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The Augustan Reprint Society

[JAMES BRAMSTON]

THE
ART of POLITICKS

(1729)


In Falsehood Probability imploys,


Nor his old Lies with newer Lies destroys.(p. 16)
Not unlike Paintings, Principles appear,


Some best at distance, some when we are near
The Middle way the best we sometimes call.


But 'tis in Politicks no way at all.
There is no Medium: for the term in vogue


On either side is, Honest Man, or Rogue
To Likelihood your Characters confine;


Don't turn Sir Paul out, let Sir Paul resign.


In Walpole's Voice (if Factions Ill intend)


Give the two Universities a Friend;


Give Maidston Wit, and Elegance refin'd;


To both the Pelhams give the Scipios Mind;


To Cart'ret, Learning, Eloquence, and Parts;


To George the Second, give all English Hearts


To Likelihood your Characters confine;


Don't turn Sir Paul out, let Sir Paul resign.



Such artless art did ever mortal see,


Or politicks so void of policy?



What bard but this could Pelham's train compare


To Roman Scipio's thunder-bolts of war?


Did e'er their wars enrich their native isle,


With foreign treasures and with Spanish spoil?


But hark! and stare with all your ears and eyes!


Walpole is friend to Universities!




Hail politician bard! we ask not whether


A whig or tory; thou art both and neither.


Poultney and Walpole each adorn thy lays,


Which one for love, and one for money praise.


Alike are mention'd, equally are sung


Will. Shippen staunch, and slight Sir Wm. Young.


Bromley and Wyndham share the motley strain,


With Cart'ret, Maidstone, and the Pelhams twain
Alas Poor Me, you may my fortune guess:

I write, and yet Humanity profess:
[Pg viii]





I love the King, the Queen, and Royal Race:

I like the Government, but want no Place:






Was never in a Plot, my Brain's not hurt;

I Politicks to Poetry convert.





PUBLICATION NUMBER 177

WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY

Universiy of California, Los Angel

Last edited by Froggy; 09-15-2019 at 01:09 AM.
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SIGNATURE OF A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR.

LONDON

WILLIAM HEINEMANN

1895


BY GRACIOUS PERMISSION

I Humbly Dedicate

THIS WORK

TO

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN


PREFACE


In this book I have sought to present the reader with some dry facts about Corea and the Coreans. I have attempted to describe the manners and customs of the people as accurately as possible from the impressions which my visit to their country left upon me, but of course I do not claim that these personal opinions expressed are absolutely infallible. My sojourn extended over several months, and I never during all that time neglected any opportunity of studying the natives, giving my observations as they were made a permanent form by the aid both of pen and of brush. I was afforded specially favourable chances for this kind of work through the kind hospitality shown me by the Vice-Minister of Home Affairs and Adviser to the King, Mr. C.R. Greathouse, to whom I feel greatly indebted for my prolonged and delightful stay in the country, as well as for the amiable and valuable assistance which he and General Le Gendre, Foreign Adviser to His Corean Majesty, gave me in my observations and studies among the upper classes of Corea. I am also under great obligations to Mr. Seradin Sabatin, Architect to His Majesty the King, and to Mr. Krien, German Consul at Seoul, for the kindness and hospitality with which they treated me on my first arrival at their city.

The illustrations in this book are reproductions of sketches taken by me while in the country, and though, perhaps, they want much in artistic merit, I venture to hope that they will be found characteristic.

For literary style I hope my readers will not look. I am not a literary man, nor do I desire to profess myself such. I trust, however, that I have succeeded in telling my story in a simple and straightforward manner, for this especially was the object with which I started at the outset.

A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR.


CONTENTS
PREFACE
LIST OF PLATES
CHAPTER I

Christmas on board—Fusan—A body-snatcher—The Kiung-sang Province—The cotton production—Body-snatching extraordinary—Imperatrice Gulf—Chemulpo. Pp. 1—15
CHAPTER II

Chemulpo—So-called European hotels—Comforts—Japanese concession—The Guechas—New Year's festivities—The Chinese settlement—European residents—The word "Corea"—A glance at Corean history—Cho-sen. Pp. 16—31
CHAPTER III

The road to Seoul—The Mapu—Ponies—Oxen—Coolies—Currency—Mode of carrying weights—The Han River—Nearly locked out. Pp. 32—44
CHAPTER IV

The Coreans—Their faces and heads—Bachelors—Married men—Head-band—Hats—Hat-umbrellas—Clothes—Spectacles. Pp. 45—58
CHAPTER V

The Woman of Cho-sen—Her clothes—Her ways—Her looks—Her privileges—Her duties—Her temper—Difference of classes—Feminine musicians. Pp. 59—77
CHAPTER VI

Corean children—The family—Clans—Spongers—Hospitality—Spinning-tops—Toys—Kite-flying—Games—How babies are sent to sleep. Pp. 78—89
CHAPTER VII

Corean inns—Seoul—A tour of observation—Beggars—Lepers—Philosophy—An old palace—A leopard hunt—Weather prophets—The main street—Sedan chairs—The big bell—Crossing of the bridges—Monuments—Animal worship—The Gate of the Dead—A funeral—The Queen-dowager's telephone. Pp. 90—123
CHAPTER VIII

Seoul—The City Wall—A large image—Mount Nanzam—The fire-signals—The women's joss-house—Foreign buildings—Japanese settlement—An anecdote—Clean or not clean?—The Pekin Pass—The water-carrier—The man of the Gates. Pp. 124—135
CHAPTER IX

The Corean house—Doors and windows—Blinds—Rooms—The "Kan"—Roasting alive—Furniture—Treasures—The kitchen—Dinner-set—Food—Intoxicants—Gluttony—Capacity for food—Sleep—Modes of illumination—Autographs—Streets—Drainage—Smell. Pp. 136—150
CHAPTER X

A Corean marriage—How marriages are arranged—The wedding ceremony—The document—In the nuptial chamber—Wife's conduct—Concubines—Widows—Seduction—Adultery—Purch asing a husband—Love—Intrigue—Official "squeezing"—The cause. Pp. 151—164
CHAPTER XI

Painting in Seoul—Messages from the King—Royal princes sitting for their portraits—Breaking the mourning law—Quaint notions—Delight and despair—Calling in of State ceremony—Corean soldiers—How they mount guard—Drill—Honours—A much-admired shoe—A gift. Pp. 165—181
CHAPTER XII

