^'â– â€¢â€¢â– â– PP*"""*^**!^^
LI B R.ARY
UNIFORM WITH THE PRESENT NOVEL.
2 vols. 8vo. cloth extra, Illustrated, 2l5.
MISS MISANTHROPE. By Justin McCarthy,
Author of 'Dear Lady Disdain' &c. Third Edition.
With 12 Illustrations by Arthur Hopkins.
'A brilliant and thoughtful novel.'â€” Contemporary Review.
2 vols. 8vo. cloth extra. Illustrated, 2 Is.
THE WORLD WELL LOST. By E. Lynn Linton,
Author of 'Patricia Kemball' &c. Second Edition.
With 12 Illustrations by J. Lawson and Hbnby French.
' We are inclined to think that in this novel Mrs. Linton has reached a
higher artistic mark than in any former one. " The "World Well Lost" is
supremely natural.' Nonconformist.
CHATTO & WINDUS, Piccadilly, W.
^ Fii-chow lay like a log.'
LOST StR MASSlNGBERD' 'WALTER'S WORD" "WHAT HK COST HER' ETC,
' Not in the skj% not iu the midst of the sea,
Not in the clefts of the mountains,
Is there a spot in the whole world
Where a man may be freed from an evil deeJ '
WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARTHUR HOPKINS
IN TWO VOLUMESâ€” VOL. I.
CHATTO AND WINDU8, PICCADILLY
\^The right of Irandaliou is rtferied]
LOXUOX : PRINTED BY
SI'OTTISWOOUE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
AND PARLIAMENT STREET
^ MY FRIENDS OF THE LUNCHEON TABLE
i THIS BOOK
' The poftprn handmnde, homelike, but thp plates mostly of China '
V . Garth's Tea-table
THE FIRST VOLUME.
I. Ox THE Canal 1
n. A Breeze in the Boat 14
III. The Joss-HorsE 24
IV. The Shay-le 36
V. The Informer 48
VI. The Gaeden at Richmond 60
VII. A Bargain ratified 71
Vm. Mother and Daughter 80
IX. Mrs. Wardlaw 91
X. Chinese Justice . . . . 106
XI. The Prisoner's Hope 125
XII. A Chinese Prison 136
XIII. A Sacrifice . 148
VOL. I. a
X CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
XIV. Conway's Will I59
XV. The Bargain 167
XVI. Last Words 17(5
XVII. The Survivor Ig9
XVITT. Unconscious 208
XIX. Breaking It ^ . . ^ 217
XX. Vice Vers A 228
XXI. The Beginnings of Baseness 243
XXII. A Man of Business . 257
XXIII. A BITTER Trial 270
XXIV. Returned . ^ , ^ .â€¢ , 284
ILLUS'I RATIONS TO VOL. I.
, 'Fr-cflow LAY LTKE A I.OG ' . . Frontispiece
^ * He was disarmed and throw:?^ upon the Floor' . , To face page 56
.^A MERE Cell, half UNDERGRorxD ' .... â€ž 130
^*IIe is here. Pennicutce;! ...... â€ž wO
' You H.fNE NOT BROKEN MY HbART ' . . . . â€ž 242
^Father and Son . â€ž 290 j^9^
ON THE CANAL.
THE time is spring-time â€” the scene the north of China ; or
rather that north-eastern portion of the Celestial Empii'e
which the few Europeans who have visited it call North. At the
date of which we write, it was a much rarer matter to explore the
plains of Keang-Soo, the district lying to the north-west of Shanghae,
than even now ; it was an excursion which, on the part of the ' Pak-
Quei-Tye ' or ' Foreign Devils,' required money, courage, an armed
guard, and above all a quietness of demeanour and conduct in the
presence of much that was irritating, and more that was ludicrous,
which all Europeans, and we fear we must add especially our militaiy
fellow-countrymen, do not possess. English ofl&cers in particular,
who have been accustomed to the natives of India, are apt to get
into trouble with those of China ; the character of ' Pandy ' being
very different from that of John Chinaman, and especially of John
Chinaman on his own dunghill â€” far inland, where ' the Barbarians '
â€” that is to say, all persons belonging to civilised communities â€”
are held not only cheap but contemptible. The fine old quotation,
omne ignotum pro magnifico^ is in this instance sadly out of place ;
VOL. I. , B
for though the Chinese know nothing whatever of our particular
* tribute-bearing nation,' except that it consists of men without
pig-tails ' governed by a lady with large feet,' they do not despise
us one whit the less on that account. From the days when the
unconscious Lord Macartney went up the Peiho with ' Ambassador
bearing tribute from the country of England ' in Chinese upon his
flag, until now, the Celestial People have laboured under false im-
pressions of us which induce the circumstances of what, in domestic
scenes at our police courts, is termed ' aggravation ; ' and when
young Englishmen of condition are aggravated, it touches a certain
spring in their system which is apt to make them hit out straight
from the shoulder. The consequences of this movement, especially
in connection with a Mandarin, are exceedingly serious in every part
of China except the five treaty ports ; and officers of the English army
were therefore very seldom given permission to visit the district of
Keang-Soo, notwithstanding the abundance of game it was reputed
to possess, and the charms of its local scenery.
