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REESE LIBRARY

OF THK

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
Class No.




TRUBNER'S

ORIENTAL SERIES.



LEAVES



FROM



MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK



BY



FREDERIC HENRY BALFOUR,

AUTHOR OF

"WAIFS AND STRAYS FROM THE FAR EAST,"

! TAOIST TEXTS," "IDIOMATIC PHRASES IN THE PEKING COLLOQUIAL,'
ETC. ETC.



UNIVERSITY




OF



LONDON:
TRUBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL.

1887.

[All rights reserved.]



aflnt??ne $>**

BALLANTVNE, HANSON AND CO.
BOINBURGH AND LONDON



TO
MY KIND FRIENDS

MR. AND MRS. GEORGE F. SEWARD,

IN RECOLLECTION

OP

MANY HAPPY HOURS SPENT
AT THE UNITED STATES LEGATION, PEKING,

Ubis Book

IS

DEDICATED.



119686



CONTENTS.



CHAP. PACK

I. THE FIRST EMPEROR OF CHINA I

II. THE EMPRESS REGENT 44

III. THE FIFTH PRINCE . SO

IV. A PHASE OF COURT ETIQUETTE 55

V. FILIAL PIETY 59

VI. CHINESE IDEAS OF PATHOLOGY 64

VII. CHINESE MEDICINES 68

VIII. THE HORSE IN CHINA 72

IX. HIPPOPHAGY AMONG THE TARTARS .... 79

X. A PHILOSOPHER WHO NEVER LIVED .... 83

XI. TAOIST HERMITS 136

XII. A TAOIST PATRIARCH 140

XIII. THE PEACH AND ITS LEGENDS 145

XIV. TREE AND SERPENT WORSHIP 149

XV. THE SOPHISTS OF CHINA 153

XVI. PORTENTS 158

XVII. FEATHER-BRUSHES 163

XVIII. THE SEVEN WONDERS OF CORE A . . . .167

xix. CHINA'S GREATEST TYRANT 171

XX. THE FLOWER-FAIRIES I A TAOIST FAIRY-TALE . . 176



OF THE.

UN






LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.



CHAPTER I.
THE FIRST EMPEROR*

AN eminent writer of the present century has hazarded
the conjecture that in the unwritten history of the globe
might be found the names of many great and distin-
guished men of whom the world knows nothing ; that in
bygone ages and in distant lands there have been Ciceros
and Caesars, Hannibals and Homers, may we suggest,
in all seriousness, Beaconsfields and Bismarcks ? whose
fame has never reached the shores of Europe, and whose
memories have perished with their lives. Strange to
say, we have heard this striking notion characterised as
shallow. The criticism seems ungracious : profound it
may not be, but there can be no question of its truth,
nor of the fact that it is very little realised or thought
of. That there are great countries in the world, with
long and eventful histories, of which not one man in
ten thousand knows the smallest trifle, is a statement

* Authorities consulted : The Skih Chi; the Tung Ch'ien ; the Kok
Shi Riak; the T'ai P'ing Kuang Chi; Memoires concernant les Chinois ;
and Histoire de la Chine.

A



2 LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

which no one acquainted with China will dispute. The
educated European is versed only in the ancient and
modern history of the continent to which he belongs,
and in that of Western Asia. The rise and fall of the
Greek and Eoman powers ; the development of their
intellectual life ; the varying fortunes of their com-
ponent states ; the prowess of their commanders ; the
writings of their dramatists and poets, and the specula-
tions of their philosophers : all these are familiar enough,
in a general way, to the well-read gentleman of Europe.
But does it ever enter his consciousness that Greece may
not be the only land which ever produced a Plato or a
Sophocles; that other worlds than that he is so well
acquainted with may lie beyond the Ural Mountains and
the Caucasus, the literatures of which present a treasure-
house of instruction and delight, to which he may have
access if he will; that Europe has not monopolised the
statesmen and the warriors, the poets and reformers, the
men of mark and women of command who have hitherto
appeared among the nations of the earth ; that deeds of
heroism and daring, scenes of voluptuousness and revelry,
triumphs of intellect and skill, brilliant campaigns and
hard-won victories, revolutions, restorations, and reforms
all the phenomena, in a word, of national and social
life have signalised the history of a giant land whose
past is shrouded in obscurity, and whose present is sub-
stantially ignored ? Hardly ; or, if such a speculation
were to cross his mind, he would dismiss it as treating of
persons and events as far removed from his sphere of
being as if they belonged to another planet than our own.
It is this apathy and this ignorance which future years
l, we hope, dispel.