The royal palace—A royal message—Mounting guard—The bell—The royal precinct—The Russian villa—An unfinished structure—The Summer Palace—The King's house—Houses of dignitaries—The ground and summer pavilion—Colds—The funeral of a Japanese Minister—Houses of royal relations—The queen—The oldest man and woman—The King and his throne—Politics and royalty—Messengers and spies—Kim-Ka-Chim—Falcons and archery—Nearly a St. Sebastian—The queen's curiosity—A royal banquet—The consequences. Pp. 182—203
CHAPTER XIII

Students—Culture—Examination ground—The three degrees—The alphabet—Chinese characters—Schools—Astronomers—Diplomas—Students abroad—Adoption of Western ways—Quick perception—The letter "f"—A comical mistake—Magistrates and education Rooted superstition—Another haunted palace—Tigers—A convenient custom. Pp. 204—215
CHAPTER XIV

Religion—Buddhism—Bonzes—Their power—Shamanism—Spirits—Spirits of the mountain—Stone heaps—Sacred trees—Seized by the spirits—Safe-guard against them—The wind—Sorcerers and sorceresses—Exorcisms—Monasteries—Temples—Buddha—M onks—Their customs and clothing—Nuns—Their garments—Religious ceremonies—The tooth-stone. Pp. 216—234
CHAPTER XV

Police—Detectives—The plank-walk—The square board—The wooden blocks for hands and feet—Floggings—The bamboo rod—The stick—The flexible board—A flogging in Seoul—One hundred strokes for three-halfpence—Wounds produced—Tender-hearted soldiers—Imprisonment—Exile—Status of women, children, and bachelors—Guilds and the law—Nobles and the law—Serfdom—mild form of slavery. Pp. 235—245
CHAPTER XVI

Executions—Crucified and carried through the streets—The execution ground—Barbarous mode of beheading—Noble criminals—Paternal love—Shut out—Scaling the wall—A catastrophe—A nightmare. Pp. 246—240
CHAPTER XVII

The "King's procession"—Removing houses—Foolhardy people—Beaten to death—Cavalry soldiers—Infantry—Retainers—Banners—Luxurious saddles—The King and his double—Royal palanquins—The return at night. Pp. 261—266
CHAPTER XVIII

Fights—Prize fights—Fist fights—Special moon for fighting—Summary justice—The use of the top-knot—Cruelty—A butcher combatant Stone fights—Belligerent children—Battle between two guilds—Wounded and killed—The end of the battle postponed—Soldiers' fights. Pp. 267—275
CHAPTER XIX

Fires—The greatest peril—A curious way of saving one's house—The anchor of safety—How it worked—Making an opposition wind—Saved by chance—A good trait in the native character—Useful friends. Pp. 276—282
CHAPTER XX

A trip to Poo-kan—A curious monastery. Pp. 283—287
CHAPTER XXI

Corean physiognomy—Expressions of pleasure—Displeasure—Contempt—Fear—Pluck—Laughter— Astonishment—Admiration—Sulkiness— Jealousy—Intelligence—Affection—Imagination—Dreams —Insanity—Its principal causes—Leprosy—The family—Men and women—Fecundity—Natural and artificial deformities—Abnormalities—Movements and attitudes—The Corean hand—Conservatism. Pp. 288—300
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It was on a Christmas Day that I set out for Corea. The year was 1890. I had been several days at Nagasaki, waiting for the little steamer, Higo-Maru, of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan Steamship Company), which was to arrive, I think, from Vladivostock, when a message was brought to me saying that she was now in port, and would sail that afternoon for Tsushima, Goto, and the Corean ports.

I went on board, and, our vessel's anchor being raised at four o'clock, we soon steamed past Battenberg Island and got away from the picturesque Bay of Nagasaki. This was the last I saw of Japan.

The little Higo was not a bad seaboat, for, following good advice, her owners had provided her with rolling beams; but, mind you, she had by no means the steadiness of a rock, nor did she pretend to cut the water at the rate of twenty knots an hour. Still, taken all in all, she was a pretty good goer. Her captain was a Norwegian, and a jolly fellow; while the crew she carried was entirely Japanese, with the exception of the stewards in the saloon, who were two pig-tailed subjects of the Celestial Empire.

"Numbel one Clistmas dinnel has got to-night, Mastel," expostulated John Chinaman to me in his pidgen English, as I was busy making my cabin comfortable. "Soup has got, fish has got, loast tulkey has got, plan-puddy all bulning has got. All same English countly. Dlink, to-night, plenty can have, and no has to pay. Shelly can have, Boldeau can have, polt, bea, champagne, blandy, all can have, all flee!"

I must say that when I heard of the elaborate dinner to which we were to be treated by the captain, I began to feel rather glad that I had started on my journey on a Christmas Day.

There were a few Japanese passengers on board, but only one European, or rather American, besides myself, and a most pleasant companion he turned out to be. He was Mr. Clarence R. Greathouse, formerly Consul-General for the United States at Yokohama—at which place I first had the pleasure of meeting him—who was now on his way to Corea, where he had been requested by the Corean Government to accept the high and responsible position of Vice-Minister of Home Affairs, as well as of legal adviser to the King in international affairs.

Curiously enough, he had not been aware that I was to travel on the same ship, and I also never dreamt that I would have had the good fortune of being in such good and agreeable company during a voyage which otherwise would have been extremely dull. Accordingly, when we met again thus accidentally on the deck of the Higo, the event was as much to our mutual satisfaction as it was unexpected.

The sea was somewhat choppy, but notwithstanding this, when the steward appeared on the companion-way, beaming all over, in his best silk gown and jacket, and rang the dinner-bell with all his might, we gaily responded to his call and proceeded below.

Heavens! it was a Christmas dinner and no mistake! The tables and walls had been decorated with little paper flags and flowers made of the brightest colours that human fancy could devise, and dishes of almonds and raisins filled the centre of the table. There were little flags stuck in those dishes, and, indeed, everywhere. A big cake in the middle had prudently been tied to the table with a string, as the rolling motion of the ship was rather against its chances of keeping steady in the place that had been assigned to it, and the other usual precautions had been taken to keep the plates and glasses in their proper positions.

Our dinner-party consisted of about eight. At one moment we would be up, with our feet on a level with our opposite companion's head; the next we would be down, with the soles of their boots higher than our skulls.

It is always a pretty sight to see a table decorated, but when it is not only decorated but animated as well, it is evidently prettier still. When you see all the plates and salt-cellars moving slowly away from you, and as slowly returning to you; when you have to chase your fork and your knife before you can use them, the amusement is infinitely greater.

"O gomen kudasai"—"I beg your pardon"—said a Japanese gentleman in rather a hurried manner, and more hurriedly still made his exit into his cabin. Two or three others of his countrymen followed suit during the progress of the dinner, and as number after number of the menu was gone through, so that we who remained had a capital time. Not many minutes also elapsed without our having a regular fusillade of bottles of champagne of some unknown brand, and "healths" were drunk of distant friends and relatives.

