Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

porary one.

Mr. Fechter is, un- -should venture to face the pit of the questionably, an actor of mark, a Théatre Français, as “Polyeucte," clever disciple of the sensation school; “Oreste," or, "Orosmane,” in their admirable in the melo-dramatic train- original garb and dialect, and were to ing, which elevates and purifies publish new readings of Corneille, public taste and morals, by such Racine, and Voltaire, founded on a classic severities as “Ruy Blas,” “The “twenty years' lover's desire to rescue Corsican Brothers, and the “Dame the hallowed text from the ignorance aux Camelias.” He may attempt to or incapacity of all native illustrators, execute Shakespeare, but he cannot there can be no doubt that the entente conceive him." Talına could not do cordiale between the two great it, and he was as Ossa to a wart, in nations would be seriously endangera comparative estimate of ability. Of ed, and a casus belli might, possibly, Mr. Fechter's momentary effect in be established. But the retaliation "Hamlet,” there can be no doubt. is not likely to occur, even should the Old playgoers and veteran actors exciting cause be repeated. were taken by it, and exclaimed, Our article has been discursive and

He has thrown tradition to the rambling, for which we owe, perhaps, dogs.” It was one of those periodi- an apology to our readers ; but the ca fits of lunacy to which that subject embraces an illimitable range. usually sober-minded impersonation, The “myriad-minded Shakespeare," Mr. John Bull, sometimes surrenders as Coleridge styles him, suggests an himself. But the break down in endless crowd of allusions, references, “Othello” restored his balance and and reminiscences. The wise king dispelled the hallucination. It is diffi- of Israel says, There is nothing new cult to decide which injured Mr. Fech- under the sun.” The most ambitious ter most in his second onslaught, his painter, then, ought to be satisfied if acting or his critical and scenic emen- he can mark a few turns of expresdations. If such an audacious at- sion in a familiar portrait more distempt were reciprocated in Paris ; if tinctly than they have previously Mr. C. Kean, or Mr. Phelps, or Mr. been delineated.

we are puzzled for a third name

THE YANG-TSZE RIVER, AND THE TAEPINGS IN CHINA.

[ocr errors]

It was a stereotyped sarcasm of the knowledge of the interior of that bitter old school of reviewing that vast empire. author, printer, designer, engraver, The celestial land has ever been, and publisher had entered into a con- till lately, a great unknown to us; spiracy to illuse the public. We and naturally so, for its government may, very honestly, make just the allowed no native to emigrate, and no reverse of this remark on Captain foreigners to intrude, except some Blakiston's Five Months on the Roman Catholic missionaries, who Upper Yang-Tsze."* The lively and buried themselves in the country, and graphic narrative of the gallant from whom we learned little. Proauthor is set off by well-executed bably, a few years ago, even among illustrations, valuable maps, and skil- well-read men, there was not one in fully prepared scientific statistics, ten who had a distinct notion of the without which publications of travels condition of that large section of the are mere. story-books. The subject, human family which inhabited China, too, possesses the rare charm of no- or of the physical features of their velty ; for while recent events have country. As for the majority, they increased our interest in the affairs of just knew that it was the land from China, they have added little to our which their tea came. For ideas of its

"Five Months on the Yang-Tsze." By Thomas W. Blakistou, late Captain, Royal Artillery. London: Murray, 1862.

.

architecture, scenery, and costume, once begin at the beginning, with
they were chiefly indebted to the ubi- Captain Blakiston, and follow his for-
quitous willow-pattern which figured tunes up the flowery land.
on their plates and dishes. Less than a When, by the Treaty of Pekin, in
century ago, when Goldsmith wanted 1860, a number of ports were opened
a really strange land with which his to British commerce, it became ne-
imagination could play freaks with. cessary for the representatives of
out restraint, he selected China; and England to visit the three inland
in his “Letters from Fum Ho," he towns of Chin-keang, Kien-keang,
successfully conveys the impressions and Hankow, which are situated on
of the most utter stranger to Eu- the Yany-Tsze, and to inaugurate in
rope.

