MONDAY, December 9.

We visited the ship-yard of Messrs. Boyd &Co., and found none but native workmen employed. Blacksmiths receive about five dollars per week, machinists six dollars; carpenters, sixty to sixty-five cents per day. But this concern pays high wages, and requires its men to equal Europeans, which I am told they do. Common gang labor is contracted for with a head man, who engages to supply day by day the number of coolies wanted at twenty cents a day per man. Mr. Grant, the senior partner, told me he was buying Belgian iron in large lots, assorted sizes, for L4 10s. per gross ton - just about one cent per pound; ship plates at L6, equal to $29 per gross ton, free on ship at Antwerp. Such figures prove the severity of the struggle for existence among the iron manufacturers of Europe.

The servants at the hotel pay a contractor two dollars per month for food, they not being permitted to eat anything at the hotel. A coolie's board costs about five cents per day. For this he gets an abundance of coarse rice and cabbage spiced with pieces of dried fish and pickles, and upon such a diet lives from year to year. Clothing is estimated at two to three dollars per year. This is the country of low prices, where one eschews luxuries and comes down to first principles. Cab fare is five cents per mile for ginrikshaws, which have been introduced from Japan, and are generally used in Shanghai. At Tokio I remember cab fare was even cheaper. We paid only eight cents per hour for a man and his carriage, or seventy-five cents for the entire day. European society here is quite extensive, and very pleasant and hospitable. We are indebted to kind friends for numerous attentions. As General Bailey, our worthy Consul-General, is a public official, I may be permitted to express to him my special thanks. He was unremitting in his efforts to render our visit agreeable. It is from such men that America is to draw its trained diplomatists when Civil-Service Reform has done its needed work.

We attended last night a very good amateur theatrical performance. Shanghai society was present in force, and in full evening dress. The preponderance of fine-looking young men, and the almost total absence of young ladies, was most marked. The number of married ladies was not great. In answer to my inquiry where the young ladies were, I was informed that there were but few in town. One was pointed out, but as she was engaged she scarcely counted. If ladies will only be contented with unremitting attentions from a crowd of handsome beaux, this is their paradise; but, as our lady friend explained, none of these fine fellows can afford to marry: they are clerks and assistants in the European houses, the partners of which unfortunately are married already. I think it but fair to mention this for the benefit of any of my fair young friends who might otherwise think of visiting the East. The absence of young ladies renders the taking of female parts by the opposite sex a necessity. A splendid "singing chambermaid" of this kind, dressed and looking the part to perfection, but with a deep bass voice, caused peals of laughter every time he spoke. During the evening there was a song cleverly introduced and sung by a brawny Scot - a parody upon "May I like a soldier fall," beginning,

  "Oh! may I like a Scotchman fall 
   Upon St. Andrew's Day."

It appears the Scotch residents had just been celebrating that memorable night, having brought up from Hong Kong no less a personage than the head piper of the Highlander Regiment to grace the festival. But the pipes proved too much for the more enthusiastic of the party, and capturing the piper about three o'clock in the morning, they compelled him to march at their head playing through the town. It may be readily surmised that

  "If no fou, they just had plenty."

As long, however, as the martial strains continued, they managed, arm and arm, to keep upright and together, but, unfortunately, from some cause or other not clearly explained, at the turn of the street Donald himself lost his footing, the bagpipes ceased, and then, surging one against the other, without the music to keep them in step, the mass was laid low, yelling to the last, however, the "March of the Cameron Men." "Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen!" The Central Hotel was fortunately not far off, and by the aid of wheelbarrows they were safely conveyed thither and taken care of until morning. Ah, well, let the censorious take note. This is not the first time, as the world knows, when the sound of the pibroch has kept Scotchmen shoulder to shoulder, "one stepping where the other fell," when upon them lay the issue of the fight; nor shall it be the last. Burke pardoned something to the spirit of liberty, and shall we do less to the august shade of St. Andrew? Heaven forbid!

While bemoaning the absence of foreign young ladies here and in Japan, I may as well tell those at home something of the marriage customs of the East, for Japan, China, and India all have much in common here. First and foremost, then, please understand that the couple about to be married have nothing whatever to do with the affair. The match has been made by the parents, and as a rule neither has seen the other until after the contract has been closed; and in many cases it is thought advisable that they should meet for the first time when the ceremony begins. It is considered one of the most important duties of a mother to select a wife for each of her sons as he arrives at maturity, as a failure to do this might involve the fearful catastrophe of a break in the worship of the family's ancestors, and indeed of her own and her husband's ashes, for there might be no men to perform the sacred rites over them. The parents of the young men take the initiative, but how to propose is said to be even more embarrassing than it would be to the son himself, as a refusal implies that the lady's parents consider the proposal much beneath them. There exists, therefore, a class of "marriage brokers," who keep themselves informed of the eligible sons and daughters in their circle, and can sound the parents, name the dot to be given or required, and suggest and finally bring about a satisfactory alliance without wounding the family pride upon either side. The Chinese are very superstitious, and no union takes place without the astrologer's sanction. He must consult the stars and see that there is proper conjunction. If all is favorable, the marriage takes place.

