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Foo-chow-foo Jealousy of the mandarins A polite way of getting rid of a spy Scenery amongst the mountains Temple of Koo-shan Its priests and idols Buddha's tooth and other relics Trees and shrubs City of Foo-chow-foo Chinese mode of getting out when the gates are shut Journey up the Min Chinese sportsmen and their dogs A deer-hunt Scenery about Tein-tung Wild flowers Roadside temples The bamboo A priest and siphon Lakes of Tung-hoo.
THE vessel in which I had taken a passage for the north being now ready for sea, my luggage was put on board, and we sailed for Foo-chow-foo, the capital of the province of Fokien. This port was opened to foreigners by the treaty, but it has hitherto proved of little value as a place of trade. The English consular staff has been greatly reduced, and there is only one merchant at the port. Many missionaries, both English and American, have been stationed in the city and suburbs, and are labouring patiently, but I fear with little success, amongst an ungrateful people.
The mandarins at Foo-chow, and the people generally, resemble their brethren at Canton. They are jealous of foreigners, and would gladly see them turned out of the province. A strict watch is kept upon all their actions, which are duly reported to the authorities.
On my arrival I had my luggage conveyed to an empty house, rented by Captain Hely, who had kindly offered me the use of it during my stay. I had just entered the house, and had gone up stairs to look for a room in which I could have my bed placed, when I heard a person below putting various questions to my servants. I paid little attention to this at first, as I knew the Chinese to be very inquisitive; but as the examination continued longer than was agreeable, I went down stairs to see what was the matter. There I found an ill-looking fellow with a brass button in his hat, and evidently belonging to the lowest class of mandarins, standing over my servants, and putting questions to them in a most authoritative manner, and in the Fokien dialect, which, as they were both northern men, they did not understand. For ten minutes they had been going on in this way, and neither party was any wiser than when they began. Turning to my servants, I asked them who the man was, and what he wanted. They replied that he was a mandarin, that he had been putting some questions to them concerning me; but as he spoke in the Fokien dialect they could not understand him.
The Chinese generally stand in great dread of their Government officers, and on this occasion my servants thought they had given me a good and sufficient reason for their having been detained so long. But I had not forgotten the annoyances which I had formerly endured at this place from Government spies, and at once ordered my servants to leave their interrogator, and attend to their duties. The officer looked rather disconcerted, and walked out of the house.
Having completed my arrangements in the house, I went out to call upon Mr. Morrison, interpreter to the British Consulate, who was very unwell, and had got as far as this place on his way to Hong-kong. The house in which he had taken up his quarters was only about two or three hundred yards from mine. As I was walking thither, some one came trudging behind me, and on looking round I discovered my old friend the mandarin at my heels. When I turned round he stopped for an instant, and, as I looked intently at him, he seemed inclined to pass on. I stopped him, and asked him, as politely as I could, where he was bound for. He said he was going to some place on the river side, with which I was unacquainted. "Could you not go there tomorrow?" said I; "pray do, for I am going there to-day, and company is disagreeable to me." With that I put my hand on his arm, turned him gently round, and made him a very polite bow. The fellow looked rather confused, grinned, and walked away, and I never saw him again. I was afterwards informed that all foreigners are dodged in this way, and all their operations duly reported to the authorities.
I had often heard of a celebrated Buddhist temple, not very far from Foo-chow, so I determined to pay it a visit. It is called the Temple of Koo-shan, and is situate amongst the mountains, a few miles to the eastward of the city. This temple seems to be the Jerusalem of this part of China, to which all good Buddhists repair at stated seasons to worship and pay their vows. Having reached the foot of the mountain, I passed through a spacious porch or gateway, and began the ascent. The hill of Koo-shan is fully 3000 feet above the level of the river Min, and the temple is about 2000 feet up, or 1000 feet below the summit. A well-paved path, about six feet in width, has been made the whole way up to the temple. As the traveller ascends by this winding causeway, he gets now and then the most charming view that can be imagined, which well repays him for his toil in the ascent. Now, he looks down amongst rocks and trees into some retired and rugged valley, where the soil is so barren that it will not repay the industry even of the Chinese: a corner is turned, and he reaches one of those resting-places which are built at regular distances for the accommodation of the weary pilgrim, where a glorious view is spread before him. It is the wide and fertile valley of the Min, intersected everywhere by rivers and canals, and teeming with a numerous and industrious population.