Nevertheless, of the two Englishmen now seated in the covered
boat making its slow way up a tributary of the Cha-Ho (other-
wise Imperial Canal) upon this moonlit night in spring, one is
in the army. He is the younger of the two travellers, but not
sufficiently so to make him, as usual, the more interesting of the
two. There is only a year or so of difference in the ages of Ealph
Pennicuick and Captain Arthur Conway. But except as to years
they have little or nothing in common. The Captain is slight
though wiry ; his complexion would be fair, if the effects of ten
years' broiling under Eastern suns could be removed by the applica-
tion of some of those cosmetics, the action of which we know (by
the advertisements) is so unfailing ; but then he never uses
ON THE CANAL.
cosmetics. He has not the money to spare for such luxuries,
having to support a wife and child in England, and possessing little
more than his pay with which to do it. His face would be comely
enough but for a look of care â€” or rather of the weariness that is
the result of care â€” in his blue eyes : his mouth, notwithstanding
the long brown beard, flecked here and there with grey, has a mild
and pleasant expression, especially when it smiles : but it smiles
rarely : his voice, firm, but gentle almost as a woman's, has a certain
melancholy in its tone, such as belongs to men who have missed
their mark in life and have no desire to take aim again ; who
know how it happened quite well, and what has come of it ; and
who, if not content, at least do not complain. He holds a sketch-
book in his hand, to which, while conversing with his com-
panion, he transfers, from time to time, some picturesque or curious
object on the canal bank. He is a man of considerable accom-
plishments, as the phrase goes, though they have hitherto been of
no practical advantage to him. He can catch a likeness, and place
it on paper in a few strokes ; as a young man â€” that is to say, some
twenty years ago, for he is now three-and-forty â€” he could sing a
song with much feeling and expression ; but his singing days have
long been over. He has a genuine talent for languages, and, having
now resided some three years in the ^ crockery shop,' as his com-
panion calls the ' Flowery Land,' can make himself understood in
Chinese. Had Captain Arthur Conway possessed a friend suffi-
ciently sympathetic (which he does not) to enquire what he had
done with his life and opportunities in the world, he would have
replied, ' Wasted myself.' The general opinion of his brother-officers
was correct, when they remarked to one another, as they had occa-
sionally done, that ^ Conway had missed his tip.'
The general opinion of those who knew Ealph Pennicuick was
of quite the contrary kind. He had not ' missed his tip,' if that
means any aim whatever to which he had at any time directed his
energies. He had always had all he wanted, or almost all ; partly,
it is true, because his wants had been of a material sort, with
which a large fortune inherited when he came of age had always
supplied him ; but also because of his indomitable will. His wish
was as much a law to him as that of his Imperial Majesty the Son
of Heaven and Vice-Eegent of the Universe, in whose dominions he
was now travelling for his own pleasure. A disciple of Lavater
would have judged as much from Pennicuick's mouth, the firmness
of which, set in its massive jaw, reminded you of the Nineveh
marbles ; it was not the jaw alone, however, which associated itself
with those steadfast faces of the despots of old, but the beard of
inky blackness which, flowing broadly down from his dark face, was
clubbed towards the ends and curled upwards as hair appears to
have done in Nineveh, alike with bulls and men. Of course Penni-
cuick was much respected for this attribute â€” by which I mean his
will and not his beard, though that too he used to say had its
attractions for the fair sex â€” but it did not make him beloved of
men. He was not a man to get his name abbreviated from
familiarity or affection, but it was abbreviated nevertheless. He
was called ' Steel Pen,' and ' Hard Pen,' from his decisiveness of
character ; and ' Black Beard,' not so much from his beard as from
the characteristics he had in common with the famous pirate of
that name. But these things were only said behind his back,
while Conway was always ' Connie ' even with the youngest ensign,
and, despite his poverty and want of animal spirits, one of the most
popular men in his regiment. Pennicuick would have been popular
ON THE CANAL.
too, perhaps, if he would have taken the trouble to be so, and even
as it was his company was sought after by both sexes. For women
love a tyrant, and men (who are also cowards in their way) have
always a welcome for those who have a sharp tongue, a ready
sword, and a large rent-roll.
