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Basile de Glemona,* has also been prepared by him, which will be much superior to the original work, or to that of Morrison, which Mr. Klaproth pronounces to be a blundering production.
We will glean what we can out of Mr. Timkowski's narrative, not promising that it shall always be very new or interesting. Pekin, though probably the most populous city in the world, has no pretensions to being handsome, according to European ideas. It has no fine quays, no long lines of buildings, according to a regular architectural design, like the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, or Prince's street, George's street, &c. in the new town of Edinburgh. It is not lighted at night. In general, the houses are but one story high, covered with grey tiles, and enclosed by high walls; but the courts of justice, the palaces of princes, &c. are elevated on a basement story and have handsome entrances. The most splendid buildings are the spacious and magnificent temples, with their columps and staircases of fine white marble. Considerable elegance too is seen in the shops, and the brilliant exhibition of goods. Mr. Timkowski, however, considered one of the Portuguese convents as the most imposing building in the city. The windows of the houses have paper instead of glass, on account of the violence with which sand is thrown against them in storms. Sometimes during these storms, the whole air is filled with a dense yellow cloud that renders candles pecessary at mid-day. In the Russian convent alone, the windows are glazed with Muscovy glass or mica. No stoves are used in the rooms; but copper vessels with coals are placed under hollow benches, wbich serve as seats by day and beds by night. The walls are hung with white or coloured paper, inscribed with choice sentences from celebrated poets or philosophers. In the mansions of the wealthy, the doors and partitions are of juniper, camphor, and the most costly woods, richly carved, which, beside their beauty, yield a grateful perfume. Fine woods, highly polished and varnished, are also used for the chairs and other funiture. The streets are broad and straight, but not paved. Though the ground is pretty firm, the dust is often troublesome; and to lay it, the citizens throw out frequently water that is not very limpid to the eyes nor agreeable in its odour. In other respects too, the cleanliness of the streets are much neglected, yet Pekin is healthy to stranger as well as native.
Streets constantly crowded, evince extreme populousness. Mr. Tiinkowski had no means of ascertaining the population, but supposes it cannot be less than 2,000,000. Yet surely if that was the calculation of Gaubil, there must have been a great increase in time of profound peace. The passengers in the streets push along with rapid steps and busy faces, but yielding to that curiosity which seems to form an integral part of the Chinese character, they find time to look at jugglers, storytellers and diviners, who, as well as tinkers, barbers, cooks, &c. toil in their vocations in the middle of the streets. This immense population is kept in excellent order by a rigid police. Although there are fifty thousand persons, according to Mr. Timkowski, who gain their living by thieving, not a robbery of importance occurred during his residence at Pekin. That there should be some vice is not astonishing, when we consider the abject poverty of a great number of the lower order. Many of these wretches live in caverns near the walls. Covered with rags or fragments of mat, they sometimes wait about the shops until they obtain a small pittance of money; at other times, gain a trifle by attending funerals as hired mourners. In winter, the bonzes distribute rice, as was formerly done in the convents of Europe.
* This Dictionary generally goes under the name of De Guignes, jun. who did little more than superintend the publication.
The Abbè Grosier assures us that Chinese cooking exceeds French ; but that was before the days of Very, Beauvilliers, and the Magnus Apollo of the age, UDE. Mr. Timkowski speaks not as to the state of the gastronomic science in the Celestial empire, but gives a list of culinary materials, which shows that the Chinese need only professors on a level with the march of intellect in Europe, in order to still maintain an honourable rivalry with the French.
Provisions of every kind are abundant and good, perhaps, with some reservation as to the mutton, which is generally injured by long driving through Mongolia. The pork is excellent, and is regarded as a delicacy. The Chinese find it healthy and digestible in all its varieties, in which they are supported by the experience of our Southern States, maugre the authority of many of the medical world, aided and abetted by the oracular Ude. Nay, we cannot forbear adding the authority of a physician as to the soothing effects of bacon on dyspeptic stomachs, the prevailing curse of warm climates. "Bacon (says Cunningham, in his account of New South Wales*) was long considered by professional men as a heavy, indigestible food; and when a country lout was seen eagerly devouring his three inch fat bacon spread on his inch thick bread, 'what a digester' it would be exclaimed, 'must that fellow's stomach be!' Expe
* Vol. i. p. 284.
rience and observation, however, have refuted these notions, and proved good fat bacon to be at once among the most nutritious and easily digestible of our animal foods. Broiled bacon is, therefore, become of late, a favourite recipe by most medical men in cases of weak or deranged digestion; and I know a lady who requires the gravy of beef or mutton to stand still till cool, and then to have the fat skimmed off, before she can use it the smallest portion of beef or mutton fat deranging her stomach--to whom fat bacon never occasions any uneasiness."
Pekin also has ducks, geese and chickens, partridges, pheasants, and game of all kinds, and fish both from fresh and salt water. Of the vegetable kingdom, there are cabbages, turnips, carrots, cucumbers, &c. not to mention fruits, such as grapes, peaches, oranges, apples, pears and lemons. As for butter, that from sheep is preferred, and is almost exclusively used.
It would require another Accum to point out the various ways in which death slips into the pot by the sophisticating hands of the Chinese venders. The flesh of mules and asses is passed off for beef; the meat of diseased animals is vended; air is blown between the skin of chickens and ducks, so as to make them look white and plump; plaister is mixed with flour, &c. Mr. Timkowski makes no inention of the wooden hams, for which the Chinese are so famous, and which are only rivalled by the wooden nutmegs of our own continent.
