I remember the black wharves and the slips, 
      And the sea-tides tossing free; 
    And Spanish sailors with bearded lips, 
    And the beauty and mystery of the ship 
      And the magic of the sea.

Saturday, March 3rd. - After our long day yesterday, I did not feel capable of acceding to our guide's proposition of being ready at half-past six for further explorations before breakfast; besides, I wanted to see Tom off by the nine o'clock boat to Hongkong, whither he is obliged to return in order to keep various engagements. The rest of our party have been persuaded to stay and see a little more of Canton and to go with some friends to a picnic in the White Cloud Mountains. A man brought home to-day some carved tortoiseshell brushes Tom has given me, with my name carved on them in Chinese. It was no good writing it down for the engraver's guidance, and after hearing it several times he wrote down two characters; but, as the 'r' is always a great difficulty with the Chinese, I much doubt whether the name is really spelt rightly.

It was a most lovely day, and after some little delay we started about eleven o'clock, a party of seventeen in chairs. There were five ladies and twelve gentlemen - a most unusual proportion for Canton. A few weeks ago they wanted to get up a fancy ball, but there were only five available ladies to be found in the city. At present one or two more are staying here on a visit, and it is hoped that another ball may be arranged during this week, which may boast of at least ten ladies. We made quite a procession, with all the servants, bearers, &c., and excited much commotion in the narrow streets, where everybody had to make room and squeeze up to the side as best they could. Men ran before to clear the way for us, shouting, yet we were more than an hour going right across the city. On our way we passed through the egg market, saw the pork fat market, and the poulterers' and fowlers' shops.

We managed to visit several shops for the sale of real Chinese furniture. It is very handsome, but curious in form, and, unless it is specially ordered, is made only for native use. Every Chinese reception-room is furnished in precisely the same manner, with very stiff high arm-chairs, arranged in two rows. A small four-legged square table stands between every two chairs, a larger table in the centre, and at the end an enormous sofa, big enough for six or eight people to lie full length across. The sofa and all the chairs have marble seats and backs, and the tops of the tables are also made of marble, or a sort of soapstone, on which may be distinguished natural landscapes slightly assisted by art.

In the bird market I saw numbers of little birds for sale, for the Chinese are very fond of pets, and often take their birds out in a cage with them when they go for a walk, just as we should be accompanied by a dog. They manage to tame them thoroughly, and when they meet a friend they will put the cage down, let the bird out, and give him something to eat while they have their chat. I saw this done several times.

Our road next led us through part of the butchers' quarter, where rats were hung up by their tails, and what looked very like skinned cats and dogs dangled beside them. Whole cages full of these animals were exposed for sale alive. Some travellers deny that the Chinese eat cats and dogs and rats, but there can be no question that they do so, though they may be the food only of the lower classes. Nor do 'puppy dogs' appear on the tables of the rich, except on one particular day in the year, when to eat them is supposed to bring good luck. We passed a restaurant where I was shown the bill of fare in Chinese of which this is a translation: -


One tael of black dog's flesh eight cash. One tael weight of black dog's fat three kandareems of silver. One large basin of black cat's flesh one hundred cash. One small basin of black cat's flesh fifty cash. One large bottle of common wine thirty-two cash. One small bottle of common wine sixteen cash. One large bottle of dark rice wine sixty-eight cash. One small basin of cat's flesh thirty-four cash. One large bottle of plum wine sixty-eight cash. One small bottle of plum wine thirty-four cash. One large basin of dog's flesh sixty-eight cash. One small bottle of pear wine thirty-four cash. One large bottle of timtsin wine ninety-six cash. One small bottle of timtsin wine forty-eight cash. One basin of congee three cash. One small plate of pickles three cash. One small saucer of ketchup or vinegar three cash. One pair of black cat's eyes three kandareems of silver.

