in all directions by noble mountains, the
loftiest of which, the Oroena, is 6,200 feet high. In the middle of
the island the mountains separate, and a most remarkable mass of
rock raises itself from the midst of them. It has the form of a
diadem with a number of points, and it is to this circumstance that
it owes its name. Around the mountain range winds a forest girdle,
from four to six hundred paces broad; it is inhabited, and contains
the most delicious fruit. Nowhere did I ever eat such bread-fruit,
mangoes, oranges, and guavas, as I did here. As for cocoa-nuts, the
natives are so extravagant with them, that they generally merely
drink the water they contain, and then throw away the shell and the
fruit. In the mountains and ravines there are a great quantity of
plantains, a kind of banana, which are not commonly eaten, however,
without being roasted. The huts of the natives lie scattered here
and there along the shore; it is very seldom that a dozen of these
huts are seen together.

The bread-fruit is somewhat similar in shape to a water-melon, and
weighs from four to six pounds. The outside is green, and rather
rough and thin. The natives scrape it with mussel-shells, and then
split the fruit up long ways into two portions, which they roast
between two heated stones. The taste is delicious; it is finer than
that of potatoes, and so like bread that the latter may be dispensed
with without any inconvenience. The South Sea Islands are the real
home of the fruit. It is true that it grows in other parts of the
tropics, but it is very different from that produced here. In
Brazil, for instance, where the people call it monkeys' bread, it
weighs from five to thirty pounds, and is full inside of kernels,
which are taken out and eaten when the fruit is roasted. These
kernels taste like chestnuts.

The mango is a fruit resembling an apple, and of the size of a man's
fist; both the rind and the fruit itself are yellow. It tastes a
little like turpentine, but loses this taste more and more the riper
it gets. This fruit is of the best description; it is full and
juicy, and has a long, broad kernel in the middle. The bread and
mango trees grow to a great height and circumference. The leaves of
the former are about three feet long, a foot and a-half broad, and
deeply serrated; while those of the latter are not much larger than
the leaves of our own apple-trees.

Before reaching Paya, we passed several interesting places, among
which may be mentioned Foar, a small French fort, situated upon a
hill. Near Taipari it is necessary to pass between two rows of
dangerous breakers, called the "Devil's Entrance." The foaming
waves rose in such volume and to so great a height, that they might
almost be mistaken for walls. In the plain near Punavia is a large
fort supported by several towers, built upon the neighbouring hills.
At this point the scenery is beautiful. The mountain range breaks
here, so that the eye can follow for a long distance the windings of
a picturesque valley, with the black and lofty mountain Olofena in
the background.

Delighted as I was, however, with the beauty of the objects around
me, I was no less pleased with those beneath. Our boat glided along
over countless shallows, where the water was as clear as crystal, so
that the smallest pebble at the bottom was distinctly visible. I
could observe groups and clusters of coloured coral and madrepore-
stone, whose magnificence challenges all description. It might be
said that there was a quantity of fairy flower and kitchen gardens
in the sea, full of gigantic flowers, blossoms, and leaves, varied
by fungi and pulse of every description, like open arabesque work,
the whole interspersed with pretty groups of rocks of every hue.
The most lovely shell-fish were clinging to these rocks, or lying
scattered on the ground, while endless shoals of variegated fish
darted in and out between them, like so many butterflies and
humming-birds. These delicate creatures were scarcely four inches
long, and surpassed in richness of colour anything I had ever seen.
Many of them were of the purest sky-blue, others a light yellow,
while some, again, that were almost transparent, were brown, green,

On our arrival at Paya, about 6 in the evening, the young Tati had a
pig, weighing eighteen or twenty pounds, killed and cooked, after
the fashion of Tahiti, in honour of his father. A large fire was
kindled in a shallow pit, in which were a number of stones. A
quantity of bread-fruit (majore), that had been first peeled and
split into two portions with a very sharp wooden axe, was then
brought. When the fire had gone out, and the stones heated to the
requisite degree, the pig and the fruit were laid upon them, a few
other heated stones placed on the top, and the whole covered up with
green branches, dry leaves, and earth.

During the time that the victuals were cooking, the table was laid.
A straw mat was placed upon the ground, and covered with large
leaves. For each guest there was a cocoa-nut shell, half-filled
with miti, a sourish beverage extracted from the cocoa-palm.

In an hour and a half the victuals were dug up. The pig was neither
very artistically cooked nor very enticing, but cut up as quick as
lightning, being divided by the hand and knife into as many portions
as there were guests, and each person had his share, together with
half a bread-fruit, handed to him upon a large leaf. There was no
one at our rustic table besides the officer, his mistress, the old
Tati, his wife, and myself, as it is contrary to the custom of the
country for the host to eat with his guests, or the children with
their parents. With the exception of this ceremony, I did not
observe any other proof of love or affection between the father and
son. The old man, for instance, although ninety years of age, and
suffering besides from a violent cough, was obliged to pass the
night under nothing but a light roof, open to the weather, while his
son slept in his well-closed huts.

On the 5th of May, we left Taipari with empty stomachs, as old Tati
was desirous of entertaining us at one of his estates about two
hours' journey distant.

On our arrival, and as soon as the stones were heated for our meal,
several of the natives out of the neighbouring huts hastened to
profit by the opportunity to cook their provisions as well, bringing
with them fish, pieces of pork, bread-fruit, plantains, and so on.
The fish and meat were enveloped in large leaves. For our use,
besides bread-fruit and fish, there was a turtle weighing perhaps
more than twenty pounds. The repast was held in a hut, to which the
whole neighbourhood also came, and forming themselves into groups a
little on one side of us principal guests, eat the provisions they
had brought with them. Each person had a cocoa-nut shell full of
miti before him; into this he first threw every morsel and took it
out again with his hand, and then what remained of the miti was
drunk at the end of the meal. We had each of us a fresh cocoa-nut
with a hole bored in it, containing at least a pint of clear, sweet-
tasting water. This is erroneously termed by us "Milk," but it only
becomes thick and milky when the cocoa-nut is very stale, in which
condition it is never eaten in these islands.

Tati, with his family, remained here, while we proceeded to Papara,
an hour's walk. The road was delightful, leading mostly through
thick groves of fruit-trees; but it would not suit a person with a
tendency to hydrophobia, for we were obliged to wade through more
than half a dozen streams and brooks.

At Papara, Monsieur --- possessed some landed property, with a
little wooden four-roomed house, in which he was kind enough to give
me a lodging.

We here heard of the death of one of Tati's sons, of which he
numbered twenty-one. He had been dead three days, and his friends
were awaiting Tati to pay the last honours to the deceased. I had
intended to make an excursion to the Lake Vaihiria, but deferred
doing so, in order to be present at the burial. On the following
morning, 6th May, I paid a visit to the hut of the deceased.
Monsieur --- gave me a new handkerchief to take with me as a
present--a relic of the old superstition which the people of this
island have introduced into Christianity. These presents are
supposed to calm the soul of the deceased. The corpse was lying in
a narrow coffin, upon a low bier, both of which were covered with a
white pall. Before the bier were hung two straw mats, on which were
spread the deceased's clothes, drinking vessels, knives, and so
forth, while on the other, lay the presents, making quite a heap, of
shirts, pareos, pieces of cloth, etc., all so new and good that they
might have served to furnish a small shop.

Old Tati soon entered the hut, but quickly returned into the open
air, stopping only a few instants, as the corpse was already most
offensive. He sat down under a tree, and began talking very quietly
and unconcernedly with the neighbours, as if nothing had happened.
The female relatives and neighbours remained in the hut; they, too,
chatted and gossiped very contentedly, and moreover ate and smoked.
I was obliged to have the wife, children, and relations of the
deceased pointed out to me, for I was unable to recognise them by
their demeanour. In a little time, the stepmother and wife rose,
and throwing themselves on the coffin, howled for half an hour; but
it was easy to see that their grief did not come from the heart.
Their moaning was always pitched in the same monotonous key. Both
then returned with smiling faces and dry eyes to their seats, and
appeared to resume the conversation at the point at which they had
broken it off. The deceased's canoe was burnt upon the shore.

I had seen enough, and returned to my quarters to make some
preparations for my trip to the lake the next day. The distance is
reckoned to be eighteen miles, so that the journey there and back
may be performed in two days with ease, and yet a guide had the
conscience to ask ten dollars (2 pounds) for his services. With the
assistance of old Tati, however, I procured one for three dollars

Pedestrian trips are very fatiguing in Tahiti, since it is so richly
watered that the excursionist is constantly obliged to wade through
plains of sand and rivers. I was very suitably clothed for the
purpose, having got strong men's shoes, without any stockings,
trousers, and a blouse, which I had fastened up as high as my hips.
Thus equipped I began, on the 7th of May, my short journey, in
company with my guide. In the first third of my road, which lay
along the coast, I counted about thirty-two brooks which we were
obliged to walk through. We then struck off, through ravines, into
the interior of the island, first calling, however, at a hut to
obtain some refreshment. The inmates were very friendly, and gave
us some bread-fruit and fish, but very willingly accepted a small
present in exchange.

