Sails of silk and ropes of sandal 
    Such as gleam in ancient lore, 
    And the singing of the sailors, 
    And the answer from the shore.

Tuesday, February 27th. - Until half-past ten we were occupied in the pleasant task of reading news from home - all good this time, I am happy to say. At 10.30 we landed and went up the hill to breakfast with Sir Arthur and Miss Kennedy, and heard a good deal about the colony. It is wonderful to think that thirty years ago it scarcely existed, and now it is a large and flourishing place, with splendid houses, institutions, roads, and gardens. We were also most agreeably surprised by the beauty of the scenery. It is really lovely, and, though the hills around are barren, wherever cultivation has been attempted, vegetation appears to flourish luxuriantly. The climate cannot be very bad, judging by the healthy look of the residents and troops. Typhoons seem to be the greatest drawback. They come without any warning, and it is impossible to guard against them and their disastrous effects. Thousands of lives, and millions of pounds' worth of property, are destroyed in a few hours. We have been shown some of the effects of a very severe typhoon that occurred in 1874. It seems almost incredible that the mere force of the wind can snap iron posts in two, break granite columns, and blow off heavy roofs.

After breakfast the ceremony of presenting the departing Governor with a State umbrella took place. It was a token of respect from ten thousand Chinese inhabitants of Hongkong, and is the greatest compliment that can be paid to any official. It arrived in a large camphor-wood box, and the address, beautifully embroidered in gold thread and silk, was enclosed in a magnificent sandal-wood box about four feet long, covered with the richest carving. Precisely at twelve some forty vermilion-coloured visiting cards were handed in, with the name of each member of the deputation written in Chinese and English characters. The visitors were all received in a large drawing-room, whilst we ladies observed the proceedings through the doors leading from a smaller room. It is not considered etiquette by the Chinese for ladies to appear at these public ceremonies.

After it was all over, a stroll through the town, and a look at the shops, filled up the rest of the time in the morning, until we went on board to fetch the children for an expedition up the Peak to the signal station. As usual many visitors came on board the yacht, and it was later than we had intended before we could make a start. I had to be carried up the steep ascent in a chair, but the children and dogs thoroughly enjoyed themselves scampering about. The little ones picked heaps of flowers and ferns. The dogs had not been allowed to land before, as everybody told me they would be sure to be stolen directly. We returned on board before sunset, and had time for a little rest before some friends arrived to dinner. We have shipped two Chinese boys here to work in the pantry and kitchen. They are excellent servants as a rule, but how they will get on with the others, and how they will like the sea-life, remains to be proved.

Wednesday, February 28th. - I was up and off at half-past six to the market, and returned to a late breakfast on board; after which a large party of China merchants came as a deputation to invite Tom to fix a day to dine with them. I think they proposed to pay him what is for them an unusual compliment, partly because they were pleased with some remarks he made yesterday at Government House, and partly because they think so much of his enterprise in making a voyage round the world in a yacht with his wife and family. They examined everything on board, and seemed to be specially interested in Tom's Board of Trade certificate, which one of their number translated in full for the benefit of the rest.

The Chinese part of the town stands quite away from the foreign settlement. It is dirty and crowded in spite of its wide streets, and the large, gaily coloured houses have the names and advertisements of their proprietors painted all across them. The theatre is in the middle of the city, and was densely crowded. A box had been reserved for us, for the ordinary seats are like a carpenter's bench. On the floor of the house men and women sat together, but in the galleries the men sat apart, and there were separate boxes for the women. The acting was rough, and accompanied by the most discordant music. The scenery seemed of an excessively rudimentary description, as you may imagine when I tell you that a steep hill up which the hero and heroine climbed with great difficulty was composed of five kitchen chairs arranged in a pyramid on the top of three kitchen tables, held in position by men in their ordinary dress. The fugitives were supposed to be a Tartar general and his wife, escaping from their enemies after a great battle. The fighting was renewed at intervals with great noise and spirit. Some of the costumes were very fine, and cost from 30_l. to 40_l. apiece.