The fish here, as at Hongkong, are almost always kept alive in large tubs of water, with a fountain playing over them. They even keep some sea-fish alive in salt water. But it is in the north of China that they excel in rearing fish in large quantities. At Foo-chow cormorant fishing may be seen to great perfection, and it is said to be a very amusing sight.

At last the city gates were reached, and we once more found ourselves outside the walls, and able to breathe again. Here a halt was made, and several of the party got out of their chairs and walked, and we were able to chat, whilst we wended our way by a narrow path through nursery gardens and graveyards. In fact the whole of the White Cloud Mountain is one vast cemetery - it is the Chinese Holy of Holies, whither their bodies are sent, not only from all parts of China, but from all parts of the world. Frequently a shipload of 1,500 or 1,600 bodies arrives in one day. The Steamboat Company charges 40 dollars for the passage of a really live Chinaman, as against 160 dollars for the carriage of a dead celestial. The friends of the deceased often keep the bodies in coffins above ground for several years, until the priests announce that they have discovered a lucky day and a lucky spot for the interment. This does not generally happen until he - the priest - finds he can extract no more money by divination, and that no more funeral feasts will be given by the friends. We passed through what they call the city of the dead, where thousands of coffins waiting for interment were lying above ground. The coffins are large and massive, but very plain, resembling the hollowed-out trunk of a tree. The greatest compliment a Chinese can pay his older relatives is to make them a present of four handsome longevity boards for their coffins. Outside the city of the dead were the usual adjuncts of a large burying-place - coffin-makers and stone-carvers, all living in dirty little cottages, surrounded by pigs, ducks, and young children.

Leaving the cemetery and cottages behind, a too short drive brought us to a lovely valley, where we were to lunch at the temple of San Chew, in one of its fairest gorges. The meal was spread in a large hall in a most luxurious manner, and as the wind changed almost immediately, and it came on to rain, we felt ourselves fortunate indeed in having reached shelter. We had plenty of wraps, and the bearers ran us down the hill again very quickly, so that we suffered no discomfort.

By the time the city walls were reached, the rain had ceased, and a glorious red sunset glowed over the roofs, glinting through the holes in the mats, and lighting up all the vermilion boards and gold characters with which the houses and shops are decorated. The shadowy streets were now full of incense or rather joss-stick smoke, for every house and every shop has a large altar inside, and a small one without, before which joss-sticks are burnt more or less all day long.

The streets seemed more crowded even than usual. Each of our bearers struck out a line of his own, and it was not until we reached Shameen that we all met again. Some of the ladies had been rather frightened at finding themselves alone in the dark, crowded city. We were only just in time to dress and go to dinner, after which we examined an interesting collection, chiefly of coins, in process of formation for the French Exhibition. They are carefully arranged, and will be most valuable and interesting when complete. The knife-and-fork coins are particularly curious and rare, some of them being worth as much as 5,000 dollars each, as curiosities. All the coins have holes in the centre for convenience of carriage.

Sunday, March 4th. - There is a fine cathedral at Shameen, in which the services are beautifully performed. A lady kindly lent us her house-boat, and after service we rowed across to Fa-ti, to see the gardens of Canton. They are laid out on an island a very short way up the river. The gardens are very wonderful, and contain plants cut into all sorts of shapes, such as men, birds, beasts, fishes, boats, houses, furniture, &c. Some are full-sized, others only in miniature. But almost all must have required considerable time and patience to reach their present growth, for their ages vary from 10 to 150 years. There are other plants not so elaborately trained, but the effect of the whole is rather too formal to be pretty. I managed to bring home some euphorbias, cut into the form of junks, and some banyan trees, one 100 and one 50 years old. I believe they are the first that have ever reached England alive and have flourished. Not far from Fa-ti are the duck-hatching establishments, and still further up the river are the duck-sampans, where the crowds of ducks are reared. They are sent out every morning to get their own living and return at night. Until they learn to obey their keeper's call quickly the last duck is always whipped. I am told it is most ridiculous to see the hurry of the last half-dozen birds of a flock of some thousands of ducks. I was most anxious to see them, but it is not the right time of year now. The young ducks are only just beginning to hatch, and the old ones are not numerous, and are mostly laying.