In the interior, the fine fruit-trees disappear, and their place is
supplied by plantains, tarros, and a kind of bush, growing to the
height of twelve feet, and called Oputu (Maranta); the last, in
fact, grew so luxuriantly, that we frequently experienced the
greatest difficulty in making our way through. The tarro, which is
planted, is from two to three feet high, and has fine large leaves
and tubercles, similar to the potato, but which do not taste very
good when roasted. The plantain, or banana, is a pretty little
tree, from fifteen to twenty feet high, with leaves like those of
the palm, and a stem which is often eight inches in diameter, but is
not of wood, but cane, and very easily broken. It belongs properly
to the herbiferous species, and grows with uncommon rapidity. It
reaches its full growth the first year: in the second it bears
fruit, and then dies. It is produced from shoots, which generally
spring up near the parent tree.

Through one mountain stream, which chafed along the ravine over a
stony bed, and in some places was exceedingly rapid, and, in
consequence of the rain that had lately fallen, was frequently more
than three feet deep, we had to wade sixty-two times. My guide
caught hold of me by the hand whenever we passed a dangerous spot,
and dragged me, often half swimming, after him. The water
constantly reached above my hips, and all idea of getting dry again
was totally out of the question. The path also became at every step
more fatiguing and dangerous. I had to clamber over rocks and
stones covered to such an extent with the foliage of the oputu that
I never knew with any degree of certainty where I was placing my
foot. I received several severe wounds on my hands and feet, and
frequently fell down on the ground, when I trusted for support to
the treacherous stem of a banana, which would break beneath my
grasp. It was really a breakneck sort of excursion, which is very
rarely made even by the officers, and certainly never by ladies.

In two places the ravine became so narrow, that the bed of the
stream occupied its whole extent. It was here that the islanders,
during the war with the French, built stone walls five feet in
height to protect them against the enemy, in case they should have
attacked them from this side.

In eight hours' time we had completed the eighteen miles, and
attained an elevation of 1,800 feet. The lake itself was not
visible until we stood upon its shores, as it lies in a slight
hollow; it is about 800 feet across. The surrounding scenery is the
most remarkable. The lake is so closely hemmed in by a ring of
lofty and precipitous green mountains, that there is no room even
for a footing between the water and the rocks, and its bed might be
taken for an extinguished volcano filled with water--a supposition
which gains additional force from the masses of basalt which occupy
the foreground. It is plentifully supplied with fish, one kind of
which is said to be peculiar to the locality; it is supposed that
the lake has a subterranean outlet, which as yet remains

To cross the lake, it is either necessary to swim over or trust
oneself to a dangerous kind of boat, which is prepared by the
natives in a few minutes. Being desirous of making the attempt, I
intimated this by signs to my guide. In an instant he tore off some
plantain-branches, fastened them together with long, tough grass,
laid a few leaves upon them, launched them in the water, and then
told me to take possession of this apology for a boat. I must own
that I felt rather frightened, although I did not like to say so. I
stept on board, and my guide swam behind and pushed me forward. I
made the passage to the opposite side and back without any accident,
but I was in truth rather alarmed the whole time. The boat was
small, and floated under rather than upon the water--there was
nothing I could support myself with, and every minute I expected to
fall into the lake. I would not advise any one who cannot swim ever
to follow my example.

After I had sufficiently admired the lake and the surrounding
scenery, we retraced our way for some hundred yards, until we
reached a little spot roofed over with leaves. Here my guide
quickly made a good fire, after the Indian fashion. He took a small
piece of wood, which he cut to a fine point, and then selecting a
second piece, he made in it a narrow furrow not very deep. In this
he rubbed the pointed stick until the little particles which were
detached during the operation began to smoke. These he threw into a
quantity of dry leaves and grass which he had got together for the
purpose, and swung the whole several times round in the air, until
it burst out into flames. The entire process did not take more than
two minutes.

For our supper, he gathered a few plantains and laid them on the
fire. I profited by the opportunity to dry my clothes, by sitting
down near the fire, and turning first one side towards it, and then
the other. Half wet through, and tolerably fatigued, I retired to
my couch of dry leaves immediately after partaking of our scanty

It is a fortunate circumstance that in these wild and remote
districts neither men nor beasts afford the slightest grounds for
apprehension; the former are very quiet and peaceably inclined, and,
with the exception of a few wild boars, the latter are not
dangerous. The island is especially favoured; it contains no
poisonous or hurtful insects or reptiles. It is true there are a
few scorpions, but so small and harmless, that they may be handled
with impunity. The mosquitoes alone were the source of very
considerable annoyance, as they are in all southern countries.

8th May. It began to rain very violently during the night, and in
the morning I was sorry to see that there was not much hope of its
clearing up; on the contrary, the clouds became blacker and blacker,
and collecting from all sides, like so many evil spirits, poured
down in torrents upon the innocent earth. Nevertheless, in spite of
this, there was no other course open to us but to bid defiance to
the angry water deity, and proceed upon our journey. In half an
hour I was literally drenched; this being the case, I went on
uncomplainingly, as it was impossible for me to become wetter than I

On my return to Papara, I found that Tati's son was not buried, but
the ceremony took place the next day. The clergyman pronounced a
short discourse at the side of the grave; and, as the coffin was
being lowered, the mats, straw hat, and clothes of the deceased, as
well as a few of the presents, were thrown in with it. The
relations were present, but as unconcerned as I was myself.

The graveyard was in the immediate vicinity of several murais. The
latter are small four-cornered plots of ground surrounded by stone
walls three or four feet high, where the natives used to deposit
their dead, which were left exposed upon wooden frames until the
flesh fell from the bones. These were then collected and buried in
some lonely spot.

The same evening I witnessed a remarkable mode of catching fish.
Two boys waded out into the sea, one with a stick, and the other
with a quantity of burning chips. The one with the stick drove the
fish between the rocks, and then hit them, the other lighting him in
the meanwhile. They were not very fortunate, however. The more
common and successful manner of fishing is with nets.

Almost every day Monsieur --- had visits from officers who were
passing, accompanied by their mistresses. The reader may easily
imagine that the laws of propriety were not, however, always
strictly observed, and as I had no desire to disturb the gentlemen
in their intellectual conversation and amusement, I retired with my
book into the servants' room. They, too, would laugh and joke, but,
at least, in such a manner that there was no occasion to blush for

It was highly amusing to hear Monsieur --- launch out in praise of
the attachment and gratitude of his Indian beauty; he would have
altered his tone had he seen her behaviour in his absence. On one
occasion I could not help telling one of the gentlemen my opinion of
the matter, and expressing my astonishment that they could treat
these grasping and avaricious creatures with such attention and
kindness, to load them with presents, anticipate their every wish,
and forgive and put up with their most glaring faults. The answer I
received was: that these ladies, if not so treated and loaded with
presents, would quickly run off, and that, in fact, even by the
kindest attentions they never allowed themselves to be influenced
very long.

From all I saw, I must repeat my former assertion, that the Tahitian
people are endowed with none of the more noble sentiments of
humanity, but that their only pleasures are merely animal. Nature
herself encourages them to this in an extraordinary manner. They
have no need to gain their bread by the sweat of their brow; the
island is most plentifully supplied with beautiful fruit, tubercles
of all descriptions, and tame pigs, so that the people have really
only to gather the fruit and kill the pigs. To this circumstance is
to be attributed the difficulty that exists of obtaining any one as
servant or in any other capacity. The most wretched journeyman will
not work for less than a dollar a-day; the price for washing a dozen
handkerchiefs, or any other articles, is also a dollar (4s.), not
including soap. A native, whom I desired to engage as guide,
demanded a dollar and a half a day.

I returned from Papara to Papeiti in the company of an officer and
his native beauty; we walked the thirty-six miles in a day. On our
way, we passed the hut of the girl's mother, where we partook of a
most splendid dish. It was composed of bread-fruit, mangoes, and
bananas, kneaded together into a paste, and cooked upon hot stones.
It was eaten, while warm, with a sauce of orange juice.

On taking leave, the officer gave the girl a present of a dollar to
give her mother; the girl took it as indifferently as if it were not
of the slightest value, and her mother did exactly the same, neither
of them pronouncing one word of thanks, or manifesting the least
sign of satisfaction.