THE FIRST EMPEROR. 3

"We have decided to take the reign of the great Emperor
Ch^ng as the subject of the present sketch, because it
marks, in many ways, a new departure in the national
life of China. For at least four hundred years prior to
this time the country had been in a condition so un-
settled as almost to border upon anarchy. It was split
up into independent states continually at war with one
another and among themselves. No fewer than nine
sovereigns reigned over the territory bounded by the
modern Chih-li on the north, and Ssii-ch'uan on the
south ; of these the most powerful was the King of Ts'in,
whose domains comprised a fifth part of the whole of
China, and whose subjects amounted to a tenth of the
entire population ; while the next in power and import-
ance to Ts'in was his overlord, the King of Chou, who
represented the dynasty from which this period of Chinese
history takes its name. Now, at the time of which we
are writing, there had been war between the states of
Chao and Ts'in, at the conclusion of which a treaty had
been made and hostages exchanged, according to the
fashion of the day, as a guarantee of mutual good faith.
Into the details of the dispute itself it is unnecessary to
enter; the only point we need remark about it being
that the end of the struggle left the state of Chao
enfeebled, while the state of Ts'in had proportionately
gained in strength. The convention concluded between
the two was, however, not entirely one-sided ; the King
of Ts'in entered into recognisances on his part to abstain
from further aggressions, and was forced to include,
among the hostages offered to the King of Chao, his own
grandson I-jen, then a child of very tender age. This lad
spent several years in the principality of Chao, and seems



4 LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

to have become a great favourite with all who were
brought into contact with him. He grew up a bright,
clever, high-spirited youth, with frank and engaging
manners, and much semblance, at any rate, of amiability ;
we hear nothing of any leaning to ambition or intrigue,
and probably, had he been left to himself, he might have
enjoyed a better if not more brilliant future than was
actually in store for him. But, by one of those strange
and most unlikely contretemps which so often turn the
course of the world's affairs when seemingly most full of
promise, he became the tool of an adventurer whose
daring was only equalled by the success which crowned
his schemes.

The man whose influence affected so remarkably the
fortunes of the young Prince, and, through him, of
China generally, was a travelling jeweller. How the two
strangely assorted companions were first brought together
is not very clear ; but it appears that the Prince, who was
very fond of gems, ornaments, and other articles of vertu,
was attracted to the merchant by the tempting quality of
his wares. The fact that Lii Pu-wei was a compatriot of
his own, too, may have had some influence in cementing
the regard felt towards him by the exiled Prince ; but,
however it may have been, Lii was not the man to lose
whatever advantage might be reaped from intimacy with
a scion of the royal house. He accordingly attached him-
self more closely to the person of the Prince, and let no
opportunity pass of insinuating himself into his confidence.
Unlike most adventurers, however, he did not rise from
humble aspirations step by step to more audacious pro-
jects. The curious thing about this man was that he con-
ceived, from the very first, the grand design which he



THE FIRST EMPEROR. 5

afterwards kept steadily in view; a design so impudent,
and so apparently impossible of accomplishment, that we
can hardly help admiring the coolness and fixity of pur-
pose which eventually carried it through. What this
plan was, may be stated in two words. It amounted to
no less than the acquisition of the throne of Ts'in for his
own son.

The difficulties in the way of this project were even
greater than might be at first supposed. The Prince,
through whom it was to be brought about, was not only a
younger son of the heir-apparent his father, but was the
offspring of a concubine. The first step, therefore, was to
procure his recognition as the legitimate son and successor
of the future King ; and to this end was the ingenuity of
the merchant now directed. Conversing with the Prince
one day on affairs of family and state, he took the oppor-
tunity of pointing out to him the unsatisfactory nature of
his position. He reminded I-jen that, as simply one of a
numerous family of children, his present prospects of ever
coming to the throne were absolutely nil. The old King
could not live much longer; the heir-apparent, then a
man in the prime of life, would immediately succeed him,
and his choice of a successor would probably fall on one
or other of his elder sons. Now the future Queen herself
was childless, a matter of great grief to both her husband
and herself ; and as there seemed no chance of her ever
becoming a mother, the only thing that she could do
would be to adopt one of her husband's children by a
concubine. The great point, therefore, urged the mer-
chant, was that the Princess's choice should fall upon
I-jen ; to further which, he offered to repair to the court
of Ts'in with rich presents of jewellery from the Prince



6 LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

himself, and do all he could to interest that lady on his
behalf.

