Myths and Legends of China

Page: 164

1 Literally ‘golden oranges.’ These are skilfully preserved by the Cantonese, and form a delicious sweetmeat for dessert.

2 Only slave-girls and women of the poorer classes and old women omit this very important part of a Chinese lady’s toilet.

3 Alluding probably to the shape of the ‘shoe’ or ingot of silver.

4 Slave-girls do not have their feet compressed.

5 Wherein resides an old gentleman who ties together with a red cord the feet of those destined to become man and wife. From this bond there is no escape, no matter what distance may separate the affianced pair.

6 This proceeding is highly improper, but is ‘winked at’ in a large majority of Chinese betrothals.

7 The usual occupation of poor scholars who are ashamed to go into trade and who have not enterprise enough to start as doctors or fortune-tellers. Besides painting pictures and fans, and illustrating books, these men write fancy scrolls in the various ornamental styles so much prized by the Chinese; they keep accounts for people, and write or read business and private letters for the illiterate masses.

8 Say about £10.

9 Alchemy is first mentioned in Chinese history B.C. 133, and was widely cultivated in China during the Han dynasty by priests of the Taoist religion.

10 Kuan Chung and Pao Shu are the Chinese types of friendship. They were two statesmen of considerable ability who flourished in the seventh century B.C.

11 These are used, together with a heavy wooden bâton, by the Chinese washerman, the effect being most disastrous to a European wardrobe.

12 To provide coffins for poor people has ever been regarded as an act of transcendent merit. The tornado at Canton in April 1878, in which several thousand lives were lost, afforded an admirable opportunity for the exercise of this form of charity—an opportunity which was largely taken advantage of by the benevolent.

13 For usurping its prerogative by allowing Chia to obtain wealth.

Chapter XVI

Miscellaneous Legends