We now and then came upon some portions of the road, the work of
public offenders, that were most excellently constructed. Whenever
an Indian is convicted of a crime, he is not chained in a gang, like
convicts in Europe, but condemned to make or mend a certain extent
of road, and the natives fulfil the tasks thus imposed with such
punctuality, that no overseer is ever necessary. This kind of
punishment was introduced under King Pomare, and originated with the
natives themselves--the Europeans have merely continued the

At Punavia we entered the fort, where we refreshed ourselves, in
military fashion, with bread, wine, and bacon, and reached our
journey's end at 7 o'clock in the morning.

Besides Papara, I visited also Venus Point, a small tongue of land
where Cook observed the transit of Venus. The stone on which he
placed his instruments still remains. On my way, I passed the
grave, or murai, of King Pomare I. It consists of a small piece of
ground, surrounded by a stone wall, and covered with a roof of palm-
leaves. Some half-decayed pieces of cloth and portions of wearing
apparel were still lying in it.

One of my most interesting excursions, however, was that to Fantaua
and the Diadem. The former is a spot which the Indians considered
impregnable; but where, nevertheless, they were well beaten by the
French during the last war. Monsieur Bruat, the governor, was kind
enough to lend me his horses, and to allow me the escort of a non-
commissioned officer, who could point out to me each position of the
Indians and French, as he had himself been in the engagement.

For more than two hours, we proceeded through horrible ravines,
thick woods, and rapid mountain torrents. The ravines often became
so narrow as to form so many defiles, with such precipitous and
inaccessible sides, that here, as at Thermopylae, a handful of
valiant warriors might defy whole armies. As a natural consequence,
the entrance of Fantaua is regarded as the real key to the whole
island. There was no other means of taking it than by scaling one
of its most precipitous sides, and pressing forward upon the narrow
ledge of rock above, so as to take the enemy in the rear. The
governor, Monsieur Bruat, announced that he would confide this
dangerous enterprise to volunteers, and he soon had more than he
could employ. From those chosen, a second selection of only sixty-
two men was made: these divested themselves of every article of
clothing save their shoes and drawers, and took no other arms save
their muskets.

After clambering up for twelve hours, and incurring great danger,
they succeeded, by the aid of ropes, and by sticking pointed iron-
rods and bayonets into the rock, in reaching the crest of the
mountain, where their appearance so astonished the Indians, that
they lost all courage, threw down their arms, and surrendered. They
said that those who were capable of deeds like this, could not be
men but spirits, against whom all hopes of resistance were out of
the question altogether.

At present, there is a small fort built at Fantaua, and on one of
its highest points stands a guard-house. The path leading to it is
over a small ledge of rock, skirted on each side by a yawning abyss.
Persons affected with giddiness can only reach it with great
difficulty, if indeed they can do so at all. In this last case,
they are great losers, for the prospect is magnificent in the
extreme, extending over valleys, ravines, and mountains without
number (among the latter may be mentioned the colossal rock called
the "Diadem"), thick forests of palms and other trees; and beyond
all these, the mighty ocean, broken into a thousand waves against
the rocks and reefs, and in the distance mingling with the azure

Near the fort, a waterfall precipitates itself perpendicularly down
a narrow ravine. Unfortunately, the bottom of it is concealed by
jutting rocks and promontories, and the volume of water is rather
small; otherwise, this fall would, on account of its height, which
is certainly more than 400 feet, deserve to be classed among the
most celebrated ones with which I am acquainted.

The road from the fort to the Diadem is extremely fatiguing, and
fully three hours are required to accomplish the journey. The
prospect here is even more magnificent than from the fort, as the
eye beholds the sea over two sides of the island at the same time.

This excursion was my last in this beautiful isle, as I was obliged
to embark on the next day, the 17th of May. The cargo was cleared,
and the ballast taken on board. All articles to which the French
troops are accustomed, such as flour, salted meat, potatoes, pulse,
wine, and a variety of others, have to be imported. {86}

I felt extremely reluctant to leave; and the only thing that tended
at all to cheer my spirits, was the thought of my speedy arrival in
China, that most wonderful of all known countries.

We left the port of Papeiti on the morning of the 17th of May, with
a most favourable wind, soon passed in safety all the dangerous
coral-reefs which surround the island, and in seven hours' time had
lost sight of it altogether. Towards evening, we beheld the
mountain ranges of the island of Huaheme, which we passed during the

The commencement of our voyage was remarkably pleasant. Besides the
favourable breeze, which still continued, we enjoyed the company of
a fine Belgian brig, the Rubens, which had put to sea at the same
time as ourselves. It was seldom that we approached near enough for
the persons on board to converse with each other; but whoever is at
all acquainted with the endless uniformity of long voyages, will
easily understand our satisfaction at knowing we were even in the
neighbourhood of human beings.

We pursued the same track as far as the Philippine Islands, but on
the morning of the third day our companion had disappeared, leaving
us in ignorance whether she had out-sailed us or we her. We were
once more alone on the endless waste of waters.

On the 23rd of May, we approached very near to the low island of
Penchyn. A dozen or two of the natives were desirous of honouring
us with a visit, and pulled stoutly in six canoes towards our ship,
but we sailed so fast that they were soon left a long way behind.
Several of the sailors affirmed, that these were specimens of real
savages, and that we might reckon ourselves fortunate in having
escaped their visit. The captain, too, appeared to share this
opinion, and I was the only person who regretted not having formed a
more intimate acquaintance with them.

28th May. For some days we had been fortunate enough to be visited,
from time to time, with violent showers; a most remarkable thing for
the time of year in this climate, where the rainy season commences
in January and lasts for three months, the sky for the remaining
nine being generally cloudless. This present exception was the more
welcome from our being just on the Line, where we should otherwise
have suffered much from the heat. The thermometer stood at only 81
degrees in the shade, and 97 degrees in the sun.

Today at noon we crossed the Line, and were once more in the
northern hemisphere. A Tahitian sucking-pig was killed and consumed
in honour of our successful passage, and our native hemisphere
toasted in real hock.

On the 4th of June, under 8 degrees North latitude, we beheld again,
for the first time, the lovely polar star.

On the 17th of June, we passed so near to Saypan, one of the largest
of the Ladrone Islands, that we could make out the mountains very
distinctly. The Ladrone and Marianne Islands are situated between
the 13 and 21 degrees North latitude, and the 145 and 146 degrees
East longitude.

On the 1st of July we again saw land: this time it was the coast of
Lucovia, or Luzon, the largest of the Philippines, and lying between
the 18 and 19 degrees North latitude, and the 125 and 119 degrees
East longitude. The port of Manilla is situated on the southern
coast of the island.

In the course of the day we passed the island of Babuan, and several
detached rocks, rising, colossus like, from the sea. Four of them
were pretty close together, and formed a picturesque group. Some
time afterwards we saw two more.

In the night of the 1st-2nd of July, we reached the western point of
Luzon, and entered on the dangerous Chinese Sea. I was heartily
glad at last to bid adieu to the Pacific Ocean, for a voyage on it
is one of the most monotonous things that can be imagined. The
appearance of another ship is a rare occurrence; and the water is so
calm that it resembles a stream. Very frequently I used to start up
from my desk, thinking that I was in some diminutive room ashore;
and my mistake was the more natural, as we had three horses, a dog,
several pigs, hens, geese, and a canary bird on board, all
respectively neighing, barking, grunting, cackling, and singing, as
if they were in a farm-yard.

6th July. For the first few days after entering the Chinese sea, we
sailed pretty well in the same fashion we had done in the Pacific--
proceeding slowly and quietly on our way. Today we beheld the coast
of China for the first time, and towards evening we were not more
than thirty-three miles from Macao. I was rather impatient for the
following morning. I longed to find my darling hope realized, of
putting my foot upon Chinese ground. I pictured the mandarins with
their high caps, and the ladies with their tiny feet, when in the
middle of the night the wind shifted, and on the 7th of July we had
been carried back 115 miles. In addition to this, the glass fell so
low, that we dreaded a Tai-foon, which is a very dangerous kind of
storm, or rather hurricane, that is very frequent in the Chinese sea
during the months of July, August, and September. It is generally
first announced by a black cloud on the horizon, with one edge dark
red, and the other half-white; and this is accompanied by the most
awful torrents of rain, by thunder, lightning, and the violent
winds, which arise simultaneously on all sides, and lash the waters
up mountains high. We took every precaution in anticipation of our
dangerous enemy, but for once they were not needed: either the
hurricane did not break out at all, or else it broke out at a great
distance from us; for we were only visited by a trifling storm of no
long duration.

On the 8th of July we again reached the vicinity of Macao, and
entered the Straits of Lema. Our course now lay between bays and
reefs, diversified by groups of the most beautiful islands, offering
a series of most magnificent and varied views.

