KOREA & HER NEIGHBOURS
A Narrative of Travel, with an Account of the Recent Vicissitudes and present position of the Country
BY MRS. BISHOP
(ISABELLA L. BIRD)
F.R.G.S. J HONORARY FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SCOTTISH GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONORARY MEMBER OF THE ORIENTAL SOCIETY OF PEKING, ETC. ETC.
WITH A PREFACE BY
SIR WALTER C. HILLIER, K.C.M.G.
LATE H.B.M.'S CONSUL-GENERAL FOR KOREA
WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS IN TWO VOLUMES-VOLUME I
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET
I HAVE been honoured by Mrs. Bishop with an invitation to preface her book on Korea with a few introductory remarks.
Mrs. Bishop is too well known as a traveller and a writer to require any introduction to the reading public, but I am glad to be afforded an opportunity of endorsing the conclusions she has arrived at after a long and intimate study of a people whose isolation during many centuries renders a description of their character, institutions, and peculiarities especially interesting at the present stage of their history.
Those who, like myself, have known Korea from its first opening to foreign intercourse will thoroughly appreciate the closeness of Mrs. Bishop's observation, the accuracy of her facts, and the correctness of her inferences. The facilities enjoyed by her have been exceptional. She has been honoured by the confidence and friendship of the King and the late Queen in a degree that has never before been accorded to any foreign traveller, and has had access to valuable sources of information placed at her disposal
by the foreign community of Seoul, official, missionary, and mercantile; while her presence in the country during and subsequent to the war between China and Japan, of which Korea was, in the first instance, the stage, has furnished her the opportunity of recording with accuracy and impartiality many details of an episode in Far Eastern history which have hitherto been clouded by misstatement and exaggeration. The hardships and difficulties encountered by Mrs. Bishop during her journeys into the interior of Korea have been lightly touched upon by her--elf, but those who know how great they were, admire the courage, patience, and endurance that enabled her to overcome them.
It must be evident to all who know anything of Korea, that a condition of tutelage, in some form or another, is now absolutely necessary to her existence as a nation. The nominal independence won for her by the force of Japanese arms is a privilege she is not fitted to enjoy, while she continues to labour under the burden of an administration that is hopelessly and superlatively corrupt. The r?le of mentor and guide exercised by China, with that lofty indifference to local interests that characterises her treatment of all her tributaries, was undertaken by Japan after the expulsion of the Chinese armies from Korea. The efforts of the Japanese to reform some of the most glaring abuses, though somewhat roughly applied, were undoubtedly earnest and genuine; but, as Mrs. Bishop has shown, experience was wanting, and one of the Japanese
Agents did incalculable harm to his country's cause by falling a victim to the spirit of intrigue which seems almost inseparable from the diplomacy of Orientals. Force of circumstances compelled Russia to take up the task begun by Japan, the King having appealed in his desperation to the Russian Representative for rescue from a terrorism which might well have cowed a stronger and a braver man. The most partial of critics will admit that the powerful influence which the presence of the King in the house of their Representative might have enabled the Russian Government to exert has been exercised through their Minister with almost disappointing moderation. Nevertheless, through the instrumentality of Mr. M'Leavy Brown, LL.D., head of the Korean Customs and Financial Adviser to the Government, an Englishman whose great ability as an organiser and administrator is recognised by all residents in the Farther East, the finances of the country have been placed in a condition of equilibrium that has never before existed; while numerous other reforms have been carried out by Mr. Brown and others with the cordial support and co-operation of the Russian Minister, irrespective of the nationality of the agent employed.
Much, however, still remains to be done; and the only hope of advance in the direction of progress-initiated, it is only fair to remember, by Japan, and continued under Russian auspices-is to maintain an iron grip, which the Russian Agents, so far, have been more careful than their ?Japanese predecessors to conceal beneath a velvet glove.
The condition of Korean settlers in Russian territory described by Mrs. Bishop shows how capable these people are of improving their condition under wise and paternal rule; and, setting all political considerations aside, there can be no doubt that the prosperity of the people and their general comfort and happiness would be immensely advanced under an extension of this patronage by one or other civilised Power. Without some form of patronage or control, call it by what name we will, a lapse into the old groove of oppression, extortion, and its concomitant
miseries, is inevitable.
Mrs. Bishop's remarks on missionary work in China and Korea, based as they are on personal and sympathetic observation, will be found of great value to those who are anxious to arrive at a correct appreciation of Christian enterprise in these remote regions. Descriptions of missionaries and their doings are too often marred by exaggerations of success on the one hand, which are, perhaps, the natural outcome of enthusiasm, and harsh and frequently unjust criticisms on the other, commonly indulged in by those who base their conclusions upon observation of the most superficial kind. Speaking from my own experience, I have no hesitation in saying that closer inquiry would dispel many of the illusions about the futility of missionary work that are, unfortunately, too common; and that missionaries would, as a rule, welcome sympathetic inquiry into their methods of work, which most of them will frankly admit to be capable of improve-
ment. But, while courting friendly criticism, they may reasonably object to be judged by those who have never taken the trouble to study their system, or to interest themselves in the objects they have in view. In Mrs. Bishop they have an advocate whose testimony may be commended to the attention of all who are disposed to regard missionary labour as, at the best, useless or unnecessary. In Korea, at all events, to go no farther, it is to missionaries that we are assuredly indebted for almost all we know about the country ; it is they who have awakened in the people the desire for material progress and enlightenment that has now happily taken root; and it is to them that we may confidently look for assistance in its farther development. The unacknowledged, but none the less complete, religious toleration that now exists throughout the country affords them facilities which are being energetically used with great promise of future success. I am tempted to call attention to another point in connection with this much-abused class of workers that is, I think, often lost sight of, namely, their utility as explorers and pioneers of commerce. They are always ready -at least such has been my invariable experience-to place the stores of their local knowledge at the disposal of any one, whether merchant, sportsman, or traveller, who applies to them for information, and to lend him cheerful assistance in the pursuit of his objects. I venture to think that much valuable information as to channels for the development of British trade could be obtained by
Chambers of Commerce if they were to address specific inquiries to our missionaries in remote regions. Manufacturers are more indebted to missionaries than perhaps they realise for the introduction of British goods and wares, and the creation of a demand for them, in places to which such would never otherwise have found their way.
It is fortunate that Mrs. Bishop's visit to Korea was so opportunely timed. At the present rate of progress much that came under her observation will, before long, be " improved " out of existence; and though no one can regret the disappearance of many institutions and customs that have nothing but their antiquity to recommend them, she has done valuable service in placing on record so graphic a description of experiences that future travellers will probably look for in vain.
WALTER C. HILLIER.
AUTHOR'S PREFATORY NOTE
MY four visits to Korea, between January 1894 and March 1897, formed part of a plan of study of the leading characteristics of the Mongolian races. My first journey produced the impression that Korea is the most uninteresting country I ever travelled in, but during and since the war, its political perturbations, rapid changes, and possible destinies, have given me an intense interest in it; while Korean character and industry, as I saw both under Russian rule in Siberia, have enlightened me as to the better possibilities which may await the nation in the future. Korea takes a similarly strong grip on all who reside in it sufficiently long to overcome the feeling of distaste which at first it undoubtedly inspires.
It is a difficult country to write upon, from the lack of books of reference by means of which one may investigate what one hopes are facts, the two best books on the country having become obsolete within the last few years in so far as its political condition and social order are concerned. The traveller must laboriously disinter each fact for himself, usually through the medium of an inter-
xii PREFATORY NOTE
preter; and as five or six versions of each are given by apparently equally reliable authorities, frequently the " teachers " of the foreigners, the only course is to hazard a bold guess as to which of them has the best chance of
Accuracy has been my first aim, and my many foreign friends in Korea know how industriously I have laboured to attain it. It is by these, who know the extreme difficulty of the task, that I shall be the most leniently criticised wherever, in spite of carefulness, I have fallen
Circumstances prevented me from putting my travelling
experiences, as on former occasions, into letters. I took careful notes, which were corrected from time to time by the more prolonged observations of residents, and as I became better acquainted with the country; but, with regard to my journey up the South Branch of the Han, as I am the first traveller who has reported on the region, I have to rely on my observation and inquiries alone, and there is the same lack of recorded notes on most of the country on the Upper Tai-dong. My notes furnish the travel chapters, as well as those on Seoul, Manchuria, and Primorsk; and the sketches in contemporary Korean history are based partly on official documents, and are partly derived from sources not usually
I owe very much to the kindly interest which my friends in Korea took in my work, and to the encourage-
PREFATORY NOTE xiii
ment which they gave me when I was disheartened by the difficulties of the subject and my own lack of skill. I gratefully acknowledge the invaluable help given me by Sir Walter C. Hillier, K.C.M.G., H.B.M.'s Consul-General in Korea, and Mr. J. M'Leavy Brown, LL.D., Chief Commissioner of Korean Customs; also the aid generously bestowed by Mr. Waeber, the Russian Minister, and the Rev. G. Heber Jones, the Rev. James Gale, and other missionaries. I am also greatly indebted to a learned and careful volume on Korean Government, by Mr. W. H. Wilkinson, H.B.M.'s Acting Vice-Consul at Chemulpo, as well as to the Korean Repository and the Seoul Independent for information which has enabled me to correct some of my notes on Korean customs.
Various repetitions occur, for the reason that it appears to me impossible to give sufficient emphasis to certain facts without them; and several descriptions are loaded with details, the result of an attempt to fix on paper customs and ceremonies destined shortly to disappear. The illustrations, with the exception of three, are reproductions of my own photographs. The sketch map, in so far as my first journey is concerned, is reduced from one kindly drawn for me by Mr. Waeber. The transliteration of Chinese proper names was kindly undertaken by a well-known Chinese scholar, but unfortunately the actual Chinese characters were not in all cases forthcoming. In justice to the kind friends who have so generously aided me, I am anxious to claim and accept the fullest measure
xiv PREFATORY NOTE
of personal responsibility for the opinions expressed, which, whether right or wrong, are wholly my own.
I am painfully conscious of the demerits of these volumes; but believing that, on the whole, they reflect fairly faithfully the regions of which they treat, I venture to present them to the public, and to ask for them the same kindly and lenient criticism with which my records of travel in the East and elsewhere have hitherto been received, and that they may be accepted as an honest attempt to make a contribution to the sum of the knowledge of Korea and its people, and to describe things as I saw them, not only in the interior but in the troubled political atmosphere of the capital.
ISABELLA L. BISHOP.
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER ..................................... . 1
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA ....................................... 16
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL ....................................... 30
THE KUR-DONG ....................................... 47
THINGS IN SEOUL ....................................... 59
AN OUTFIT-A KOREAN SAMPAN ....................................... 69
THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD ....................................... 76
THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE .
NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS
KOREAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
THE KOREAN PONY-KOREAN ROADS AND ISMS
THE MONASTERIES OF THE DIAMOND MOUNTAIN
FROM CHANG-AN SA TO W'ON-SAN .
IMPENDING WAR-EXCITEMENT AT CHEMULPO
A MANCHURIAN DELUGE-MUK-DEN ....................................... 224
MUK-DEN ....................................... 233
EXCITEMENT AT MUK-DEN ....................................... 242
NAGASAKI-WLADIVOSTOK ....................................... 250
To face page
To face page
To face page
To face page
To face page
End of Volume
CHINESE SOLDIERS .
GATE OF OLD FUSAN
HARBOUR OF CHEMULPO
GUTTER SHOP, SEOUL
SEOUL AND PALACE EN-CLOSURE
SOUTH STREET, SEOUL
A STREET IN SEOUL
STONE FIGURE AT PRINCESS'S TOMB
THE AUTHOR'S SAMPAN, HAN RIVER
POTTERY EN ROUTE
KOREAN PEASANTS AT DINNER
A KOREAN LADY
KOREAN MATERNAL COSTUME
A CANYON IN THE DIAMOND MOUNTAINS
THE MYO-KIL SANG. SAKYAMUNI .
TOMBSTONES OF ABBOTS, YU-CHOM SA
PASSENGER CART, MUK-DEN
TEMPLE OF GOD OF LITERATURE, MUK-DEN
GATE OF VICTORY, MUK-DEN
SKETCH MAP OF CENTRAL KOREA .
IN the winter of 1894, when I was about to sail for Korea (to which some people erroneously give the name of " The Korea "), many interested friends hazarded guesses at its position,-the Equator, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea being among them, a hazy notion that it is in the Greek Archipelago cropping up frequently. It was curious that not one of these educated, and, in some cases, intelligent people came within 2000 miles of its actual latitude and longitude!
In truth, there is something about this peninsula which has repelled investigation, and until lately, when the establishment of a monthly periodical, carefully edited, The Korean Repository, has stimulated research, the one authority of which all writers, with and without acknowledgment, have availed themselves, is the Introduction to Pere Dallet's Histoire de l'Eglise de Koree, a valuable treatise, many parts of which, however, are now obsolete.
If in this volume I present facts so elementary as to
provoke the scornful comment, "Every schoolboy knows
that," I venture to remind my critics that the larger
number of possible readers were educated when Korea
was little more than " a geographical expression," and had
2 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
not the advantages of the modern schoolboy, whose " up-to-date " geographical text-books have been written since the treaties of 1883 opened the Hermit Nation to the world ; and I will ask the minority to be patient with what may be to them " twice-told tales " for the sake of the majority, specially in this introduction, which is intended to give something of lucidity to the chapters which follow.
The first notice of Korea is by Khordadbeh, an Arab geographer of the ninth century A.D., in his Book of Roads and Provinces, quoted by Baron Richofen in his work on China, p. 575. Legends of the aboriginal inhabitants of the peninsula are too mythical to be noticed here, but it is certain that it was inhabited when Kit-ze or Ki-ja, who will be referred to later, introduced the elements of Chinese civilisation in the twelfth century B.C. Naturally that conquest and subsequent immigrations from Manchuria have left some traces on the Koreans, but they are strikingly dissimilar from both their nearest neighbours, the Chinese and the Japanese, and there is a remarkable variety of physiognomy among them, all the more noticeable because of the uniformity of costume. The difficulty of identifying people which besets and worries the stranger in Japan and China does not exist in Korea. It is true that the obliquity of the Mongolian eye is always present, as well as a trace of bronze in the skin, but the complexion varies from a swarthy olive to a very light brunette.
There are straight and aquiline noses, as well as broad and snub noses with distended nostrils; and though the hair is dark, much of it is so distinctly a russet brown as to require the frequent application of lampblack and oil to bring it to a fashionable black, while in texture it varies
THE KOREAN PHYSIQUE
from wiriness to silkiness. Some men have full moustaches and large goatees, on the faces of others a few carefully-tended hairs, as in China, do duty for both, while many have full, strong beards. The mouth is either the wide, full-lipped, gaping cavity constantly seen among the lower orders, or a small though full feature, or thin-lipped and refined, as is seen continually among patricians.
The eyes, though dark, vary from dark brown to hazel; the cheek-bones are high; the brow, so far as fashion allows it to be seen, is frequently lofty and intellectual; and the ears are small and well set on. The usual expression is cheerful, with a dash of puzzlement. The physiognomy indicates, in its best aspect, quick intelligence, rather than force or strength of will. The Koreans are certainly a handsome race.
The physique is good. The average height of the men is five feet four and a half1 inches, that of the women cannot be ascertained, and is disproportionately less, while their figureless figures, the faults of which are exaggerated by the ugliest dress on earth, are squat and broad. The hands and feet of both sexes and all classes are very small, white, and exquisitely formed, and the tapering, almond-shaped finger-nails are carefully attended to. The men are very strong, and as porters carry heavy weights, a load of
' The following are the measurements of 1060 men taken at Seoul in January 1897 by Mr. A. B. Stripling:-
Size round chest
5 ft. 1/4 in
39 1/4 in
4 ft. 91/2 in.
5 ft. 41/2 in.
4 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
100 pounds being regarded as a moderate one. They walk remarkably well, whether it be the studied swing of the patrician or the short, firm stride of the plebeian when on business. The families are large and healthy. If the Government estimate of the number of houses is correct, the population, taking a fair average, is from twelve to thirteen millions, females being in the minority.
Mentally the Koreans are liberally endowed, specially with that gift known in Scotland as " gleg at the uptak." The foreign teachers bear willing testimony to their mental adroitness and quickness of perception, and their talent for the rapid acquisition of languages, which they speak more fluently and with a far better accent than either the Chinese or Japanese. They have the Oriental vices of suspicion, cunning, and untruthfulness, and trust between man and man is unknown. Women are secluded, and occupy a very inferior position.
The geography of Korea, or Ch'ao Hsien ("Morning Calm," or "Fresh Morning"), is simple. It is a definite peninsula to the north-east of China, measuring roughly GOO miles from north to south and 135 from east to west. The coast line is about 1740 miles. It lies between 34° 17' N. to 43° N. latitude, and 124° 38' E. to 130° 33' E. longitude, and has an estimated area of upwards of 80,000 square miles, being somewhat smaller than Great Britain. Bounded on the north and west by the Tu-men and Am-nok, or Yalu, rivers, which divide it from the Russian and Chinese empires, and by the Yellow Sea, its eastern and southern limit is the Sea of Japan, a " silver streak," which has not been its salvation. Its northern frontier is only conterminous with that of Russia for 11 miles.
GEOGRAPHICAL CONFIGURATION 5
Both boundary rivers rise in Paik-tu San, the " White-Headed Mountain," from which runs southwards a great mountain range, throwing off numerous lateral spurs, itself a rugged spine which divides the kingdom into two parts, the eastern division being a comparatively narrow strip between the range and the Sea of Japan, difficult of access, but extremely fertile; while the western section is composed of rugged hills and innumerable rich valleys and slopes, well watered and admirably suited for agriculture. Craters of volcanoes, long since passed into repose, lava beds, and other signs of volcanic action, are constantly met with.
The lakes are few and very small, and not many of the streams are navigable for more than a few miles from the sea, the exceptions being the noble Am-nok, the Tai-dong, the Nak-tong, the Mok-po, and the Han, which last, rising in Kang-won Do, 30 miles from the Sea of Japan, after cutting the country nearly in half, falls into the sea at Chemulpo on the west coast, and, in spite of many and dangerous rapids, is a valuable highway for commerce for over 170 miles.
Owing to the configuration of the peninsula there are few good harbours, but those which exist are open all the winter. The finest are Fusan and Won-san, on Broughton Bay. Chemulpo, which, as the port of Seoul, takes the first place, can hardly be called a harbour at all, the " outer harbour," where large vessels and ships of war lie, being nothing better than a roadstead, and the "inner harbour," close to the town, in the fierce tideway of the estuary of the Han, is only available for five or six vessels of small tonnage at a time. The east coast is steep
6 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
and rocky, the water is deep, and the tide rises and falls from 1 to 2 feet only. On the south-west and west coasts the tide rises and falls from 26 to 38 feet!
Off the latter coasts there is a remarkable archipelago. Some of the islands are bold masses of arid rock, the resort of sea-fowl; others are arable and inhabited, while the actual coast fringes off into innumerable islets, some of which are immersed by the spring tides. In the channels scoured among these by the tremendous rush of the tide, navigation is ofttimes dangerous. Great mud-banks, specially near the mouths of the rivers, render parts of the coast-line dubious.
Korea is decidedly a mountainous country, and has few plains deserving the name. In the north there are mountain groups with definite centres, the most remarkable being Paik-tu San, which attains an altitude of over 8000 feet, and is regarded as sacred. Farther south these settle into a definite range, following the coast-line at a moderate distance, and throwing out so many ranges and spurs to the west as to break up northern and central Korea into a congeries of corrugated and precipitous hills, either-denuded or covered with chapparal, and narrow, steep-sided valleys, each furnished with a stony stream. The great axial range, which includes the " Diamond Mountain," a region containing exquisite mountain and sylvan scenery, falls away as it descends towards the southern coast, disintegrating in places into small and often infertile plains.
The geological formation is fairly simple. Mesozoic rocks occur in Hwang-hai Do, but granite and metamorphic rocks largely predominate. North-east of Seoul are great
CLIMATE AND FAUNA 7
fields of lava, and lava and volcanic rocks are of common occurrence in the north.
The climate is undoubtedly one of the finest and healthiest in the world. Foreigners are not afflicted by any climatic maladies, and European children can be safely brought up in every part of the peninsula. July, August, and sometimes the first half of September, are hot and rainy, but the heat is so tempered by sea breezes that exercise is always possible. For nine months of the year the skies are generally bright, and a Korean winter is absolutely superb, with its still atmosphere, its bright, blue, unclouded sky, its extreme dryness without asperity, and its crisp, frosty nights. From the middle of September till the end of June, there are neither extremes of heat nor cold to guard against.
The summer mean temperature at Seoul is about 75° Fahrenheit, that of the winter about 33°; the average rainfall 36-03 inches in the year, and the average of the rainy season 21-86 inches.1 July is the wettest month, and December the driest. The result of the abundant rainfall, distributed fairly through the necessitous months of the year, is that irrigation is necessary only for the rice crop.
The fauna of Korea is considerable, and includes tigers and leopards in great numbers, bears, antelopes, at least seven species of deer, foxes, beavers, otters, badgers, tiger-cats, pigs, several species of marten, a sable (not of much value, however), and striped squirrels. Among birds there are black eagles, found even near Seoul, harriers, peregrines (largely used for hawking), pheasants, swans, geese,
1 These averages are only calculated on observations taken during a
period of three and a half years.
8 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
spectacled and common teal, mallards, mandarin ducks, turkey bustards (very shy), white and pink ibis, sparrow-hawks, kestrels, imperial cranes, egrets, herons, curlews, night-jars, redshanks, buntings, magpies (common and blue), orioles, wood-larks, thrushes, redstarts, crows, pigeons, doves, rooks, warblers, wagtails, cuckoos, halcyon and bright blue kingfishers, jays, snipes, nut-hatches, gray shrikes, pheasants, hawks, and kites. But until more careful observations have been made it is impossible to say which of the smaller birds actually breed in Korea, and which make it only a halting-place in their annual migrations.
The denudation of the hills in the neighbourhood of Seoul, the coasts, the treaty ports, and the main roads, is impressive, and helps to give a very unfavourable idea of the country. It is to the dead alone that the preservation of anything deserving the name of timber in much of southern Korea is owing. But in the mountains of the northern and eastern provinces, and specially among those which enclose the sources of the Tu-men, the Am-nok, the Tai-dong, and the Han, there are very considerable forests, on which up to this time the woodcutter has made little apparent impression, though a good deal of timber is annually rafted down these rivers.
Among the indigenous trees are the Abies excelsa, Abies microsperma, Pinus sinensis, Pinus pinca, three species of oak, the lime, ash, birch, five species of maple, the Acantho-pancuc ricinifolia, Rhus semipinnata, Elaeagnus, juniper, mountain ash, hazel, Thuja orientalis (?), willow, Sophora Japonica (?), hornbeam, plum, peach, Euonymus alatus, etc. The flora is extensive and interesting, but, with the excep-
MINERALS AND MANUFACTURES 9
tion of the azalea and rhododendron, it lacks brilliancy of colour. There are several varieties of showy clematis, and the millefleur rose smothers even large trees, but the climber par excellence of Korea is the Ampelopsis Veitchii. The economic plants are few, and, with the exception of the Panax quinquefolia (ginseng), the wild roots of which are worth $15 per ounce, are of no commercial value.
The mineral wealth of Korea is a vexed question. Probably between the view of the country as an El Dorado, and the scepticism as to the existence of underground treasure at all, the mean lies. Gold is little used for personal ornaments or in the arts, yet the Korean declares that the dust of his country is gold ; and the unquestionable authority of a Customs report states that gold dust to the amount of $1,360,279 was exported in 1896, and that it is probable that the quantity which left the country undeclared was at least as much again. Silver and galena are found, copper is fairly plentiful, and the country is rich in undeveloped iron and coal mines, the coal being of excellent quality. The gold-bearing quartz has never been touched, but an American Company, having obtained a concession, has introduced machinery, and has gone to work in the province of Phyong-an.
The manufactures are unimportant. The best productions are paper of several qualities made from the Brousonettia papyrifera, among which is an oiled paper, like vellum in appearance, and so tough that a man can be raised from the ground on a sheet of it, lifted at the four corners, fine grass mats, and split bamboo blinds.
The arts are nil.
Korea, or Ch'ao Hsien, has been ruled by kings of the
10 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
present dynasty since 1392. The monarchy is hereditary, and though some modifications in a constitutional direction were made during the recent period of Japanese ascendency, the sovereign is still practically absolute, his edicts, as in China, constituting law. The suzerainty of China, recognised since very remote days, was personally renounced by the king at the altar of the Spirits of the Land in January
1895, and the complete independence of Korea was acknowledged by China in the treaty of peace signed at Shimono-seTri in May of the same year. There is a Council of State composed of a chancellor, five councillors, six ministers, and a chief secretary. The decree of September.
1896, which constitutes this body, announces the King's absolutism in plain terms in the preamble.
There are nine ministers-the Prime Minister, Minister of the Royal Household, of Finance, of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, War, Justice, Agriculture, and Education, but the royal will (or whim) overrides their individual or collective decisions.
The Korean army consists of 4800 men in Seoul, drilled by Russians, and 1200 in the provinces; the navy, of two small merchant steamers.
Korea is divided into 13 provinces and 359 magisterial districts.
The revenue, which is amply sufficient for all legitimate expenses, is derived from Customs duties, under the able and honest management of officers lent by the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs: a land tax of $6 on every fertile kyel (a fertile Kiel being estimated at about 6? acres), and $5 on every mountain kyel; a household tax of 60 cents per house, houses in the capital enjoying immunity;
THE COUNTRY OPENED 11
and a heavy excise duty of $16 per cattie on manufactured
Up to 1876 Korea successfully preserved her isolation, and repelled with violence any attempt to encroach upon it. In that year Japan forced a treaty upon her, and in 1882 China followed with "Trade and Frontier Regulations." The United States negotiated a treaty in 1882, Great Britain and Germany in 1884, Russia and Italy in 1886, and Austria in 1892,in all which, though under Chinese suzerainty, Korea was treated with as an independent state. By these treaties, Seoul and the ports of Chemulpo (Jen-chuan), Fusan, and Won-san (Gensan) were opened to foreign commerce, and this year (1897) Mok-po and Chin-nam-po have been added to the list.
After the treaties were signed, a swarm of foreign representatives settled down upon the capital, where three of them are housed in handsome and conspicuous foreign buildings. The British Minister at Peking is accredited also to the Korean Court, and Britain has a resident Consul-General. Japan, Russia, and America are represented by Ministers, France by a Charge d'Affaires, and Germany by a Consul. China, which has been tardy in entering upon diplomatic relations with Korea since the war, placed her subjects under the protection of the British Consul-General.
Until recently, the coinage of Korea consisted of debased copper cash, 500 to the dollar, a great check on business transactions; but a new fractional coinage, of which the unit is a 20-cent piece, has been put into circulation, along with 5-cent nickel, 5-cash copper, and 1-cash brass pieces. The fine Japanese yen or dollar is now current everywhere. The Dai Ichi Gingo and Fifty-eighth Banks
12 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
of Japan afford banking facilities in Seoul and the open ports.
In the treaty ports of Fusan, Won-san, and Chemulpo, there were in January 1897, 11,318 foreign residents and 266 foreign business firms. The Japanese residents numbered 10,711, and their firms 230. The great majority of the American and French residents are missionaries, and the most conspicuous objects in Seoul are the Roman Cathedral and the American Methodist Episcopal Church. The number of British subjects in Korea in January 1897 was 65, and an agency of a British firm in Nagasaki has recently been opened at Chemulpo. The approximate number of Chinese in Korea at the same time was 2500, divided chiefly between Seoul and Chemulpo. There is a newly-instituted postal system for the interior, with postage stamps of four denominations, and a telegraph system, Seoul being now in communication with all parts of the world.
The roads are infamous, and even the main roads are rarely more than rough bridle tracks. Goods are carried everywhere on the backs of men, bulls, and ponies, but a railroad from Chemulpo to Seoul, constructed by an American concessionaire, is actually to be opened in 1898. The language of Korea is mixed. The educated classes introduce Chinese as much as possible into their conversation, and all the literature of any account is in that language, but it is of an archaic form, the Chinese of 1000 years ago, and differs completely in pronunciation from Chinese as now spoken in China. En-mun, the Korean script, is utterly despised by the educated, whose sole education is in the Chinese classics. Korean has
THE KOREAN SCRIPTS
the distinction of being the only language of Eastern Asia which possesses an alphabet. Only women, children, and the uneducated used the En-mun till January 1895, when a new departure was made by the Official Gazette, which for several hundred years had been written in Chinese, appearing in a mixture of Chinese characters and En-mun, a resemblance to the Japanese mode of writing, in which the Chinese characters which play the chief part are connected by kana syllables.
A further innovation was that the King's oath of Independence and Reform was promulgated in Chinese, pure En-mun, and the mixed script, and now the latter is regularly employed as the language of ordinances, official documents, and the Gazette; royal rescripts, as a rule, and despatches to the foreign representatives still adhering to the old form.
This recognition of the Korean language by means of the official use of the mixed, and in some cases of the pure script, the abolition of the Chinese literary examinations as the test of the fitness of candidates for office, the use of the " vulgar " script exclusively in the Independent, the new Korean newspaper, the prominence given to Korean by the large body of foreign missionaries, and the slow creation of scientific text-books and a literature in En-mun, are tending not only to strengthen Korean national feeling, but to bring the " masses," who can mostly read their own script, into contact with Western science and forms of thought.
There is no national religion. Confucianism is the official cult, and the teachings of Confucius are the rule of Korean morality. Buddhism, once powerful, but " dis-
12 INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
established" three centuries ago, is to be met with chiefly in mountainous districts, and far from the main roads. Spirit-worship, a species of shamanism, prevails all over the kingdom, and holds the uneducated masses and the women of all classes in complete bondage.
Christian missions, chiefly carried on by Americans, are beginning to produce both direct and indirect effects.1
Ten years before the opening of Korea to foreigners, the Korean king, in writing to his suzerain, the Emperor of China, said, " The educated men observe and practise the teachings of Confucius and Wen Wang," and this fact is the key to anything like a correct estimate of Korea. Chinese influence in government, law, education, etiquette, social relations, and morals is predominant. In all these respects Korea is but a feeble reflection of her powerful neighbour; and though since the war the Koreans have ceased to look to China for assistance, their sympathies are with her, and they turn to her for noble ideals, cherished traditions, and moral teachings. Their literature, superstitions, system of education, ancestral worship, culture, and modes of thinking are Chinese. Society is organised on Confucian models, and the rights of parents over children, and of elder over younger brothers, are as fully recognised as in China.
It is into this archaic condition of things, this unspeakable grooviness, this irredeemable, unreformed Orientalism, this parody of China without the robustness of race which helps to hold China together, that the ferment of the Western leaven has fallen, and this feeblest of independent kingdoms, rudely shaken out of her sleep of centuries, 1 See Appendix A.
A RUDE AWAKENING 15
half frightened and wholly dazed, finds herself confronted with an array of powerful, ambitious, aggressive, and not always over-scrupulous powers, bent, it may be, on over-reaching her and each other, forcing her into new paths, ringing with rude hands the knell of time-honoured custom, clamouring for concessions, and bewildering her with reforms, suggestions, and panaceas, of which she sees
neither the meaning nor the necessity.
And so " The old order changeth, giving place to new,"
and many indications of the transition will be found in
the later of the following pages.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA
IT is but fifteen hours' steaming from the harbour of
Nagasaki to Fusan in Southern Korea. The Island of
Tsushima, where the Higo Mario calls, was, however, my
last glimpse of Japan; and its reddening maples and
blossoming plums, its temple-crowned heights, its stately
flights of stone stairs leading to Shinto shrines in the
woods, the blue-green masses of its pines, and the golden
plumage of its bamboos, emphasised the effect produced
by the brown, bare hills of Fusan, pleasant enough in
summer, but grim and forbidding on a sunless February
day. The Island of the Interrupted Shadow, Ch?l-yong-To,
(Deer Island), high and grassy, on which the Japanese have
established a coaling station and a quarantine hospital,
shelters Fusan harbour.
It is not Korea but Japan which meets one on anchoring. The lighters are Japanese. An official of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan Mail Steamship Co.), to which the Higo Maru belongs, comes off with orders. The tide-waiter, however, is English-one of the English employes of the Chinese Imperial Maritime
THE FOREIGN SETTLEMENT OF FUSAN 17
Customs, lent to Korea, greatly to her advantage, for
the management of her Customs revenue. The foreign
settlement of Fusan is dominated by a steep bluff with a
Buddhist temple on the top, concealed by a number of fine
cryptomeria, planted during the Japanese occupation in
1592. It is a fairly good-looking Japanese town, somewhat
packed between the hills and the sea, with wide streets of
Japanese shops and various Anglo-Japanese buildings,
among which the Consulate and a Bank are the most
important. It has substantial retaining and sea walls, and
draining, lighting, and roadmaking have been carried out
at the expense of the municipality. Since the war, water
works have been constructed by a rate of 100 cash levied
on each house, and it is hoped that the present abundant
supply of pure water will make an end of the frequent
epidemics of cholera. Above the town, the new Japanese
military cemetery, filling rapidly, is the prominent object.
Considering that the creation of a demand for foreign
goods is not thirteen years old, it is amazing to find how
the Koreans have taken to them, and that the foreign trade
of Fusan has developed so rapidly that, while in 1885 the
value of exports and imports combined only amounted to
￡77,850, in 1896 it had reached ￡491,946. Unbleached
shirtings, lawns, muslins, cambrics, and Turkey reds for
children's wear have all captivated Korean fancy; but the
conservatism of wadded cotton garments in winter does not
yield to foreign woollens, of which the importation is liter-
ally nil. The most amazing stride is in the importation of
American kerosene oil, which has reached 71,000 gallons
in a quarter; and which, by displacing the fish-oil lamp
and the dismal rushlight in the paper lantern, is re-
VOL. I c
18 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA CHAP.
volutionising evening life in Korea. Matches, too, have "caught on " wonderfully, and evidently have " come to stay." Hides, beans, dried fish, beche de mer, rice, and whale's flesh are among the principal exports. It was not till 1883 that Fusan was officially opened to general foreign trade, and its rise has been most remarkable. In that year its foreign population was 1500 ; in January 1897 it was 5564.
In the first half of 1885 the Japan Mail Steamship Co. ran only one steamer, calling at Fusan, to Wladivostok every five weeks, and a small boat to Chemulpo, calling at Fusan, once a month. Now not a day passes without steamers, large or small, arriving at the port, and in addition to the fine vessels of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha, running frequently between Kobe and Wladivostok, Shanghai and Wladivostok, Kobe and Tientsin, and between Kobe, Chefoo, and Newchwang, all calling at Fusan, three other lines, including one from Osaka direct, and a Russian mail line running between Shanghai and Wladivostok, make Fusan a port of call.
It appears that about one-third of the goods imported is carried inland on the backs of men and horses. The taxes levied and the delays at the barriers on both the overland and river routes are intolerable to traders, a hateful custom prevailing under which each station is controlled by some petty official, who, for a certain sum paid to the Government in Seoul, obtains permission to levy taxes on all goods.1
1 According to Mr. Hunt, the Commissioner of Customs at Fusan, in the Kyong-sang province alone there are 17 such stations. Fusan is hedged round by a cordon of them within a 10-mile radius, and on the Nak-tong, which is the waterway to the provincial capital, there are four in a distance of 25 miles.
I JAPANESE ENTERPRISE 19
The Nak-tong River, the mouth of which is 7 miles from Fusan, is navigable for steamers drawing 5 feet of water as far as Miriang, 50 miles up, and for junks drawing 4 feet as far as Sa-mun, 100 miles farther, from which point their cargoes, transhipped into light-draught boats, can ascend to Sang-chin, 170 miles from the coast. With this available waterway, and a hazy prospect that the much-disputed Seoul-Fusan railway may become an accomplished fact, Fusan bids fair to become an important centre of commerce, as the Kyong-sang Province, said to be the most populous of the eight (now for administrative purposes thirteen), is also said to be the most prosperous and fruitful, with the possible exception of Chul-la.
Barren as the neighbouring hills look, they are probably rich in minerals. Gold is found in several places within a radius of 50 miles, copper quite near, and there are coal-fields within 100 miles.
To all intents and purposes the settlement of Fusan is Japanese. In addition to the Japanese population of 5508, there is a floating population of 8000 Japanese fishermen. A Japanese Consul-General lives in a fine European house. Banking facilities are furnished by the Dai Ichi Gingo of Tokio, and the post and telegraph services are also Japanese. Japanese too are the cleanliness of the settlement, and the introduction of industries unknown to Korea, such as rice husking and cleaning by machinery, whale-fishing, sake-making, and the preparation of shark's fins beche de mer, and fish manure, the latter an unsavoury fertiliser, of which enormous quantities are exported to Japan
But the reader asks impatiently, "Where are the
20 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA CHAP.
Koreans? I don't want to read about the Japanese!" Nor do I want to write about them, but facts are stubborn, and they are the outstanding Fusan fact.
As seen from the deck of the steamer, a narrow up-and-down path keeping at some height above the sea skirts the hillside for 3 miles from Fusan, passing by a small Chinese settlement with official buildings, uninhabited when I last saw them, and terminating in the walled town of Fusan proper, with a fort of very great antiquity outside it, modernised by the Japanese after the engineering notions of three centuries ago.
Seated on the rocks along the shore were white objects resembling pelicans or penguins, but as white objects with the gait of men moved in endless procession to and fro between old and new Fusan, I assumed that the seated objects were of the same species. The Korean makes upon one the impression of novelty, and while resembling neither the Chinese nor the Japanese, he is much better-looking than either, and his physique is far finer than that of the latter. Though his average height is only 5 feet 41/2 inches, his white dress, which is voluminous, makes him look taller, and his high-crowned hat, without which he is never seen, taller still. The men were in winter dress-white cotton sleeved robes, huge trousers, and socks ; all wadded. On their heads were black silk wadded caps with pendent sides edged with black fur, and on the top of these, rather high-crowned, somewhat broad-brimmed hats of black "crinoline" or horsehair gauze, tied under the chin with crinoline ribbon. The general effect was grotesque. There were a few children on the path, bundles of gay clothing, but no women.
I was accompanied to old Fusan by a charming English
A KOREAN MARKET
" Una" who, speaking Korean almost like a native, moved serenely through the market-day crowds, welcomed by all. A miserable place I thought it, but later experience showed that it was neither more nor less miserable than the general run of Korean towns. Its narrow dirty streets consist of low hovels built of mud-smeared wattle without windows, straw roofs, and deep eaves, a black smoke-hole in every wall 2 feet from the ground, and outside most
GATE OF OLD FUSAN.
are irregular ditches containing solid and liquid refuse. Mangy dogs and blear-eyed children, half or wholly naked, and scaly with dirt, roll in the deep dust or slime, or pant and blink in the sun, apparently unaffected by the stenches which abound. But market day hid much that is repulsive. Along the whole length of the narrow, dusty, crooked street, the wares were laid out on mats on the ground, a man or an old woman, bundled up in dirty white cotton, guarding each. And the sound of bargaining rose high, and much breath was spent on beating down prices,
22 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA CHAP.
which did not amount originally to the tenth part of a farthing. The goods gave an impression of poor buyers and small trade. Short lengths of coarse white cotton, skeins of cotton, straw shoes, wooden combs, tobacco pipes and pouches, dried fish and sea-weed, cord for girdles, paper rough and smooth, and barley-sugar nearly black, were the contents of the mats. I am sure that the most valuable stock-in-trade there was not worth more than three dollars. Each vendor had a small heap of cash beside him, an uncouth bronze coin with a square hole in the centre, of which at that time 3200 nominally went to the dollar, and which greatly trammelled and crippled Korean trade.
A market is held in Fusan and in many other places every fifth day. On these the country people rely for all which they do not produce, as well as for the sale or barter of their productions. Practically there are no shops in the villages and small towns, their needs being supplied on stated days by travelling pedlars who form a very influential guild.
Turning away from the bustle of the main street into a narrow, dirty alley, and then into a native compound, I found the three Australian ladies who were the objects of my visit to this decayed and miserable town. Except that the compound was clean, it was in no way distinguishable from any other, being surrounded by mud hovels. In one of these, exposed to the full force of the southern sun, these ladies were living. The mud walls were concealed with paper, and photographs and other European nicknacks conferred a look of refinement. But not only were the rooms so low that one of the ladies could
CIVILISING INFLUENCES 23
not stand upright in them, but privacy was impossible, invasions of Korean women and children succeeding each other from morning to night, so that even dressing was a spectacle for the curious. Friends urged these ladies not to take this step of living in a Korean town 3 miles from Europeans. It was represented that it was not safe, and that their health would suffer from the heat and fetid odours of the crowded neighbourhood, etc. In truth it was not a " conventional thing " to do.
On my first visit I found them well and happy. Small children were clinging to their skirts, and a certain number of women had been induced to become cleanly in their persons and habits. All the neighbours were friendly, and rude remarks in the streets had altogether ceased. Many of the women resorted to them for medical help, and the simple aid they gave brought them much good-will. This friendly and civilising influence was the result of a year of living under very detestable circumstances. If they had dwelt in grand houses 2.5| miles off upon the hill, it is safe to say that the result would have been nil. Without any fuss or blowing of trumpets, they quietly helped to solve one of the great problems as to "Missionary Methods," though why it should be a "problem " I fail to see. In the East at least, every religious teacher who has led the people has lived among them, knowing if not sharing their daily lives, and has been easily accessible at all times. It is not easy to imagine a Buddha or One greater than Buddha only reached by favour of, and possibly by feeing, a gate-keeper or servant.
On visiting them a year later I found them still well and happy. The excitement among the Koreans conse-
24 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA CHAP.
quent on the Tong-hak rebellion and the war had left them unmolested. A Japanese regiment had encamped close to them, and, by permission, had drawn water from the well in their compound, and had shown them nothing but courtesy. Having in two years gained general confidence and good-will, they built a small bungalow just above the old native house, which has been turned into a very primitive orphanage.
The people were friendly and kind from the first. Those who were the earliest friends of the ladies are their staunchest friends now, and they knew them and their aims so well when they moved into their new house that it made no difference at all. Some go there to see the ladies, others to see the furniture or hear the organ and a few to inquire about the "Jesus doctrine." The "mission work" now consists of daily meetings for worship, classes for applicants for baptism, classes at night for those women who may not come out in the day-time, a Sunday school with an attendance of eighty, visiting among the people, and giving instruction in the country and surrounding villages. About forty adults have professed Christianity, and regularly attend Christian worship.
I mention these facts not for the purpose of glorifying these ladies, who are simply doing their duty, but because they fall in with a theory of my own as to methods of mission work.