the presence of a few gun-boats, the To Captain Blakiston and his exercise of the rights recently conparty belongs the distinction of hav- ferred by the Treaty. For this puring penetrated this undiscovered land pose, in February, 1861, Admiral Sir 900 miles further than any previous James Hope started from Shanghai explorers, if we except the

few Roman with a compact little feet of warCatholic missionaries. Having un- steamers, and on board one of these dergone five months of incessant toil, was the “ Overland Expedition,” as and incurred, during part of the jour- it was called, consisting of Captain ney, very considerable peril, Captain Blakiston, Lieutenant-Colonel Sarel, Blakiston has returned safe to tell Doctor Alfred Barton, and the Rev. what he saw. The route of this S. Schereschewsky, an American pioneer party was up the Yang-Tsze, missionary. Their object was to pass which is the Mississippi of China. up with the fleet as far as possible, All the great continents of the world, and then journey in junks up the except Australia, possess immense river to Tibet, to cross the Himawatery highways, which rise in some layas, and so pass over into Northback-bone of mountain and flow Western India. down to the sea, fertilizing the coun- Considering that the whole of the tries through which they pass. Eu- districts through which the upper rope has the Volga and the Danube, portion of the Yang-Tsze flows were with a liost of lesser streams. The infested with all sorts of plunderers Ganges rolls down from snowy peaks and assassins, both Taeping and Imfor over 1,300 miles, not unnaturally perial, to any of whom it would have an object of veneration to the dusky been a matter of pride and pleasure millions of Hindostan. The Nile to have walked off with a few Eurobears down through the sultry plains pean heads; we cannot but think of Egypt volumes of water at times that the “Overland Expedition” had desolating in their exuberance. The mapped out for itself an exceedingly American continent, richest of all in arduous and dangerous route. But rivers, can boast the Amazon, the there is nothing like aiming high. Plata, the Oronoco, the Mississippi, Though, as events turned out, they the Missouri. What these different were unable to complete the whole of rivers are to their respective coun- their scheme, they have made an tries, the Yang-Tsze and Hwang-Ho immense stride into the back districts are to China.

of China, and they have also one and The Yang-Tsze, the course of which all returned alive to tell what they Captain Blakiston followed for 1,800 discovered. miles, rises, as may be observed by We shall see that if they had looking at the map of Eastern Asia, persisted in the attempt to cross into out of China Proper, in the region of India, they might have penetrated a Tibet, and winds for over 3,000 miles little further than they did, but they through the provinces of Yu-nan, Sz!- would most probably never have chuan, Hoo-peh, Hoonan, Kiang-ri, returned. It was not till they were Au-hoei, till it reaches Nanking, cast loose by the steam-ships of the from which city its breadth gradually fleet at Yo-chow, 150 miles above increases, and it rolls into the sea an Hankow, that the really interesting immense volume of waters, spreading and novel portions of their adventures out at its mouth, like all large rivers, commenced, and we shall

, therefore, into a vast estuary, with the usual pass lightly over the journey thus far. deltas. We cannot do better than at The strangest sights recorded up to that point, are the Ming tombs and Taeping Dynasty, to endure for a the porcelain pagoda. Who has not myriad myriad years." In it a magheard of the porcelain tower of China? nificent square block of land, surWho has not seen in the story books rounded by seas, is China ; another about the celestial land, the print square surrounded by walls is the of that tall straight turret, with its capital, and all the rest of the world succession of fancifully projecting is either not represented at all, or is eaves, so gigantic, yet so symmetrically set down as so many specks. England quaint, and looking like something and France being two little islands in between a church-steeple and a light- the corner. house? And into which of our minds But we must not delay upon trifles, ever entered the doubt that it was not however amusing ; we will at once all made of porcelain? For ourselves, proceed to the start from Yo-chow, we freely confess that our young idea at the entrance of Tung-ting lake, was fixed and clear that it was one 150 miles above Hankow. The party, gigantic pile of porcelain, and in later consisting of the gentlemen already years we never troubled ourselves to named, was attended by a very heterbecome sceptical. But from what ogeneous crew. The naval commander Captain Blakiston says, we learn that was an ill-favoured looking old Chinathe wl notion was a delusion. man, with a broken-up and unwholeThere was never such a thing as a some appearance, the result of the tower built of porcelain, and now use of opium, a forbidding cast in his there is no tower there at all. It eyes, and features generally suggestive was mainly constructed of brick and of stabbing in the dark. He possestile, and it was only the tiling of the sed the name of Ou-hung Foo. The succession of roofs which was of mandarin who accompanied the party porcelain, and now it is nothing but was a quiet, soft, inquisitive official, Ta white hill of ruins.”