Mr. Greathouse, who, like many of his countrymen, has a wonderful gift for telling humorous stories, of which he had an unlimited supply, kept us in fits all evening, and in fact the greater part of the night, so that when we passed the islands of Goto and Tsushima we were still awake and in course of being entertained by his Yankee yarns.

The next day we reached the Corean port of Fusan. I well remember how much I was struck when we entered the pretty harbour and approached the spot where we cast anchor, by the sight of hundreds of white spots moving slowly along the coast and on a road winding up a hill. As we drew nearer, the white spots became larger and assumed more and more the form of human beings. There was something so ghostly about that scene that it is still vividly impressed upon my mind.

There is at Fusan not only a Japanese settlement, but also a Chinese one. About two and a half miles distant round the bay, the native walled town and fort can be plainly seen, while in the distance one may distinguish the city and castle of Tong-nai, in which the Governor resides. If I remember correctly, the number of Europeans at this port is only three or four, these being mainly in the employ of the Chinese Customs service.

We had hardly come to a standstill when a curious-looking being, who had come to meet the steamer in a boat, climbed up the rope-ladder which had been let down on the starboard side and came on board. He was a European.

"Do you see that man?" a voice whispered in my ear. "He is a body-snatcher."

"Nonsense," I said; "are you joking, or what?"

"No, I am not; and, if you like, I will tell you his story at luncheon." And surely what better time could be chosen for a "body-snatching" story than "luncheon." Meanwhile, however, I lost not my chance, and while conversing with somebody else, the snatcher found himself "snatched" in my sketch-book. It is not every day that one comes across such individuals! I went to speak to him, and I must confess that whether he had as a fact troubled the dead or not, he was none the less most courteous and polite with the living. He had, it is true, at times somewhat of a sinister look in his face; but for his unsteady eyes, you might almost have put him down as a missionary. He informed me that codfish was to be had in great abundance at Fusan, and that the grain export was almost entirely done by the Japanese, while the importation of miscellaneous articles was entirely in the hands of the Chinese.
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Fusan is situated at the most south-westerly extremity of the province of Kiung-sang, which words, translated into English mean, "polite compliment." The kingdom of Corea, we may here mention, is divided into eight provinces, which rejoice in the following names: Kiung-sang-do,[1] Chulla-do, Chung-chon-do, Kiung-kei-do, Kang-wen-do, Wang-hai-do, Ping-yan-do, Ham-kiung-do. The province in which Fusan is situated is, without exception, the richest in Corea after that of Chulla, for it has a mild climate and a very fertile soil. This being the case, it is not astonishing to find that the population is more numerous than in most other districts further north, and also, that being so near the Japanese coast, a certain amount of trading, mostly done by junks, is continually being transacted with the Mikado's subjects on the opposite shores. Fusan has been nominally in the hands of the Japanese from very ancient times, although it was only in 1876 that a treaty was concluded by which it was opened to Japanese trade. The spot on which the settlements lie is pretty, with its picturesque background of high mountains and the large number of little islands rising like green patches here and there in the bay. Maki, the largest island, directly opposite the settlement, is now used as a station for breeding horses of very small size, and it possesses good pastures on its high hills. In the history of the relations between Corea and Japan this province plays indeed a very important part, for being nearer than any other portion of the kingdom to the Japanese shores—the distance being, I believe, some 130 miles between the nearest points of the two countries—invasions have been of frequent occurrence, especially during the period that Kai-seng, then called Sunto, was the capital. This city, like the present capital, Seoul, was a fortified and walled town of the first rank and the chief military centre of the country, besides being a seat of learning and making some pretence of commercial enterprise. It lay about twenty-five miles N.E. of Seoul, and at about an equal number of miles from the actual sea. For several hundreds of years, Sunto had been one of the principal cities of Corea, when Wang, a warrior of the Fuyu race and an ardent Buddhist, who had already conquered the southern portion of the Corean peninsula, made it the capital, which it remained until the year 1392 A.D., when the seat of the Government was removed to Seoul.

To return to Fusan and the Kyung-sang province. It is as well to mention that the chief product cultivated is cotton. This is, of course, the principal industry all over Corea, and the area under cultivation is roughly computed at between eight and nine hundred thousand acres, the unclean cotton produced per annum being calculated at about 1,200,000,000 lbs. In a recent report, the Commissioner of Customs at Fusan sets down the yearly consumption of cleaned cotton at about 300,000,000 lbs. The greater part of the cotton is made up into piece-goods for making garments and padding the native winter clothes. In the Kiung-sang province the pieces of cloth manufactured measure sixty feet, while the width is only fourteen inches, and the weight between three and four pounds. The fibre of the cotton stuff produced, especially in the Kiung-sang and Chulla provinces, is highly esteemed by the Coreans, and they say that it is much more durable and warmth-giving than that produced either in Japan or China.

Of course the production of cotton could be greatly increased if more practical systems were used in its cultivation, and if the magistrates were not so much given to "squeezing" the people. To make money and to have it extorted the moment you have made it, is not encouraging to the poor Corean who has worked for it; therefore little exertion is displayed beyond what is necessary to earn, not the "daily bread," for that they do not eat, but the daily bowl of rice. There is much fertile land, which at present is not used at all, and hardly any attention, and much less skill, is manifested when once the seed is in the ground.

The Neapolitan lazzaroni, of world-wide reputation for extreme laziness, have indeed worthy rivals in the Corean peasantry. The women are made to do all the work, for by them the crops are gathered, and by them the seeds are separated with the old-fashioned roller-gin. To borrow statistics from the Commissioners' Report, a native woman can, with a roller-gin, turn out, say, nearly 3 lbs. of clean cotton from 12 lbs. of seed-cotton; while the industrious Japanese, who have brought over modern machines of the saw-gin type, can obtain 35 lbs. of clean cotton from 140 lbs. of seed-cotton in the same space of time. Previous to being spun, the cotton is prepared pretty much in the same way as in Japan or China, the cotton being tossed into the air with a view to separating the staple; but the spinning-wheel commonly used in Corea only makes one thread at a time.

The crops are generally gathered in August, and the dead stalk is used for fuel, while the ashes make fairly good manure. The quantity of clean cotton is about 85 lbs. per acre, and of seed-cotton 345 lbs. per acre.

But to return to my narrative, luncheon-time came in due course, and as I was spreading out my napkin on my knees, I reminded the person who had whispered those mysterious words in my ear, of the promise he had made.