From the theatre we drove to the Chinese hospital, and thence to the Chinese recreation ground, where we saw sundry itinerant quacks and vendors of all sorts of rubbish. As we were walking along, having left our chairs for a few minutes to look at the Chinese shops, a man picked my pocket of a one-dollar note. Mr. Freer and the Doctor saw, pursued, and caught him. He vehemently protested his innocence, but to no avail. They proceeded to strip him, found the note, gave him a good shaking, and told him to go.

Thursday, March 1st. - A most lovely morning ushered in the new month, which having come in like the most peaceable of lambs, will, we hope, not end like a roaring lion just as we expect to be in the middle of the Bay of Bengal. We left the yacht at 7.30, and went on board the 'Kin-Shan,' which is a regular American river steamer with beam engines and many deck-houses, which are painted white. The lower deck is crowded with the most inferior class of Chinese, some eight hundred of them being on board. It gave us rather a turn to see them all padlocked in under the hatchways and iron gratings. At each opening is posted an armed sentinel, ready to fire among the crowd in case of any disturbance. In the saloon, also, is a stand of pistols, and rifles with fixed bayonets, ready for the European passengers to defend themselves with, in case of emergency. These are very necessary precautions, on account of the numerous pirates who occasionally ship in disguise among the crowd, murder the passengers and crew, and take possession of the steamer. Not quite two years ago a vessel belonging to this same company was assailed in that way. Every one on board was murdered, and the ship taken to Macao.[19] But this voyage was more prosperous, the captain was most kind and polite, and the boat clean and comfortable. An excellent breakfast and an elaborate tiffin were served at noon, all for the sum of four dollars a head, including wine, beer, and spirits ad libitum.

[Footnote 19: I have since been told that only the captain and one or two passengers were killed, and the vessel run ashore near, not at Macao.]

On first leaving Hankow the course lies between islands and through fine mountain passes. Later on the country becomes flat and uninteresting till the Bogue Forts are reached. Here are to be seen the remains of the old forts knocked down by the French and English guns.

About one o'clock we reached Whampoa, the leading port of Canton. The Pearl River is too shallow for large steamers to go up any higher; so we stopped here only a few minutes to disembark some of the Chinese passengers, and from this point the interesting part of the voyage began. The river, as well as all the little supplementary creeks, was alive with junks and sampans - masts and sails stuck up in every direction, gliding about among the flat paddy-fields. Such masts and sails as they are! The mandarins' boats, especially, are so beautifully carved, painted, and decorated, that they look more as if they were floating about for ornament than for use. Just about two o'clock our large steamer was brought up close alongside the wooden pier as easily as a skiff, but it must require some skill to navigate this crowded river without accident. On the shore was an excited, vociferating crowd, but no one came to meet us; and we had begun to wonder what was to become of us - what we should do, and whither we should go in a strange city, where we did not know a soul - when we were relieved from our embarrassment by the appearance of the Vice-Consul, who came on board to meet a friend. He told us that, owing to an expected ball, all the houses were unusually full, and that not one of the people who had been written to could take us in. This was rather bad news, but we felt sure that something would turn up.

We landed, and, after proceeding a short distance along the dirty street, came to a bridge with iron gates, which were thrown open by the sentry. After crossing a dirty stream we found ourselves in the foreign settlement - Shameen it is called - walking on nice turf, under the shade of fine trees. The houses of the merchants which line this promenade are all fine, handsome stone buildings, with deep verandahs. At the back there are compounds with kitchen gardens, and under the trees dairy cows are grazing. Every household appears to supply itself with garden and farm produce, and the whole scene has a most English, home-like appearance. We went first to the Vice-Consul, and then to the Jardine Hong. All the business houses retain the names of the firms to which they originally belonged, even when they have passed into entirely different hands. After a little chat we went on to the Deacon Hong, where we found they had just done tiffin, and where we met some old friends.

By the kindness of various people, to whom we were introduced, we all found ourselves gradually installed in luxurious quarters. As for us, we had a large room comfortably furnished in English fashion, with a bath-room attached. All the houses are very much alike, and are fitted up in an equally comfortable style.

