« ПредишнаНапред »
auspicious circumstances, since, notwithstanding a brief detention at Aberdeen, a heavy tossing in the miscalled "roost" of Sumburgh, and a dense fog as they approached Lerwick, the good ship dropped anchor in the last-named port on the tenth day.
There were no inns, there are none now in Shetland, and my uncle took lodgings in the house of Mrs. Mouilees, than whom, he observes, no woman ever less deserved her name. Living must have been cheap in those days, for Mrs. Monilees boarded, lodged, and washed her guest, for eighteenpence a day, and declared she made a handsome profit of him; the only " lee" of which my uncle ever suspected her.
Fort Charlotte was not a work of any remarkable extent, and my uncle's survey and report of all the Dutch had left of her were very soon completed. His orders being to await an answering communication, which could scarcely be expected to arrive in less than a fortnight, abundant leisure was afforded for making excursions in the neighborhood, and he resolved that the first should be directed to the lovely bay and ruined castle of Scalloway.
It was then the custom — if it is not still — to walk out upon the moorland, catch the first pony you fancied, take him whither you would, and turn him loose when you 'd done with him. Arming himself, therefore, with a bridle and pad, my uncle stepped upon the moor, and speedily captured a likely-looking shelty that had an air of pace. The pony seemed perfectly aware what was wanted of him; and, having hastily rubbed noses with a friend, — as if requesting him to mention at home that he had been pressed by an obtrusive traveller, but hoped to have done with him, and be back to supper, — at once trotted off without guidance towards Scalloway.
The day was fine overhead, but certain -misty wreaths — the skirts, as my uncle conjectured, of an adjacent sea-fog — kept sweeping up the valley, crystallizing pilgrim and steed with a saltish fluid, and melting away into, the blue.
It was on the lifting of one of these gauzy screens, that my uncle found that he had turned an angle in the road, and was within sight of the village of Scalloway, with its dismantled keep, memorial of the oppression of evil Pate Stewart, Earl of Orkney, hanged a century before, but still (as The Tourist would tell us, were he here) the Black Beast of Orkney and Shetland.
On a fine clear summer's day the coast scenery of this part is singularly beautiful. From the heights overlooking the picturesque harbor may be traced the blue outline of many of the hundred isles forming the Shetland Archipelago, while countless holms* and islets, green with velvety sward, stud the rippling waters. Far to the westward — nearly twenty miles, I think—heaves up out of the ocean depths the mighty Fughloe, now Foula, Island,— Agricola's "Ultima Thule," — whose threatening bounds the most daring mariner approaches with reluctance.
As my uncle expected, a mist was hanging to seaward, and shut out all the nearer holms and headlands. He therefore devoted the first half-hour to a visit to the castle, being accompanied in his propress by four young ladies, carrying baskets of woollen-work, the produce of island industry, of which, he was sternly informed, it was the custom of every traveller of distinction to purchase about a ton.
The mist had by this time cleared considerably.
* The " holm," at low tide, is connected with the main.
Not a sail of any kind was visible on the calm blue sea, but so many coasting and fishing craft lay at anchor in the roadstead as to have all the appearance of a wind-bound fleet. Excepting when a small boat moved occasionally between ship and shore, complete inactivity appeared to prevail; and this was the more remarkable since the herring teatson was near its close, and my uncle was aware that on the opposite (the eastern) shore every hour of propitious weather was being turned to the best account.
Here, however, though there were many sailors and fishermen about the beach and quav, lounging, sleeping, or chatting in groups, there was clearly neither preparation nor thought of it. What made this state of things still more unaccountable was that the bay, even to my uncle's inexperienced eye, was absolutely alive with "shoals" of herring and mackerel, clouds of sea-fowl pursuing them and feasting at their will.
The goodwives, if, having their work in their hands, they did not partake of their husbands' idleness, certainly abetted it, since it seemed as if four fifths of them had assembled on the shore and the little quay.
Curious to elucidate the mystery, my uncle drew near to a man who had just come ashore from a herring smack, and seemed to be its master, and with some difficulty, for the sea-going ShetLanden are neither polished nor communicative, drew him into conversation.
"Would it be possible ?" he presently asked, "to visit Fughloe; and on what terms could a smack — the skipper's, for instance — be chartered for the purpose t"
"Fughloe!" repeated the man, with a grin on his bronzed features; "why, fifty pounds."
"Fifty what ?" shouted my uncle. "For a four hours' sail't"
"You won't get one of us for less," said the man, sullenly, and probably in a different dialect from that into which my uncle has rendered it. "And I would n't tempt you to try it"
"You have done so well with the cod and the herrings this season, that money's no object, I suppose?"
The man's face grew dark.
"We have done bad," he said, "and we 're doing women''
"With miles of fish yonder waiting to jump into your nets?"
"Waiting to do what? Why, sir, they knows it just as well as we, perhaps better," was the oracular reply.
"Eh! don't you know ?" said the man, turning to my uncle; "so you 're a stranger. Will you come a little way along o' me?" he added, in a tone meant to be civil. My uncle assented.
Passing the remaining cottages, from one of which the skipper procured his telescope, they ascended the nearest height, until they had opened a large portion of the bay towards the west. Then the man stopped, and extended his shaggy blue arm in a direction a little to the south of the now invisible Fughloe.
"The fog's shutting in again," he said; "but you look there, steady. That's what keeps us!" (
My uncle did look steadily along the blue arm and the brown finger, till they ended in fog and sea; but in the latter, through the former, he fan cied he could distinguish a low, dark object belongs
ing to neither, the precise nature of which was wbollv indiscernible.
"blow you 've got him, sir," said the man. "Take tic glass."
My uncle did so; and directed a long and penetrating gaze at the mysterious object.
Twice he put down the glass, and twice, as if unsatisfied with his observation, raised it again to his eye.
"I see the — the islet — clearer now," he said, at last; "but — but —"
"I know what's a-puzzling you, sir," said the skipper. "You noticed, when we was standing below, that it was two hours' flood; and yet that little islet, as you call it, lifts higher and higher."
"True. It was little more than a-wash when I first made it out," said my uncle ; "let me see if—" he put the glass to his eye. "Why, as I live, it has heaved up thirty feet at least within this minute! Can any rock —"
"There's three hundred fathom good between that rock and the bottom, sir," said the man, quietly. "It's a creature!"
"Good heavens, man! do you mean to tell me that object is a living thing?" exclaimed my uncle, aghast.
For answer, the man pointed towards it.
His fingers trembling with excitement, my uncle could not for a moment adjust the glass. When he did so, a further change had taken place, and the dispersing mist afforded him for the first time a distinct and uninterrupted view.
At a distance from the nearest point of shore which my uncle's professional eye estimated at a league and a half, there floated, or rather wallowed, in the sea a shapeless brownish mass, of whose dimensions it was impossible to form any conception whatever; for while at times it seemed to contract to the length of perhaps a hundred feet, with a breadth of half that measure, there were moments when, if the disturbance and displacement of the water might indicate movements of the same animal, its appalling proportions must have been measured by rods, poles, and furlongs!
Through the skipper's glass, which was an excellent one, my uncle observed that its height out of the water had diminished by nearly half; also, that clouds of sea-fowl were whirling and hovering about the weltering mass, though without, so far as he could distinguish, daring to settle upon it.
Fascinated by an object which seemed sent to rebuke his incredulity, in placing before his eyes this realization of what had been hitherto treated as fantastic dreams, my uncle continued to gaze, rooted to the spot, until the mist, in one of its perpetual changes, shut out the object altogether, when the skipper, touching his hat, made a movement to descend.
On their way back to the village, the seaman told my uncle that, about a week before, the bay of Scalloway, and indeed all the neighboring estuaries, had become suddenly filled with immense shoals of every description of fish, the take of herrings alone being such as to bid fair to more than compensate for the losses of the season. Three days before, while the bustle was at its height, the wind light from sou'-sou'-west, and smooth sea, a sealing-boat from Papa Stour, approaching Scalloway, had rounded Skelda Ness, and was running across the bay, when one of the crew gave notice of an extraordinary appearance, about a mile distant, on the weather bow. The next moment, a mighty globe of wa
ter, apparently many hundred yards in circuit, rose to the height of their sloop's mast, and, breaking off into huge billows, the thunder of which was heard for miles around, created a sea which, distant as was the vessel from the source of commotion, tossed her like an egg-shell.
Traditions of volcanic action are not unknown to the Shetland seamen. Imagining that a phenomenon of this kind was occurring, they at once bore up, and, having the wind free, rapidly increased their distance from the danger, while, in every direction, boats, partaking of their alarm, were seen scudding into port. The appalled seamen glanced back to seaward. The momentary storm had ceased, and the spray and mist raised by the breaking water subsiding, gave to view an enormous object rising, in a somewhat irregular form, many feet above the surface, and — unless the terror of the crew led them to exaggerate —not less than half a mile in extent.
"A rock thrown up," was their first idea. One look through the glass dispelled it. The object, whatever it might be, lived, moved, was rolling round — or, at all events, swinging — with a heavy lateral movement, like a vessel deeply laden, the outline changing every moment; while, at intervals, a mountainous wave, as if created by some gigantic "wallow," would topple over the smoother sea.
Dusk was closing in when the sealing-boat reached the quay. They had been closer to the monstrous visitor than any, except one small craft, — young Peter Magnus's, — which had had to stand out to sea, but was now seen approaching. When she arrived, nearly the whole population was assembled, and assailed her crew with eager question. Peter looked grave and disturbed, (" 'T is a young fellow, I 'm afeerd, without much heart," said the skipper,) and seemed by no means sorry to set foot on shore.
"It's neither rock, nor wreck, nor whale, nor serpents, nor anything we know of here" was all that could be got from Peter, but one of his hands, who had taken a steadier look at the creature, declared that it made intelligent movements; also, that, in rolling, it displayed its flanks, which were reddish brown, and covered with bunches as big as bothers, and things like stunted trees! Pressed as to its size, he thought it might be three quarters to a mile round, but there was more below!
"Not many of us fishermen turned in that night," the skipper went on to say. "We were up and down to the beach continually; for, the night being still, we could hear the beast, and from its surging, and a thundering noise that might be his blowing, we thought he might be shifting his berth. And so he was; for at daybreak he worked to the east'ard, and has lain moored ever since where you saw. But we still hear him, and the swell he makes comes right up to our boats in the harbor. Why don't we venture out a mile or so 1 This is why. Because, if he 's a quarter so big as they say — and, sir, I 'm afeerd to tell you what that is — supposin' he made up his mind to go down, he 'd suck down a seventyfour, if she were within a mile of him. We 're losing our bread, but we must bide his pleasure, or rather, God's, that sent him," concluded the honest skipper, " come what will on it."
"There was one chance for us," he presently added< "The Sapphire, surveying ship, is expected every day, and some think the captain would n't mind touching him up with his carronades; but
when he sees what't is, I don't think he 'll consider it his dooty I"
They had reached the village during this conversation, and were approaching a group of persons engaged apparently in some dispute, when a young man burst out from the party, and, in a discomposed manner, was walking away. The skipper stopped him.
"Well, Peter, my lad, what's wrong now t"
"I think she's mad !" was Peter's doubtful answer, as he brushed back his hair impatiently from his hot, excited brow. He had handsome, but effeminate features, and seemed about twenty.
The skipper spoke a word or two with him apart, patted his shoulder, as if enforcing some advice, and rejoined my uncle.
"Young Magnus, my sister's son," he said. "A sweethearts' quarrel, sir, that's all. But she do try him sure! Ah, Leasha, Leasha!" he continued, shaking his head at a young woman who sat at w.ork upon the gunwale of a boat, and appeared the centre of an admiring circle of both sexes, who stood, sat, or sprawled about her, as their fancy prompted. She was very handsome, haughty-looking for her station, and, at this moment, out of humor.
Though she could not hear the skipper's exclamation, she understood the gesture that accompanied it, and, smoothing her brow, appeared to stand on the defensive.
Young Magnus, who had returned to the circle, stepped forward.
"Now, Leasha," he said," will you dare to say before my uncle what you did to me, — yes, to me f" repeated the young man, striking his breast passionately.
The word was ill chosen. Leasha's spirit rose.
"Dare!" she said, in a suppressed voice, "You shall see," she said. "But remember, Mr. Edmonston," addressing my uncle's companion, "this has nothing to do with such as you. I said that, among Scalloway men, we had both children and cowards. I said that, because a wrecked hull, or a raft of Normal way timber, or, at worst a helpless, dying monster of some sort is floating on our shores, we are not ashamed to skulk and starve in port. Not a boat will put out to take up the fish within half a mile of this beach,"— she stamped her bare and sinewy but well-formed foot upon it, — " nor even venture near enough to discover what it is that has scared away your courage and reason. Shame on all such, I say, and shame again."
"You don't know what you are talking of, Leasha," said Edmonston. "We do. If there were not danger, I should not be here. I might be willing to risk my life, but not my ship, which, while God spares her, must be my son's and grandson's bread. You speak at random, girl, and Peter Magnus is no more to blame than the rest of us; less, perhaps," said the good-natured skipper, " for his boat is but a kittle thing. A ' wreck,' child? Who ever saw it rig with nine masts !' Norway rafts?' Psha! Call it a sea-thing, you're nearer to the truth; but he's a bold seaman, and a precious fool to boot, that puts his craft near enough to ask whence he hails."
UI would do it if I were a man," cried the girl, beating her foot upon the ground. "And — and I will not say what I should think of the bold man that did it now."
Young Magnus colored to the temples, for the challenge was directed to him, but made no reply. There had stood, meanwhile, a little aloof from the group, a young fisherman, tall, athletic, and with a
countenance that would have been handsome but for a depression of the nose, the result of an injury, and for a somewhat sullen and sinister expression, which was perhaps habitual to him. The words had not left Leasha's lips before he uncoiled his arms, which had been folded on his broad chest, and strode into the circle, saying, quietly, —
"You 'll not be such a fool, Gilbert Sunder (Sinclair)," said Edmonston.
"You 'll see," said the other, in his short, sullen manner. "Some of you boys shove her off," pointing to his boat, " while I run up yonder."
He went to a cottage close at hand, and was back almost instantly, carrying something under his fishing-cape, and a gun. His boat was already in the water, and fifty dexterous hands busied in stepping the mast, setting the sails, and stowing the shingleballast. She was ready.
"Who's going with you, since you will go?" growled Edmonston.
"I 've only room for one man living," said Sinclair, in his sinister way. "Now, I don't want to take advantage over Peter Magnus. Him, or none."
The young man stood irresolute for a moment, then, with one glance at Leasha, leaped into the boat. Sinclair pushed off eagerly.
"You have done well, girl," said Edmonston, sternly. "If either return alive, it will not be Peter Magnus."
"What — what do you mean?" exclaimed the girl, clutching his sleeve as he turned away.
"That Gilbert Sinclair is a treacherous, malignant devil, and at this moment mad with jealous — Stop —"
But Leasha had dashed down the beach.
"Peter! Peter!" she shrieked, "come back! For the love of Heaven — back 1 I must speak with you!"
"Too late!" replied Sinclair, with a grin. "Wait till he brings you what you want to know."
As the last word was uttered there was a splash astern. Magnus had leaped into the water.
"Ha! ha 1 Coward!" roared Sinclair, as his boat shot into the fog.
Evening was now approaching, and my uncle, deeply interested, and resolved to see the adventure out, accepted the skipper's invitation to pass the night at his cottage. After taking some refreshment, they strolled out again upon the shore and quay. The mist was clearing, and the moon had risen. My uncle asked what his host imagined Sinclair proposed to do, expressing his doubts whether he intended anything but bravado.
Edmonston was not so sure of that. Ruffian as he was, with a spice of malice that made him the terror and aversion of the village, Sinclair was a
Eerfect dare-devil in personal courage, and, his blood eing now up, he was certain, if he returned at all, to bring back tidings of some description. The man's unlucky passion for Leasha (who was betrothed, Edmonston said, to his nephew) had been the cause of much uneasiness to the friends of both. "God pardon me if I misjudge the man," concluded Edmonston; "but if ever murder looked out of man's eye, it did from his when Peter jumped into his boat to-day."
By eleven o'clock the haze had lifted so much that the skipper proposed to ascend the height, and try if anything could be seen. The night was still as death; and, as they rose the hill, the soft rippling murmur of the sea barely reached their ears.
"I never knew him so quiet as this!" remarked Edraonston; "I take it, he 'g —"
Before he could finish, a sound, compounded of rush and roar, so fearful and appalling that it can be likened to nothing but the sudden bursting of a dam which confined a pent-up sea, swooped from seaward, and seemed to shake the very rock on which they stood. There was a bellow of cavernous thunder, which seemed to reverberate through the distant isles; and, far out, a broad white curtain appeared to rise, blend with the dispersing fog, and move majestically towards the land.
"It's the- surf! 'He has sounded,'" whispered Edmonston. "Listen — now!"
Perfect silence had succeeded the tumultuous roar, and again they heard nothing but the sough of the sea lapping the crags below. But, after the lapse of perhaps a minute, the hush was invaded by a soft, sibilating murmur, increasing to a mighty roar; and, with a crash like thunder, a billow — fifteen feet in height — fell headlong upon the rocky shore. It was followed by two or three more, each smaller than the preceding; and once again silence resumed her sway.
At daybreak it was seen that the terrible Sentinel of Scalloway had returned to his fathomless
And where was Sinclair? He was seen no more; but, weeks afterwards, a home-bound boat, passing near the spot where the monster had lain, nearly came in contact with some floating wreck. From certain singular appearances, some of which seemed to indicate that the wreck had been but recently released from the bottom, the crew were induced to take it in tow, and bring it into port. There it was at once identified as the forward portion of Gilbert Sinclair's boat, torn — or, as- Scalloway men insist to this day, bitten — clean ofl', just forward of the mast, — the grooves of one colossal tooth — the size of a tree — being distinctly visible!
There are persons, it is true, who have endeavored to lessen the mysterious interest of my uncle's story, by suggesting a different explanation, — hinting, for example, that the object might have been composed of nothing more extraordinary than the entangled hulls of two large vessels, wrecked in collision; and that Sinclair, suspecting this, and endeavoring to reduce them to manageable proportions through the agency of gunpowder, had destroyed himself with them.
But, if so, where Tjere the portions of wreck? We have also the support of no less a person than the author of " Waverley," who, in his notes to the "Pirate," mentions the incident, and its effect upon the hardy seamen of Scalloway; while my uncle himself, at a subsequent visit to that port, smoked a pipe with Mr. Magnus in the very boat — then converted into an arbor — that had been bitten in two by the sea-monster. So that, with him, I frankly ask, — if it was not a kraken,—What was itt
A CHINESE LYING-IN-STATE.
An excellent opportunity, says a correspondent to the London and China Telegraph, has been afforded foreigners for witnessing the peculiar forms and ceremony of a Chinese lying-in-state and grand funeral obsequies, by the death of the wealthy mandarin baker, Takee, with whose name many of your readers may probably be familiar. On the evening of the second day of what might be termed the lying-in-state, accompanied by a couple of friends,
I went to Takee's house. On arrival there we found a large number of Celestials crowding and staring round the entrance, which was illuminated by lanterns, and over which a curious lofty structure had been reared, composed of small panes of window-glass set in a framing of white cotton cloth, puckered and arranged by bows, rosettes, &c., into a regular pattern and panels. A number of candles and lamps were placed behind the panels of windowglass on which figures of flowers and leaves had been roughly painted, the whole forming a light and rather elegant screen for the native orchestra, but who, no doubt, tired with their day's exertions, did not mar the pleasure of our sight-seeing by making the night hideous with their music.
Pushing our way through the good-tempered but odorous crowd, we came face to face with a municipal council policeman, stationed at the wide-opened doors, whose business was to allow all foreigners to enter, but only such natives as bore tickets of admission, or were friends of the deceased. Passing this amiable, though stern-looking, Cerberus and along a short passage or hall, in which we noticed a scarlet umbrella and several red wooden tablets, marks of the deceased man's rank, we entered a suite of rooms brilliantly lighted by hanging glass lanterns and some overgrown candles. The rooms were divided from each other by screens or walls of open latticework, cleverly and very neatly contrived by curious twillings and puckerings of white cotton cloth; the knowing ones said, "white shirtings." On two of these screens, forming a central room, we noticed two eight-sided medallions with grotesque representations of a deer and a crane, which must have required no small amount of ingenuity to compose, considering the nature and extraordinarily puckered form of the material employed.
From the ceiling of this room was hanging a large mysterious-looking ornament fashioned from the same stuff, adorned with tassels and streamers, whose use or object it was impossible to divine. On the walls of the rooms, and on the screens separating the rooms from each other, — or what seemed to me dividing a very larg^e room indeed into several smaller ones,—hung strips of variously colored satin, inscribed with quotations from the Chinese classics, in gilt and silvered lettering, — votive tablets from the deceased's friends. These tablets were about twelve or eighteen inches in breadth and some six or eight feet high or long. Their more general hue was a rich dark blue or white; the former with gilt letters, the latter with silvered or gilt; but there were some of very delicate tints of other colors, —^ pink, lavender, lemon, &c. From the top of each on either side hung a long thin silken tassel, probably for securing the tablet when rolled up into a scroll. The effect was really very elegant. These rooms were furnished with mirrors, tables, and chairs, many of the latter being covered with richly-embroidered pieces of blue silk or satin. Several cheval-glasses presented an odd dressing-roomish appearance, and with some French gilt clocks, which did not go, looked quaintly out of place with their surroundings. When we arrived, these rooms were filled with numbers of Chinese, either seated round the tables, closely engaged with piled-up dishes of their mysterious eatables, resolutely determined on the enjoyment of no ordinary chow-chow, or by others gently walking about, smoking an occasional whiff, or in the arms of a comfortable chair taking their ease with the beaming cordial smile and loving look of well-filled, appreciative stomachs.
The rattling of cups and dishes, the hurrying to and fro of food-laden attendants and pipe-bearers, the fumes of the viands, the smoke of tobacco, the bustle, merriment, and chatter, the brilliantly lighted and decorated rooms, the cheerful glow and jovial gayety of all, betokened a state of festivity rather than the presence of death. At the end of the central room, however, and in view of all, was a white lattice-screened portal, on the white doors of which was written, in large blue characters, " Ling Mung," — " Gate of the Soul."
Admitted through this portal, we found ourselves in a sort of chapel. Along the walls hung votive tablets on blue and white satin strips as in the rooms we had just left, and along the sides were ranged chairs, in which the female servants of the deceased were sitting as mourners. At the head of this chamber there was a kind of altar, with sacred vessels and Gargantuan candles burning, behind which stood a raised board covered with a number of dishes, heaped up with all kinds of sweetmeats, fruit, and strange confectionery. Hanging lamps shed a brilliant light here also. Lifting a narrow white curtain on either side of this chow-chow laden board, we saw a second table on a level with it crowded with more dishes or bowls of meat, fish, fowl, and vegetables, above which rested, somewhat after the fashion of an altarpiece, a portrait of Takee, and at his feet, placed on a miniature chair, rested the Sacred Book of his belief, — the "Tau-tih-King," or "Bible of the Taouists."