There was no time to go and see the temple of Honan, for we were more anxious to avail ourselves of a chance of visiting some interesting places in the Chinese city. We went through a street, consisting entirely of fruiterers' shops, to which the name of Kwohlaorn, or fruit-market, is applied. In this market, which is of great extent, there is for sale at all seasons of the year an almost countless variety of fruit.

A silkworm establishment was pointed out to us in the distance, but we did not go over it, as we had seen many before, and it is not the best season of the year. The silkworms are most carefully tended, the people who look after them being obliged to change their clothes before entering the rooms where they are kept, and to perform all sorts of superstitious ceremonies at every stage of the insect's growth. No one at all ailing or deformed is allowed to approach a building where they are kept. The worms are supposed to be very nervous, and are guarded from everything that can possibly frighten them, as well as from all changes of temperature or disturbances of the atmosphere. Thunder and lightning they are supposed specially to dread, and great pains are taken to shelter them by artificial means, and keep them from all knowledge of the storm.

The next place we visited was a bird's-nest-soup-shop street, where we went into one of the best and most extensive establishments. There were three or four well-dressed assistants behind the counter, all busily occupied in sorting and packing birds' nests. Some of the best were as white as snow, and were worth two dollars each, while a light brown one was worth only one dollar, and the black dirty ones, full of feathers and moss, could be purchased at the rate of a quarter dollar.

Certainly the Chinese seem an exception to the rule laid down by some writers, that no people can flourish who do not rest every seventh day. In many ways they are an abnormal people, one striking point in their condition being the state of dirt and filth in which they not only exist, but increase and multiply. The children look healthy and happy too, in spite of these apparent drawbacks, and notwithstanding the fact that in many cases their poor little feet must be cruelly tortured by the practice of bandaging them tightly to make them small.

When we got back to Shameen there was time for a stroll along the Bund. It is very pleasant, for the river runs close under the parapet, and its surface is always covered with junks, sampans, and boats and ships, going swiftly up or down with the strong tide. The walk is shaded with trees, and seats stand at intervals all along it.

An agreeable saunter was followed by a quiet, pleasant little dinner, and though we have been here only a few days we feel quite sorry that this is to be our last night in Canton, so kind has everybody been to us.

Monday, March 5th. - I was awake and writing from half-past four this morning, but before I got up, a woman who comes here every day to work brought me some small ordinary shoes which I had purchased as curiosities, and took the opportunity of showing me her feet. It really made me shudder to look at them, so deformed and cramped up were they, and, as far as I could make out, she must have suffered greatly in the process of reducing them to their present diminutive size. She took off her own shoes and tottered about the room in those she had brought, and then asked me to show her one of mine. Having most minutely examined it, she observed, with a melancholy shake of the head, 'Missisy foot much more good, do much walky, walky; mine much bad, no good for walky.'

Having said farewell to our kind hostess, we went off in the house-boat to the steamer. There was a great crowd on the lower deck - at least 900 Chinamen - to struggle through in order to reach the European quarters. We found other friends on board, who had come to see us off.

A few minutes before nine o'clock the bell rang as a signal for our friends' departure, and we steamed ahead, among such a crowd of sampans and junks that it was more like moving through a town than along a river. No accident, however, occurred, though one junk and one sampan had the very narrowest escape.

The voyage down took much longer than our voyage up, on account of the tide being against us, and in consequence we did not reach Hongkong until 3.30 p.m., when the gig with the children was soon alongside. We got off as soon as we could, for we expected some friends to afternoon tea on board the yacht. There was just time to dress before the first visitors arrived, and by half-past six at least two hundred had come. At one time quite a flotilla of boats lay around us, looking very pretty with all their flags flying. I think the people enjoyed it very much as something new, and we only wanted a band to enliven the proceedings.