On the 9th of July we anchored in Macao Roads. The town, which
belongs to the Portuguese, and has a population of 20,000
inhabitants, is beautifully situated on the sea-side, and surrounded
by pleasing hills and mountains. The most remarkable objects are
the palace of the Portuguese governor, the Catholic monastery of
Guia, the fortifications, and a few fine houses which lie scattered
about the hills in picturesque disorder.

Besides a few European ships, there were anchored in the roads
several large Chinese junks, while a great number of small boats,
manned by Chinese, were rocking to and fro around us.



A year before my arrival in China, it would have seemed hardly
credible to me that I should ever succeed in taking my place among
the small number of Europeans who are acquainted with that
remarkable country, not from books alone, but from actual
observation; I never believed that I should really behold the
Chinese, with their shaven heads, long tails, and small, ugly,
narrow eyes, the exact counterparts of the representations of them
which we have in Europe.

We had hardly anchored, before a number of Chinese clambered up on
deck, while others remained in their boats, offering for sale a
variety of beautifully made articles, with fruit and cakes, laid out
in great order, so as to form in a few seconds a regular market
round the vessel. Some of them began praising their wares in broken
English; but on the whole, they did not drive a very flourishing
business, as the crew merely bought a few cigars, and a little

Captain Jurianse hired a boat, and we immediately went on shore,
where each person on landing had to pay half a Spanish dollar (2s.)
to the mandarin: I subsequently heard that this imposition was
shortly afterwards abolished. We proceeded to the house of one of
the Portuguese merchants established there, passing through a large
portion of the town on our way thither. Europeans, both men and
women, can circulate freely, without being exposed to a shower of
stones, as is frequently the case in other Chinese towns. The
streets, which are exclusively inhabited by Chinese, presented a
very bustling aspect. The men were in many cases seated out of
doors in groups, playing at dominoes, while locksmiths, carpenters,
shoemakers, and many others were either working, talking, playing,
or dining in the numerous booths. I observed but few women, and
these were of the lower classes. Nothing surprised and amused me
more than the manner in which the Chinese eat; they have two little
sticks, with which they very skilfully convey their victuals into
their mouths. This process, however, cannot be so successfully
practised with rice, because it does not hold together; they
therefore hold the plate containing it close to their mouths, and
push it in by the aid of the sticks, generally letting a portion of
it fall back again, in no very cleanly fashion, into the plate. For
liquids they use round spoons of porcelain.

The style in which the houses are built, did not strike me as very
remarkable; the front generally looks out upon the courtyard or

Among other objects which I visited was the grotto, in which the
celebrated Portuguese poet, Camoens, is said to have composed the
Lusiade. He had been banished, A.D. 1556, to Macao, on account of a
satirical poem he had written, Disperates no India, and remained in
banishment several years before receiving a pardon. The grotto is
charmingly situated upon an eminence not far from the town.

As there was no business to be done, the captain resolved to put to
sea again the next morning, and offered in the most friendly manner
to take me as his guest to Hong-Kong, as I had only agreed for a
passage as far as Macao. I accepted his invitation with the greater
pleasure, as I had not a single letter to any one in Macao; besides
which, it is very seldom that there is an opportunity of proceeding
to Hong-Kong.

On account of the shallowness of the water, our ship was hove to at
rather a long distance from the shore, where it was exposed to an
attack from the pirates, who are here very daring and numerous. In
consequence of this, every precaution was taken, and the watch
doubled for the night.

As late as the year 1842 these pirates attacked a brig that was
lying at anchor in the Macao Roads, murdering the crew and
plundering the vessel. The captain had remained on shore, and the
sailors had carelessly given themselves up to sleep, leaving only
one man to keep watch. In the middle of the night a schampan--which
is the name given to a vessel smaller than a junk--came alongside
the brig. One of the rowers then came on board, pretending he had a
letter from the captain; and as the sailor went near the lantern to
read the letter, he received from the pirate a blow upon his head
which laid him senseless on the deck; the rest of those in the boat,
who had hitherto remained concealed, now scaled the side of the
brig, and quickly overpowered the slumbering crew.

In our case, however, the night passed without any incident worth
noting; and on the morning of the 10th of July, having first taken
on board a pilot, we proceeded to Hong-Kong, a distance of sixty
nautical miles. The voyage proved highly interesting, on account of
the varied succession of bays, creeks, and groups of islands which
we had to pass.

The English obtained Hong-Kong from the Chinese at the conclusion of
the war in 1842, and founded the port of Victoria, which contains at
present a large number of palace-like houses built of stone.

The Europeans who have settled here, and who are not more than two
or three hundred in number, are far from being contented, however,
as trade is not half as good as they at first expected it would be.
Every merchant is presented by the English government with a plot of
ground, on condition of his building on it. Many of them erected,
as I before mentioned, splendid edifices, which they would now be
glad to sell for half the cost price, or even very frequently to
give the ground and foundations, without asking the smallest sum in

I resolved to stop only a few days in Victoria, as it was my wish to
arrive at Canton as soon as possible.

In addition to the great politeness he had previously shown me,
Captain Jurianse conferred another favour, by allowing me, during my
stay here, to live and lodge on board his ship, thereby saving me an
expense of 16s. or 24s. {91a} a day; and, besides this, the boat
which he had hired for his own use was always at my disposal. I
must also take this opportunity of mentioning that I never drank, on
board any other vessel, such clear and excellent water--a proof that
it is not so easily spoilt by the heat of the tropics, or a
protracted period, as is generally imagined. It all depends upon
care and cleanliness, for which the Dutch are especially celebrated;
and I only wish that every captain would, in this respect at least,
imitate their example. It is rather too bad for passengers to be
obliged to quench their thirst with thick and most offensive water--
a disagreeable necessity I was subjected to on board every other
sailing vessel in which I made a voyage of any length.

Victoria is not very pleasantly situated, being surrounded by barren
rocks. The town itself has a European stamp upon it, so that were
it not for the Chinese porters, labourers, and pedlars, a person
would hardly believe he was in China. I was much struck at seeing
no native women in the streets, from which it might be concluded
that it was dangerous for a European female to walk about as freely
as I did; but I never experienced the least insult, or heard the
slightest word of abuse from the Chinese; even their curiosity was
here by no means annoying.

In Victoria I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the well-
known Herr Gutzlaff, {91b} and four other German missionaries. They
were studying the Chinese language; and wore the Chinese costume,
with their heads shaved like the natives, and with large cues
hanging down behind. No language is so difficult to read and write
as the Chinese; it contains more than four thousand characters, and
is wholly composed of monosyllables. Little brushes dipped in
Indian ink are used for writing, the writing itself extending down
the paper from right to left.

I had not been above a few days in Victoria before I had an
opportunity of proceeding to Canton on board a small Chinese junk.
A gentleman of the name of Pustan, who is settled as a merchant
here, and whom I found excessively kind, endeavoured very earnestly
to dissuade me from trusting myself among the Chinese without any
protector, and advised me either to take a boat for myself or a
place in the steamer; but both these means were too dear for my
small finances, since either would have cost twelve dollars, whereas
a passage in the junk was only three. I must also add, that the
appearance and behaviour of the Chinese did not inspire me with the
slightest apprehension. I looked to the priming of my pistols, and
embarked very tranquilly on the evening of the 12th of July.

A heavy fall of rain, and the approach of night, soon obliged me to
seek the interior of the vessel, where I passed my time in observing
my Chinese fellow-travellers.

The company were, it is true, not very select, but behaved with
great propriety, so that there was nothing which could prevent my
remaining among them. Some were playing at dominoes, while others
were extracting most horrible sounds from a sort of mandolin with
three strings; all, however, were smoking, chatting, and drinking
tea, without sugar, from little saucers. I, too, had this celestial
drink offered to me on all sides. Every Chinese, rich or poor,
drinks neither pure water nor spirituous liquors, but invariably
indulges in weak tea with no sugar.

At a late hour in the evening I retired to my cabin, the roof of
which, not being completely waterproof, let in certain very
unwelcome proofs that it was raining outside. The captain no sooner
remarked this than he assigned me another place, where I found
myself in the company of two Chinese women, busily engaged in
smoking out of pipes with bowls no bigger than thimbles, and in
consequence they could not take more than four or five puffs without
being obliged to fill their pipes afresh.

They soon remarked that I had no stool for my head. They offered me
one of theirs, and would not be satisfied until I accepted it. It
is a Chinese custom to use, instead of pillows, little stools of
bamboo or strong pasteboard. They are not stuffed, but are rounded
at the top, and are about eight inches high, and from one to three
feet long. They are far more comfortable than would at first be

13th July. On hurrying upon deck early in the morning to view the
mouth of the Si-Kiang, or Tigris, I found that we had already passed
it, and were a long way up the river. I saw it, however,
subsequently, on my return from Canton to Hong-Kong. The Si-Kiang,
which is one of the principal rivers of China, and which, at a short
distance before entering the sea, is eight nautical miles broad, is
so contracted by hills and rocks at its mouth, that it loses one
half of its breadth. The surrounding country is fine, and a few
fortifications on the summits of some of the hills, give it rather a
romantic appearance.

