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bamboo watch-houses or sheds, where those engaged in this duty resided; and, as we wandered about, handed us over from one post to another. In these houses they always pressed the officers to partake of their fare, which was often very good, especially a kind of hung beef which they have the art of curing extremely well.
They appeared to be much accustomed to these pic-nic sort of parties, having a small japanned box, containing sliding drawers for the various viands, which a boy generally carried, on the end of a bamboo, to any part of the fields where they thought proper to dine.
One man, very often accompanied by Geroo, or (as he was sometimes termed, from having a constant smile upon his countenance) the laughing mandarin, seemed to carry about with him a constant supply of these refreshments, and chazzi, a liqueur, which led us to believe that he had been deputed for the express purpose of paying attention to our officers.
The sudden vicissitudes of weather to which we had been exposed, by leaving England during extreme cold, and passing suddenly into the torrid zone; then immediately afterwards into the cold raw climate of the southern Atlantic; meeting with heat again at the Cape of Good Hope; then crossing in rather a high latitude the chilly Southern Ocean; and, quickly following that appearing on the burning coast of Java; might, in fact, be said to have exposed us, in the short period of four months, to the effects of three summers and three winters; and proved as might naturally be supposed, ex
tremely trying to the health of the men. On our arrival at Lewchew, our cases of sickness, though not numerous, were severe; and to the kindness of the natives may, in a great measure, be attributed their recovery. They were not only comfortably lodged, but the higher class of people daily attended, inquiring into their wants, giving additional coogas or eggs, and other delicacies, to those whose cases more particularly required them, and paying a cheering attention to the whole; for theirs was a substantial, not a cold or ostentatious charity.
Captain Maxwell, in riding one morning to inspect the progress of the artificers, by the stumbling of his horse, which fell among the rocks, not only fractured the bone, but badly dislocated the joint of his fore-finger. Some of his Lewchewan friends, who were near him, ran to the next village for one of their surgical professors. He soon arrived, and, after much salutation, proceeded to examine the injury, (the dislocation had in the interim been reduced by the coxswain pulling upon it,) and stated that he would come on board the ship, whither the captain was then proceeding, in an hour, with the applications he thought necessary for it. At the time appointed, one of the chiefs, with this surgeon, and another more in the character of a physician, and their retinue, some of them bearing a medicinechest, made their appearance alongside. The injury being again examined, (and it having been previously decided that they were to have the management of the cure, under surveillance, in order
to observe how they would act,) a fowl was killed with much form, and skinned, and a composition of flour and eggs, with some warm ingredients about the consistence of dough, was put round the fractured part, (which had the effect of retaining it in its position,) and the whole enclosed in the skin of the fowl. As this fowl appeared to have been sacrificed, its skin being applied to enclose the whole was most probably
meant to act as a charm.
The manual part finished, the physician proceeded to examine the general state of health, and the pulse appeared to be his chief, and indeed only guide, in this respect. The arm was laid bare to the shoulder, and he applied his fingers with great attention, and with as much solemnity as ever issued from Warwick-lane, to the course of the artery, and at all parts of the arm where he could feel it beat, to ascertain whether it was every where alike; and, lest there should be any mistake in this point, the other arm underwent the same investigation; the whole party looking all the while extremely grave. Having now decided as to the medicines necessary on this occasion, his little chest was brought forward, with his pharmacopoeia, and a. sort of clinical guide, directing the quantity and quality of the dose.
His chest was extremely neat, its exterior japanned black, and a number of partitions in it, again subdivided, so as to contain about a hundred and eighty different articles (quite enough in all conscience, even among the greatest hypochondriacs and drug-swallowers); but they were fortu
nately all simples, being a collection of wood-shavings, roots, seeds, and dried flowers of his own country. There appeared also some ginseng, a product of Tartary and Corea, much in vogue in these parts. Small portions of the specified articles were measured out with a silver spatula, and put up in little parcels, and directions were now issued as to the mode of boiling and drinking the decoction. Next day they were highly delighted to hear the good effect of their medicines, though they had never been taken (as many a poor doctor is cheated by cunning patients); and a new application was brought for the finger, termed a fish poultice, so composed as to look, and indeed to smell, something like currant-jelly.