In about an hour I reached the porch of the temple. Some idle-looking priests were lounging about the steps which led up to the first range of buildings. As soon as I was observed, one of them ran off and informed the superior or abbot, who came down and received me with great politeness. I told him I had come to see the temple, of which I had often heard, and requested he would send some one. to conduct me over it. An old priest clothed in a yellow gown now presented himself to conduct me through the various parts of this extensive edifice and over the grounds.
This temple is built upon the same plan as that at Tein-tung, near Ning-po; indeed, a description of one would nearly do for the other. It consists of three principal buildings, one behind the other, on the side of the hill; the second being built on a higher foundation than the first, and the third in like manner higher than the second. At right angles with the three large temples on each side are the dwellings of the priests. The "three precious Buddhas," past, present, and figure, the deity with numerous arms, and many other images crowd these temples. In one I observed upwards of a hundred cushions on which the devotees kneel in front of the idols, and candles and incense were burning in all directions.
Having seen the principal temples, I was led to the kitchen and dining-room. When it is remembered that upwards of a hundred priests take their meals here daily, it may easily be imagined that these places are worthy of a visit. The dining-room is a large square building, having a number of tables placed across it at which the priests eat their frugal meals. At the time of my visit they had just sat down to dinner, so that I had an opportunity of seeing a greater number of them together than I had ever seen before. They appeared a strange and motley assembly. Most of them had a stupid and unintellectual appearance these were generally the lower orders of the priesthood. The abbot and those who ranked highest were intelligent and active-looking men; but all had a kind of swarthy paleness of countenance, which was not agreeable to look upon. Many of them rose as I entered their dining-hall, and politely asked me to sit down and eat rice. I thanked them, but declined the invitation, and proceeded with an inspection of the place. In the kitchen the wonders shown to the visitors are some enormously large coppers in which the rice is boiled.
I was now taken to the library, which contains an extensive assortment of religious books, carefully locked up in presses, and apparently seldom perused. I had heard that in this part of the building there was a precious relic, nothing less than one of Buddha's teeth, and other things, which were sometimes shown to visitors with a great deal of ceremony. Having requested the priest to show me these, he led me to a small temple adjoining, where he said they were kept. "Have you any money in your pocket?" said he with great gravity, "for before the precious box can be opened I must burn incense on this altar." I gave him a small piece of money, but told him that as I did not worship Buddha I could not burn incense upon the altar, and that the money I gave him was a reward for his civility. "Do you not worship Buddha in your country?" he asked. I replied that we did not. "Then whom do you worship?" I pointed upwards, and said that we worshipped the great God, who made the heavens and the earth. "Oh, yes," said he, "his name is Ye-su, is it not?" They had known something of the Catholic religion, it appeared, there being in this part of China a number of converts to that faith. While this conversation was going on, one of the priests had lighted two candles, and was burning incense on the altar. "Now," said he, "come and see the precious tooth."
I stepped up to the altar; and the front of a large case being removed, the relics were exposed to view, Protected by a grating of iron bars. On a flat bason in front lay the so-called tooth, a large whitish substance about six inches square, and much more like a stone than a tooth. Behind this was another relic which appeared to me much more curious than the first. It appeared to be a small piece of crystal cut in the form of a little vase, with a curious-looking substance inside. I was afterwards informed that this was only a crystal bottle, with the relic suspended in some way from its mouth; but being inside the bars, I could not examine it very minutely. "Now," said the priest, "look from this side, and tell me what you see in the vase." I looked from the side indicated, and saw what appeared very like a man's head with the eyes staring at me. I was informed, however, that this was a something which had grown on Buddha's forehead; and that, whenever the same thing was observed upon the heads of mortals, it was a sign of their having arrived at a very high state of perfection, approaching to the gods. "Now turn to the other corner, and tell me what colour the relic appears to you." I did so, and the substance, whatever it was, presented a reddish hue. "Ah! that is very good," said the priest, "that is a good omen, for it appears of that colour only to the most favoured persons. It appears of different colours to different individuals; but that which you have seen is the best."1
The old priest now led me to a different part of the grounds, to see a famous spring. This was in one of the most romantic looking dells or ravines that I had ever beheld. We descended to it by a flight of stone steps, crossed a bridge which spanned the ravine, and found ourselves in front of a small temple. On one side of it the water was gushing down, clear and cool, from the mountain, into a small cistern placed there to receive it; while on the other a caldron or large kettle was always boiling during the day, in order that tea might readily be made for visitors. Here a number of priests were lounging about, apparently attached to this temple. They received me with great kindness, and begged me to be seated at a table in the porch. One of them took a cup and filled it with water at the spring, and brought it to me to taste. They all praised its virtues; and it certainly was excellent water. I told them it was the best I had ever tasted, and they then brought me a cup of tea made with water from the same spring.