Near Hoo-man, or Whampoa, the stream divides into several branches;
that which flows to Canton being called the Pearl stream. Although
Whampoa of itself is an insignificant place, it is worthy of note,
as being the spot where, from the shallowness of the water, all
deeply laden ships are obliged to anchor.

Immense plantations of rice, skirted by bananas and other fruit-
trees, extend along the banks of the Pearl stream. The trees are
sometimes prettily arranged in alleys, but are planted far less for
ornament than for use. Rice always requires a great deal of
moisture, and the trees are planted in order to impart a greater
degree of solidity to the soil, and also to prevent the possibility
of its being washed away by the force of the stream. Pretty little
country houses of the genuine Chinese pattern, with their sloping,
pointed, indented roofs, and their coloured tiles inlaid with
different hues, were scattered here and there, under groups of shady
trees, while pagodas (called Tas) of various styles, and from three
to nine stories high, raised their heads on little eminences in the
neighbourhood of the villages, and attracted attention at a great
distance. A number of fortifications, which, however, look more
like roofless houses than anything else, protect the stream.

For miles below Canton, the villages follow one another in quick
succession. They are mostly composed of miserable huts, built for
the most part on piles driven into the river, and before them lie
innumerable boats, which also serve as dwellings.

The nearer we approached Canton, the busier became the scene on the
river, and the greater the number of ships and inhabited boats. I
saw some junks of most extraordinary shape, having poops that hung
far over the water, and provided with large windows and galleries,
and covered in with a roof, like a house. These vessels are often
of immense size, and of a thousand tons' burden. I also saw some
Chinese men-of-war, flat, broad, and long, and mounting twenty or
thirty cannons. {93} Another object of interest was the mandarins'
boats, with their painted sides, doors, and windows, their carved
galleries, and pretty little silk flags, giving them the appearance
of the most charming houses; but what delighted me most was the
flower-boats, with their upper galleries ornamented with flowers,
garlands, and arabesques. A large apartment and a few cabinets,
into which the interior is divided, are reached through doors and
windows which have almost a Gothic appearance. Mirrors and silk
hangings adorn the walls, while glass chandeliers and coloured paper
lanterns, between which swing lovely little baskets with fresh
flowers, complete the magic scene.

These flower-boats are always stationary, and are frequented by the
Chinese as places of amusement, both by day and night. Plays are
acted here, and ballets and conjuring performed. Women, with the
exception of a certain class, do not frequent these places;
Europeans are not exactly prevented from entering them, but are
exposed, especially in the present unfavourable state of public
opinion, to insult and even injury.

In addition to these extraordinary vessels, let the reader picture
to himself thousands of small boats (schampans), some at anchor,
some crossing and passing in all directions, with fishermen casting
their nets, and men and children amusing themselves by swimming, and
he will have some idea of the scene I witnessed. I often could not
avoid turning away with terror at seeing the little children playing
and rolling about upon the narrow boats, I expected every instant
that one or other of them would certainly fall overboard. Some
parents are cautious enough to fasten hollow gourds, or bladders
filled with air, on their children's backs, until they are six years
old, so as to prevent them sinking so quickly, if they should happen
to tumble into the water.

All these multifarious occupations--this ceaseless activity, this
never-ending bustle, form so peculiar a feature, that it is hardly
possible for a person who has not been an eye-witness to obtain a
correct idea of it.

It is only during the last few years that we European women have
been allowed to visit or remain in the factories at Canton. I left
the vessel without any apprehension; but first, I had to consider
how I should find my way to the house of a gentleman named Agassiz,
for whom I had brought letters of recommendation. I explained to
the captain, by signs, that I had no money with me, and that he must
act as my guide to the factory, where I would pay him. He soon
understood me, and conducted me to the place, and the Europeans
there showed me the particular house I wanted.

On seeing me arrive, and hearing the manner in which I had
travelled, and the way that I had walked from the vessel to his
house, Mr. Agassiz was extremely surprised, and would hardly credit
that I had met with no difficulties or injury. From him I learned
what risks I, as a woman, had run in traversing the streets of
Canton with no escort but a Chinese guide. Such a thing had never
occurred before, and Mr. Agassiz assured me that I might esteem
myself as exceedingly fortunate in not having been insulted by the
people in the grossest manner, or even stoned. Had this been the
case, he told me that my guide would have immediately taken to
flight, and abandoned me to my fate.

I had certainly remarked, on my way from the vessel to the factory,
that both old and young turned back to look after me, and that they
hooted and pointed at me with their fingers; the people ran out of
the booths, and gradually formed a crowd at my heels. I had,
however, no alternative but to preserve my countenance; I walked,
therefore, calmly on, and perhaps it is to the very fact of my
manifesting no fear that I escaped unmolested.

I had not intended to stop long in Canton, as, since the last war
between the English and Chinese, Europeans are obliged to be more
careful than ever how they show themselves in public. This hatred
is more especially directed against women, as it is declared in one
of the Chinese prophecies that a woman will some day or other
conquer the Celestial Empire. On account of this, I entertained but
slight hopes of seeing anything here, and thought of proceeding
directly to the port of Shanghai, in the north of China, where, as I
was informed, it was far easier to obtain access both among the
nobility and lower classes. Fortunately, however, I made the
acquaintance of a German gentleman, Herr von Carlowitz, who had been
settled for some time in Canton. He offered, in the kindest manner,
to act as my Mentor, on condition that I should arm myself with
patience until the mail from Europe, which was expected in a few
days, had come in. {95} At such times the merchants are so busy and
excited, that they have no leisure to think of anything but their
correspondence. I was, therefore, obliged to wait, not only until
the steamer had arrived, but until it had left again, which it did
not do until a week had elapsed. I have to thank Mr. Agassiz that
the time did not hang heavily upon my hands; I was most kindly and
hospitably entertained, and enjoyed the opportunity of noting the
mode of life of those Europeans who have settled in the country.

Very few take their families with them to China, and least of all to
Canton, where both women and children are closely imprisoned in
their houses, which they can only leave in a well-closed litter.
Besides this, everything is so dear, that living in London is cheap
in comparison. Lodgings of six rooms, with a kitchen, cost about
700 or 800 dollars a-year (140 or 160 pounds). A man-servant
receives from four to eight dollars a-month, and female servants
nine or ten dollars, as Chinese women will not wait upon a European
unless greatly overpaid. In addition to all this, there is a custom
prevalent here, of having a separate person for each branch of
household duty, which renders a large number of servants

A family of only four persons requires at least eleven or twelve
domestics, if not more. In the first place, every member of the
family must have an attendant especially for his or her use; then
there is a man-cook, a number of nursery-maids, and several coolies
for the more menial duties, such as cleaning the rooms, carrying the
wood and water, and so forth. In spite of this number of servants,
the attendance is frequently very bad; for, if one or other of them
happens to be out, and his services are required, his master must
wait until he returns, as no servant could ever be prevailed upon to
do another's duty.

At the head of the whole household is the comprador, who is a kind
of major-domo. To his care are confided all the plate, furniture,
linen, and other effects; he engages all the servants, provides for
their board, and anything else they may require, and answers for
their good conduct, deducting, however, two dollars a-month from the
wages of each, in return for his services. He makes all the
purchases, and settles all the bills, giving in the sum total at the
end of the month, without descending into the items.

Besides these domestic duties, the comprador is also entrusted with
the money belonging to his master's firm; hundreds of thousands of
dollars pass through his hands, and he is responsible for the
genuineness of every one. He has persons in his own employment who
pay and receive all monies, and who examine and test every separate
coin with the most marvellous rapidity. They take a whole handful
of dollars at a time, and toss them up separately with the finger
and thumb: this enables them to determine whether each "rings"
properly, and on the coin falling into their hand again, reversed,
they examine the second side with a glance. A few hours are
sufficient to pass several thousand dollars in review; and this
minute inspection is very necessary, on account of the number of
false dollars made by the Chinese. Each piece of money is then
stamped with the peculiar mark of the firm, as a guarantee of its
genuineness, so that it at last becomes exceedingly thin and broad,
and frequently falls to bits; no loss is, however, occasioned by
this, as the amount is always reckoned by weight. Besides dollars,
little bars of pure unstamped silver are used as a circulating
medium; small portions, varying in size, being cut off them,
according to the sum required. The counting-house is situated on
the ground floor, in the comprador's room. The Europeans have
nothing to do with the money, and, in fact, never even carry any for
their private use.

