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Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

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ed in the dust on the back of the mirror in the
dressing bureau, and after they were effaced the
trouble ceased !

Chinese Business. Among the Chinese are
pawnbrokers, money-changers and bankers,
watch-makers and jewelers.

The laundries are on every block, in some of
which the work is excellent, and in others miser-
able and destructive.

Their process of sprinkling the clothes by tak-
ing a mouthful of water and ejecting it in the
form of spray is curious, but a method of sprink-
ling that is not surpassed for evenness.

Rag-pickers, and itinerant peddlers go about
with two large baskets on the ends of a bamboo
pole, and in this way burdens are usually carried
and often 300 pounds are carried on a ' dog-trot "
from ten to twenty miles a day.

These baskets, loaded with fish, carefully
picked in ths markets, and vegetables selected
rt'ith like care, or raised in little suburban gar-
dens of their own, or fish and vegetables of the
worst, are carried if they suit the customers.
Their baskets are at the doors of all the side-
streets, and supply provender to those who cry
most against cheap labor.

Chinese Jewelry may be purchased for curi-
osity only, but the purchaser may feel easier than
in buying a Connecticut clock, for the articles
carved in gold and silver are of pure metal
the Chinese having not yet learned the intricacies
of cheap jewelry.

Firm names are not subject to change with
death or change of partners, but are often per-
petuated for centuries.



Chinese Workmen. Their employments
and occupations are, in short, legion. They are
adapted best to light, quick work, and engaged
much in cigar making, the use of the sewing
machine, gardening, mining, picking fruit, etc.,
but have also proved the most efficient class for
building railroads and levees,

They are used almost exclusively for gathering
castor-beans, strawberries and other fruits. As
merchants, they prove successful, " cornering "
the pea-crop and other markets, and they even
charter vessels for the flour, tea and rice trade
with China. Thus it is evident that the labor
question wears a serious aspect on its face, but
it is like the ocean disturbed most on the surface,
and will be settled with some respect to the de-
mands of capital, as such questions have always
been settled.

One of the manufacturers engaged in the Mis-
sion Woolen Mills, and two other factories says :
" We employ about one thousand Chinese. We
pay white men wages 200 per cent, higher than
that paid to the Chinese. Some of the Chinamen
are equal to white men, but most of them
earn from 90 cents to $1.20 a day. All the
money for Chinese laborers is paid to one man.
We started manufacturing with white labor,
and three or four years ago came to the con-
clusion that we wanted to hire seventy-five
white boys, and bought that many machines.
The second day the boys went out on an excur-
sion in the bay, and did not come back to work
until the day after. We spoke to them about
it, and said it must not happen again. There-
upon one of the boys put on his jacket and said
to the others, ' Let him go to h 1,' and most of
them left the factory. We could not rely on
white boys. Afterward I engaged nine girls.
One day I went to the factory and found no
steam up, T asked ' What's the matter ? ' The
foreman said the girls did not come, they are off
on a holiday. They had too many holidays
Christmas, New Year's, Fourth of July, St.
Patrick's Day, and many other holidays 1 r.tyjr
heard of. It went on from bad to worse, and
when I found that the girls would rather loaf on
the streets than work, I discharged them. I am
not in favor of Chinese labor, mind you, but I
have found out that white boys and girls of San
Francisco cannot be depended upon. If we had
no Chinamen, our factories would, in a measure,
be hindered in their progress. If we had no
manufactories of blankets here articles of that
description wrtnld be bought in England. Shoes
would be bought in Boston, if they were not
manufactured here. Our foreman has instruc-
tions to give white labor the preference. We
have offered inducements to obtain Chinese
labor.

Would it be a good thing to send our raw
material East, and have the articles manufac-
tured there and sent back to us ? We sell goods



329



here as cheap as they are sold in the East, and
better goods, although white labor in New Kng-
land is cheaper than Chinese labor on this coast.
The houses that export and sell eastern manu-
factured goods would put up the prices of shoes,
blankets, etc., if our factories did not keep them
down by competition. If our factories -were
closed, prices would go up at once."

And a private individual, "Chang Wo," makes
a good point in public discussion, when he says,
" What for the Americans have us in their
houses if we are not clean and steal ? You can
see."