About three o'clock we started in five chairs, with Man-look-Chin for our guide. Tom vigorously protested against not being allowed to use his own legs, but everybody assured him that it was impossible in the crowded streets of the city, so he had to submit to being carried. No Chinaman, except those employed by foreigners, is allowed to cross any of the bridges over the stream, which completely surrounds the foreign settlement, and makes the suburb of Shameen a perfect island. There are iron gates on each bridge, guarded by sentries. The contrast in the state of things presented by the two sides of the bridge is most marvellous. From the quiet country park, full of large villas and pretty gardens, you emerge into a filthy city, full of a seething, dirty population, and where smells and sights of the most disgusting description meet you at every turn. People who have seen many Chinese cities say that Canton is the cleanest of them all. What the dirtiest must be like is therefore beyond my imagination. The suburbs of the city, where all sorts of cheap eating-shops abound - where the butchers and fishmongers expose the most untempting-looking morsels for sale, and where there are hampers of all sorts of nasty-looking compounds, done up ready for the buyer of the smallest portion to take home - are especially revolting. The Chinese, however poor, like several courses to their meals, which are served in little bowls on a small table to each person, and eaten with chop-sticks, as in Japan. It is to gratify this taste that what we should think a very minute fish, or a tiny chicken, is cut up into half-a-dozen pieces and sold to several purchasers.

The Chinese are very fond of fish, and are most ingenious in propagating, rearing, and keeping them. The dried-fish and seaweed shops are not at all picturesque or sweet-smelling, especially as all the refuse is thrown into the streets in front. Men go about the streets carrying pails of manure, suspended on bamboo poles across their shoulders, and clear away the rubbish as they go. I was very glad when we got through all this to the better part of the town, and found ourselves in a large shop, where it was cool, and dark, and quiet.

The streets of the city are so narrow, that two chairs can scarcely pass one another, except at certain points. The roofs of the houses nearly meet across the roadway, and, in addition, the inhabitants frequently spread mats overhead, rendering the light below dim and mysterious. Every shop has a large vermilion-coloured board, with the name of its occupant written in Chinese characters, together with a list of the articles which he sells, hung out in front of it, so that the view down the narrow streets is very bright and peculiar. These highways and byways are not unlike the bazaars at Constantinople and Cairo, and different wares are also sold in different localities after the Eastern fashion. This is, in some respects, a great advantage, as, if you are in search of any particular article, you have almost an unlimited choice of whatever the town has to offer. But, on the other hand, if you want a variety of articles, it is an inconvenient arrangement, as you have to go all over the place to find them, and probably have to visit the most opposite quarters. We saw thousands of china vases, and bowls, and tea and dinner services, some very handsome, but many extremely poor. There were a few specially made for the French Exhibition next year, which were exceedingly handsome. We visited an ivory shop, and saw some splendid specimens of carving. One man had been for fifteen months employed in carving on one side of an enormous elephant's tusk the representation of a battle scene, and on the other that of a thanksgiving procession. It will take him at least another year to finish the job. It is for the Paris Exhibition. It will be quite interesting to look for our old Japanese and Chinese friends and their products on that occasion.

From ivory carving, we went to a black-wood furniture shop, where we saw some very handsome things, by no means dear considering the amount of time and labour bestowed upon them. We finished up with the Temple of the Five Hundred Genii, whose five hundred carved wooden statues, thickly gilt, all very ugly, and all in different attitudes, stand round the statue of a European in sailor's costume, said to be meant for Marco Polo, but, whoever it may be, evidently considered an object at least of veneration, if not of worship.

We now returned through the dirty city to Shameen, and the relief, after crossing the bridge into an open space where one could breathe freely and see the blue sky, was indescribable.

