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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

At Chiao chou there lived a man named Tou Hsuen


[31] Literally, a "pig old-woman dragon." Porpoise (Fr. _porc-poisson_) suggests itself at once; but I think fresh-water dolphin is the best term, especially as the Tung-t'ing lake is many hundred miles inland. The commentator explains it by _t'o_, which would be "alligator" or "cayman," and is of course out of the question. My friend, Mr. L. C. Hopkins, has taken the trouble to make some investigations for me on this subject. He tells me that this fish, also called the "river pig," has first to be surrounded and secured by a strong net. Being too large to be hauled on board a boat, it is then driven ashore, where oil is extracted from the carcase and used for giving a gloss to silk thread, &c.

[32] Literally, in the utter absence of anybody.

[33] In passing near to the women's quarters in a friend's house, it is etiquette to cough slightly, that inmates may be warned and withdraw from the doors or windows in time to escape observation. Over and over again at interviews with mandarins of all grades I have heard the rustling of the ladies' dresses from some coigne of vantage, whence every movement of mine was being watched by an inquisitive crowd; and on one occasion I actually saw an eye peering through a small hole in the partition behind me.

[34] Literally, "bald"--_i.e._, without the usual width and ornamentation of a Chinese lady's sleeve.

[35] Small waists are much admired in China, but any such artificial aids as stays and tight lacing are quite unknown. A certain Prince Wei admitted none but the possessors of small waists into his harem; hence his establishment came to be called the _Palace of Small Waists_.

[36] Probably of felt or some such material, to prevent the young lady from slipping as she stood, not sat, in the swing.

[37] A rebel chieftain of the legendary period of China's history, who took up arms against the Emperor Huang Ti (B.C. 2697-2597), but was subsequently defeated in what was perhaps the first decisive battle of the world.

[38] This favourite process consists in gently thumping the person operated upon all over the back with the soft part of the closed fists. Compare Lane, _Arabian Nights_, Vol. I., p. 551:--"She then pressed me to her bosom, and laid me on the bed, and continued gently kneading my limbs until slumber overcame me."

[39] See No. LVI., note 315. A considerable number of the attendants there mentioned would accompany any high official, some in the same, the rest in another barge.

[40] Generally known as the "cut-wave God."

[41] At all great banquets in China a theatrical troupe is engaged to perform while the dinner, which may last from four to six hours, drags its slow length along.

[42] See No. LIV., note 292.

[43] The name of a celebrated beauty.



At Chiao-chou there lived a man named Tou Hsuen, otherwise known as Hsiao-hui. One day he had just dropped off to sleep when he beheld a man in serge clothes standing by the bedside, and apparently anxious to communicate something to him. Tou inquired

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