There is a very small Roman Catholic mission-house, seldom tenanted, between the two Fusans. In the province of Kyong-sang in which they are, there are Roman missions which claim 2000 converts, and to promulgate Christianity in thirty towns and villages. There are two foreign priests,
THE SEAPORT OF SEOUL 25
who spend most of the year in teaching in the provincial villages, living in Korean huts, in Korean fashion, on Korean food.
new municipal buildings
A coarse ocean with a distinct line of demarcation between the blue water of the Sea of Japan and the discoloration of the Yellow Sea, harsh, grim, rocky, brown islands, mostly uninhabited-two monotonously disagreeable days, more islands, muddier water, an estuary and junks, and on the third afternoon from Fusan the Higo Maru anchored in the roadstead of Chemulpo, the seaport of Seoul. This cannot pretend to be a harbour, indeed most of the roadstead, such as it is, is a slimy mud flat for much of the day, the tide rising and falling 36 feet. The anchorage, a narrow channel in the shallows, can accommodate five vessels of moderate size. Yet though the mud was en evidence, and the low hill behind the town was dull brown, and a drizzling rain was falling, I liked the look of Chemulpo better than I expected, and after becoming acquainted with it in various seasons and circumstances, I came to regard it with very friendly feelings. As seen from the roadstead, it is a collection of mean houses, mostly of wood, painted white, built along the edge of the sea and straggling up a verdureless hill, the whole extending for more than a mile from a low point on which are a few-trees, crowned by the English Vice-Consulate, a comfortless and unworthy building, to a hill on which are a large decorative Japanese tea-house, a garden, and a Shinto shrine. Salient features there are none, unless the house of a German merchant, an English church, the humble buildings of Bishop Corfe's mission on the hill, the large
Japanese Consulate, and some
26 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA CHAP.
on a slope, may be considered such. As at Fusan, an English tide-waiter boarded the ship, and a foreign harbour-master berthed her, while a Japanese clerk gave the captain his orders.
Mr. Wilkinson, the acting British Vice-Consul, came off for me, and entertained me then and on two subsequent occasions with great hospitality, but as the Vice-Consulate had at that time no guest-room, I slept at a Chinese inn, known as " Steward's," kept by I-tai, an honest and helpful man who does all he can to make his guests comfortable, and partially succeeds. This inn is at the corner of the main street of the Chinese quarter, in a very lively position, as it also looks down the main street of the Japanese settlement. The Chinese settlement is solid, with a hand-some yamen and guild-hall, and rows of thriving and substantial shops. Busy and noisy with the continual letting off of crackers and beating of drums and gongs, the Chinese were obviously far ahead of the Japanese in trade. They had nearly a monopoly of the foreign " custom" ; their large " houses" in Chemulpo had branches in Seoul, and if there were any foreign requirement which they could not meet, they procured the article from Shanghai without loss of time. The haulage of freight to Seoul was in their hands, and the market gardening, and much besides. Late into the night they were at work, and they used the roadway for drying hides and storing kerosene tins and packing-cases. Scarcely did the noise of night cease when the din of morning began. To these hard-working and money-making people rest seemed a superfluity.
The Japanese settlement is far more populous, extensive,
JAPANESE COMMERCIAL PROGRESS 27
and pretentious. Their Consulate is imposing enough for a legation. They have several streets of small shops, which supply the needs chiefly of people of their own nationality, for foreigners patronise Ah Wong and I-tai, and the Koreans, who hate the Japanese with a hatred three centuries old, also deal chiefly with the Chinese. But though the Japanese were outstripped in trade by the Chinese, their position in Korea, even before the war, was an influential one. They gave " postal facilities " between the treaty ports and Seoul and carried the foreign mails, and they established branches of the First National Bank1 in the capital and treaty ports, with which the resident foreigners have for years transacted their business, and in which they have full confidence. I lost no time in opening an account with this Bank in Chemulpo, receiving an English cheque-book and pass-book, and on all occasions courtesy and all needed help. Partly owing to the fact that English cottons for Korea are made in bales too big for the Lilliputian Korean pony, involving reduction to more manageable dimensions on being landed, and partly to causes which obtain elsewhere, the Japanese are so successfully pushing their cottons in Korea, that while they constituted only 3 per cent of the imports in 1887, they had risen to something like 40 per cent in 1894.2 There is a rapidly-growing demand for yarn to be woven on native looms. The Japanese are well to the front with steam and sailing tonnage. Of 198 steamers entered inwards in 1893, 132 were Japanese; and out of 325 sailing vessels, 232 were Japanese. It is on record that an English
1 Now the Dai Ichi Gingo. 2 For latest trade statistics see Appendix B.
28 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KOREA CHAP.
merchantman was once seen in Chemulpo roads, but actually the British mercantile flag, unless on a chartered steamer, is not known in Korean waters. Nor was there in 1894 an English merchant in the Korean treaty ports, or an English house of business, large or small, in Korea.
Just then rice was in the ascendant. Japan by means of pressure had induced the Korean Government to consent to suspend the decree forbidding its export, and on a certain date the sluices were to be opened. Stacks of rice bags covered the beach, rice in bulk being measured into bags was piled on mats in the roadways, ponies and coolies rice-laden filed in strings down the streets, while in the roadstead a number of Japanese steamers and junks awaited the taking off the embargo at midnight on 6th March. A regular rice babel prevailed in the town and on the beach, and much disaffection prevailed among the Koreans at the rise in the price of their staple article of diet. Japanese agents scoured the whole country for rice, and every cattie of it which could be spared from consumption was bought in preparation for the war, of which no one in Korea dreamed at that time. The rice bustle gave Chemulpo an appearance of a thriving trade which it is not wont to have except in the Chinese settlement. Its foreign population in 1897 was 4357.
The reader may wonder where the Koreans are at Chemulpo, and in truth I had almost forgotten them, for they are of little account. The increasing native town lies outside the Japanese settlement on the Seoul road, clustering round the base of the hill on which the English church stands, and scrambling up it, mud hovels planting themselves on every ledge, attained by filthy alleys, swarm-
! BISHOP CORFE'S HOSPITAL 29
ing with quiet dirty children, who look on the high-road to emulate the do-lessness of their fathers. Korean, too, is the official yamen at the top of the hill, and Korean its methods of punishment, its brutal flagellations by yamen runners, its beating of criminals to death, their howls of anguish penetrating the rooms of the adjacent English mission, and Korean too are the bribery and corruption which make it and nearly every yamen sinks of iniquity. The gate with its double curved roofs and drum chamber over the gateway reminds the stranger that though the capital and energy of Chemulpo are foreign, the government is native. Not Korean is the abode of mercy on the other side of the road from the yamen, the hospital connected with Bishop Corfe's mission, where in a small Korean building the sick are received, tended, and generally cured by Dr. Landis, who himself lives as a Korean in rooms 8 feet by 6, studying, writing, eating, without chair or table, and accessible at all times to all comers. The 6700 inhabitants of the Korean town, or rather the male half of them, are always on the move. The narrow roads are always full of them, sauntering along in their dress hats, not apparently doing anything. It is old Fusan over again, except that there are permanent shops, with stocks-in-trade worth from one to twenty dollars ; and as an hour is easily spent over a transaction involving a few cash, there is an appearance of business kept up. In the settlement the Koreans work as porters and carry preposterous weights on their wooden pack-saddles.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL
CHEMULPO, being on the island-studded estuary of the Han, which is navigable for the 56 miles up to Mapu, the river port of Seoul, it eventually occurred to some persons more enterprising than their neighbours to establish steam communication between the two. Manifold are the disasters which have attended this simple undertaking. Nearly every passenger who has entrusted himself to the river has a tale to tell of the boat being deposited on a sandbank, and of futile endeavours to get off, of fretting and fuming, usually ending in hailing a passing sampan and getting up to Mapu many hours behind time, tired, hungry, and disgusted. For the steam launches are only half-powered for their work, the tides are strong, the river shallows often, and its sandbanks shift almost from tide to tide. Hence this natural highway is not much patronised by people who respect themselves, and all sorts of arrangements are made for getting up to the capital by "road." There is, properly speaking, no road, but the word serves. Mr. Gardner, the British acting Consul-General in Seoul, kindly arranged to escort me the 25 miles, and I went up
CHAP. II A MONOTONOUS LANDSCAPE 31
in seven hours in a chair with six bearers, jolly fellows, who joked and laughed and raced the Consul's pony. Traffic has worn for itself a track, often indefinite, but usually straggling over and sterilising a width enough for three or four highways, and often making a new departure to avoid deep mud holes. The mud is nearly bottomless. Bullock-carts owned by Chinese attempt the transit of goods, and two or three embedded in the mud till the spring showed with what success. Near Mapu all traffic has to cross a small plain of deep sand. Pack bulls, noble animals, and men are the carriers of goods. The redoubtable Korean pony was not to be seen. Foot passengers in dress hats and wadded white garments were fairly numerous.
The track lies through rolling country, well cultivated. There are only two or three villages on the road, but there are many, surrounded by fruit trees, in the folds of the adjacent low hills; stunted pines (Pinus sinensis) abound, and often indicate places of burial. The hillsides are much taken up with graves. There are wooden sign or distance posts, with grotesque human faces upon them, chiefly that of Chang Sun, a traitor, whose misdemeanours were committed 1000 years ago. The general aspect of the country is bare and monotonous. Except for the orchards and the spindly pines, there is no wood. There is no beauty of form, nor any of those signs of exclusiveness, such as gates or walls, which give something of dignity to a landscape. These were my first impressions. But I came to see on later journeys that even on that road there can be a beauty and fascination in the scenery when glorified and idealised
32 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
by the unrivalled atmosphere of a Korean winter, which it is a delight even to recall, and that the situation of Seoul for a sort of weird picturesqueness compares favourably with that of almost any other capital, but its orientalism, a marked feature of which was its specially self-asserting dirt, is being fast improved off the face of the earth.
From the low pass known as the Gap there is a view of the hills in the neighbourhood of Seoul, and before reaching the Han these, glorified and exaggerated by an effect of atmosphere, took on something of grandeur. Crossing the Han in a scow to which my chair accommodated itself more readily than Mr. Gardner's pony, and encountering ferry boats full of pack bulls bearing the night soil of the city to the country, we landed on the rough, steep, filthy, miry river-bank, and were at once in the foul, narrow, slimy, rough street of Mapu, a twisted alley full of mean shops for the sale of native commodities, of bulls carrying mountains of brushwood which nearly filled up the roadway ; and with a crowd, masculine solely, which swayed and loafed, and did nothing in particular. Some quiet agricultural country, and some fine trees, a resemblance to the land of the Bakhtiari Lurs, in the fact of one man working a spade or shovel, while three others helped him to turn up the soil by an arrangement of ropes, then two chairs with bearers in blue uniforms, carrying Mrs. and Miss Gardner, accompanied by Bishop Corfe, Mr. M'Leavy Brown, the Chief Commissioner of Korean Customs, and Mr. Fox, the Assistant Consul, then the hovels and alleys became thick, and we were in extra-mural Seoul. A lofty wall, pierced by a deep double-roofed gateway, was passed, and ten minutes more
II THE TAI-WON-KUN 33
of miserable alleys brought us to a breezy hill, crowned by the staring red brick buildings of the English Legation and Consular offices.
The Russian Legation has taken another and a higher, and its lofty tower and fine facade are the most conspicuous objects in the city, while a third is covered with buildings, some Korean and tasteful, but others in a painful style of architecture, a combination of the factory with the meeting-house, belonging to the American Methodist Episcopal Mission, the American Presbyterians occupying a humbler position below. A hill on the other side of the town is dedicated to Japan, and so in every part of the city the foreigner, shut out till 1883, is making his presence felt, and is undermining that winch is Korean in the Korean capital by the slow process of contact.
One of the most remarkable indications of the change which is stealing over the Hermit City is that a nearly finished Roman Catholic Cathedral, of very large size, with a clergy-house and orphanages, occupies one of the most prominent positions in Seoul. The King's father, the Tai-Won-Kun, still actively engaged in politics, is the man who, thirty years ago, persecuted the Roman Christians so cruelly and persistently as to raise up for Korea a " noble army of martyrs."
I know Seoul by day and night, its palaces and its slums, its unspeakable meanness and faded splendours, its purposeless crowds, its medieval processions, which for barbaric splendour cannot be matched on earth, the filth of its crowded alleys, and its pitiful attempt to retain its manners, customs, and identity as the capital of an ancient monarchy in face of the host of disintegrating influences
34 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
which are at work, hut it is not at first that one " takes it in." I had known it for a year before I appreciated it, or fully realised that it is entitled to be regarded as one of the great capitals of the world, with its supposed population of a quarter of a million, and that few capitals are more beautifully situated.1 One hundred and twenty feet above the sea, in Lat. 37° 34' N. and Long. 127° 6' E., mountain girdled, for the definite peaks and abrupt elevation of its hills give them the grandeur of mountains, though their highest summit, San-kak-San, has only an altitude of 2627 feet, few cities can boast, as Seoul can, that tigers and leopards are shot within their walls ! Arid and forbidding these mountains look at times, their ridges broken up into black crags and pinnacles, ofttimes rising from among distorted pines, but there are evenings of purple glory, when every forbidding peak gleams like an amethyst with a pink translucency, and the shadows are cobalt and the sky is green and gold. Fair are the surroundings too in early spring, when a delicate green mist veils the hills, and their sides are flushed with the heliotrope azalea, and flame of plum, and blush of cherry, and tremulousness of peach-blossom appear in unexpected quarters.
Looking down on this great city, which has the aspect of a lotus pond in November, or an expanse of over-ripe mushrooms, the eye naturally follows the course of the wall, which is discerned in most outlandish places, climbing Nam-San in one direction, and going clear over the crest of Puk-han in another, enclosing a piece of forest here, and
1 By a careful census taken in February 1897, the intra-mural population of Seoul was 144,636 souls, and the extra-mural 75,189, total 219,825, males predominating to the extent of 11,079.
THE WALL OF SEOUL 35
a vacant plain there, descending into ravines, disappearing and reappearing when least expected. This wall, which contrives to look nearly as solid as the hillsides which it climbs, is from 25 to 40 feet in height, and 14 miles in circumference (according to Mr. Fox of H.B.M.'s Consular Service), battlemented along its entire length, and pierced by eight gateways, solid arches or tunnels of stone, surmounted by lofty gate-houses with one, two, or three curved tiled roofs. These are closed from sunset to sunrise by massive wooden gates, heavily bossed and strengthened with iron, bearing, following Chinese fashion, high-sounding names, such as the " Gate of Bright Ami-ability," the "Gate of High Ceremony," the "Gate of Elevated Humanity."
The wall consists of a bank of earth faced with masonry, or of solid masonry alone, and is on the whole in tolerable repair. It is on the side nearest the river, and onwards in the direction of the Peking Pass, that extra-mural Seoul has expanded. One gate is the Gate of the Dead, only a royal corpse being permitted to be carried out by any other. By another gate criminals passed out to be beheaded, and outside another their heads were exposed for some days after execution, hanging from camp-kettle stands. The north gate, high on Puk-han, is kept closed, only to be opened in case the King is compelled to escape to one of the so-called fortresses on that mountain.
Outside the wall is charming country, broken into hills and wooded valleys, with knolls sacrificed to stately royal tombs, with their environment of fine trees, and villages in romantic positions among orchards and garden cultivation. Few Eastern cities have prettier walks and rides
36 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
in their immediate neighbourhood, or greater possibilities of rapid escape into sylvan solitudes, and I must add that no city has environs so safe, and that ladies without a European escort can ride, as I have done, in every direction outside the walls without meeting with the slightest annoyance.
I shrink from describing intra-mural Seoul.1 I thought it the foulest city on earth till I saw Peking, and its smells the most odious, till I encountered those of Shao-shing! For a great city and a capital its meanness is indescribable. Etiquette forbids the erection of two-storeyed houses, consequently an estimated quarter of a million people are living on "the ground," chiefly in labyrinthine alleys, many of them not wide enough for two loaded bulls to pass, indeed barely wide enough for one man to pass a loaded bull, and further narrowed by a series of vile holes or green, slimy ditches, which receive the solid and liquid refuse of the houses, their foul and fetid margins being the favourite resort of half-naked children, begrimed with dirt, and of big, mangy, blear-eyed dogs, which wallow in the slime or blink in the sun. There too the itinerant vendor of "small wares," and candies dyed flaring colours with aniline dyes, establishes himself, puts a few planks across the ditch, and his goods, worth perhaps a dollar, thereon. But even Seoul has its "spring cleaning," and I encountered on the sand plain of the Han, on the ferry, and on the road from Mapu
1 Nous avons changi tout cela. As will be seen from a chapter near the end of the book, the Chief Commissioner of Customs, energetically seconded by the Governor of Seoul, has worked surprising improvements and sanitary changes which, if carried out perseveringly, will redeem the capital from the charges which travellers have brought against it.
II HOUSES AND SHOPS 37
to Seoul, innumerable bulls carrying panniers laden with the contents of the city ditches.
The houses abutting on these ditches are generally hovels with deep eaves and thatched roofs, presenting nothing to the street but a mud wall, with occasionally a small paper window just under the roof, indicating the men's quarters, and invariably, at a height varying from 2 to 3 feet above the ditch, a blackened smoke-hole, the vent for the smoke and heated air, which have done their duty in warming the floor of the house. All day long bulls laden with brushwood to a great height are entering the city, and at six o'clock this pine brush, preparing to do the cooking and warming for the population, fills every lane in Seoul with aromatic smoke, which hangs over it with remarkable punctuality. Even the superior houses, which have curved and tiled roofs, present nothing better to the street than this debased appearance.
The shops partake of the general meanness. Shops with a stock-in-trade which may be worth six dollars abound. It is easy to walk in Seoul without molestation, but any one standing to look at anything attracts a great crowd, so that it is as well that there is nothing to look at. The shops have literally not a noteworthy feature. Their one characteristic is that they have none! The best shops are near the Great Bell, beside which formerly stood a stone with an inscription calling on all Koreans to put intruding foreigners to death. So small are they that all goods are within reach of the hand. In one of the three broad streets there are double rows of removable booths, in which now and then a small box of Korean niello work, iron inlaid with silver, may be picked
38 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
up. In these and others the principal commodities are white cottons, straw shoes, bamboo hats, coarse pottery, candle-sticks with draught screens, combs, glass beads, pipes, tobacco-pouches, spittoons, horn-rimmed goggles, much worn by officials, paper of many kinds, wooden pillow-ends, decorated pillow-cases, fans, ink-cases, huge wooden saddles with green leather flaps bossed with silver, laundry sticks, dried persimmons, loathsome candies dyed magenta, scarlet, and green, masses of dried seaweed and fungi, and ill-chosen collections of the most trumpery of foreign trash, such as sixpenny kerosene lamps, hand mirrors, tinsel vases, etc., the genius of bad taste presiding over all.
Plain brass dinner sets and other brass articles are made, and some mother-of-pearl inlaying in black lacquer from old designs is occasionally to be purchased, and embroideries in silk and gold thread, but the designs are ugly, and the colouring atrocious. Foreigners have bestowed the name Cabinet Street on a street near the English Legation, given up to the making of bureaus and marriage chests. These, though not massive, look so, and are really hand-some, some being of solid chestnut wood, others veneered with maple or peach, and bossed, strapped, and hinged with brass, besides being ornamented with great brass hasps and brass padlocks 6 inches long. These, besides being thoroughly Korean, are distinctly decorative. There are few buyers, except in the early morning, and shopping does not seem a pastime, partly because none but the poorest class of women can go out on foot by daylight.
In the booths are to be seen tobacco-pipes, pipe-stems, and bowls, coarse glazed pottery, rice bowls, Japanese
II THE GREAT BELL 39
lucifer matches, aniline dyes, tobacco-pouches, purses, flint and tinder pouches, rolls of oiled paper, tassels, silk cord, nuts of the edible pine, rice, millet, maize, peas, beans, string shoes, old crinoline hats, bamboo and reed hats in endless variety, and coarse native cotton, very narrow.
In this great human hive the ordinary sightseer finds his vocation gone. The inhabitants constitute the "sight" of Seoul. The great bronze bell, said to be the third largest in the world, is one of the few " sights" usually seen by strangers. It hangs in a bell tower in the centre of the city, and bears the following inscription :-
"Sye Cho the Great, 12th year Man cha [year of the cycle] and moon, the 4th year of the great Ming Emperor Hsiian-hua [A.D. 1468], the head of the bureau of Royal despatches, Sye Ko chyeng, bearing the title Sa Ka Chyeng, had this pavilion erected and this bell hung."
This bell, whose dull heavy boom is heard in all parts of Seoul, has opened and closed the gates for five centuries.
The grand triple gateway of the Royal Palace with its double roof, the old audience hall in the Mulberry Gardens, and the decorative roofs of the gate towers, are all seen in an hour. There remains the Marble Pagoda, seven centuries old, so completely hidden away in the back yard of a house in one of the foulest and narrowest alleys of the city, that many people never see it at all As I was intent on photographing some of the reliefs upon it, I visited it five times, and each time with fresh admiration; but so wedged in is it, that one can only get any kind of view of it by climbing on the top of a wall. Every part is carved, and the flat parts richly so, some of the tablets representing Hindu divinities, while others seem to portray the various stages
40 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
of the soul's progress towards Nirvana. The designs are undoubtedly Indian, modified by Chinese artists, and this thing of beauty stands on the site of a Buddhist monastery. It is a thirteen-storeyed pagoda, but three storeys were taken off in the Japanese invasion three centuries ago,
and placed on the ground uninjured. So they remained, but on my last visit children had defaced the exquisite carving, and were offering portions for sale. Not far off is another relic of antiquity, a decorated and inscribed tablet standing on the back of a granite turtle of prodigious size. Outside the west gate, on a plain near the Peking Pass, was a roofed and highly-decorated arch of
II THE JAPANESE COLONY 41
that form known as the P'ai-low, and close by it a sort of palace hall, in which every new sovereign of Korea waited for the coming of a special envoy from Peking, whom he joined at the P'ai-low, accompanying him to the palace, where he received from him his investiture as sovereign.
On the slope of Nam San the white wooden buildings, simple and unpretentious, of the Japanese Legation are situated, and below them a Japanese colony of nearly 5000 persons, equipped with tea-houses, a theatre, and the various arrangements essential to Japanese well-being. There, in acute contrast to everything Korean, are to be seen streets of shops and houses where cleanliness, daintiness, and thrift reign supreme, and unveiled women, and men in girdled dressing-gowns and clogs, move about as freely as in Japan. There also are to be seen minute soldiers or military police, and smart be-sworded officers, who change guard at due intervals; nor are such precautions needless, for the heredity of hate is strong in Korea, and on two occasions the members of this Legation have had to fight their way down to the sea. The Legation was occupied at the time of my first visit by Mr. Otori, an elderly man with pendulous white whiskers, who went much into the little society which Seoul boasts, talked nothings, and gave no promise of the rough vigour which he showed a few months later. There also are the Japanese bank and post-office, both admirably managed.
The Chinese colony was in 1894 nearly as large, and differed in no respect from such a colony anywhere else. The foreigners depend for many things on the Chinese shops, and as the Koreans like the Chinese, they do some trade with them also. The imposing element connected with China
42 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
was the yamen of Yuan, the Minister Resident and representative of Korea's Suzerain, by many people regarded as " the power behind the throne," who is reported to have gone more than once unbidden into the King's presence, and to have reproached him with his conduct of affairs. Great courtyards and lofty gates on which are painted the usual guardian gods, and a brick dragon screen, seclude the palace in which Yuan lived with his guards and large retinue; and the number of big, supercilious men, dressed in rich brocades and satins, who hung about both this Palace and the Consulate, impressed the Koreans with the power and stateliness within. The Americans were very severe on Yuan, but so far as I could learn his chief fault was that he let things alone, and neglected to use his unquestionably great power in favour of reform and common honesty-but he was a Chinese mandarin! He possessed the power of life and death over Chinamen, and his punishments were often to our thinking barbarous, but the Chinese feared him so much that they treated the Koreans fairly well, which is more than can be said of the Japanese.
One of the "sights " of Seoul is the stream or drain or watercourse, a wide, walled, open conduit, along which a dark-coloured festering stream slowly drags its malodorous length, among manure and refuse heaps which cover up most of what was once its shingly bed. There, tired of crowds masculine solely, one may be refreshed by the sight of women of the poorest class, some ladling into pails the compound which passes for water, and others washing clothes in the fetid pools which pass for a stream. All wear one costume, which is peculiar to the capital, a green silk coat-a man's coat with the " neck " put over
FEMALE SLAVERY 43
the head and clutched below the eyes, and long wide sleeves falling from the ears. It is as well that the Korean woman is concealed, for she is not a houri. Washing is her manifest destiny so long as her lord wears white. She washes in this foul river, in the pond of the Mulberry Palace, in every wet ditch, and outside the walls in the few streams which exist. Clothes are partially unpicked, boiled with ley three times, rolled into hard bundles, and pounded with heavy sticks on stones. After being dried they are beaten with wooden sticks on cylinders, till they attain a polish resembling dull satin. The women are slaves to the laundry, and the only sound which breaks the stillness of a Seoul night is the regular beat of their
From the beautiful hill Nam San, from the Lone Tree Hill, and from a hill above the old Mulberry Palace, Seoul is best seen, with its mountainous surroundings, here and there dark with pines, but mostly naked, falling down upon the city in black arid corrugations. These mountains enclose a valley about 5 miles long by 3 broad, into which 200,000 people are crammed and wedged. The city is a sea of low brown roofs, mostly of thatch, and all but monotonous, no trees and no open spaces. Rising out of this brown sea there are the curved double roofs of the gates, and the gray granite walls of the royal palaces, and within them the sweeping roofs of various audience halls. Cutting the city across by running from the east to the west gate is one broad street, another striking off from this runs to the south gate, and a third 95 yards wide runs from the great central artery to the palace. This is the only one which is kept clear of encumbrance at all times,
44 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP.
the others being occupied by double rows of booths, leaving only a narrow space for traffic on either side. When I first looked down on Seoul early in March, one street along its whole length appeared to be still encumbered with the drift of the previous winter's snow. It was only by the aid of a glass that I discovered that this is the great promenade, and that the snow-drift was just the garments of the Koreans, whitened by ceaseless labour with the laundry sticks. In these three broad streets the moving crowd of men in white robes and black dress hats seldom flags. They seem destitute of any object. Many of them are of the yang-ban or noble class, to whom a rigid etiquette forbids any but official or tutorial occupation, and many of whom exist by hanging on to their more fortunate relatives. Young men of the middle class imitate their nonchalance and swinging gait.
There, too, are to be seen officials, superbly dressed, mounted on very fat but handsome ponies with profuse manes and tails, the riders sitting uneasily on the tops of saddles with showy caparisonings a foot high, holding on to the saddle-bow, two retainers leading the steed, and two more holding the rider in his place ; or officials in palanquins, with bearers at a run, amid large retinues. In the more plebeian streets nothing is to be seen but bulls carrying pine brush, strings of ponies loaded with salt or country produce, water-carriers with pails slung on a yoke, splashing their contents, and coolies carrying burdens on wooden pack-saddles.
But in the narrower alleys, of which there are hundreds, further narrowed by the low deep eaves, and the vile ditches outside the houses, only two men can pass each
II THE NIGHT SIDE OF SEOUL 45
other, and the noble red bull with his load of brushwood is rarely seen. Between these miles of mud walls, deep eaves, green slimy ditches, and blackened smoke-holes, few besides the male inhabitants and burden-bearers are seen to move. They are the paradise of mangy dogs. Every house has a dog, and a square hole through which he can just creep. He yelps furiously at a stranger, and runs away at the shaking of an umbrella. He was the sole scavenger of Seoul, and a very inefficient one. He is neither the friend nor companion of man. He is ignorant of Korean and every other spoken language. His bark at night announces peril from thieves. He is almost wild. When young he is killed and eaten in spring.
I have mentioned the women of the lower classes, who wash clothes and draw water in the daytime, Many of these were domestic slaves, and all are of the lowest class. Korean women are very rigidly secluded, perhaps more absolutely so than the women of any other nation. In the capital a very curious arrangement prevailed. About eight o'clock the great bell tolled a signal for men to retire into their houses, and for women to come out and amuse themselves, and visit their friends. The rule which clears the streets of men occasionally lapses, and then some incident occurs which causes it to be rigorously re-enforced. So it was at the time of my arrival, and the pitch dark streets presented the singular spectacle of being tenanted solely by bodies of women with servants carrying lanterns. From its operation were exempted blind men, officials, foreigners' servants, and persons carrying prescriptions to the druggists'. These were often forged for the purpose of escape from durance vile, and a few people got long staffs and
46 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE CAPITAL CHAP. II
personated blind men. At twelve the bell again boomed, women retired, and men were at liberty to go abroad. A lady of high position told me that she had never seen the streets of Seoul by daylight.
The nocturnal silence is very impressive. There is no human hum, throb, or gurgle. The darkness too is absolute, as there are few if any lighted windows to the streets. Upon a silence which may be felt, the deep, penetrating boom of the great bell breaks with a sound which is almost ominous.
BEFORE leaving England letters from Korea had warned me of the difficulty of travelling in the interior, of getting a trustworthy servant, and above all, a trustworthy interpreter. Weeks passed by, and though Bishop Corfe and others exerted themselves on my behalf, these essential requisites were not forthcoming, for to find a reliable English-speaking Korean is well-nigh impossible. There are English-speaking Koreans who have learned English, some in the Government School, and others in the Methodist Episcopal School, and many of these I interviewed. The English of all was infirm, and they were all limp and timid, a set of poor creatures. Some of them seemed very anxious to go with me, and were partially engaged, and the next day came, looking uneasy, and balancing themselves on the edge of their chairs, told me that their mothers said they must not go because there were tigers, or that three months was too long a journey, or that they could not go so far from their families, etc. At last a young man came who really spoke passable English, but on entering the room with a familiar
48 THE KUR-DONG CHAP.
nod, he threw himself down in an easy-chair, swinging his leg over the arm! He asked many questions about the journey, said it was very long to be away from Seoul, and that he should require one horse for his baggage and another for himself. I remarked that, in order to get through the difficulties of the journey, it would be necessary to limit the baggage as much as possible. He said he could not go with fewer than nine suits of clothes! I remarked that a foreigner would only take two, and that I should reduce myself to two. " Yes," he replied, " but foreigners are so dirty in their habits." This from a Korean! So once more I had to settle down, and accept the kindly hospitality of my friends, trusting that something would " turn up."
By this delay I came in for the Kur-dong, one of the most remarkable spectacles I ever saw, and it had the added interest of being seen in its splendour for probably the last time, as circumstances which have since occurred, and the necessity for economy, must put an end to much of the scenic display. The occasion was a visit of the King in state to sacrifice in one of the ancestral temples of his dynasty, members of which have occupied the Korean throne for five centuries. Living secluded in his palace, guarded by 1000 men, his subjects forbidden to pronounce his name, which indeed is seldom known, in total igno-rance of any other aspect of his kingdom and capital than that furnished by the two streets through which he passes to offer sacrifice, the days on which he performs this pious
1 If an apology be necessary for the following minute description of this unique ceremonial, I offer it on the ground that it was probably the last of its kind, and that full details of it have not been given before.
III THE KUR-DONG 49
act offer to his subjects their sole opportunities of gazing on his august countenance. As the Queen's procession passed by on the day of the Duke of York's marriage, I heard a working man say, "It's we as pays, and we likes to get the vally for our money." The Korean pays in another and heavier sense, and as in tens of thousands he crowds in reverential silence the route of the Kur-dong, he is probably glad that the one brilliant spectacle of the year should be as splendid as possible.
The monotony of Seoul is something remarkable. Brown mountains "picked out" in black, brown mud walls, brown roofs, brown roadways, whether mud or dust, while humanity is in black and white. Always the same bundled-up women clutching their green coats under their eyes, always the same surge of yang-bans and their familiars swinging along South Street, the same strings of squealing ponies " spoiling for a fight," the same processions of majestic red bulls under towering loads of brushwood, the same coolies in dirty white, for ever carrying burdens, the same joyless, dirty children getting through life on the gutter's edge, and the same brownish dogs, feebly wrangling over offal On such monotony and colourlessness, the Kur-dong bursts like the sun. Alas for this mean but fascinating capital, that the most recent steps towards civilisation should involve the abolition of its one spectacle!
By six in the morning of the looked-for day we were on
our way from the English Legation to a position near the
Great Bell, all the male population of the alleys taking the
same direction, along with children in colours, and some of
the poorer class of women with gay handkerchiefs folded
Roman fashion on their hair. For the first time I saw the
VOL. I E
50 THE KUR-DONG chap.
grand proportions of the road called by foreigners South Street. The double rows of booths had been removed the night before, and along the side of the street, at intervals of 20 yards, torches 10 feet high were let into the ground to light the King on his return from sacrificing. It is only by its imposing width that this great street lends itself to such a display, for the houses are low and mean, and on one side at least are only superior hovels. In place of the booths the subjects were massed twelve deep, the regularity of the front row being preserved by a number of Yamen runners, who brought down their wooden paddles with an unmerciful whack on any one breaking the line. The singular monotony of baggy white coats and black crinoline hats was relieved by boy bridegrooms in yellow hats and rose pink coats, by the green silk coats of women, and the green, pink, heliotrope and Turkey red dresses of children. The crowd had a quietly pleased but very limp look. There was no jollity or excitement, no flags or popular demonstrations, and scarcely a hum from a concourse which must have numbered at least 150,000, half the city, together with numbers from the country who had walked three and four days to see the spectacle. Squalid and mean is ordinary Korean life, and the King is a myth for most of the year. No wonder that the people turn out to see as splendid a spectacle as the world has to show, its splendour centring round their usually secluded sovereign. It is to the glory of a dynasty which has occupied the Korean throne for five centuries as well as in honour of the present occupant. The hour of leaving the palace had been announced as 6 A.M., but though it was 7.30 before the boom of a heavy gun announced that the procession was in motion, the in-
III KOREAN CAVALRY 51
terest never flagged the whole time. Hundreds of coolies sprinkled red earth for the width of a foot along the middle of the streets, for hypothetically the King must not pass over soil which has been trodden by the feet of his subjects. Squadrons of cavalry, with coolies leading their shabby ponies, took up positions along the route, and in a great mass in front of us. The troopers sat on the ground smoking, till a very distrait bugle-call sent them to their saddles. The ponies bit, kicked, and squealed, and the grotesque and often ineffectual attempts of the men to mount them provoked the laughter of the crowd, as one trooper after another, with one foot in the stirrup and the other on the ground, hopped round at the pleasure of his steed. After all, with the help of their coolies, were mounted, whacks secretly administered by men in the crowd nearly unhorsed many of them, but they clung with both hands to their saddle-bows and eventually formed into a ragged line.
Among the very curious sights were poles carried at measured distances supporting rectangular frames resembling small umbrella stands, filled with feathered arrows, and messengers dashing along as if they had been shot and were escaping from another shaft, for from the backs of their collars protruded arrows which had apparently entered obliquely. Either on the back or breast or both of the superb dresses of officials were satin squares embroidered in unique designs, representing birds and beasts, storks indicating civil, and tigers military, rank, while the number of birds or animals on the lozenge denoted the wearer's exact position.
Though there were long stretches of silence, scarcely broken by the hum of a multitude, there were noisy inter-
52 THE KURDONG CHAP.
ludes, novel in their nature, produced by men, sometimes fifteen in a row, who carried poles with a number of steel rings loosely strung upon them, which they tossed into the air and allowed to fall against each other with a metallic clink, loud and strident. Likewise the trains of servants in attendance on mandarins emitted peculiar cries, sounding G in unison, then raising their note and singing C three times, afterwards, with a falling cadence, singing G again.
But of the noises which passed for music, the most curious as to method was that made by the drummers, who marched irregularly in open order in lines extending across the broad roadway. These carried bowl-shaped kettledrums slung horizontally, and bass drum-sticks mainly hidden by their voluminous sleeves. In time with the marching, the right hand stick rose above the-drummer's head, then the left stick in like manner, but both fell again nearly to the drum without emitting a sound! The next act of the performance consisted in lifting both sticks above the head together and again bringing them down silently. Finally the sticks were crossed, and during two marching steps rose feebly, and as feebly fell on the ends of the drum, producing a muffled sound, and this programme was repeated during the duration of the march.
Soldiers in rusty black belted frocks, wide trousers bandaged into padded socks, and straw shoes, stacked arms in a side street. Closed black and coloured chairs went past at a trot. Palace attendants in hundreds in brown glazed cotton sleeved cloaks, blue under robes tied below the knee with bunches of red ribbon, and stiff black hats, with heavy fan-shaped plumes of peacock's feathers, rode ragged ponies on gay saddles of great height, without
III A SPLENDID SHOW 53
bridles, the animals being led by coolies. High officials passed in numbers in chairs or on pony-back, each with from twenty to thirty gay attendants running beside him, and a row of bannermen extending across the broad street behind him, each man with a silk banner bearing the cognomen of his lord. These officials were superbly dressed, and made a splendid show. They wore black, high-crowned hats, with long crimson tassels behind, and heavy, black ostrich plumes falling over the brim in front, mazarine blue silk robes, split up to the waist behind, with orange silk under robes and most voluminous crimson trousers, loosely tied above the ankles with knots of sky-blue ribbon, while streamers of ribbon fell from throats and girdles, and the hats were secured by throat lashes of large amber beads. Each carried over his shoulder a yellow silk banneret with his style in Chinese characters in crimson upon it, and in the same hand his baton of office with a profusion of streamers of rich ribbons depending from it. The sleeves were orange in the upper part and crimson in the lower, and very full.
The overfed and self-willed ponies, chiefly roan and gray, are very handsome, and showily caparisoned, the heads covered with blue, red, and yellow balls, and surmounted with great crimson silk pompons, the bridles a couple of crimson silk scarves, the saddles a sort of leather-covered padded pack-saddle 12 inches above the animal's back, with wide, deep flaps of bright green silver-bossed leather hanging down on either side, the cruppers folded white silk, and the breastplate shields of gold embroidery. The gorgeous rider, lifted by his sen-ants upon this elevation, stands erect in his stirrups
54 THE KUR-DONG CHAP.
with his feet not half-way down his pony's sides, his left hand clutching rather than holding an arch placed for this purpose at the bow of the saddle. These officials made no attempt to hold their own bridles, their ponies were led by servants, retainers supported them by the feet on either side, and as their mounts showed their resentment of the pace and circumstances by twistings and strugglings with their grooms, the faces of the riders expressed "a fearful joy," if "joy " it was.
Waves of colour and Korean grandeur rolled by, official processions, palace attendants, bannermen with large silk banners trailing on the stiff breeze, each flagstaff crested with a tuft of pheasant's feathers, the King's chief cook, with an enormous retinue, more palace servants smoking long pipes, drummers, fifers, couriers at a gallop, with arrows stuck into the necks of their coats, holding on to their saddles and rope bridles, mixed up with dishevelled ponies with ragged pack-saddles, carrying cushions, lacquer boxes, eatables, cooking utensils, and smoking apparatus, led caparisoned ponies, bowmen, soldiers straggling loosely, armed with matchlock guns, till several thousand persons had passed. Yet this was not the procession, though it might well have served for one.
At 7.30, while this " march past" was still going on, a gun was fired, and the great bell, which was very close to us, boomed heavily, and a fanfaronade of trumpets and the shrill scream of fifes announced that Li Hsi had at last left the palace. The cavalry opposite us prepared to receive his Majesty by turning tail, a manoeuvre not accomplished without much squealing and fighting. There was a general stir among the spectators, men with arrows in
A BARBARIC MEDI/EVALISM 55
their coats galloped frantically, there was an onslaught on the " Derby dog," and an attack by men, armed with the long wooden paddles which are used for beating criminals, on inoffensive portions of the crowd.
It is said that there were 5000 servants and officials connected with the palace, and there were nominally 6000 soldiers in Seoul, and the greater part of these took part in the many splendid processions which went to form the Royal procession. It would be impossible for a stranger to give in detail the component parts of such a show, the like of which has no existence elsewhere on earth, passing for more than an hour in the bright sunshine, in detachments, in compact masses, at a stately walk or a rapid run, in the full splendour of a barbaric medievalism, or to say what dignitaries flashed by in the kaleidoscopic blaze of colour.
The procession of the King was led by the " general of the vanguard," superbly dressed, supported by retainers on his led pony, and followed by crowds of dignitaries, each with his train, soldiers, men carrying aloft frames of arrows, reaching nearly across the road, and huge flags of silk brocade surmounted by plumes of pheasant's feathers, servants in rows of a hundred in the most delicate shades of blue, green, or mauve silk gauze over white, halberdiers, grandees, each with a retinue of bannermen, rows of royal bannermen carrying yellow and blue silk flags emblazoned, cavalry men in imitation gold helmets and mediaeval armour, and tiger-hunters wearing coarse black felt hats with conical crowns and dark blue coats, trailing long guns. With scarcely a pause followed the President of the Foreign Office, high above the crowd on a monocycle,
56 THE KUR-DONG CHAP.
a black wheel supporting on two uprights a black platform, carrying a black chair decorated with a leopard-skin, the occupant of which was carried by eight men at a height of 8 feet from the ground. More soldiers, bannermen, and drummers, and then came the chief of the eunuchs, grandly dressed, with an immense retinue, and a large number of his subordinates, most of whom up to that time, by their position in the palace and their capacity for intrigue, had exercised a very baneful influence on Korean affairs.
The procession became more quaint and motley still. Palace attendants appeared in the brilliant garments of the Korean middle ages; cavalry in antique armour were jumbled up with cavalry in loose cotton frocks and baggy trousers, supposed to be dressed and. armed in European fashion, but I failed to detect the flattery of imitation. There were cavalry in black Tyrolese hats with pink ribbon round them, black cotton sacks "loosely girdled by leather belts with brass clasps never cleaned, white wadded stockings, and hempen shoes. Some had leather saddles, others rode on pack-saddles, with the great pad which should go underneath on the top ; some held on to their saddles, others to their rope bridles, the ponies of some were led by coolies in dirty white clothes; the officers were all held on their saddles, many tucked their old-fashioned swords under their arms, lest carrying them in regulation fashion should make their animals kick ; the feet of some nearly touched the ground, and those of others hung only half-way down their ponies' sides; ponies squealed, neighed, reared, and jibbed, but somehow or other these singular horsemen managed to form ragged lines.
III THE ROYAL PROCESSION 57
Then came foot soldiers with rusty muskets and innumerable standards, generals, court dignitaries, statesmen, some with crimson hats with heavy black plumes, others with high-peaked crinoline hats with projecting wings, others with lofty mitres covered with tinsel gleaming like gold, each with a splendid train. Medieval costumes blazing with colour flashed past, there were more soldiers, and this time they carried Snider rifles, two Gatling guns were dragged by Yamen runners, who frantically spanked all and sundry with their paddles, drummers beat their drums unmercifully, fifes shrieked, there were more dignitaries with fairy-like retinues in blue and green silk gauze, the King's personal attendants in crowds followed in yellow, with bamboo hats trimmed with rosettes, standard-bearers came next, bearing the Royal standard, a winged tiger rampant on a yellow ground, more flags and troops, and then the curious insignia of Korean Royalty, including a monstrous red silk umbrella, and a singular frame of stones. More grandees, more soldiers, more musical instruments, and then come the Royal chairs, the first, which was canopied with red silk, being empty, the theory being that this was the more likely to receive an assassin's blow. A huge trident was carried in front of it. After this, borne high aloft by forty bearers clothed in red, in a superb chair of red lacquer, richly tasselled and canopied, and with wings to keep off the sun, came the King, whose pale, languid face never changed its expression as he passed with all the dignity and splendour of his kingdom through the silent crowd.