The Prince entered warmly into the scheme, and begged
the merchant to set off at once. That worthy lost no time
in commencing his journey, and soon presented himself at
the court of Ts'in, where, as the accredited friend of the
absent Prince, he met with a cordial welcome. The old
King asked him a thousand questions about his grand-
son ; what sort of a youth he was, how he lived, and what
the country itself was like. Nor, as may be supposed,
were the Prince and Princess less anxious for informa-
tion; and so skilfully did the envoy play his cards that
he succeeded eventually in securing the adoption of his
prottgt by the latter with her husband's full consent, and
the rank of preceptor to His Highness for himself.

So far, therefore, the fortune that had attended his
efforts was brilliant in the extreme. He was already the
acknowledged guardian of the heir-presumptive; a few
more years might see him the confidential adviser of the
King. But he aspired to be, not the adviser only, but the
father, of a king ; and now commenced the most difficult
part of his intrigues. The first thing to be done was to
secure himself a son ; for up till now he seems to have
been childless. He accordingly repaired to a professed
pander, or dealer in female slaves, and gave him an order
for the handsomest and most attractive girl that he could
find. She was required, also, to be above the average in
mental accomplishments, and no difficulty was to be made
about price so long as she came up to all the stipulated
requirements. The dealer was not long in producing a
suitable person; the bargain was soon struck, and the
merchant conveyed his purchase in triumph to his house.



THE FIRST EMPEROR. 7

As the Prince had insisted upon Lli Pu-wei occupying a
palace near his own, in order that their intercourse might
be as free and unrestricted as possible, no very consider-
able time elapsed before his eye fell upon the lovely
mistress of his tutor. This girl, instructed by Lii Pu-wei,
simulated an excessive coyness, which, added to the many
personal graces with which she was endowed, inflamed
still more the growing passion of the Prince. The pros-
pect of becoming Queen, and mother of a King, was
sufficiently dazzling to one who was even then no more
than the property of her employer, and she fell readily
into his schemes. At last the fish was hooked; I-jen
avowed his passion to his friend, and begged him to let
him have the girl. Lii Pu-wei hung back, and affected
some resentment. The Prince, however, returned so fre-
quently to the charge, that Lli Pu-wei found no difficulty
in pretending to be won over by degrees, and eventually
gave his consent. " I give you my most cherished pos-
session," he said, as he yielded to his victim's impor-
tunities ; " and I only ask that you will see in this act of
self-sacrifice a proof of my complete devotion to your
person."

It is probable that the merchant so arranged the matter
as to make his concubine over to the Prince as soon as
ever she declared herself enceinte. Some writers have
hesitated to believe that the child she afterwards bore was
really the son of Lii Pu-wei, on the ground that she had
been already living with the latter for a considerable time,
and the child was not born for a full year afterwards.
It has been urged, too, that as the name of Ch^ng is held
in execration by the literati of China generally, as the
incendiary of books, they have framed this story by way



LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

of throwing dishonour on his birth. But it is as difficult
to believe that so clever a scamp as L\i Pu-wei would
have made so clumsy a blunder in his calculations, as that
the future Emperor was born after an abnormal pregnancy
of twelve months. The fact appears to be that only eight
months elapsed between the surrender of the slave-girl to
the Prince, and the birth of the child ; and in this case
the probabilities are certainly in favour of the popular
version of its paternity.

No suspicion, however, seems to have suggested itself
to the mind of the confiding Prince. He was so much
in love with his new bride, and so delighted with the
son she presented to him, that he declared his resolu-
tion to raise the former to the rank of legal wife, and
the latter to the position of his acknowledged heir. As
regards the second part of his intention, there need have
been no difficulty ; for though married for a considerable
time, he had no other children. But his wish to make
the mother of the child a Princess was firmly resisted by
that lady herself, who, acting under the instructions of
her accomplice, declined the proposed honour, on the
score of her humble origin. She continued to busy her-
self with household affairs ; she nursed her infant herself,
and treated her less fortunate companions in the harem
with so much meekness and docility as to disarm all
jealousy, and even to win their love. She played a wait-
ing game, and lost nothing by her unaspiring policy.