The comprador has no fixed salary, but receives a stated per-centage
upon all business transactions: his per-centage upon the household
expenses is not fixed, but is not on that account less certain. On
the whole, these compradors are very trustworthy. They pay down a
certain sum, as caution-money, to some mandarin, and the latter
answers for them.

The following is a tolerably correct account of the mode of life
pursued by the Europeans settled here. As soon as they are up, and
have drunk a cup of tea in their bed-room, they take a cold bath. A
little after 9 o'clock, they breakfast upon fried fish or cutlets,
cold roast meat, boiled eggs, tea, and bread and butter. Every one
then proceeds to his business until dinner-time, which is generally
4 o'clock. The dinner is composed of turtle-soup, curry, roast
meat, hashes, and pastry. All the dishes, with the exception of the
curry, are prepared after the English fashion, although the cooks
are Chinese. For dessert there is cheese, with fruit; such as pine-
apples, long-yen, mangoes, and lytchi. The Chinese affirm that the
latter is the finest fruit in the whole world. It is about the size
of a nut, with a brown verrucous outside; the edible part is white
and tender, and the kernel black. Long-yen is somewhat smaller, but
is also white and tender, though the taste is rather watery.
Neither of these fruits struck me as very good. I do not think the
pine-apples are so sweet, or possessed of that aromatic fragrance
which distinguishes those raised in our European greenhouses,
although they are much larger.

Portuguese wines and English beer are the usual drinks--ice, broken
into small pieces, and covered up with a cloth, is offered with
each. The ice is rather a costly article, as it has to be brought
from North America. In the evening, tea is served up.

During meal-times, a large punkah is employed to diffuse an
agreeable degree of coolness through the apartment. The punkah is a
large frame, from eight to ten feet long, and three feet high,
covered with white Indian cloth, and fastened to the ceiling. A
rope communicates, through the wall, like a bell-pull, with the next
room, or the ground floor, where a servant is stationed to keep it
constantly in motion, and thus maintain a pleasing draught.

As may be seen from what I have said, the living here is very dear
for Europeans. The expense of keeping a house may be reckoned at
30,000 francs (6,000 dollars--1,200 pounds) at the lowest; a very
considerable sum, when we reflect how little it procures, neither
including a carriage nor horses. There is nothing in the way of
amusement, or places of public recreation; the only pleasure many
gentlemen indulge in, is keeping a boat, for which they pay 28s. a-
month, or they walk in the evenings in a small garden, which the
European inhabitants have laid out at their own cost. This garden
faces the factory, surrounded on three sides by a wall, and, on the
fourth, washed by the Pearl stream.

The living of the Chinese population, on the contrary, costs very
little; 60 cash, 1,200 of which make a dollar (4s.), may be reckoned
a very liberal daily allowance for each man. As a natural
consequence, wages are extremely low; a boat, for instance, may be
hired for half a dollar (2s.) a-day, and on this income, a whole
family of from six to eight persons will often exist. It is true,
the Chinese are not too particular in their food; they eat dogs,
cats, mice, and rats, the intestines of birds, and the blood of
every animal, and I was even assured that caterpillars and worms
formed part of their diet. Their principal dish, however, is rice,
which is not only employed by them in the composition of their
various dishes, but supplies the place of bread. It is exceedingly
cheap; the pekul, which is equal to 124 lbs. English avoirdupois,
costing from one dollar and three-quarters to two dollars and a

The costume of both sexes, among the lower orders, consists of broad
trousers and long upper garments, and is remarkable for its
excessive filth. The Chinaman is an enemy of baths and washing; he
wears no shirt, and does not discard his trousers until they
actually fall off his body. The men's upper garments reach a little
below the knee, and the women's somewhat lower. They are made of
nankeen, or dark blue, brown, or black silk. During the cold
season, both men and women wear one summer-garment over the other,
and keep the whole together with a girdle; during the great heat,
however, they allow their garments to flutter unconstrained about
their body.

All the men have their heads shaved, with the exception of a small
patch at the back, the hair on which is carefully cultivated and
plaited into a cue. The thicker and longer this cue is, the prouder
is its owner; false hair and black ribbon are consequently worked up
in it, so that it often reaches down to the ankles. During work, it
is twisted round the neck, but, on the owner's entering a room, it
is let down again, as it would be against all the laws of etiquette
and politeness for a person to make his appearance with his cue
twisted up. The women wear all their hair, which they comb entirely
back off their forehead, and fasten it in most artistic plaits to
the head; they spend a great deal of time in the process, but when
their hair is once dressed, it does not require to be touched for a
whole week. Both men and women sometimes go about with no covering
at all on their head; sometimes they wear hats made of thin bamboo,
and very frequently three feet in diameter; these keep off both sun
and rain, and are exceedingly durable.

On their feet they wear sewed stockings and shoes, formed of black
silk, or some material like worsted; the soles, which are more than
an inch thick, are made up of layers of strong pasteboard or felt
pasted together. The poor people go barefooted.

The houses of the lower classes are miserable hovels, built of wood
or brick. The internal arrangements are very wretched: the whole
furniture consists of a worthless table, a few chairs, and two or
three bamboo-mats, stools for the head, and old counterpanes; yet,
with this poverty, there are always sure to be some pots of flowers.

The cheapest mode of living is on board a boat. The husband goes on
shore to his work, and leaves his wife to make a trifle by ferrying
persons over, or letting out the boat to pleasure parties. One half
the boat belongs to the family themselves, and the other half to the
persons to whom they let it; and although there is not much room,
the whole boat measuring scarcely twenty-five feet in length, the
greatest order and cleanliness is everywhere apparent, as each
single plank on board is thoroughly scrubbed and washed every
morning. Great ingenuity is displayed in turning every inch of
space on board these small craft to advantage, and the dexterity is
actually pushed so far as to find room for a tiny domestic altar.
During the day all the cookery and washing is done, and though at
the latter process there is no want of little children, the
temporary tenant of the boat does not suffer the least annoyance;
nothing offensive meets his eye; and, at the most, he merely hears
at rare intervals the whining voice of some poor little wretch. The
youngest child is generally tied on its mother's back while she
steers; the elder children, too, have sometimes similar burdens, but
jump and climb about without the least consideration for them. It
has often grieved me to the heart to see the head of an infant
scarcely born, thrown from one side to the other with each movement
of the child that was carrying it, or the sun darting so fiercely on
the poor little creature, who was completely exposed to its rays,
that it could hardly open its eyes. For those who have not been
themselves witnesses of the fact, it is almost impossible to form an
idea of the indigence and poverty of a Chinese boat-family.

The Chinese are accused of killing numbers of their new-born or
weakly children. They are said to suffocate them immediately after
their birth, and then throw them into the river, or expose them in
the streets--by far the most horrible proceeding of the two, on
account of the number of swine and houseless dogs, who fall upon,
and voraciously devour, their prey. The most frequent victims are
the female infants, as parents esteem themselves fortunate in
possessing a large number of male children, the latter being bound
to support them in their old age; the eldest son, in fact, should
the father die, is obliged to take his place, and provide for his
brothers and sisters, who, on their part, are bound to yield
implicit obedience, and show him the greatest respect. These laws
are very strictly observed, and any one infringing them is punished
with death.

The Chinese consider it a great honour to be a grandfather, and
every man who is fortunate enough to be one wears a moustache, as
the distinctive sign of his good luck. These thin grey moustaches
are the more conspicuous, as the young men not only wear none, but,
as a general rule, grow no beard at all.

With regard to the social manners and customs of the Chinese, I am
only able to mention a few, as it is exceedingly difficult, and, in
fact, almost impossible, for a foreigner to become acquainted with
them. I endeavoured to see as much as I could, and mixed on every
possible opportunity among the people, afterwards writing down a
true account of what I had seen.

On going out one morning, I met more than fifteen prisoners, all
with a wooden yoke (can-gue) about their necks, being led through
the streets. This yoke is composed of two large pieces of wood,
fitting into one another, and having from one to three holes in
them; through these holes the head, and one or both hands, are
stuck, in proportion to the importance of the offence. A yoke of
this description varies in weight from fifty to a hundred pounds,
and presses so heavily upon the neck and shoulders of the poor
wretch who bears it, that he is unable to convey his victuals to his
mouth himself, and is compelled to wait till some compassionate soul
feeds him. This punishment lasts from a few days to several months;
in the latter case the prisoner generally dies.