More grandees, servants, soldiers, standard-bearers, arrowmen, officials, cavalry, and led horses formed the pro-
58 THE KUR-DONG CHAP. Ill
cession of the Crown Prince, who was also carried in a red palanquin, and looked paler and more impassive than his father. The supply of officials seemed inexhaustible, for behind him came a quarter of a mile of grandees in splendid costumes, with hats decorated with red velvet and peacock's feathers, and throat lashes of great amber beads, with all their splendid trains, footmen in armour bossed with large nails, drummers, men carrying arrow frames and insignia on poles, then the " general of the rear guard " in a gleaming helmet and a splendid blue, crimson, and gold uniform, propped up by retainers on his handsome pony, more soldiers armed with old matchlock guns, lastly men bearing arrow frames and standards, and with them the barbaric and bizarre splendour of the Kur-dong was over, and the white crowd once more overflowed the mean street. ' Quite late in the evening the Royal pageant returned by the light of stationary torches, with lanterns of blue and crimson .silk undulating from the heads of pikes and bayonets.
This truly splendid display was estimated to cost $25,000-a heavy burden on the small resources of the kingdom. It is only thus surrounded that the King ever appears in public, and the splendour accentuates the squalor of the daily life of the masses of the people in the foul alleys which make up most of the city. It must be remembered that the people taking part in the pageant are not men hired and dressed up by a costumier, but that they are actual Court officials and noblemen in the dress of to-day, and that the weapons carried by the soldiers are those with which they are supposed to repel attack or put down rebellion.
THINGS IN SEOUL
FURTHER difficulties and delays, while they pushed my journey into the interior into the hot weather, gave me the advantage of learning a little about the people and the country before starting. In one sense Seoul is Korea. Take a mean alley in it, with its mud-walled hovels, deep-eaved brown roofs, and malodorous ditches with their foulness and green slime, and it may serve as an example of the street of every village and provincial town. In country places there are few industrial specialties. A Seoul shop of "assorted notions " represents the shop of every country town. The white clothing and the crinoline dress hat are the same everywhere as in Seoul. Whatever of national life there is exists only in the capital. Strong as is the drift towards London in our own agricultural districts, it is stronger in Korea towards Seoul. Seoul is not only the seat of government, but it is the centre of official life, of all official employment, and of the literary examinations which were the only avenues to employment. It is always hoped that something may be "picked up" in Seoul. Hence there is a constant permanent or temporary
60 THINGS IN SEOUL CHAP.
gravitation towards it, and the larger proportion of the youths who swing and lounge on sunny afternoons along the broad streets, aping the gait of yang-bans, are aspirants for official position. Gusts of popular feeling which pass for public opinion in a land where no such thing exists are known only in Seoul. It is in the capital that the
A STREET IN SEOUL.
Korean feels the first stress of his unsought and altogether undesired contact with Western civilisation, and resembles nothing so much as a man awaking from a profound sleep, rubbing his eyes half-dazed and looking dreamily about him, not quite sure where he is.
Seoul is also the commercial centre of a country whose ideas of commerce are limited to huckstering transactions. All business is done there. All country shops are supplied
IV THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF SEOUL 61
with goods from Seoul. All produce not shipped from the treaty ports converges on Seoul. It is the centre of the great trading guilds, which exercise a practical monopoly in certain sorts of goods, as well as of the guild of porters by whom the traffic of the country is carried on. The heart of every Korean is in Seoul. Officials have town houses in the capital, and trust their business to subordinates for much of the year. Landed proprietors draw their rents and "squeeze " the people on their estates, but are absentees living in the capital. Every man who can pay for food and lodging on the road trudges to the capital once or twice a year, and people who live in it, of whatever degree, can hardly be bribed to leave it even for a few weeks. To the Korean it is the place in which alone life is worth living.
Yet it has no objects of art, very few antiquities, no public gardens, no displays except the rare one of the Kur-dong, and no theatres. It lacks every charm possessed by other cities. Antique, it has no ruins, no libraries, no literature, and lastly an indifference to religion without a parallel has left it without temples, while certain superstitions which still retain their hold have left it without a tomb!
Leaving out the temple of Confucius and the homage officially rendered to his tablet in Korea as in China, there are no official temples in Seoul, nor might a priest enter its gates under pain of death, consequently the emphasis which noble religious buildings give even to the meanest city in China or Japan is lacking. There is a small temple to the God of War outside the south gate, with some very curious frescoes, but I seldom saw any worshippers there.
62 THINGS IN SEOUL CHAP.
The absence of temples is a feature of the other Korean cities. Buddhism, which for 1000 years before the founding of the present dynasty was the popular cult, has been " disestablished " and practically proscribed since the sixteenth century, and Koreans account for the severe enactments against priests by saying that in the Japanese invasion three centuries ago Japanese disguised themselves as Buddhist priests and gained admission to cities, putting their garrisons to the sword. Be that true or false, Buddhism in Korea to be found must be sought.
As there are no temples, so there are no other signs of religion, and the hasty observer would be warranted in putting down the Koreans as a people without a religion. Ancestral worship, and a propitiation of demons or spirits, the result of a timid and superstitious dread of the, forces of Nature, are to the Korean in place of a religion. Both, I am inclined to believe, are the result of fear, the worship of ancestors being dictated far less by filial piety than by the dread that ancestral spirits may do harm to their descendants. This cult prevails from the King to the coolie. It inspires the costly splendours of the Kur-dong, as well as the spread of ancestral food in the humblest hovel on New Year's Eve.
The graves within an area of ten miles from the city wall are among the remarkable features of this singular capital. The dead have a monopoly of the fine hill slopes and southern aspects. A man who when alive is content with a mud hovel in a dingy alley, when dead must repose on a breezy hill slope with dignified and carefully tended surroundings. The little fine timber which exists in the denuded neighbourhood of Seoul is owed to the Royal and
IV ROYAL TOMBS 63
wealthy dead. The amount of good land occupied by the dead is incredible. The grave of a member of the Royal family on a hill creates a solitude for a considerable distance around. In the case of rich and great men as well as of princes, the grave is a lofty grassy mound, often encircled by a massive stone railing, with the hill terraced
STONE FIGURE AT PRINCESS'S TOMB.
in front and excavated in a horse-shoe shape behind. A stone altar and stone lanterns are placed in front, and the foot of the hill, as at the " Princess's Tomb," is often occupied by a temple-like building containing tablets with the name and rank of the dead. The Royal tombs are approached by stately avenues of gigantic stone figures, possibly a harmless survival of the practice of offering
64 THINGS IN SEOUL CHAP.
human and other sacrifices at a burial. These figures represent a priest, a warrior in armour, a servant, a pony, and a sheep (?). The poorer dead occupy hillsides in numbers, resting under grass mounds on small platforms of grass always neatly kept. The lucky place for interment is in all cases chosen by the geomancer. Behind rich men's graves pines are usually planted in a crescent. The dead population of the hillsides round Seoul is simply enormous. Funerals usually go out near dusk with a great display of coloured lanterns, but I was fortunate enough to see an artisan's corpse carried out by daylight. First came four drums and a sort of fife perpetrating a lively tune as an accompaniment to a lively song. These were followed by a hearse, if it may be called so, a domed and gaudily painted construction with a garland of artificial flowers in the centre of the dome, a white Korean coat thrown across the roof, and four flagstaffs with gay flags at the four corners, bamboo poles, flower-wreathed, forming a platform on which the hearse was borne by eight men in peaked yellow hats garlanded with blue and pink flowers. Bouquets of the same were disposed carelessly on the front and sides of the hearse, the latter being covered with shield-shaped flags of gaudily coloured muslin. The chief mourner followed, completely clothed in sackcloth, wearing an umbrella-shaped hat over 4 feet in diameter, and holding a sackcloth screen before his face by two bamboo handles. Men in flower-wreathed hats surrounded him, some of them walking backwards and singing. He looked fittingly grave, but it is a common custom for those who attend the chief mourner to try to make him laugh by comic antics and jocular remarks. There are "burial
IV KOREAN MOURNING 65
clubs" in Seoul to which 100,000 cash are contributed (then worth about thirty-three dollars, silver). The first man to die receives 30,000 cash, the second 33,000, and the third 37,000. This man had belonged to one of these, which accounts for an artisan having such a handsome funeral.
Mourners dress in straw-coloured hempen cloth, and all wear the enormous hats mentioned before, which so nearly conceal the face that the carrying of the grass-cloth screen is almost a work of supererogation. A mourner may not enter the palace grounds, and as mourning for a, father lasts for three years, a courtier thus bereaved is for that time withdrawn from Court.
Among the curious customs mainly of Chinese origin
connected with death are the dressing the dying person in
his best clothes when death is very close at hand. The
very poor are buried cofflinless in a wrapping of straw, and
VOL. i F '
THINGS IN SEOUL
are carried by two men on a bier, the nature of the burden being concealed by hoops covered with paper.
When Buddhist priests and temples were prohibited in the walled towns three centuries ago, anything like a national faith disappeared from Korea, and it is chiefly through ancestral worship and a form of " Shamanism" practised by the lower and middle classes that any recognition of the unseen survives, and that is in its most superstitious and rudimentary form. Protestant Christian missionaries, preceded in 1784 by those of the Roman Catholic Church, entered Korea in 1884, almost as soon as the country was opened by treaty, and agents of the American Methodist Episcopal and Northern Presbyterian Churches took up their abode in Seoul. They have been followed by representatives of several of the divisions among Protestants- Southern Presbyterians, Canadian Presbyterians, Australian Presbyterians, and Baptists-and in 1890 the first English mission to Korea was founded under Bishop Corfe. A Roman Catholic Church and a very large Roman Catholic Cathedral with a spire occupy two of the most prominent sites in Seoul. One of the best sites is covered with the buildings belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Mission, schools for girls and boys, a printing press, a Union Church, and hospitals for men and women, with which dispensaries are connected. The girls' school connected with this mission is one of the most admirable in its organisation and results that I have seen. The Presbyterians occupy a lowlier position, but have the same class of agencies at work, and lately the King handed over to them a large hospital in the city, known as the "Government Hospital." Bishop Corfe's mission occupies two modest sites in
modest fashion, all its buildings being strictly Korean. On one side of Seoul, at Naktong, it has the Community House, where the bishop, clergy, doctor, and printer live and have their private chapel, also a Mission press, and a very efficient hospital for men, admirably nursed by the Sisters of St. Peter's Kilburn. On the slope of the British Legation Hill are the English Church of the Advent, a beautiful Korean building, the Community House of the Sisters of St. Peter, and the Women's Hospital buildings, embracing a dispensary, a new hospital (the Dora Bird Memorial) of eighteen beds, with a room for a private patient, besides an old hospital, to be used only for infectious diseases. These are under the charge of a lady physician, and are also nursed by the Sisters of St. Peter, who in both hospitals do admirable work in a bright and loving spirit which is beyond all praise.
There are about 75 Protestant and 34 Roman missionaries in Korea, mostly in Seoul. The language has the reputation of being very difficult, and few of this large number have acquired facility in the use of it. The idea of a nation destitute of a religion, and gladly accepting one brought by the foreigner, must be dropped. The religion the Korean would accept is one which would show him how to get money without working for it. The indifference is extreme, the religious faculty is absent, there are no religious ideas to appeal to, and the moral teachings of Confucius have little influence with any class. The Korean has got on so well without a religion, in his own opinion, that he does not want to be troubled with one, specially a religion of restraint and sacrifice which has no worldly good to offer. After nearly twelve years of
68 THINGS IN SEOUL CHAP.IV
work, the number of baptized native Protestant Christians in 1897 was 777.1 The Roman Catholics claim 28,802, and that the average rate of increase is 1000 a year.2 Their priests live mostly in the wretched hovels of the people, amidst their foul surroundings, and share their unpalatable food and sordid lives. Doubtless, mission work in Korea will not differ greatly from such work elsewhere among the older civilisations. Barriers of indifference, superstition, and inertness exist, and whatever progress is made will probably be chiefly through medical missions, showing Christianity in action, and native agency, and through such schools as I have already alluded to, which leave every feature of Korean custom, dress, and manner of living untouched, while Christian instruction and training are the first objects, and where the gentle, loving,' ennobling influence of the teacher is felt during every hour of the day.
1 In 1897 the influence of Christianity was much stronger than in 1895,
and the prospects of its spread much more encouraging.
2 For statistics of Missions in February 1897 see Appendix.
AN OUTFIT-A KOREAN SAMPAN
AT a point when the difficulties in the way of my projected journey had come to be regarded as insurmountable, owing to the impossibility of getting an interpreter, and I had begun to say "if I go" instead of "when I go," Mr. Miller, a young missionary, offered his services, on condition that he might take his servant to supplement his imperfect knowledge of Korean. Bishop Corfe provided me with a Chinese servant, Wong, a fine, big, cheery fellow, with inexhaustible good-nature and contentment, never a cloud of annoyance on his face, always making the best of everything, ready to help every one, true, honest, plucky, passionately fond of flowers, faithful, manly, always well and hungry, and with a passable knowledge of English! He was a Chefoo sampan-man when Bishop Corfe picked him up, and nothing could make him into a regular servant, but he suited me admirably, and I was grieved indeed when I had to part with him.
The difficulty about money which then beset every traveller in the interior cost a good deal of anxious planning. The Japanese yen and its subdivisions were only
70 AN OUTFIT-A KOREAN SAMPAN CHAP.
current in Seoul and the treaty ports, there were no bankers or money-changers anywhere, and the only coin accepted was the cash, of which at that time 3200 nominally went to the dollar. This coin is strung in hundreds on straw strings, and the counting of it, and the carrying of it, and the being without it, are all a nuisance. It takes six men or one pony to carry 100 yen in cash, ￡10! Travellers, through their Consuls, can obtain from the Foreign Office a letter to officials throughout the country called a kwan-ja, entitling the bearer to their good offices, and especially to food, transport, and money. But as it usually happens that a magistrate advancing money to a foreigner is not repaid by the Government, however accurately the sum has been paid in Seoul, the arrangement is a very odious one to officials, and I promised our Consul that I would not make use of it for money. Consequently, the boat which I engaged for the earlier part of the journey was ballasted with cash, and I took a bag of silver yen, and trusted to my usual ' good fortune, which in this case did not altogether fail. In addition to this uncouth and heavy burden, I took a saddle, a trestle-bed with bedding and mosquito net, muslin curtains, a folding-chair, two changes of clothing, Korean string shoes, and a "regulation" waterproof cloak. Besides, I took green tea, curry powder, and 20 lbs. of flour. I discarded all superfluities, such as flasks, collapsing cups, hand-mirrors, teapots, sandwich tins, lamps, and tinned soups, meats, bouillon, and fruits. The kitchen equipment consisted of a Japanese brazier for charcoal, a shallow Japanese pan and frying-pan, and a small kettle, with charcoal tongs, the whole costing under two dollars! The "table equipment" was limited: a small mug, two plates
v MINIMISING IMPEDIMENTA 71
and a soup plate, all in enamelled iron, and a knife, fork, and spoon, which folded up, a knife, fork, and spoon of common make being reserved for the " kitchen." Tables, trays, tablecloths, and sheets were from thenceforth unknown luxuries. I mention my outfit, because I know it to be a sufficient one, and that every pound of superfluous weight adds to the difficulty of getting transport in Korea and in many other countries. Besides, I was encumbered for the first time with a tripod camera weighing 16 lbs., and a hand camera weighing 4 lbs., with the apparatus belonging to them, and had to reduce other things accordingly. On the whole, it is best to trust to the food of the country. Korea produces eggs, and in some regions chickens. The chestnuts are good, and though the flour, which can be got in a few places, is gritty, and the rice is a bad colour, both are eatable, and the foreigner, always an object of suspicion, is less so when he buys and eats native viands, and does not carry about with him a number of (to Koreans) outlandish-looking utensils and commodities.
Regarding much of the region which I purposed to visit no information could be obtained, either from Europeans or Korean officials, and the best map, a reduction of a Japanese map by Sir E. Satow, turned out to be astray. Mr. Warner, of Bishop Corfe's Mission, had ascended the north branch of the Han, but it is still doubtful whether any European has been up the south and much larger branch which I explored on this journey. It was certain only that the country was mountainous, and that the rapids were numerous and severe. It had also been said earnestly, and with an appearance of knowledge, by several people that it would be impossible for a
72 AN OUTFIT-A KOREAN SAMPAN CHAP.
lady to travel in the interior ; and certainly much of what I heard, supposing it to be fact, was sufficiently deterring, but from many similar statements in other countries I knew that a deduction of at least fifty per cent must be made!
On the 14th of April 1894, when the environs of Seoul were seen through a mist of green, and plum and peach blossom was in the ascendant, and the heliotrope azalea was just beginning to tint the hillsides, and the air was warm and muggy, I left the kind friends who had done much to make my visit to Seoul interesting and agreeable, and went on pony-back through the south gate, passing the temple of the God of War, and over a pine-clothed ridge of Nam San to Han Kang, four miles from Seoul, a little shipping village, where my boat lay, to avoid a rapid which lies between it and Mapu. Up to Mapu, 56 miles from Chemulpo, there is a very considerable tidal rise and fall which ceases at the rapid.
A limp, silent crowd of men and boys denoted the whereabouts of the boat, from which Mr. Miller's servant, Che-on-i, emerging with the broad smile with which Orientals announce bad news, informed us that the boat was too small! There were very few to be got, and I had not seen this one, Mr. Wyers, the Legation constable, having engaged her for me; and I went "on board" at once, with much curiosity, as she was to be my home for an indefinite number of weeks. And small she truly was, only 28 feet over all, by 4 feet 10 inches at her widest part, and with her whole cargo, animate and inanimate, on board she only drew 3 inches of water. The roof which was put on at my request was a marvel. A slight frame-
LIMITED ACCOMMODATION 73
work of a ridge-pole and some sticks precariously tied together supported some mats of pheasant grass, with the long blades hanging down outside and over the gunwale, which was only 12 inches high. These mats were tied together over the ridge-pole, and let in a streak of daylight all the way along. At its highest part this roof was only 4 feet 6 inches. It was just possible to sit under it without stooping. By putting forked sticks under what by courtesy were called the rafters, they could be lifted a foot from the gunwale to let in light and air. Two or three times in a strong breeze this roof collapsed and fell about our heads!
In the fore part of the boat, 7 feet long, one boatman paddled or poled, and in the hinder part, 4 feet long, the other poled or worked an oar. But the fore part was also our kitchen and poultry yard and the boatmen's kitchen. There also were kept faggots, driftwood, and miscellaneous stores, with the food and water in unappetising proximity. There, too, Wong and Che-on-i spent their day; and there they all cooked, ate, and washed clothes; and there at night the boatmen curled themselves up and slept in a space 4 feet x 4. The rest of the sampan divided itself naturally by the thwarts. My part, the centre, was originally 8 feet X 4 feet 10 inches, but encroachments by no means gradual constituted it a " free coup " for sacks, rice-bags, clothing, and baskets, till it was reduced to a bare 6 feet, into which space my bed, chair, saddle, and luggage were packed for five weeks. In the hinder division, 7 feet X 4 feet 4 inches, Mr. Miller lived and studied, and he, Wong, and Che-on-i slept. It was scarcely possible for six people and their gear to be more closely
74 AN OUTFIT-A KOREAN SAMPAN CHAP.
packed. Mr. Miller, though not an experienced traveller, cheerfully made the best of everything then and afterwards, and preserved the serenity of his temper under all circumstances.
The sampan's crew of two consisted of Kim, her owner, a tall wiry, picturesque, aristocratic-looking old man, and his " hired man," who was rarely heard to speak except on two occasions, when, being very drunk, he developed a remarkable loquacity. On the whole, they were well behaved and quiet. I saw them in close proximity every hour of the day and was never annoyed by anything they did. Kim was paid $30 per month for the boat, and his laziness was wonderful. To dawdle along, to start late and tie up early, to crawl when he tracked, and to pole or paddle with the least expenditure of labour, was his policy. To pole for an hour, then tie up and take a smoke, to spend half a day now and then on buying rice, to work on my sensibilities by feigning exhaustion, and to adopt every dodge of the lazy man, was his practice. The contract stipulated for three men, and he only took one, making some evasive excuse. But I have said the worst I can say when I write that they never made more than 10 miles in a day, and often not more than 7, and that when they came to severe rapids they always wanted to go back.1
Mr. Wyers busied himself in putting a mat on the floor
and stowing things as neatly as possible, and when
curtains had been put up, the quarters, though " cribbed,
1 I took very careful notes on the Han, but as minute details would be uninteresting to the general reader, and would involve a good deal of apparent repetition, I shall give only the most salient features of a journey which, if it has ever been made, has certainly not been described.
v MALODOROUS COOKERY 75
cabined, and confined," looked quite tolerable. The same limp, silent crowd looked on till we left Han Kang at midday. In a few hours things shook into shape, and after all the discomforts were not great, possibly the greatest being that the smoke and the smell of the boatmen's malodorous food blew through the boat.
THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD
DURING the five weeks which I spent on the Han, though the routine of daily life varied little, there was no monotony. The country and the people were new, and we mixed freely, almost too freely, with the latter ; the scenery varied hourly, and after the first few days became not only beautiful, but in places magnificent, and full of surprises; the spring was in its early beauty, and the trees in their first vividness of green, red, and gold; the flowers and flowering shrubs were in their glory, the crops at their most attractive stage, birds sang in the thickets, rich fragrant odours were wafted off on the water, red cattle, though rarely, fed knee-deep in abounding grass, and the waters of the Han, nearly at their lowest, were clear as crystal, and their broken sparkle flashed back the sunbeams which passed through a sky as blue as that of Tibet. There was a prosperous look about the country too, and its security was indicated by the frequent occurrence of solitary farms, with high secluding fences, standing under the deep shade of fine walnut and persimmon trees.
Unlike the bare, arid, denuded hillsides between
CHAP- VI FLORAL BEAUTIES 77
Chemulpo and Seoul, the slopes along much of the route are wooded, and in many cases forested both with Conifere* and deciduous trees, among which there are occasionally picturesque clumps of umbrella pines. The Pinus sinensis and the Abies microsperma abound, and there are two species of oak and three of maple, a Platanus, juniper, ash, mountain ash, birch, hazel, Sophora Japonica, Euony-mus alatus, Thuja orientalis, and many others. The heliotrope, pink, and scarlet azaleas were in all their beauty, flushing the hillsides, and white and sulphur-yellow clematis, actinidia, and a creeping Euonymus were abundant. Of the wealth of flowering shrubs, mostly white blossomed, I had never seen one before either in garden or greenhouse, except the familiar syringa and spirea. The beautiful Ampelopsis Veitchii was in its freshest spring green and tender red, concealing tree trunks, depending from branches, and draping every cliff and rock with its exquisite foliage; and roses, red and white, of a free-growing, climbing variety, having possession even of tall trees, hung their fragrant festoons over the roads.
It was all very charming, though a little wanting in life. True, there were butterflies and dragonflies innumerable, and brilliant green and brown snakes in numbers, and at first the Han was cheery with mallard and mandarin-duck, geese and common teal. In the rice fields the imperial crane, the egret, and the pink ibis with the deep flush of spring on his plumage, were not uncommon, and peregrines, kestrels, falcons, and bustards were occasionally seen. But the song-birds were few. The forlorn note of the night-jar was heard, and the
78 THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAP.
loud, cheerful call of the gorgeous ringed pheasant to his dowdy mate; but the trilling, warbling, and cooing which are the charm of an English copsewood in spring-time are altogether absent, the chatter of the blue magpie and the noisy flight of the warbler being poor substitutes for that entrancing concert. Of beast life, undomesticated, there were no traces, and the domestic animals are few. Sheep do not thrive on the sour natural grasses of Korea, and if goats are kept I never saw any. A small black pig not much larger than a pug is universal, and there are bulls and ponies about the better class of farms. There are big buff dogs, but these are kept only to a limited extent on the Han, in the idea that they attract the nocturnal visits of tigers. The dogs are noisy and voluble, and rush towards a stranger as if bent on attack; but it is mere bravado-they are despicable cowards, and run away howling at the shaking of a stick.
Leopards, antelopes, and several species of deer are found among the mountains bordering the Han, but the beast by pre-eminence there, as throughout Korea, is the tiger. At first I was very incredulous regarding his existence and depredations. It was impossible to believe that peaceful agricultural valleys, surrounded by hills thinly clothed with dwarf oak scrub, could be ravaged by him, that dogs, pigs, and cattle are continually carried off by him, and that human beings visiting each other at night or belated on the roads are his frequent prey. But the constant repetition of tiger stories, the terror of the villagers, the refusal of mapu and coolies to travel after dark, the certainty that in several places the loss of life had been recent, and that even in the trim settlement of
vi THE KOREAN TIGER 79
Won-san a boy and child had been seized the day before I arrived and had been eaten on the hillside above the town, have made me a believer. Possibly some of the depredations attributed to tigers may be really the work of leopards, which undoubtedly abound, and have been shot even within the walls of Seoul. High up the Han, in a very lovely lake-like stretch, there is a village recently deserted because of the persistency with which tigers had carried off its inhabitants. The Korean tiger, judging from its skin, in which the long hair grows out of a thick coat of fine fur, resembles the Manchurian tiger. 1 have heard of one which measured 13 feet 4 inches, but never saw a skin more than 11 feet 8 inches in length.
The tiger-hunters form what may be called a brigade or corps, and may be called on for military service. They were conspicuous objects in the Kur-dong, with their long matchlock guns, loose blue uniforms, and conical-crowned, broad - brimmed hats. The tiger appears on the Royal standard, and tigers' skins are the insignia of high office, the leopard-skin indicating lower rank. The Chinese give a very high price for tiger's bones as a medicine, considering them a specific for strength and courage. Tiger-hunting as a business seems confined to the northern provinces. On the Han, and specially along its northern aflluents, are found three if not four species of deer, and the horns, in the velvet, of the large deer (Cervus Manchuricus), which fetch from forty to sixty dollars a pair, are the prize most wanted by the hunters. Pheasants are literally without number and are very tame; I constantly saw them feeding among the crops within a few yards of the peasants at their work. They are usually
80 THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAP.
brought down by falcons, which, when well trained, command as high a price as nine dollars. To obtain these three small birds are placed in a cylinder of loosely-woven bamboo, mounted horizontally on a pole. On the peregrine alighting on this, a man who has been concealed throws a net over the whole. The bird is kept in a tight sleeve for three days. Then he is daily liberated in a room, and trained to follow a piece of meat pulled over the floor by a string. At the end of a week he is taken out on his master's wrist, and slipped when game is seen. He is not trained to return. The master rushes upon him and secures him before he has time to devour the bird. A man told me that he sometimes got between twenty and thirty pheasants a day, but had to walk or run 100 li to do it. The season was nearly over, yet I bought fine pheasants on the Han for threepence and fourpence each. They were cheaper than chickens.
The Han itself, rising in the Diamond Mountain of Kong-won-Do, and formed by a number of nearly parallel affluents, next to the border river Amnok, is the river of Korea, which it cuts nearly across, its eastern extremity being within 25 miles of the Sea of Japan and its western at Chemulpo. I ascended it to within 40 miles of the Sea of Japan, and estimate the length of its navigable waters for small flat-bottomed craft at about 170 miles. A clear bright stream with a bottom of white sand, golden gravel or rock, chiefly limestone, with an average width of 250 yards, well sustained to the head of navigation, narrowed at times by walls of rock or divided by grassy islands in its lower course, full of pebbly shallows, over which it ripples gaily, its upper waters abounding in
vi A GREAT HIGHWAY 81
rocky rapids, many of them severe and dangerous, its most marked features, to my thinking, are its absence of affluents after it emerges from the Diamond Mountain, and its singular alternations of shallow with very deep water. It was a common occurrence to have to drag my boat, drawing only 3 inches, through water too shallow to float her, and at the top of the ripple to come upon a broad, still, lake-like, deep, green expanse, 20 feet deep, continuing for a mile or two.
After passing the forks there are 46 rapids, many of them very severe, before reaching Yong-Chhun, which for practical purposes may be regarded as the limit of navigable water. These are a most serious obstacle in the way of navigation, but as there is usually a deep-water channel in the middle, sailing junks of 25 tons, taking advantage of strong, favourable winds, get up as far as Tan-Yang. Beyond, boats not twice the size of my sampan must be used, which are only poled and dragged, and as they must keep near the shore, among rocks and furious water, their progress is very slow, not more than 7 miles a day. Nevertheless, the Han, with all its difficulties and obstructions, is the great artery of communication for much of Kong-won-Do and Kyong-Kwi Do, and for the north-east portion of Chung-Chong Do; down it all the excess produce of this great region goes to Seoul, and nearly all merchandise, salt, and foreign goods come up it from the seaboard, to pass into the hands of the posang, or merchant pedlars, at various points, and through them to reach the market-places of the interior. During the first ten days from Han Kang there were 75 junks a day on an average bound up and down stream. There
82 THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAP.
a very large floating population on the Han. There is not a bridge along its whole length, but communication is kept up by 47 free ferries, provided by Government.
Not having been able to learn anything about the route or any of its features, I was much surprised to find a very large population, not only along the river, but in the parallel valleys, many of them of great length and extreme fertility, in its neighbourhood. It was only necessary to climb a ridge or hill to see numbers of these, given up to rice-culture, and thickly sprinkled with farming villages. Along the river-banks only, between Han Kang and Yong-Chhun, there are 176 villages. Much of the soil is rich alluvium, from 5 to 11 feet deep, and most prolific, bearing two heavy crops a year (not rice lands) with little or no manure. There is on the.whole an air of greater ease and prosperity about the Han valley than about any other region that I have seen in Korea.1
The people are of fine physique and generally robust appearance. Some of them had evidently attained great age. There were a few sore eyes and some mild skin diseases, both produced by dirt, but there were no sickly-looking people; infants abounded.
Except for a monastery and temple, both Buddhist, not far from Seoul, and the Confucian temples at the magistracies, there were no signs of any other cult than
1 I am inclined to think that Europeans habitually under-estimate the population. The average I obtained is 8 to a house, taking 70 houses at random, and this estimate is borne out by General Greathouse, for some years in Korean Government service, and Mr. Moffett, a resident and traveller in Korea for seven years, both of whom have given some attention to the subject. It must be understood that a Korean household rarely, if ever, consists of a man, wife, and children only. There are parents and relationly hangers-on, to say nothing of possible servants.
vi TOMBS OF YANG-BANS 83
that of demons. There were two shrines containing mirioks, in both cases water-worn boulders chafed into some resemblance to humanity, spirit shrines on heights ; and under large trees heaps of stones sacred to demons; tall posts, with the tops rudely cut into something suggestive of distorted human faces, painted black and blue, with straw ropes with dependent straw tassels, like those denoting Shinto shrines in Japan, stretched across the road to prevent the ingress of malignant spirits, and trees with many streamers of rag, as well as worn-out straw shoes hanging in their branches, as offerings to these beings. The dwellings do not vary much, except that the roofs of the better class are tiled. In villages where there is a resident yang-ban or squire-noble, his house is usually pretentious, and covers a considerable area, but yields in stateliness to the family tomb, always on a hill slope, a great grass mound on a grass platform backed by horseshoe-shaped grass banks, and usually by a number of fine pines. In front of the mound are invariably a stone altar on two stone drums, stone posts which support the canopy used when sacrifices are offered to the spirit of the deceased, and stone lanterns. A few of the grander tombs are approached by a short avenue of stone figures of warriors, horses, servants, and sheep."'
The peasants' houses do not differ from those of the poorer classes in Seoul. The walls are of mud, and the floors, also of mud, are warmed by a number of flues, the most economical of all methods of heat-
1 Such figures where they occur are always spoken of by foreigners as sheep, but I doubt whether this animal appears at any but royal tombs, where it is probably represented as offered in sacrifice by the King.
84 THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAP.
ing, as the quantity of dried leaves and weeds that a boy of ten can carry keeps two rooms above 70° for twelve hours. Every house is screened by a fence 6 feet high of bamboo or plaited reeds, and is usually surrounded by fruit trees. In one room are ang-pak, great earthenware jars big enough to contain a man, in which rice, millet, barley, and water are kept. That is frequently in small houses the women's room. The men's room has little in it but the mat on the floor, pillows of solid wood, and large red and green hat-cases hanging from the rafters, in which the crinoline dress hats are stowed away. Latticed and paper-covered doors and windows denote a position above that of the poorest. A pig-stye, much more substantial than the house, is always alongside of it.
The villages from about 50 li up the Han from Seoul may all be described as "farming villages." Lower down they export large quantities of firewood and charcoal for the daily needs of a capital which has left itself without a stick available for fuel in its immediate neighbourhood. No special industries exist. The peasants make their rude wooden ploughs and spades shod with iron, and two villages within 40 li of Seoul supply them with their ang-paks and culinary utensils of the same coarse ware, which stand fire and serve instead of iron pots. Such iron utensils as are used are imported from Seoul along with salt, and foreign piece goods for dress clothes, and are paid for with rice, grain, and tobacco.
The people are peasant farmers in the strictest sense, most of them holding their lands from the yang-bans at their pleasure. The proprietor has the right to turn them out after harvest, but it does not seem to be very
vi TAXATION 85
oppressively exercised. He provides the seed, and they pay him half the yield. Some men buy land and obtain title-deeds. In 1894 they paid in taxes on one day's ploughing, so much for barley, beans, rice, and cotton, the sum varying; but a new system of collecting tax on the assessed value of the land has come into operation, which renders "squeezing" on the part of the tax-collector far more difficult. Money is scarcely current, business transactions are by barter, or the peasant pays with his labour. His chief outlay is on foreign piece cottons for his best clothes. These are 30 cash per measure of 20 inches dearer at Yong-Wol, the reputed head of navigation, than at Seoul.
POTTERY EN ROUTE.
The population of the Han valley is not poor, if by poverty is to be understood scarcity of the necessaries of life. The people have enough for themselves and for all and sundry who, according to Korean custom, may claim their hospitality. Probably they are all in debt; it is very rare indeed to find a Korean who has not this millstone round his neck, and they are destitute of money or possessions other than those they absolutely require. They
86 THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAP.
appear lazy. I then thought them so, but they live under a regime under which they have no security for the gains of labour, and for a man to be reported to be " making money," or attaining even the luxury of a brass dinner service, would be simply to lay himself open to the rapacious attentions of the nearest mandarin and his myrmidons, or to a demand for a loan from an adjacent yang-ban. Never-
KOREAN FEASANTS AT DINNER.
theless, the homesteads of the Han valley have a look of substantial comfort.
Certainly the meals of the men are taken in far greater tidiness than is usual among labourers. The women, as is the fashion with women, eat "anyhow," and gobble up their lords' leavings. All meals for men are served on small, circular, dark wooden tables, a few inches high, one for each person. Rice is the staple of diet, and is served in a great bowl, but besides this, there are seldom fewer than
vi VILLAGE SCHOOLS 87
five or six glazed earthenware vessels containing savoury, or rather tasty, condiments.1 Chop-sticks and small flattish spoons of horn or base metal are used for eating.
In the villages, as distinguished from the hamlets, on the Han there are schools, but they are not open to the public. Families club together and engage a teacher, but the pupils are only of the scholarly class, and only Chinese learning in Wenli is taught, this being the stepping-stone to official position, the object of the ambition of every Korean. En-mun is despised, and is not used as a written language by the educated class. I observed, however, that a great many men of the lower orders on the river were able to read their own script.
With the exception of two small Buddhist establishments not far from Seoul, priests are non-existent on the Han, nor is there any Christian propaganda, Protestant or Roman, at work, though Roman missionaries were formerly stationed at two points near the forks. Demon-worship prevails throughout the whole region.
The river is frozen for from three to four months in the winter, and tends to inundate the lower lands for two months in the summer. The bridle-tracks which skirt it and diverge from it are infamous. The valley has no mails, and of course no newspapers. The Tong-haks (rebels, or armed reformers) were strong in a region immediately to the south of the great bend, which showed some dissatisfaction with things as they were, and a desire for reform in some minds.
So far as I could learn, the region is not rich in ordinary minerals. I could hear nothing of " the burning earth," 1 These remarks apply to every part of Korea which I afterwards saw.
88 THE HAN AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAP.
though the geological formation renders its existence probable. Copper and iron are worked not far from the north branch to a limited extent. But the Han is the "River of Golden Sand," and though the height of the gold season is after the summer rains, the auri sacra fames even then attracted gangs of men to the river-banks, and gold in the mountains was a subject on which the Koreans were always voluble.
The attitude of the people was friendly. I never saw a trace of actual hostility, though on the higher waters of the south branch it was very doubtful whether they had seen a European before. Their curiosity was naturally enormous, and whenever the boat tied up for a day it showed itself by crowds sitting on the bank as close to it as they could get, staring apathetically. They were frequently timid, and snatched up their fowls and hid them when we came in sight, but a little friendly explanation of our honesty of purpose, and above all, the sight of a few strings of cash, usually set everything straight. A foreigner is absolutely safe. During the ofttimes tedious process of hauling up the rapids, when Mr. Miller and the servants were tugging at the ropes, I constantly strolled for two or three hours by myself along the river-bank, and whether the path led through solitary places or through villages, I never met with anything more disagreeable than curiosity shown in a very ill-bred fashion, and that was chiefly on the part of women. When the people understood that they would be paid it was not difficult to procure the little they had to sell at fairly reasonable rates. They were disposed to be communicative, and showed very little suspicion, far less indeed than in parts of Korea
vi SPRING WEATHER 89
where foreigners are common. My Chinese servant was everywhere an object of most friendly curiosity and a centre of pleasurable interest.
The mercury during April and May ranged from 42° to 72°, and the barometer showed remarkable steadiness. There were two heavy rainfalls, but the weather on the whole was superb, and the atmosphere clear and dry.
THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE
A FEW hours sufficed for settling in our very narrow quarters, and by the end of the second day we had shaken down into an orderly routine. By dint of much driving Kim was induced to start about seven, at which hour I had my flour and water stirabout. The halts for smoking, cooking, and eating were many, and about five o'clock he used to simulate exhaustion, a deception to which his lean form and thin face with its straight straggling white hair lent themselves effectively. Then followed the daily wrangle about the place to tie up, Kim naturally desiring a village and the proximity of junks, with much nocturnal smoking and gossip, while my wish was for solitude, quiet, and a pebbly river bottom, and with Mr. Miller's aid I usually carried my point. Between Kim's laziness and the frequent occurrence of rapids, 10 miles came to be considered a good day's journey! The same rapids made any settled plan of occupation impossible, yet on the early stages of the journey, when there were long quiet stretches of water between them, it was pleasant to elevate the roof and have a quiet morning's work till dinner at twelve.
CHAP. VII FOOD AND OCCUPATION 91
This, it must be confessed, was a precarious meal. Chickens for curry were not always attainable, and were often so small as to suggest the egg-shell, and the river fish which were sometimes got by pouncing on a boy fisherman were very minute and bony. Chestnuts often eked out a very scanty meal. Wong used to hunt along the river-banks for wild onions and carrots, after the stock of the cultivated roots was exhausted, and he made paste of flour and water, rolled it with a bamboo on the top of a box, cut it into biscuits with the lid of a tin, and baked them in the frying-pan. Rice fritters too he made morning, noon, and night. Afternoon tea of Burrough's and Well-come's "tabloids" was never omitted, and after tying up came supper, an impoverished repetition of dinner, the whole a wholesome regimen, invariably eaten with appetite.
Visiting villages and small towns, only to find the first a collection of mud hovels, and the last mud hovels with the addition of ruinous official buildings and a forlorn Confucian temple, climbing to ridges bordering the Han to get a view of fertile and populous valleys, conversing with and interrogating the people through Mr. Miller and his servant, taking geographical notes, temperatures, altitudes, barometric readings, and measurements of the river (nearly all unfortunately lost in a rapid on the downward journey), collecting and drying plants, photographing, and developing negatives under difficulties, all the blankets and waterproofs in the boat being requisitioned for the creation of a " dark room "-were occupations which made up busy and interesting days.
The first two days were spent in turning the flank of the range on which is the so-called fortress of Nam Han,
92 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
with its priest soldiers, one of the four which are supposed to guard Seoul and offer refuge in times of trouble. On the right bank there are many villages of farmers, woodcutters, and charcoal-burners, and on the left an expanse of cultivated sandy soil between the mountains and the river, there a broad rapid stream rippling brightly over white sand or golden gravel. After passing the Yang-kun magistracy, a large village with a long street, where a whole fleet of sampans was loading with country produce for the capital, and a number of junks were unloading salt, the Han makes a sharp bend to the south, and after a long rapid expands into a very broad stream. The valley broadens also, and becomes flat, the hills, absolutely denuded even of scrub, are low, and recede from the river; their serrated black ridges of rock, and their deeply-scored, corrugated, flushed sides, which spring had scarcely tinged with green, are forbidding, and though the valley was green with young wheat, that is quite the most monotonous and uninteresting part of the journey.
After circumventing the fine fortress summit of Nam Han, the river enters the mountains. From that time up to the head of possible navigation, the scenery in its variety, beauty, and unexpectedness exhausts the vocabulary of admiration.
A short distance above Han Kang is the Buddhist temple of Ryeng-an Sa, dedicated to the Dragon, one of the two Buddhist sanctuaries on the long course of the Han. On the left bank a low stone wall encloses a spot on which a female dragon alighted from heaven in the days of the last dynasty, and where still, in times of flood or drought, sacrifices are offered and libations poured out to " Heaven."
VII A BUDDHIST MONASTERY 93
The only other temple is that of Pyok-chol on the right bank of the Han, above Yo Ju, four days from Seoul. A steep wooded promontory projects into the still, deep, green water, crowned with two brick and stone pagodas. In a wooded dell at the back there are some picturesque and elaborately carved and painted temples and monastic buildings, and a fine bell five centuries old, surmounted by an entanglement of dragons, which, with some medallions on the sides, are of very bold design and successful workmanship, and the whole is said to have been cast in Chung-Chbng Do before the Japanese stole the arts and artists! A pavilion for the temple dramas was occupied for the afternoon by a large picnic of women and children from Yo Ju. In one of the monastic courts there is a marble pagoda with some finely-executed bas-reliefs on its sides, claiming a not distant kinship with those of the "marble pagoda" in Seoul. The establishment consisted of an abbot, nineteen monks, and four novices. The abbot was the most refined, intellectual, and aristocratic-looking man that I saw in Korea, with an innate courtesy and refinement of manner rare anywhere. He carried the weight of seventy years with much grace and dignity, and made us cordially welcome. This was the last we saw of Buddhism till we reached the Diamond Mountain six weeks later.
At the village of Tomak-na-dali, where we tied up, they make the great purple-black jars and pots which are in universal use. Their method is primitive. They had no objection to be watched, and were quite communicative. The potters pursue their trade in open sheds, digging up the clay close by. The stock-in-trade is a pit in which
94 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
an uncouth potter's wheel revolves, the base of which is turned by the feet of a man who sits on the edge of the hole. A wooden spatula, a mason's wooden trowel, a curved stick, and a piece of rough rag are the tools, efficient for the purpose. Fifty li higher up, a few li from the river, are beds of kaolin used in the Government pottery and for the finer kinds of porcelain.
For two days the Han was about 400 yards wide, with a very tortuous course, abounding in rapids, shallows, and green islands, with great expanses of pure white sand on its left bank, and frequent villages of woodcutters and charcoal-burners on both. On the 16th we reached the forks at the village of Ma-chai. There the north branch, which was to be afterwards traversed, comes down, and the south branch, in every way more important, arrives from the southward. Between the two there is a pretty wooded island then pink with azalea blossom. Beyond is a fine stretch of alluvium, nearly 6 feet deep, bearing rich crops of barley and wheat, but entirely unprotected from the desolations of the river in its annual rise, which engulfs every year acres of this prolific soil. Ten years ago the Han, altering its course, brought down from the top of a steep bank at some distance a huge concrete double coffin 9 feet long and 16 inches thick! The great alluvial expanse was made over to the Buddhists by the King, who receives annually a fixed amount of the produce.