Friday, March 2nd. - Before we had finished breakfast the other gentlemen strolled in from their various quarters, and the drivers and guides arrived from the Vice-Consul's. A long morning's work had been mapped out for us - thirteen sights before luncheon, then a visit to the French Consulate, followed by eight more objects of interest to be seen before we finally crossed the Pearl River to visit the Honan Temple. Quitting the pretty cool suburb by another bridge, we passed through streets quite as dirty as those of yesterday, until the heart of the city had been reached. We went first to the wedding-chair shop, where they keep sedan-chairs, of four qualities, for hire whenever a wedding occurs. Even the commonest are made gorgeous by silver gilding and lacquer, while the best are really marvels of decorative art, completely covered with the blue lustrous feathers of a kind of kingfisher. In shape they are like a square pagoda, and round each tier are groups of figures. The dresses are also made of expensive feathers, but then they last for generations. There are no windows to these strange conveyances, in which the bride is carried to her future home, closely shut up, with joss-sticks burning in front of her. Recently there have been two sad accidents. In one case the journey was long, there was no outlet for the smoke of the joss-sticks, and when they arrived and opened the chair, the bride was found dead from suffocation. The other accident occurred through the chair catching fire while it was passing through some narrow street under an archway. The bearers became frightened, put down their burden, and ran away, leaving the poor bride locked up inside to be burnt to death.

From the chair shop we went to the embroiderers, to see them at work. Their productions are exquisite, and it is a pity that better specimens are not seen in England. The process of lacquer-making, too, is very interesting. We had, however, to go from house to house to witness it, as only one portion of the process is carried on at each - from the gradual coating of the roughest wood with three coatings of varnish, until it is finally ornamented with delicate designs, and polished ready for sale. In appearance, price, and length of wear there is a vast difference.

The next thing to see was the weaving of silk, which is done in the most primitive manner. One man throws the shuttle, while another forms the pattern by jumping on the top of the loom and raising a certain number of threads, in order to allow the shuttle to pass beneath them.

Then came a visit to the Temple of Longevity, a large Buddhist temple, with a monastic establishment of about ninety priests attached to it. It contains three shrines with large figures, but nothing specially interesting. There is a large pond in the midst of the garden, covered with duckweed, and full of beautiful gold and silver fish of many kinds. The Chinese certainly excel in producing gold and silver and red fish; they are the pets of every household, and are of all colours, some being striped and spotted, and boasting any number of tails from one to five.

Outside the temple stands the Jadestone Market, where incredible quantities of this valuable stone change hands before ten o'clock every morning, both in its rough and its polished state. The stalls are the simplest wooden stands, and the appearance of the vendors is poor in the extreme. The contents of the stalls, however, are worth from 500_l. to l,000_l. (not dollars), and there are hundreds of these stalls, besides an entire jadestone street which we afterwards visited. We saw several of the shops, and asked the prices, as we wished to take home a small specimen; but they had no good carved cups, which were what we wanted, and for what they had they asked an enormous price. Jadestone is a material very difficult to work, and in many cases the result attained is not worth the labour expended upon it. It is more a tour de force than a work of art. For a good stone, green as grass (as it ought to be), they ask from 2,500 to 3,000 dollars; for a necklace of beads, 5,000 dollars; a set of mandarin's buttons, one large and one small, 50 to 150 dollars.

After looking in at the goldbeaters at work, we next made our way to the temple of the Five Genii who are supposed to have founded the city of Canton. Being a Tartar temple, all the gods have a totally different cast of features, and are represented as Tartars with long beards. It is much frequented by women of all classes, and up and down the numerous flights of steps leading from one shrine to another, poor little women tottered and tumbled on their crippled feet, holding on to one another, or leaning on a stick. This temple is interesting as having been the head-quarters of the allied forces during their occupation of Canton from 1858 to 1861. The great bell in front of its principal shrine has been broken by a shot.

We then went to see the Flowery Pagoda, built A.D. 512, but now deprived of many of its decorations. The Brilliant Pagoda too, so called from having once been covered with snow-white porcelain, is now only a tall brick-pointed tower nine stories high.

By this time we all felt hungry, and began to wend our way towards the yamun. On the outskirts may be seen prisoners in chains, or wearing the cangue, imprisoned in a cage, or else suffering one of the numerous tortures inflicted in this country. I did not go to see any of these horrors, neither did I visit the execution ground; but some of the party did, and described it as a most horrible sight. Skulls were lying about in all directions, one of which had been quite recently severed from its trunk, the ground being still moist and red.