These two men had been at College together, where they had
both been their own masters and enjoyed themselves; only the one
had lived on his income, and indeed within it, while the other had
made a hole in his small capital. They had both married for love
(after their several fashions), but Pennicuick with the more discre-
tion. His wife died in giving birth to her first child â€” a son â€” and
left her husband with twice the fortune he had possessed before :
while Conway's wife had brought him little (or what seemed little
to a man of his habits) beyond a daughter, to keep whom and he r
it had been necessary for him for the last ten years to exile himself
from England. This at least was the view he himself took of it
(though always, as T have said, without complaint) ; but, as a matter
of fact, he had not been prudent at any time, and had both spent
and lost money in piu:suit of pleasure and gain. His friends said
that he had never been anybody's enemy but his own ; but his wife,
who was very plain-spoken, had not always endorsed that senti-
ment. She had occasionally even expressed a contrary one, a
circumstance which had perhaps had its influence in keeping them
apart. Pennicuick, who was an idle man, had always kept up his
acquaintance with Conway â€” indeed, Mrs. Conway had been a second
mother to his boy at a time when he sorely needed maternal solici-
tude â€” and having exhausted the pleasures of Town, and e\en of
Europe, he had come out to China for a few months in search of
his friend and new excitements. Hong Kong and Shanghae had
soon been exhausted in their turn, and hence this expedition into
the interior, the expenses of which were solely defrayed out of his
own pocket ; Conway had had nothing to procure but leave of
absence from his regiment, which was stationed at the latter city.
The position of being ' franked ' by another man is always a delicate
if not an absolutely disagreeable one, unless that man is indeed
one's friend ; his merely calling himself so having little to do with
the matter : and perhaps in the present case that complete though
tacit understanding â€” the total absence of the general principle of
' give and take ' â€” which underlies all genuine friendship was want-
ing. On the other hand, the sense of obligation on Conway's part
was greatly lessened by the fact that Pennicuick could have got no
one else to accompany him on such a tour, or, even if he could,
would probably not have accepted such companionship. There was
just enough consciousness of dependence to cause the poorer man
to assert himself (which under ordinary circumstances he never
did), and to offer an opinion, and stick to it, which he would have
been otherwise too indolent to express. Pennicuick, who perceived
everything that had the smallest reference to himself, understood
this thoroughly, and to do him justice liked the other's society all
the better for it.
He was just now enjoying it particularly, as he leant back in
the centre compartment of the boat, with a very large cigar in his
iiouth, or in his fingers, according to whether he was the listener
or the spokesman. In the prow were the few Chinese soldiers
who formed their guard, commanded by Fu-chow their captain ;
in the stern were the Chinese boatmen, who worked the vessel in
the usual fashion by sculls upon a pivot, and from which labour
they never ceased. Except for the movement of the oars, and an
ox THE CANAL.
occasional snore from the pigtailed warriors who were all asleep,
there was no sound to interrupt the talk of the two friends.
' They have been at it now for two whole days and nights/ said
Conway, ' and are going on, as fresh as ever. It is perfectly mar-
' That men should snore so,' put in Pennicuick gravely : ' I
quite agree with you.'
' I mean that men should row so. I saw them at dinner-time
eating rice with their chopsticks, which even now I find an almost
impossible feat, and still rowing.'
' They go deuced slow,' observed the other, in a tone of depre-
' Nevertheless, they will make a boat go farther in twenty-four
hours than our best English watermen.'
' Possibly : mules and camels will go farther than the horse,
and yet the horse is the superior animal. The Chinaman is a
brute inferior to all the three.'