But now, my lady friends, don't imagine that the happy pair set up a separate establishment, as you expect to do when you marry. No; the wife goes in every case to reside with her mother-in-law, to whom, as also to her husband's father, she renders implicit obedience. This obedience to parents is the most conspicuous duty in their religion. Should the daughter-in-law be disrespectful, even, to her husband's parents, these would be upheld in putting her away, even against the wish of her husband; and unless the son happened to have an independent income or means of support, which is very rarely the case, his parents would select for him another wife who knew her duty better. The deference exacted and bestowed not only by children but by grown men and women to their parents, is wholly inconceivable by Americans; but, remember, their religion teaches them that those from whom they derive existence are entitled to their worship. No priest is required at a marriage. The ceremony always takes place at the man's house, the bride coming from her parents in grand procession through the streets in a sedan chair with its blinds closely drawn, the presents being ostentatiously displayed by men carrying them in front. We saw several of these processions. I cannot give a tithe of all the customs observed; they would fill pages. But one is significant; the bride is required to kneel before the husband's family tablet, and to worship his ancestors, her own being from that moment apparently of no account to her, and her father gives her, as his parting injunction, the command to yield hereafter to her new parents the obedience and reverence hitherto his due.

When the entire day has been spent in the ceremonies required, dinner for the couple is announced, and they are left alone with each other for the first time in their lives; but she may not partake one morsel of the feast, and, harder still, perhaps, not one syllable must she speak. Etiquette demands that she "sit in silence, grave and dignified," and she cannot break fast upon her wedding day. The woman's chief study is a book giving minute instructions for her guidance through life. In this are prescribed the three great duties of woman: 1, obedience when a child to her parents; 2, obedience when a wife to her husband; 3, obedience when a widow to her eldest son. The government of man is thus secured for the weaker vessel from the cradle to the grave. No Eastern man could be made to believe that the influence of the masculine intellect is not absolutely essential for the well-being of the female; and so it undoubtedly will be in the East as long as woman is uneducated. It is in America we find woman in her highest development, higher even than the English standard, simply because in the best circles she receives an education nearer to that of man than is given her elsewhere.

By many such curious customs is secured the entire absorption of the woman, her total eclipse as a separate individuality; there is nothing left of her as far as law and usage can destroy her rights. This is the Eastern idea. But she has her triumph later. As a wife she knows there is little for her. Divorce is almost sure unless she bear a son; but when, in the language of Scripture, "a man-child is born" - presto change! she is a mother, supreme, invested with a halo of sanctity which secures rank and reverence from all. She becomes by this the equal of her lord, and must be worshipped like him, and jointly with him, by succeeding generations, for Confucius enjoins upon every son the erection of the family tablets, to father and mother alike. Nor is her rule confined to her own children, but, as before stated, to their children as well to the latest day of her life, and the older she becomes the more she is reverenced as being nearer to heaven, dearer to the gods; and it is considered of much moment to any family to be able to boast a great-great-grandmother living.

Do not mourn too much over the sad fate of a young Chinaman compelled to marry one whom he has never seen, for indeed there seems little difference between the young ladies of China. Thousands of years of seclusion, of unvarying customs, have at last moulded women into the same form, mentally and physically, and anything like individuality can exist only to a small degree, and in exceptional natures. They are as like as peas, and one may as well marry one as another. If the husband has not the joys of love, neither has he the anxieties pertaining to that super-sensitive condition; for she is not to be his constant companion, nor his companion at all if he has not drawn a prize.

The position of woman would seem, therefore, to be almost entirely different from what it is with us: in youth she is nothing there, in old age everything; with us it is the opposite. The "just mean" between the two would probably yield better results than either. In China a man may marry more than one woman, but the first only is recognized as his legal wife; all others are her servants, and bound to wait upon and obey her; and should there be children, these are considered as children of the legal wife only, and it is her they must worship, and not their real mother. Among the masses wives are invariably bought from the parents, about ninety dollars being a fair market price among poor people. This sum is supposed to recompense them for the outlay involved in rearing the young girl. But this custom is valuable in this, that the possession of so large a sum by a young workingman is the best possible guarantee that the son-in-law has acquired steady habits, and is competent to provide for his family. If a test of this nature could be applied with us, I think paterfamilias would not regard it as the worst of institutions. These Chinese have ideas that are sometimes worth thinking over.

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