After drinking the tea I wandered away along a paved path that led me round the side of the mountain, amidst vegetation which had been planted and reared by the hand of nature alone. The Chinese fir (Pinus sinensis) and a noble species of Abies were the only trees of any size; but the path was lined with many beautiful shrubs, among which the Azalea was most conspicuous. It was spring-time, and these charming flowers were just bursting into bloom. I have often seen them highly cultivated in England, and they certainly produce a most gorgeous effect in our greenhouses and at our flower-shows; but my taste leads me to admire them more when growing wild and free on the mountain side, peeping out from amongst the brushwood, or mingling their glowing colours with other flowers and gaining additional beauty by the contrast.
My progress onwards was at last arrested by a steep precipice where the walk ended, and on the top of which a summer-house had been erected. I entered the house, and sat down upon one of the benches placed there for visitors. The view which I now obtained was one of the grandest I had seen for many a day. Above me, towering in majestic grandeur, was the celebrated peak of Koo-shan, 1000 feet higher than where I stood. Below, I looked down upon rugged and rocky ravines, in many places barren, and in others clothed with trees and brushwood, but perfectly wild. To afford, as it were, a striking contrast to this scenery, my eye next rested on the beautiful valley of the Min, in which the town of Foo-chow-foo stands. The river was winding through it, and had its surface studded with boats and junks sailing to and fro, and all engaged in active business. Its fields were green, and were watered by numerous canals; while in the background to this beautiful picture were hills nearly as high as Koo-shan, from amongst which the river runs, and where it is lost to the eye.
A sight which is much prized by the Chinese is the view of the sunrise from the peak of Koo-shan. Many sleep in the temple, and by torchlight reach the summit of the mountain in time to see the rising sun. I can easily imagine what a striking effect would be produced upon the mind of a Chinaman particularly if a native of an inland province when he saw for the first time the sun rising apparently out of the ocean.
Pleased with what I had seen, I lingered for a long time amongst this beautiful scenery. At last my servants reminded me that it was time to take our departure for Foo-chow, so, bidding adieu to the priests, we descended to the plains. When we reached the foot of the mountain we found our boat waiting for us, and with a fair tide we soon sculled up to the bridge of Foo-chow.
Being engaged to dine with my friend Mr. Compton, who resided inside the city, and between two and three miles from the bridge near which I was staying, I lost no time in securing a sedan-chair, and hurried to his house. These chairs are the cabs of Foo-chow: every one who can afford it goes about in them, just as we in England do in the hackney cabs of our large towns.
The gates of the city are always locked soon after dark, and the keys taken to the house of one of the high mandarins. When I had been in the city on former occasions, I had always hurried out before nightfall, for fear of being locked in, for here the gates, when once closed, are never opened until morning, come who may. In other cities of less note such, for example, as Shanghae or Ning-po a few cash will always get them opened, at least until a very late hour.
The Chinese, however, have always some way of evading any very stringent regulation. Here they had a mode of getting in and out of the city which was rather amusing, and, strange to say, they were assisted in it by the officers of Government, and no doubt the system was well known to the magistrates of the city.
When dinner was over Mr. Compton and myself walked leisurely down to the city gate, and found it closed for the night. The Chinese, seeing what had happened, good-naturedly pointed to the ramparts on one side, and informed us that if we went there we should find a way to get out. Following their directions we were soon on the ramparts, where a most curious and amusing scene presented itself. A ladder was placed at the foot of the wall opposite one of the embrasures, by which numerous men were ascending and descending like a hive of bees. One of the guards was evidently reaping a rich harvest, for each man had to pay a few cash for the use of the ladder. Following in the train of the Chinamen, I descended the ladder, greatly to the astonishment of the celestial guardsman, who little expected a "quang-yang"2 by this convenient route.