Tuesday, March 6th. - The little girls and I went ashore at 7.30, to collect all our purchases with the help of a friend. We glanced at the museum too, which contains some curious specimens of Chinese and Japanese arms and armour, and the various productions of the two countries, besides many strange things from the Philippine and other islands. I was specially interested in the corals and shells. There were splendid conch shells from Manilla, and a magnificent group of Venus flower-baskets, dredged from some enormous depth near Manilla. There were also good specimens of reptiles of all sorts, and of the carved birds' heads for which Canton is famous. They look very like amber, and are quite as transparent, being carved to a great depth. I believe the bird is a kind of toucan or hornbill, but the people here call it a crane.

It was now time to say good-bye to Hongkong and to our kind friends, for we had to go on board the 'Flying Cloud,' which starts for Macao at two o'clock precisely, and our passages had been taken in her. Tom could not go with us, as he had fixed to-night for the dinner at which the Chinese gentlemen proposed to entertain him; but he came to see us off. We went out of the harbour by a different way, and passed along a different side of the island of Hongkong, but the scenery was not particularly interesting. Off Choolong a heavy ground-swell, called 'Pon choughai,' made us roll about most unpleasantly. In bad weather, or with a top-heavy ship, this passage could not be attempted. Sometimes there are very heavy fogs, and always strong currents, so that the short voyage of forty-two miles is not absolutely free from danger.

The town of Macao is situated on a peninsula at the end of the island of the same name. It was the first foreign settlement in China belonging to the Portuguese, and was once a fine, handsome town, with splendid buildings. Unfortunately Macao lies in the track of the typhoons, which at times sweep over it with a resistless force, shattering and smashing everything in their career. These constantly recurring storms, and the establishment of other ports, have resulted in driving many people away from the place, and the abolition of the coolie traffic has also tended to diminish the number of traders. Now the town has a desolate, deserted appearance, and the principal revenue of the government is derived from the numerous gambling-houses.

We landed at the pier soon after five o'clock, and were carried across the peninsula through the town to the Praya on the other side. Here we found a large unoccupied mansion, situated in a garden overlooking the sea, and, having delivered our Chinese letters, were received with the greatest civility and attention by the comprador and the servants who had been left in charge of our friend's house. The rooms upstairs, to which we were at once shown, were lofty and spacious, opening into a big verandah. Each room had a mosquito room inside it, made of wire gauze and wood, like a gigantic meat-safe, and capable of containing, besides a large double bed, a chair and a table, so that its occupant is in a position to read and write in peace, even after dark. This was the first time we had seen one of these contrivances. By the direction of the comprador the house chairs were prepared, and coolies were provided to take us for an expedition round the town, while our things were being unpacked, and the necessary arrangements made for our comfort. Macao is a thoroughly Portuguese-looking town, the houses being painted blue, green, red, yellow, and all sorts of colours. It is well garrisoned, and one meets soldiers in every direction. We passed the fort, and went up to the lighthouse, which commands a fine view over land and sea; returning home by a different way through the town again, which we entered just as the cathedral bell and the bells of all the churches were pealing the Ave Maria. On our return we found a fire lighted and everything illuminated, and by half-past eight we had a capital impromptu dinner served. Chinese Tommy, who waited on us, had decorated the table most tastefully with flowers. Macao is a favourite resort for the European residents of Hongkong who are addicted to gambling. The gentlemen of our party went to observe the proceedings, but to-night there were only a few natives playing at fan-tan - a game which, though a great favourite with the natives, appears very stupid to a European. The croupier takes a handful of copper cash and throws it upon the table; he then with chop-sticks counts the coins by fours, the betting being upon the possible number of the remainder. It takes a long time to count a big handful, and you have only one, two, three, or four to back - no colours or combinations, as at rouge-et-noir, or trente-et-quarante.

At Macao the sleep-disturbing watchmen, unlike those of Canton, come round every hour and beat two sharp taps on a drum at intervals of half a minute, compelling you to listen against your will, until the sound dies away in the distance for a brief interval.