And now we must glance for a moment at what had
been going on in the state of Ts'in. It seems to have
been a necessity on the part of the old King, Chao Hsiang
Wang, to be perpetually at war with somebody; and
having no pretext for attacking the states of Han, Wei,



THE FIRST EMPEROR. 9

and Chou, he persuaded himself that the treaty he had
formerly concluded with the King of Chao was not suf-
ficiently favourable to his own interests to be allowed to
stand. He therefore recommenced operations against this
state by attempting to gain possession of Yen-yii, a town
situated at some distance from Han-tan, the capital of his
rival's kingdom. This place, although in an outlying dis-
trict, was deemed worthy of preservation by the King of
Chao, and a general named Chao Chih was forthwith
despatched with a large army to its relief. On his arrival,
however, at the scene of action, he found that it had
already been invested by the enemy; and the invading
general, on hearing of his approach, immediately decided
to [give battle. A short but decisive engagement took
place, which, owing to good generalship on the part of
the Chao commander, ended in the forces of Ts'in being
entirely routed. The siege was raised, and the army of
Chao Hsiang Wang ignominiously put to flight. But this
defeat, though unexpected, did but little to weaken the
growing power of Ts'in ; and the King of Wei, who had
been subdued but a short time previously, thought it pru-
dent to avail himself of its temporary repulse to form a
defensive alliance with the King of Tsi. Tor this purpose
he deputed a man named Hsu Chia as his ambassador,
accompanied by the philosopher Fan Tsii. The envoys
received an honourable welcome at the court of Tsi, the
King being so struck with the wisdom and prudent conver-
sation of Fan Tsii that he presented him with a quantity
of gold on his departure. This so excited the jealousy of
Hsu Chia, who had received no such mark of favour, that
on his return to the court of Wei he denounced his col-
league as a traitor, representing the present he had received



io LEA VES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

in the light of a shameless bribe. The evidence against
Fan Tsli appeared so crushing that the Premier, before
whom the accusation was made, caused him to be beaten
within an inch of his life, and left him lying on the
highway for dead. The unlucky philosopher, however,
managed to crawl away under cover of the night, and
immediately repaired to the Ts'inese Embassy, where he
offered his services to the ambassador then residing at the
court of the King of Wei. The ambassador took in the
situation at a glance, accepted the philosopher's proposals,
and accompanied him without loss of time to the court of
Chao Hsiang Wang.

The entrance of the philosopher at his first audience
seems to have been characterised by extreme rudeness.
The old King, on the other hand, no sooner saw that his
visitor was clad in a sage's robes than he caused the audi-
ence-chamber to be cleared, descended from his throne,
and received him on his knees. A dialogue then ensued,
in which Fan Tsii rebuked the King for certain disorders
in his government, and urged such reforms as he thought
necessary. The King took his scolding in good part, and
promised that the changes should be made ; indeed, such
was the effect made upon his mind by the uncompromis-
ing counsels of the philosopher that he took him from
henceforth into his full confidence, and did nothing with-
out first asking his advice. It is but fair to say, however,
that the counsels of Fan Tsii were of a nature in them-
selves to please the King, as they had for their object the
aggrandisement of his territories. " I am the only one in
your Majesty's dominions," he said on one occasion, " who
fears that your descendants will not remain masters of
your present holdings." This remark struck the King with



THE FIRST EMPEROR. 11

force, and caused him to place himself unreservedly in the
hands of his new Minister.

And now, by a singular freak of fortune, who should
come to the court of Ts'in, as ambassador from the King
of Wei, but the philosopher's old enemy, Hsu Chia. It
must have been a disagreeable surprise to him to meet the
rival he fancied he had killed, and still more galling to be
compelled in a measure to pay his court to him. Nor did
Fan Tsii feel disposed to make things easier for him. He
received him with a stern and haughty air, bidding him
return to his master and say that it was useless for him to
talk of peace until he chose to send the head of Wu Chih,
the Premier who had committed so barbarous an outrage
upon his person ; threatening that, if this were not soon
done, he, Fan Tsli, would lead his armies to the very heart
of Wei, and lay the capital in ruins. The required head
not being forthcoming, two towns of Wei were taken by
the troops of Ts'in ; but by way of indemnifying himself
for his clemency in not razing the capital itself, he set on
foot a bloody campaign against the King of Han. The
success which attended these cruel measures served only
to make the King of Ts'in more anxious for fresh con-
quests ; and irritated by the recent defeat of his soldiers
by the forces of Chao, at the attempted capture of Yen-yii,
he decided to march straight upon the capital, where his
grandson was still living as a hostage.

