FOOD.-The poor can get nothing but rice to eat and water to drink; except now and then they mix a little pork or salt fish with their rice. Any sort of meat is thought good; even a hash of rats and snakes, or a mince of earth-worms. Cats and dogs flesh are considered as nice as pork, and cost as much.
An Englishman was once dining with a Chinaman, and he wished to know what sort of meat was on his plate. But he was not able to speak Chinese. How then could he ask? He thought of a way. Looking first at his plate, and then at the Chinaman, he said, «Ba-a-a,» meaning to ask, «Is this mutton?» The Chinaman understood the question, and immediately replied, «Bow-wow,» meaning to say, «It is puppy-dog.» You will wish to know whether the Englishman went on eating; but I cannot tell you this.
APPEARANCE.-The Chinese are not at all like the other natives of Asia. The Turks and Arabs are fine-looking men, but the Chinese are poor-looking creatures. You have seen their pictures on their boxes of tea, for they are fond of drawing pictures of themselves.
Their complexion is rather yellow, but many of the ladies, who keep in doors, are rather fair. They have black hair, small dark eyes, broad faces, flat noses, and high cheek-bones. In general they are short. The men like to be stout; and the rich men are stout: the fatter they are, the more they are admired: but the women like to be slender.
A Chinese lady wears a loose gown like a Chinamans; but she may be known by her head-dress, her baby feet, and her long nails... Her feet are no bigger than those of a child of five years old; because, when she was five, they were cruelly bound up to prevent them from growing. She suffered much pain all her childhood, and now she trips about as if she were walking on tiptoes. A little push would throw her down. As she walks she moves from side to side like a ship in the water, for she cannot walk firmly with such small feet. The Chinese are so foolish as to admire these small feet, and to call them the «golden lilies». As for her finger-nails, they are seldom seen, for a Chinese lady hides her hands in her long sleeves; but the nails on the left hand are very long, and are like birds claws. The nails on the right hand are not so long, in order that the lady may be able to tinkle on her music, to embroider, and to weave silk...
What foolish customs I have described. Surely you will not think the Chinese a wise people, though very clever, as you will soon find.
The Buddhist priests may be known by their heads close shaven, and their black dress. The priests of Taou have their hair in a knot at the top of their heads and they wear scarlet robes. There are no priests of Confucius; and this is a good thing.
All the religions of China are bad, but of the three the religion of Confucius is the least foolish.
There can be no doubt which of the three religions of China is the least absurd.
The religion of Taou teaches men to act like mad-men.
The religion of Buddha teaches them to act like idiots.
The religion of Confucius teaches them to act like wise men, but without souls.
THE TWO GREAT WONDERS.-The great CANAL is wonder. It joins the two rivers; so that a Chinese can go by water from Canton to Pekin.
The great WALL is a greater wonder, but not nearly as useful as the canal.
This wall was built at the north of China to keep the Tartars out. It is one thousand five hundred miles long, twenty feet high, and twenty-five broad. But there were not soldiers enough in China to keep the enemies out, and the Tartars came over the wall.
The Emperor of China is a Tartar.
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