"Yes," said he, as he cautiously looked round, "I will tell you his story. Mind you," he added, "this man to whom you spoke a while ago was only one of several, and he was not the principal actor in that outrageous business, still he himself is said to have taken a considerable part in the criminal dealings. Remember that the account I am going to give you of the affair is only drawn in bold lines, for the details of the expedition have never been fully known to any one. For all I know, this man may even be perfectly innocent of all that is alleged against him."

"Go on; do not make any more apologies, and begin your story," I remarked, as my curiosity was considerably roused.

"Very good. It was on April 30th, 1867, that an expedition left Shanghai bound for Corea. The aims of that expedition seemed rather obscure to many of the foreign residents at the port of departure, as little faith was reposed in the commander. Still, it must be said for its members that until they departed they played their rôle well. Corea was then practically a closed country; wherefore a certain amount of curiosity was displayed at Shanghai when three or four Coreans, dressed up in their quaint costumes and transparent horse-hair hats, were seen walking about, and being introduced here and there by a French bishop called Ridel. A few days later the curiosity of the foreign residents grew in intensity when the news spread that an American subject, a certain Jenkins, formerly interpreter at the U.S. Consulate, had, at his own expense, chartered a ship and hurriedly fitted out an expedition, taking under his command eight other Europeans, all of a more or less dubious character, and a suite of about 150 Chinamen and Manillamen, the riff-raff of the Treaty Port, who were to be the crew and military escort of the expedition. A man called Oppert, a North German Jew, and believed by everybody to be an adventurer under the guise of a trader, was in command of the 'fleet'—which was composed of a steamer, if I remember right, of about 700 tons, called the China, and a smaller tender of little over 50 tons, called the Greta. Oppert flew the flag of his own country, and in due course gave the order to start."
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"Well, so far so good," I interrupted; "but you have not told me what connection there was between Bishop Ridel's four Coreans and your body-snatching friends?"

"Well, you see, the American and Oppert took advantage of their appearance in Shanghai to let people believe that they were high officials sent over by the king, who was anxious to send an embassy to the different courts of Europe to explain the slaughter of foreigners which had taken place in his country, and also with the object of entering, if possible, into treaties with the different European monarchs—in fact to open his country to foreign trade and commerce. It seemed somewhat a large order to any one who knew of the retiring nature of the king, but everything was done so quickly that the expedition was gone before people had time to inquire into its real object.

"The fleet, as I have remarked, in due time started, and after calling on its way at Nagasaki, where rifles and other firearms and ammunition were purchased with which to arm the military escort, steered a course to the mouth of the Han river. Among the eight Europeans of dubious character on board was a Frenchman, a Jesuit priest, who called himself Farout, but whose real name was Feron, and who played an important part in the piratical scheme, for, having lived some time previously in Corea, he had mastered the language. Besides, he had travelled a good deal along the river Han, so that he was entrusted with the responsible position of guide and interpreter to the body-snatchers!"

"Curious position for a missionary to occupy," I could not help remarking.

"Yes. They reached Prince Jerome's Gulf on the 8th of May, and the next day, sounding continually, slowly steamed up the river Han to a point where it was deemed advisable to man the tender and smaller rowing-boats with a view to completing the expedition in these.

"This plan was successfully carried out, and during the night, under the command of Oppert, and escorted by the marauders, who were armed to the teeth, they proceeded to the point where l'Abbé Feron advised a landing. Here, making no secret of their designs, they ill-treated the natives, and pillaged their poor huts, after which they made their way to the tomb, where the relics lay of some royal personage supposed to have been buried there with mountains of gold and precious jewels, which relics were held in much veneration by the great Regent, the Tai-wen-kun. The impudent scheme, in a few words, was this: to take the natives by surprise, dig the body quickly out of its underground place of what should have been eternal rest, and take possession of anything valuable that might be found in the grave. The disturbed bones of the unfortunate prince were to be carried on board, and a high ransom was to be extorted from the great Regent, who they thought would offer any sum to get back the cherished bones of his ancestor.

"The march from the landing-place to the tomb occupied longer than had been anticipated, and crowds of astonished and angry natives followed the procession of armed men. The latter finally reached the desired spot, a funny little semi-spherical mound of earth, with a few stone figures of men and ponies roughly carved on either side, and guarded by two stone slabs.

"The 'abbé,' who, among other things, was said to have been the promoter of the scheme, pointed out the mound, and, rejoicing with Oppert and Jenkins at having been so far successful, gave orders to the coolies to proceed at once to dig. Spades and shovels had been brought for the purpose, and the little mound was rapidly being levelled, while the turbulent crowd of infuriated Coreans which had collected was getting more and more menacing. These seemed to spring out by hundreds from every side as by magic, and the body-snatchers were soon more than ten times outnumbered. No greater insult or infamous act could there be to a Corean mind than the violation of a grave. As spadeful after spadeful of earth was removed by the shaking hands of the frightened coolies, shouts, hisses, and oaths went up from the maddened crowd, but Oppert and the French abbé, half scared as they were, still pined for the hidden treasure, and encouraged the grave-diggers with promises of rewards as well as with the invigorating butt-ends of their rifles. At last, after digging a big hole in the earth, their spades came upon a huge slab of stone, which seemed to be the top of the sarcophagus."

"I suppose that no oath was bad enough for the three leaders, then?" said I.

"No; they were mad with fury, and more so when all the strength of their men combined was not sufficient to stir the stone an inch."

"The crowd which till then had been merely turbulent, now became so exasperated at the cheek of the 'foreign white devils' that it could no more keep within bounds, and a wild attack was made on the pirates. Showers of stones were thrown, and the infuriated natives made a rush upon them; but, hélas! their attack was met by a volley of rifle-shots. Frightened out of their lives by the murderous effects of these strange weapons, they fell back for a time, only to return by-and-by with fresh ardour to the attack. The body-snatchers, having little confidence in the courage and fidelity of the ruffian lot that composed their military escort, and, moreover, seeing that all efforts were useless to remove the 'blessed' stone, deemed it more than advisable to retreat to the tender—a retreat which, one may add, was effected somewhat hurriedly. This being done, they steamed full speed down the river, and once on board the China, began to feel more like themselves again.

"They anchored opposite Kang-wha Island, and remained there for three days. Then as they were holding a parley on land near Tricauld Island, they were attacked again by the angry mob, the news of their outrageous deed having spread even hitherwards, and two or three of their men were killed. Realising, therefore, that it was impossible to carry out their plan, the body-snatchers returned to Shanghai, but here a surprise awaited them.