Among them are some hardened criminals, as
their implements of murder to be seen in the
office of the Chief of Police, or their pawn-
broker's shops, will testify, and seventeen per
cent, of the ccnvicts at San Quentin are Chinese.
On the one hand, it is difficult to convict them,
because false witnesses are idle in the market
places, but on the other hand, they need no con-
viction in the judgment of many, and only a pre-
text is sufficient to get them into prison. Guilty
American criminals enjoy no fewer chances of
escaping justice, but many more.

C/iinese Restaurants and Food. The
restaurants are easily distinguished by their
gaudy signs of red and gilt, covering the whole
front of the building, and the immense round
Chinese lanterns suspended from the upper
stories. The higher the story, the more elaborate
and costly is the rude furniture and the more
aristocratic the entertainment; orliketh.3 Palace
Hotel, " the high floors are the high-toned." In
these high places the merchants dine their friends
ou a dozen different courses. They have a
greater variety of food than the French or any
other nation. Some of this is best seen in the
provision stores, and some in the restaurants.
On Jackson Street, above Dupont, is one of the
oldest and best restaurants; others are on oppo-
site sides of Dupont, near Clay. In meats, ths
Chinese use pork, kid, chickens, and the greatest
variety of dried fish, dried oysters, gizzards,
shrimps, and ducks. Beef is not a favorite
meat, especially in ths southern part of China.
The legends concerning calamity upon those who
eat so serviceable an animal are numerous.

Ducks are hatched and reared by artificial proc-
ess in China, and when dried in the sun and
pressed in oil, are an important article of com-
msrce. Dried duck eggs, sometimes called " salt
eggs," being first salted for three days, and then
covered or coatsd w,ith mud and salt, look as if
they were coated with glue, and covered with
black sand in stucco fashion. The Chinese call
them Ham Tan, and sell them at 35 cents a
dozen.

Shrimps are not only dried, but are made into
a sauce that looks like an apothecary's ointment.
Many Chinamen i:i Mexico are engaged in catch-
i:ig and salting shrimps. The variety of dried



and salted fish is almost endless. Meat, fish and
vegetables are cut up fine and cooked with
rice flour and nut-oil in a variety of cakes, orna-
mented in various styles and colors, then sold at
street stands and eaten in restaurants, llice
flour and nut-oil are used in almost all the
articles of pastry. Rice is, of course, the staple
article of food, and the taking of a meal is " eat-
ing rice." Ths Chinaman's receptivity for this,
like that of the ocean, is never satisfied. He
will take a bowl containing it, in the left hand,
and by a dexterous use of the chop-sticks will
shovel it into his mouth, and swallow it as one
fish swallows another, and he seldom fails to re-
peat the process less than five or six times. Of
teas, only the black is used in the best restau-
rants, and this of a superior quality, costing
often several dollars a pound. It is never boiled
but placed in a small cup with a cover to fit, and
boiling water poured in, and then is left to steep
in the presence of the guest. Tea is the com-
mon beverage, and offered on all occasions. On 1
receiving a call from a stranger, it would be ex-
ceedingly ill-mannered not to offer some hot tea
the moment after he enters. It is always taken
as hot as it can be procured, and without sugar
or milk. For keeping it hot they sometimes
have a covered basket well-lined with some non-
conductor of heat, into which the tea-pot fits,
and which will retain the heat for several hours.

They seldom drink water, and wine is spar-
ingly used. At their feasts and on social occa-
sions, they are obliged to go through the whole
bill of fare, taking a little of whatever is offered.

The long, white, tapering Chinese radish, like
our own winter radish, few will mistake, unless
they are first cut up and boiled in oil.

One of the most delicate vegetables they call
the water-chestnut, a reddish brown bulb, about
as large as an Italian chestnut, and resembling
the Indian turnip. They are pared or shaved
with but little waste and great rapidity.

The Chinese turnip will not be readily recog-
nized, except by its faint odor. It is oval, but
quite irregular in shape.

The bean is a great favorite, and of it there
are many varieties, some exceedingly small.
Bean sprouts are sold in all the vegetable stores,
and bean curd is a staple article of food. One
might mistake it for corn-starch or milk curd.
It is prepared by grinding the bean and boiling
the meal. The soft, yellow-covered cakes on the
stands in the street, are only bean curd.

Colt's-foot candy is not an article of food, but
that which resembles it, is only the bean, cooked
and drawn out into sticks, like candy ; and the
long, thin, dried string-beans, one \vould say,
are not beans at all, but yellow blossoms to be
cooked in soup with lean pork. Besides aspara-
gus, lettuce, celery and our common articles,
mustard leaves, large and small, are much used
for " greens."



330



Pumpkins and squashes, such as the "Melican
man " eats, and does not eat, and sweet potatoes,
dried and prepared as potato-rice ; and yams,
with fibres somewhat resembling those adhering
to the cocoa-nut shell, are always seen about the
stores.

Bamboo is cut into pieces about six inches in
length, split and preserved in brine, and cooked
with meat.

Dried olives, black, and like a three-cornered
piece of dried plum, are kept in earthen jars,
and cooked with meat. The abalone, a shell-fish,
is dried and exported to China. A sea-weed that
resembles the pulp of peaches dried like peach
leather, is a curious article of food, and may be as
good as the bird's-nests. The greasy sausages
are not attractive, though evidently much sought
after.

In the great variety of preserved fruits, some
are food fit for Americans. The ginger root is
well known, and not less pleasant are the lemon,
sliced citron, small oranges, water-melons, olives,
persimmons, and frozen sugar.

Of nuts there are many, some for cooking, .and
some for eating. The white nut is like a small
almond, with a thin shell and kernel, and is used
for pastry.

At the street corners are little packages of
brown papar,with slices of cocoa-nut,mingled with
thi curious beetle nut, and the whole is daubed
with some red paste, made out of lime juice and
colored by the dust of the street and some
foreign pinkish earth.

One of the most palatable nuts is the " Lai
Che," rougher than the cup of an acorn ; the
maat of which is black and sweet, and the seeds
of which, though hard, contain a delicate kernel.
The pea-nut is found on all the stands, -but the
American product is far superior to the Chinese.

Water-melon seeds are eaten raw, and used in
cooking. With all the variety of edibles from
China, of which only a few of the most striking
and common have been named, and with the
new dishes adopted in this country, it may be
hard for the Celestial to arrange his bill of fare,
but they find rice economical, and they love it
dearly ; yet when the palate of one was tested by
asking him, "Of all things to eat, what would
you rather have ? " He reflected for a time and
replied deliberately, but with emphasis of tone,
" Well, me likee best a nice piece of hog-meat."

Temples. These are to be found in almost
every town containing a few hundred Chinamen,
but the most elaborate are in San Francisco.

No effort is made to present an attractive ex-
terior, although more money is expended by
Chinamen in proportion to their means upon
their temples than Americans spend upon their
churches.

The temples are not under the control of the
six companies, or in any way connected with
them, nor does the relations of any one to his



company affect his place, or time of worship-
ing. The chief temples are

1. On Clay Street, opposite the south-west
corner of the Plaza, in the building in which
the Hop Wo Company has its head-quarters,
and for this reason sometimes distinguished as
the Hop Wo Temple.

2. The Dnpont Street Temple, with entrance
from Dnpont near Jackson, and also from Jack-
son near Dupont, neither of which can be found
or would be willingly entered when found by
a stranger. It is reached by ascending rickety
stairs to the third story.

3. The Pine Street Temple, entrance just
above Kearney, in the building of the Kong
Chow Asylum.

4. The Brooklyn Place Temple, off Sacramento
Street near Stockton.

5. The Jackson Street Temple, on the north
side of Jackson, near Stockton.

The most popular among the Chinese is the
one on Brooklyn Place, but it is small, retired,
with only one god, and not attractive to tourists.

The most desirable to visit are the first two
mentioned. The Clay Street is the newest,
most elaborate and expensive, but the Duponfc
Street contains about four times as many gods
as any other.

The temple on Jackson Street is devoted to
the worship of

Ma Chu, the goddess of sailors, and her
two assistants, on either side of her. She has
had various high-sounding titles bestowed upon
her, the most common of which is " Tin Han,"
the Heavenly Queen, and to her the boatmen cry
often, in piteous tones, ' - Grandmother Ma
Chu ! " " Grandmother Ma Chu !"

This goddess was the daughter of a sea-faring
man, whose sons followed the father's uncertain
and stormy life. While weaving one day she
fell asleep and her weary head rested on her
loom, where she saw, in a dream, her father and
two brothers and their respective junks, periled
in a terrific storm. She agonized to rescue them
from danger, and seized her brothers' junks, one
in each hand, and her father's in her mouth. As
she dragged them to the shore, she heard her
mother's voice calling, and, with dutiful spirit,
but great forgetfulness of her father's danger,
she opened her mouth to answer, and awoke
from her dream; but in a few days tidings came
of a dreadful storm and the loss of the father's
junk and the safety of the brothers. Her dream
has given her more honor than Pharaoh's gave
Joseph, and the Virgin Mary has no loftier titles.
Thank offerings are made to her by Iwatrnen,
after every deliverance from peril. One of her
assistants is " Favorable-wind-ear, ** and the
other, " Thousand-mile-eye."

The temple on Pine Street is devoted to Kican
7V//, the god of war. It is in the building of
the KOHL; Chow Asylum, and has connected with



332



it a room for ancestral worship. The asylum
has a large hall for the public meetings of the
company.

The stranger in San Francisco will visit the
temples on Clay Street and Dupont Street, if
no others. The Clay Street has taken away some
of the tinsel that formerly adorned the one on Du-
pont Street, and is the most elaborate, having
cost about $30,000, and is dedicated to the worship
of Kwan Tai, and this same god occupies the
central place in the Dupont Street Temple.

He is the most popular of all the gods, and is
always red-faced, with a long, black beard.

On the walls of every temple and about the
entrances are seen red placards the records of
the gifts made for establishing and supporting it.
The " Heathen Chinee," unlike the American
Christians, who always give their alms in secret,
connect merit and worship with these gifts, some-
times burning incense before the names of the
donors, while an attending priest offers prayers
for blessings on them.

In the Clay Street Temple is an elaborate piece
of gilt, carved wood, representing mythology and
history. It cost about $3,000, and is enclosed in
glass, covered with wire. Other pieces of carv-
ing, similar in character, are suspended about
the room ; but the significance of them is as
mysterious as the ponderous classics of Confu-
cius and Mencius.

Richly embroidered silk banners all hand-
wrought, are ready to be carried in front of or
over the idol when he goes out in procession on
festal days. Spears are used at the same time
for his protection, and flags carried to declare
his authority.

From the ceiling are suspended tablets with
mottoes inscribed upon them, and some are
placed vertically on the inner or outer walls,
and the door-posts.

Some of the temporary ones contain good
mottoes ; others are thank-offerings. One of the
latter, richly embroidered and fringed, (now in
the Clay Street Temple,) is a thank-offering of
Doctor Lai Po Tai, and has four Chinese char-
acters, to wit : " Shing, Shan, Mo, Keung," i. e.,
" the gods whose holy age is perpetual."

This doctor has amassed a fortune, by con-
summate skill in tha grossest quackery, and
without performing any wonderful cures, has
tried his hand on many rich and noble ones, and
among them even a noted professional of an
eastern city, who proved in his experience the
truth of the familiar adage, " never too old to
lea-n."

The doctor lighted a match in his room, when
it was filled with gas, and as a consequence had
to Sicure himself the skill of American physi-
cians; he barely escaped death, and then com-
memorated his recovery by this thank-offering,
place.1 originally in the Dupont Street, but subse-
quently removed to the Clay Street Temple.



The neatest of the temples or Josh Houses is
the Clay Street, but all are dirty, dingy and
doleful. A heaven of such character, would be
desirable to no civilized people, and the temples
impress one concerning the religious taste of the
Chinese, as an ignorant and irreverent hater of
the Jews seemed to be impressed, when he re-
marked to a friend, " And you tell me that the
Jews were the chosen people God's peculiar peo-
ple? I think it showed a very poor taste on
God's part."

The ornamentation is of the cheapest, most
miserable tinsel, gay and gaudy, smoked and
begrimed with dirt, and the air laden with a
nauseating odor of incense from grateful sandal-
wood, mingled with the deadly fumes of the
opium pipe, and the horrible smell of oil lamps
and many- colored vegetable tallow candles.

Spread out before the gods there is usually
roast chicken and pig, sweetmeats or cakes, and
always vessels or libations of tea, and a burning
lamp. Every one will be likely to wonder how
the gods dispose of all the food, and why the
constant and large supply of tea does not weaken
the nerves, but the gods consume only the imma-
terial and essential parts of the offering, after
which the meats, fruits, pyramids of cakes, the
vermicelli of -rice flour and other articles are car-
ried home to be eaten by the offerers.

The gods are always enthroned in an alcove,
out of which their hideously extorted and repul-
sively daubed faces look with fiendish malignity
or silly unmeaningness.