' That is not the opinion of those who are best acquainted with
' You mean that is not the opinion they express, my dear
fellow. Men always praise the people they are compelled to have to
do with, to excuse their own necessity. A step farther, and we find
them cracking up the country they belong to, no matter how
absurd may be the boast. You don't suppose any Scotchman, for
example, who sings " Scots wha hae," and all the rest of it, would
be a Scotchman if he could help it ? '
' Upon my life, I think some of them would,' said Conway,
smiling ; for it was well known that Pennicuick was himself of
8 BY PROXY.
' No, no ; there are no mad Scotchmen. Now these Chinese
are all mad ; and their madness takes the most contemptible
form, that of imbecility. They are like men in their second
childhood, when they are like men at all. You will tell me
they invented gunpowder â€” though I believe it was nothing but
gunpowder tea â€” but what use do they make of it, except to fill
crackers wherewith to please their gods ? you will also tell me they
invented printing, which however nobody, including themselyes,
has yet been able to read. What has come of all this early in-
genuity ? They are like precocious children with immense heads,
from which sanguine persons augur intelligence, but which turns
out to be water on the brain. It is astonishing to me that a
man of your intelligence does not see through the shallow motives
which induce folks to preach up barbarism all over the world. A
man goes to St. Petersburg, and because he finds the nobles and
the military talking French â€” which is a positive necessity of the
case â€” avers that it is a second Paris.'
â€¢â€¢ You think that Paris, then, is the focus of civilisation, do
you ? ' answered Conway, who was busy pencilling in his sketch-
book a tall bridge, in a mulberry plantation, through which they
were about to slide.
' Certainly not : the man who says that is only not quite such
a fool as the other. The civilisation of Paris is but skin-deep. It
is, I grant, the Paradise of the Cheap Tripper; but its very
luxuries and pleasures â€” which are its real attractions â€” can all be
procured in London by one who knows where to look, and can
afford to pay for them. Even in vice, of which it flatters itself it
has the monopoly, it is by no means without rivals.'
' You spenk with anthoritv. no doubt,' said Conway drily.
ON THE CANAL.
'Of course; exjperto crede. I was about to say that your
Chinese, for example, run the Parisians very close in this respect â€”
in the drawing of iniquity with a cart-rope ; which I remark is
tacitly taken, if not absolutely instanced by observers, as a proof
of their civilisation.'
' They are certainly most abominably vicious, and, what is
worse, inordinately cruel,' assented Conway.
* The two things are not so far apart as is supposed,' observed
Pennicuick with the air of a philosopher. ' Do you remember the
prison where we saw the Englishman convicted of half-a-dozen
brutal murders, and yet pitied him ? '
' Can I ever forget it ? ' answered Conway with a quick shudder.
' Do you remember the prisoners clenched together by a nail
through their hands, because there happened to be a deficiency of
handcuffs ; and the wretch that was starved to death in the cangue,
with his fellow-countrymen keeping guard over him and enjoying
it : how even the best off among them clamoured to tis like wild
beasts, to give them food ? '
' Pray desist, Pennicuick,' cried the other, with a movement of
disgust. ' Why do you dwell upon such hideous things ? '
' Because I hate cant, and more especially in the mouth of an
honest man. If these wretches ' â€” he jerked his left hand to the
prow, and then to the stern â€” ' are to be called human, so much the
worse for humanity.'
' Gaolers and prisoners do not make a nation, Pennicuick.
Yonder boatmen are good fellows enough, I dare say, and for that
matter the soldiers too : they work for their families, love their
wives and children, and though, as you say, like babies, they cry
when you strike them, are not all cowards. I think Fu-chow
yonder, for example, behaved very pluckily â€” and you must allow
me to add very properlyâ€” when you chucked his daughter under
the chin yesterday.'
^ How the deuce was I to know it was his daughter ? ' enquired
the other sullenly.
^ I don't think that is quite the point ; and though, since you
say so, I am bound to believe you meant no offence, the man wa&
bound to resent it.'
' Still, but for you, it would have been unlucky for the man,'
answered Pennicuick grimly ; ' for I should certainly have wiped
him out. There would have been three hundred and fifty millions
of Celestials minus one by this time.'