"They were all arrested and underwent a trial. So little evidence, however, was brought against them, and that little was of such a conflicting character, that they were all acquitted. Oppert, nevertheless, was imprisoned in his own country, and even brought out a book in which he described his piratical expedition."

"Yes," I remarked, "your story is a very good one; but what part did this particular man, now at Fusan, take in the marauding scheme?"

"Oh, that I do not exactly know—in fact, no one knows more than this, that he was one of the eight Europeans who accompanied Oppert. Here at Fusan all the foreign residents look down on him, and his only pleasure is to come on board when a ship happens to call, that he may exchange a few words in a European tongue, for no one belonging to this locality will speak to him."
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CHAPTER XVIII

Fights—Prize fights—Fist fights—Special moon for fighting—Summary justice—The use of the top-knot—Cruelty—A butcher combatant—Stone-fights—Belligerent children—Battle between two guilds—Wounded and killed—The end of the battle postponed—Soldiers' fights.


One of the characteristic sights in Cho-sen is a private fight. The natives, as a rule, are quiet and gentle, but when their temper is roused they seem never to have enough of fighting. They often-times disport themselves in witnessing prize-fights among the champions of different towns, or of different wards in the same town, and on these occasions large crowds assemble to view the performance. The combatants generally fight with their fists, but, like the French, are much given to use their knees and feet as well in the contest. Much betting, also, goes on amongst the excited spectators, and it is not seldom that a private contest of this kind degenerates into a free fight.

The lower classes in the towns thoroughly enjoy this kind of sport, and the slightest provocation is sufficient to make them come to blows. The curious point about their fighting is that during the first moon of the new year all rows can be settled in this rough and ready manner, without committing any breach of the law. Hence it is that during that moon, one sees hardly anything but people quarrelling and fighting. All the anger of the past year is preserved until the New Year festivities are over, but then free play is straightway given to the bottled-up passions. Were a man even to kill his antagonist during a fight at this legalised season, I doubt whether he would be imprisoned or punished; very likely not.

For about fifteen days, in truth, things are simply dreadful in the streets. Go in one direction, and you see people quarrelling; go in another, and you see them fighting. The original causa movens of all this is generally cash!

When a deadly fight takes place in the streets, you may at once set it down as having arisen over, say, a farthing! Debts ought always to be paid before the old year is over; and, occasionally, grace is allowed for the first fifteen days in the first moon; after that, the defaulting debtors get summary justice administered to them. Creditors go about the town in search of their debtors, and should they come face to face, generally a few unparliamentary remarks are passed, followed by a challenge. Hats are immediately removed, and given for safe keeping to some one or other of the spectators, a crowd of whom has, of course, at once assembled; and then the creditor, as is customary under such circumstances in all countries, makes a dash for his debtor. The main feature about these fights, so far as I could judge, was the attempt of each antagonist to seize hold of the other by his top-knot. Should this feat be successfully accomplished, a violent process of head-shaking would ensue, followed by a shower of blows and scratches from the free hand, the lower extremities meanwhile being kept busy distributing kicks, really meant for the antagonist, but, occasionally, in fact often, delivered to some innocent passer-by, owing to the streets of Cho-senese towns not being as a rule over-wide.

When in a passion, the Coreans can be very cruel. No devices are spared which can inflict injury on the adversary, and scratching and biting during these fights are common concomitants. One afternoon, as I was returning from a call at the Japanese Legation, and was proceeding down a slight incline, riding Mr. Greathouse's horse, I witnessed a dreadful scene. A butcher and another tradesman were settling questions in their own delightful way, and were knocking each other about. At last, the butcher felled the other man with a blow of a short club—like a policeman's club—which is often made use of in these fights. As the man lay motionless on the ground, the other, far from being content with what he had done, seized a huge block of wood, one of those upon which they chop up the meat, and, lifting it up with a great effort, dropped it on his antagonist's head, with a dreadful sounding crack, which smashed his skull, as one would a nut. Then, sitting triumphantly on the wooden block, he solicited the compliments of the spectators.

Special interest is taken when the women fight, that is, among the very lowest classes, and frequently the strings of cash earned during the day are lost or doubled on the odds of the favourite.

The better classes, it must be said to their credit, never indulge in fist-fighting in public, though occasionally they have competitions in their own compounds, champions being brought there at great expense and made to fight in their presence. I believe they consider it to be degrading, either first, to lose one's temper, or secondly, to administer justice in such a fashion.

The most important contests of all are the stone and club-fights, which are a national institution, approved by the Government and patronised by everybody. They sometimes attain such large proportions as to be regular battles. Supposing that one town or village has, from motives of jealousy or other causes, reason to complain of a neighbouring city or borough, a stone-fight during the first moon is invariably selected as the proper method of settling the difference. Private families, with their friends, fight in this way against other private families and their allies; and entire guilds of tradesmen sometimes fight other guilds, several hundreds of men being brought into the field on either side.

Children are much encouraged in this sport, it being supposed that they are thus made strong, brave and fearless; and I have actually seen mothers bring children of only eight or nine years old up to the scratch, against an equal number of lads urged on by their mothers on the other side. One boy on each side, generally the pluckiest of the lot, is the leader, and he is provided with a small club, besides wearing on his head a large felt hat with a sort of wreath round the crown, probably as a protection against the blows that might reach his head. After him come ten, twenty, or more other children in their little red jackets, some armed with a club like their leader, the others with armfuls of stones. A good mound of this ammunition is also, as a rule, collected in the rear, to provide for the wants of the battle. The two leaders then advance and formally challenge each other, the main body of their forces following in a triangle; and when, after a certain amount of hesitation, the two have exchanged a few sonorous blows with their clubs on each other's skulls, the battle begins in earnest, volleys of stones are fired and blows freely distributed until the forces of one leader succeed in pushing back and disbanding the others.
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A fight of this kind, even among children, lasts for several hours, and, as can well be imagined, at the end of it there are a great many bleeding noses and broken teeth, besides bruises in profusion. The victor in these fights is made much of and receives presents from his parents and the friends of the family. The principal streets and open spaces in Seoul, during the fighting period, are alive with these youthful combatants, and large crowds assemble to witness their battles, taking as much interest in them as do the Spaniards in their bull-fights, and certainly causing as much excitement.

More serious than these, however, are the hostilities which occasionally take place between two guilds. When I was in Seoul, there was a great feud between the butchers and those practising the noble art of plastering the houses with mud. Both trades are considered by the Coreans to belong to the lowest grade of society; and, this being so, the contest would naturally prove of an envenomed and brutal character. A day was fixed, upon which a battle should take place, to decide whose claims were to prevail, and a battle-field was selected on a plain just outside the South Gate of the city. The battle-field was intersected by the same small frozen rivulet which also crosses Seoul; and it was on the western side, near the city wall, where stood a low hill, that on the day appointed I took up my position to view the fight, sketch and note-book in hand.