Between Klin's laziness and plausibility, and the rapids, which though not severe were frequent, and the food hunt, which was a necessity, our progress was slow, and it was not till the 19 th of April that we reached Yo Ju, the first town of any importance and the birthplace of the late
VII THE YO JU YAMEN 95
Queen. It is memorable to me as being the first place where the crowd was obstreperous and obnoxious, though not hostile. It is humiliating to be a "show" and to get nothing by it! I went out on a rock in the river in the hope of using the prismatic compass in peace, and was nearly pushed into the water, and when I went up into the gate tower a stamping, curious crowd, climbing on everything that afforded a point of vantage, shook the old fabric so severely that the delicately-balanced needle never came to rest. The crowd was dirty, the streets were foul and decayed, and worst of all was the magistrate's yamen, to which we had occasion to go, and where I found that a kwan-ja was powerless to obtain even common civility.
The yamen, though finely situated and enclosing in its grounds a large and much-decorated pavilion for Royal use, but used as a children's playground, was in a state of wreck. The woodwork was crumbling, beams and rafters were falling down, lacquer and paint were scaling off, torn paper fluttered from the lattice windows, plaster hung from the grimy walls, the once handsome gate tower was on its last legs, in the courtyard some flagstones had subsided, others were exalted, and audacious ragweed and shepherd's purse grew in their crevices. Poverty, neglect, and melancholy reigned supreme. Within the gates were plenty of those persons who suck the life-blood of Korea. There were soldiers in Tyrolese hats and coarse cotton uniforms in which blue predominated, yamen runners in abundance, writers, officers of injustice, messengers pretending to have business on hand, and many small rooms, in which were many more men sitting on the floor smoking long pipes, with writing materials beside them.
96 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
One attendant, by no means polite, took my kwan-ja to the magistrate, and very roughly led the way to two small rooms, in the inner one of which the official was seated on the floor, surrounded by a few elderly men. We were directed to stand at the opening between the two rooms, and behind us pressed as many of the crowd as could get in. I bowed low. No notice was taken. An attendant handed the magistrate a pipe, so long that it would have been impossible for him to light it for himself, and he smoked. Mr. Miller hoped that he was in good health. No reply, and the eyes were never raised. Mr. Miller explained the object of the visit, which was to get a little information about the neighbourhood. There was only a very curt reply, and as the great man turned to one of his subordinates and began to talk to him, and rude remarks were circulating, we took leave with the usual Korean phrases of politeness, which were not reciprocated.
We were told that there are many "high yang-bans "in Yo Ju, and it seemed natural that the magistrate of a town of only 700 houses should not be a man of high rank. The story goes that when he came they used "low talk" to him and ordered him about as their inferior. So he lives chiefly in Seoul, and the man who sat in sordid state amidst the ruins of the spacious and elaborately-decorated yamen does his work and divides the spoils, and the yang-bans are left to whatever their devices may be. But this is not an isolated case. Nearly all the river magistrates are mainly absentees, and spend their time, salaries, and squeezings in the capital. I had similar interviews with three other magistrates. I asked nothing except change in cash for three yen, and on each occasion was told that the
vi AN ANCESTRAL TEMPLE 97
treasury was empty. My kwan-ja, a pompous document from the Foreign Office, was of this use only, it procured me a chicken at a high price in a town where the people were unwilling to sell!
At Yo Ju I saw for the only time either in Korea or China the interior of an ancestral temple. It is a lofty building, with a curved tiled roof and blackwood ceiling, approached by a roofed gateway. Opposite the entrance is an ebony stool, on which are a brass bowl and incense-burner. Above this is a large altar, supporting two candlesticks with candles, and above that again an ebony stand on which rests a polished black marble tablet inscribed with the name of the deceased. Behind that, in a recess in the wall, with elaborate fretwork doors, is his life-sized portrait in Chinese style. The floor is covered with plain matting. In the tablet the third soul of the deceased is supposed to dwell. Food is placed before it three times daily for three years in the case of a parent, and there the relations, after the expiration of that period, meet at stated seasons every year and offer sacrifice and " worship."
At the large and prosperous-looking village of Chon-yaing the people told us that a " circus " was about to perform and impelled us towards it; but finding that it was in the court yard of a large tiled-roof mansion, in good repair and of much pretension, we were retiring, when we were cordially invited to enter, and I was laid hold of (literally) by the serving-women and dragged through the women's court and into the women's apartments. I was surrounded by fully forty women, old and young, wives, concubines, servants, all in gala dress and much adorned. The principal
98 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
wife, a very young girl wearing some Indian jewellery, was very pretty and had an exquisite complexion, but one and all were destitute of manners. They investigated my clothing, pulled me about, took off my hat and tried it on, untwisted my hair and absorbed my hairpins, pulled off my gloves and tried them on with shrieks of laughter, and then, but not till they had exhausted all the amusement which could be got out of me, they bethought themselves of entertaining me by taking me through their apartments, crowding upon me to such an extent as they did so that I was nearly carried off my feet. They took me through fourteen communicating rooms, with fine parquet floors, mostly spoiled by being covered in whole or in part with Brussels tapestry carpets of "loud " and vulgar patterns in hideous aniline dyes. Great mirrors in tawdry gilt frames glared from the tender colouring of the walls, and French clocks asserted their expensive vulgarity in every room.
In the outer court a rope was stretched for the rope-dancers, and kettledrums and reed-pipes gave promise of such music as Koreans love. I was escorted across two other courts surrounded by verandahs supported on dressed stone, and with iron railings instead of wood, to an elevated reception room, where a foreign table and some tawdry velvet-covered chairs clashed with the tastefulness of the walls and the fine mats bordered with the Greek fret on the floor. French clocks, all keeping different time, were much en evidence. The host, a youth of eighteen, eldest son of the governor of one of the most important governorships in Korea, welcomed us, and seemed anxious to receive us courteously. Wine, soup, eggs, and kimchi, an elaborate sort of "sour kraut," were produced, and had to
VII AN IGNOMINIOUS EXIT 99
be partaken of, our host meanwhile smoking an expensive foreign cigar, which gave him an opportunity for the ostentatious display of a showy diamond ring. He was dressed in sea-green silk, and wore a hat of very fine quality.
He wanted to see the inside of my camera and to be photographed, for which purpose we retired to the back of the house to avoid the enormous crowd which had collected, and which was becoming every moment more impolite and disorderly. I made him exchange the foreign cigar, vulgar in a Korean's mouth, for the national long pipe. At this juncture some friends came upon hangers-on, who were feasting with him to celebrate his having obtained a good place in a recent examination, and made a rudely-worded request for our immediate departure. It was obvious that, after their unmannerly curiosity had been satisfied, our presence, and the courteous treatment extended to us, spoilt their amusement. The ringleader spoke roughly to our host, who turned his back on us and retired meekly to his own apartments, although he is a son of an official of the highest rank, and a near relative of the late Queen. We could only make a somewhat ignominious exit, having been truly "played out."
This rage for French clocks, German mirrors, foreign cigars, chairs upholstered in velvet, and a general foreign tawdriness is spreading rapidly among the young "swells " who have money to spend, vulgarising Korean simplicity, and setting the example to those below them of an extravagant and purely selfish expenditure. The house, with its many courtyards, was new and handsome, and money glared from every point. I was glad to return to the
100 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
simplicity of my boat, hoping that with the " plain living, high thinking " might be combined!
Beyond the mountains east of Yo Ju, the Han passes through a noble stretch of rich alluvium, bearing superb, and fairly clean crops, and bordered by low, serrated, denuded, and much corrugated ranges, faintly tinged with green. On this gently rolling plain are many towns and villages, among the larger of which are Won Ju, Chung Ju, Chong-phyong, and Tan-yang, all on or near the river, by which they conveniently export their surplus produce, chiefly beans, tobacco, and rice, and receive in return their supplies of salt and foreign goods. Even at that season of low water the traffic was considerable.
Higher up, the scenery changes. Lofty limestone bluffs, often caverned, rise abruptly from the river, and wall in the fertile and populous valleys which descend upon it, giving place higher up to grand basaltic formation, range behind range, terraces of columnar basalt occasionally appearing. It was a lovely season, warm days, cold nights, brilliant sunshine, great white masses of sunlit clouds on a sky of heavenly blue, distances idealised in a blue veil which was not a mist, flowers at their freshest, every bird that has a note or a cry vocal, butterflies and red and blue dragonflies hovering over the grass and water, fish leaping, all nature awake and jubilant. And every rift and bluff had its own beauty of blossoming scarlet azaleas, or syringas, contorted or stately pines, and Ampelopsis Veitchii rose-pink in its early leafage. There was a note of gladness in the air.
Eight days above Seoul, on the left bank of the river, there is a ruinous pagoda built of large blocks of hewn stone,
PREVALENCE OF INTOXICATION 101
standing solitary in the centre of a level plain formed by a bend of the Han. The people, on being asked about it, said, "When Korea was surveyed so long ago that nobody knows when, this was the centre of it. They call it the "Halfway Place." After that the only suggestions of antiquity are some stone foundations, and a few stone tombs among the trees, which, from their shape, may denote the sites of monasteries.
Near that pagoda were a number of men very drunk, and there were few days on which the habit of drinking to excess was not more or less prominent. The junkmen celebrated the evening's rest by hard drinking, and the crowd which nightly assembled on the shore when we tied up was usually enlivened by the noisy antics of one or more intoxicated men. From my observation on the Han journey and afterwards, I should say that drunkenness is an outstanding feature in Korea. And it is not disreputable. If a man drinks rice wine till he loses his reason, no one regards him as a beast. A great dignitary even may roll on the floor drunk at the end of a meal, at which he has eaten to repletion, without losing caste, and on becoming sober receives the congratulations of inferiors on being rich enough to afford such a luxury. Along with the taste for French clocks and German gilding, a love of foreign liquors is becoming somewhat fashionable among the young yang-bans, and willing caterers are found who produce potato spirit rich in fusel oil as "old Cognac," and a very effervescent champagne at a shilling a bottle !
The fermented liquors of Korea are probably not unwholesome, but the liking for them is an acquired taste
102 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
with Europeans. They vary from a smooth white drink resembling buttermilk in appearance, and very mild, to a water-white spirit of strong smell and fiery taste. Between these comes the ordinary rice wine, slightly yellowish, akin to Japanese sake and Chinese samshu, with a faint, sickly smell and flavour. They all taste more or less strongly of smoke, oil, and alcohol, and the fusel oil remains even in the best. They are manufactured from rice, millet, and barley. The wine-seller projects a cylindrical basket on a long pole from his roof, resembling the "bush " formerly used in England for a similar purpose. Probably one reason that the Koreans are a drunken people is that they scarcely use tea at all even in the cities, and the luxury of "cold water" is unknown to them. The peasants drink hot rice water with their meals, honey water as a luxury, and on festive occasions an infusion of orange peel or ginger. The drying of orange peel is quite a business with Korean housewives. There were quantities of it hanging from the eaves of all the cottages.
Up to a short distance above this pagoda, the rapids for which the Han is famous, though they made our progress slow, had not suggested serious difficulty, far less risk, but for the remaining fortnight they were tortuous rocky channels, through which the river, compressed in width, rushes with great violence and tremendous noise and clatter, or they are successive broken ledges of rock, with a chaos of flurry and foam, varied by deep pools, presenting formidable, and at some seasons insuperable, obstacles to navigation. To all appearance they are far more dangerous than the celebrated rapids of the Yangtze, and the remains of timber rafts and junks attest their
VII PERILS OF THE RAPIDS 103
destructive properties. They occur at shorter and shorter intervals as the higher waters are reached, till eventually the Han becomes an unbroken rapid or cataract.
Kim, though paid handsomely, was far too stingy to pay for any help en route, his ropes were manifestly bought in " the cheapest market," and though Wong, my powerful sampan - man, worked with both strength and skill, and Mr. Miller and his servant toiled at the tow-ropes, and in great exigencies I gave a haul myself, we sometimes made only 7 miles a day, and ofttimes took two hours to ascend a few yards, two poling with might and main in the boat, and three tugging with all their strength on shore. Often the ropes snapped, when the boat went spinning and flying to the foot of the rapid, sometimes with injury to herself and her contents, sometimes escaping. After a few of such risks I habitually landed, either on a boatman's back or wading in waterproof Wellingtons, which caused great wonderment in the lookers on. The worst rapids were always in the most beautiful places, and the strolls and climbs of three or four hours along the river-banks, through fields with bounteous crops, through odorous Spanish chestnut groves, through thickets with their fascinating bewilderments of roses, clematis, and honeysuckle, and past farm-houses with their privacy of bamboo screens, and deep shade of blossoming fruit trees, were very delightful.
In ten days from Seoul we reached Chong-phyong, a town of some pretensions, where in connection with the yamen is a temple pavilion with a high white chair, facing a table with candlesticks upon it, floor, table, and chair deep in dust, though the building is used regularly for
104 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
offering prayers and sacrifices for the King. Dust is not noteworthy in Korea, but the paintings in this temple are. On the end walls are vivid groups of six noblemen wearing fine horsehair palace hats with wings, each man holding a piece of folded paper in his hand, and listening intently as he bends forward towards the chair. The conception and technique of these paintings are admirable, and the sunset scenes on the back wall, though inferior in execution, are the work of a true artist.
Close by is a Royal pavilion hanging over the edge of a high bluff above the Han, surrounded by superb elms, some of their trunks from 20 to 23 feet in circumference. The view of the fertile valley and of the mountains beyond is very fine, and the decorative woodwork, painted in Korean style, has been very handsome; but the phrase " has been" describes most things Korean, and official squalor and neglect could scarcely go farther.
At Chong-phyong and elsewhere the common people, in spite of their overpowering curiosity, were not rude, and usually retired to a respectful distance to watch us eat; but from the class of scholars who hang on round all yamens we met with a good deal of underbred impertinence, some of the men going so far as to raise the curtain of my compartment and introduce their heads and shoulders beneath it, browbeating the boatmen when they politely asked them to desist. On the other hand, men of the non-cultured class showed us various small attentions, sometimes helping with a haul at the ropes at a rapid, only asking in return that their wives might see me, a request with which I always gladly complied. At Chong-phyong, so great was female curiosity that a number of women
vn FEMALE CURIOSITY 105
waded waist-deep after the boat to peer under the mats of the roof, and one of them, scrambling out to a rock for a final stare, overbalanced herself and fell into deep water. At one point, in the very early morning, some women presented themselves at the boat, having walked several li with a present of eggs, the payment for which was to be a sight of me and my poor equipments, ley having heard that there was a boat with a foreign woman on board. The old cambric curtains brought from Persia, with a red pattern on a white ground, always attracted them greatly, and the small Japanese cooking utensils.
In thirteen days from Seoul we reached Tan-yang, a magistracy prettily situated on the left bank of the Han, with a picturesque Confucian temple on the hill above; and a day later entered upon mountainous country of extreme beauty. The paucity of tributaries is very marked. Up to that point, except the north branch, ere are but two-one which joins the Han at the village of Hu-nan Chang, on the right bank, and is navigable for li, as far as the important town of Won Ju; and another, which enters 2 li above the picturesquely-situated village of So-il, on the left bank. Above Tan-yang the river forms long and violent rapids, alternating with broad stretches of blue, quiet water from 10 to 20 feet deep, rolling majestic-velly, making sharp and extraordinary bends among lofty imestone precipices. Villages on natural terraces occur constantly, the lower terrace planted with mulberry or weeping willows. Hemp is cultivated in great quantities, d is used for sackcloth for mourners' wear, bags, and In my walks along the river I had several oppor-
106 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.
tunities of seeing the curious method of separating the fibre, rude and primitive, but effectual. At the bottom of a stone-paved pit large stones are placed, which are heated from a rough oven at the side. The hemp is pressed down in bundles upon these, and stakes are driven in among them. Piles of coarse Korean grass are placed over the hemp, and earth over all, well beaten down. The Stakes are then pulled up and water is poured into the holes left by them. This, falling on the heated stones, produces a dense steam, and in twenty-four hours the hemp fibre is so completely disintegrated as to be easily separated.
A grand gorge, 3 miles long, with lofty cliffs of much-caverned limestone, varied by rock needles draped with Ampelopsis and clematis, and giving foothold to azaleas, spirea, syringa, pear, hawthorn, climbing roses, wistaria, cyclamen, lycopodium, yellow vetches, many Labiala, and much else, contains but one village, piled step above step in a deep wooded fold of the hills, on which millet-culture is carried to a great height, on slopes too steep to be ploughed by oxen. This gorge opens out on slopes of rich soil, some of which is still uncultivated. The hamlets are small, and grow much hemp, and each has its hemp-pit. They also grow Urtica nivea, from the bleached fibre of which their grass cloth summer clothes are made. All these are surrounded with mulberry groves.
The large village of Cham-su-ki, at the head of two severe rapids, in ascending which our ropes snapped three times, offers a good example of the popular belief in spirits. It is approached under a tasselled straw rope, one end of which is wound round a fine tree with a stone
vii SIGNS OF DEMON-WORSHIP 107
altar below it. On another rope were suspended a few small bags containing offerings of food. If a person dies of the pestilence or by the roadside, or a woman dies in childbirth, the spirit invariably takes up its abode in a tree. To such spirits offerings are made on the stone altar, of cake, wine, and pork, but where the tree is the domicile of the spirit of a man who has been killed by a tiger, dog's flesh is offered instead of pork. The Cham-su-ki tree is a fine well-grown elm. Gnarled trees, of which we saw several on hill tops and sides, are occupied by the spirits of persons who have died before reaching a cycle, i.e. sixty years of age. A steep cliff above Cham-su-ki is also denoted as the abode of demons by a straw rope and a stone altar.
We had some very cold and windy days near the end of April, the mercury falling to 34°, and one night of tempestuous rain. It would be absurd to write of sufferings, but at that temperature in an open boat, with the roof lifting and flapping and threatening to take its departure, it was impossible to sleep. Afterwards the weather was again splendid.
Abrupt turns, long rapids full of jagged rocks, long stretches of deep, still water, abounding in fish, narrow gorges walled in by terraces of basalt, lateral ravines disclosing fine snow-streaked peaks, succeeded each other, the shores becoming less and less peopled, while the parallel valleys abounded in fairly well-to-do villages. Just below a long and dangerous rapid we stopped to dine, and though the place seemed quite solitary, a crowd soon gathered, and sat on the adjacent stones talking noisily, trying to get into the boat, lifting the mats, discussing
108 THE HAN AND ITS PEOPLE CHAP.VII
whether it were polite to watch people at dinner, some taking one side and some another, those who were half tipsy taking the affirmative. Some said that they had got news from several miles below that this great sight was coming up the river, and it was a shame to deprive them of it by keeping the curtains down. After a good deal of obstreperousness, mainly the result of wine, a man overbalanced himself and fell into the river, which raised a laugh, and then they followed us good-naturedly up the rapid, one man helping to track, and asking as his reward that his wife might sec me, on which I exhibited myself on the bow of the boat.
At the village of Pang-wha San, built, contrary to Korean practice, on a height of 800 feet, there is a stone platform, on which was nightly lighted one of that chain of beacon-fires terminating at Nam San in Seoul, which assured the King that his kingdom was at peace.1 Another village, Ha-chin, was impressive from the frightful ugliness of its women. After leaving Tan-yang the curiosity increased. People walked great distances to see us, saying they had never seen foreigners, and bringing eggs to pay for the sight, which I paid for, telling the people that we had nothing to show; but extravagant rumours of what was to be seen in the boat had preceded us, and as the people assembled at daylight and generally waited patiently, I always yielded to their wishes, raised the thatch, and made the most of the red and white curtains. In one place I gave them some tea to drink. They had never seen it, and thought it was medicine, and on tasting it said, "It must be very good for indigestion!"
1 The telegraph has now superseded this picturesque arrangement.
NATURAL BEAUTY - THE RAPIDS
IN superb weather, and in the full glory of spring, we continued the exploration of the Han above Tan-yang, encountering innumerable rapids, some of them very severe and horrible to look upon. The river valley, continually narrowing into gorges, rarely admits of hamlets, and the population is relegated to lateral and parallel valleys. On the 30th of April we tugged and poled the boat up seven long and severe rapids, with deep still stretches of water between them. The flora increased in variety, and the shapes of the mountains became very definite. Among other trees there were a large branching Acanthopanax ricinifolia, two species of euonymus, mistletoe on the walnut and mulberry, the Rhus semi-alata and Rhus vernicifera, pines, firs, the Abies microsperma, the Actinidia pueraria, Elaagnus, Spanish chestnuts in great groves, alders, birches, maples, elms, limes, and a tree infrequently seen which I believe to be a Zelkawa. Among the flowers, there were marigolds, buttercups, scentless white and purple violets, yellow violas, white aconite, lady's slipper, hawk-weed, camomile, red and
110 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS
white dandelions, guelder roses, wygelias, mountain peonies, martagon and tiger lilies, gentians, pink spirea, yellow day lilies, white honeysuckle, the Iris Rossii, and many others.
The day after leaving Tan-yang we entered on the most beautiful part of the river. Great limestone cliffs swing open at times to reveal glorious glimpses, through fantastic gorges, of peaks and ranges, partly forest-covered, fading in the far distance into the delicious blue veil of dreamland; the river, occasionally compressed by its colossal walls, vents its fury in flurry and foam, or expands into broad reaches 20 and even 30 feet in depth, where pure emerald water laps gently upon crags festooned with roses and honeysuckle, or in fairy bays on pebbly beaches and white sand. The air was full of gladness. The loud call of the fearless ringed pheasant was heard every where, bees hummed, and butterflies and dragonflies flashed through the fragrant air. What mattered it that our ropes broke three times, that we stuck on a rock in a rapid and hung there for an hour in a deafening din and a lather of foam, and that we " beat the record" in only making 5 miles in twelve hours!
The limestone cliffs are much caverned, and near the village of To-tam, where they fall back considerably from the river, we explored one cave worthy of notice, with a fine entrance arch 43 feet in height, admitting into a vault considerably higher, with a roof of stalagmites. We ascended this cavern for 315 feet, and then had to return for lack of light. Near the mouth a natural shaft and rock-ladder give access to a fine upper gallery 12 feet high, only 60 feet of which we were able to investigate. Just above To-tam there is another limestone freak on
VIII LIMESTONE FREAKS 111
the river-bank, a natural bridge or arch, 127 feet in height and 30 feet wide, below which a fair green lawn slopes up to a height above. The bridge is admirably buttressed, and draped with roses, honeysuckle, and clematis, and various fantastic specimens of conifers grow out of its
The beauty of the Han culminates at To-tam in the finest river view I had then ever seen, a broad stretch, with a deep bay and lofty limestone cliffs, between which, on a green slope, the picturesque, deep-eaved, brown-roofed houses of the village are built. The gray cliff is crowned with a goodly group of umbrella pines, in Korea called "Parasol Pines," because they resemble in shape those carried before the King. Guarding the entrance of the bay are three picturesque jagged pyramidal rocks much covered with the Ampelopsis Veitcliii, and of course sacred to demon-worship. These sentinels are from 40 to 83 feet high. To the south-west the Han, dark and deep, rolls out of sight round a pine-clad bluff, among the magnificent ranges of the Sol-rak San Mountains-masses of partially pine-clothed peaks and pinnacles of naked rock. To the north-east the river makes an abrupt bend below superb limestone cliffs, and disappears at the foot of Solmi San, a triplet of lofty peaks. To-tam on its park-like slopes embraces this view, and were it not for the rapids and their delays and risks, might be a delightful summer resort from Seoul.
There is fertility as well as grandeur, for the ridge behind the village, abrupt on the river side, falls gently down on the other to a broad, well-watered level valley, cultivated for rice with extreme neatness and care, and
112 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS CHAP.
which, after gladdening the eye with its productiveness for several miles, winds out of view among the mountains.
There, and in most parts of the Han valley, I was much surprised with the neatness of the cultivation. It was not what the reports of Korean travellers had led me to expect, and it gives me the impression that the river passes through one of the most productive and prosperous portions of Korea. The crops of wheat and barley were usually superb, and remarkably free from weeds-in fact, the cleanliness would do credit to "high farming " in the Lothians. It was no uncommon thing to find from 12 to 18 stalks as the product of one grain. At the end of April the barley was in ear, and beginning to change colour, and the wheat was 6 inches high. As a general rule the stones were carefully picked off the, land and were used for retaining-walls for the rice terraces, or piled in heaps. Steep hillsides were being cleared of scrub and stones for cotton-planting, and in many instances the cultivation is carried to a height of 1000 feet, the cultivators always, however, living in the holes. All the parallel valleys are neatly and carefully cultivated. The favourable climate, with its abundant, but not superabundant, rainfall, renders irrigation needless, except in the case of rice. Every valley has its streamlet, and is barred across by dykes of mud from its head down to the Han-rice, with tobacco, beans, hemp, and cotton, being the great articles of export. On the whole, I was very agreeably surprised with the agriculture of the Han valley, and doubt not that it is capable of enormous development if the earnings of industry were secure. The soil is most prolific, heavy crops being raised without the aid of fertilisers.
VIII A WHOLESOME WARNING 113
After leaving beautiful To-tam, the rapids become more and more frequent and exasperating, and when Kim sank down, playing upon my feelings by well-simulated exhaustion, I feared it would soon become real. The ropes broke frequently, and the constant scraping and bumping over rocks increased the leakiness of the boat so much, that in a lovely reach, where crystal water rippled on white sand, I pitched my tent, and unloaded and beached the craft for repairs. In one strong deep rapid that day the rope parted, and the boat swirled down the surges, striking rocks as she spun down with such effect as to spoil a number of photographic negatives and soak my bedding.
At the beautifully-situated village of Pa-ka Mi, a post bore the following inscription in large characters-" If any servant of a yang-ban passing through Pa-ka Mi is polite and behaves well, all right, but if he behaves badly he will be beaten," an assertion of independence as refreshing as it is rare!
For among the curses of Korea is the existence of this privileged class of yang-bans or nobles, who must not work for their own living, though it is no disgrace to be supported by their relations, and who often live on the clan destine industry of their wives in sewing and laundry work.
A yang-ban carries nothing for himself, not even his pipe.
Yang-ban students do not even carry their books from their study to the class-room. Custom insists that
when a member of this class travels he shall take with him as many attendants as he can muster. He is sup
ported on his led horse, and supreme helplessness is the conventional requirement. His servants browbeat
and bully the people and take their fowls and eggs with-
VOL. I I
114 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS
out payment, which explains the meaning of the notice at Pa-ka Mi.1
There is no doubt that the people, i.e. the vast mass of the unprivileged, on whose shoulders rests the burden of taxation, are hard pressed by the yang-bans, who not only use their labour without paying for it, but make merciless exactions under the name of loans. As soon as it is rumoured or known that a merchant or peasant has laid up a certain amount of cash, a yang-ban or official seeks a loan. Practically it is a levy, for if it is refused the man is either thrown into prison on a false charge and whipped every morning until he or his relations pay the sum demanded, or he is seized and practically imprisoned on low diet in the yang-ban's house until the money is forthcoming. It is the best of the nobles who disguise their exactions under the name of loans, but the lender never sees principal or interest. It is a very common thing for a noble, when he buys a house or field, to dispense with paying for it, and no mandarin will enforce payment. At Paik-kui Mi, where I paid off my boatmen, the yang-ban's servants were impressing all the boats for the purpose of taking roofing tiles to Seoul without payment. Kim begged me to give him some trifle to take down the river, with a few cash as payment, and a line to say that the boat was in my employment, service with a foreigner being a protection from such an exaction.
There were two days more of most severe toil, in which it was scarcely possible to make any progress. The rapids were frightful, and when we reached a very bad one below
1 Class privileges have been abolished, on paper at least, but their tradition carries weight.
AX INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLE 115
the town of Yong-chhun, Kim, after making several abortive efforts, not, I think, in good faith, to ascend it, collapsed, and said he could not get up any higher. At another season boats of light draught can ascend to Yang-wol, 20 li farther. We had performed a great feat in getting up to Yong-chhun in early May. There were no boats on the higher waters, and for much of the distance my sampan could hardly be said to be afloat. At Yong-chhun we were within 40 miles of the Sea of Japan.
Wind and heavy rain which raised the river forbade all locomotion until the following evening, when we crossed the Han and reached the Yong-chhun ferry by a pretty road through a village and a wood, most attractive country, with many novelties in its flora. At the ferry a still expanse of the Han is over 10 feet deep, but the roar of another rapid is heard immediately above. A double avenue of noble elms with fine turf underneath them leads to the town, a magistracy of 1500 people, a quiet market-place without shops, situated in a rich farming basin of alluvial soil, covered in May with heavy crops of barley and wheat, among which were fields hillocked for melons.
The magistracy buildings are large and rambling, with what has been a fine entrance gate, with a drum and other instruments of aural torture for making the deafening din with which the yamen is closed and opened at sunrise and sunset. There are many stone tablets (not spontaneously -erected) to worthy officials, a large enclosure in which sacrifices are offered to "Heaven " (possibly to the Spirits of the Land), a Confucian temple, and a king's pavilion, all very squalid and ruinous.
116 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS
A crowd not altogether polite followed us to the yamen, where I hoped that some information regarding an overland route to the Diamond Mountain might be obtained. On entering the yamen precincts the underling officials were most insolent, and it was only after enduring their unpleasant behaviour for some time that we were conducted to a squalid inner room, where a deputy-mandarin sat on the floor with a smoking apparatus beside him, a man with a scornful and sinister physiognomy, who took not the slightest notice of us, and when he deigned to speak gave curt replies through an underling, while we stood outside the entrance, withstanding with difficulty the pressure of the crowd, which had surged in after us, private interviews being rare in the East. This was my last visit to a Korean yamen.
As we walked back to the town, the crowd followed us closely, led by some "swells" of the literary class. One young man came up behind me and kicked me on the ankle, stepping back and then coming forward and repeating the offence. He was about to give me a third kick, when Mr. Miller turned round and very quietly, without anger, dealt him a scientific blow on the chest, which sent him off the road upon his back into a barley field. There was a roar of laughter from the crowd, and the young bully's companions begged Mr. Miller not to punish him any more. The crowd dispersed, the bullies, cowards like all their species, fell far behind, and we had a pleasant walk back to the ferry, where, although we had to wait a long time in the ferry-boat, there was no assemblage, and the ferryman and passengers were very civil. Mr. Miller regretted the necessity for inflicting punishment. It was
viii AN ANCIENT FORTRESS 117
Lynch law no doubt, but it was summary justice, and the perfect coolness with which it was administered would no doubt leave a salutary impression. The ferryman told us that a tiger had carried off a pig from Yong-chhun the previous night, and said that the walk to our boat through the wood without lanterns was very unsafe. Our boatmen had become alarmed and were hunting for us with torches. The circumstances were eerie, and I was glad to see the lights.
Ferries are free. The Government provides the broad, strong boats which are used for ferrying cattle as well as people, and the villages provide the ferrymen with food. Passengers who are not poor usually give a small douceur. A gale of wind with torrents of rain set in that night, and the rain continued till the next afternoon, giving me an opportunity of seeing more of the detail of the magnificent cliffs of laminated limestone, which occur frequently, and are the most striking geological features of the Han alley, continually presenting the appearance of the leaves of a colossal book. Above the Yong-chhun rapid, on a steep d almost inaccessible declivity, buttressed by these clifts, are the remains of a very ancient fortress, the outer all of which, enclosing the summit of the hill, is 2500 feet in circumference, 25 feet high on the outside, from 1 to 12 feet on the inside, and from 9 to 12 feet thick. It is so arranged that its two gates, which open on nearly direct descents of 20 feet, and are approached by very narrow pathways, could only admit one man at a time. It was obviously incapable of reduction by any force but starva-ion. No mortar is used in the walls, which are very efficiently built of small slabs of stone never more than 6
118 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS chap.
inches thick. The people have no traditions of its construction, but Mr. Miller, who is familiar with the fortresses of Nam San and Puk Han, thinks that it is of a much earlier date than either. One of the signal-fire stations is visible from this point on the river.
On the 3rd of May we began the descent of the Han. The worn-out ropes were used for the cooking fire, the poles were stowed away, and paddles took their place. The heavy rains had raised the river a foot, and changed its bright waters into a turbid flood, down which we often descended in two minutes distances which had taken two laborious hours on the upward journey, flying down the centre of the stream instead of crawling up the sides. Many small disasters occurred. Several times the boat was nearly swamped by heavy surges, or shivered by striking sunken rocks ; or, losing steerage way, spun round and round, progressing downwards with many gyrations, usually stern foremost, amidst billows and foam, but Kim, who was at his best on such occasions, usually contrived to bring her to shore, bow on, at the foot of the rapid. On one occasion, however, in a long rapid, in which the surges were high and strong, by some mismanagement, regarding which the boatmen quarrelled for an hour afterwards, the sampan shipped such heavy seas from both sides as nearly to swamp her. I was all but washed off my camp-bed, which was on a level with the gunwale; a number of sheets of geographical notes were washed away, some instruments belonging to the R.G.S. were drowned in their box, more than forty photographic negatives were destroyed, and clothing, bedding, and flour were all soaked! The rapids were in fact most exciting, and their risks throw
THE TREASURY REPLENISHED
those of the Fu and the Yangtze from Cheng-tu to Ichang quite into the shade.
In spite of a delay of half a day at Tan-yang, owing to a futile attempt to get cash for silver, and another half-day spent in beaching and repairing the boat, which had been badly bumped on a rock, we did the distance from Yong-chhon to Ma-chai on the forks in four and a half days, or less than a third of the time taken by the laborious ascent. The penniless situation became so serious that one day before reaching Ma-chai I had to decide on returning to Seoul for cash! The treasuries were said to be empty ; no one believed in silver or knew anything about it, and supplies could not be obtained. Fortunately we arrived at the market-place of Ma-kyo, a village of 1850 people, on the market day, and the pedlars gladly exchanged cash for 35 silver yen at the rate of 3000, and would willingly have changed 70. It took six men to carry the coin to the boat, which was once more substantially ballasted. Ma-Kyo is the river port of Che-chon, and has an unusually flourishing aspect, boasting of many good houses with tiled roofs. It exports rice, beans, and grain from the very rich agricultural country on both sides of the river, and imports foreign cottons, Korean sackcloth, and salt. Cotton is 20 cash the measure of 20 inches dearer at Ma-Kyo than in Seoul, and at Nang-chon 70 cash dearer.
"When we reached the forks at Ma-chai, the boatmen, who were tired of the trip, wanted to go back, but eventually they were induced to fulfil their contract, and we entered the north branch of the Han on a cool, glorious afternoon, following on a night and morning of wind and rain. This north branch also rises in the Keum-kang San or Diamond
120 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS CHAP.
Mountain in the province of Kong-won, and after a turbulent course of about 98 miles unites with the southern and larger branch of the Han about two days' journey from Seoul. For a considerable distance the country which it drains is populous and well cultivated, and the hills of its higher reaches provide much of the timber which is used in Seoul, as well as a large proportion of the firewood and charcoal. The timber is made up into very peculiar rafts, which come down at high water, but even then are frequently demolished in the rapids. The river widens out above Ma-chai, and for a considerable distance has an average breadth of 440 yards, but as a rule it is shallow, and its bottom dangerously rocky, and it has incessant rapids full of jagged rocks, some of which are very dangerous, and so "ugly" that as I went up them I was truly glad that I had not to descend them. Many a long, hard tug and broken hawser we had, but succeeded in hauling the . sampan 7 miles above the limit of low-water navigation, which is the same distance from the termination of boat traffic at high water. I estimate the distance from Ma-chai to Ut-Kiri, where further progress was stopped by an insurmountable rapid, at 76 miles, which took nine days, though Kim and his man, anxious to go home, worked much harder than on our earlier trip.
For the first few days there are villages every quarter of a mile, and lateral and parallel valleys, then rich in clean crops of barley and wheat. The river villages are surrounded by groves of Spanish chestnut, mulberry, cherry, persimmons, and weeping willows. There are deep crateriform cavities, now full of trees and abundant vegetation. The hills are covered with oak scrub, affording
viii GOLD-WASHING 121
cover for tigers, which appear to abound. The characteristics of the villages and the agriculture hardly vary from those on the south branch, except that the potato is more extensively grown. The absence of provincial and local peculiarities is a feature of Korea.
Gold in small quantities is found along the river, and rumour says that Ur-rop-so, a conical hill near the dangerous rapid of Chun-yol, is rich in it, but that the district official prohibits digging. Higher up a number of men were washing for gold. Their apparatus consists of a wooden sieve or gridiron, on which the supposed auriferous earth is placed above a deep wooden tray, and rocked under water till the heavier stuff passes through, to be again rocked in search of the glittering particles. The results are placed on the river-bank in pieces of broken pottery, each watched by a man. The earth is obtained by removing the heavy shingle of the river-bank and digging up the sand to a depth of about 2 feet, when rock is reached. From 60 to 100 trays are equal to a bushel and a half, and the yield of this quantity averages half a thimbleful of gold in a state of fine subdivision. These gold-washers seldom make more than 16s. per month, and only about 50s. when working in the
Gold ornaments are rarely seen in Korea, gold is scarcely if at all used in the arts (if arts there are), and gold coins do not exist. Nevertheless, as is shown by the Customs Reports, the quantity of gold dust exported, chiefly to Japan, is very far from being despicable, although the reefs which presumably contain the metal, of which the washings are the proof, have not yet been touched. The
122 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS CHAP.
fees paid by the miners to the Government vary with the locality. Gold-digging without Government authorisation is prohibited by law under most severe penalties. Among the richest goldfields in Korea are Phyong Kang, not far from the Han, and Keum-San in Phyong-an Do, not far from the Tai-dong. The larger washings collect as elsewhere the scum of the country, and riots often occur among the miners. I know not on which subject the Korean is the more voluble, tigers or gold. He is proud of Korea as a gold-producing country, and speaks as if its dust were golden sand!
The groves of Spanish chestnuts with which the North Han is fringed gave off an overpowering odour. Their fruit is an important article of diet. Usually the arable land below the villages is little more than a terrace, but on the hillsides above the grain rippled in long yellow waves in the breeze, and the hills constantly swing ' apart and reveal terraced valleys and brown orchard-embowered hamlets ; or, slightly receding, expose stretches of white sand or heaps of fantastic boulders.
After two days of severe work we reached the beautifully-situated town of Ka-phyong, which straggles along the valley of a small tributary of the Han on slopes backed by high mountains which, following the usual Korean custom, are without names. The bright green of the wheat fields, varied by the darker green of clumps of conifers and chestnuts, arranged as if by a landscape gardener, and the lines of trees along the river-bank were enchanting, but Ka-phyong does not bear close inspection. The telegraph wire from Seoul to Won-san crosses the river at Sin-gang Kam, and there is actually a telegraph
VIII THE KOREAN BULL 123
station at Chun-chhon, the most important town of that region, at which messages are received and sent about
once a month!
Chun-chhon is four miles from the Han on its left bank. It is fortified, and has nominally a garrison of 300 men. Having a population of 3000, and being in the centre of a fine agricultural district, it is a place of some trade, as trade is understood in Korea. Just below it the Han, after running for some distance below a lofty quartz ridge, makes an abrupt turn and penetrates it, the walls of the passage having the regularity of a railway cutting, while the bed of the stream is of pure white quartz.
Beyond this singular gateway the river valley opens out, and the spectacle, rare in Korea, of cattle is to be seen. Indeed, I only once saw cattle feeding elsewhere. The grass is coarse and sour, and hand-feeding is customary. It was most pleasant to be awoke in the dewy morning by bellowing of cattle, shouts and laughter of boys and yelping of dogs, as bulls old and young were driven to the river-bank to be tethered in the flowery grass. The frolicsome bull calves, which are brought up in the Korean home, and are attended to by the children, who are their natural playmates, develop under such treatment into that maturity of mingled gentleness and stateliness which is characteristic of the Korean bull,-the one grand thing remaining to Korea. When full grown a bull can carry from 350 to 500 lbs. They are fed on boiled beans, cut millet stalks, and cut pea haulm, and the water in which the beans are boiled. They are led by a rope passed round the horns from a bamboo ring in the nose. The prevailing colour is a warm red, and the huge animal in
124 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS CHAP.
build much resembles the shorthorn. The Korean cow, which is to be seen carrying loads in Northern Korea, is a worthy dam of such a splendid progeny.
The scenery, though always pretty, becomes monotonous after a few days, and monotonous too were the adventures in the rapids, which were innumerable, and the ceaseless toiling, dragging, and tugging they involved. Reaching "Won-chon, a post-station on the road to Won-san, we halted and engaged horses for a land journey, at a very high rate, but they and their mapu or grooms turned out well, and as Wong sententiously remarked, " If you pay well, you will be served well." The agreement, which I caused to be put into writing, and which I made use of in other journeys, with much mutual satisfaction, was duly signed, and we continued the boat journey.
After spending half a day at the prefectural town of Nang-chhon, where I am glad to record that the officials were very courteous, we ascended the Han to a point above the wild hamlet of Ut-Kiri, on a severe rapid full of jagged rocks. Ut-Kiri is above the head of low-water navigation, but in two summer months during the rains small boats can reach Ku-mu-nio, " the last village," 20 li higher. It was a wild termination of the long boat journey. An abrupt turn of the river, and its monotonous prettiness is left behind, and there is a superb mountain view of saddle-back ridges and lofty gray peaks surrounding a dark expanse of water, with a margin of gray boulders and needles of gray rock draped with the Ampelopsis, a yellow clematis, and a white honeysuckle. It was somewhat sad not to be able to penetrate the grim austerity to the northward, but the rapids were so severe and the water
VIII A TYPICAL VILLAGE 125
ofttimes so shallow that it was impossible to drag the sampan farther, though at that time she only drew 2 inches of water. From Ma-chai on the forks she had been poled and dragged up forty rapids, making eighty-six on
the whole journey.
From the thinly-peopled solitudes of these upper waters we descended rapidly, though not without some severe bumps, to the populous river-banks, where villages are half hidden among orchards and chestnut and mulberry groves, and the crops are heavy, and that abundance of the necessaries of life which in Korea passes for prosperity is the rule.
