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Arnold Henry Savage-Landor

I had made so many sketches in Seoul, that at last a rumour reached the Court of the rapidity with which I portrayed streets and people. The consequence was that both king and princes were very anxious to see what "European painting" was like, as they had never yet seen a picture painted by a European; so one fine day, to my great astonishment, through the kindness of Mr. Greathouse and General Le Gendre, I was able to induce one of the Queen's nephews, young Min-san-ho, to sit for his likeness in his Court dress.

In this book I have sought to present the reader with some dry facts about Corea and the Coreans. I have attempted to describe the manners and customs of the people as accurately as possible from the impressions which my visit to their country left upon me, but of course I do not claim that these personal opinions expressed are absolutely infallible. My sojourn extended over several months, and I never during all that time neglected any opportunity of studying the natives, giving my observations as they were made a permanent form by the aid both of pen and of brush.

I had some more amusing experiences on the occasion of my first visit to the royal palace. The King had sent me a message one evening saying that any part of the royal palace and grounds would be opened to me, if I wished to make observations or take sketches, and that it would give him much pleasure if I would go there early the next morning and stay to dinner at the palace. This invitation to spend the whole day at the palace was so tempting that I at once accepted it, and next day, accompanied by one of the officials, a Mr.

It was on a Christmas Day that I set out for Corea. The year was 1890. I had been several days at Nagasaki, waiting for the little steamer, Higo-Maru, of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan Steamship Company), which was to arrive, I think, from Vladivostock, when a message was brought to me saying that she was now in port, and would sail that afternoon for Tsushima, Goto, and the Corean ports.

At the beginning of the New Year, and soon after the festivities are over, the streets of Seoul are crowded with students who come up to town for their examinations. Dozens of them, generally noisy and boisterous, are to be seen arm in arm, parading the principal streets, and apparently always eating something or other. Study and eating seem to go together in Cho-sen. They wear peculiar gauze caps like bakers' paper bags, and a large double apron, the latter hanging down front and back, and being tied above the waist with a ribbon.

When I land in a new country a strange sense of the unknown somehow takes possession of me. Perhaps in this, however, I am not alone. The feeling is in part, I think, due to one's new surroundings, though chiefly to the facial expressions of the people, with which one is not familiar and probably does not quite understand.

I left Chemulpo on January 2nd, but instead of making use of the minuscule ponies, I went on foot, sending my baggage on in advance on a pack-saddle on one of them. I was still suffering considerably from an accident I had sustained to my foot among the hairy folk of the Hokkaido, and I thought that the long walk would probably be beneficial to me, and would take away some of the stiffness which still remained in my ankle.

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

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