who went to take care of all on The tombs of the Ming dynasty board, and who very much needed are not far from the tower. In these to be taken care of himself. The structures there is now little to remark, cook was ugly even for a Chinaman. but surrounding them arestone figures He had but one eye, his hat was of camels, elephants, horses, dogs, and without a top, his clothes were in men, which are meant to represent a tatters, and his only recreations were suitable attendance on the spirit of to watch live eels frying on the pan, the dead sovereign on its way to the and to rush out on deck and shout other world. The simple, and, as a lustily whenever the crew had to Chinese would doubtless think it, push on the boat againsta particularly intensely vulgar notion that as the stiff current; this, in passing, we figures have been there some centuries, may remark, was not a useless duty. they have waited long enough to Everything requiring exertion in attend any reasonable wanderings of China must be accompanied with the the royal spirits, occurs to English stimulus of loud vociferations; and observers ; but whether they are even the battles, of which Captain wanted much longer or not, they Blakiston was a spectator, in his course give evidence of growing tired of their upthe Yang-Tsze, resounded throughattendance. Their condition of dilap- out with a succession of loud cheers idation is ludicrous. The lion has and roars from either side, as a good only three legs, a tree is sprouting hit was considered to have been from the elephant's back, one of the made. nondescripts is on his side, and the Another member of the crew was men evince a tendency to lie down. a fine athletic young man, who lived

Before we start from Yo-chow, we for almost the whole voyage on may also direct the reader's attention opium-smoking. He abandoned himto Mr. Forrest's graphic sketch of the self to stupefaction all night, and palace of Hung-tsiu-tsuen the rebel was strong for his work next morning; chief, in Nanking, or rather of so when dinner-time came, he dined on much of it as it is permitted the bar- a few puffs of the opium-pipe, and barians to inspect. About the most was quite fresh for the evening's toil. characteristic thing in it, is the map But though supported by the drug, it which is entitled the “Map of the was melancholy, Captain Blakiston Entire Territory of the Heavenly remarks, to see how he wasted away under its influence. Another of the per part of the river. Through the junk's company was distinguished by province of Hoo-peh it permeates an his determined abnegation of clothes. immense valley for about 200 miles, His own skin he considered a suffi- up to I-chang, a distance, with windciently effectual covering; and from ings, of 360 geographical miles; it perpetual exposure to all sorts of passes through an alluvial country, weather, it in time became marvel- for the minute characteristics of ously like the skin of a hippopotamus. which we commend our readers to There was, moreover, a wag or fool Captain Blakiston's lively narrative. among the crew, or at least a person Generally the country was fertile and who acted in that capacity, and whose not unskilfully cultivated. Of the duty it was when the men were at an country near I-chang, for the precise unusually hard pull in some rapid, situation of which place the map had to run before them, turn innumerable better be referred to, we read :somersaults, display indescribable antics, kneel down and piteously

“l-chang or rather its smoke, and the supplicate them to pull hard, and pagoda about a couple of miles below the finally arming himself with a sturdy place, are within sight a long way down, stick, to belabour them soundly all and I thought at the time that I had never

beheld a more beautiful river scene. On round, by way of giving point to cither hand the banks had become high and his previous persuasions. There are precipitous, bold cliffs of rock rose immemany queer customs in China, but diately from the deep water. To our left one of the most whimsical is this of hand as we ascended—that is, beyond the a crew appointing one of their number river's right bank—was entirely a mounto supply them daily with thestimulus tainous country, and we could observe it of a good thrashing. The foregoing extended to the northward beyond the are some specimens of the crew.

town that lay on the other side in the river The “Overland Expedition" had a

valley, behind which the country rose genbody guard of four Seiklis, Sepoys sionally by a narrow, rice-planted valley,

tly into plateau and ridges, broken occaof H.M. 11th Punjaub Infantry, a

through which a quick-running stream carChinese assistant to the Rev. Mr. ried the surplus drainings of the paddy-land Schereschewsky, and two Chinese ser- to the river. The vegetation was a beauvants completed the party. Such was tiful combination of temperate and semithe composition of the company tropical forms, while the occasional palm which, under the direction of Captain occurring here and there served to remind Blakiston and his friends, now com

us that in these inland regions one must menced the adventurous task of for- expect the extreme temperature to reach a cing their way to the mountain cra

high degree. Wheat was now over a foot dle of the 'Yang-Tsze, which lies high, and peas, beans, and peaches, were in

The country everywhere, except nearly 3,000 miles from the coast.