After spending a few days more in Foo-chow, and procuring some tea-plants from the hills in the vicinity, I was anxious to proceed onwards to Ning-po and Shanghae. There were three routes which might be taken; one was by sea, another was a land road which led along the coast by the city of Wan-chow, and the third was up the river Min to Kien-ning-foo and across the Bohea mountains. The latter was much the longest way, as it leads far to the westward, in the direction of the far-famed Woo-e-shan. For many reasons I was most anxious to reach this place, and so determined on the Min route.
Having finished my business in the district, I collected my things together, and went down to the mouth of the Min. Here I engaged a boat and set out on my journey. A few miles above the town of Foo-chow the river divides into two streams, one of which passes the city, while the other takes a more southerly course for some distance; they, however, reunite about ten miles from the sea. I took the southern passage, and thus avoided the city of Foo-chow altogether. Both wind and tide being fair, my boat glided up the river with great rapidity, and the first night I had the satisfaction of getting as far as the second bridge, three or four miles above the town.
Here we sculled the boat in-shore, and rested for the night. On the following morning at daybreak we got under way again, and proceeded up the river. Numerous boats accompanied us, being on their way for the large towns of Suiy-kow, Yen-ping-foo, and Kien-ning-foo, all on the banks of the Min. As I was dressed in the costume of the country, no one took the slightest notice of me, and I considered myself in a fair way to accomplish the object I had in view.
The boatmen, who had been engaged at the mouth of the Min, were perfectly ignorant of my intentions. They now began to inquire how far I intended to go in their boat, and whether it was my intention to return with them. I told them I intended to take their boat as far as Suiy-kow, a town said to be about 240 le from Foo-chow-foo. They held up their hands in astonishment, and declared it was perfectly impossible for their boat to go so far. "Oh, very well," I replied; "then I shall engage another boat, and you may return." Thereupon they held a consultation amongst themselves for a minute or two, and at last came to the conclusion that such a thing was possible, and agreed to take me to Suiy-kow.
Hitherto we had been passing through what is commonly called the valley of the Min. It is rich and fertile to an extraordinary degree. Groves of leechee, longan, peach and plum trees, are seen over all the plain. The sweet-scented Aglaia odorata is largely cultivated for mixing with and perfuming tobacco, and the Chloranthus for scenting the finer kinds of tea. Sugar-cane and tobacco are extensively grown in all the fields, and, besides the usual quantity of vegetables, I observed a large number of sweet-scented flowers, amongst which the Italian tuberose and the jasmine (Jasminum Sambac) occupied a prominent place. The latter are sold in the markets, and eagerly bought by the ladies for the purpose of ornamenting their hair.
When we got a few miles above Foo-chow we seemed to leave the valley, and the scenery began to change and assume quite a different aspect. The bills in many places were close to the water's edge. Many of them were rugged and barren, while others appeared more fertile and were cultivated a considerable way up their sides; a third class were richly clothed with trees and brushwood. The fruit-trees already named were frequently seen growing on little level spots near villages. The forest-trees consisted chiefly of the common Chinese pine and Cunninghamia lanceolata. Altogether the scenery was most striking in its character, and richly repaid me for the inconveniences attending the journey.
A large trade in wood is carried on here indeed, it is the principal trade of Foo-chow and we were constantly meeting large rafts floating down the stream on their way to the city. I observed small houses built on some of these rafts for the accommodation of the persons who had charge of them. Their occupation seemed to me a most delightful one, and as they glided gently down the stream, having on all sides the most beautiful and romantic scenery, I almost envied them their happy lot.
The country on the banks of the Min at this part did not appear to be very thickly populated. I saw no towns of any size from Foo-chow to Suiy-kow; even villages and small farm-houses were few and far between. Whenever I landed and I did so every day during the ebb tide I had a good opportunity of forming an opinion on the character of the natives. Most of them seemed miserably poor, but all were quiet and harmless, and very different from those at the mouth of the river and on the islands near the coast. The latter are a dangerous set; they live by robbery and piracy, and often set the Government itself at defiance.
