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with rage and despair. He gnashed his teeth, and tore his pig-tail, and declared that falsehood itself was not half so false as Tou-Këen. 'I will be revenged,' cried he, “as sure as a bow and arrow. Guns had not at that time been introduced in China.

His conduct and declarations became a theme at court; and a mandarin, who had been jealous of the favour Si-Long had obtained from the late Emperor, ventured to report to the new one all that he had so rashly spoken. Poor Si-Long would soon have been a volume of fugitive poetry,—that is to say, a collection of small pieces,

- but for the interposition of the amiable Tou-Këen, who was opposed to such poetical justice. The beautiful Empress, however, was not unwilling that her too aspiring lover should receive a punishment proportioned to his offence; so she suggested that there should be inflicted upon him two hundred strokes of the bamboo; and that with the imperial gratuity of ten score marks which would accompany the execution of this order, he might be dismissed from the province of Pe-che-le. An Emperor of China, as the father of his people, well understands that to spare the rod is to spoil the child; and the bamboo is one of the most useful plants in his domi. nion. His subjects naturally prize it, because they feel its use.

After obtaining such proof of his mistress's favour, Si-Long had little desire to remain longer in the capital, and thus banishment became to him a matter of indifference. He was behind the world, —or, as it is more commonly expressed, the world was before him, —and he set forth from the great capital with his little capital upon his back. He was likely to retain his marks some time; but, as his mandarin's button had been taken from him, he was no longer among the nobles.

He wandered on, greatly depressed in spirit, and careless whither chance might' lead him, and for several days mechanically retraced the way he had lately taken when entrusted with the Emperor's commission. Having at length arrived at the place where the path turned off to the dwelling of the physician, he could not resist an inclination to revisit the abode which he had left with such pleasing anticipations. Not doubting, however, that his story had got there before him, he did not venture to show himself in front of the house ; but choosing the dusk of the evening, he went stealthily through the garden, and passed along avenues of bananas and orangetrees, till he came to a small summer-house, commanding an extensive view of a tank of gold fish. In that fantastic building he threw himself down on a bamboo bench, he did not notice that it was of bamboo, or he would have chosen some other, -and looked pensively at the water, and at the fish that sported so merrily therein. He had once before eat in that place; the beautiful but faithless Tou-Kéen was then his companion ; they had slipped forth unobserved of the domestics, and in that retreat had enjoyed an hour of delightful intercourse, such as in the Celestial Land falls to the lot of few lovers, although such hours only can make the Celestial Land a perfect paradise. His heart was low,-and as he looked at the gold fish, and thought of his false lady, he repeated to himself the words of the celebrated poet, Sing-Song, which have been so well translated by Gray:

41

VOL. VII.

· Not all that tempts our wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;

Not all that glisters, gold. "Ah!' said he, 'false Tou-Kéen! you deceived your faithful Si-Long: he would have treasured you as the precious metal, and behold you elude his grasp as a slippery fish. Farewell, however, Tou-Këen! far be it from me to cherish feelings of revenge or hate against one whom I have loved so truly.'

Having spoken thus, he was possessed with a strong desire to put an end to his miseries by a plunge into the tank. But the drowsy god was just at the time beginning to exercise so powerful an influence upon him, that he was constrained to defer this till he should have taken a short nap.

To this end he fell asleep; and in his sleep he had a dream. From a vase, that stood upon a pedestal in the middle of the tank, a little mist seemed suddenly to arise, which, gradually spreading and ap. proaching him, revealed amid its rolling volumes the figure of his guardian joss. This was a little punch-bellied divinity, who sat cross-legged, as is the custom of all guardian josses. His face was full of quintessential wisdom ; its very furrows seemed to have been made by' wise saws; and the air of the whole was a sort of proverbial expression. My son,' said he, though gravity of face suiteth with wisdom, yet laughter itself is not so vain and profitless as tears; and remember that half a potfull is better than no rice. Therefore arise and go thy way, and away with ungainly grief. Bend thy steps south-eastward from this province of Honan, and pass through Hoo-Pe, till thou comest to Kiang-Si. There attend the chances that await thee. This much I read of thy fate: the Emperor yet shall honour thee, though now he hath thus cast thee down ; and thy name shall go forth through all the land, and be remembered through all ages. If the honour cometh slowly,-the great wall was not built in a day; keep up thy courage, and persevere in the path upon which thou enterest ; patience and perseverance dug the great canal. Here, take this talisman. It will make hard things easy to thee. It will aid thee in all thou devisest. It will make hot cold, and cold But whenever thou hast some purpose to effect, thou must hold it in thine hand. Untouched it will avail nothing. Farewell.'

As soon as the joss had vanished, Si-Long awoke. At the time he fell asleep, the moon had not long appeared above the horizon. When he rose, she had just reached her zenith. There she hung, as the great chandelier of the night, the stars glittering round her like single candles stuck about the cupola of heaven. Majestic orb! she rolled among that little company like an eighty-four pounder among a flight of pistol bullets. A Chinese writer has aptly likened her to a pot of rice, and the stars to scattered grains.

Si-Long arose. He looked up at the moon : he looked down at the water : he thought of his meditated leap into the latter, but, with the moon reflected within it, it appeared too deep. He looked at the vase that stood on a pedestal in the midst of the tank; and, as his eye fell upon this, his vision or dream returned to his memory, and quite determined him not to plunge too rashly. But as he recollected the apparition of the joss, he remembered likewise the talisman; and not

until then did he notice that betwixt the finger and thumb of his left hand he held a small crooked coin, which he recognized immediately as the gift of his guardian spirit. Encouraged by such a discovery, he rose and bade adieu for ever to that sad scene of former happy hours; and finding that the garden-gate was fast, climbed the wall with some difficulty, declining the proffered assistance of a bamboo, and alighting in safety on the other side, set forward at once on his journey towards the south-east, in obedience to the recommendation of the joss.