on the steepest slopes, or where a rock was They navigated in a large flat-bot- exposed, was highly cultivated.” tomed junk, drawing about two feet of water, and eighty feet long by ten From I-chang to Wau, a distance wide. A big mast was stuck in the of 140 geographical miles, their route middle, on which was hung a large was marked by the strongest rapids ragged sail of light cotton, crossed and the grandest gorges. A beautiful horizontally by many bamboos. The illustration of the Lu-Kan gorge supmode of navigation was either with plies the frontispiece of the book ; oars, or by the crew tracking along and if it be not very much exaggerathe banks as horses do our own canal ted, which we have certainly no reaboats, at which work they got on very son to suspect, seldom has human eye well with the assistance of the jester's rested on a more magnificent piece cudgel.

of scenery. At Wau the country beWe will not attempt to trace in comes more open again, till at Suchow detail the course of the party during it finally rises into the mountain distheir long navigation up to Ping- tricts of Tibet. Shan, the furthest point reached. During their whole passage up We shall merely present the results river, the members of the “Overland in a general way. The course of the Expedition” had been objects of Yang-Tsze below Hankow has been mingled aversion and curiosity to the often described before, and we need natives. In some particular places only concern ourselves with the up- they were looked on as being in league with the Taepings, who were devas- fashions and did not cramp their feet. tating all the inland districts. They Indeed, had they been strictly Chiwere generally referred to by the un- nese they would not have seen the pleasing sobriquet of “western devils,” strangers. The odious habit of comand wherever they could be kept out pressing the women's feet, which of a town by any amount of excuses, some supposed did not extend to the evasions, and lies, no exertions to interior of the empire, Captain Blathat end were spared by those in kiston has discovered to be universal. authority. The women especially Everywhere the women are to be seen shunned them with provoking perti- waddling about on what look like nacity.

little goat hoofs, balancing themselves When we consider how little the by touching walls as they pass along, people knew of them, and how and apparently in imıninent peril much the customs of China enjoin of toppling over, while the Chinese seclusion on the better class of fe- young gentlemen look on admiringly, males, we scarcely wonder at their and praise her much who waddles more than oriental shyness. But most. Captain Blakiston would not tamely The further the party got up the submit to be the shunned one of the river the less they found the people Chinese ladies, for, to judge by his to like them. At Chung-King they own confession, he pursued them were very near being assassinated. with a spirit and determination which, When they arrived off this town they no doubt, struck additional dismay sent to the Governor telling him that into their hearts. Whenever the they wished very much to pay him a bearded European face appeared in visit, and requesting him to send front of a cottage, all the females flut- chairs for their conveyance. They tered away in trepidation. In a second, had also been asked to dinner by the the house would be ransacked to find Roman Catholic missionary in the out their hiding-place. Sometimes town, who told them that if they had they would be in the fields, and our an objection to chop-sticks, they gallant author would execute a rapid should bring their own knives and Hank movement in the hope of inter- forks. During the evening of the copting their retreat, but they, know- day on which they had sent to the ing all the corners well, would cun- Governor to make arrangements for ningly evade him. Then again he their entry, a party of imperial tried stealth, endeavouring to creep soldiers, stationed at the place, came up behind a party of females who down to the junk, insisted on getting were enjoying the open air, uncon- into her, made themselves very scious of the presence of the western troublesome, and showed a strong devil,” when some odious, watchful desire to take away with them several cur, filled with wrath at the sight of things that did not belong to them. a stranger, sounds the alarm in shrill Their desires, too, had an unpleasant yelps, and away the celestials run. turn, for they especially coveted a More than once, however, Captain Bla- large sharp knife which was lying kiston actually caught a female prize, about the cabin, and which they could and after many tears and some force, only have wanted for use on human prevailed on her to turn her face flesh. The doctor finding them in from the wall into which she cowered his way motioned them out, and out like a hunted deer, so that he got hison deck they went; but one of their reward by the sight of “a face which number positively declined to pass

Oh don't ask me. But out on shore, and when seized with a they are not all quite so bad.” view of being pushed out, he threw

Åt Sha-sze the mandarin who ac- himself down, gesticulated frightcompanied them brought his wife fully, and made himself as disagreeand family, who lived there, on board able as possible. Dr. Barton seeing to see the distinguished foreigners. matters in this state, took up the They were dressed in loose jackets sprawling warrior and shuffled him and fancy trowsers, the younger ones quietly over the side into the river. having bright-coloured flowers set in As he struggled to the brink and their skilfully dressed hair, and our crawled up, the mob around shouted author declares them to have been and cheered, quite enjoying the joke really pretty. They followed Tartar at the expense of the imperial brave,

was

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »