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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

360 The soil of China belongs


The three worst of the Six Paths.

[345] That the state of one life is the result of behaviour in a previous existence.

[346] _Lit._--the skin purse (of his bones).

[347] Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

[348] Violent deaths are regarded with horror by the Chinese. They hold that a truly virtuous man always dies either of illness or old age.

[349] Good people go to Purgatory in the flesh, and are at once passed up to Heaven without suffering any torture, or are sent back to earth again.

[350] The Supreme Ruler.

[351] See No. I., note 36.

[352] Supposed to be the gate of the Infernal Regions.

[353] Hades.

[354] Literally, "ten armfuls."

[355] To Heaven, Earth, sovereign, and relatives.

[356] Held to be a great relief to the spirits of the dead.

[357] It is commonly believed that if the spirit of a murdered man can secure the violent death of some other person he returns to earth again as if nothing had happened, the spirit of his victim passing into the world below and suffering all the misery of a disembodied soul in his stead.

See No. XLV., note 267.

[358] A very common trick in China. The drunken bully Lu Ta in the celebrated novel _Shui-hu_ saved himself by these means, and I have heard that the Mandarin who in the war of 1842 spent a large sum in constructing a paddle-wheel steamer to be worked by men, hoping thereby to match the wheel-ships of the Outer Barbarians, is now expiating his failure at a monastery in Fukien. _Apropos_ of which, it may not be generally known that at this moment there are small paddle-wheel boats for Chinese passengers, plying up and down the Canton river, the wheels of which are turned by gangs of coolies who perform a movement precisely similar to that required on the treadmill.

[359] In order that their marriage destiny may not be interfered with. It is considered disgraceful not to accept the ransom of a slave girl of 15 or 16 years of age. See No. XXVI., note 185.

[360] The soil of China belongs, every inch of it, to the Emperor. Consequently, the people owe him a debt of gratitude for permitting them to live upon it.

[361] Do their duty as men and women.

[362] A Chinaman may have three kinds of fathers; (1) his real father, (2) an adopted father, such as an uncle without children to whom he has been given as heir, and (3) the man his widowed mother may marry. The first two are to all intents and purposes equal; the third is entitled only to one year's mourning instead of the usual three.

[363] As taxes.

[364] Visitors to Peking may often see the junkmen at T'ung-chow pouring water by the bucketful on to newly-arrived cargoes of Imperial rice in order to make up the right weight and conceal the amount they have filched on the way.

[365] That is, with a false gloss on them.

[366] In order to raise to nap and give an appearance of strength and goodness.

[367] Costermongers and others acquire certain rights to doorsteps or snug corners in Chinese cities which are not usually infringed by competitors in the same line of business. Chair-coolies, carrying-coolies, ferrymen, &c., also claim whole districts as their particular field of operations and are very jealous of any interference. I know of a case in which the right of "scavengering" a town had been in the same family for generations, and no one dreamt of trying to take it out of their hands.

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