We leave him on his way, and return to Pekin. As we approach the city we hear Tou-Këen from every mouth. Within the walls Tou-Këen is the universal theme of conversation too; but there we hear less of her, for not being far from the palace, all speak in whispers. Tou-Këen the beautiful; Tou-Këen the fantastic ; Tou-Këen the petulant; Tou-Këen the cruel ; Tou-Këen the unjust ; Tou-Këen that rules the ruler ; TouKëen that squanders the

money of the land ; everywhere Tou-Këen ; all day long Tou-Këen ; Tou-Keen, Tou-Këen, Tou-Këen,-nothing but Tou-Kéen.

The young Empress, in the mysterious way that sometimes happens, had acquired surprising influence over the old Emperor, although he was the despotic sovereign of the great Central Empire, and she a weak woman just raised to dignity from no very high rank among his subjects. Ah, wonderful, beyond all wondrous things thy fascinating power, o beauty, who imprisonest Kings with thy locks, and makest Emperors bend beneath thy lashes ! Tou-Keen soon felt her power, and she made the Emperor feel it; and like the shock of a galvanic battery, it passed from him to those next him in degree, and so through the whole circle of society. Never were humours so fantastic as those which Tou-Këen taxed her lord, and which her lord taxed the whole country to gratify. She ordered new buildings and decorations in the palace; a gim-crack arch of porcelain in the great court before it ; tall columns supporting at telescopic heights the figures of warriors and great men, it was a pity she possessed no Herschel's telescope to bring their features within view,) new gardens filled with majestic rocks of glass and terra cotta, with trees dwarfed down to shrubs, and with flowers in pots upon artificial branches, fine specimens of the manner in which Art can turn Nature inside out, or make her stand upon her head. She would have, too, garden buildings devised in all the forms of Chinese puzzles, lakes of coloured water filled with artificial fish, and lofty bridges erected upon level lawns. She issued her command, and temples and theatres were there mingled together, and pig-tailed gods and fantoccini Aourished falchions and flags, beat drums, and smoked their pipes and incense-pots in happy emulation of each other. But in the decorations of her own apartments, in her dress, and in her food, the beautiful and proud Tou-Këen was yet more lavish and fantastic. Large pieces of furniture, wrought of rhinoceros ivory, in that exquisite style of carving in which the Chinese are yet unequalled, or in jade and precious marbles, inlaid with diamonds and rubies ; pillows and beds of spider-silk, stuffed only with parrots' down ; robes woven of gold filaments resembling silk, and enriched with a wonderful embroidery, which all the first ladies in the empire were compelled to execute; dishes of woodcocks’ brains, the pupils of cats' eyes, snails' horns, and mouse-foot jelly; these were but a few among her multitudinous devices.

The whims of the most whimsical Tou-Këen furnished ample employ. ment to all the best artificers in ivory, in the precious metals, in silks, in

porcelain, and in whatever else might conduce to ornament and luxury. Yet her commissions were felt to be not patronage but tyranny; for, though those who executed her commands in a manner which gave her satisfaction were well paid, and even rewarded for their labour; the much larger numbers who failed, in spite of their most anxious endeavours to win her approbation, were punished with various degrees of severity. Some were bambooed ; some bad their shops or workhouses destroyed; some were banished to remote parts of the empire. The tasks which she set to the porcelain manufacturers were particularly troublesome; for after these had formed the clay, by the most careful and skilful manipulations, into unusual and difficult shapes, their labours were apt to be rendered unavailing by the uncontrollable effects of the fire to which the earthy material had necessarily to be subjected.

Among other fancies, she had demanded from these artists a bath, of most fantastic form, the sides and edge of which should be formed of a filigree of flowers, fruit, birds, shells, and figures; the whole to be contrived with great intricacy and elaborated with extreme minuteness. Of this a model was prepared in Peking, and sent thence to the factory at King-te-chin; then an establishment of considerable repute, which has since become the most famous in all China.

No such piece of porcelain, either for size, or for the curiosity of the workmanship, had hitherto been attempted; and the proprietor of the furnaces was dismayed when he received the order. Among the artificers in his employ, however, was a young man of extraordinary skill, who had already performed some commissions of the Empress, for which the furnaces of best repute had been tried; the manufacturers of best repute bastinadoed : and this person, who had lately been looked upon as a prodigy of skill and oracle of art, readily took upon himself the perilous responsibility of forming the porcelain bath.

This ingenious young artist-(perhaps you may have guessed so much)—was no other than our heroic Si-Long,—at least Si-Long the hero of our story,—who had arrived one evening, tired and hungry, in the neighbourhood of the porcelain manufactories of King-te-chin. As he had found it neither reputable nor agreeable to roam about so long without money, or credit, or changes of clothes, and as he recollected the advice of his guardian joss that he should tarry in Kiang-Si, it occurred to him that he might be able to obtain employment in the porcelain factories, and that as he was possessed of much ingenuity and taste, he might thus occupy himself in a manner at once lucrative and honourable. He found no difficulty in forming an engagement with the master of the principal establishment; but what may have rendered this the less difficult was, that when he presented himself to make an offer of his services his hand was unconsciously placed upon the talisman he had received from the joss. But for this fortunate accident it is probable that references as to character might have been required ; and it would not have been pleasant to have been forced to appeal to his friend, the Emperor, for credentials.

He afterwards remembered the talisman, and it made hard things easy to him, and aided him in all he devised. This it was which enabled him, though with such little experience in the fabrication of china ware, to perform what had baulked the ablest workmen.

Si-Long applied himself assiduously, with the assistance of several ingenious artists, to imitate in the clay the model of the bath. It was

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