Another description of punishment is the bastinado with the bamboo,
which, when applied to the more tender parts of the body, very
often, as early as the fifteenth blow, frees its victim for ever
from all his earthly sufferings. Other more severe punishments,
which in no way yield the palm to those of the Holy Inquisition,
consist in flaying the prisoner alive, crushing his limbs, cutting
the sinews out of his feet, and so on. Their modes of carrying out
the sentence of death appear to be mild in comparison, and are
generally confined to strangling and decapitation, although, as I
was informed, in certain extraordinary cases, the prisoner is
executed by being sawed in two, or left to die of starvation. In
the first case, the unhappy victim is made fast between two planks,
and sawed in two longitudinally, beginning with the head; and, in
the second, he is either buried up to his head in the ground, and
thus left to perish of want, or else is fastened in one of the
wooden yokes I have described, while his food is gradually reduced
in quantity every day, until at last it consists of only a few
grains of rice. In spite of the horrible and cruel nature of these
punishments, it is said that individuals are found ready, for a sum
of money, to undergo them all, death even included, instead of the
person condemned.

In the year 1846, 4,000 people were beheaded at Canton. It is true
that they were the criminals of two provinces, which together
numbered a population of 9,000,000 souls, but the number is still
horrible to contemplate. Is it possible that there could really be
so many who should be looked upon as criminals--or are persons
sentenced to death for a mere nothing--or are both these
suppositions true?

I once happened to go near the place of execution, and to my horror
beheld a long row of still bleeding heads exposed upon high poles.
The relations enjoy the privilege of carrying away and interring the

There are several different religions in China, the most prevalent
being Buddhism. It is marked by great superstition and idolatry,
and is mostly confined to the lower classes. The most natural is
that of the wise Confucius, which is said to be the religion of the
court, the public functionaries, the scholars, and educated classes.

The population of China is composed of a great many very different
races: unfortunately, I am unable to describe their several
characteristics, as my stay in China was far too short. The people
I saw in Canton, Hong-Kong, and Macao, are of middling stature.
Their complexion varies with their occupation: the peasants and
labourers are rather sun-burnt; rich people and ladies white. Their
faces are flat, broad, and ugly; their eyes are narrow, rather
obliquely placed, and far apart; their noses broad, and their mouth
large. Their fingers I observed were in many cases extremely long
and thin; only the rich (of both sexes) allow their nails to grow to
an extraordinary length, as a proof that they are not obliged, like
their poorer brethren, to gain their livelihood by manual labour.
These aristocratic nails are generally half an inch long, though I
saw one man whose nails were quite an inch in length, but only on
his left hand. With this hand it was impossible for him to raise
any flat object, except by laying his hand flat upon it, and
catching hold of it between his fingers.

The women of the higher classes are generally inclined to
corpulency, a quality which is highly esteemed not in women alone,
but in men as well.

Although I had heard a great deal about the small feet of Chinese
women, I was greatly astonished at their appearance. Through the
kind assistance of a missionary's lady (Mrs. Balt) I was enabled to
behold one of these small feet in natura. Four of the toes were
bent under the sole of the foot, to which they were firmly pressed,
and with which they appeared to be grown together; the great toe was
alone left in its normal state. The fore-part of the foot had been
so compressed with strong broad bandages, that instead of expanding
in length and breadth, it had shot upwards and formed a large lump
at the instep, where it made part and parcel of the leg; the lower
portion of the foot was scarcely four inches long, and an inch and a
half broad. The feet are always swathed in white linen or silk,
bound round with silk bandages and stuffed into pretty little shoes,
with very high heels.

To my astonishment these deformed beings tripped about, as if in
defiance of us broad-footed creatures, with tolerable ease, the only
difference in their gait being that they waddled like geese; they
even ran up and down stairs without the aid of a stick.

The only persons exempted from this Chinese method of improving
their beauty are girls of the lowest class--that is, those who live
in boats; in families of rank they are all subject to the same fate;
while in those of the middle classes, as a general rule, it is
limited to the eldest daughter.

The worth of a bride is reckoned by the smallness of her feet.

This process of mutilation is not commenced immediately the child is
born, but is deferred until the end of the first, or sometimes even
third year, nor is the foot after the operation forced into an iron
shoe, as many have affirmed, but merely firmly compressed with

The religion of the Chinese allows them to have a number of wives,
but in this respect they are far behind the Mahomedans. The richest
have rarely more than from six to twelve, while poor persons content
themselves with one.

I visited during my stay in Canton as many workshops of the
different artists as I could. My first visit was to the most
celebrated painters, and I must frankly own, that the vividness and
splendour of their colouring struck me exceedingly. These qualities
are generally ascribed to the rice paper on which they paint, and
which is of the greatest possible fineness, and as white as milk.

The paintings upon linen and ivory differ very little, as far as the
colouring is concerned, from those of our European artists, and the
difference is therefore the more visible in their composition, and
perspective, which, with the Chinese, are yet in a state of infancy.
This is more especially true of perspective. The figures and
objects in the back-ground rival in size and brilliancy those in
front, while rivers or seas float in the place which should be
occupied by clouds. On the other hand, the native artists can copy
admirably, {101} and even take likenesses. I saw some portraits so
strikingly well drawn, and admirably coloured, that first-rate
European artists need not have been ashamed to own them.

The Chinese possess marvellous skill in carving ivory,
tortoiseshell, and wood. Among the superior black lacquered
articles, especially with flat or raised gold ornaments, I observed
some, which were worthy of a place in the most valuable collections
of objects of vertu. I saw some small work-tables worth at least
600 dollars (120 pounds). The baskets and carpets, made from the
bamboo, are also remarkably beautiful.

They are, however, far behind-hand in gold or silver work, which is
generally heavy and tasteless; but then again, they have attained
great celebrity by their porcelain, which is remarkable not only for
its size, but for its transparency. It is true that vases and other
vessels four feet high are neither light nor transparent; but cups
and other small objects can only be compared to glass for fineness
and transparency. The colours on them are very vivid, but the
drawings very stiff and bad.

In the manufacture of silks and crape shawls, the Chinese are
unsurpassable; the latter especially, in beauty, tastefulness, and
thickness, are far preferable to those made in England or France.

The knowledge of music, on the other hand, is so little developed,
that our good friends of the Celestial Empire might almost, in this
respect, be compared to savages--not that they have no instruments,
but they do not know how to use them. They possess violins,
guitars, lutes (all with strings or wires), dulcimers, wind
instruments, ordinary and kettle-drums, and cymbals, but are neither
skilled in composition, melody, nor execution. They scratch,
scrape, and thump upon their instruments in such a manner, as to
produce the finest marrowbone-and-cleaver kind of music imaginable.
During my excursions up and down the Pearl stream, I had frequent
opportunities of hearing artistic performances of this description
on board the mandarin and flower-boats.

In all kinds of deception the Chinese are great adepts, and
decidedly more than a match for any Europeans. They have not the
slightest sense of honour, and if you detect them, content
themselves with saying: "You are more clever or cunning than I." I
was told that when they have any live stock, such as calves or pigs,
for sale, they compel them, as they are disposed of by weight, to
swallow stones or large quantities of water. They also know how to
blow out and dress stale poultry, so as to make it look quite fresh
and plump.

But it is not the lower classes alone that indulge in cheating and
fraud; these agreeable qualities are shared by the highest
functionaries. It is a well-known fact, for instance, that there
are nowhere so many pirates as in the Chinese sea, especially in the
vicinity of Canton; yet no measures are taken to punish or extirpate
them, simply because the mandarins do not think it beneath their
dignity to secretly share in the profits.

For example, though the opium trade is forbidden, so much of this
drug is smuggled in every year, that it is said to exceed in value
that of all the tea exported in the same period. {102a} The
merchants enter into a private understanding with the officers and
mandarins, agreeing to give them a certain sum for every pikul, and
it is no rare occurrence for a mandarin to land whole cargoes under
the protection of his own flag.

In like manner there is said to be on one of the islands near Hong-
Kong a very extensive manufactory of false money, which is allowed
to be carried on without any interruption, as it pays a tribute to
the public functionaries and mandarins. A short time ago, a number
of pirate vessels that had ventured too near Canton, were shot into
and sunk, the crews lost, and their leader taken. The owners of the
vessels petitioned the government to set the prisoners free, and
threatened, in case of a refusal, to make extensive disclosures.
Every one was convinced that a sum of money accompanied this
threatening letter, for shortly after it was reported that the
prisoner had escaped.

I myself was witness of a circumstance in Canton, which caused me
great uneasiness, and was a pretty good proof of the helplessness or
apathy of the Chinese government.