The two armies duly arrived, and placed themselves in position, the butchers on one side of the stream, the plasterers on the other. There were altogether about eighteen hundred men in the field, that is to say, about nine hundred on each side. As I could not get a very good view from my high point of vantage, I foolishly descended to the valley to inspect the fighting trim of the combatants, with the result that when the signal for the battle to begin was given I found myself under a shower of missiles of all weights and sizes, which poured down upon me with incredible rapidity and solidity. Piles of stones had been previously massed together by the belligerent parties, and fresh supplies came pelting down incessantly. I must acknowledge I did not enjoy my position at all, for the stones went whistling past, above my head, fired as they were with tremendous force by means of slings.

The confusion was great. Some men were busy collecting the stones into heaps again, while others were running to and fro—going to fetch, or carrying, fresh ammunition to the front; and all the time the two armies were gradually approaching one another until at last they came together on the banks of the narrow stream. Here, considering the well-directed pelting of stones, it was difficult to say which army would succeed in dislodging the other. Those on the opposite side to where I was made a rush upon us, but were fired upon with such increased vigour that they were repulsed; then, however, concentrating their forces on one point, they made a fresh attack and broke right into our ranks, fighting corps à corps, and pushing back the men on my side, until the whole of their contingent was brought over to our side of the stream. I was not, of course, taking any active part in the fighting, but, seeing the bad turn the struggle was assuming, I made up my mind that I was destined to have my own skull broken before the fray was over. Though the duelling was fierce, however, each man being pitted against his opponent with clubs and drawn knives, and hammering or stabbing at him to his heart's content, I, somehow, was in no way molested, except of course, that I was naturally much knocked about and bruised, and several times actually came in contact, and face to face, with the irate enemy.

If you can imagine eighteen hundred people fighting by twos in a comparatively limited space and all crowded together; if you can form an idea of the screaming, howling, and yelling in their excitement; and if you can depict the whole scene with its envelopment of dust, then you will have a fair notion of what that stone-fight was like. The fighting continued briskly for over three hours, and many a skull was smashed. Some fell and were trampled to death; others had very severe knife wounds; a few were killed right out. When the battle was over, few were found to have escaped without a bruise or a wound, and yet, after all, very few were actually killed, considering how viciously they fought. Indeed, there were in all only about half a dozen dead bodies left on the battle-field when the combatants departed to the sound of the "big bell" which announced the closing of the city gates.

After a long discussion on the part of the leaders, it was announced that the battle was to be considered a draw, and that it would, therefore, have to be renewed on the next afternoon. The argument, I was told, was that, though the other side had managed to penetrate the camp on my side, yet they had not been able to completely rout us, we having made a firm stand against them. For the following two or three days, however, it snowed heavily, and the fighting had to be postponed; and on the day it actually did take place, to my great sorrow, I was unable to attend, owing to a command to go to the palace. To my satisfaction I was subsequently informed that the plasterers, that is to say, my side, had ultimately come off victorious.

The police generally attend these battles, but only to protect the spectators, and not to interfere in any way with the belligerents. Soldiers are prohibited from taking any active part in fights which have no concern for them; but they may fight as much as ever they please among themselves during the free period allowed by the law. The fights of the latter class are usually very fierce, and are invariably carried out with bare chest and arms, that their uniforms may not be spoiled.

When that dreadful fortnight of fighting is over, the country again assumes its wonted quiet; new debts are contracted, fresh hatreds and jealousies are fomented, and fresh causes are procured for further stone-battles during the first moon of the next year.

Such is life in Cho-sen, where, with the exception of those fifteen days, there is calm, too much of it, not only in the morning, in accordance with the national designation, but all through both day and night; where, month after month, people vegetate, instead of live, leading the most monotonous of all monotonous lives. It is not surprising, then, that once a year, as a kind of redeeming point, they feel the want of a vigorous re-action; and, I am sure, for such a purpose as this, they could not have devised anything wilder or more exciting than a stone-battle.

The King himself follows with the utmost interest the results of the important battles fought out between the different guilds, and reports of the victories obtained are always conveyed to him at once, either by the leaders of the conquering parties, or through some high official at Court.
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CHAPTER XXI

Corean physiognomy—Expressions of pleasure—Displeasure—Contempt—Fear—Pluck—Laughter— Astonishment—Admiration—Sulkiness— Jealousy—Intelligence—Affection—Imagination—Dreams —Insanity—Its principal causes—Leprosy—The family—Men and women—Fecundity—Natural and artificial deformities—Abnormalities—Movements and attitudes—The Corean hand—Conservatism.


The physiognomy of the Coreans is an interesting study, for, with the exception of the Chinese, I know of few nations who can control the movements of their features so well as do the Coreans. They are trained from their infancy to show neither pain, nor pleasure, grief nor excitement; so that a wonderful placidity is always depicted on their faces. None the less, however, though slightly, different expressions can be remarked. For instance, an attitude peculiar to them is to be noticed when they happen to ponder deeply on any subject; they then slightly frown, and with a sudden movement incline the head to the left, after previously drawing the head backwards. If in good humour or very pleased, again, though the expression is still grave and sedate, there is always a vivid sparkle to be detected in the generally sleepy eyes; and, curiously enough, while in our case the corners of the mouths generally curl up under such circumstances, theirs, on the contrary, are drawn downwards.

Where the Coreans—and I might have said all Asiatics—excel, is in their capacity to show contempt. They do this in the most gentleman-like manner one can imagine. They raise the head slowly, looking at the person they despise with a half-bored, half "I do not care a bit" look; then, leisurely closing the eyes and opening them again, they turn the head away with a very slight expiration from the nose.

Fear—for those, at least, who cannot control it—is to all appearance a somewhat stronger emotion. The eyes are wide open and become staring, the nostrils are spread wide, and the under lip hangs quivering, while the neck and body contract, and the hands, with fingers stiffly bent, are brought up nearly as high as the head. The yellowish skin on such occasions generally assumes a cadaverous whitish green colour which is pitiful to behold.

On the other hand, when pluck is shown, instead of fear, a man will draw himself up, with his arms down and hands tightly closed, and his mouth will assume a placid yet firm expression, the lips being firmly shut (a thing very unusual with Coreans), and the corners tending downwards, while a frown becomes clearly defined upon his brow.