Wednesday, March 7th. - We started soon after ten o'clock on another exploring expedition, going first in chairs through the town, and across the peninsula to where we left the steamer yesterday. Here we embarked - chairs, bearers, and all, in a junk, evidently cleaned up for the occasion, for it was in beautiful order, and mats were spread under an awning upon deck.

All along beneath the deck was a cabin, between two and three feet high, which contained the altar, the kitchen, and the sleeping and living apartments of the family. There was also a dear little baby, two months old, which seemed to take life very quietly, while its mother assisted its grandfather to row.

We soon reached the island of Chock-Sing-Toon, and disembarked at a small pier near a village, which looked more like sampans pulled up on the shore than huts or cottages. The children and I rode in chairs, while the gentlemen walked, first over a plain covered with scrubby palms, then through miles of well-cultivated plots of vegetable ground, till we reached a temple, built at the entrance to the valley for which we were bound. Thence the path wound beside the stream flowing from the mountains above, and the vegetation became extremely luxuriant and beautiful. Presently we came to a spot where a stone bridge spanned the torrent, with a temple on one side and a joss-house on the other. It was apparently a particularly holy place, for our men had all brought quantities of joss-sticks and sacred paper with them to burn. There was a sort of eating-house close by, where they remained whilst we climbed higher up to get a view. The path was well made, and evidently much used, judging from the large number of natural temples we found adapted and decorated among the rocks. As usual, our descent was a comparatively quick affair, and we soon found ourselves on board the junk on our way back to Macao, beating across the harbour.

Just before tiffin the yacht made her appearance, causing great excitement in the minds of the natives. The gig was soon lowered and came as close as she could. There was not water enough for her to come within four miles of the shore, but we went out to meet her occupants. Tom, who was one of them, looked so ill and miserable that I felt quite alarmed for a few minutes, till the doctor comforted me by assurances that it was only the effect of the Chinese dinner last night - an explanation I had no difficulty in accepting as the correct one after perusing the bill of fare. In their desire to do him honour, and to give him pleasure, his hosts had provided the rarest delicacies, and of course he felt obliged to taste them all. Some of the dishes were excellent, but many of them were rather trying to a European digestion, especially the fungus and lichen. One sort had been grown on ice in the Antarctic Sea, the whale's sinews came from the Arctic Ocean, the shark's fins from the South Sea Islands, and the birds' nests were of a quality to be found only in one particular cave in one particular island. To drink, they had champagne in English glasses, and arrack in Chinese glasses. The whole dinner was eaten with chop-sticks, though spoons were allowed for the soup. After dinner there were some good speeches, the chief host expressing his deep regret that their manners and customs did not permit them to ask ladies, as they were particularly anxious to invite me, and had only abandoned the idea of doing so after considerable discussion. I append the bill of fare: -

March 6, 1877.


4 courses of small bowls, one to each guest, viz. -

   Bird's-nest Soup 
   Pigeon's Eggs 
   Ice Fungus (said to grow in ice) 
   Shark's Fins (chopped)

8 large bowls, viz. -

   Stewed Shark's Fins 
   Fine Shell Fish 
   Mandarin Bird's Nest 
   Canton Fish Maw 
   Fish Brain 
   Meat Balls with Rock Fungus 
   Pigeons stewed with Wai Shan (a strengthening herb) 
   Stewed Mushroom

4 dishes, viz. -

   Sliced Ham 
   Roast Mutton 
   Roast Sucking Pig

1 large dish, viz. -

   Boiled Rock Fish

8 small bowls, viz. -

   Stewed Pig's Palate 
   Minced Quails 
   Stewed Fungus (another description) 
   Sinews of the Whale Fish 
   Rolled Roast Fowl 
   Sliced Teals 
   Stewed Duck's Paw 
   Peas stewed

We went all round the town, and then to see the ruins of the cathedral, and the traces of the destruction caused by the typhoon in 1874. Next we paid a visit to the garden of Camoens, where he wrote his poems in exile.[20] The garden now belongs to a most courteous old Portuguese, with whom I managed, by the aid of a mixture of Spanish and French, to hold a conversation. The place where Camoens' monument is erected commands, however, an extensive prospect, but we had already seen it, and as Tom was anxious to get clear of the islands before dark we were obliged to hasten away.