Whilst luncheon was being prepared we were taken over many of the rooms and through several of the enclosures within the fortified gate. The meal was excellently served by Chinese servants in a charmingly picturesque Tartar room, and after it we wandered about the park, looked at the deer, and admired the Nagasaki bantams. Then it was time to start on a fresh sight-seeing expedition, armed with fresh directions. We set out first to the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha, where there is a large, fat, reclining figure; then to the Temple of Horrors - most rightly named, for in a suite of rooms built round three sides of a large yard are represented all the tortures of the Buddhist faith, such as boiling in oil, sawing in pieces, and other horrible devices. The yard itself is crowded with fortune-tellers, charm-sellers, deputy prayer-sayers, beggars, and all sorts of natural horrors, exhibiting various deformities. Altogether it is a most unpleasant place, but still it is one of the characteristic sights of Canton.

We saw the hotel to-day for the first time. It certainly looks very hopeless. We were anxious to get in there if possible, as we were such a large party, but everybody assured us it was quite out of the question. One gentleman told me he never could fancy using his portmanteau again after even laying it down on the floor for a few minutes. The absence of a decent hotel renders Canton an inconvenient place to visit. The European inhabitants are so very kind, however, that you are sure to find somebody who knows somebody else who will hospitably take you in.

From the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha we went up the height to breathe a little fresh air, and to see the five-storied pagoda at the spot where the allied forces had encamped, the Chinese groves in the White Cloud Mountains beyond, and to gain a general view of the densely crowded city beneath. It is all too flat, however, to be picturesque. The three yamuns at our feet, with their quaint towers, grand old trees, flags, and the broad Pearl River on the other side of the city, are the only elements of positive beauty in the landscape.

We soon descended the heights again, and, passing the Cantonese Viceroy's yamuns paid our promised visit to the French Consul. His residence is, if possible, more quaint and beautiful than that of the English representative. The trees are finer, especially one grand avenue leading from the outer gates to the private apartments. We were most kindly received, and shown a wonderful collection of embroideries and china. It was a delightful visit, but we could not remain so long as we wished, for we had to see the water clock. The tower in which it stands is approached by a flight of steps, and was built between the years A.D. 624 and 907; but it has been repaired, destroyed, and repaired again, several times, having suffered in the bombardment of the town by the allied fleets in 1857.

In the next street, Treasury Street (said to be the finest in Canton), you can buy burning-sticks measured to mark the time. They are extremely cheap, but perfectly accurate, and there seems little doubt that they have been used by the Chinese for thousands of years before the Christian era. Here, too, were the large spectacles so much worn; opium pipes, with all the paraphernalia for cleaning and smoking them; water pipes in pretty little shagreen cases, and many other curious articles in common use, of which we purchased specimens.

In the Feather Street are innumerable shops containing nothing but feathers of all kinds for mandarins, actors, and ordinary mortals; but the great ambition of every Chinaman is to have a feather from the Emperor. They are all called peacocks' feathers, one-eyed, two-eyed, or three-eyed; but, in reality, many are pheasants' feathers. Some of these are from six to eight feet in length, beautifully marked. I bought two pairs over seven feet long. They are rather rare, as each bird has only two long feathers, and these are in perfection for but one month in the year. In this part of the town stands a Chinese restaurant where only cats' and dogs' flesh is served.

We passed through innumerable streets, and at last reached the site of the old factories, now only occupied by a large and comfortable house. We were to have embarked in the Consul's boat to visit the Temple of Honan across the river, but it was getting late, and every one felt tired; so we went back through more crowded streets to rest awhile, before dressing to go out to dinner at eight o'clock. The dinner was quite English in its style, and the table looked bright with tea roses, heliotrope, and mignonette. The tables had been charmingly decorated by the Chinese servants, and even the menu had been arranged by them. They seem to save their employer all trouble, even that of thinking, provided the services of really good ones can be secured. We have had one for only a few days, and he does everything for Tom and me. He appears to know exactly what we want to do or to wear, and to foresee all our requirements.

But to return to this famous repast. It began with mandarin bird's-nest soup, with plover's eggs floating about in it. This is a most delicious and dainty dish, and is invariably given to strangers on their first arrival. I had no idea how expensive the nests were - 54 dollars a 'pice,' weighing something under a pound, and it takes two or three ounces to make enough soup for ten people. We had a very pleasant evening, talking over our experiences, and exchanging news as to our mutual friends.