Ta-rai, a neat, prosperous place of 240 people, among orchards, and hillsides terraced and bearing superb crops, is an example of the riverine villages. Its houses are built step above step along the sides of a ravine, down which a perennial stream flows, affording water-power for an automatic rice-hulling machine. For exports and imports the Han at high water is a cheap and convenient highway. The hill slopes above the village, with their rich soil, afford space for agricultural expansion for years to come. And not to dwell altogether on the material, there is a shrine of much repute on a fork-like slope near the river. It contains a group of mirioks, in this case stones worn by the action of water into the semblance of human beings. The central figure, larger than life, may even to a dull imagination represent a person carrying an infant, and its eyes, nose, and mouth are touched in with China ink. It is surrounded by Phallic symbols and mirioks, which may be supposed to represent children, and women make prayers and offerings in this shrine in the
126 NATURAL BEAUTY-THE RAPIDS
hope of obtaining a much-coveted increase in their families, for male children are still regarded as a blessing in Korea, and " happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them." Ka-phyong again, a small prefectural town of 400 houses 11/2 mile from the river, is a good specimen of the small towns of the Han valley, with a ruinous yamen, of course, with its non-producing mob of hangers-on. It is on the verge of an alluvial plain, rolling up to picturesque hills, gashed by valleys, abounding in hamlets surrounded by chestnut groves and careful cultivation. The slopes above Ka-phyong break up into knolls richly wooded with conifers and hard-wood trees, fringing off into clumps and groups which would not do discredit to the slopes of Windsor. The people of a large district bring their produce into the town, and barter it for goods in the. market. The telegraph wire to Won-san crosses the affluent on which Ka-phyong is built, and is carried along a bridlepath which for some li runs along the river-bank. Junks loaded 10 feet above their gunwales, as well as 4 feet outside of them, with firewood, and large rafts were waiting for the water to rise. Boats were being built and great quantities of the strong rope used for towing and other purposes, which is made from a " creeper" which grows profusely in Central Korea, were awaiting water carriage. Yet Ka-phyong, like other small Korean towns, has no life or go. Its " merchants " are but pedlars, its commercial ideas do not rise above those of the huckster, and though poverty, as we understand it, is unknown, prosperity as we understand it is absent. There are no special industries in any of the riverine towns, and if they were all to disappear in some catastrophe it would not cause a ripple on
VIII A WELCOME HALT 127
the surface of the general commercial apathy of the country.
Similar remarks apply to the prefectural town of Nang-chhon, where we again wasted some hours, while Kim's rice was first bargained for and then cleaned. At that point there is a fine deep stretch of the river 230 yards broad abounding in fish. From Nang-chhon we dropped down the Han to a deep and pretty bay on which the small village of Paik-kui Mi is situated, where we halted for Sunday, our last day in the sampan, which had been a not altogether comfortless home for five weeks and a half.
KOREAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
PAIK-KUI MI was not without a certain degree of life on that Sunday. A yang-ban's steward impressed boats for the gratuitous carriage of tiles to Seoul, which caused a little feeble excitement among the junkmen. There was a sick person, and a mu-tang or female exorcist was engaged during the whole day in the attempt to expel the malevo-- lent demon which was afflicting him, the process being accompanied by the constant beating of a drum and the loud vibrating sound of large cymbals. Lastly, there was a marriage, and this deserves more than a passing notice, marriage, burial, and exorcism, with their ceremonials, being the outstanding features of Korea.1
The Korean is nobody until he is married. He is a being of no account, a " hobbledehoy." The wedding-day is the entrance on respectability and manhood, and marks a leap upwards on the social ladder. The youth, with long abundant hair divided in the middle and plaited at the
1 The notes on marriage customs which follow were given me by English-speaking Koreans and were taken down at the time. They apply chiefly to the middle class.
CHAP. IX A KOREAN METAMORPHOSIS 129
back, wearing a short, girdled coat, and looking as if he had no place in the world though he may be quite grown up, and who is always taken by strangers for a girl, is transformed by the formal reciprocal salutations which constitute the binding ceremony of marriage. He has received the tonsure, and the long hair surrounding it is drawn into the now celebrated " top-knot." He is invested with the mang-kun, a crownless skull-cap or fillet of horse-hair, without which, thereafter, he is never seen. He wears a black hat and a long full coat, and his awkward gait is metamorphosed into a dignified swing. His boy companions have become his inferiors. His name takes the equivalent of "Mr." after it; honorifics must be used in addressing him-in short, from being a "nobody " he becomes a "somebody."
A girl by marrying fulfils her "manifest destiny."
Spinsterhood in Korea is relegated to the Buddhist nunneries, where it has no reputation for sanctity. Absolutely secluded in the inner court of her father's house from the age of seven, a girl passes about the age of seventeen to the absolute seclusion of the inner rooms of her father-in-law's house. The old ties are broken, and her husband's home is thenceforth her prison. It is "custom." It is only to our thinking that the custom covers a felt hardship. It is needless to add that the young couples do not choose each other. The marriage is arranged by the fathers, and is consented to as a matter of course. A man gains the reputation of being a neglectful father who allows his son to reach the age of twenty unmarried. Seven
teen or eighteen is the usual age at which a man marries.
A girl may go through the marriage ceremony as a mere child if her parents think an "eligible" may slip through
130 KOREAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
their fingers, but she is not obliged to assume the duties of wifehood till she is sixteen. On the other hand, boys of ten and twelve years of age are constantly married when their parents for any reason wish to see the affair settled and a desirable connection presents itself, and the yellow hats and pink and blue coats and attempted dignity of these boy bridegrooms are among the sights of the cities.
A go-between is generally employed for the preliminary arrangements. No money is given to the bride's father by the bridegroom, nor does the daughter receive a dowry, but she is supplied with a large trousseau, which is packed in handsome marriage chests with brass clamps and decorations. There is no betrothal ceremony, and after the arrangement has been made the marriage may be delayed for weeks or even months. When it is thought desirable that it should take place, but not until the evening before, the bridegroom's father sends a sort of marriage-contract to the bride's father, who receives it without replying, and two pieces of silk are sent to the bride, out of which her outer garments must be made for the marriage day.
A number of men carrying gay silk lanterns bear this present to the bride, and on the way are met by a party of men from her father's house bearing torches, and a fight ensues, which is often more than a make-believe one, for serious blows are exchanged, and on both sides some are hurt. Death has occasionally been known to follow on the wounds received. If the bridegroom's party is worsted in the melee it is a sign that he will have bad luck ; if the bride's, that she will have misfortunes. The night before the marriage the parents of the bride and groom sacrifice in their respective houses before the ancestral tablets, and
ix A KOREAN BRIDE 131
acquaint the ancestors with the event which is to occur on the morrow.
The auspicious day having been decided on by the sorcerer, about an hour before noon, the bridegroom, on horseback and in Court dress, leaves his father's house, and on that occasion only a plebeian can pass a yang-ban on the road without dismounting, Two men walk before him, one carrying a white umbrella, and the other, who is dressed in red cloth, a goose, which is the emblem of conjugal fidelity. He is also attended by several men carrying unlighted red silk lanterns, by various servants, by a married brother if he has one, or by his father if he has not. On reaching his destination he takes the goose from the hands of the man in red, goes into the house, and lays it upon a table. Apropos of this emblem, it must be observed that conjugal fidelity is only required from the wife, and is a feminine virtue only.
Two women who are hired to officiate on such occasions lead the bride on to the verandah, or an estrade, and place her opposite the bridegroom, who stands facing her, but at some little distance from her. The wedding guests fill the courtyard. This is the man's first view of his future wife. She may have seen him through a chink in the lattice or a hole in the wall. A queer object she is to our thinking. Her face is covered with white powder, patched with spots of red, and her eyelids are glued together by an adhesive compound. At the instigation of her attendants she bows twice to her lord, and he bows four times to her. It is this public reciprocal "salutation" which alone constitutes a valid marriage. After it, if he repudiates her, he cannot take another wife. The per-
132 KOREAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
manence of the marriage tie is fully recognised in Korea, though a man can form as many illicit connections as he chooses. A cup of wine is then given to the bridegroom, who drinks a little, after which it is handed to the bride, who merely tastes it.
Afterwards within the house a table with a dainty dinner is set before the husband, who eats sparingly. The bride retires to the women's rooms, and the groom rejoices with his friends in the men's apartments. There is no simultaneous banquet. Each guest on arriving is supplied with a table of food. Such a table, in the case of people of means, costs from five to six yen (from 10s. to 12s.), and a very cheap wedding costs seventy-five yen, so that several daughters are a misfortune.
During the afternoon the husband returns to his father's house, and after a time the bride, bundled up in a mass of wedding clothes, and with her eyelids still sealed, attended by the two women mentioned before, some hired girls, and men with lanterns, goes thither also, in a rigidly-closed chair, in the gay decorations of which red predominates. There she is received by her father- and mother-in-law, to whom she bows four times, remaining speechless. She is then carried back to the house of her own parents, her eyelids are unsealed, and the powder is washed from her face. At five her husband arrives, but returns to his father's house on the following morning, this process of going and returning being repeated for three days, after which the bride is carried in a plain chair to her future home, under the roof of her parents-in-law, where she is allotted a room or rooms in the seclusion of the women's apartments.
ix A KOREAN LADY 133
The name bestowed on her by her parents soon after her birth is dropped, and she is known thereafter only as " the wife of so and so," or " the mother of so and so." Her husband addresses her by the word ya-bu, signifying
A KOREAN LADY.
"Look here," which is significant of her relations to him.
Silence is regarded as a wife's first duty. During the whole of the marriage day the bride must be as mute as a
134 KOREAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS CHAP.
statue. If she says a word or even makes a sign she becomes an object of ridicule, and her silence must remain unbroken even in her own room, though her husband may attempt to break it by taunts, jeers, or coaxing, for the female servants are all on the qui rice for such a breach of etiquette as speech, hanging about the doors and chinks to catch up and gossip even a single utterance, which would cause her to lose caste for ever in her circle. This custom of silence is observed with the greatest rigidity in the higher classes. It may be a week or several months before the husband knows the sound of his wife's voice, and even after that for a length of time she only opens her mouth for necessary speech. "With the father-in-law the law of silence is even more rigid. The daughter-in-law often passes years without raising her eyes to his, or addressing a word to him.
The wife has recognised duties to her husband, but he has few, if any, to her. It is correct for a man to treat his wife with external marks of respect, but he would be an object for scorn and ridicule if he showed her affection or treated her as a companion. Among the upper classes a bridegroom, after passing three or four days with his wife, leaves her for a considerable time to show his indifference. To act otherwise would be " bad form." My impression is that the community of interests and occupations which poverty gives, and the embargo which it lays on other connections, in Korea as in some other Oriental countries, produces happier marriages among the lower orders than among the higher. Korean women have always borne the yoke. They accept inferiority as their natural lot; they do not look for affection in marriage, and prob-
ix THE SECLUSION OF WOMEN 135
ably the idea of breaking custom never occurs to them. Usually they submit quietly to the rule of the belle-mere, and those who are insubordinate and provoke scenes of anger and scandal are reduced to order by a severe beating, when they are women of the
KOREAN MATERNAL COSTUME.
people, .but m the noble class custom forbids a husband to strike his wife, and as his only remedy is a divorce, and remarriage is difficult, he usually resigns himself to his fate. But if, in addition to tormenting him and destroying the peace of his house, the wife is unfaithful, he can take her to a mandarin, who, after giving her a severe beating may bestow her on a satellite.
The seclusion of girls in the parental home is carried on after marriage, and in the case of women of the upper and middle classes is as complete as is possible. They never go out by daylight except in completely closed chairs. At night, attended by a woman and a servant with a lantern,
136 KOREAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS CHAP.IX
and with a mantle over her head, a wife may stir abroad and visit her female friends, but never without her husband's permission, who requires, or may require, proof that the visit has been actually paid. Shopping is done by servants, or goods are brought to the verandah, the vendors discreetly retiring. Time, which among the leisured classes hangs heavily on the hands, is spent in spasmodic cooking, sewing, embroidering, reading very light literature in En-mun, and in the never-failing resources of gossip and the interminable discussion of babies. If a wife is very dull indeed, she can, with her husband's permission, send for actors, or rather posturing reciters, to the compound, and look at them through the chinks of the bamboo blinds. Through these also many Korean ladies have seen the splendours of the Kur-dong.
When the Korean wife becomes a mother her position is improved. Girls, as being unable to support their parents in old age or to perform the ancestral rites, are not prized as boys are, yet they are neither superfluous nor unwelcome as in some Eastern countries. The birth of a girl is not made an occasion for rejoicing, but that of the firstborn son is, and after the name has been bestowed on him, the mother is known as " the mother of so and so." The first step alone of the first boy is an occasion for family jubilation. Korean babies have no cradles, and are put to sleep by being tapped lightly on the stomach.
THE KOREAN PONY-KOREAN ROADS AND INNS
A GRAY and murky morning darkening into drizzle, which thickened into a day's pouring rain, was an inauspicious beginning of a long land journey, but the crawling up the north Han had become monotonous and change and action were desirable. Being an experienced muleteer, I had arranged the loads for each pony so equitably as to obviate the usual quarrel among the mapu or grooms at starting! The men were not regular mapu, and were going chiefly to see the Diamond Mountain. One was well educated and gentlemanly, and the bystanders jeered at them for "loading like scholars." They were a family party, and there were no disputes.
My first experience of the redoubtable Korean pony was not reassuring. The men had never seen a foreign saddle and were half an hour in getting it " fixed." Though a pony's saddle, it was far too large for the creature's minute body, the girths were half a yard and the crupper nearly a foot too long. The animal bit, squealed, struck with his fore and hind feet, and performed the singular feat of bending his back into such an inward curve that his small
138 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS CHAP.
body came quite near the ground. The men were afraid of him, and it was only in the brief intervals of fighting that they dared to make a dash at the buckles. It was "tight-lacing " that he objected to.
The Korean pony is among the most salient features of Korea. The breed is peculiar to it. The animals used for burdens are all stallions, from 10 to 12 hands higb, well formed, and singularly strong, carrying from 160 to 200 lbs. 30 miles a day, week after week, on sorry food. They are most desperate fighters, squealing and trumpeting on all occasions, attacking every pony they meet on the road, never becoming reconciled to each other even on a long journey, and in their fury ignoring their loads, which are often smashed to pieces. Their savagery makes it necessary to have a mapu for every pony, instead of, as in Persia, one to five. At the inn stables they are not only chained down to the troughs by chains short enough to prevent them from raising their heads, but are partially slung at night to the heavy beams of the roof. Even under these restricted circumstances their cordial hatred finds vent in hyena-like yells, abortive snaps, and attempts to swing their hind legs round. They are never allowed to lie down, and very rarely to drink water, and then only when freely salted. Their nostrils are all slit in an attempt to improve upon Nature and give them better wind. They are fed three times a day on brown slush as hot as they can drink it, composed of beans, chopped millet stalks, rice husks, and bran, with the water in which they have been boiled. The mapu are rough to them, but I never saw them either ill-used or petted. Dearly as I love horses, I was not able on two journeys to make a friend of mine. On this
x EQUINE MANNERS 139
journey I rode a handsome chestnut, only 10 hands high. He walked 4 miles an hour, and in a month of travelling, for much of it over infamous mountain roads, never stumbled, but he resented every attempt at friendliness both with teeth and heels. They are worth from 50s upwards, and cost little to keep.
Their attendants, the mapu, who are by no means always their owners, or even part owners, are very anxious about them and take very great care of them, seeing to what passes as their comfort before their own. The pack-saddle is removed at once on halting, the animals are well rubbed, and afterwards thick straw mats are bound round their bodies. Great care is given to the cooking of their food. 1 know not whether the partial slinging of them to the cross-beams is to relieve their legs or to make fighting more difficult. On many a night I have been kept awake by the screams of some fractious animal, kicking and biting his neighbours as well as he was able, till there was a general plunging and squealing, which lasted till blows and execrations restored some degree of order.
After I mounted my steed, he trudged along very steadily,unless any of his fellows came near him.when, with an evil glare in his eyes and a hyena-like yell, he rushed upon them teeth and hoof, entirely oblivious of bit and rider. A torrent of rain fell, and the day's journey consisted in splashing through deep mud, fording swollen streams, because the bridges which crossed them were rotten, getting wet to the skin, and getting partially dry by sitting on the hot floor of a hovel called an inn at the noonday halt, along with a steaming crowd of all sorts and conditions of men in clean and dirty white clothes.
140 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS CHAP.
The road by which we travelled is the main one from Seoul to the eastern treaty port of Won-san. It passes through rice valleys with abundant irrigation, and along the sides of bare hills. Goods and travellers were not to be looked for in such weather, but there were a few strings of coolies loaded with tobacco, and a few more taking dried fish and dried seaweed, the latter a great article of diet, from Won-san to the capital. Pangas, or water pestles for hulling rice, under rude thatched sheds, were numerous. These work automatically, and their solemn thud has a tone of mystery. The machine consists of a heavy log centred on a pivot, with a box at one end and a pestle at the other. Water from a stream with some feet of fall is led into the box, which when full tips over its contents and bears down one end of the log, when the sudden rise, acting on the pestle at the other end, brings it down with a heavy thud on the rice in the hollowed stone, which serves as a mortar. Where this simple machine does not exist the work is performed by women.
Denuded hillsides gave place to wooded valleys with torrents much resembling parts of Japan, the rain fell in sheets, and quite in the early afternoon, on reaching the hamlet of Sar-pang Kori, the mapu declined to proceed farther, and there I had my first experience of a Korean inn. Many weeks on that and subsequent journeys showed me that this abominable shelter, as I then thought it, may be taken as a fair average specimen, and many a hearty meal and good sound sleep may be enjoyed under such apparently unpropitious circumstances.
There are regular and irregular inns in Korea. The irregular inn differs in nothing from the ordinary hovel of
HOTEL ACCOMMODATION 141
the village roadway, unless it can boast of a yard with troughs, and can provide entertainment for beast as well as for man. The regular inn of the towns and large villages consists chiefly of a filthy courtyard full of holes and heaps, entered from the road by a tumble-down gateway. A gaunt black pig or two tethered by the ears, big yellow dogs routing in the garbage, and fowls, boys, bulls, ponies, mapu, hangers-on, and travellers' loads make
up a busy scene.
On one or two sides are ramshackle sheds, with rude, hollowed trunks in front, out of which the ponies suck the hot brown slush which sustains their strength and pugnacity. On the other is the furnace-shed with the oats where the slush is cooked, the same fire usually heating the flues of the kang floor of the common room, while smaller fires in the same shed cook for the guests. Low lattice doors filled in with torn and dirty paper give access to a room the mud floor of which is concealed by reed mats, usually dilapidated, sprinkled with wooden blocks which serve as pillows. Farming gear and hat-boxes often find a place on the low heavy cross-beams. Into this room are crowded mapu, travellers, and servants, the low residuum of Korean travel, for officials and gang-bans receive the hospitalities of the nearest magistracy, and the peasants open their houses to anybody with whom they have a passing acquaintance. There is in all inns of pretensions, however, another room, known as " the clean room," 8 feet by 6, which, if it existed, I obtained, and if not I had a room in the women's quarters at the back, remarkable only for its heat and vermin, and the amount of ang-paks, bundles of dirty clothes, beans rotting for soy,
142 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS CHAP.
and other plenishings which it contained, and which reduced its habitable portion to a minimum. At night a ragged lantern in the yard and a glim of oil in the room made groping for one's effects possible.
The room was always overheated from the ponies' fire. From 80° to 85° was the usual temperature, but it was frequently over 92°, and I spent one terrible night sitting at my door because it was 105° within. In this furnace, which heats the floor and the spine comfortably, the Korean wayfarer revels.
On arriving at an inn, the master or servant rushes at the mud, or sometimes matted, floor with a whisk, raising a great dust, which he sweeps into a corner. The disgusted traveller soon perceives that the heap is animate as well as inanimate, and the groans, sighs, scratchings, and restlessness from the public room show the extent of the insect pest. But I never suffered from vermin in a Korean inn, nor is it necessary. After the landlord had disturbed the dust, Wong put down either two heavy sheets of oiled paper or a large sheet of cotton dressed with boiled linseed oil on the floor, and on these arranged my camp-bed, chair, and baggage. This arrangement (and I write from twenty months' experience in Korea and China) is a perfect preventative.
In most inns rice, eggs, vegetables, and a few Korean dainties, such as soup, vermicelli, dried seaweed, and a paste made of flour, sugar, and oil, can be procured, but tea never, and the position of the well, which frequently receives the soakage of the courtyard, precludes a careful traveller from drinking aught but boiled water. At the proper seasons chickens can be purchased for about 4d.
THE "SEAMY SIDE" OF LAND TRAVEL 143
each, and pheasants for less. Dog meat is for sale frequently in the spring, and pork occasionally.
The charges at Korean inns are ridiculously low. Nothing is charged for the room with its glim and hot floor, but as I took nothing for "the good of the house," I paid 100 cash per night, and the same for my room at the mid-day halt, which gave complete satisfaction. Travellers who eat three meals a day spend, including the trifling gratuities, from 200 to 300 cash per diem. Millet takes the place of rice in the northern inns.
The Korean inn is not noisy unless wine is flowing freely, and even then the noise subsides early. The fighting of the ponies, and the shouts and execrations with which the mapu pacify them, are the chief disturbances till daylight comes and the wayfarers move on. Travelling after dark is contrary to Korean custom.
From this slight sketch, the shadows of which will bear frequent and much intensifying, it will be seen that Korean travelling has a very seamy side, that it is entirely unsuited to the "globe-trotter," and that even the specialist may do well to count the cost before embarking upon it.
To me the curse of the Korean inn is the ill-bred and unmanageable curiosity of the people, specially of the women. A European woman had not been seen on any part of the journey, and I suffered accordingly. Sar-pang Kori may serve as a specimen.
My quarters were opposite to the ponies, on the other side of the foul and crowded courtyard. There were two rooms, with a space under the roof as large as either between them, on which the dripping baggage was de-
144 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS CHAP.
posited, and Wong established himself with his cooking stove and utensils, though there was nothing to cook except two eggs obtained with difficulty, and a little rice left over from the boat stores. My room had three paper doors. The unwalled space at once filled up with a crowd of men, women, and children. All the paper was torn off the doors, and a crowd of dirty Mongolian faces took its place. I hung up cambric curtains, but long sticks were produced and my curtains were poked into the middle of the room. The crowd broke in the doors, and filled the small space not occupied by myself and my gear. The women and children sat on my bed in heaps, examined my clothing, took out my hairpins and pulled down my hair, took off my slippers, drew my sleeves up to the elbow and pinched my arms to see if they were of the same flesh and blood as their own; they investigated my few possessions minutely, trying on my hat and gloves, and after being turned out by Wong three times, returned in fuller force, accompanied by unmarried youths, the only good-looking "girls" ever seen in Korea, with abundant hair divided in the middle, and hanging in long plaits down their backs. The pushing and crushing, the odious familiarity, the babel of voices, and the odours of dirty clothing in a temperature of 80°, were intolerable. Wong cleared the room a fourth time, and suggested that when they forced their way in again, they should find me sitting on the bed cleaning my revolver, a suggestion I accepted. He had hardly retired when they broke in again, but there was an immediate stampede, and for the remainder of the evening I was free from annoyance. Similar displays of aggressive and intolerable curiosity occurred
s A TRAVELLING NATION 145
three times daily, and it was hard to be always amiable under such circumstances.
The Koreans travel enormously, considering that they seldom make pilgrimages. The pedlars, who solely supply the markets, are always on the move, and thousands travel for other reasons, such as the gatherings at ancestral tablets, restlessness, ennui, ku-kyong or sight-seeing, visits to tombs, place-hunting, literary examinations, place-keeping and attempting to deprive others of place, litigation, and business. The fear of tigers and dremons prevents people from journeying by night, which is as well, as the bearers of official passports have the right to demand an escort of torch-bearers from each village. If necessity compels nocturnal travel, the wayfarers associate themselves in bands, swinging lanterns, waving torches, yelling, and beating gongs. The dread of the tiger is so universal as to warrant the Chinese proverbial saying, "The Korean hunts the tiger one half of the year, and the tiger hunts the Korean the other half." As I have before remarked, the mandarins and yang-bans, with their trains, quarter themselves on the magistracies, and eat the fat of the land. Should they be compelled to have recourse to the discomforts of an inn and the food of a village, they appropriate the best of everything without paying for it. Hence the visit of a foreigner armed with a kwan-ja is such an object of dread, that on this land journey I seldom let it bo known that I had one, and on my second journey discarded it altogether, trusting in both to the reputation for scrupulous honesty which I at once established with my men to overcome the repugnance which the innkeepers felt to receiving me.
146 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS CHAP.
The roads along which the traveller rides or trudges, at a pace, in either case, of 3 miles an hour, are simply infamous. There are few made roads, and those which exist are deep in dust in summer and in mud in winter, where they are not polished tracks over irregular surfaces and ledges of rock. In most cases they are merely paths worn by the passage of animals and men into some degree of legibility. Many of the streams are unbridged, and most of the bridges, the roadways of which are only of twigs and sod, are carried away by the rains of early July, and are not restored till the middle of October. In some regions traffic has to betake itself to fords or ferries when it reaches a stream, with their necessary risks and detentions. Even on the " Six Great Roads " which centre in the capital, the bridges are apt to be in such a rotten condition that a mapu usually goes over in advance of his horses to ascertain if they will bear their weight. Among the mountains, roads are frequently nothing else than boulder-stwren torrent-beds, and on the best, that between Seoul and Chemulpo, during the winter, there are tracts on which the mud is from one to three feet deep. These infamous bridle-tracks, of which I have had extensive experience, are one of the great hindrances to the development of Korea.
Among the worst of these is that part of the main road from Seoul to Won-san which we followed from Sar-pang Kori for two days to Sang-nang Dang, where we branched off for the region known as Keum-Kang San, or the Diamond Mountain. The earlier part of this route was through wooded valleys, where lilies of the valley carpeted the ground, and over the very pretty pass of Chyu-pha
SIGNS OF DAEMON-WORSHIP 147
(1300 feet), on the top of which is a large spirit shrine, containing some coarsely-painted pictures of men who look like Chinese generals, the usual offerings of old shoes, rags, and infinitesimal portions of rice, and a tablet inscribed, "I, the spirit S6ng-an-chi, dwell in this place." There, as at the various trees hung with rags, and the heaps of stones on the tops of passes, the mapu bowed and expectorated, as is customary at the abodes of daemons.
More than once we passed not far from houses outside of which the mu-tang or sorceress, with much feasting, beating of drums, and clashing of cymbals, was exorcising the daemon which had caused the sickness of some person within. Portions of the expensive feast prepared on these occasions are offered to the evil spirit, and after the exorcism part of the food so offered is given to the patient, in the belief that it is a curative medicine, often seriously aggravating the disease, as when a patient suffering from typhoid fever or dysentery is stuffed with pork or kimchi! Recently a case came under the notice of Dr. Jaisohn (So Chia pit) in Seoul, in which a man, suffering from the matter malady, died immediately after eating raw turnips, riven him by the mu-tang after being offered to the daemons at the usual feast at the ceremony of exorcism. There is much wet rice along the route, as well as dry rice, with a double line of beans between every two rows, and in the rice revel and croak large frogs of extreme beauty, vivid green with black velvet spots, the under side of the legs and bodies being cardinal red. These appeared to be the prey of the graceful white and pink ibis, the latter in the intensified flush of his spring colouring. A descent from a second pass leads to the Keum-San
148 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS ,,i\,.
Gang, a largish river in a rich agricultural region, and to the village of Pan-pyong, where they were making in the rudest fashion great cast-iron pots used for boiling horse food, from iron obtained and smelted 33 li farther
On two successive days there were tremendous thunderstorms, the second succeeded, just as we were at the head of a wild glen, by a brief tornado, which nearly blew over the ponies, and snapped trees of some size as though they had been matchwood. Then came a profound calm. The clouds lay banked in pink illuminated masses on a sky of tender green, cleft by gray mountain peaks. Mountain torrents boomed, crashed, sparkled, and foamed, the silent woods rejoiced the eye by the vividness of their greenery and their masses of white and yellow blossom, and sweet heavy odours enriched the evening air. On that and several other occasions, I recognised that Korea has its own special beauties, which fix themselves in the memory ; but they must be sought for in spring and autumn, and off the beaten track. Dirty and squalid as the villages are, at a little distance their deep-eaved brown roofs, massed among orchards, on gentle slopes, or on the banks of sparkling streams, add colour and life to the scenery, and men in their queer white clothes and dress hats, with their firm tread, and bundled-up women, with a shoggling walk and long staffs, brought round with a semicircular swing at every step, are adjuncts which one would not willingly
Before reaching the Paik-yang Gang, a broad, full river, an affluent of the northern Han, with singularly abrupt turns and perpendicular cliffs of a formation resembling
x LAVA FIELDS 149
that of the Palisades on the Hudson River, we met with one of the great lava fields described by Consul
This, winch we crossed in a north-easterly direction, is a rough oval about 40 miles by 30, a tableland, in fact, surrounded by a deep chasm where the torrents which encircle it meet the mountains. Its plateaux are from 60 to 100 feet above these streams, which are all affluents of the Han, and are supported on palisades of basalt, exhibiting the prismatic columnar formation in a very striking manner. In some places the lava, which is often covered either with conglomerate or a stiffish clay, is very near the surface, and large blocks of it lie along the streams. It is a most fertile tract, and could support a large population, I but not being suited for rice, is very little cultivated, and grows chiefly oats, millet, and beans, which are not affected by the strong winds.
There are two Dolmens, not far from the Paik-yang Gang. In one the upper stone is from 7 to 10 feet long, by 7 feet wide, and 17 inches deep, resting on three stones 4 feet 2 inches high. The other is somewhat smaller. The openings of both face due north.
After crossing the Paik-yang Gang, there 162 yards wide and 16 feet deep, by a ferry-boat of remarkably ingenious construction, rendered necessary by the fact that the long bridge over the broad stream was in ruins, and that the appropriation for its reconstruction had been diverted by the local officials to their own enrichment, we entered the spurs or ribs of the great mountain chain which, running
1 " Recent Journeys in Korea," Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, May 1896.
150 THE KOREAN PONY-ROADS AND INNS CHAP.
north and south, divides Korea into two very unequal longitudinal portions at the village of Tong-ku.
The scenery became very varied and pretty. Forests clothed many of the hills with a fair blossoming undergrowth, untouched by the fuel-gatherers' remorseless hook ; torrents flashed in foam through dark, dense leafage, or bubbled and gurgled out of sight; the little patches of cultivation were boulder - strewn; there were few inhabitants, and the tracks called roads were little better than the stony beds of streams. As they become less and less obvious, and the valleys more solitary, our tergiversations were more frequent and prolonged, the mapu drove the ponies as fast as they could walk, the fords were many and deep, and two of the party were unhorsed in them, still we hurried on faster and faster. Not a word was spoken, but I knew that the men had tiger on the brain!
Blundering through the twilight, it was dark when we reached the lower village of Ma-ri Kei, where we were to halt for the night, two miles from the Pass of Tan-pa-Rybng, which was to be crossed the next day. There the villagers could not or would not take us in. They said they had neither rice nor beans, which may have been true so late in the spring. However, it is, or then was, Korean law that if a village could not entertain travellers it must convoy them to the next halting-place.
The mapu were frantic. They yelled and stormed and banged at the hovels, and succeeded in turning out four sleepy peasants, who were reinforced by four more a little farther on; but the torches were too short, and after sputtering and flaring, went out one by one, and the fresh ones lighted slowly. The mapu lost their reason. They
A TORCHLIGHT PROCESSION 151
thrashed the torch-bearers with their heavy sticks; I lashed my mapu with my light whip for doing it; they yelled, they danced. Then things improved. Gloriously glared the pine knots on the leaping crystal torrents that we forded, reddening the white clothes of the men and the stony track and the warm-tinted stems of the pines; and so with shouts and yells and waving torches we passed up the wooded glen in the frosty night air, under a firmament of stars, to the mountain hamlet of upper Ma-ri Kei, consisting of five hovels, only three of which were inhabited.
It is a very forlorn place and very poor, and it was an hour before my party of eight human beings and four ponies were established in its miserable shelter, though even that was welcome after being eleven hours in the saddle.
THE MONASTERIES OF THE DIAMOND MOUNTAIN
IT was a glorious day for the Pass of Tan-pa Eyong (1320 feet above Ma-ri Kei), the western barrier of the Keum-kang San region. Mr. Campbell, of H.B.M.'s Consular Service, one of the few Europeans who has crossed it, in his charming narrative mentions that it is impassable for laden animals, and engaged porters for the ascent; but though the track is nothing better than a torrent-bed abounding in great boulders, angular and shelving rocks, and slippery corrugations of entangled tree roots, I rode over the worst part, and my ponies made nothing of carrying the baggage up the rock ladders. The mountain-side is covered with luxuriant and odorous vegetation, specially oak, chestnut, hawthorn, varieties of maple, pale pink azalea, and yellow clematis, interspersed with a few distorted pines, primulas and lilies of the valley covering the mossy ground.
From the spirit shrine on the summit a lovely panorama unfolds itself, billows of hilly woodland, gleams of water, wavy outlines of hills, backed by a jagged mountain wall, attaining an altitude of over 6000 feet in the loftiest
CHAP, si A BUDDHIST RUBICON 153
pinnacle of the Keum-Kang San. A fair land of promise, truly! But this pass is a rubicon to him who seeks the Diamond Mountain with the intention of immuring himself for life in one of its many monasteries. For its name, Tan-pa, "crop-hair," was bestowed on it early in the history of Korean Buddhism for a reason which remains. There those who have chosen the cloister emphasise their abandonment of the world by cutting off the "top-knot" of married dignity, or the heavy braid of bachelorhood.
The eastern descent of the Tan-pa Eyong is by a series of zigzags, through woods and a profusion of varied and magnificent ferns. A long day followed of ascents and descents, deep fords of turbulent streams, valley villages with terrace cultivation of buckwheat, and glimpses of gray rock needles through pine and persimmon groves, and in the late afternoon, after struggling through a rough ford in which the water was half-way up the sides of the ponies, we entered a gorge and struck a smooth, broad, well-made road, the work of the monks, which traverses a fine forest of pines and firs above a booming torrent.
Towards evening " the hills swung open to the light" ; through the parting branches there were glimpses of granite walls and peaks reddening into glory; red stems, glowing in the slant sunbeams, lighted up the blue gloom of the conifers; there were glints of foam from the loud-tongued torrent below ; the dew fell heavily, laden with aromatic odours of pines, and as the valley narrowed again and the blue shadows fell the picture was as fair as one could hope to see. The monks, though road-makers, are not bridge-builders, and there were difficult
154 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
fords to cross, through which the ponies were left to struggle by themselves, the mapu crossing on single logs. In the deep water I discovered that its temperature was almost icy. The worst ford is at the point where the first view of Chang-an Sa, the Temple of Eternal Eest, the oldest of the Keum-kang San monasteries, is obtained, a great pile of temple buildings with deep curved roofs, in a glorious situation, crowded upon a small grassy plateau in one of the narrowest parts of the gorge, where the mountains fall back a little and afford Buddhism a peaceful shelter, secluded from the outer world by snow for four months of the year.
Crossing the torrent and passing under a lofty Hong-Sal-Mun, or "red arrow gate," significant in Korea of the patronage of royalty, we were at once among the Chang-an Sa buildings, which consist of temples large and small, a stage for religious dramas, bell and tablet houses, stables for the ponies of wayfarers, cells, dormitories, and a refectory for the abbot and monks, quarters for servants and neophytes, huge kitchens, a large guest hall, and a nunnery. Besides these there are quarters devoted to the lame, halt, blind, infirm, and solitary; to widows, orphans, and the destitute.
These guests, numbering 100, seemed well treated. Between monks, servants, and boys preparing for the priesthood there may be 100 more, and 20 nuns of all ages, from girlhood up to eighty-seven years. This large number of persons is supported by the rent and produce of Church lands outside the mountains, the contributions of pilgrims and guests, the moneys collected by the monks, who all go on mendicant expeditions, even up to the gates of Seoul, which at that time it was death for any priest to enter,
SI THE CHANG-AN SA MONASTERY 155
and benefactions from the late Queen, which had become
The first impression of the plateau was that it was a wood-yard on a large scale. Great logs and piles of planks were heaped under the stately pines and under a superb Salisburia adiantifolia, 17 feet in girth ; 40 carpenters were sawing, planing, and hammering, and 40 or 50 labourers were hauling in logs to the music of a wild chant, for mendicant effort had been resorted to energetically, with the result that the great temple was undergoing repairs, almost amounting to a reconstruction.
Of the forty-five monasteries and monastic shrines which exist in the Diamond Mountain, enhancing its picturesque-ness and supplying it with a religious and human interest, Chang-an Sa may be taken as a fair specimen of the three largest, as it is undoubtedly the oldest, assuming the correctness of a historical record quoted by Mr. Campbell, which gives the date of its restoration by two monks, Yul-sa and Chin-h'yo, as A.D. 515, in the reign of P6-pheung, a king of Silla, then the most important of the kingdoms afterwards amalgamated as Korea.
The large temple is a fine old building of the type adapted from Chinese Buddhist architecture, oblong, with a heavy tiled roof 48 feet in height, with wings, deep eaves protecting masses of richly-coloured wood-carving. The lofty reticulated roof is internally supported on an arrangement of heavy beams, elaborately carved and painted in rich colours. The panels of the doors, which serve as windows, and let in a "dim religious light," are bold fretwork, decorated in colours enriched with gold. The roofs of the actual shrines are supported on wooden
156 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
pillars 3 feet in diameter, formed of single trees, and the panelled ceilings are embellished with intricate designs in colours and gold. In one, Sakyamuni's image, with a distinctly Hindu cast of countenance, and a look of ineffable abstraction, sits under a highly-decorative reticulated wooden canopy, with an altar before it, on which are brass incense-burners, books of prayer, and lists of those deceased persons for whose souls masses have been duly paid for. Much rich brocade, soiled and dusty, and many gonfalons, hang round this shrine.
The "Hall of the Four Sages " contains three Buddhas in different attitudes of abstraction or meditation, a picture, wonderfully worked in gold and silks in Chinese embroidery, of Buddha and his disciples, for which the monks claim an antiquity of fourteen centuries, and sixteen Lohans, with their attendants. Along the side walls are a host of daemons and animals. Another striking shrine is that dedicated to the Lord of the Buddhistic Hell and his ten princes. The monks call it the "Temple of the Ten Judges." This is a shrine of great resort, and is much blackened by the smoke of incense and candles, but the infernal torments depicted in the pictures at the back of each judge are only too conspicuous. They are horrible beyond conception, and show a diabolical genius in hellish art, akin to that which inspired the creation of the groups in the Inferno of the temple of Kwan-yin at Ting-hai on Chusan, familiar to some of my readers.
Besides the ecclesiastical buildings and the common guest-room, there are Government buildings marked with the Korean national emblem, for the use of officials who go up to Chang-an Sa for pleasure.
A CALM RETREAT 157
It was difficult for me to find accommodation, but eventually a very pleasing young priest of high rank gave up his cell to me. Unfortunately, it was next the guests' kitchen, and the flues from the fires passing under it, I was baked in a temperature of 91°, although, in spite of warnings about tigers, the dangers from which are by no means imaginary, I kept both door and window open all night. The cell had for its furniture a shrine of Gautama and an image of Kwan-yin on a shelf, and a few books, which I learned were Buddhist classics, not volumes, as in a cell which I occupied later, full of pictures by no means inculcating holiness. In the next room, equally hot, and without a chink open for ventilation, thirty guests moaned and tossed all night, a single candle dimly lighting a picture of Buddha and the dusty and hideous ornaments on the altar below.
At 9 P.M., midnight, and again at 4 A.M., which is the hour at which the monks rise, bells were rung, cymbals and gongs were beaten, and the praises of Buddha were chanted in an unknown tongue. A feature at once cheerful and cheerless is the presence at Chang-an Sa of a number of bright, active, orphan boys from ten to thirteen years old, who are at present servitors, but who will one day become priests.
It is an exercise of forbearance to abstain from writing much about the beauties of Chang-an Sa as seen in two days of perfect heavenliness. It is a calm retreat, that small, Teen, semicircular plateau which the receding hills have left, walling in the back and sides with rocky precipices half clothed with forest, while the bridgeless torrent in front, raging and thundering among huge
158 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
boulders of pink granite, secludes it from all but the adventurous. Alike in the rose of sunrise, in the red and gold of sunset, or gleaming steely blue in the prosaic glare of mid-day, the great rock peak on the left bank, one of the highest in the range, compels ceaseless admiration. The appearance of its huge vertical topmost ribs has been well compared to that of the "pipes of an organ," this organ-pipe formation being common in the range; seams and ledges half-way down give root-hold to a few fantastic conifers and azaleas, and lower still all suggestion of form is lost among dense masses of magnificent forest.
As I proposed to take a somewhat different route from Yu-chom Sa (the first temple on the eastern slope) from that traversed by my predecessors, the Hon. G. W. Curzon and Mr. Campbell, I left the ponies and baggage at Chang-an Sa, the mapti, who were bent on ku-kybng, accompanying me for part of the distance, and took a five days' journey in the glorious Keum-kang San in unrivalled weather, in air which was elixir, crossing the range to Yu-chom Sa by the An-mun-chai (Goose-Gate Terrace), 4215 feet in altitude, and recrossing it by the Ki-cho, 3570 feet.
Taking two coolies to carry essentials, and a na-myo or mountain chair with two bearers, for the whole journey, all supplied by the monks, I walked the first stage to the monasteries of P'yo-un Sa and Chyang-yang Sa, the latter at an elevation of about 27G0 feet. From it the view, which passes for the grandest in Korea, is obtained of the "Twelve Thousand Peaks." There is assuredly no single view that I have seen in Japan or even in Western China which equals it for beauty and grandeur. Across
A CANYON IN' THE DIAMOND MOUNTAINS.
xi THE "TWELVE THOUSAND PEAKS 159
the grand gorge through which the Chang-an Sa torrent thunders, and above primaeval tiger-haunted forests with their infinity of green, rises the central ridge of the Keum-kang San, jagged all along its summit, each yellow granite pinnacle being counted as a peak.
On that enchanting May evening, when odours of paradise, the fragrant breath of a million flowering shrubs and trailers, of bursting buds, and unfolding ferns, rose into the cool dewy air, and the silence could be felt, I was not inclined to enter a protest against Korean exaggeration on the ground that the number of peaks is probably nearer 1200 than 12,000. Their yellow granite pinnacles, weathered into silver gray, rose up cold, stern, and steely blue from the glorious forests which drape their lower heights- winter above and summer below-then purpled into red as the sun sank, and gleamed above the twilight, till each glowing summit died out as lamps which are extinguished one by one, and the whole took on the ashy hue of death.
The situation of P'yo-un Sa is romantic, on the right bank of the torrent, and it is approached by a bridge, and by passing under several roofed gateways. The monastery had been newly rebuilt, and is one mass of fretwork, carving, gilding, and colour, the whole decoration being the work of the monks.
The front of the "Temple of the Believing Mind "is a magnificent piece of bold wood-carving, the motif being the peony. Every part of the building which is not stone or tile is carved, and decorated in blue, red, white, green, and gold. It may be barbaric, but it is barbaric splendour. There too is a "Temple of Judgment," with hideous representations of the Buddhist hells, one scene
160 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
being the opening of the books in which the deeds of men's mortal lives are written.
The fifty monks of P'yo-un-Sa were very friendly, and not impecunious. One gave up to me his oven-like cell, but repaid himself for the sacrifice by indulging iu ceaseless staring. The wind bells of the establishment and the big bell have a melody in their tones such as I have rarely heard, and when at 4 A.M. bells of all sizes and tones announced that " prayer is better than sleep," there was nothing about the sounds to jar on the pure freshness of morning. The monks are well dressed and jolly, and have a well-to-do air which clashes with any pretensions to asceticism. The rule of these monasteries is a strict vegetarianism which allows neither milk nor eggs, and in the whole region there are neither fowls nor domestic animals. Not to wound the prejudices of my hosts, I lived on tea, rice, honey water, edible pine nuts, and a most satisfying combination of pine nuts and honey. After a light breakfast on these delicacies, the sub-abbot took me to see his grandmother, a very bright pleasing woman of eighty, who came from Seoul thirteen years ago and built a house within the monastery grounds, in order to die in its quiet blessedness. There I had to eat a second ethereal meal, and the hospitable hostess forced on me a pot of exquisite honey and a bag of pine nuts. These, the product of the Pinus pinea, which grows profusely throughout the range, furnish an important and nutritious article of monkish diet, and are exported in quantities as a luxury. They are rich and very oily, and turn rancid soon after being shelled. The honey is also locally produced. The bee-hives, which usually stand two
xi KU-KYNG 161
together in cavities in the rocks, are hollow logs with clay covers mounted on blocks of wood or stone. Leaving this friendly hostess and the seven nuns of the nunnery behind, the sub-abbot showed me the direction in which to climb, for road there is none, and at parting presented me with a fan.
A visit to the Keum-kang San elevates a Korean into the distinguished position of a traveller, and many a young resident of Seoul gains this fashionable reputation. It is not as containing shrines of pilgrimage, for most Koreans despise Buddhism and its shaven mendicant priests, that these mountains are famous in Korea, but for their picturesque beauties, much celebrated in Korean poetry. The broad backbone of the peninsula which has trended near to the east coast from Puk-chong southwards has degenerated into tameness, when suddenly Keum-kang-San, or the Diamond Mountain, with its elongated mass of serrated,jagged, and inaccessible peaks, and magnificent primaeval forest, occupying an area of about 32 miles in length by
22 in breadth, starts off from it near the 39th parallel of latitude in the province of Kang-wbn. Buddhism, which,as in Japan, possesses itself of the fairest spots in Nature,fixed itself in this romantic seclusion as early as the Sixth century A.D., and the venerable relics of the time when for 1000 years it was the official as well as the popular cult of the country are chiefly to be found in the recesses of this mountain region, where the same faith, though now discredited, disestablished, and despised, still attracts a
certain number of votaries, and a far larger number of visitors and so-called pilgrims, who resort to the shrines to indulge in ku-kyong, a Korean term which covers pleasure-
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seeking, sight-seeing, the indulgence of curiosity, and much else.
So far as I have been able to learn, there are only two routes by which the Keum-kang San can be penetrated, the one which, after following the bed of a singularly rough torrent, crosses the watershed at An-mun-chai, and on or near which the principal monasteries and shrines are situated, and the Ki-cho, a lower and less interesting pass. Both routes start from Chang-an Sa. The forty-two shrines are the head-quarters of about 400 monks and about 50 nuns, who add to their religious exercises the weaving of cotton and hempen cloth. The lay servitors possibly number 1000. The four great monasteries, two on the eastern and two on the western slope, absorb more than 300 of the whole number. All except the high monastic officials beg through the country, alms-bowl in hand, the only distinctive features of their dress being a very peculiar hat and the rosary. They chant the litanies of Buddha from house to house, and there are few who deny them food and lodging and a few cash or a little rice.
The monasteries are presided over by what we should call "abbots," superiors of the first or second class according to the importance of the establishment. These Chong-sop and Son-tong are nominally elected annually, but actually continue in office for years, unless their conduct gives rise to dissatisfaction. Beyond the confirmation of the election of the Chmuj-sop of those monasteries which possess a "Bed Arrow Gate" by the Board of Rites at Seoul, the disestablished Church appears to be quite free from State interference. In the case of restoring and rebuilding shrines, large sums are collected in Seoul and
xr MONKISH SUPERSTITIONS 163
the southern provinces, though faith in Buddhism as a creed rarely exists.
On making inquiries through Mr. Miller as to the way in which the number of monks is kept up, I learned that the majority are either orphans or children whose parents have given them to the monasteries at a very early age owing to poverty. These are more or less educated and trained by the monks. It must be supposed that among the number there are a few who escape from the weariness and friction of secular life into a region in which seclusion and devotion are possible. Of this type was the pale and interesting young priest who gave up his room to me at Chang-an Sa, and two who accompanied us to Yu-chom Sa, one of whom chanted Na. Mu Ami Tabu nearly the whole day as he journeyed, telling a bead on his rosary for each ten repetitions. Mr. Miller asked him what the words meant. " Just letters," he replied ; " they have no meaning, but if you say them many times you will get to heaven better." Then he gave Mr. Miller the rosary, and taught him the mystic syllables, saying," Now, you keep the beads, say the words, and you will go to heaven." Among the younger priests several seemed in earnest. Others make the monasteries (as is largely the case with the celebrated shrines of Kwan-yin on the Chinese island of Pu-tu) a refuge from justice or creditors, some remain desiring peaceful indolence, and not a few are vowed and tonsured who came simply to view the scenery of the Keum-kang San and were too much enchanted to leave it.
As to the moribund Buddhism which has found its most secluded retreat in these mountains, it is overlaid with daemonolatry, and like that of China is smothered
164 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
under a host of semi-deified heroes. Of the lofty aims and aspirations after righteousness which distinguish the great Buddhist reforming sects of Japan, such as the Monto, it knows nothing.
The monks are grossly ignorant and superstitious. They know nearly nothing of the history and tenets of their own creed, or of the purport of their liturgies, which to most of them are just "letters," the ceaseless repetition of which constitutes "merit." Though some of them know Chinese, and this knowledge means "education " in Korea, worship consists in the murnhling or loud intoning of Sanscrit or Tibetan phrases, of the meaning of which they have no conception. My impression of most of the monks was that their religious performances are absolutely without meaning to them, and that belief, except among a few, does not exist. The Koreans universally attribute to them gross profligacy, of the existence of which at one of the large monasteries it was impossible not to become aware; but between their romantic and venerable surroundings, the apparent order and quietness of their lives, their benevolence to the old and destitute, who find a peaceful asylum with them, and in the main their courtesy and hospitality, 1 am compelled to admit that they exercise a certain fascination, and that I prefer to remember their virtues rather than their faults. My sympathies go out to them for their appreciation of the beautiful, and for the way in which religious art has assisted Nature by the exceeding pic-turesqueness of the positions and decoration of their shrines.
The route from Chang-an Sa to Yu-chbm Sa, about 11 miles, is mainly the rough beds of two great mountain
xi A ROMANTIC REGION 165
torrents. Along this, in romantic positions, are three large monasteries, P'yo-un Sa, Ma-ha-ly-an Sa, and Yu-chbm-Sa, besides a number of smaller shrines, with from two to five attendants each, one especially, Po-tok-am, dedicated to Kwan-yin, picturesque beyond description- a fantastic temple built out from the face of a cliff, at a height of 100 feet, and supported below the centre by a pillar, round which a blossoming white clematis, and an Ampelopsis Veitchii, in the rose flush of its spring leafage, had entwined their lavish growth.
No quadruped can travel this route farther than Chang-an Sa. Coolies, very lightly laden, and chair-bearers carrying a na-myo, two long poles with a slight seat in the middle, a noose of rope for the feet, and light uprights bound together with a wistaria rope to support the back, can be used, but the occupant of the chair has to walk much of the way.
The torrent-bed contracts above Chang-an Sa, expands here and there, and above P'yo-un Sa narrows into a gash, oniy opening out again at the foot of the An-mun-chai. Surely the beauty of that 11 miles is not much exceeded anywhere on earth. Colossal cliffs, upbearing mountains, forests, and gray gleaming peaks, rifted to give root-hold to pines and maples, ofttimes contracting till the blue heaven above is narrowed to a strip, boulders of pink granite 40 and 50 feet high, pines on their crests and ferns and lilies in their crevices, round which the clear waters swirl, before sliding down over smooth surfaces of pink granite to rest awhile in deep pink pools where they take a more brilliant than an emerald green with the flashing lustre of a diamond-rocks and ledges over which the crystal stream
166 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
dashes in drifts of foam, shelving rock surfaces on which the decorative Chinese characters, the laborious work of pilgrims, afford the only foothold, slides, steeper still, made passable for determined climbers by holes, drilled by the monks, and fitted with pegs and rails, rocks with bas-reliefs, or small shrines of Buddha draped with flowering trailers, a cliff with a bas-relief of Buddha, 45 feet high on a pedestal 30 feet broad, rocks carved into lanterns and altars, whose harsh outlines are softened by mosses and lichens, and above, huge timber and fantastic peaks rising into
The summer heaven's delicious blue.
A description can be only a catalogue. The actuality was intoxicating, a canyon on the grandest scale, with every element of beauty present.
This route cannot be traversed in European shoes. In Korean string foot-gear, however, I never slipped once. There was much jumping from boulder to boulder, much winding round rocky projections, clinging to their irregularities with scarcely foothold, and one's back to the torrent far below, and much leaping over deep crevices and "walking tight-rope fashion" over rails. Wherever the traveller has to leave the difficulties of the torrent-bed he encounters those of slippery sloping rocks, which he has to traverse by hanging on to tree trunks.
Our two priestly companions were most polite to me, giving me a hand at the dangerous places, and beguiling the way by legends, chiefly Buddhistic, concerning every fantastic and abnormal rock and pool, such as the Myo-kil Sang, the colossal figure of Buddha referred to before,
THE HYO-KIL SANG, SAKYAMUNI
xi FANTASTIC ROCK SCENERY 167
a pot-hole in the granite bed of the stream, the wash-basin of some mythical Bodhisattva, the Tire Dragon Pool, and the bathing-places of dragons in the fantastic Man-pok-Tong (Grotto of Myriad Cascades), and the Lion Stone which repelled the advance of the Japanese invaders in 1592.
Beyond the third monastery the gorge becomes wider and less fantastic, the forest thinner, allowing scattered glimpses of the sky, and finally some long zigzags take the traveller up to the open grassy summit of the An-mun-chai, on which plums, pears, cherries, blush azaleas, and pink rhododendrons, which had long ceased blooming below, were in their first flush of beauty. To the west the difficult country of the previous week's journey, gray granite, deep valleys, and tiger-haunted forest, faded into a veil of blue, and in the east, over diminishing forest-covered ranges, gleamed the blue Sea of Japan, more than 4000 feet below.
On the eastern descent there are gigantic pines and firs, some of them ruthlessly barked, and the long dependent streamers of the gray-green Lyeopodium Sieboldii with which they are festooned, give the forest a funereal aspect. Of this the peculiar, fringed hats are made which are worn on occasion by both monks and nuns. After many downward zigzags, the track enters another rocky gorge with a fine torrent, in the bed of which are huge "pot-holes," shown as the bathing - places of dragons, whose habits must have been much cleanlier than those of the present inhabitants of the land.
The great monastery of Yu-chom Sa, with its many curved roofs and general look of newness and wealth, is
168 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
approached by crossing a very tolerable bridge. The road, which passes through a well-kept burial-ground, where the ashes of the pious and learned abbots of several centuries repose under more or less stately monuments, was much encumbered near the monastery by great pine logs newly hewn for its restoration, which was being carried out on a very expensive scale.
The monks made a difficulty about receiving us, and it was not till after some delay, and the production of my kwan-ja, that we were allotted rooms in the Government buildings for the two days of our halt. After this small difficulty, they were unusually kind and friendly, and one of the young priests, who came over the An-mun-chai with us, offered Mr. Miller the use of his cell on Sunday, saying that " it would be a quieter place than the great room to study his belief" !
I had hoped for rest and quiet on the following day, having had rather a hard week, but these were unattainable. Besides 70 monks and 20 nuns, there were nearly 200 lay servitors and carpenters, and all were bent upon ku-lcyong, the first European woman to visit the Keum-kang San being regarded as a great sight, and from early morning till late at night there was no rest. The kang floor of my room being heated from the kitchen, it was too hot to exist with the paper front closed, and the crowds of monks, nuns, and servitors, finishing with the carpenters, who crowded in whenever it was opened, and hung there hour after hour, nearly suffocated me, the day being very warm. The abbot and several senior monks discussed with Mr. Miller the merits of rival creeds, saying that the only difference between Buddhists and ourselves is
xi MIDNIGHT ORISONS 169
that they don't kill even the smallest insect, while we disregard what we call " animal life," and that we don't look upon monasticism and other forms of asceticism as means of salvation. They admitted that among their priests there are more who live in known sin than strivers after righteousness.
There are many bright busy boys about Yu-chom Sa, most of whom had already had their heads shaved. To one who had not, Che on-i gave a piece of chicken, but he refused it because he was a Buddhist, on which an objectionable-looking old sneak of a priest told him that it was all right to eat it so long as no one saw him, but the boy persisted in his refusal.
At midnight, being awakened by the boom of the great bell and the disorderly and jarring clang of innumerable small ones, I went, at the request of the friendly young priest, our fellow-traveller, to see him perform the devotions, which are taken in turn by the monks.
The great bronze bell, an elaborate piece of casting of the fourteenth century, stands in a rude, wooden, clay-floored tower by itself. A dim paper lantern on a dusty rafter barely lighted up the white-robed figure of the devotee, as he circled the bell, chanting in a most musical voice a Sanskrit litany, of whose meaning he was ignorant, striking the bosses of the bell with a knot of wood as he did so. Half an hour passed thus. Then taking a heavy mallet, and passing to another chant, he circled the bell with a greater and ever-increasing passion of devotion, beating its bosses heavily and rhythmically, faster and faster, louder and louder, ending by producing a burst of frenzied sound, which left him for a moment exhausted. Then, seizing
170 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.
the swinging beam, the three full tones which end the worship, and which are produced by striking the bell on the rim, which is 8 inches thick, and on the middle, which is very thin, made the tower and the ground vibrate, and boomed up and down the valley with their unforgettable music. Of that young monk's sincerity I have not one doubt.
He led us to the great temple, a vast "chamber of imagery," where a solitary monk chanted before an altar in the light from a solitary lamp in an alabaster bowl, accompanying his chant by striking a small bell with a deer horn. The dim light left cavernous depths of shadow in the temple, from which eyes and teeth, weapons, and arms and legs of otherwise invisible gods and devils showed uncannily. Behind the altar is a rude and monstrous piece of wood-carving representing the upturned roots of a tree, among which fifty-three idols are sitting and standing. As well by daylight as in the dimness of midnight, there are an uncouthness and a power about this gigantic representation which are very impressive. Below the carving are three frightful dragons, on whose faces the artist has contrived to impress an expression of torture and defeat.
The legend of the altar-piece runs thus. When fifty-three priests came to Korea from India to introduce Buddhism, they reached this place, and being weary, sat down by a well under a spreading tree. Presently three dragons came up from the well and began a combat with the Buddhists, in the course of which they called up a great wind which tore up the tree. Not to be out-manoeuvred, each priest placed an image of Buddha on
THE ALTAR LEGEND OF YU-CHOM Si 171
a root of the tree, turning it into an altar. Finally, the priests overcame the dragons, forced them into the well, and piled great rocks on the top of it to keep them there, founded the monastery, and built this temple over the dragons' grave. On either side of this unique altar-piece is a bouquet of peonies 4 feet wide by 10 feet high.
The "private apartments" of this and the other monasteries consist of a living-room, and very small single cells, each with the shrine of its occupant, and all very clean. It must be remembered, however, that this easy, peaceful, luxurious life only lasts for a part of the year, and that all but a few of the monks must make an annual tramp, wallet and begging-bowl in hand, over rough, miry, or dusty Korean roads, put up with vile and dirty accommodation, beg for their living from those who scorn their tonsure and their creed, and receive " low talk " from the lowest in the land.
Just before we left, the old abbot invited us into his very charming suite of rooms, and with graceful hospitality prepared a repast for us with his own hands-square cakes of rich oily pine nuts glued together with honey, thin cakes of "popped" rice and honey, sweet cake, Chinese sweetmeat, honey, and bowls of honey water with pine nuts floating on its surface. The oil of these nuts certainly supplied the place of animal food during my enforced abstinence from it, but rich vegetable oil and honey soon pall on the palate, and the abbot was concerned that we did not do justice to our entertainment. The general culture produced by Buddhism at these monasteries, and the hospitality, consideration, and gentleness of deportment, contrast very favourably with the arrogance, supercilious-
172 DIAMOND MOUNTAIN MONASTERIES CHAP.XI
ness, insolence, and conceit which I have seen elsewhere in Korea among the so-called followers of Confucius.
When we departed all the monks and labourers bade us a courteous farewell, some of the older priests accompanying us for a short distance.
After descending the slope by the well-made road which leads down to the large monastery of Sin-kyei Sa, at the north-east foot of the Keum-kang San, we left it for a rough and difficult westerly track, which, after affording some bright gleams of the Sea of Japan, enters dense forest full of great boulders and magnificent specimens of the Filix mas and Osmunda regalis. A severe climb up and down an irregular, broken staircase of rock took us over the Ki-cho Pass, 3700 feet in altitude, after which there is a tedious march of some hours along bare and unpicturesque mountain-sides before reaching the well-made path which leads through pine woods to the beautiful plateau of Chang-an Sa. The young priest had kept our baggage carefully, but the heat of his floor had melted the candles in the boxes and had turned candy into molasses, making havoc among photographic materials at the same time!
FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN
ON leaving Chang-an Sa for Won-san we retraced our route as far as Kal-ron-gi, and afterwards crossed the Mak-pai Pass, from which there is a grand view of the Keum-kang San. Much of a somewhat tedious day was spent in crossing a rolling elevated plateau bordered by high denuded hills, on which the potato flourishes at a height of 2500 feet. The soil is very fertile, but not being suited to rice, is very little occupied. Crossing the Sai-kal-chai, 2200 feet in altitude, the infamous road descends on a beautiful alluvial valley, a rich farming country, sprinkled with hamlets and surrounded by pretty hills wooded with scrub oak, which in the spring is very largely used for fertilising rice fields. The branches are laid on the inundated surface till the leaves rot off, and they are then removed for fuel. In this innocent-looking valley the tiger scare was in full force. A tiger, the people said, had carried off a woman the previous week, and a dog and pig the previous night. It seemed incredible, yet there was a consensus of evidence. Tigers are occasionally trapped in that region by baiting a pit with a dog or pig, and the
174 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON -SAN CHAP.
ensnared animal is destroyed by poison or hunger to avoid injury to the skin, which, if it be that of a fine animal, is very valuable.
A man is not the least ashamed of saying that he has not nerve or pluck for tiger-hunting, which in Korea is a dangerous game, for the hunters are stationed at the head of a gorge, usually behind brushwood, and sometimes behind rocks, the big game, tigers and leopards, being driven up towards them by large bodies of men. When one realises that the arms used are matchlocks lighted by slow matches from cords wound round the arm, and that the charge consists of three imperfectly-rounded balls the size of a pea, and that, owing to the thickness of the screen behind which the hunters are posted, the game is only sighted when quite close upon them, one ceases to wonder at the reluctance of the village peasants to turn out in pursuit of a man-eater, even though the bones bring a very high price as Chinese medicine.
We put up at the only inn in the region. It had no "clean room," but the landlord's wife gave up hers to me on condition that I would not keep the door open for fear of a tiger. The temperature was 93°, and to secure a little ventilation and yet keep my promise, I tore the paper off the lattice-work of the door. Mr. Miller described his circumstances thus: " I wanted to sleep in the yard, but the host would not let me for fear of tigers, so I had to sleep in a room 8 feet by 10 " (with a hot floor), " with seven other men, a cat, and a bird. By tearing the paper off a window near my head I saved myself from death by suffocation, and could have had a good night's rest
xii A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT 175
had not the four horses been crowded into two stalls in the kitchen. They found their quarters so close that they squealed, kicked, bit, and fought all night, and their drivers helped them to make night hideous by their yelling." Nobody slept, and I had my full share of the unrest and disturbance, a bad preparation for an eleven hours' ride on the next day, which was fiercely hot, as were the remaining six days of the journey.
The road from this lofty tiger-haunted valley to the sea-level at Chyung-Tai is for the most part through valleys very sparsely peopled. Much forest land, however, was being cleared for the planting of cotton, and the peasant farmers are energetic enough to carry their cultivation to a height of 2000 feet. [On nearly the whole of this journey I estimated that the land is capable of supporting double its present population.] At Hoa-chung, a prettily-situated market-place, a student who had successfully passed the literary examination at the Kwag-a in Seoul, surrounded by a crowd in bright-coloured festive clothing, was celebrating his return by sacrificing at his father's grave. On the various roads there were many processions escorting village students home from the great competition in the Royal presence at the capital, the student in coloured clothes, on a gaily-caparisoned horse or ass, with music and flags in front of him, and friends, gaily dressed, walking beside him. On approaching his village he was met with flags and music, the headman and villagers, even the women in gay apparel, going out to welcome him. After this success he was entitled to erect a tall pole, with a painted dragon upon it, in front of his house. Success was, however, very costly,
176 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAT
and often hung the millstone of debt round a man's neck for the remainder of his life. After " passing " the student became eligible for official position, the sole object of ambition to an " educated " Korean.
At Hoa-chung we turned eastwards, and took the main road to the coast, attaining an altitude (uncorrected) of 3117 feet by continued ascents over rounded hills, which, when not absolutely bare except for coarse, unlovely grasses, only produced stunted hazel bush. After this an easy ascent among absolutely denuded hills leads up to a spirit shrine of more than usual importance, crowded with the customary worthless ex votos, rags and old straw shoes. At that point the road makes an altogether unexpected and surprising plunge over the bare shoulders of a bare hill into Paradise!
This pass of the "Ninety-nine Turns," Tchyu-Chi-chang, deserves its name, the number of sharp zigzags not being exaggerated, as in the case of the "Twelve Thousand Peaks." It is so absolutely rocky, and so difficult in consequence, that it is more passable in snow than in summer. Its abrupt turns lead down a forest-clothed mountain ridge into a magnificent gorge, densely wooded with oak, Spanish chestnut, weeping lime, Abies excelsa, and magnolia, looped together with the white millfleur rose. On the northern side rises Hoang-chyong San, a noble mountain and conspicuous landmark, much broken up into needles and precipices, and clothed nearly to its summit with forests, of which the Pinus sylvestris is the monarch. The descent of the pass takes one hour and a half, the road coming down upon a torrent 50 feet wide, only visible in glints of foam here and there, amid
XII KOREAN VORACITY 177
its smothering overgrowth of blossoming magnolia, syringa, and roses.
The filthy, miserable hamlet of Chyung-tai, composed of five hovels, all inns, was rather a comfortless close to a fatiguing day. These houses are roofed, as in some other villages, with thick slabs of wood heaped on each other, kept on, so far as they are kept on, by big stones. The forest above on the mountains is a Royal reservation, made so by the first king of this dynasty, who built stone walls round the larger trees.
I had occasion to notice at Chyung-tai, and in many other places, the extreme voracity of the Koreans. They eat not to satisfy hunger, but to enjoy the sensation of repletion. The training for this enjoyment begins at a very early age, as I had several opportunities of observing. A mother feeds her young child with rice, and when it can eat no more in an upright position, lays it on its back on her lap and feeds it again, tapping its stomach from time to time with a fiat spoon to ascertain if further cramming is possible. " The child is father to the man," and the adult Korean shows that he has reached the desirable stage of repletion by eructations, splutterings, slapping his stomach, and groans of satisfaction, looking round with a satisfied air. A quart of rice, which when cooked is of great bulk, is a labourer's meal, but besides there are other dishes, which render its insipidity palatable. Among them are pounded capsicum, soy, various native sauces of abominable odours, kimchi, a species of sour kraut, seaweed, salt fish, and salted seaweed fried in batter. The very poor only take two meals a day, but those who can afford it take three and four.
178 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
In this respect of voracity all classes are alike. The great merit of a meal is not so much quality as quantity, and from infancy onwards one object in life is to give the stomach as much capacity and elasticity as is possible, so that four pounds of rice daily may not incommode it. People in easy circumstances drink wine and eat great quantities of fruit, nuts, and confectionery in the intervals between meals, yet are as ready to tackle the next food as though they had been starving for a week. In well-to-do houses beef and dog are served on large trenchers, and as each guest has bis separate table, a host can show generosity to this or that special friend without helping others to more than is necessary. I have seen Koreans eat more than three pounds of solid meat at one meal. Large as a "portion " is, it is not unusual to see a Korean eat three and even four, and where people abstain from these excesses it may generally be assumed that they are too poor to indulge in them. It is quite common to see from twenty to twenty-five peaches or small melons disappear at a single sitting, and without being peeled. There can be no doubt that the enormous consumption of red pepper, which is supplied even to infants, helps this gluttonous style of eating. It is not surprising that dyspepsia and kindred evils are very common among Koreans.
The Korean is omnivorous. Dog meat is in great request at certain seasons, and dogs are extensively bred for the table. Pork, beef, fish, raw, dried, and salted, the intestines of animals, all birds and game, no part being rejected, are eaten-a baked fowl, with its head, claws, and interior intact, being the equivalent of " the fatted calf." Cooking is not always essential. On the Han I saw men
xii ARTICLES OF DIET 179
taking fish off the hook, and after plunging them into a pot of red pepper sauce, eating them at once with their bones. Wheat, barley, maize, millet, the Irish and sweet potato, oats, peas, beans, rice, radishes, turnips, herbs, and wild leaves and roots innumerable, seaweed, shrimps, pastry made of flour, sugar, and oil, kimchi, on the making of which the whole female population of the middle and lower classes is engaged in November, a home-made vermicelli of buckwheat flour and white of egg, largely made up into a broth, soups, dried persimmons, spongecakes, cakes of the edible pine nut and honey, of flour, sugar, and sesamum seeds, onions, garlic, lily bulbs, chestnuts, and very much else are eaten. Oil of sesamum is largely used in cooking, as well as vinegar, soy, and other sauces of pungent and objectionable odours, the basis of most of them being capsicums and fermented rotten beans!
The magistracy of Thong-chhon, where we halted the next day at noon, and where the curiosity of the people was absolutely suffocating, is a town sheltered from the sea, which is within 2 miles, by a high ridge, and is situated prettily in a double fold of hills remarkable for the artistic natural grouping of very grand pines.
At this point a spell of the most severe heat of the year set in, and the remainder of the journey was accomplished in a temperature ranging from 89° to 100° in the shade, and seldom falling below 80° at night, phenomenal heat for the first days of June. Taking advantage of it, the whole male population was in the fields rice-planting. Pace valleys, reaching the unusual magnitude for Korea of from 3 to 7 miles in breadth, and from 6 to 14 miles in length, sloping gently to the sea, with innumerable
180 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
villages on the slopes of the hills which surround them, were numerous. Among them I saw, for the only time, reservoirs for the storage of water for irrigation. The pink ibis and the spotted green frog were abundant everywhere. The country there has a look of passable prosperity, but the people are kept at a low level by official exactions.
On this coast of Kong-won-Do are the P'al-kyong or "Eight Views," which are of much repute in Korea. We passed two of them. Su-chung Dai (The Place between the Waters) is a narrow strip of elevated white sand with the long roll of the Pacific on the east, and the gentle plash of a lovely fresh-water lake on the west. This lake of Ma-cha Tong, the only body of fresh water which I saw in Korea, about 6 miles in length by 2 in breadth, has mountainous shores much broken by bays and inlets, at the head of each of which is a village half hidden among trees in the folds of the hills, while wooded conical islets break the mirror of the surface. On the white barrier of sand there are some fine specimens of the red-stemmed Pinus sylvestris, with a carpet of dwarf crimson roses and pink lilies. Among the mountain forests are leopards, tigers, and deer, and the call of the pheasant and the cooing of the wild dove floated sweetly from the lake shore. It was an idyll of peace and beauty. The other of the "Eight Views " is rather a curiosity than a beauty, miles of cream-coloured sand blown up in wavy billows as high as the plumy tops of thousands of fir trees which are helplessly embedded in it.
During the long hot ride of eleven hours, visions of the evening halt at a peaceful village on the sea-shore filled my mind, and hope made the toilsome climb over several
xii A FISHING VILLAGE 181
promontories of black basalt tolerable, even though the descents were so steep that the mapu held the ponies up by their tails ! In the early twilight, when the fierce sun-blaze was over, in the smoky redness of a heated evening atmosphere, when every rock was giving forth the heat it had absorbed in the day, across the stream which is at once the outlet of the lake and the boundary between the provinces of Kang-won and Ham-gyong, appeared a large, straggling, gray-roofed village, above high-water mark, on a beach of white sand. Several fishing junks were lying in shelter at the mouth of the stream. Women were beating clothes and drawing water, and children and dogs were rolling over each other on the sand, all more or less idealised by being silhouetted in purple against the hot, lurid sky.
As the enchantment of distance faded and Ma-cha Tong revealed itself in plain prose, fading from purple into sober gray, the ideal of a romantic halt by the pure sea vanished. A long, crooked, tumble-down narrow street, with narrower offshoots, heaps of fish offal and rubbish, in which swine, mangy, blear-eyed dogs, and children, much afflicted with skin-disease, were indiscriminately routing and rolling, pools covered with a thick brown scum, a stream which had degenerated into an open sewer, down which thick green slime flowed tardily, a beach of white sand, the upper part of which was blackened with fish laid out to dry, frames for drying fish everywhere, men, women, children, all as dirty in person and clothing as it was possible to be, thronging the roadway as we approached, air laden with insupportable odours, and the vilest accommodation I ever had in Korea, have fixed this night in my memory.
182 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
The inn, if inn it was, gave me a room 8 feet by 6, and 5 feet 2 inches high. Any-paks, for it was the family granary, iron shoes of ploughs and spades, bundles of foul rags, seaweed, ears of millet hanging in bunches from the roof, pack-saddles, and worse than all else, rotten beans fermenting for soy, and malodorous half-salted fish, just left room for my camp-bed. This den opened on a vile yard, partly dunghill and partly pig-pen, in which is the well from which the women of the house, with sublime sang-froid, draw the drinking water! Outside is a swamp, which throughout the night gave off sickening odours. Every few minutes something was wanted from my room, and as there was not room for two, I had every time to go out into the yard. Wong's good-night was, " I hope you won't die." When I entered, the mercury was 87°. After that, cooking for man and beast and the kang floor raised it to 107°, at which point it stood till morning, vivifying into revoltingly active life myriads of cockroaches and vermin which revel in heat, not to speak of rats, which ran over my bed, ate my candle, gnawed my straps, and would have left me without boots, had I not long before learned to hang them from the tripod of my camera. From nine years of travelling, some of it very severe and comfortless, that night stands out as hideously memorable. The raison d'etre of Ma-cha Tong, and the numerous coast villages which exist wherever a convenient shore and a protection for boats occur together, is the coast fishing. The fact that a floating population of over 8000 Japanese fishermen make a living by fishing on the coast near Fusan shows that there is a redundant harvest to be reaped. The Korean fisherman is credited with utter
Xii THE KOREAN FISHERMAN 183
want of enterprise, and Mr. Oiesen, in the Customs report for Won-san for 1891, accuses him of " remaining content with such fish as will run into crudely and easily constructed traps, set out along the shore, which only require attention for an hour or so each day." I must, however, say that each village that I passed possessed from seven to twelve fishing junks, which were kept at sea. They are unseaworthy boats, and it is not surprising that they hug the shore. I believe that the fishing industry, with every other, is paralysed by the complete insecurity of the earnings of labour and by the exactions of officials, and that the Korean fisherman does not care to earn money of which he will surely be deprived on any or no pretence, and that, along with the members of the industrial classes generally, he seeks the protection of poverty.
The fish taken on this coast, when salted and dried, find their way by boat to Won-san, and from thence over central Korea, but in winter pedlars carry them directly inland from the fishing villages. Salterns on the plan of those often seen in China occur frequently near the villages. The operation of making salt from sea-water is absolutely primitive, and so rough and dirty that the whiteness of the coarse product which results is an astonishment. In spite of heavy losses and heavier "squeezings," this industry, which is carried on from May to October, is
a profitable one.
The road beyond that noisome halting-place traverses picturesque country for many miles, being cut out of the sides of noble cliffs, or crosses basaltic spurs by arrangements resembling rock ladders, keeping perforce always close to the sea, now on dizzy precipices, then descending
184 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
to firm hard stretches of golden sand, or winding just above high-water mark among colossal boulders which are completely covered with the Ampelopsis Veitchii, the creeper par excellence of Korea. The sea was green and violet near the shore and a vivid blue in the distance, and on its rippleless surface fishing boats with gray hulls and brown sails lay motionless, for the rush and swirl of tides, rising and falling as they do on the west coast from 25 to 38 feet, are unknown on the east coast, the variation between high and low water being within 18 inches.
It was the hottest day of the year, and it was fortunate that the prettily-situated market-place of Syo-im had a new and clean inn, in which it was possible to prolong the noonday halt, and to get a good dinner of fresh and salt fish, vegetables, herbs, sauces, and rice, for the sum of two cents gold. There also, being the market-day, Mr. Miller succeeded in obtaining cash for four silver yen from the pedlars.
After passing over a tedious sandy plain with a reserve of fine firs, under which the countless dead of ages lie under great sand mounds held together by nets or branches of trees, we reached at sunset my ideal, a clean, exquisitely-situated village of nine houses, of which one was an inn, where, contrary to the general rule, we were made cordially welcome.1 The nine families at Chin-pul possessed seven good-sized fishing boats.
1 A kwan-ja, being on official passport, lays a traveller open to the suspicion that, like officials, he will take the best of everything he can get without paying for it, and this dread, added to a natural distrust of foreigners, led to more or less unwillingness to receive us in many places, the mapu having to console the people by asseverating that I paid the full price for all I got. and that even when I tore a sheet of paper from the window I paid for it!
xii FERTILITY OF HAM-GYONG DO 185
That inn is of unusual construction. There is a broad mud platform of which fireplaces and utensils for cooking for man and beast occupy one half, and the other is matted for sleeping and eating. My room, which had no window, but was clean and plastered, opened on this, and as the mercury was at 1110 until 3 A.M. owing to the heated floor, I sat at the door nearly all night, so the dawn and an early start, and the coolness of the green and violet shades of the almost rippleless ocean, which laved its varied shore of bays, promontories, and lofty cliffs, were very welcome.
A valley opening on the sea which it took five hours to skirt and cross, covered with grain and newly-planted rice, is literally fringed with villages, which look comfortably prosperous in spite of exactions. A smaller valley contains about 3000 acres of rice land only, and on the slopes surrounding all these are rich lands, bearing heavy crops of wheat, millet, barley, cotton, tobacco, castor oil, sesamum, oats, turnips, peas, beans, and potatoes. The ponies are larger and better kept in that region, and the red bulls are of immense size. The black pig, however, is as small and mean as ever. The crops were clean, and the rice dykes and irrigation channels well kept. Good and honest government would create as happy and prosperous a people as the traveller finds in Japan, the soil being very similar, while Korea has a far better climate.
During the land journey from Chang-an Sa to Won-san I had better opportunities of seeing the agricultural methods of the Koreans than in the valleys of the Han. As compared with the exquisite neatness of the Japanese and the diligent thriftiness of the Chinese, Korean agriculture is to some extent wasteful and untidy. "Weeds
186 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
are not kept down in the summer as they ought to be, stones are often left on the ground, and there is a ragged-ness about the margins of fields and dykes and a dilapidation about stone walls which are unpleasing to the eye. The paths through the fields are apt to be much worn and fringed with weeds, and the furrows are not so straight as they might be. Yet on the whole the cultivation is much better and the majority of the crops far cleaner than I had been led to expect. Domestic animals are very few, and very little fertilising material is applied to the ground except in the neighbourhood of Seoul and other cities, a fact which makes its exceeding fertility very noteworthy.
The rainfall is abundant but not excessive, and the desolating floods which afflict Korea's opposite neighbour, Japan, are as unknown as earthquakes. Irrigation is only necessary for rice, which is the staple of Korea. Except on certain rice lands, two crops a year are raised throughout central and southern Korea, the rice being planted in June, or rather transplanted from the nurseries in which it is sown in May, and is harvested early in October, when the ground is ploughed and barley or rye is sown, which ripens in May or early June of the next year, after which water is let in, the field is again ploughed while flooded, and the rice plants are set out in rows of "clumps," two or four or even six plants in a " clump." Where only one crop is raised, the rice field lies fallow from the end of October till the following May. In wheat, barley, or rye fields the sowing is in October, and the harvest in May or June, after which beans, peas, and other vegetables are sown. Along the "great roads," as the crops approach
xii KOREAN AGRICULTURE 187
ripeness, elevated watch-sheds are erected in the fields as safeguards against depredations. The crops, on the whole, are very fine, and would be immense were it not for the paucity of fertilising material.
Agricultural implements are rude and few. A wooden ploughshare with a removable iron shoe is used which turns the furrows the reverse way to ours. A wooden spade, also shod with iron, is largely used for heavy work. This, which excites the ridicule of foreigners as a gratuitous waste of man-power, is furnished with several ropes attached to the blade, each of which is jerked by a man while another man guides the blade into the ground by its long handle. The other implements are the same sort of sharp-pointed sharp hoe which is in use in China, and which in the hands of the Eastern peasant fills the place of shovel, hoe, and spade, a reaping hook, a short knife, a barrow, and a bamboo rake which is largely used in the denudation of the hills.
Grain, peas, and beans are threshed out with flails as often as not in the roadway of a village, while the grinding of flour and the hulling of rice are accomplished by the stone quern, and the stone or wooden mortar, with an iron pestle worked by hand or foot, the " pang-a," or, as has been previously described, by a " mul" or water "pang-a." Rice is threshed by beating the ears over a board, and all grain is winnowed by being thrown up in the wind.
The pony is not used in agriculture. Ploughing is done by the powerful, noble, tractable, Korean bull, a cane ring placed in his nostrils when young rendering him manageable even by a young child. He is four years in attaining maturity, and is now worth from ￡3 to ￡4, his
188 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
value having been enhanced by the late war and the prevalence of rinderpest in recent years. Milk is not an article of diet. In some districts ox-sleds of very simple construction are used for bringing down fuel from the hills and produce from the fields, and at Seoul and a few other cities rude carts are to be seen; but ponies, men, and bulls are the means of transport for produce and goods, the loads being adjusted evenly on wooden pack-saddles, or in the case of small articles in panniers of plaited straw or netted rope. In the latter, ingeniously made to open at the bottom and discharge their contents, manure is carried to the fields. Both bulls and ponies are shod with iron. The pony carries from 160 to 200 lbs. Sore backs are lamentably common.
The breed of pigs is very small. Pigs are always black and loathsome. Their bristles stand up along their backs, and they are lean, active, and of specially revolting habits. The dogs are big, usually buff, long-haired, and cowardly, and caricature the Scotch collie in their aspect. The fowls are plebeian, and for wildness, activity, and powers of flight are unequalled in my experience. Ducks are not very common, and geese are kept chiefly as guards, and for presentation at weddings as emblems of fidelity. The few sheep bred in Korea are reserved for Royal sacrifices. I have occasionally seen mutton on tables in Seoul, but it has been imported from Chefoo. The villages which make their living altogether by agriculture are usually off the high roads, those which the hasty traveller passes through depending as much on the entertaining of wayfarers as on the cultivation of the land. In these, nearly every house has a covered shelf in front at which food can be obtained,
xii AN UNPLEASANT HALT 189
but lodging is not provided, and the villages which can feed and lodge beasts as well as men are few. The fact that the large farming villages are off the road gives an incorrect notion of the population of Korea.
On the slope of a hill-side above a pleasant valley lies the town of An-byong, once, judging from the extent of its decaying walls and fortifications, and the height of its canopied but ruinous gate-towers, a large city. The yamen and other Government buildings are well kept, and being in good repair, are in striking contrast to those previously seen on the route. The "main street" is, however, nothing but a dirty alley. The town has a diminishing population, and though it makes some paper from the Brousonettia papyrifera, and has several schools, and exchanges rice and beans for foreign cottons at Won-san, it has a singularly decaying look, and is altogether unworthy of its position as being one of the chief places in the province of Ham-gyong. Outside of it the road crosses a remarkably broad river-bed by a bridge 720 feet long, so dilapidated that the ponies put their feet through its rotten sods several times.
From An-byong to Ta-ri-mak, a short distance from Nam San on the main road from Seoul to Won-san, is a long and tedious ride through thinly-peopled country and pine woods full of graves. We spent two nights there at a very noisy and disagreeable inn, in which privacy was unattainable and the vermin were appalling. There the host was specially unwilling to take in foreigners, on the ground that we should not pay, a suspicion which irritated our friendly mapu, who vociferated at the top of their voices that we paid " even for the smallest things we got."
190 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
The swinging season was at hand, each amusement having its definite date for beginning and ending, and in every village swings were being erected on tall straight poles. Wong could never resist the temptation of taking a swing, which always amused the people.
At this inn there were some musical performers who made both night and day wearisome to me, but gave great pleasure to others. I have not previously mentioned my sufferings on the Han from the sounds produced by itinerant musicians, and by the mu-tang or sorceress and her coadjutors; but, as has been forcibly brought out in a paper on Korean music by Mr. Hulbert in the Korean Repository,1 the sounds are peculiar and unpleasing, because we neither know nor feel what they are intended to express, and we bring to Korean music not the Korean temperament and training but the Western, which demands "time" as an essential. It may be added that the Koreans, like their neighbours the Japanese, love our music as little as we love theirs, and for the same reason, that the ideas we express by it are unfamiliar to them.
One reason of the afflictive and discordant sounds is that the gamut of Korea differs from the musical scale of European countries, with the result that whenever music seems to be trembling on the verge of a harmony, a discord assails the ear. The musical instruments are many, but they are not carefully finished. Among instruments of percussion are drums, cymbals, gongs, and a species of castanet. For wind instruments there are unkeyed bugles, flutes, and long and short trumpets; and the stringed instruments are a large guitar, a twenty-five 1 February 1896.
xii KOREAN VOCAL MUSIC 191
stringed guitar, a mandolin, and a five-stringed violin. The discord produced by a concert of several of these instruments is heard in perfection at the opening and closing of the gates of cities.
There are three classes of Korean vocal music, the first being the Si-jo or "classical" style, andante, tremuloso, and " punctuated with drums," the drum accompaniment consisting mainly of a drum beat from time to time as an indication to the vocalist that she has quavered long enough upon one note. The Si-jo is a slow process, and is said by the Koreans to require such long and patient practice that only the dancing girls can excel in it, as they alone have leisure to cultivate it. One branch of it deals with convivial songs, of one of which I give a translation from the gifted pen of the Rev. H. B. Hulbert of Seoul.1
"Twas years ago that Kim and I Struck hands and swore, however dry The lip might be or sad the heart, The merry wine should have no part In mitigating sorrow's blow Or quenching thirst. "Twas long ago.
II And now I've reached the flood-tide mark Of life ; the ebb begins, and dark The future lowers. The tide of wine Will never ebb. 'Twill aye be mine To mourn the desecrated fane Where that lost pledge of youth lies slain.
III Nay, nay, begone ! The jocund bowl Again shall bolster up my soul Against itself. What, good-man, hold ! Canst tell me where red wine is sold ? Nay, just beyond that peach tree there ? Good luck be thine, I'll thither fare.
192 FROM CHANO-AN SA TO WON-SAN
The Korean, prisoned during the winter in his small dark, dirty, and malodorous rooms, with neither a glowing-fireside nor brilliant lamp to mitigate the gloom, welcomes spring with lively excitement, and demands music and song as its natural accompaniment-song that shall express the emancipation, breathing space, and unalloyed physical pleasure which have no counterpart in our English feelings. Thus a classical song runs :-
The willow catkin bears the vernal blush of summer's dawn
When winter's night is done ; The oriole, who preens herself aloft on swaying bough,
Is summer's harbinger ; The butterfly, with noiseless ful-ful of her pulsing wing,
Marks off the summer hour. Quick, boy, thy zither ! Do its strings accord ? 'Tis well.
Strike up ! I must have song.
The second style of Korean vocal music is the Ha Ch'i or popular. The most conspicuous song in this class is the A-ra-rung, of 782 verses. It is said that the A-ra-rung holds to the Korean in music the same place that rice does in his food-all else being a mere appendage. The tune, but with the trills and quavers, of which there are one or two to each note, left out, is given here, though Mr. Hulbert, to whom I am greatly indebted, calls it " a very weak attempt to score it."
xii A KOREAN LOVE SONG 193
The chorus of A-ra-rung is invariable, but the verses which are sung in connection with it take a wide range through the fields of lyrics, epics, and didactics.
There is a third style, which is between the classical and the popular, but which hardly deserves mention.
To my thinking, the melancholy which seems the motif of most Oriental music becomes an extreme plaintiveness in that of Korea, partly due probably to the unlimited quavering on one note. While what may be called concerted music is torture to a "Western ear, solos on the flute ofttimes combine a singular sweetness with their mournfulness and suggest" Far-off Melodies." Love songs are popular, and there is a tender grace about some of them, and also an occasional glint of humour, as indicated by the last line of the third stanza of one translated by Mr. Gale.1 The allusions to Nature
1 LOVE SONG
Farewell's a fire that burns one's heart, And tears are rains that quench in part, But then the winds blow in one's sighs, And cause the flames again to rise.
My soul I've mixed up with the wine,
And now my love is drinking,
Into his orifices nine
Deep down its spirit's sinking.
To keep him true to me and mine,
A potent mixture is the wine.
Silvery moon and frosty air,
Eve and dawn are meeting ;
Widowed wild goose flying there,
Hear my words of greeting !
On your journey should you see
Him I love so broken-hearted,
Kindly say this word for me,
That it's death when we are parted.
194 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
generally show a quick and sympathetic insight into her beauties, and occasional stanzas, of which the one cited is among several translated by Mr. Hulbert, have a delicacy of touch not unworthy of an Elizabethan poet.1 The Korean Repository is doing a good work in making Korean poetry accessible to English readers.
There was not, however, any flute music at Ta-ri-mak. There were classical songs, with a direful drum accompaniment, and a wearisome repetition of the A-ra-rung, continuing all day and late into the hot night.
A few pedlars passed by, selling tobacco, necessaries, and children's toys, the latter rudely made, and only attractive in a country in which artistic feeling appears dead. There are shops in Seoul, Phyong-yang, and other cities devoted to the sale of such toys, painted in staring colours, and illustrative chiefly of adult life. There are also monkeys, puppies, and tigers on wheels, all for boys, and soldiers in European uniforms have appeared during the recent military craze, and boys are very early taught to look forward to official life by representations of mandarins' chairs, red-tasselled umbrellas, and fringed hats.
Flapping off the wild goose clambers, Says she will if she remembers.
Fill the ink-stone, bring the water, To my love I'll write a letter ; Ink and paper soon will see" The one that's all the world to me, While the pen and I together, Left behind, condole each other.
1 I asked the spotted butterfly To take me on his wing and fly To yonder mountain's breezy side. The trixy tiger moth I'll ride As home I come,
XII THE EARLY YEARS OF ATAI-JO 195
Girls being of comparatively small account, toys specially suited to them are not many.
Japanese lucifer matches, which, when of the cheap sort, seem only slightly inflammable, as I have several times used a whole box without igniting one, were in the stock of the pedlars, and are making rapid headway in the towns, but even so near Won-san as Ta-ri-mak is, the people were still using flint and steel to light chips of wood dipped in sulphur, though the cheap and smoky kerosene lamp has displaced the tall, upright candlestick and the old-fashioned dish lamps there and in very many other country places.
From the high-road from Seoul to Won-san we diverged at Nam-San to visit the large monastery of Sok-wang Sa, famous as being the place where, in the palmy days of Korean Buddhism, Atai-jo, the first king of the present dynasty, was educated and lived. The monastery itself, with its temples, was erected by this king to mark the spot where, 504 years ago, he received that supernatural message to rule in virtue of which his descendant occupies the Korean throne to-day. In this singularly beautiful spot Atai-jo's early years were spent in religious exercises, study, and preparation, and many of the superb trees which adorn the grand mountain clefts in which Sok-wang Sa is situated are said to have been planted by his hands. His regalia and robes of state are preserved in a building by themselves, which no one is allowed to enter except the duly-appointed attendant. A bridle track alongside of a clear mountain stream leads through very pretty and prosperous - looking country, and over wooded foothills for some miles to the base of a fine mountain range. We passed for a length of time through
196 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP
rich and heavily-timbered monastic property, then the beautiful valley narrowed, and by a " Red Arrow Gate " we entered on a smooth broad road, on which the sun glinted here and there through the heavy foliage of an avenue of noble pines, a gap now and then giving entrancing glimpses of the deep delicious blue of the summer sky, of a grand gorge dark with pines, firs, and the exotic Cleyera Japonica and zelkawa, brightened by the tender green of maples and other deciduous trees, and by flashes of foam from a torrent booming among great moss-covered boulders.
Then came bridges with decorative roofs, abbots' tombstones under carved and painted canopies, inscribed stone tablets, glorious views of a peaked, forest-clothed mountain barring the gorge; and as the pines of the avenue fell into groups at its close, and magnificent zelkawas, from whose spreading branches white roses hung in graceful festoons, overarched the road, a long irregular line of temples and monastic buildings appeared, clinging in singular pictur-esqueness to the sides of the ravine, which there ascends somewhat rapidly towards the mountain which closes it.
An abbot, framed in the doorway of a quaint building, and looking like a picture of a portly, jolly, mediaeval friar, welcomed us, and he and his monks regaled us with honey water in the large guest-hall, but simultaneously produced a visitors' book and asked us how much we were going to pay, the sum being duly recorded. The grasping ways of these monks, who fleeced the mapu so badly as to make them say they " had fallen among thieves," contrast with the friendly hospitality of their brethren of the Diamond Mountain, and can only be accounted for by the con-
xii UNSANCTIFIED GENIUS 197
taminating influences of a treaty port, from which they are distant only a long day's journey!
"See the sights first and then pay," they said, the glorious views and the quaint picturesqueness of the monastic buildings clustering on the crags above the cataracts being the sight par excellence. It was refreshing to turn from the contemplation of the sensual, acquisitive, greedy faces of most of the monks to Nature at her freshest and fairest, on one of the loveliest days of early June.
The interiors of the temples are shabby and dirty, the paint is scaling off the roofs, and the floors and even the altars were hidden under layers of herbs drying for kitchen use. Besides the tablet to the first king of the present dynasty in a handsome tablet - house, the noteworthy "sight" to be seen is a small temple dedicated to the "Five Hundred Disciples." Sok-wang Sa is not a holy place, and the artist who caricatured the devout and ascetic followers of the ascetic Sakyamuni has bequeathed a legacy of unhallowed suggestion to its inmates !
The " Five Hundred" are stone images not a foot in height, arranged round the dusty temple in several tiers, each one with a silk cap on, worn with more or less of a jaunty air on one side of the head or falling over the brow. The variety of features and expression is wonderful; all Eastern nationalities are represented, and there are not two faces or attitudes alike. The whole display shows genius, though not of a high order.
Among the infinite variety, one figure has deeply-set eyes, an aquiline nose, and thin lips; another a pug nose, squinting eyes, and a broad grinning mouth; one is
198 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
Mongolian, another Caucasian, and another approximates to the Negro type. Here is a stout, jolly fellow, with a leer and a broad grin suggestive of casks of porter and the archaic London drayman; there is an idiot with drooping head, receding brow and chin, and a vacant stare; here again is a dark stage villain, with red cheeks and a cap drawn low over his forehead; then Mr. Pecksniff confronts one with an air of sanctimoniousness obviously difficult to retain; Falstaff outdoes his legendary jollity; and priests and monks of all nations leer at the beholders from under their jaunty caps. It is an exhibition of un-sanctified genius. Nearly all the figures look worse for drink, and fatuous smiles, drunken leers, and farcical grins are the rule, the effect of all being aggravated by the varied and absurd arrangements of the caps. The gro-tesqueness is indescribable, and altogether "unedifying."
It was a great change to get on the main road to Won-san, and to see telegraph poles once more. There was plenty of goods and passenger traffic across the fine plain covered with rice and grain, margined by bluffs, and dotted with what have obviously once been islands, near which "Won-san is situated.
Where the road is broad, a high heap of hardened mud runs along the centre, with hardened mud corrugations on either side; where narrow, it is merely the top of a rice dyke. The bridges are specially infamous; in fact, they were so rotten that the mapu would not trust their ponies upon them, and we forded all the streams. Yet this road, which I found equally bad at the three points at which I touched it, is one of the leading thoroughfares by which goods pass from the east to the west coast and vice versa,
xii KOREAN BEEF 199
-tobacco, copper, salt fish, seaweed, galena, and hides from the east, and foreign shirtings, watches, and miscellaneous native and foreign articles from the west.
The heat of the sun was but poorly indicated by a shade temperature of 84°, and it was in his full noontide fierceness that we reached the huddle of foul and narrow alleys and irregular rows of thatched shops along the high-road which make up the busy and growing Korean town of Won-san, which, with an estimated population of 15,000 people, lies along a strip of beach below a pine-clothed bluff and ranges of mountains, then green to their summits, but which I saw in December of the same year in the majesty of the snow which covers them from November to May. The smells were fearful, the dirt abominable, and the quantity of wretched dogs and of pieces of bleeding meat blackening in the sun perfectly sickening. This aspect of meat, produced by the mode of killing it, has made foreigners entirely dependent on the Japanese butchers in Seoul and elsewhere. The Koreans cut the throat of the animal and insert a peg in the opening. Then the butcher takes a hatchet and beats the animal on the rump until it dies. The process takes about an hour, and the beast suffers agonies of terror and pain before it loses consciousness. Very little blood is lost during the operation; the beef is full of it, and its heavier weight in consequence is to the advantage of the vendor.
Then came a level stretch of about a mile, much planted with potatoes, glimpses of American Protestant mission - houses in conspicuous and eligible positions (eligible, that is, for everything but mission work), and the uneven Korean road glided imperceptibly into a
200 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP.
broad gravel road, fringed on both sides with neat wooden houses standing in gardens, which gradually thickened into the neatest, trimmest, and most attractive town in all Korea, the Japanese settlement of the treaty port of Won-san, opened to Japanese trade in 1880 and to foreign trade generally in 1883.
Broad and well-kept streets, neat wharves, trim and fairly substantial houses, showing the interior dollishness and daintiness characteristic of Japan, a large and very prominent Japanese Consulate in Anglo-Japanese style, the offices of the "N.Y.K.," the Japan Mail Steamship Company (an abbreviation as familiar to residents in the Far East as "P. & 0."), a Japanese Bank of solid reputation, Customs buildings, of which a neat reading-room forms a part, neat Japanese shops where European articles can be bought at moderate prices, a large school-house, with a teacher in European dress, and active mannikins and hobbling but graceful women, neither veiled nor muffled up, are the features of this pleasant Japanese colony, which is so fortunate as to have no history, its progress, though not rapid, having been placid and peaceful, not marred by friction either with Koreans or foreigners of other nationalities; and even the recent war, though it led to the removal of the Chinese consul and his countrymen, an insignificant fraction of the population, had left no special traces, except that the enormous wages paid to transport coolies by the Japanese had enabled them to gamble with yen instead of cash !
I was most hospitably received by Mr. and Mrs. Gale of the American Presbyterian Mission. Mr. Gale's work
xii PORT LAZAREFF 201
was the important one of the preparation of a dictionary of the Korean language in Korean, Chinese, and English, which was published in 1897.
During the twelve days which I spent at Won-san I made a junk excursion in Yung-hing or Broughton Bay, in the south-west corner of which the port is situated. It is a superb bay, with an area of fully 40 square miles, a depth of from 6 to 12 fathoms, with good holding ground, never freezes in winter, is sheltered by promontories and mountains from the winds of every quarter, and its entrance is protected by islands. To English readers it is probable that the sole interest of this fine bay lies in the fact that its northern arm, Port Lazareff, which was the object of my cruise, is the harbour which Kussia is credited with desiring to gain possession of for the terminus of her Trans-Siberian Railway. Whether this be so or no, or whether Port Shestakoff, on the same coast, but 60 miles farther north, is more defensible and bettor adapted for a naval as well as a terminal port, the time has gone by for grudging to Russia an outlet on the Pacific, and I for one should prefer it on the coast of eastern Korea rather than on the northern shore of the Yellow Sea.
The head of Port Lazareff is about 16 miles from Won-san, and is formed by the swampy outlets of the river Dun-gan, among the many branches of which lie inhabited, low-lying islands. There are rude but extensive saltworks at the shallows in which this noble inlet terminates, after receiving several streams besides the Dun-gan. Port Lazareff has, in addition, abundant supplies of water from natural springs. The high hills which surround the bay
202 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP-
are grassy to their summits, but there is very little wood and the villages are small and far between. Game is singularly abundant. Pheasants are nearly as plentiful as sparrows are with us, the wary turkey bustard abounds, there are snipe in the late summer, and pigeons, plover, and water-hen are common. In spring and autumn wild fowl innumerable crowd the waters of every stream and inlet, swans, teal, geese, and ducks darkening the air, which they rend with their clamour as the sportsman invades their haunts.
A Korean junk does not impress one by its seaworthiness, and it is not surprising that the junkmen hug the shore and seek shelter whenever a good sailing breeze comes on. She is built without nails, iron, or preservative paint, and looks rather like a temporary and fortuitous aggregation of beams and planks than a deliberate construction. Two tall, heavy masts fixed by wedges among the timbers at the bottom of the boat require frequent attention, as they are always swaying and threatening to come down. The sails are of matting, with a number of bamboos running transversely, with a cord attached to each, united into one sheet, by means of which tacking is effected, or rather might be. Practically, navigation consists in running before a light breeze, and dropping the mass of mats and bamboos on the confusion below whenever it freshens, varying the process by an easy pull at the sweeps, one at the stern and two working on pins in transverse beams amidships, which project 3 feet on each side. The junk is fitted with a rudder of enormous size, which from its position acts as a keel-board. The price is from 60 to 80 dollars. This singular craft sails well before
xii WON-SAN 203
the wind, but under other circumstances is apt to become unmanageable.
Won-san has telegraphic communication with Seoul, and chiefly through the enterprise of the N.Y.K. it is connected by most comfortable steamers with Korean ports, and with Wladivostok, Kobe, and Nagasaki, Hong-Kong, Shanghai, Chefoo, Newchwang, and Tientsin. Steamers of a Russian line call there at intervals during the summer season. There are no Western merchants or Western residents except the missionaries and the Customs staff, and foreign trade is chiefly in the hands of the Japanese.
About 60 li from Won-san are some large grass-covered mounds, of which the Koreans do not care to speak, as they regard them as associated with an ancient Korean custom, now looked upon as barbarous. During the last dynasty, and more than five centuries ago, it was customary, when people from age and infirmity became burdensome to their relations, to incarcerate them in the stone cells which these mounds contain, with a little food and water, and leave them there to die. In similar mounds, elsewhere in Korea, bowls and jars of coarse pottery have been found, as well as a few specimens of gray celadon.
There is nothing sensational about Won-san.1 It has no " booms" in trade or land, but " keeps the even tenor of its way." It is to me far the most attractive of the treaty
1 In January of 1897 the population of Won-san was as follows :-
1,357 Estimated Korean population, 15,000.
204 FROM CHANG-AN SA TO WON-SAN CHAP. XII
ports. Its trim Japanese settlement, from which green hills rise abruptly, backed by fine mountain forms dignified by snow for seven months of the year, and above all, the exquisite eaves to the north-west, where the sea murmurs in cool grottoes, and beats the pure white sand into ripples at the feet of cliffs hidden by flowers, ferns, and grass, and its air of dreamy repose-" a land where it is always afternoon"-point to its future as that of a salubrious and popular sanitarium.
From Paik Kui-mi on the northern branch of the Han to Won-san :-
Paik Kui-mi to-
Sar-pang Kori 33
Sut-kit Mei 70
Ma-ri Kei 56
Chang-an Sa 50
P'yo-un Sa 6
Yu-chom Sa 31
Chy-ung Tai 57
Ma-cha Tang 70
Ta-ri Mok 60
Pa-pal Mok 40
IMPENDING WAR-EXCITEMENT AT CHEMULPO
HAVING heard nothing at all of public events during my long inland journey, and only a few rumours of unlocalised collisions between the Tong-haks (rebels) and the Royal troops, the atmosphere of canards at Won-san was somewhat stimulating, though I had already been long enough in Korea not to attach much importance to the stories with which the air was thick. One day it was said that the Tong-haks had gained great successes and had taken Gatling guns from the Royal army, another that they had been crushed and their mysterious and ubiquitous leader beheaded, while the latest rumour before my departure was that they were marching in great force on Fusan. Judging from the proclamation which they circulated, and which, while stating that they rose against corrupt officials and traitorous advisers, professed unswerving loyalty to the throne, it seemed credible that, if there were a throb of patriotism anywhere in Korea, it was in the breasts of these peasants. Their risings appeared to be free from excesses and useless bloodshed, and they confined themselves to the attempt to carry out their programme of reform. Some foreign
206 IMPENDING WAR CHAP.
sympathy was bestowed upon them, because it was thought that the iniquities of misrule could go no further, and that the time was ripe for an armed protest on a larger scale than the ordinary peasant risings against intolerable exactions.
But at the very moment when these matters were being discussed in Won-san with not more than a languid interest, a formidable menace to the established order of things was taking shape, destined in a few days to cast the Tong-haks into the shade, and concentrate the attention of the world on this insignificant peninsula.
Leaving Won-san by steamer on 17th June, and arriving at Fusan on the 19th, I was not surprised to find a Japanese gunboat in the harbour, and that 220 Japanese soldiers had been landed from the Higo Maru that morning and were quartered in the Buddhist temples on the hill, and that the rebels had cut the telegraph wires between Fusan and Seoul.
Among the few Europeans at Fusan there was no uneasiness. The Japanese, with their large mercantile colony there, have considerable interests to safeguard, and nothing seemed more natural than the course they took. A rumour that Japanese troops had been landed at Chemulpo was quite disregarded.
On arriving at Chemulpo, however, early on the morning of the 21st, a very exciting state of matters revealed itself. A large fleet, six Japanese ships of war, the American flag-ship, two French, one Russian, and two Chinese, were lying in the outer harbour. The limited accommodation of the inner harbour was taxed to its utmost capacity. Japanese transports were landing
xiii JAPANESE CAMP AT CHEMULPO 207
troops, horses, and war material in steam launches, junks were discharging rice and other stores for the commissariat department, coolies were stacking it on the beach, and the movement by sea and land was ceaseless. Visitors from the shore, excited and agitated, brought a budget of astounding rumours, but confessed to being mainly in the dark.
On landing, I found the deadly dull port transformed: the streets resounded to the tread of Japanese troops in heavy marching order, trains of mat and forage carts blocked the road. Every house in the main street of the Japanese settlement was turned into a barrack and crowded with troops, rifles and accoutrements gleamed in the balconies, crowds of Koreans, limp and dazed, lounged in the streets or sat on the knolls, gazing vacantly at the transformation of their port into a foreign camp. Only two hours had passed since the first of the troops landed, and when I visited the camp with a young Russian officer there were 1200 men under canvas in well-ventilated bell tents, holding 20 each, with matted floors and drainage trenches, and dinner was being served in lacquer boxes. Stables had been run up, and the cavalry and mountain guns were in the centre. The horses of the mountain battery train, serviceable animals, fourteen hands high, were in excellent condition, and were equipped with pack-saddles of the latest Indian pattern. They were removing shot and shell for Seoul from the Japanese Consulate with 200 men and 100 horses, and it was done almost soundlessly. The camp, with its neat streets, was orderly, trim, and quiet. In the town sentries challenged passers-by. Every man looked as if he knew bis duty and meant to do it. There
208 EXCITEMENT AT CHEMULPO CHAP.
was no swagger. The mannikins, well armed and service-ably dressed, were obviously in Korea for a purpose which they meant to accomplish.
What that purpose was, was well concealed under colour of giving efficient protection to Japanese subjects in Korea, who were said to be imperilled by the successes of the Tong-haks.
The rebellion in southern Korea was exciting much alarm in the capital. Such movements, though on a smaller scale, are annual spring events in the peninsula, when in one or other of the provinces the peasantry, driven to exasperation by official extortions, rise, and, with more or less violence (occasionally fatal), drive out the offending mandarin. Punishment rarely ensues. The King sends a new official, who squeezes and extorts in his turn with more or less vigour, until, if he also passes bearable limits, he is forcibly expelled, and things settle down once more. This Tong-hak ("Oriental" or "National") movement, though lost sight of in presence of more important issues, was of greater moment, as being organised on a broader basis, so as to include a great number of adherents in Seoul and the other cities, and with such definite and reasonable objects that at first I was inclined to call its leaders "armed reformers" rather than "rebels." At that time there was no question as to the Royal authority.
The Tong-hak proclamation began by declaring in respectful language loyal allegiance to the King, and went on to state the grievances in very moderate terms. The Tong-haks asserted, and with undoubted truth, that officials in Korea, for their own purposes, closed the eyes and ears
XIII THE TONG-HAK MANIFESTO 209
of the King to all news and reports of the wrongs inflicted on his people. That ministers of State, governors, and magistrates were all indifferent to the welfare of their country, and were bent only on enriching themselves, and that there were no checks on their rapacity. That examinations (the only avenues to official life) were nothing more than scenes of bribery, barter, and sale, and were no longer tests of fitness for civil appointment. That officials cared not for the debt into which the country was fast sinking. That "they were proud, vainglorious, adulterous, avaricious." That many officials receiving appointments in the country lived in Seoul. That "they flatter and fawn in peace, and desert and betray in times of trouble."
The necessity for reform was strongly urged. There
were no expressions of hostility to foreigners, and the
manifesto did not appear to take any account of them.
The leader, whose individuality was never definitely
ascertained, was credited with ubiquity and supernatural
powers by the common people, as well as with the ability
to speak both Japanese and Chinese, and it was evident
from his measures, forethought, the disposition of his
forces, and some touches of Western strategic skill, that he
had some acquaintance with the modern art of war. His
followers, armed at first with only old swords and halberds,
had come to possess rifles, taken from the official armouries
and the defeated Royal troops. For in the midst of the
thousand wild rumours which were afloat, it appeared
certain that the King sent several hundred soldiers against
the Tong-haks under a general who, on his way to attack
their camp, raised and armed 300 levies, who, in the en-
VOL. 1 P
210 EXCITEMENT AT CHEMULPO CHAP
gagement which followed, joined the " rebels " and turned upon the King's troops, that 300 of the latter were killed, and that the general was missing. This, following other successes, the deposition of several important officials, and the rumoured march on Seoul, had created great alarm, and the King was supposed to be prepared for flight.
But the events of the two or three days before I landed at Chemulpo threw the local disturbance into the shade, and it is only with the object of showing with what an excellent pretext for interference the Tong-haks had furnished the Japanese, that I recall this petty chapter of what is now ancient history.
The questions vital to Korea and of paramount diplomatic importance were, "What is the object of Japan? Is this an invasion? Is she here as an enemy or a friend?" Six thousand troops provisioned for three months had been landed. Fifteen of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha's steamers had been withdrawn from their routes to act as transports, the Japanese had occupied the Gap, a pass on the Seoul road, and Mapu, the river port of the capital, and with guns, and in considerable force, had established themselves on Nam Han, a wooded hill above Seoul, from which position they commanded both the palace and capital. All these movements were carried out with a suddenness, celerity, and freedom from hitch which in their military aspects were worthy of the highest praise.
To any student of Far Eastern politics it must have been apparent that this skilful and extraordinary move on the part of Japan was not made for the protection of her colonies in Chemulpo and Seoul, nor yet against Korea.
xiii JAPANESE MILITARY FORETHOUGHT 211
It has been said in various quarters, and believed, that the Japanese ministry was shaky, and had to choose between its own downfall and a foreign war. This is a complete sophism. There can be no question that Japan had been planning such a movement for years. She had made accurate maps of Korea, and had secured reports of forage and provisions, measurements of the width of rivers and the depth of fords, and had been buying up rice in Korea for three months previously, while even as far as the Tibetan frontier, Japanese officers in disguise had gauged the strength and weakness of China, reporting on her armies on paper and in fact, on her dummy guns, and antique, honeycombed carronades, and knew better than the Chinese themselves how many men each province could put into the field, how drilled and how armed, and they were acquainted with the infinite corruption and dishonesty, combined with a total lack of patriotism, which nullified even such commissariat arrangements as existed on paper, and rendered it absolutely impossible for China to send an army efficiently into the field, far less sustain it during a campaign.
To all appearance Japan had completely outwitted China in Korea, and a panic prevailed among the Chinese. Thirty ladies of the households of the Chinese Resident and Consul embarked for China on the appearance of the Japanese in Seoul, and 800 Chinamen left Chemulpo the day I arrived, the consternation in the Chinese colony being so great that even the market gardeners, who have a monopoly of a most thriving trade, fled.
I never before saw the Chinaman otherwise than aggra-vatingly cool, collected, and master of the situation,
212 EXCITEMENT AT CHEMULPO CHAP
but on that June day he lost his head, and, frenzied by race-hatred and pecuniary loss, was transformed into a shouting barbarian, not knowing what he would be at. The Chinese inn where I spent the day was one centre of the excitement, and each time that I came in from a walk or received a European visitor, a number of the employes, usually most quiet and reticent, huddled into my room with faces distorted by anxiety, asking what I had heard, what was going to be, whether the Chinese army would be there that night, whether the British fleet was coming to help them, etc., and even my Chinese servant, a most excellent fellow, was beside himself, muttering in English through clenched teeth, " I must kill, kill, kill!"
Meanwhile the dwarf battalions, a miracle of rigid discipline and good behaviour, were steadily tramping to Seoul, where matters then and for some time afterwards stood thus. The King was in his secluded palace, and that which still posed as a Government had really collapsed. Mr. Hillier, the English Consul-General, was in England on leave, and the acting Consul-General, Mr. Gardner, C.M.G., had been in Korea for only three months. The American Minister was a newer man still. The French and German Consuls need hardly be taken into account, as they had few, if any, interests to safeguard. Mr. Waeber, the able and cautious diplomatist who had represented Russia for nine years, and had the confidence of the whole foreign community, had been appointed charge d'affaires at Peking, and had left Seoul in the previous week. There remained, therefore, facing each other, Mr. Otori, the Japanese ambassador to Peking, who was in Korea on a temporary mission, and Yuan, a military mandarin who had been for
XIII THE SITUATION IN SEOUL 213
some years Chinese Resident in Seoul, a man entrusted by the Chinese Emperor with large powers, who was credited by foreigners with great force, tact, and ability, and who was generally regarded as " the power behind the throne."
I had frequently seen Mr. Otori in the early months of the year, a Japanese of average height, speaking English well, wearing European dress as though born to it, and sporting white "shoulder-of-mutton" whiskers. He lounged in drawing-rooms, making trivial remarks to ladies, and was remarkable only for his insignificance. I believe he made the same impression, or want of impression, at Peking. But circumstances or stringent orders from Tokyo had transformed Mr. Otori. Whether he had worn a mask previously I know not, but he showed himself rough, vigorous, capable, a man of action, unscrupulous, and not only clever enough to outwit Yuan in a difficult and hazardous game, but everybody else.
In the afternoon of that memorable day at Chemulpo the Vice-Consul called on me and warned me that I must leave Korea that night, and the urgency and seriousness of his manner left me no doubt that he was acting on information which he was not at liberty to divulge. I had left my travelling gear at Won-san in readiness for an autumn journey, and was going to Seoul that night for a week to get my money and civilised luggage before going for the summer to Japan. It was a serious blow. Other Europeans advised me not to be " deported," but it is one of my travelling rules never to be a source of embarrassment to British officials, and supposing the crisis to be an acute one, I reluctantly yielded, and that night, with two English
214 EXCITEMENT AT CHEMULPO CHAP.XIII
fellow-sufferers, left Chemulpo in the Japanese steamer Higo Maru, bound for ports in the Gulf of Pechili, which cul-de-sac would have proved a veritable " lion's mouth " to her had hostilities been as imminent as the Vice-Consul believed them to be. I had nothing but the clothing I wore, a heavy tweed suit, and the mercury was 80°, and after paying my passage to Chefoo, the first port of call, I had only four cents left. It was four months before I obtained either my clothes or my money!
THOUGH I landed at Chefoo in heavy tweed clothing, I was obliged to walk up the steep hill to the British Consulate, though the mercury was 84° in the shade, because I had no money with which to pay for a jinriksha ! My reflections were anything but pleasant. My passport and letters of introduction, both private and official, were in Seoul, my travelling dress was distinctly shabby, and I feared that an impecunious person without introductions, and unable to prove her identity, might meet with a very cool reception. I experienced something of the anxiety and timidity which are the everyday lot of thousands, and I have felt a far tenderer sympathy with the penniless, specially the educated penniless, ever since. I was so extremely uncomfortable that I hung about the gate of the British Consulate for some minutes before I could summon up courage to go to the door and send in a torn address of a letter which was my only visiting card! I thought, but it may have been fancy, that the Chinese who took it eyed me suspiciously and contemptuously. The sudden revulsion of feeling which followed I
216 NEWCHWANG-MANCHURIA CHAP.
cannot easily forget. Mr. Clement Allen, our justly popular Consul, met me with a warm welcome. I needed no proof of identity or anything else, he only desired to know what he could do for me. My anxiety was not quite over, for I had to make the humiliating confession that I needed money, and immediately he took me to Messrs. Ferguson and Co., who transact banking business, and asked them to let me have as much as I wanted. An invitation to tiffin followed, and Lady O'Conor, and the wife of the Spanish Minister at Peking, who were staying at the Consulate, made up a bundle of summer clothing for me, and my "deportation " has enriched me with valued friendships.
Returning in a very different frame of mind to the Higo Maru, I went on in her in severe heat to the mouth of the Peiho River in sight of the Taku forts, and after rolling on its muddy surges for two days, proceeded to Newchwang in Manchuria, reaching the mouth of the Liau River in five days from Chemulpo. Bain was falling, and a more hideous and disastrous-looking country than the voyage of two hours up to the port revealed, I never saw. The Liau, which has a tremendous tide and strong current, and is thick with yellow mud, is at high water nearly on a level with the adjacent flats, of which one sees little, except some mud forts on the left bank of the river, which are said to be heavily armed with Krupp guns, and an expanse of mud and reeds.
Of the mud-built Chinese city of Ying-tzu (Military Camp), known as Newchwang, though the real Newchwang is a derelict port 30 miles up the Liau, nothing can be seen above the mud bank but the curved, tiled roofs of
xiv AN ISOLATED COMMUNITY 217
yamens and temples, though it is a city of 60,000 souls, the growth of its population having kept pace with its rapid advance in commercial importance since it was opened to foreign trade in 1860. Several British steamers with big Chinese characters on their sides were at anchor in the tideway, and the river-sides were closely fringed with up-river boats and sea-going junks, of various picturesque builds and colours, from Southern China, steamers and junks alike waiting not only for cargoes of the small beans for which Manchuria is famous, but for the pressed bean-cake which is exported in enormous quantities to fertilise the sugar plantations and hungry fields of South China.
There is a Bund, and along and behind it is the foreign settlement, occupied by about forty Europeans. The white buildings of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs, the houses of the staff, the hongs of two or three foreign merchants, and the British Consular buildings, may be said to constitute the settlement. It has the reputation of being one of the kindliest and friendliest in the Far East, and the fact that the river closes annually about the 20th of November for about four months, and that the residents are thrown entirely on their own resources and on each other, only serves to increase that interdependence which binds this and similarly isolated communities so strongly together.
I was most kindly welcomed at the English Consulate then and on my return, and have most pleasant remembrances of Newchwang, its cordial kindness, and cheerful Bund, and breezy blue skies, but at first sight it is a dreary, solitary-looking place of mud, and muddy waters for ever
218 NEWCHWANG-MANCHURIA CHAP.
swallowing large slices of the land, and threatening to engulf it altogether.
"Peas," really beans,1 are its chief raison d'etre, and their ups and downs in price its mild sensations. "Pea-boats," long and narrow, with matting roofs and one huge sail, bring down the beans from the interior, and mills working night and day express their oil, which is as good for cooking as for burning.
The viceroyalty of Manchuria, in which I spent the next two months, is interesting as in some ways distinct from China, besides having a prospective interest in connection with Russia. Lying outside of the Great Wall, it has a population of several distinct and mixed races, Manchus (Tartars), Gilyaks, Tungusi, Solons, Daurs, and Chinese. Along with these must be mentioned about 30,000 Korean families, the majority of whom have left Korea since 1868, in consequence of political disturbance and official exactions.2
The facts that the dynasty which has ruled China by right of conquest since 1644 is a Manchu dynasty, and that it imposed the shaven forehead and the pigtail on all Chinese men successfully, while it absolutely failed to prevent the women from crippling their feet, though up to this day no woman with " Golden Lilies " (crushed feet) is allowed to enter the Imperial palace, naturally turn attention to this viceroyalty, which, in point of its area of 380,000 square miles, is larger than Austria and Great Britain and Ireland put together, while its population is estimated
1 Glycene hispides (Dr. Morrison).
2 According to information obtained by the Russian Diplomatic Mission
xiv BRIGANDAGE IN MANCHURIA 219
at from 18,000,000 to 20,000,000 only. Thus it offers a vast field for emigration from the congested provinces of Northern China, and Chinese immigrants are steadily flocking in from Shan-tung, Chi-li, and Shen-si, so that Southern Manchuria at this time is little behind the inner provinces of China in density of population.
It is different in the northern province, where a cold climate and vast stretches of forest render agriculture more difficult. If it had not been for the war and its attendant complications, I had purposed to travel through it from Northern Korea. But it is unsettled at all times. The majority of its immigrants consists of convicts, fugitive criminals, soldiers who have left the colours, and gold and ginseng hunters. There is something almost comical about some of the doings of this unpromising community.
It comprises large organised bands of mounted brigands, well led and armed, who do not hesitate to come into collision with the Imperial troops, frequently coming off victors, and at times, as when I was in Muk-den, wresting forts from their hands. During the Taiping rebellion, when the Chinese troops were withdrawn from Manchuria, these bands carried havoc and terror everywhere, and seizing upon towns and villages, ruled them by right of conquest!1 In recent years the Government has decided to let voluntary colonists settle in the northern provinces, and has even furnished them with material assistance.
Still, things are bad, and the brigands have come to be
regarded as a necessary evil, and are "arranged with."
They are not scrupulous as to human life, and when they
catch a rich merchant from the south, they send an envoy
1 Information received by the Russian Diplomatic Mission in Peking.
220 NEWCHWANG-MANCHURIA CHAP.
to his guild with a claim for ransom, strengthened by the threat that if it is not forthcoming in so many days, the captive's head will be cut off. Winter, when the mud is frozen hard, is the only time for the transit of goods by land, and long trains of mule carts may then be seen, a hundred or more together, starting from Newchwang, Muk-den, and other southern cities, each carrying a small flag, which denotes that a suitable blackmail has been paid to an agent of the brigand chiefs, and that they will not be robbed on the journey! Later, when I was on the Siberian frontier of Manchuria, the brigands were in great force, and having been joined by half-starved deserters from the Chinese army, were harrying the country, and the peasants were flying in terror from their farms.
Among the curious features of Manchurian brigandage, is that its virulence rises or falls with good or bad harvests, inundations, etc. For many of the usually respectable peasant farmers, in times of floods and scanty crops, join the robber bands, returning to their honest avocations the next season!
In spite, however, of this terrorism in the north-east, Manchuria is one of the most prosperous of the Chinese viceroyalties, and its foreign trade is assuming annually increasing importance.1
1 Taking the port of Newchwang, through which, with certain exceptions, all exports of native produce and imports of foreign merchandise and Chinese productions pass, in 1871, 16 steamers and 203 sailing vessels entered the port, with a total tonnage of 65,933 tons; in 1881, 114 steamers and 218 sailing vessels, with a tonnage of 159,098 tons ; and in 1891, 372 steamers and 61 sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 334,709 tons. In the same period British tonnage had increased from 38'6 of the whole to 58 per cent of the whole. In 1871 German tonnage nearly equalled British, being 37'6 of the whole, but it had declined in 1891 to 28 per cent of the whole.
xiv TARTAR BANNERMEN 221
I was disappointed to find that the Manchus (or Tartars) differ little in appearance from the race which they have subdued. The women, however, are taller, comelier, and more robust in appearance, as may be expected from their retaining the natural size and shape of their feet, and not only their coiffure but their costume is different, the Manchu women wearing sleeveless dresses from the throat to the feet, over under dresses with wide embroidered sleeves. With some exceptions, they are less secluded than their Chinese sisters, and have an air of far greater freedom.
Most of the Manchu customs have disappeared along with the language, which is only spoken in a few remote valleys, and is apparently only artificially preserved because the ruling dynasty is Manchu. It is only those students who are aspirants for literary degrees and high office in the viceroyalty who are obliged to learn it.
People of pure Manchu race are chiefly met with in the north. Manchus, as kinsmen of the present Imperial dynasty, enjoy various privileges. Every male adult, as soon as he can string a short and remarkably inflexible bow (no easy task), becomes a "Bannerman," i.e. he is enrolled in one of eight bodies of irregulars, called " Banners" from their distinctive flags, and from that time receives one tad (now about three shillings) per month, increased to from five to seven taels a month when on active service. These "Bannennen," as a rule, are not specially reputable characters. They gamble, hang about yamems for odd bits of work, in hope of permanent official employment, and generally sublet to the Chinese the lands which they receive from the Government.
222 NEWCHWANG-MANCHURIA CHAP.
It is a singular anomaly that bows and arrows are relied upon as a means of defence in an empire which buys rifles and Krupp guns. Later, in Peking, which was supposed to be threatened by the Japanese armies, it was intended to post Bannermen with bows and arrows at the embrasures of the wall, and on the Peking and Tungchow road I met twenty carts carrying up loads of these primitive weapons for the defence of the capital! Bow-and-arrow drill is one of the most amusing of the many military mediaeval sights of China. The Chinese Banner-men are descendants of those Chinese who, in the seventeenth century, espoused the cause of the Manchu conquerors of China. The whole military force of the three provinces of the viceroyalty is 280,000 men. Tartar garrisons and "Tartar cities " exist in many of the great provincial cities of China, and as the interests of these troops are closely bound up with those of the present Tartar dynasty, their faithfulness is relied upon as the backbone of Imperial security.
From its history and its audacious and permanent conquest of its gigantic neighbour, its mixed population and numerous aboriginal tribes, its mineral and agricultural wealth, and a certain freedom and breeziness which constitute a distinctive feature, Manchuria is a very interesting viceroyalty, and the two months which I spent in it gave it a strong hold upon me.
Mud is a great feature of Newchwang, perhaps the leading feature for some months of the year, during which no traffic by road is possible, and the Bund is the only practicable walk. The night I arrived rain began, and continued with one hour's cessation for five days and
xiv SUMMER WEATHER 223
nights, for much of the time coming down like a continuous thunder-shower. The atmosphere was steamy and hazy, and the mercury by day and night was pretty stationary at 78°. About 8-46 inches of rain fell on those days. The barometer varied from 29° to 293°. Afterwards, when the rain ceased for a day, the heat was nearly unbearable. Of course, no boat's crew would start under such circumstances. Rumours of an extensive inundation came down the river, but these and all others of purely local interest gave place to an intense anxiety as to whether war would be declared, and what the effect of war would be on the great trading port of Newchwang.
A MANCHURIAN DELUGE-MUK-DEN
IT surprised me much to find that only one foreign resident had visited Muk-den, which is only 120 miles distant by a road which is traversable in winter, and is accessible by river during the summer and autumn in from eight to ten days. I left Newchwang on the 3rd of July, and though various circumstances were unpropitious, reached Muk-den in eight days, being able to avoid many of the windings of the Liau by sailing over an
The kindly foreign community lent me necessaries for the journey, but even with these the hold of a "pea-boat" was not luxurious. My camp-bed took up the greater part of it, and the roof was not much above my head. The descent into the hold and the ascent were difficult, and when wind and rain obliged me to close the front, it was quite dark, cockroaches swarmed, and the smell of the bilge water was horrible. I was very far from well when I started, and in two days was really ill, yet I would not have missed the special interest of that journey for anything, or its solitude, for Wong's limited
CHAP. XV THE HOLD OF A "PEA-BOAT' 225
English counted for nothing and involved no conversational effort.
For some distance above Newchwang or Ying-tzu, as far as the real Newchwang, there is a complication of muddy rivers hurrying through vast reed beds, the resort of wild fowl, with here and there a mud bank with a mud hovel or two upon it. At that time reed beds and partially inundated swamps stretched away nearly to the horizon, which is limited in the far distance by the wavy blue outline of some low hills.
We ran up the river till the evening of the second day before a fair wind, and then were becalmed on a reedy expanse swarming with mosquitoes. The mercury was at 89° in the hold that night. I had severe fever, with racking pains in my head, back, and limbs, and in the morning the stamping of the junkmen to and fro, along the narrow strip of deck outside the roof, was hardly bearable. Wong had used up the ample supply of water, and there was nothing wherewith to quench thirst but the brown, thick water of the Liau, the tea made with which resembled peasoup.
On the morning of the third day it began to rain and
blow, and for the next awful four days the wind and rain
never ceased. The oiled paper which had been tacked
over the roof of the boat was torn into strips by the
violence of the winds, which forced the rain through every
chink. I lay down that night with the mercury at 80°,
woke feeling very cold, but, though surprised, fell asleep
again. Woke again much colder, feeling as if my feet
were bandaged together, extricated myself with difficulty,
struck a light, and got up into 6 inches of a mixture of
VOL. I Q
226 A MANCHURIAN DELUGE-MUK-DEN CHAP.
bilge water and rain water, with an overpowering stench, in or on which all things were sunk or floating. "Wondered again at being so very cold, found the temperature at 84°, and that I had been sleeping under a wringing sheet in soaked clothing and on soaked sacking, under a soaked mosquito net, and that there was not a dry article in the hold. For the next three days and nights things remained in the same condition, and though I was really ill I had to live in wet clothing and drink the "liquid cholera " of the flood, all the wells being submerged.
Telegrams later in the English papers announced "Great floods in Manchuria," but of the magnitude of the inundation which destroyed for that season the magnificent crops of the great fertile plain of the Liau, and swept away many of its countless farming villages, only the experience of sailing over it could give any idea.
In that miserable night there were barkings of dogs, shouts of men, mewings of cats, and general noises of unrest, and in the morning, of the village of Piengdo opposite to which we had moored the evening before, only one house and a barn remained, which were shortly carried away. Many of the people had escaped in boats, and the remainder, with their fowls, dogs, and cats, were in the spreading branches of a large tree. Although the mast of my boat was considerably in the way, and it was difficult to make fast, I succeeded in rescuing the whole menagerie and in transferring it in two trips to a village on the other side, which was then 5 feet above the water.
We had reached the most prosperous region of Manchuria, a plain 60 miles in length, of deep, rich alluvial
xv SCENES IN THE DELUGE 227
soil, bearing splendid crops, the most lucrative of which are the bean, the oil from which is the staple export of the country, the opium poppy, and tobacco. The great and small millet, wheat, barley, melons, and cucumbers cover the ground, mulberry trees for the silkworm surround the farm-houses, and the great plain is an idyll of bounteous-ness and fertility. Of all this not a trace remained, except in a few instances the tops of the 8-feet millet, which supplies the people not only with food, but with fuel, and fodder for their animals.