On the morning of the fourth day we arrived at Suiy-kow. Travellers bound for the towns north of this place generally leave the river here, and go on by chair, as the rapids are numerous, and boats make slow progress against the stream.
This place is most pleasantly situated on the left bank of the river. It is but a small town, and I suppose does not contain more than 5000 or 6000 inhabitants. A very large number of boats, for the size of the place, were moored along the banks of the river. The principal trade of the town seems to be in furnishing supplies for the boatmen and their passengers, as they pass on their way either to the interior or down towards the coast.
My servants were now despatched to engage another boat, while I took a stroll through the town and its suburbs. In the course of two hours we met again at the landing-place, when I found they had not been successful, and were now most anxious for me to proceed by chair, which they said was the usual way for travellers. As the journey was a long one, I was afraid I had not brought money enough to defray the expenses of travelling in that way, and was obliged, from prudential motives, to defer this interesting journey for a time.
I now considered that the best plan I could adopt, under the circumstances, was to send my servants onwards by themselves to the fine black-tea country of Woo-e-shan. Were I to take them with me by sea to Ning-po, and then send them back across the Bohea mountains, what guarantee had I that they would go there at all? They would be much more likely to provide themselves with plants in a country nearer home, and return, pretending they had been in Woo-e. But by sending them up the Min they were necessarily obliged to pass through the black-tea country in question on their route, and could have no inducement to deceive me. If they brought me any tea-plants at all I should be able to judge, from various circumstances, whether they were from the black-tea country.
Having arranged this matter in my own mind, I gave them a sufficient number of dollars to pay the expenses of their journey, and to make the purchases I had directed, besides which I promised them a liberal reward if they performed their mission to my satisfaction. I then left them to prosecute their journey, and returned alone to the mouth of the Min. Here I found a Portuguese lorcha ready to sail for Ning-po, in which I took a passage, and reached that city in twelve days.
Three weeks afterwards one of my men arrived, bringing with him a fine collection of young tea-plants, which were no doubt obtained in the fine black-tea district of Woo-e-shan. It appeared from his account that he and his companion had fallen out by the way, and had parted company at Kein-ning-foo, soon after I left them.
Wang had directions to proceed northwards from Fokien into the district of Hwuy-chow, and to make a further collection of tea-plants in the green-tea country. He had been there with me in the previous autumn. It would of course be much easier for him to get his collections in the Bohea hills than in Hwuy-chow; and he would have had no difficulty in telling me he had been in a country where he had not been, but I had the following check upon him, which proved useful more than once, and with others besides Wang: It may be recollected that, during my visit to the green-tea country in the autumn before, I discovered a beautiful evergreen shrub, the Berberis japonica, and that was the only place in which I had met with it. Wang was therefore told that he must bring me some plants of this as well as the tea-plants, and that if he did not do so he would have no claim to the promised reward. He returned to Ning-po about five weeks after the other servant, bringing me only a few plants and a very long bill. However, he had really been in Hwuy-chow, and what he brought me were valuable.
Whilst waiting for these men at Ning-po I determined to pay a visit to my old quarters, the temple of Tein-tung, situated amongst the hills about twenty miles from this town. On my way there I fell in with an old friend (Mr. Wills, of Shanghae), who was enjoying a few days' sport amongst the Tein-tung hills. During his rambles he had accidentally met with a band of Chinese sportsmen, and had made an engagement with them for the following day. I gladly agreed to join the party, being most anxious to witness the manuvres of the natives in this character.
We started early the next morning for the appointed rendezvous, where we found the Chinamen, with their guns and dogs, already waiting for us. The group was a most striking one, as may easily be imagined. The leader of the band was one of the best specimens of a Chinaman I had ever seen. He was tall, well made, and had a fine high forehead and open expression of countenance. Here he is, with his gun and dogs, taken to the life by the pencil of Mr. Scarth, a gentleman to whom I am indebted for several of the sketches in this work.
All the others seemed to look up to Mo-ze, for that was his name, and were guided entirely by him. Their guns were all of the same description: they were long matchlocks, very slender in their make, and apparently not very safe when English powder was used instead of Chinese. All who had guns now came and begged from me a supply of powder and shot, which they seemed to think much superior to their own. They then lighted the cord-matches which each carried on his arm, called the beaters and dogs together, and started in pursuit of deer.