On receiving a private communication from his grand-
father warning him of the impending danger, I -Jen escaped
from the court of Chao, and soon arrived at his ancestral
state. His wife and child he left in the care of Lii Pu-
wei; but no sooner was his flight known than Lii himself
became the object of suspicion. His connection with the



12 LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

Prince had been long no secret, and he now found himself
for the first time under arrest. The stake for which he
had been playing was too high, however, to be relin-
quished without an effort; and, great as were the diffi-
culties surrounding him, he succeeded in corrupting his
guards and making his escape. He soon arrived at the
court of Ts'in, bringing with him the Princess for such
she may now be styled and her son, now a growing lad ;
where, we need scarcely say, he was enthusiastically re-
ceived by the King and the heir-apparent, and loaded with
gifts and honours.

Then commenced a series of triumphs on the part of
the King of Ts'in, followed in each case by massacres of
the most wholesale and horrible description. Forty thou-
sand prisoners of war were beheaded in Han and ninety
thousand in Chao. Like a swarm of hungry locusts, the
troops of Ts'in found lands as the garden of Eden before
them which they left a desolate wilderness ; nothing
escaped their devastations, and the terror of them spread
over the whole country. In despair, the King, or Em-
peror as he has been called, of Chou, ordered a blind attack
to be made upon the advancing army by the other princes
in a body, but it was too late ; and, convinced of the in-
fatuation of his design, he went of his own accord and
tendered his submission to his conquering vassal. That
monarch received his suzerain with condescension, ac-
cepted his humble apologies for the past, and took
possession of thirty-six of his towns and thirty thousand
soldiers. From this moment the dynasty of Chou may be
said to have become extinct. Although the empire was
not actually brought under the sway of a single sceptre,
the power of the state of Ts'in was growing so rapidly



THE FIRST EMPEROR. 13

that it was clear the old order of things was irrevocably
doomed ; reverses were yet in store for the conquerors,
but the day was fast approaching when the great object
they had held in view should be once and for all attained.

During this campaign against the states of Han and
Chao the King of Ts'in died. But, as if the fates had
ordained that nothing should intervene to delay the con-
summation of his hopes, or retard the accession of the
Coming Man, who was to complete the work he had left
unfinished, his two successors were speedily cut off. The
heir-apparent died a few days Rafter the decease of his
father, and I-jen took possession of the throne. He con-
tinued the wars which his grandfather had bequeathed
to him, and gained great victories over the states of
Chao, Han, and Chou; but, in an evil moment, he
allowed his energies to be diverted to the state of Wei,
and here he received a check. Five princes joined
together to resist the rapacious invader, and a bloody
engagement took place, in which the ever-victorious
army was routed and put to flight. But this disaster
was the almost immediate cause of the final triumph of
Ts'in. The King took it so much to heart that he sickened
and soon died, after a turbulent reign of only five years,
thus making way for the son of the adventurer and the
courtesan, who was then just thirteen years of age.

To write a sketch, however slight, of the reign of Shih
Huang Ti, or the " First Emperor," without giving a de-
tailed account of the steps by which he succeeded in
bringing the empire under a single sway, will probably
seem to most readers as absurd and vain a task as to
write a history of Queen Anne without dwelling upon
the great military achievements of the Duke of Marl-



14 LEAVES FROM MY CHINESE SCRAPBOOK.

borough and Prince Eugene. We have elected, neverthe-
less, to pursue this course in a certain measure. To our
mind, there is nothing drearier or more sickening than
the minute chronicles of petty wars ; wars involving no
great principle, directed to no righteous end, but simply
undertaken to glut the greed of the aggressor or satisfy his
taste for blood ; wars prompted by the meanest and most
unworthy motives, and aided by the foulest perjury and
intrigue. That the unification of the empire was an
eventual benefit to China we do not dispute ; that it
called into play the powers of an almost master mind,


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