' Then that would have been unlucky for you, my friend, for
there would certainly have been two Englishmen minus one, or
perhaps we should both have been wiped out. As it is, you have
made the man your enemy, which under the circumstances â€”
especially as he is a nephew of a Mandarin â€” is, to say the least of
'I didn't know he was the nephewof a Mandarin,' said Pennicuick?
in a tone of mock penitence. ' I have a very great regard for the
Mandarins. Since Humbug must be King, let us revere his High-
priest. I don't think anything ever tickled me so much as seeing
that high functionary at Yang-chin " saving the sun " during the
eclipse. His capers, and his incense ; his prostrations, and his
knocking his hairless head upon the ground nine times, all to
preserve the great source of light from being devoured by a
monster, was a waste of energy which really bordered on the
sublime. The ceremony has moreover the immense advantage
over the proceedings of nature that it is always completely success-
ON THE CANAL. n
fill. These " crocks " indeed never own themselves beaten. When
they pray for fine weather, and it doesn't come, they put their gods
out in the rain to see how they like it : whereas our archbishops
and bishops, with a total absence of spirit, go on praying, till
(very literally) " all's blue," and adopt no measure of retaliation
whatever. I am afraid, however, I am shocking your prejudices.
You are a believer in the popular superstition ? '
' I am not a disbeliever in it,' answered Conway gravely.
' Is it possible ? Then even these " crocks " have the advantage
over you. They have no apprehension that after their lives here
are ended â€” with its prisons, and cangues, and tyranny of all kinds
â€” they are doomed to eternal misery. They have no fear of
death whatever : any man who is condemned to die can for a five-
pound note â€” and another to " square " the Mandarin â€” get some one
else to die for him. I have seen such a substitute kneel down, with
a cigarette in his mouth, for the executioner to strike his head off.'
' I should be no more afraid to die than he, Pennicuick/
answered Conway slowly.
' Physically, of course not : you have given your proofs to the
contrary, my good fellow. But psychologically you would imagine
you ran a risk.'
' Perhaps : yet, on my word,' answered Conway, ' but for my
wife and Nelly, I would almost chance it. They wouldn't miss my
company, it's true,' added he bitterly ; ' but, you see, I can't afford
to die just yet, for their sakes.'
' Come, come, Conway : you must not talk like that. You are
a young man still : yoimger than I. There are years of life before
you yet : and where there's life there's hope ; the chances of pro-
motion, a stroke of luck at the races '
12 BY PROXY.
* You said you hated cant, just now/ interrupted Conway. * I
â€¢entertain a similar dislike. Let us drop this subject.*
'By all means. And let us also drop asleep if we can. It
must be nearly morning. Good night, old fellow.'
' Grood night,' answered Conway gently.
In a few minutes his companion had his wish : the moonlight
glinted in upon his massive features, firmer and sterner than ever
in their repose. But Conway slept not. He continued to gaze
dreamily forth, on bridge and joss-house ; on the distant hills
covered with juniper and pine ; on the plantations with their
running streams, half natural, half artificial, that fringed the banks.
But though he saw them with his outward eyes he recked not of
them. His thoughts were far away, and it was long before slumber
visited him. Even then he did not sleep for long. His dreams
were weird and monstrous ; they pictured him, with his present
companion, sailing up a river, but not in China : they were in
Egypt on the Nile, where indeed he had once been. An immense
crocodile had clambered into their boat, and opened its mouth to
swallow Pennicuick ; he would have struck at it to aid his friend,
but the creature turned and spoke : * Beware, rash man ; I am
the sacred Dragon of China ; ' and the next instant his jaws had
closed upon his victim with a horrid clash. The noise awoke him
with a start : it was broad daylight ; his companion was sleeping
tranquilly upon the opposite bench, unconscious as it seemed even
of dreams; but another face was in the little cabin, projected
over the bunk that divided it from the forepart of the vessel, and
peering between the curtains above it : a ruddy, hairless face, with
twinkling eyes that ordinarily expressed good humour, but which
now, fierce and glittering, fixed themselves on Pennicuick's face with
ON THE CANAL. 13
a look of fiendish malice. Presently a hand was thrust noiselessly-
through the curtains, and touched a bruise upon the ruddy face ; it
was but a momentary action, but the pantomime was perfect : what
it said was, ' White devil, you shall suffer for this ! ' So menacing
was the expression indeed that, fearing an immediate onslaught
on his friend, Conway leapt to his feet. In that instant the
face had withdrawn like a flash of lightning. WTien Conway in his
turn looked into the next compartment, the half-dozen soldiers who
were his servants were all sunk in slumber, while to all appearance
Fu-chow, their captain, was as fast asleep as the rest. So perfect
indeed was the simulation of repose â€” if simulation it was â€” that