It was a lovely spring morning, and spring is really lovely amongst these northern hills. The dew was on the grass, the little birds were chanting their morning song of praise, and the Chinese labourer was already at work in the fields. Many grass-cutters were working in the woods or on the borders of the dense uncultivated jungle, and to these our companions applied for information regarding the haunts of the wild deer. They succeeded at last in obtaining some specific information, and determined on beating an adjoining hill covered with coppice and jungle.
Those who had guns were now stationed at different places on the edge of the wood, and the beaters and dogs were sent into the jungle. I had never seen Chinese dogs hunting before, and was highly amused with their performance. They seem to have little or no scent, but they have a quick eye and a swift foot, and a wounded animal rarely gets away from them. They are clever beaters, when taught as these dogs were, and at all events make noise enough. They are not, however, to be compared for a moment with our English dogs.
In a few minutes after the beating began, a deer was seen bounding over the brushwood across the side of the hill. One of the dogs pursued it, and all eyes were turned to the place, watching the point where it was likely to emerge from the coppice. At last it came within the range of our sportsmen's guns. Mr. Wills and a Chinaman both fired at the same instant. One of the shots broke the animal's hind leg, and the dogs soon hunted him down. Coppice after coppice was afterwards beat in the same manner with varied success, and when evening came we had no reason to be dissatisfied with our day's sport.
Returning to our boat, weary and ravenously hungry, we enjoyed our dinner, fought our battles o'er again, and enjoyed a sound and refreshing sleep. Next morning I rose early, and walked across the hills to the ancient temple of Tein-tung, a distance of five or six miles. When I reached the top of the first pass, where there is a small temple and a ruined pagoda, the view was grand indeed. Behind me lay the wide valley of Ning-po, watered by a network of rivers and canals, and exceedingly fertile. Before me lay a quiet and lovely valley, bounded apparently on all sides by hills. Rice was growing in the valley, and patches of tea were seen dotted on the lower sides of the hills; but all above this was in a state of nature, untouched by the hand of man.
All around wild flowers grew in great profusion. The yellow Azalea chinensis seemed to paint the hill-sides, so large were its flowers and vivid the colours. There was another shrub which is new to botanists, and scarcely yet known in Europe, called Amelanchier racemosa, not less beautiful than the azalea, and rivalling it in its masses of flowers of the purest snowy white.
As I descended the hill I passed a small and unassuming temple, erected, as the tablet states, to the "honoured gods of the soil." The accompanying sketch by Captain Crδcroft gives a good idea of it.
Small temples, or "tablets," of this description are often met with on the roadsides, particularly in the vicinity of monastic buildings. Idolatrous as they are, they show a spirit of thankfulness to the Supreme Being for the "showers that usher in the spring, and cheer the thirsty ground." Having visited many places on my route to the temple, it was past midday ere I reached its sacred precincts. The large bronze bell in the belfry was tolling, and the priests were hurrying to the great hall, where their devotions were about to commence, for "it was the hour of prayer."
The hills in the vicinity of the temple are richly wooded. Indeed the priests of this sect seem to preserve, in a most scrupulous manner, the trees which grow in the neighbourhood of their temples, and thus contribute greatly to the beauty of the scenery. Some fine trees of Cryptomeria japonica adorn the approaches to the temple; and the largest specimens of the Chinese pine (Pinus sinensis) which I have met with in the country stand near it. There are also some fine bamboo woods here, which deserve more than a passing glance. The stems of this variety are sometimes a foot in circumference, clean, straight, and from thirty to fifty feet in height. Those rough branching kinds which I have seen in India, and in other parts of the world, are not to be compared to the northern Chinese variety. It ought by all means to be introduced into our Indian possessions in the Himalayas, where it would be as useful to the natives as it is to the Chinese.
