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that the estimates which once set down the population of Canton as over a million were grossly over-stated : probably 400,000 would be much nearer the mark.
Looking northwards from our stand-point, a very different view meets us from that on the south side. In the latter direction we looked over the crowded abodes of the living; in the former, the eye wanders over a number of low hills covered by the resting-places of the dead. Hundreds of tombs, of the favourite horse-shoe shape, dug out of the side of the hills, are visible within a mile of the walls ; at one or two of them may be seen a group of Chinese who are burning incense-sticks, or beating gongs, in prayer to, or in memory of, their relative who lies beneath. Beyond these hills of the dead is a broad and flat expanse of paddy-fields, and the view terminates in a more distant and higher range of hills.
As we retrace our steps through the city, we may turn in at a temple equally celebrated with that of Honam, the Temple, namely, of the Five Hundred Saints. It is not unlike the Honam temple in its style and plan of building; but in its central hall, instead of the three placid images of Buddh, are 500 smaller gilt images of as many canonised Buddhist saints.
These saints are represented in attitudes, and with expressions, characteristic of the virtue which have ensured their sanctity. Here is one who looks in as good condition, and has as jolly a face, as a medieval abbot: probably benevolence and philanthropy were his conspicuous virtues. There is another stroking a tiger whom he has miraculously tamed; a third seems to represent the Buddhist duplicate of Elijah, for he is being fed by monkeys in a desert; a fourth is figured as holding up a stiffened and withered arm, reminding one of the Indian devotees who aspire to holiness by deformities voluntarily
THE EXAMINATION HALT.
produced. All the figures are very richly gilt, and executed with much life and vigour.
Turning to the south-east from this temple, and proceeding in that direction till we almost reach the corner of the city wall, we come to the Examination Hall, of which there is a specimen in every provincial capital throughout the empire. Once every year there is a general examination held in this hall, for candidates from the whole province of Quan-tung: degrees are conferred, and though the rewards are purely honorary, they often serve as recommendations for a Chinaman applying for a public post under Government. The process of examination is a dreadfully severe one, physically at least; and a Chinese candidate, not of the strongest frame, must dread the ordeal far more than the most nervous victim of Oxford “Greats' or of a Cambridge Tripos. The halls are divided into a large number of cells, from three to four feet in width, five to six feet in depth, and the same in height. The Canton Hall contains no fewer than 8,600 of these little boxes. A plank stretched across each cell serves for the candidate's seat; a second plank, rather broader, for his desk. He enters his cell at the commencement of the examination, and is never allowed to leave it for any purpose whatever through the three days of the ordeal. It is not surprising that many suffer severely from such treatment, and it is said that in every examination several candidates die in their cells. It is to be hoped that the latter are admitted to a post-mortem.'
On our way back to the European settlement we will take the opportunity of turning in to an opium-shop. Passing out of the street through a narrow passage, and then through a door, we find ourselves in a dingy back room, round which are ranged a number of low benches. On these benches are reclining six or eight smokers, chiefly
coolies or shop-assistants. They are all inhaling the fumes of that drug out of which our Government annually makes its millions of revenue, and of which it imported into China, in 1867, no fewer than 10,000,000 lbs., as against 2,500 lbs. in 1767, the trade having increased four hundredfold in 100 years.
The majority of the smokers look like men of average health and strength; but one or two have the emaciated frame, and the dull, vacant eye, which point out the man who has fallen a victim to excess in the insidious enjoyment. With regard, indeed, to the general effects of opium on the Chinese nation, and to the numbers who indulge in its use, there seems the widest divergence of opinion: moderate estimates lead to the inference that not more than one man in ten smokes opium, even in China; and that of this minority not more than one in ten is brought to a premature end by it. And though the drug seems peculiarly tempting to the temperament of the Chinese, so that ten times as much of it is used in their empire as in all the rest of the world together, yet it is extremely doubtful whether more harm is done by it there than may be traced to the use of alcohol in our own country.
If we are at all guilty of an attempt to poison the Chinese with opium, they try to do us an almost equally bad turn in the matter of tea. Just before reaching the European settlement, we pass an open space in front of some tea warehouses, on which are spread sheets of matting covered with some stuff looking like coarse gunpowder. On examining it we find that it is tea-dust, damped and mixed with sand, and rolled up so as to resemble in shape new leaves. This is probably some of the Marlowe mixture destined to be seized in an English Custom-house, or to escape inspection and be drunk by some deluded barbarian' under the impression that he is imbibing a decoction from the genuine shrub of Cathay.
SHANGHAE AND NINGPO.
SHANGHAE AND NINGPO.
It was said, in the days of the Second Napoleon, that Paris is France.' It might now be said with almost as much truth that Canton is China. For in Canton we see reproduced, often on a larger scale and in better style, much that lends interest to the various other cities of at least the southern half of the Celestial Empire.
But recent travellers in China have made constant protests against the habit into which earlier travellers fell of describing what they saw in one part of the country as the rule in every other part, so we shall do what we can to avoid this censure by spending three weeks in a part of the country nearly 1,000 miles removed from the great southern city.
We leave Hongkong on April 18 by a smart little American steamer trading between that port and Shanghae. Four full days are occupied in running the 900 miles which separate the two principal Anglo-Chinese ports. Throughout the voyage we are at no great distance from the coast, but fogs continually prevent our catching sight of it. When we do see it, we can distinguish little but lines of sandhills, backed by bare-looking hills which rise up to heights varying from 1,500 to 3,000 feet; occasionally a rocky promontory jutting out from the sandy line, or a walled town close down to the shore, comes into view. Indeed, from the more numerous signs of life on
the sea than on the shore, one is rather led to conclude that on this coast an acre of salt water is worth more than an acre of dry land.
Fishing-boats abound. Once, when a few miles off Breaker Point, we pass through a fleet of at least 500 of them. They are drifting in pairs with the wind, a dragnet being attached to each pair, and drawn along with them. Each boat contains three or four fishermen, who wear a curious-looking head-dress, composed of long strips of cotton cloth bound several times over their head and under their chins; one would think they had all had the mumps, and were taking precautions against a relapse.
The change of climate experienced within 400 miles of Hongkong on this voyage is very remarkable. We leave Hongkong on the evening of a hot and muggy day, with the thermometer at 80°, but thirty-six hours afterwards we have a stove lighted in the ship's cabin, and wear topcoats on deck. When we arrive at Shanghae we find there pleasant weather, not unlike that of an English May. But we are anticipating slightly.
At daybreak on the 22nd we pass some of the group of Chusan Islands, and before mid-day we enter the brown and brackish water which marks where the waters of the Yang-tse are struggling with those of the ocean, making a debateable ground between the two which stretches out seawards for at least a hundred miles from the outermost dry land at the river's mouth. Just in the mouth of the river we pass a number of armed junks, said to be placed there to keep a look-out for the piratical crafts which are tolerably numerous on the coast and among the outlying islets. But these junks are only one of the many instances of the way in which that mass of red tape and corruption calling itself the Chinese Government protects the welfare of its subjects. The junks adhere to