On the 8th of August, Mr. Agassiz set out with a friend, intending
to return the same evening. I was left at home alone with the
Chinese servants. Mr. Agassiz did not return at the appointed time.
At last, about 1 o'clock the next morning, I suddenly heard voices
in loud conversation, and a violent knocking at the street door. I
at first supposed it to be Mr. Agassiz, and felt much surprise at
the late hour of his arrival, but I soon perceived that the
disturbance was not in our house, but in that on the opposite side
of the way. It is easy to fall into an error of this description,
as the houses are situated quite close to each other, and windows
are left open day and night. I heard voices exclaim, "Get up,--
dress!" and then, "It is horrible--shocking--good heavens?--where
did it happen?"--I sprang quickly out of bed and huddled on my gown,
thinking either that a fire had broken out in some house or other,
or that the people had risen in insurrection. {102b}

Seeing a gentleman at one of the windows, I called and inquired of
him what was the matter. He told me hurriedly that intelligence had
just arrived that two of his friends who were proceeding to Hong-
Kong (Whampoa lay on the road) had been attacked by pirates, and
that one was killed and the other wounded. He then immediately
retired, so that I was unable to learn the name of the unfortunate
victim, and was left all night a prey to the greatest anxiety lest
it should be Mr. Agassiz.

Fortunately, this at least was not the case, as Mr. Agassiz returned
at 5 o'clock in the morning. I then learned that this misfortune
had happened to Monsieur Vauchee, a Swiss gentleman, who had passed
many an evening in our house. On the very day of his departure, I
met him at a neighbour's, where we had all been in the highest
spirits, singing songs and quartettes. At 9 o'clock he went on
board the boat, set off at 10, and a quarter of an hour afterwards,
in the midst of thousands of schampans and other craft, met his
tragical end.

Monsieur Vauchee had intended to proceed to Hong-Kong, and there
embark on board a larger vessel for Shanghai; {103} he took with him
Swiss watches to the value of 40,000 francs (1,600 pounds), and, in
speaking to a friend, congratulated himself on the cautious manner
he had packed them up, without letting his servants know anything
about it. This, however, could not have been the case: and, as the
pirates have spies among the servants in every house, they were
unfortunately but too well acquainted with the circumstance.

During my stay in Canton, the house of a European was pulled down by
the populace, because it stood upon a piece of ground which, though
Europeans were allowed to occupy, they had not hitherto built upon.

In this manner there was hardly a day that we did not hear of acts
of violence and mischief, so that we were in a continual state of
apprehension, more especially as the report of the near approach of
a revolution, in which all the Europeans were to perish, was
everywhere bruited about. Many of the merchants had made every
preparation for instant flight, and muskets, pistols, and swords
were neatly arranged ready for use in most of the counting-houses.
Luckily, the time fixed for the revolution passed over, without the
populace fulfilling its threats.

The Chinese are cowardly in the highest degree; they talk very large
when they are certain they have nothing to fear. For instance, they
are always ready to stone, or even kill, a few defenceless
individuals, but if they have to fear any opposition, they are sure
not to commence the attack. I believe that a dozen good European
soldiers would put to flight more than a hundred Chinese. I myself
never met with a more dastardly, false, and, at the same time, cruel
race, in my life; one proof of this is, that their greatest pleasure
consists in torturing animals.

In spite of the unfavourable disposition of the populace, I ventured
out a good deal. Herr von Carlowitz was untiring in his kindness to
me, and accompanied me everywhere, exposing himself to many dangers
on my account, and bearing patiently the insults of the populace,
who followed at our heels, and loudly expressed their indignation at
the boldness of the European woman in thus appearing in public.
Through his assistance, I saw more than any woman ever yet saw in

Our first excursion was to the celebrated Temple of Honan, which is
said to be one of the finest in China.

This temple is surrounded by numerous out-buildings, and a large
garden enclosed with a high wall. You first enter a large fore-
court, at the extremity of which a colossal gateway leads into the
inner courts. Under the archway of this portico are two War Gods,
each eighteen feet high, in menacing attitudes, and with horribly
distorted features. They are placed there to prevent evil spirits
from entering. A second similar portico, under which are the four
Celestial Kings, leads into the inmost court, where the principal
temple is situated. The interior of the temple is 100 feet in
length, and 100 feet in breadth. The flat roof, from which hang a
number of glass chandeliers, lamps, artificial flowers, and silk
ribbons, is supported upon several rows of wooden pillars, while the
multitude of statues, altars, flower-pots, censers, candelabra,
candlesticks, and other ornaments, involuntarily suggest to the mind
of the spectator the decoration of a Roman Catholic church.

In the foreground are three altars, and behind these three statues,
representing the God Buddha in three different aspects: the past,
the present, and the future. These figures, which are in a sitting
posture, are of colossal dimensions.

We happened to visit the temple just as service was being performed.
It was a kind of mass for the dead, which a mandarin had ordered for
his deceased wife. At the right and left altars were the priests,
whose garments and gesticulations also resembled those of the Roman
Catholics. At the middle altar was the mandarin, piously engaged in
prayer, while two stood beside him, fanning him with large fans.
{104} He frequently kissed the ground, and every time he did so,
three wax tapers were presented to him, which he first elevated in
the air, and then gave to one of the priests, who placed them before
a statue of Buddha, but without lighting them. The music was
performed by three men, one of whom twanged a stringed instrument,
while the second struck a metal globe, and the third played the

Besides the principal temple there are various smaller ones, and
halls, all adorned with statues of gods. Especial honour is paid to
the twenty-four Gods of Pity, and to Kwanfootse, a demi-god of War.
Many of the former have four, six, and even eight arms. All these
divinities, Buddha himself not excepted, are made of wood, gilt
over, and painted with glazing colours.

In the Temple of Mercy we met with an adventure which was nearly
attended with unpleasant consequences. A priest, or bonze, handed
us some little tapers for us to light and offer to his divinity.
Herr von Carlowitz and myself had already got the tapers in our
hands, and were quite willing to afford him this gratification, when
an American missionary, who was with us, tore the tapers from our
grasp, and indignantly returned them to the priest, saying, that
what we were about to do was an act of idolatry. The priest took
the matter very seriously, and, instantly closing the doors, called
his companions, who hurried in from all sides, and abused us in the
most violent and vociferous fashion, pressing closer every instant.
It was with the greatest difficulty that we succeeded in fighting
our way to the door, and thus making our escape.

After this little fray, our guide conducted us to the dwelling of
the Holy--Pigs! {105} A beautiful stone hall is set apart for their
use, which hall these remarkable divinities fill, in spite of all
the care bestowed on them, with so horrible a stench, that it is
impossible to approach them without holding one's nose. They are
taken care of and fed until death summons them away. When we
visited the place there were only a pair of these fortunate beings,
and their number rarely exceeds three couples.

I was better pleased with the residence of a bonze, which adjoined
this holy spot. It consisted of a sitting-room and bed-room merely,
but was very comfortably and elegantly fitted up. The walls of the
sitting-room were ornamented with carved wood-work, and the
furniture was old-fashioned and pleasing: at the back of the
apartment, which was flagged, stood a small altar.

We here saw an opium-eater, lying stretched out upon a mat on the
floor. At his side was a cup of tea, with some fruit and a little
lamp, besides several pipes, with bowls that were smaller than a
thimble. On our entrance, he was just inhaling the intoxicating
smoke from one of them. It is said that some of the Chinese opium
smokers consume from twenty to thirty grains a-day. As he was not
altogether unconscious of our presence, he managed to raise himself,
laid by his pipe, and dragged himself to a chair. His eyes were
fixed and staring, and his face deadly pale, presenting altogether a
most pitiable and wretched spectacle.

Last of all, we were conducted to the garden, where the bonzes, at
their death, are burnt--a particular mark of distinction, as all
other people are interred. A simple mausoleum, about thirty feet
square, and a few small private monuments, were all that was to be
seen. None of them had any pretensions to elegance, being built of
the simplest masonry. In the former of these edifices are preserved
the bones of the persons who have been burnt, and among them are
also buried the rich Chinese, whose heirs pay pretty handsomely to
obtain such an honour for them. At a little distance stands a small
tower, eight feet in diameter and eighteen in height, with a small
pit, where a fire can be kindled, in the floor. Over this pit is an
armchair, to which the deceased bonze is fastened in full costume.
Logs and dry brushwood are disposed all round, and the whole is set
fire to, and the doors closed. In an hour they are again opened,
the ashes strewed around the tower, and the bones preserved until
the period for opening the mausoleum, which is only once every year.

A striking feature in the garden is this beautiful water-rose, or
lotus-flower (nymphaea nelumbo), which was originally a native of
China. The Chinese admire this flower so much, that they have ponds
dug in their gardens expressly for it. It is about six inches in
diameter, and generally white--very rarely pale red. The seeds
resemble in size and taste those of the hazel; and the roots, when
cooked, are said to taste like artichokes.

There are more than a hundred bonzes who reside in the temple of
Honan. In their ordinary dress, they differ nothing from the common
Chinamen, the only means of recognising them being by their heads,
which are _entirely_ shaved. Neither these nor any other priests
can boast, as I was told, of being in the least respected by the

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