In Pekin, as well as the rest of China, tea is the general beverage; it is sold in the shops, and drank at all hours of the day. The wine also made of rice, mentioned by Rubruquis (1253) and Marco Polo (1272), is still in general use. Marco Polo says "this beverage or wine, as it may be termed, is so good and well-flavoured, that they do not wish for better. It is clear, bright and pleasant to the taste.” According to Rubruquis, it is like the wine of Auxerre. Newhoff thinks it equal to the best of Europe: Ides compares it with the best Rhenish : Staunton describes it as not unlike Madeira of inferior quality : and Ellis, as approaching nearer to Sherry.* If half these praises are true, it is a pity that the art of fabricating this wine is not known in South-Carolina and Georgia, where rice grows with abundance, and certainly far beyond the grape in any part of the world. What is usually called the broken rice, might in this way be turned to advantage. The Russian Count Goliakovski, has gained the eternal love and gratitude of the Chinese, by making them acquainted with the delights of Champaigne.
* Marsden's Marco Polo, 322, 373_Rubruquis Hist. Gen. des Voy. vol. vii. 274– Neuhoff, vol. v. 232, 263_Ides’, vol. v. 501-Staunton's Embassy, vol. ii. 8o-Ellis' Account, 80, Am, edit.also mentioned in Shah Rokh's Embassy, and by Navarette, &c.
The climate of the Chinese capital is excessively warm in summer and cold in winter. Froin December till March, the water is frozen, and the thermometer was often during the stay of Mr. Timkowski, at 12° below zero of Reaumur; yet Pekin is in lat. 39° 51'. This shows the strong similarity which exists in the climate on the eastern shores of the two hemispheres in similar parallels of latitude.
During the stay of the Russian mission, its members were treated like brothers by the Portuguese Jesuits established in Pekin-a pleasing instance of the Christian piety and toleration of the present age. The Church of the Jesuits is magnificent; adorned with good pictures, but some of thein sufficiently ridiculous.
“There is a picture, the subject of which is taken from the Gospel. It represents Jesus Christ receiving the gifts of a child dressed in the Chinese summer costume. Among the crowd of Israelites, are a number of Chinese, who behold with delight this act of condescension.” Vol. ii.
The inside of the church is painted on the right and left with perspective views of the interior of rooms, the same, we presume, which formerly so astonished the Chinese, acccording to the “Lettres Editiantes," if we remember right. These are the remnants of the days when the Jesuits were the favourites of the Emperor, and possessed more than three hundred churches in China. Their power is now entirely gone, and their number insignificant.
It would seem that Mr. Timkowski formed no very favourable idea of the Chinese : he speaks of them, as “proud, vindictive, interested, jealous, very distrustful, and very cunning; indifferent not only to strangers but to their own countrymen; in general, inclined to a dissolute way of life: you cannot trust your best friend,"&c. All this must certainly be taken with great reservation. The Hong merchants of Canton are celebrated for their uprightness, honour, and “the exactness and punctuality with which they perform their engagements :" and the Chinese novels exhibit constant examples of upright magistrates, amiable citizens, kind fathers, and firm friends. Drunkenness, according to all authors, is almost unknown to them. Polygamy, which in every point of view is both injurious to a nation, as degrading one-half of the community, and abstracting from general co-operation the moiety of the whole intellect of the people, appears from the Chinese works of fiction, not to have totally effaced proper ideas of the marriage state, and of the dignity and worth of woman. Indeed the ideas thrown out on this subject by the Chinese novelists, would often figure well in the exalted pages of European romance, or the very lays of the troubadours. It is true that in society there is not a promiscuous intercourse of the sexes; but it would seem from the novel, Iu-Kioo-li, that in their family meetings this rigour is dispensed with among relatives ; and, indeed, in that work, every thing indicates a polished state of society, enjoying the comforts and elegancies attendant on the highest degree of civilization.
No people can be more tolerant in religion than the Chinese. No test aets, no Jew laws, no inquisition, no tithes. Man here looks not into the conscience of his fellow-man, but tries him by the surer test of virtuous and consistent conduct. " The Mantchoo who blindly believes the priests of Fo; the Chinese who follows the law of Confucius and Lao Tsu; the Mongol, a zealous follower of Boudha; the Turkestan, the disciple of Mahomet, enjoy equally the protection of the laws, and live upon friendly terms with each other."
Both Rubruquis and Marco Polo speak of paper money among the Chinese, though they give no details as to the nature of it. The only coin of the country, at present, is copper; but trading is generally carried on with silver, which is passed by weight. Nearly every Chinese carries a small balance and chisel, to weigh it out and divide it to suit the occasion. Mr. Timkowski says they are apt to cheat by false balances, and with base silver. They have a manner of making bargains by signs, which our author thus describes :
“ The Chinese who wish to conceal the business which they treat of, take each other by their hands, which are hidden in their long sleeves, and make their bargains in this manner, without speaking a word. The Mongols are very fond of this manner of dealing; masters also make use of it when they are accompanied by their servants, because the latter make the tradesmen pay to them the eighth or ninth part of the value of their masters' purchase ; for which reason they endeavour to conceal from their servants the price which they offer, to make the merchant hope that the servant being ignorant of the terms, will be contented with whatever he may choose to give him ; but the servant, who is behind his master, makes signs to the tradesman that he requires the seventh, eighth or ninth part of the sum which his master is going to pay, and the tradesman augments or lower his price, according to the demands of the servant, or does not sell at all.” Vol. ii. p. 194.
The Chinese do not yet employ moveable types in printing, but engrave each page on a block, or as Mr. Timkowski says, sometimes on sheets of copper : they pretend to have had this art time out of mind, and in India and Japan, works printed in VOL. IV.NO. 7.