Having carried on this scheme for a few days, they were then informed that the finger was so much better as to render their attendance unnecessary any longer; and, as a reward for their services, they were presented with some little articles, and among others, as an addition to the chest, some spirits of hartshorn, displaying to them its effect on the olfactory organs, with which they were quite astonished and pleased; some spirits of lavender and oil of mint, they also considered a great acquisition. The physician, more especially, seemed to be a very respectable man, and was treated as such by those about him. Their practice seems to be a good deal derived from the Chinese, for their notion of the circulation of the blood, or rather their having no correct notion about it, is the same. Neither have they any idea
of anatomy from actual observation, and, of course, the greater operations cannot be undertaken; one man only was examined by Mr. Rankin, who had lost his arm, and his stump was rather a rude one. Some corn was left with them, which they promised to cultivate; and fortunately Captain Hall had some English potatoes, which were likely to be productive, and the mode of planting them was particularly described. Their own, or sweet potatoes (convolvulus batatus) with which they supplied us, contain a great quantity of saccharine matter, and are extremely nutritious. Their fields were extremely neat, and their furrows arranged with much regularity by a plough of a simple construction drawn by bulls, assisted occasionally by the use of a hoe; and they practised irrigation in the culture of their rice. A young bull of English breed (though calved on the island) was presented to the chief authorities by Captain Maxwell, leaving them also a cow (having two on board), so that it is possible the next visitors who touch at Lewchew may find a larger, though they cannot find a better race of cattle.
The mode of dancing of these people may, strictly speaking, be termed hopping; for they jump about upon one leg only, keeping the other up, and changing occasionally, making a number of extravagant motions, and clapping with their hands, and singing at the same time their dancing song. According to our notions, this was their only ungraceful action. A number of them thus engaged, more especially when joined by the officers, (who must needs acquire their style,) formed rather a
grotesque assembly. They attempted our mode of countrydancing, and managed (considering it was necessary to make use of both feet) tolerably well.
The Lewchewans are a very small race of people, the average height of the men not exceeding five feet two inches at the utmost. Almost the whole animal creation here is of diminutive size, but all excellent in their kind. Their bullocks seldom weighed more than 350lbs., but they were plump and well-conditioned, and the beef very fine; their goats and pigs were reduced in the same proportion, their poultry seeming to form the only exception. However small the men might be, they were sturdy, well-built, and athletic. The ladies we had no opportunity of measuring, but they appeared to be of corresponding stature.
These islanders, most probably, originated from Japan or Corea, having a good deal of the Corean lineaments, but rather milder, and softened down. They are obviously not of Chinese origin, having nothing whatever of that drowsy and elongated eye which peculiarly distinguishes the latter; nor would it seem that the few Chinese and their descendants settled on the island freely mixed with the native Lewchewans, the national features and the natural disposition of the two people being perfectly distinct, and differing in every respect. Neither have they any mixture of Indian blood, being quite as fair as the southern Europeans; even those who are most exposed being scarcely so swarthy as the same class of society in Spain or Portugal.
The Chinese language is learnt
by a few, as the French is in our own country; but the Bonzes, or priests, who are also schoolmasters, teach the boys their native language, which is a dialect of the Japanese, and is rather soft and harmonious; and they have nothing of that hesitation in utterance, or appearance of choking, which is observed in the former, often requiring the action of the hands to assist the tongue. The orders and records of government are in their own, or Japanese character; but they have books in the Chinese language.
They burn the bodies of their dead, and deposit their bones in urns, (at least in our neighbourhood,) in natural vaults, or caverns of the rocks along the sea-shore. The graves of the few Chinese residents here are formed in their own style.