The river-bank burst during the night, and the waters were raging into the plain, from which I missed many a brown-roofed village, which the evening before stood among its willow and poplar trees. At 11 a fair wind sprang up, junks began to move, and my boatmen, who had talked of returning, untied and moved too. After an exciting scene at a bend, where the river, leaping like a rapid, thumped the junks against the opposite shore, we passed one wrecked village after another, bits of walls of houses alone standing. The people and their fowls were in the trees. The women clung to their fowls as much as to their babies. Dug-outs, scows, and a few junks, mine among them, were busy saving life, and we took three families and their fowls to Sho-wa Ku, a large junk port, where a number of houses were still standing. These families had lost all their household goods and gods, as well as mules, pigs, and dogs. On our way we sailed into a farm-yard to try to get some eggs, and the junk not replying to her helm, thumped one of the undermined walls down. It was a large farmhouse and full of refugees. The water was 3 feet deep in the rooms, naked children were floating about in
228 A MANCHURIAN DELUGE-MUK-DEN CHAP.
tubs, and the women, looking resigned, sat on the tables. The men said that it was the last of four houses, and that they might as well be dead, for they had lost all their crops and their beasts.
A fearful sight presented itself at Sho-wa Ku. There the river, indefinite as it had previously been, disappeared altogether, and the whole country was a turbulent muddy sea, bounded on the east by a range of hills, and to the north and south limitless. Under it lay all the fruits of the tireless industry and garden cultivation of a large and prosperous population, and the remorseless waters under the influence of a gale were rolling in muddy surges," crested with tawny foam," over the fast dissolving homes.
On this vast flood we embarked to shorten the distance, and sailed with three reefs in the sail for 13 miles over it, till we were brought up by an insurmountable obstacle in the shape of a tremendous rush of water where a bank had given way. There we were compelled to let go two anchors in the early afternoon. The wind had become foul, and the rain, which fell in torrents, was driven almost horizontally. Nothing that suggested human life was in sight. It might have been " the Deluge," for the windows of heaven were opened. There were a muddy, rolling sea, and a black sky, dark with tremendous rain, and the foliage of trees with submerged trunks was alone suggestive of even vegetable life and of the villages which had been destroyed by the devouring waters.
In 13 miles just one habitation remained standing, a large, handsome brick house with entrance arch, quadrangle, curved roofs, large farm buildings, and many servants'
xv THE STORM CULMINATES 229
houses, some of which were toppling, and others were submerged up to their roofs. There was a look-out on the principal roof and he hailed us, but as there were several scows about, enough to save life, I disregarded him, and we sailed on into the tempestuous solitude where we anchored.
The day darkened slowly into night, the junk rolled with short plunging rolls, the rain fell more tremendously than ever, and the strong wind, sweeping through the rigging with a desolate screech, only just overpowered the clatter on the roof. I was ill. The seas we shipped drowned the charcoal, and it was impossible to make tea or arrowroot. The rain dripped everywhere through the roof. My lamp spluttered and went out and could not be relighted, bedding and clothing were soaked, my bed stood in the water, the noise was deafening.
Never in all my journeys have I felt so solitary. I realised that no other foreigner was travelling in Manchuria, that there was no help in illness, and that there was nothing to be done but lie there in saturated clothes till things took a turn for the better.
And so they did. By 8 the next morning the scene was changed. The sky was blue and cloudless, there was a cool north wind, and the waste of water dimpled and glittered, the broken sparkle of its mimic waves suggesting the ocean after a destructive storm has become a calm. After sailing over broad blue water all day, and passing " islands " on which the luckier villages were still standing, towards evening we sailed into a village of large farm-houses and made fast to the window-bars of one of them, which, being of brick, had not suffered greatly. Eleven of the farms had
230 A MANCHURIAN DELUGE-MUK-DEN CHAP.
disappeared, and others were in process of disappearing. The gardens, farm-yards, and open spaces were under 5 feet of water, the surface of which was covered by a bubbly scum. The horses and cattle were in the rooms of the brick houses where many human beings had taken refuge. A raft made of farming implements ferried the people among the few remaining dwellings.
At that farm the skipper bought a quantity of rice for his family, and by a lovely moonlight we sailed over the drowned country to his village. The flood currents were strong, and when we got there we were driven against two undermined houses and knocked them down, afterwards drifting into a road with fine trees which entangled the mast and sail, and our stern bumped down the wall of the road, and the current carried us into a square of semi-submerged houses, and eventually we got into the skipper's garden, and saw his family mounted on tables and chairs on the top of the kang.
Two uneventful days followed. The boatmen were in ceaseless dread of pirates, and I was so ill that I felt I would rather die than make another effort.
Arriving within 3 miles of Muk-den, Wong engaged a passenger cart, a conveyance of the roughest description, which is only rendered tolerable by having its back, sides, and bottom padded with mattresses, and I was destitute of everything! Nothing can exaggerate the horrors of an unameliorated Chinese cart on an infamous road. Down into ruts 2 feet deep, out of which three fine mules could scarcely extricate us, over hillocks and big gnarled roots of trees, through quagmires and banked ditches, where, in dread of the awful jerk produced by the mules making a
xv AN ACCIDENT 231
non-simultaneous jump up the farther side, I said to myself, " This is my last hour," getting a blow on my head
which made me see a shower of sparks so I entered the
gate of the outer wall of beaten clay 11 and 1/2 miles in circuit which surrounds the second city of the empire. Then,
PASSENGER CART, MUK-DEN.
through a quagmire out of which we were dragged by seven mules-bruised, breathless, and in great pain, and up a bank where the cart turned over, pulling the mules over with it, and rolling down a slight declivity, I found myself in the roof with the cameras on the top of me and my right arm twisted under me, a Chinese crowd curious to
232 A MANCHURIAN DELUGE-MUK-DEN CHAP.XV
see the " foreign devil," a vague impress of disaster in my somewhat dazed brain, and Wong raging at large! Then followed a shady compound ablaze with flowers, a hearty welcome at the house of Dr. Ross, the senior missionary of the Scotch U.P. Church, sweet home-like rooms in a metamorphosed Chinese house, a large shady bedroom replete with comforts, the immediate arrival of Dr. Christie, the medical missionary, who pronounced my arm-bone " splintered " and the tendons severely torn, and placed the limb in splints, and a time of kind and skilled nursing by Mrs. Ross, and of dreamy restfulness, in which the horrors of the hold of the " pea-boat" and of the dark and wind-driven flood only served to emphasise the comfort and propitiousness of my surroundings.
MUK-DEN stands at an altitude of 160 feet above the sea, in Lat. 41° 51' N. and Long. 123° 37' E., in the centre of an immense alluvial plain, bearing superb crops and liberally sprinkled with farming villages embowered in wood, a wavy line of low blue hills at a great distance limiting the horizon. It is 3 miles from the Hun-ho, a tributary of the Liau, and within its outer wall idles along the silvery Siao-ho or " small river," with a long Bund affording a delightful promenade and an airy position for a number of handsome houses, the residences of missionaries and mandarins, with stately outer and inner gates, through which glimpses are obtained of gardens and flowering plants in pots. This city of 260,000 inhabitants, owing to its connection with the reigning dynasty, is the second city officially in the empire, and the Peking " boards " with one exception are nominally duplicated there. Hence it not only has an army of Chinese and Tartar officials of all grades, but a large resident population of retired and expectant mandarins, living in handsome houses and making a great display in the streets. There is an
234 MUK-DEN CHAP'.
incessant movement of mule-carts, the cabs of Muk-den, with their superb animals and their blue canopies covering both mule and driver, official mule-carts driven at a trot, with four or more outriders with white hats and red plumes, private carts belonging to young mandarin swells, who give daily entertainments at a restaurant on the Bund, mandarins on horseback with runners clearing the
way, carts waiting for " lotus-viewers," tall, " big-footed " women promenading with their children, their hair arranged in loops on silver frames and decorated with flowers, hospital patients on stretchers and in chairs, men selling melons and candies, and beggars who by blowing through a leaf imitate the cry of nearly every bird. Then in the summer evenings, when the mercury has fallen to 80°, the servants of rich men bring out splendid ponies and mules and walk them on the Bund, and there come
xvi LIFE IN MUK-DEN 235
the crowds to stare at the foreigners and hang round their gates. The presence of well-dressed women is a feature rare in the East. Up to the war people were polite and friendly, but progress was difficult and the smell of garlic strong. At night the dogs bark, guns are fired, drums and gongs are beaten, and the clappers of the watchmen rival each other in making night hideous.
All this life lies between the outer wall and the lofty quadrangular inner wall, 3 miles in circuit, built of brick, flanked by lofty towers, and pierced by eight gates protected by lofty brick bastions. This wall, on which three carriages could drive abreast, protects the commercial and official part of the city, which is densely crowded, Muk-den, besides being a great grain emporium, being the centre of the Chinese fur trade, which attracts buyers from all parts of the world. Fine streets, though full of humps and quagmires, divide the city into nine wards or quarters, the central quarter being Imperial property, and containing a fine palace with much decorative yellow tiling, the examination hall, and a number of palaces and yamens, all solidly built. To my thinking no Chinese city is so agreeable as Muk-den. The Tartar capital is free from that atmosphere of decay which broods over Peking. Its wide streets are comparatively clean. It is regularly built, and its fine residences are well kept up. It is a busy place, and does a large and lucrative trade, specially in grain, beans, and furs. It has various industries, which include the tanning and dressing of furs and the weaving of silk stuffs; its bankers and merchants are rich, and it has great commercial as well as some political importance.
As the old capital of Manchuria and the abode of the
236 MUK-DEN CHAP.
Prince ancestors of the family which was placed on the Chinese throne in 1644, it has special privileges, among which are " Ministres de Parade," nominally holding the same rank as the actual ministers in Peking. Near it are the superb tombs of the ancestors of the present Emperor, on which grand avenues of trees converge, bordered by colossal stone animals after the fashion of those at the Ming tombs near Peking. Formerly the Manchu Emperors made pilgrimages to these tombs and the sacred city of their dynasty, but since the second decade of this century the Chinese Emperor's portrait only has been sent at intervals in solemn procession, the Peking road being in the meantime closed to ordinary traffic.
The Governor-General of Manchuria resides in Mukden, as well as the military Governor, who is assisted by a civil administrator and by the Presidents of five Boards. The great offices of State are filled in duplicate by Chinese and Manchus, and criminals of the two races are tried in separate courts.
The favourable reception given to Christianity is one of the features of Muk-den. The fine pagoda of the Christian Church is en evidence everywhere. The Scotch U.P. missionaries, who have been established there for twenty-five years, are on friendly terms with the people, and specially with many of the mandarins and high officials, who show them tokens of regard publicly and privately on all occasions. Dr. Christie, the medical missionary, is the trusted friend as well as the medical adviser of many of the leading officials and their wives, who, with every circumstance of ceremonial pomp, have presented complimentary tablets to the hospital, and altogether the relations between the
xvi SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY 237
Chinese and the missionaries are unique. I attribute these special relations with the upper classes partly to the fact that Dr. Ross, the senior missionary, and Dr. Christie, and those who have joined them subsequently, have studied Chinese custom and etiquette very closely, and are careful to conform to both as far as is possible, while they are not only keen-sighted for the good that is in the Chinese, but bring the best out of them.
Thus Christianity, divested of the nonchalant or contemptuous insularity by which it is often rendered repulsive, has made considerable progress not only in the capital but in the province, and until the roads became unsafe there was scarcely a day during my long visit in which there were not deputations from distant villages asking for Christian workers, representing numerous bands of rural worshippers, who, having received some knowledge of Christianity from converts, colporteurs, or cateehists, had renounced many idolatrous practices, and desired further instruction. Of the " professing Christians," Dr. Ross said that it was only a very small percentage who had heard the Gospel from Europeans! Four thousand were already baptized, and nearly as many again were "inquirers" with a view to baptism. It was most curious to see men coming daily from remote regions asking for some one to go and instruct them in the "Jesus doctrine," for " they had learned as much as they could without a teacher." In many parts of Manchuria there are now Christian communities carrying on their own worship and discipline, and it is noteworthy that very many of the converts are members of those Secret Societies whose strongest bond of union is the search after righteousness.
238 MUK-DEN CHAP.
The Mission Hospital is one of the largest and best equipped in the Far East, and besides doing a great medical and surgical work, is a medical school in which students pass through a four years' curriculum. There also Dr. Christie gives illustrated popular scientific lectures in the winter, which are attended among others by a number of sons of mandarins. Donations, both of money and food, are contributed to this hospital both by officials and merchants; and General Tso, a most charitable man and beloved by the poor, only the night before he started for Korea, sent a bag of tickets for ice, so that the hospital might not suffer for the lack of it during his absence. Only a few months before he presented it with a handsome tablet and subscription.1
Even in so civilised a city as Muk-den, with its schools
and literary examinations, its thousands of literary aspirants
to official position, its streets full of a busy and splendid
officialism, its enormous trade, its banks and yamens, its
20,000 Mussulmans, with their many mosques, and hatred
of the pig, and the slow interpenetration of enlightened
Western ideas, Chinese superstitions of the usual order,
well known by every reader, prevail.
1 General Tso'a cavalry brigade was perhaps the best disciplined in the Chinese army, and he was a severe disciplinarian, but he was also an earnest philanthropist, and though a strict Mussulman, always showed himself friendly to the Christian religion, specially in its benevolent aspects. His soup kitchens saved many a family from starvation. He established and was the chief support of a foundling hospital. During the terrible inundation of 1888 he distributed food among the famishing with his own hands. His friendly help could always be relied on by the missionaries, who joined in the sorrow with which Manchuria mourned for his premature death at Phyong-yang in Korea. The benevolence of rich Chinese ought not to be overlooked. The charities of China are on a gigantic scale, and many of them are admirably administered by men who expend much self-sacrificing effort on their administration.
xvi CHINESE MEDICINE 239
The system of medicine, though it contains the knowledge and use of some valuable native drugs among the sixty which are exported, is in many respects extremely barbarous. The doctors have no operative surgery and cannot even tie an artery! They use cupping, the cautery, and acupuncture hot or cold, with long coarse uncleanly needles, with which they pierce the liver, joints, and stomach for pains, sprains, and rheumatism. They close all abscesses, wounds, and ulcers with a black impervious plaster. Witch doctors are resorted to in cases of hysteria or mental derangement. Vaccination is now to some extent adopted with calf or transferred lymph, the puncture being made in the nostrils. In order to ascertain whether a sick person is likely to live, they plunge long needles into the body, and give up the case as hopeless if blood does not flow. When death is near, the friends dress the patient in the best clothes they can afford and remove him from the kang (the usual elevated sleeping place) to the floor, or lay him on ashes. As the spirit departs they cry loudly in the ear. In connection with death, it may be mentioned that some of the most striking shops in Muk-den, after the coffin shops, are those in which are manufactured and sold admirable life-size representations of horses, men, asses, elephants, carts, and all the articles of luxury of this life, which are carried in procession and are burned at the grave, sometimes to the value of $1000.
Few children under nine years old are buried, and those only among the richest class. When death occurs, the mother, wailing bitterly, wraps the body in matting, and throws it away, i.e. she places it where the dogs can get at it. This ghastly burden must not be carried out of
240 MUK-DEN CHAP..
a door or window, but through a new or disused opening, in order that the evil spirit which causes the disease may not enter. The belief is that the Heavenly Dog which eats the sun at the time of an eclipse demands the bodies of children, and that if they are denied to him he will bring certain calamity on the household.
I have mentioned the kang, which is a marked feature of the houses and inns of Manchuria, which for its latitude has the coldest winter in the world, the mercury often reaching 170 F. below zero. The kang is a brick platform covered with matting and heated economically by flues, and is at once sleeping and sitting place. The stalks of the HOLCUS sorghum are used for fuel. In winter, when the external temperature may be a little above and much below zero for a month at a time, the Chinaman, unable to heat his whole room, drops his shoes, mounts his kang, sits cross-legged on the warm mat, covers' his padded socks with his padded robe, and there takes his meals and receives his friends in comfort. When I was invited to climb the kang I felt myself a persona grata,
The pawnshops of Muk-den, with their high outer walls, lofty gateways, two or three well-kept courts, fine buildings, and tall stone columns at the outer gate, with the sign of the business upon them, their scrupulous cleanliness, and their armies of polite, intelligent clerks, are as respectable as banks with us. They demand for every sum borrowed movable property to double its amount. If the pledge be not redeemed within two years, it falls to the pawnbroker. Government fixes the interest. The proprietor takes the same position as a capitalist owning a
XVI SUICIDE IN MUK-DEN 241
bank in the West, and a samshu distiller takes an equal place in local esteem.
The prevalence of suicide is a feature of Muk-den as of
most Chinese cities. Certain peculiarities of Chinese
justice render it a favourite way of wreaking spite upon
an employer or neighbour, who is haunted besides by the
spirit of the self-murderer. Hence servants angry with
their masters, shopmen with their employers, wives with
their husbands, and above all, daughters-in-law with their
mothers-in-law, show their spite by dying on their premises,
usually by opium, or eating the tops of lucifer matches! It
is quite a common thing for a person who has a grudge
against another to go and poison himself in his courtyard,
securing revenge first by the mandarin's inquiry and next
by the haunting terrors of his malevolent spirit. Young
girls were daily poisoning themselves with lucifer matches
to escape from the tyranny of mothers-in-law and leave
unpleasantness behind them.
But it is not the seamy side which is uppermost in Muk-den.
EXCITEMENT IN MUK-DEN
THE weeks which I spent in Muk-den were full of rumours and excitement. A few words on the origin of the war with Japan may make the situation intelligible.
The Tong-haks, as was mentioned in chapter xiii., had on several occasions defeated the Royal Korean troops, and after much hesitation the Korean King invoked the help of China. China replied promptly by giving Japan notice of her intention to send troops to Korea on 7th June 1894, both countries, under the treaty of Tientsin, having equal rights to do so under such circumstances as had then arisen. On the same day Japan announced to China a similar intention. The Chinese General, Yi, landed at A-san with 3000 men, and the Japanese occupied Chemulpo and Seoul in force.
In the Chinese despatch Korea was twice referred to as " our tributary state." Japan replied that the Imperial Government had never recognised Korea as a tributary state of China.
Then came three proposals from Japan for the administration of Korea, to be carried out jointly by herself and
CHAP. XVII THE FAILURE OF DIPLOMACY 243
China. These were-(1) Examination of the financial administration; (2) Selection of the central and local officials; (3) The establishment of a disciplined army for national defence and the preservation of the peace of the land.
To these proposals China replied that Korea must be left to reform herself, and that the withdrawal of the Japanese troops must precede any negotiations, a suggestion rejected by Japan, who informed China on 14th July that she should regard the despatch of any more troops to Korea as a belligerent act. On 20th July Japan demanded that the King of Korea should order the Chinese troops to leave the country, threatening " decisive measures" if this course were not adopted.
Meanwhile, at the request of the King, the representatives of the Treaty Powers were endeavouring to maintain peace, suggesting the simultaneous withdrawal of the troops of both countries. To this China agreed, but Japan demanded delay, and on 23rd July took the "decisive measure" she had threatened, assaulted and captured the Palace, and practically made the King a prisoner, his father, the Tai-Won-Kun, at his request, but undoubtedly at Japanese instigation, taking nominally the helm of affairs.
After this events marched with great rapidity. On 25th July the transport Kowshing, flying the British flag and carrying 1200 Chinese troops, was sunk with great loss of life by the Japanese cruiser Naniwa, and four days later the Japanese won the battle of A-san and dispersed the Chinese army. Before 30th July Korea gave notice of the renunciation of the Conventions between herself
244 EXCITEMENT AT MUK-DEN CHAP.
and China, which was equivalent to renouncing Chinese sovereignty. On 1st August war was declared. Of the sequence of these events, and even of the events themselves, we knew little or nothing, and up to the middle of July Muk-den kept " the even tenor of its way."
Manchuria is far less hostile to foreigners than the rest of China, and the name " devil" may even be used as a polite address with the prefix of " honourable " ! No European women had previously passed through the gate of the inner wall and through the city on foot, but I not only was able to do so without molestation, though several times only attended by my servant, but actually was able to photograph in the quieter streets, the curiosity of the crowd being quite friendly. The Scotch missionaries had then been established in Muk-den for twenty-two years, were on very friendly terms with the people, there was much social intercourse, and altogether their relations with the Chinese were unique.
Before the end of July, however, the many wild rumours which were afloat, and the continual passage of troops on their way to Korea (war being a foregone conclusion before it was declared), produced a general ferment. I had to abandon peregrinations in the city, and also photography, a hostile crowd having mobbed me as I was "taking" the Gate of Victory, in the belief that I kept a black devil in the camera, with such a baleful Cyclopean eye that whatever living thing it looked on would die within a year, and any building or wall would crumble away!
After war was declared on 1st August 1894, things grew worse rapidly. As Japan had full command of the
xvii ANTI-FOREIGN FEELING 245
sea, all Chinese troops sent to Korea were compelled to march through Manchuria, and undisciplined hordes of Manchu soldiers from Kirin, Tsitsihar, and other northern cities poured through Muk-den at the rate of 1000 a day, having distinguished themselves on the southern march by seizing on whatever they could get hold of, riotously occupying inns without payment, beating the innkeepers, and wrecking Christian chapels, not from antichristian but from anti-foreign feeling. Their hatred of foreigners culminated at Liau-yang, 40 miles from Muk-den, when Manchu soldiers, after wrecking the Christian chapel, beat Mr. Wylie, a Scotch missionary, to death, and attacked the chief magistrate for his friendliness to the "foreign devils."
Anti-foreign feeling rose rapidly in Muk-den. The servants of foreigners, and even the hospital assistants, were insulted in the town, and the wildest rumours concerning foreigners were spread and believed. The friendly authorities, who took the safety of the three mission families into serious consideration, requested them to give up their usual journeys into the interior, and to avoid going into the city or outside the walls. Next the " street chapels " were closed, the native Christians, a largo body, being very apprehensive for their own safety, being regarded as " one with the foreigners," who, unfortunately, were generally supposed to be " the same as the Japanese."
The perils of the roads increased. Not a cart or animal was to be seen near them. The great inns were closed or had their shutters wrecked, and the villages and farms were deserted. All tracks converging on Muk-den were thronged with troops, not marching, but straggling along
246 EXCITEMENT IN MUK-DEN CHAP.
anyhow, every tenth man carrying a great silk banner, but few were armed with modern weapons. I saw several regiments of fine physique without a rifle among them! In some, gingalls were carried by two men each, others were armed with antique muzzle-loading muskets, very rusty, or with long matchlocks, and some carried only spears, or bayonets fixed on red poles. All were equipped with such umbrellas and fans as I saw some time later in the ditches of the bloody field of Phyong-yang. It was nothing but murder to send thousands of men so armed to meet the Japanese with their deadly Murata rifles, and the men knew it, for when they happened to see a foreigner they made such remarks as, " This is one of the devils for whom we are going to be shot," and when a large party of them, in attempting to make a forcible entry into the Governor-General's palace, were threatened by the guard with being shot, the reply was, " We are going to be shot in Korea, we may as well be shot here."
The nominal pay of soldiers is higher than that of labourers, and it was only after the defeat and the great slaughter at A-san that there was any unwillingness to enter the ranks. The uniform is easy, but unfit for hard wear, and very stagey-a short, loose, sleeved red cloak, bordered with black velvet, loose blue, black, or apricot trousers, and long boots of black cotton cloth with thick soles of quilted rag. The discipline may be inferred from the fact that some regiments of fine physique straggled through Muk-den for the seat of war carrying rusty muskets in one hand, and in the other poles with perches, on which singing birds were loosely tethered! The men fell out of the ranks as they pleased, to buy fruit or tobacco or to
xvii THE CHINESE ARMY 247
speak to friends. Yet they made a goodly scenic display in their brilliant colouring, with their countless long banners of crimson silk undulating in the breezy sunshine, and their officers with sable-tailed hats and yellow jackets riding beside them.
Those who had rifles and modern weapons at all had them of all makes; so cartridges of twenty different sorts and sizes were huddled together without any attempt at classification, and in one open space all sorts were heaped on the ground, and the soldiers were fitting them to their arms, sometimes trying eight or ten before finding one to suit the weapon, and throwing them back on the heap ! There were neither medical arrangements nor an ambulance corps, Chinese custom being to strip the wounded and leave them, " wounded men being of no use." The commissariat was not only totally inefficient but grossly dishonest, and where stores had accumulated the contractors sold them for their own benefit. Thus there was little provision of food or fodder in advance, and in a very short time the soldiers were robbing at large, and eating the horses and transport mules. The Chinese soldiers, bad as their drill and discipline are, are regarded by European officers as "excellent material," but the Manchus of the North (Tartars) are a shambling, disorderly, insubordinate horde, dreaded by peaceable citizens, presuming on their Imperial relationship, and in disturbed times little better than licensed brigands.
Among the first troops to leave the city was the Fengtien Chinese brigade of cavalry 5000 strong, under General Tso, a brave and experienced officer, who was at once feared and trusted, so that when he fell with his face
248 EXCITEMENT IN MUK-DEN CHAP.
to the foe at Phyong-yang, his loss demoralised the army, and the Japanese showed their appreciation of him by erecting an obelisk to his memory. His brigade was in a state of strict discipline, admirably drilled, and on the whole well armed. The troopers were mounted on active, well-built ponies, a little over 13 hands high, up to great weight. After leaving Muk-den they were entangled in a quagmire which extended for 100 miles, and the telegrams of disaster were ominous. On the first day their commander beheaded six men for taking melons without payment, and on the second fourteen were decapitated for desertion.
After General Tso's departure with his disciplined force the disorder increased, and the high officials, being left with few reliable soldiers, became alarmed for their own positions, the hatred and jealousy between the Chinese and Manchu troops not only constituting one of the great difficulties of the war, but threatening official safety.
Rumours of disaster soon began to circulate, and with each one the ferment increased, and an Imperial proclamation sent by courier from Peking in the interests of foreigners, declaring that the Emperor was only at war with the " rebel wojen" (dwarfs), and was at peace with all other nations, did little to allay it. The able-bodied beggars and unemployed coolies in the city were swept into the army, and were sent off after three weeks' drill. The mule-carts of Muk-den and the neighbourhood were requisitioned for transport, paralysing much of the trade of the city. Later, many of these carts were burned as fuel to cook the mules for the starving troops. As Manchu soldiers continued to pour in, the shops were
XVII PERILOUS CONDITION OF FOREIGNERS 249
closed and the streets deserted at their approach, and many of the merchants fled to the hills. A Japanese occupation, ensuring security and order, came to be hoped for by many sufferers. The price of provisions rose, because the country people had either been robbed of all or did not dare to bring them in, and even the hospital and dispensary for the same reason began to be scantily attended. After Mr. Wylie's murder things became increasingly serious, and by the end of August it became apparent to the authorities that the safety of foreigners would be jeopardised by remaining much longer in Muk-den. Somewhat later they left, Dr. Boss and Dr. Christie remaining behind for a short time at the special request of the Governor. I left on 20th August, and though my friends were very anxious about my safety, I reached Newchwang five days later, having encountered no worse risk than that of an attack by pirates, who captured some junks with some loss of life, after I had eluded them by travelling at night.
AFTER the collapse of the rumour regarding the landing of the Japanese in force on the shores of the Gulf of Pechili, which obtained credence for nearly a fortnight in the Far East, fluttered every Cabinet in Europe, forced even so' cool and well-informed a man as Sir Robert Hart into hasty action, and produced a hurried exodus of Europeans from Peking and a scare generally among the foreign residents in North China, I returned from Peking to Chefoo to await the course of events.
The war, its requirements, and its uncertainties disarranged the means of ocean transit so effectually that, after hanging on for some weeks, in the midst of daily rumours of great naval engagements, for a steamer for Wladivostok, I only succeeded in getting a passage in a small German boat which reluctantly carried one passenger, and in which I spent a very comfortless five days, in stormy weather, varied by the pleasant interlude of a day at Nagasaki, then in the full glory of the chrysanthemum season, and aflame with scarlet maples. Lighted, cleaned, and policed to perfection, without a hole or a heap, this trim city of
CHAP. XVIII WAR ENTHUSIASM IN JAPAN 251
dwarfs and dolls contrasts agreeably with the filth, squalor, loathsomeness, and general abominableness which are found in nearly all Chinese cities outside the foreign settlements.
Chinese moved about the streets with an air as of a ruling race, and worked at their trades and pursued the important calling of compradores with perfect freedom from annoyance, the only formality required of them being registration; while from China all the Japanese had fled by the desire of their consuls, not always unmolested in person and property, and any stray " dwarf" then found in a Chinese city would have been all but certain to lose his life.
The enthusiasm for the war was still at a white heat. Gifts in money and kind fell in a continual shower on the Nagasaki authorities, nothing was talked of but military successes, and a theatre holding 3000 was giving the profits of two daily performances to crowded audiences in aid of the War Fund. The fact that ships were only allowed to enter the port by daylight, and were then piloted by a Government steam-launch in charge of a " torpedo pilot," was the only indication in the harbour of an exceptional state of things.
It was warm autumn weather at Nagasaki, but when I reached Wladivostok the hills which surround its superb harbour were powdered with the first snows of winter, and a snowstorm two days later covered the country to a depth of 18 inches. Wooded islands, wooded bays, wooded hills, deep sheltered channels and inlets, wooded to the water's edge, bewilder a stranger, then comes Fort Godobin, and by a sharp turn the harbour is entered, one of the finest
252 NAGASAKI-WLADIVOSTOK CHAP.
in the world, two and a half miles long by nearly one wide, with deep water everywhere, so deep that ships drawing 25 feet lie within a stone's throw of the wharves, and moor at the Government pier.
The first view of Wladivostok (" Possession of the East") is very striking, although the vandalism of its builders has deprived it of its naturally artistic background of wood. Otherwise the purple tone of the land and the blue crystal of the water reminded me of some of our Nova Scotian harbours. There is nothing Asiatic about the aspect of this Pacific capital, and indeed it is rather Transatlantic than European. Seated on a deeply embayed and apparently landlocked harbour, along the shores of which it straggles for more than 3 miles, climbing audaciously up the barren sides of denuded hills, irregular, treeless-lofty buildings with bold fronts, Government House, "Kuntz and Albers," the glittering domes of a Greek cathedral, a Lutheran church, Government Administrative Offices, the Admiralty, the Arsenal, the Cadet School, the Naval Club, an Emigrant Home, and the grand and solid terminus and offices of the Siberian Railway, rising out of an irregularity which is not picturesque, attract and hold the voyager's attention.
Requesting to be taken at once to the Customs, the bewildered air of astonishment with which my request was met informed me that Wladivostok had up to that time been a free port, and that I was at liberty to land unquestioned. After thumping about for some time among a number of stout sampans in the midst of an unspeakable Babel, I was hauled on shore by a number of laughing, shouting, dirty Korean youths, who, after ex-
XVIII IMPRESSIONS OF WLADIVOSTOK 253
changing pretty hard blows with each other for my coveted possessions, shouldered them and ran off with them in different directions, leaving me stranded with the tripod of my camera, to which I had clung desperately in the melee. There were droskies not far off, and four or five Koreans got hold of me, one dragging me towards one vehicle, others to another, yelling Korean into my ears, till a Cossack policeman came and thumped them into order. There were hundreds of them on the wharf, and except that they were noisier and more aggressive, it was like landing at Chemulpo. Getting into a drosky, I said, "Golden Horn Hotel," in my most distinct English, then "Hotel Corne d'or," in my most distinct French. The moujik nodded and grinned out of his fur hood, and started at a gallop in the opposite direction! I clutched him, and made emphatic signs, speech being useless, and he turned and galloped in a right direction, but stopped at the disreputable doorway of one of the lowest of the many drinking saloons with which Wladivostok is infested. There all my Koreans reappeared, vociferating and excited. I started the moujik off again at a gallop, the drosky jumping ruts and bounding out of holes with an energy of elasticity which took my breath away, the Koreans racing. More gallops, more stoppages at pothouses, and in this fashion I reached at last the Golden Horn Hotel-a long, rambling," disjaskit" building, with a shady air of disreputableness hanging about it,-the escort of Koreans still good-natured and vociferous. The landlady emerged. I tried her in English and French, but she knew neither. The moujik shouted at us both in Russian, a little crowd assembled, each man trying to put matters
254 NAGASAKI-WLADIVOSTOK CHAP.
straight, and when every moment made them more entangled, and the moujik was gathering up his reins to gallop off on a further quest, a Russian officer came up, and in excellent English asked if he could help me, interpreted my needs to the lady, lent me some kopecks with which to appease the Koreans and the moujik, and gave me the enjoyment of listening to my own blessed tongue, which I had not heard for five days.
By a long flight of stairs, past a great bar and dining-room, where vodka was much en evidence, even in the forenoon, past a billiard-room, occupied even at that early hour, and through a large, dark, and dusty theatre, I attained my rooms, a "parlour" and bedroom en suite, opening on and looking out upon a yard with pig-sties. There were five doors, not one of which would lock. The rooms were furnished in Louis Quatorze style, much gilding and velvet, all ancient and dusty. They looked as if they had known tragedies, and might know them again. The barrier of language was impassable, and I must be unskilled in the use of signs, for I quite failed to make any one understand that I wanted food. I went out, cashed a circular note at the great German house of Kuntz and Albers, the " Whiteleys " of Eastern Siberia, where all the information that I then needed was given in the most polite way, found it impossible anywhere else to make myself understood in English or French, failed in an attempt to buy postage stamps or to get food, delivered the single letter of introduction which I had somewhat ungraciously accepted, and returned to my melodramatic domicile to consider the possibilities of travel, which at that moment were not encouraging.
Xviii FRIENDS AND KINDNESS 255
Before long Mr. Charles Smith, the oldest foreign resident in Wladivostok, to whom my letter was addressed, called, a kindly and genial presence, and, as I afterwards found, full of good deeds and benevolence. He took me at once to call on General Unterberger, the Governor of the Maritime Province. I think I never saw so gigantic a man-military, too, from his spurs to his coat collar. As he rose to receive me he looked as if his head might eventually touch the lofty ceiling.
Mr. Smith is a persona grata in Wladivostok, and very much so with the Governor, who consequently received me with much friendliness, and asked me to let him know my plans. I explained what I wanted to do, subject to his approval, and presented my credentials, which were of the best. He said that he quite approved of my project, and would do anything he could to help me, and wrote on the spot a letter to the Frontier Commissioner, but he added that the disorganised and undisciplined state of the Chinese army near the frontier might render some modification of my plan necessary, as I afterwards found. The Governor and his wife speak excellent English, and the social intercourse which I had with them afterwards was most agreeable and instructive.
During the afternoon Mr. Smith returned, and saying that he and his wife could not endure my staying in that hotel, took me away to his home high up on a steep hillside, with a glorious view of the city and harbour, and of which it is difficult to say whether the sunshine were brighter within or without. Under such propitious circumstances my two visits became full of sunny memories, and I may be pardoned if I see Wladivostok a little couleur
256 NAGASAKI-WLADIVOSTOK CHAP.
de rose; for the extraordinary kindness which dogs and shadows the traveller in the Far East was met with there in perfection, and where I was received by strangers I left highly-valued friends.
After a snowstorm splendid weather set in. The snow prevented dust blasts, the ordinary drawback of an Eastern Siberian winter, the skies were brilliant and unclouded, the sunsets carnivals of colour, the air exhilarating, the mercury at night averaging 20°, there was light without heat, the main road was full of sleighs going at a gallop, their bells making low music, all that is unsightly was hidden, and this weather continued for five weeks!
" The Possession of the East" is nothing if not military and naval. Forts, earthworks, at which it is prudent not to look too long or intently, great military hospitals, huge red brick barracks in every direction, offices of military administration, squads of soldiers in brown ulsters and peaked pashaliks, carrying pickaxes or spades on their shoulders,1 sappers with their tools, in small parties, officers, mostly with portfolios or despatch-boxes under their arms, dashing about in sleighs, and the prohibition of photography, all indicate its fortress character. Certainly two out of every three people in the streets are in
1 The Russian soldier does a great amount of day labour. Far from disporting himself in brilliant uniform before the admiring eyes of boys and "servant girls," he digs, builds, carpenters, makes shoes and harness, and does a good civil day's work in addition to his military duties, and is paid for this as '' piecework "on a fixed scale, his daily earnings being duly entered in a book. When he has served his time these are handed over to him, and a steady, industrious man makes enough to set himself up in a small business or on a farm. Vodka and schnaps are the Russian soldier's great enemies.
XVIII THE FUTURE OF WLADIVOSTOK 257
uniform, and the Cossack police, who abound, are practically soldiers.
Naval it is also. There are ships of war in and out of commission, a brand-new admiralty, a navy yard, a floating dock, a magnificent dry dock, only just completed, and a naval club-house, which is one of the finest buildings in Wladivostok. No matter that Nature closes the harbour from Christmas to the end of March! Science has won the victory, and the port has been kept open for the last two winters by means of a powerful ice-breaker and the services of the troops in towing the blocks of ice out to sea. Large steamers of the "Volunteer Fleet" leave Odessa and Wladivostok monthly or fortnightly. As the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway, Wladivostok aspires to be what she surely will be-at once the Gibraltar and Odessa of the Far East, one of the most important of commercial emporiums, as the "distributing point" for the commerce of that vast area of prolific country which lies south of the Amur. Possibly a branch line to Port Shestakoff in Ham-gyong Do may enable the Government to dispense with the services of the ice-breaker!
The progress of the city is remarkable. The site,
then a forest, was only surveyed in 1860. In 1863 many
of the trees were felled and some shanties were erected.
Later than that a tiger was shot on the site of the new
Government House, and a man leaving two horses to be
shod outside the smithy had them both devoured by tigers.
Gradually the big oaks and pines were cleared away, and
wooden houses were slowly added, until 1872, when the
removal of the naval establishment of 60 men from
258 NAGASAKI-WLADIVOSTOK CHAP.
Nicolaeffk on the Amur to the new settlement gave it a decided start. In 1878 it had a population of 1400. In 1897 its estimated civil population was 25,000, including 3000 Koreans, who have their own settlement a mile from the city, and are its draymen and porters, and 2000 Chinese. The latter keep most of the shops, and have obtained a monopoly of the business in meat, fish, game, fruit, vegetables, and other perishable commodities, their guild being strong enough to squeeze the Russians out of the trade in these articles, which arc sold in four large wooden buildings by the harbour known as the " Bazar." There are some good Japanese shops, but the Japanese are usually domestic servants at high wages, and after a few years return to enjoy their savings in their own country. A naturalised German is the only British subject, and my host and his family are the only Americans.
The capital has two subsidised and two independent lines of steamers, 700 families of Russian assisted emigrants enter Primorsk annually, each head of a household being required to be the possessor of 600 roubles (￡60), and from 8000 to 10,000 Chinese from the Shan-tung province arrive every spring to fulfil labour contracts, returning to China in December, carrying out of the country from 25 to 50 dollars each, convict labour from the penal settlement of Saghalien having been abandoned as impracticable.
The Chinese shops, which are a feature of Wladivostok, undersell both Russians and Germans, and have an increasing trade. Kuntz and Albers, a Hamburg firm of importers, bankers, shipping agents, and Whiteleyism in general, with sixty clerks, mostly Gernan, with a few
xviii A " GO-AHEAD " CITY 259
Russians, Danes, and Koreans, conduct an enormous wholesale and retail business in a "palatial " pile of brick and stone buildings, and have sixteen branch houses in Eastern Siberia, and the German firm of Langalutje runs them very closely.
The railway station and offices are solid and handsome; an admirably-built railroad, open to the Ussuri Bridge, 186 miles, and progressing towards the Amur with great rapidity, points to a new commercial future; streets of shops and dwelling-houses, in which brick and stone are fast replacing wood, are extending to the north, east, and west, and along the Gulf of Peter the Great, for fully three miles; and new and handsome official and private edifices of much pretension were being rapidly completed. One broad road, with houses sometimes on one, sometimes on both sides, running along the hill-side for two miles at a considerable height, is the " Main Street" or " High Street" of Wladivostok. Along it are built most of the public buildings, and the great shops and mercantile offices. It is crossed by painfully steep roads climbing up the hill and descending with equal steepness to the sea. There are two or three parallel roads of small importance.
The builder was at work in all quarters, and the clink of the mason's trowel and the ring of the carpenter's hammer were only silent for a few hours during the night. Several of the Government buildings were barely finished, and were occupied before they were painted and stuccoed. Building up and pulling down were going on simultaneously. Roads were being graded, culverts and retaining-walls built, and wooden houses showed signs of disappearing from the principal thoroughfare. There
260 NAGASAKI-WLADIVOSTOK CHAP.
was a " boom " in real property. The value of land has risen fabulously. "Lots" which were bought in 1864 for 600 and 3000 roubles are now worth 12,000 and 20,000, and in the centre of the town land is not to be bought at any price.
Newness, progress, hopefulness are characteristics of civil Wladivostok. It has the aspect of a growing city in the American Far West. Few things are finished and all are going ahead. The sidewalks are mostly narrow, and composed of rough planks, with a tendency to tip up or down, but here and there is a fine piece of granite flagging 10 feet wide. The hotels have more of the shady character of " saloons " or bar-rooms than of anything reputable or established. Handsome houses of brick and stone shoulder wooden shanties. Fashionable carriages or sleighs bounce over ungraded streets. The antediluvian ox-cart with its Korean driver bumps and creaks through the streets alongside of the troika, with its three galloping horses in showy harness, and its occupants in the latest and daintiest of Parisian costumes.
But the all-pervading flavour of militarism overpowers the suggestion of the American Far West. The first buildings on the barren coast are military hospitals and barracks, and barracks thicken as the city is approached. The female element is in a remarkable minority. The dull roll of artillery and commissariat waggons, the tramp, morning and night, of brown battalions, and the continual throb of drum and blare of trumpet and bugle, recall one to the fact that this is the capital of Russia's vast, growing, aspiring, Pacific Empire.
Theatricals, concerts, and halls fill up the winter season.
XVIII CONVERSATIONAL STAGNATION 261
Except on the few days on which snow falls, the skies are cloudless, the temperature is not seriously below zero, and the dryness of the air is very invigorating. In winters, happily somewhat exceptional, in which there is no snowfall, and the strong winds create dust-storms, the climate is less agreeable. Spring is abrupt and pleasant, and autumn is a fine season, but summer is hot, damp, and misty.
A fine Greek cathedral, with many domes and lofty gilded crosses, which gleam mysteriously in the sunset when the gloom of twilight has wrapped all else, a prominent Lutheran church, and a Chinese joss-house, provide for the religious needs of the population. The Governor of the Maritime Province, several of the leading, and many of the lower officials are of German origin from the Baltic provinces, Lutherans, and possibly imbued with a few liberal ideas. But among the kindly, cultured, and agreeable people whose acquaintance I made in Wladivostok one peculiarity impressed me forcibly-the absolute stagnation of thought, or the expression of it, on politics and all matters connected with them, the administration of government, religion, the orthodox church, dissent, home and foreign policy, etc. It is true that certain subjects, and these among the most interesting, are carefully eliminated from conversation, and that to introduce any one of them might subject the offender to social ostracism.
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