Laughter is seldom indulged in to any very great extent among the upper classes, who think it undignified to show in a noisy manner the pleasure which they derive from whatever it may be. Among the lower specimens of Corean humanity, however, sudden explosions of merriment are often noticeable. The Corean enjoys sarcasm, probably more than anything else in the world; and caricature delights him. I remember once drawing a caricature of an official and showing it to a friend of his, who, in consequence, so lost the much-coveted air of dignity, and went into such fits, that his servants had to come to his rescue and undo his waist-girdle. This, having occurred after a hearty meal, led to his being seized by a violent cough, and becoming subsequently sick. Were I quite sure of not being murdered by my readers, I would like to call it see-sickness, for it was caused by—seeing a joke!

Astonishment is always expressed by a comical countenance. Let me give you an illustration. When we anchored at Fusan in the Higo-Maru, many Coreans came on board to inspect the ship; and, as I looked towards the shore with the captain's powerful long-sight glasses, several natives collected round me to see what I was doing. I asked one of them to look through, and never did I see a man more amazed, than he did, when he saw some one on the shore, with whom he was acquainted, brought so close to him by the glasses as to make him inclined to enter into a very excited conversation with him. His astonishment was even greater when, removing his eyes from the lens, he saw everything resume its natural position. When he had repeated this experiment several times, he put the glasses down, looked at them curiously with his eyebrows raised, his mouth pinched, and his hands spread apart at about the height of his waist, and then looked at me. Again did he glance at the optical instrument, with his mouth wide open; then, making a comical movement of distrust, he quickly departed whence he had come. When he had got fairly into his row-boat, he entered into a most animated conversation with his fellows, and, judging by his motions as he put his hands up to his eyes, I could see that the whole subject was his experience of what he had seen through the "foreign devil's" pair of glasses.
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Admiration is to a great extent, a modification of astonishment, and is by the Coreans expressed more by utterance than by any very marked expression of the face. Still, the eyes are opened more than usual, and the eyebrows are raised, and the lips slightly parted, sifting the breath, though not quite so loudly as in Japan.

Another curious Corean expression is to be seen when the children are sulky. Our little ones generally protrude their lips in a tubular form, and bend the head forward, but the Cho-senese child does exactly the reverse. He generally throws his head back and hangs his lips, keeping the mouth open, and making his frown with the upper part of his face. Jealousy in the case of the women finds expression in a look somewhat similar to the above, with an additional vicious sparkle in the eyes.

Notwithstanding the fact that it is not uncommon to hear Coreans being classified among barbarians, I must confess that, taking a liberal view of their constitution, they always struck me as being extremely intelligent and quick at acquiring knowledge. To learn a foreign language seems to them quite an easy task, and whenever they take an interest in the subject of their studies they show a great deal of perseverance and good-will. They possess a wonderfully sensible reasoning faculty, coupled with an amazing quickness of perception; a fact which one hardly expects, judging by their looks; for, at first sight, they rather impress one as being sleepy, and dull of comprehension. The Corean is also gifted with a very good memory, and with a certain amount of artistic power. Generally speaking, he is of an affectionate frame of mind, though he considers it bad form to show by outward sign any such thing as affection. He almost tends to effeminacy in his thoughtful attentions to those he likes; and he generally feels much hurt, though silently, if his attentions are not appreciated or returned. For instance, when you meet a Corean with whom you are acquainted, he invariably asks after the health of yourself, and all your relations and friends. Should you not yourself be as keen in inquiring after his family and acquaintances, he would probably be mortally offended.

One of the drawbacks of the Corean mind is that it is often carried away by an over-vivid imagination. In this, they reminded me much of the Spaniards and the Italians. Their perception seems to be so keen that frequently they see more than really is visible. They are much given to exaggeration, not only in what they say, but also in their representations in painting and sculpture. In the matters both of conversation and of drawing, the same ideas will be found in Cho-sen to repeat themselves constantly, more or less cleverly expressed, according to the differently gifted individuality of the artist. The average Corean seems to learn things quickly, but of what they learn, some things remain rooted in their brains, while others appear to escape from it the moment they have been grasped. There is a good deal of volubility about their utterances, and, though visibly they do not seem very subject to strong emotions, judging from their conversation, one would feel inclined to say that they were. Another thing that led me to this suspicion was the observation that the average Corean is much given to dreaming, in the course of which he howls, shouts, talks and shakes himself to his heart's content. This habit of dreaming is to a large extent due, I imagine, to their mode of sleeping flat on their backs on the heated floors, which warm their spines, and act on their brains; though it may also, in addition to that be accounted for by the intensity of the daily emotions re-acting by night on over-excited nervous systems. I have often observed Coreans sleep, and they always impressed me as being extremely restless in their slumbers. As for snoring, too, the Coreans are entitled to the Championship of the world.

The Coreans are much affected mentally by dreams, and being, as we have already seen, an extremely superstitious race, they attach great importance to their nocturnal visions. A good deal of hard cash is spent in getting the advice of astrologers, who pretend to understand and explain the occult art, and pleasure or consternation is thus usually the result of what might have been explained naturally either by one of the above-named causes, or by the victim having feasted the previous evening on something indigestible. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the Corean mind is seldom thrown off its balance altogether. Idiocy is not frequent, and lunacy is uncommon.

Insanity, when it does exist, generally exhibits itself under the form of melancholia and dementia, and is more frequently found among the upper than among the lower classes. With the men it is generally due to intemperance and excesses, and is occasionally accompanied by paralysis. Among the women, the only cases which came under my notice were of wives whose husbands had many concubines, and of young widows. Suicide is not unfrequently practised among the latter; partly in consequence of the strict Corean etiquette, but often also caused by insanity when it does not follow immediately upon the husband's death. Another cause of melancholia—chiefly, however, among the lower classes—is a dreadful complaint, which has found its way among the natives in its most repulsive form. Many are affected by it, and no cure for it seems to have been devised by the indigenous doctors. The accounts one hears in the country of its ravages are too revolting to be repeated in these pages, and I shall limit myself to this. Certain forms of insanity are undoubtedly a common sequence to it.

Leprosy also prevails in Cho-sen, and in the more serious cases seems to affect the brain, producing idiocy. This disease is caused by poverty of blood, and is, of course, hereditary. I have seen two forms of it in Cho-sen; in the one case, the skin turns perfectly white, almost shining like satin, while in the other—a worse kind, I believe—the skin is a mass of brown sores, and the flesh is almost entirely rotted away from the bones. The Coreans have no hospitals or asylums in which evils like these can be properly tended. Those affected with insanity are generally looked after by their own families, and, if considered dangerous, are usually chained up in rooms, either by a riveted iron bracelet, fastened to a short heavy chain, or, more frequently, by an anklet over the right foot.