Crimes are said to be very unfrequent among them; and they seem to go perfectly unarmed, for we observed no warlike instruments of any description; and our guns, shot, and musquetry, appeared to be objects of great wonder to them. It must have been the policy of the Chinese to disarm them, for it appears that, in the first instance, they defended themselves nobly against their attacks, as well as those of the Japanese. Not even a bow or arrow was to be seen; and, when they observed the effect of fowlingpieces in the hands of some of the gentlemen, they begged they might not kill the birds, which they were always glad to see flying about their houses; and if we required them to eat, they would send in their stead an additional quantity of fowls on board every day. An
order was immediately issued by the commanding officer to desist from this sort of sporting.
The people of Tatao and the north-east islands are reported to have been in possession of books previous to the Chinese attack on Grand Lewchew, and to have been even more polished than in the principal island. Tatao and Kiki-ai are said to produce a sort of cedar, termed kienmou by the Chinese, and iseki by the inhabitants, which is considered incorruptible, and brings a great price, the columns of the palaces of the grandees being generally formed of it.
A remarkable production is found on this island, about the size of a cherry-tree, bearing flowers, which, alternately on the same day, assume the tint of the rose or the lily, as they are exposed to the sun-shine or the shade. The bark of this tree is of a deep green, and the flowers bear a resemblance to our common roses. Some of our party, whose powers of vision were strong (assisted by vigorous imaginations) fancied, that by attentive watching, the change of hue from white to red, under the influence of the solar ray, was actually perceptible to the eye; that they altered their colour, however, in the course of a few hours was very obvious.
The vessels of these islands, in the general appearance of their hulls and plan of rigging and sails, are precisely the same as we had observed throughout the whole of our track from the Gulf of Pe-tche-lee to Napa-kiang. They had, in common use, canoes hollowed from the trunk of a tree, much the same in shape as those
of other parts of the world where they are employed, and of sufficient size to contain easily from six to eight or ten people. For purposes of heavier burden, they had boats strongly built, and rather flat-bottomed.
In these boats they brought our water, bullocks, and other stock, on board. The water was not sent in barrels, but in open tubs, and baled from these into our casks.
A few days previous to our leaving the island, intimation was sent that a man of the first distinction (said to be one of the princes, and nearest heir to the crown) intended paying a visit to the ship. He was carried down to the mouth of the little river, opposite to the anchorage, in a close chair, or palanquin, amidst an immense concourse of people, who had flocked from all parts to this spot. He embarked in great state, in their own boats, with their flags flying; and was saluted, on his approach to the ships, by seven guns from each, and received on board the Alceste with every possible mark of respect and attention; the rigging being manned, and the officers in full dress. He was above the usual size of the Lewchewans, and had rather more of the European cast of countenance. His robe was of a dark pink-coloured silk; the cap rather lighter, with bright yellow lozenges on it. In his mien and deportment there was much dignified simplicity; for, although his carriage was that of a man of high rank, it was totally unmixed with the least appearance of hauteur; and his demeanour was, altogether, extremely engaging.
As he passed along the decks, his own people saluted him by kneeling; clasping the hands before their breasts and bowing the head. He examined minutely every thing about the ship, and seemed equally pleased and surprised with all he saw. After joining in a sumptuous collation in the cabin, he took his leave with the same honours as when he came on board, having previously invited the captain and officers to an entertainment on shore. The day appointed for this feast happening to be the 25th of October, the anniversary of our venerable sovereign's accession to the throne, a royal salute was fired, at sun-rise, by both ships; at noon the standard was hoisted, the ships dressed in colours, and another salute fired; after which the boats with their flags flying, containing the captains and every officer that could possibly be spared, proceeded into Napa-kiang.
They were received precisely as on the former occasion, except that the number of grandees was greater, and there appeared a higher degree of state. The prince received the party at the gate, and conducted them into the hall. Three tables were laid close to each other; the first for the great man and the captains, the second for the superior officers, and the third for the young gentlemen. This prince, or chief, did the honours of his own table, occasionally directing his attention to the others; but a man of some rank was added to each of them for the purpose of seeing the strangers properly treated, as well as to pass and proclaim the toasts; and for this purpose they were allowed to be seated, all the rest standing