The hell is a fixture of every temple, and also
the drum, the former curious with dragon orna-
mentations, and the latter with stout raw-hide
and huge copper rivets. Their purpose is easily
guessed, for sometimes these gods are " asleep,"
or "on a journey." Theie is also a box placed
on a high stand, and carefully closed, containing
the great seal, and which ought to be a better
possession, than Alladin's lamp.

An oven is also a common fixture to accommo-
date in the burning of mock-money, or mock-
clothing, or any representation, the reality of
which the gods receive through the power of
fire.

There are no set times for worship, except feast
and festival days, sucli as the birthdays of the
gods.

The calendar which determines these days is
very abstruse, and no logarithms, differential, or
integral calculus would make it intelligible.
They have " big months " and " little months "
of 30 or 29 days, and this year, 1876, has 13
months ; i. e., a sort of leap-year, with two, fifth
months.

On festival days huge paper images of the gods
are made and carried in processions through the
streets, and then allowed to remain in the temple
for a season.

The artificial flowers are generally renewed



333



once a year ; in fact, in no other nation, is there
a more general change so many new leaves
turned over, as in the Chinese New Year.

Large urns and pewter and brass vessels of
Chapes and styles that the gods are supposed to
appreciate, are used for burning sandal-wood
sticks or incense.

There is the greatest irreverence and confu-
sion in their worship one never paying regard
to the devotions of another. In one quarter of
the room some may jabber while others are
throwing the ka-pue, or shaking the bamboo
splints, or consulting the spirits, or prostrating
themselves to the earth.

Peacock feathers, which are " flower," "green,"
" one-eyed," " two-eyed," or " three-eyed," and
used as marks of honor, and designate ranks
like epaulets in the army, and the sinuosities of
the " dragon," " the greatest benefactor of man-
kind," " the protecting deity r>f the empire" and
the " national coat of arms," are usad wherever
possible.

One dragon, called the true dragon, is floe-claw-
ed, and this one the emperor appropriates to him-
self, and the whole of it is never visible in one
picture if the head is visible the tail is out of
sight. It has scales but no ears, yet has two
horns, through which it is said to hear.

Mode of Worshiping and Consulting
the Gvdn. On entering the temple, the wor-
shiper makes the " Kow-Tow," striking the floor
with l.'s head three times.

In co.isulting the gods, the ka-pw, or divining
sticks are used, and also bamboo slips.

The ka-pue are pieces of wood six or eight
inches long, and shaped like the half of a split
bean. One is held in each hand, they are then
placed together, and while bowing let fall to the
ground. If both flat surfaces rest on the ground,
" bad luck to ye ; " both flat surfaces upward
mean indifference, or equivalent to " cocked "
dice; and when one flat and one rounded surface
rest on the ground, the favor of the god is assured.

Sometimes the worshiper holds a bunch of
small incense sticks in his hand, while he pros-
trates himself, and whenever the first effort is
not successful, " the best out of three," and even
the " best out of three times three," or further
trial will answer as well.

The bamboo slips are contained in tin or
Vamboo canisters, about a foot high, and three
inches in diameter. They are kept by the priest
in charge of the temple, but whose services do
not seem at all necessary for the ordinary
worshiper. On each slip are numbers or char-
acters corresponding to slips of paper, which
contain directions or answers like boots and
shoes, " ready-made and warranted to fit."
After bowing thrice, the worshiper kneels, and
shakes the slips till one falls to the floor. The
approval of the god is sought on this lot, and the
process must be repeated till a favorable answer



is obtained. Sometimes the deity does not
know the circumstances of the case, and must
be informed thereof by burning paper that con-
tains the necessary information. Sometimes he
must be propitiated by offerings of mock-money,
white or yellow, (silver or gold) and sometimes
by food.

The priest receives a fee for the slip of paper
in his charge, and he is sometimes employed to
write letters, and sometimes his services as a
medium must be had. For this latter, he stands
at a table, on which is a slight covering of sand,
and there repeats his incantations until he at-
tains the clairvoyant or mediumistic state, and
then he writes with a stick, under direction of the
spirits, what is intelligible to no one else, but
what he never fails to interpret.

Kwan Tai is the deity of the Clay Street and
the central figure in the Dupont Street Josh
House. He is a great favorite. " Chinaman he
likee him heap muchee, and he likee Chinaman



Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 56 of 62)