The bamboo is one of the most valuable trees in China, and is used for almost every conceivable purpose. It is employed in making soldiers' hats and shields, umbrellas, soles of shoes, scaffolding poles, measures, baskets, ropes, paper, pencil-holders, brooms, sedan-chairs, pipes, flower-stakes and trellis-work in gardens; pillows are made of the shavings; a kind of rush cloak for wet weather is made from the leaves, and is called a So-e, or "garment of leaves." On the water it is used in making sails and covers for boats, for fishing-rods and fish-baskets, fishing-stakes and buoys; catamarans are rude boats, or rather floats, formed of a few logs of bamboo lashed firmly together. In agriculture the bamboo is used in making aqueducts for conveying water to the land; it forms part of the celebrated water-wheel, as well as of the plough, the harrow, and other implements of husbandry. Excellent water-pipes are made of it for conveying springs from the hills, to supply houses and temples in the valleys with pure water. Its roots are often cut into the most grotesque figures, and its stems finely carved into ornaments for the curious, or into incense-burners for the temples. The Ning-po furniture, the most beautiful in China, is often inlaid with figures of people, houses, temples, and pagodas in bamboo, which form most correct and striking pictures of China and the Chinese. The young shoots are boiled and eaten, and sweetmeats are also made of them. A substance found in the joints, called tabasheer, is used in medicine. In the manufacture of tea it helps to form the rolling-tables, drying-baskets, and sieves; and last, though not least, the celebrated chop-sticks the most important articles in domestic use are made of it.
However incredulous the reader may be, I must still carry him a step further, and tell him that I have not enumerated one-half of the uses to which the bamboo is applied in China. Indeed it would be nearly as difficult to say what it is not used for as what it is. It is in universal demand, in the houses and in the fields, on water and on land, in peace and in war. Through life the Chinaman is almost dependent upon it for his support, nor does it leave him until it carries him to his last resting-place on the hill-side, and even then, in company with the cypress, juniper, and pine, it waves over and marks his tomb.
At the time of the last war, when the Emperor of China, very considerately no doubt, wanted to conquer the English by withholding the usual supplies of tea and rhubarb, without which, he supposed, they could not continue to exist for any length of time, we might have returned the compliment, had it been possible for us to have destroyed all his bamboos. With all deference to the opinion of his celestial Majesty, the English might have survived the loss of tea and rhubarb, but we cannot conceive the Chinese existing as a nation, or indeed at all, without the bamboo.
When I had reached my old rooms in the priest's house, I found two of my Shanghae friends Mr. Bowman and Dr. Kirk domiciled there. The Doctor had been trying to astonish and instruct the priests by showing them a siphon, and by emptying one of their troughs with it; but it is difficult to astonish a Chinaman, or to convince him that there is anything he does not understand! The man looked on in silence for a second or two, and then, with a triumphant smile on his countenance, pointed to his bamboo tubes, which are here used for conveying water to the priests' houses. "Did not the water rise perpendicularly in them, and to any height he pleased?" It did, but not on the siphon principle, for the source of the spring which supplied these pipes was high up on the hill-side.
In a day or two I left the temple, in company with my two friends, for the lakes of Tung-hoo. Having engaged boats, we sailed over the lakes and visited all their shores. When it was known that one of my companions was a medical man, he had many applications from "the sick, the maimed, and the blind," who fancied he could heal all manner of diseases. During an interview which the Doctor had with one old man, a laughable incident occurred. My friend supposed, from what the man said, that he wished to tender a fee; but upon inquiry it turned out, on the contrary, that he was trying to make the Doctor understand that his advice and assistance could only be taken if they were given gratis!
During the three days we were here I had my hands full enough in collecting objects of natural history. The shores of the lakes were rich in plants, and richer still in insects. Many of the latter are perfectly new to entomologists, but my collections are not yet arranged and examined.
I could have lingered much longer in this part of the country, but my servants had returned from the Bohea mountains, and my holidays, for the present, had terminated. I therefore returned to Ning-po, and made preparations for another and perhaps still more important journey.
1 The grating prevented me from having a closer examination of these curiosities, and I was obliged to be contented with the information I had obtained respecting them from the priests. When I returned to Foo-chow-foo, however, I requested Mr. Morrison (a son of the well-known Dr. Morrison, one of the earliest and best of Chinese scholars) to send for his teacher, in order, if possible, to get further information. This old gentleman was a native of the city of Shaou-hing-foo, a place famed in China for its literary men. He, too, had visited the temple of Koo-shan, and had seen the precious relics. Upon questioning him, he gave us the same account as I had already received from the priests.
2 The name given to foreigners here.