On one side below the picture, and with his back to it, a figure of a Chinaman, about three feet high, standing on a tea-chest, offered a pipe with one hand and invited with the other to the good things laid out on the table before him; on the other side stood a second inviting figure handing a cup of tea. From rude unpainted wooden racks on each wall funereal garments of some coarse fabric, ill-made and rough, were suspended, — fitting vestments for mourners in "sackcloth and ashes." The coffin of Takee was deposited immediately behind this portrait, in a small, dim, bare chamber. It was richly lacquered, about seven feet in length, two wide, and about three feet high, covered with a close-fitting crimson-wadded quilt or pall, and was placed on a slightly-raised bier; a coarse mourning robe and cap were carelessly thrown it, for the use of his adopted son at the funeral ceremony. In answer to a stranger's inquiry as to what it was — namely, the strangelooking cap — I heard an intensely practical, I will not say irreverent, foreigner reply," Spanish stripes," by which I infer he alluded to the material of the quilted pall. No priests were officiating on the first night of our visit, though we saw several in their white robes and skullcaps moving about. Returning two evenings after, we were greeted by three loud explosions outside the entrance door, which we discovered were produced by a servant firing some gunpowder, as the signal of the commencement of a kind of mass or prayer, and during our stay this firing was repeated as often as the priests resumed prayers, after a break in them.
We entered with as little difficulty as on the previous visit. The rooms were as full and as brilliantly lighted as before, but there was no show- chowing, and, as a consequence, I suppose, the Chinamen looked rather bored and tired with the thing than otherwise, though they seemed pleased with the visits of foreigners, and flattered with the curiosity displayed by them, taking every opportunity to enlighten the " barbarians'" ignorance.
Passing through the portal of the " Gate of the Soul," we added to the large number of strangers who were collected in the inner chamber or chapel, witnessing the Taouist ceremonial that was proceeding. There were nearly a dozen white-vestured and capped priests officiating. One read slowly aloud a sentence, at each word of which six or seven others, who were kneeling, bowed their foreheads to the ground. Then the chief priest, standing before the shrine or altar, and facing the portrait of Takee, receiving from a kneeling bonze on his right hand a small cup or bowl of food, sweetmeat^ or confectionery, and after repeating the word of the first priest, elevated and lowered the dish of food; he then handed it to a kneeling bronze on his left, by whom it was also elevated and lowered, and delivered to a third to be carried away. The number of dishes seemed interminable, and the same proceeding appeared to me to be pursued with them throughout. At length the last dish was disposed of for that "go." The chief priest then read t paper, which I was given to understand was laudatory of the deceased's virtues, and having placed it on a brazier of burning charcoal, aud thrown a handful of silver-paper imitation sycee on it, one of Takee's wives or widows, of whom, I hear, he has left a goodly number, rushed in, holding the adopted son, a child, by the hand. The paper and imitation sycee flamed up and were destroyed, to the howling, banging, musical uproar which introduces the gnome fiends and monstrous devils of a Christmas pantomime; the wife, or widow, and son rushed off as hastily as they had rushed on, and the service for a time ended. Refreshments in the form of tea and substantial " board and lodging" soup was brought in to the smiling, merry-looking priests, who seemed to have arrived at the end of a service that had restrained them to a serious comportment, with in>mense relief, and to hail the advent of the "prog * with unbounded satisfaction and many a lively joke.
Takee having been at the head of the Nuioto Guild in Shanghai, and a Ningpo man, was taken to that port for burial, after lying in state five days. The steamer Kiangse's cabin was entirely appropriated for conveying his body at a cost of a thousand taels (more than £ 300), and a funeral cortege of extraordinary magnificence and extent left his house on the morning of the ICth iust. to carry the coffin down to the steamer, on which it was placed amidst the firing of many big guns. Owing to a misconception as to the time of the departure of the procession, I was, unfortunately, prevented attending it, and take the following description from the columns of the Shanghai Recorder.
As an out-door spectacle, it is reported to have been superior in splendor to any in the recollection of the oldest resident. Its commencement is stated to have been paltry. A paper figure, like »n elaborate scarecrow of a Guy Fawkes, called the "Kan-loo," or Road Spirit, also the " Devil Steer," preceded the procession as herald of the dead. Next came a trophy of great value, — the " Tsing," or plumed standard, granted Takee by the Emperor; then a crowd, scattering imitation sycee with lavish hand to divert the malignity of evil spirits by exciting and then disappointing their cupidity. The municipal police band followed; then a long line of ancestral tablets and the Yaoutai's retinae; next, borne by four men, the " Tsi-ty-yung," or Imperial Scales, — another token of the favor of the court of Peking. Then came the " splendid" por