[Footnote 20: Luiz de Camoens, a celebrated Portuguese poet, born about 1520; fought against the Moors, and in India; but was often in trouble, and was frequently banished or imprisoned. During his exile in Macao he wrote his great poem 'The Lusiads,' in which he celebrates the principal events in Portuguese history.]

On reaching the yacht, after some delay in embarking, we slipped our anchor as quickly as possible, and soon found ourselves in a nasty rolling sea, which sent me to bed at once. Poor Tom, though he felt so ill that he could hardly hold his head up, was, however, obliged to remain on deck watching until nearly daylight; for rocks and islands abound in these seas, and no one on board could undertake the pilotage except himself.

Thursday, March 8th. - When I went on deck at half-past six o'clock there was nothing to be seen but a leaden sky, a cold grey rolling sea, and two fishing junks in the far distance, nor did the weather improve all day.

Friday, March 9th. - Everybody began to settle down to the usual sea occupations. There was a general hair-cutting all round, one of the sailors being a capital barber, and there is never time to attend to this matter when ashore. The wind was high and baffling all day. At night the Great Bear and the Southern Cross shone out with rivalling brilliancy: 'On either hand an old friend and a new.'

Saturday, March 10th. - A fine day, with a light fair breeze. Passed the island of Hainan, belonging to China, situated at the entrance of the Gulf of Tonquin, which, though very barren-looking, supports a population of 150,000.

Repacked the curiosities and purchases from Canton and Hongkong, and made up our accounts.

About noon we passed a tall bamboo sticking straight up out of the water, and wondered if it were the topmast of some unfortunate junk sunk on the Paranella Shoal. There were many flying-fish about, and the sunset was lovely.

Sunday, March 11th. - We feel that we are going south rapidly, for the heat increases day by day. The services were held on deck at eleven and four.

About five o'clock I heard cries of 'A turtle on the starboard bow,' 'A wreck on the starboard bow.' I rushed out to see what it was, and the men climbed into the rigging to obtain a better view of the object. It proved to be a large piece of wood, partially submerged, apparently about twenty or thirty feet long. The exposed part was covered with barnacles and seaweed, and there was a large iron ring attached to one end. We were sailing too fast to stop, or I should have liked to have sent a boat to examine this 'relic of the sea' more closely. These waifs and strays always set me thinking and wondering, and speculating as to what they were originally, whence they came, and all about them, till Tom declares I weave a complete legend for every bit of wood we meet floating about.

Tuesday, March 13th. - About 2.30 a.m. the main peak halyards were carried away. Soon after we gybed, and for two or three hours knocked about in the most unpleasant manner. At daybreak we made the island of Pulu Lapata, or Shoe Island, situated on the coast of Cochin China, looking snowy white in the early morning light.

The day was certainly warm, though we were gliding on steadily and pleasantly before the north-east monsoon.

Wednesday, March 14th. - The monsoon sends us along at the rate of from six to seven knots an hour, without the slightest trouble or inconvenience. There is an unexpected current, though, which sets us about twenty-five miles daily to the westward, notwithstanding the fact that a 'southerly current' is marked on the chart.

March 16th. - There was a general scribble going on all over the ship, in preparation for the post to-morrow, as we hope to make Singapore to-night, or very early in the morning. About noon Pulo Aor was seen on our starboard bow. In the afternoon, being so near the Straits, the funnel was raised and steam got up. At midnight we made the Homburgh Light, and shortly afterwards passed a large steamer steering north. It was a glorious night, though very hot below, and I spent most of it on deck with Tom, observing the land as we slowly steamed ahead half speed.