Families in Corea are generally small in number. I have no exact statistics at hand, for none were obtainable; but, so far as I could judge from observation, the males and females in the population are about equal in number. If anything, the women slightly preponderate. The average family seldom includes more than two children. The death-rate of Cho-sen infants is great, and many reasons can account for the fact. In the first place, all children in Corea, even the stronger ones who survive, are extremely delicate until a certain age is attained, when they seem to pick up and become stronger. This weakness is hereditary, especially among the upper classes, of whom very few powerful men are to be found, owing to their dissolute and effeminate life.
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Absolute sterility in women is not an uncommon phenomenon, and want of virile power in the male part of the community is also often the subject of complaint; many quaint drugs and methods being adopted to make up for the want of it, and to stimulate the sexual desire. A good many of the remedies resorted to by the Corean noblemen under such circumstances are of Chinese manufacture and importation. Certain parts of the tiger, dried and reduced to powder, are credited with the possession of wonderful strengthening qualities, and fetch large sums. Some parts of the donkey, also, when the animal is killed during the spring and under special circumstances, are equally appreciated. The lower classes of Cho-sen—as is the case in most countries—are more prolific than the upper ones. The parents are both healthier and more robust, and the children in consequence are stronger and more numerous, but even among these classes large families are seldom or never found. Taken as a whole, the population of Corea is, I believe, a slowly decreasing quantity.

The Corean is in some respects very sensible, if compared with his neighbours. Deformities, artificially produced, are never found in Corea. In civilised Japan, on the other hand, as we all know, the women blacken their teeth and shave their eyebrows, while there are numberless people in the lower classes who are tattooed from head to foot with designs of all kinds. In China, too, people are occasionally deformed for the sake of lucre, as, for instance, to be exhibited at village shows, and the Chinese damsel would not consider herself fascinating enough if her feet were not distorted to such an extent as to be shapeless, and almost useless. The head-bands worn by the men in Corea are probably the only causes which tend to modify the shape of their heads, and that only to a very small degree. These head-bands are worn so very tightly from their earliest youth, that I have often noticed men—when the head-band was removed—show a certain flattening of the upper part of the forehead, due undoubtedly to the continuous pressure of this head-gear. In such cases, however, the cranial deformation—though always noticeable—is but slight, and, of course, unintentionally caused. The skull, as a whole, in the case of those who have worn the head-band is a little more elongated than it is in the case of those few who have not; the elongation being upwards and slightly backwards.

Natural abnormalities are more frequent. I have seen numerous cases of goitre, and very often the so-called hare-lip. Webbed fingers also are frequently noticed; while inguinal hernia, both as a congenital and as an acquired affection, is unfortunately all too common. The natives do not undergo any special treatment until the complaint assumes alarming proportions, when a kind of belt is worn, or bandages of home manufacture are used. These are the more common abnormalities. To them, however, might also be added manifestations of albinism—though I have never seen an absolute albino in Corea—such as, large patches of white hair among the black. Red hair is rarely seen.

The Corean, apart, that is, from these occasional defects, is well proportioned, and of good carriage. When he stands erect his body is well-balanced; and when he walks, though somewhat hampered by his padded clothes, his step is rational. He sensibly walks with his toes turned slightly in, and he takes firm and long strides. The gait is not energetic, but, nevertheless, the Coreans are excellent pedestrians, and cover long distances daily, if only they are allowed plenty to eat and permission to smoke their long pipes from time to time. Their bodies seem very supple, and like those of nearly all Asiatics, their attitudes are invariably graceful. In walking, they slightly swing their arms and bend their bodies forward, except, I should say, the high officials, whose steps are exaggeratedly marked, and whose bodies are kept upright and purposely stiff.

One of the things which will not fail to impress a careful observer is the beauty of the Corean hand. The generality of Europeans possess bad hands, from an artistic point of view, but the average Corean, even among the lower classes, has them exceedingly well-shaped, with long supple fingers, somewhat pointed at the end; and nails well formed and prettily shaped, though to British ideas, grown far too long. It is not a powerful hand, mind you, but it is certainly most artistic; and, further, it is attached to a small wrist in the most graceful way, never looking stumpy, as so often is the case with many of us. The Coreans attach much importance to their hands; much more, indeed, than they do to their faces; and special attention is paid to the growth of the nails. In summer time these are kept very clean; but in winter, the water being very cold, the cleanliness of their limbs, "laisse un peu à desirer." I have frequently seen a beautifully-shaped hand utterly spoilt by the nails being lined with black, and the knuckles being as filthy as if they had never been dipped in water. But these are only lesser native failings; and have we not all our faults?

The two qualities I most admired in the Corean were his scepticism and his conservatism. He seemed to take life as it came, and never worried much about it. He had, too, practically no religion and no morals. He cared about little, had an instinctive attachment for ancestral habits, and showed a thorough dislike to change and reform. And this was not so much as regards matters of State and religion, for little or nothing does the Corean care about either of these, as in respect of the daily proceedings of life. To the foreign observer, many of his ways and customs are at first sight incomprehensible, and even reprehensible; yet, when by chance his mode of arguing out matters for himself is clearly understood, we will almost invariably find that he is correct. After all, every one, whether barbarian or otherwise, knows best himself how to please himself. The poor harmless Corean, however, is not allowed that privilege. He, as if by sarcasm, calls his country by the retiring name of the "Hermit Realm" and the more poetic one of the "Land of the Morning Calm"; "a coveted calm" indeed, which has been a dream to the country, but never a reality, while, as for its hermit life, it has been only too often troubled by objectionable visitors whom he detests, yet whom, nevertheless, he is bound to receive with open arms, helpless as he is to resist them.

Poor Corea! Bad as its Government was and is, it is heart-rending to any one who knows the country, and its peaceful, good-natured people, to see it overrun and impoverished by foreign marauders. Until the other day, she was at rest, heard of by few, and practically forgotten by everybody, to all intents an independent kingdom, since China had not for many years exercised her rights of suzerainty,[4] when, to satisfy the ambition of a childish nation, she suddenly finds herself at the mercy of everybody, and with a dark and most disastrous future before her!

Poor Corea! A sad day has come for you! You, who were so attractive, because so quaint and so retiring, will nevermore see that calm which has ever been the yearning of your patriot sons! Many evils are now before you, but, of all the great calamities that might befall you, I can conceive of none greater than an attempt to convert you into a civilised nation!
[4]

After a cessation of many years a tribute was again exacted from Corea in 1890, in consequence of overtures being made to Corea by Japan, which displeased China.
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