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Collections shipped for India Success attending this year's importations Visit Canton Method of scenting teas described Flowers used in the operation Their scientific and Chinese names Their relative value Prices paid for them Manufacture of "caper" described Inferior ditto "Lie capers" Orange pekoe High character of foreign merchants in China Howqua's garden described Its plants, ornamental doors, and alcoves, &c. Polite notices to visitors worthy of imitation.
THE various collections I had made during the summer and autumn had been left, from time to time as they were formed, in the charge of Chinese friends in various parts of the country. Mr. Meadows, of the British consulate in Ningpo, and Mr. Wadman, a merchant there, had also taken charge of some plants which I had planted for safety in their gardens. It was now of great importance to get all these collections together as speedily as possible, and have them conveyed to the port of Shanghae, where they could be packed in a proper manner and shipped to Hongkong, and from thence to India. This was satisfactorily accomplished, and, being luckily favoured with fine weather and a leading wind, I reached Shanghae in two days, and deposed my collections safely in the garden of Mr. Beale. A large number of Ward's cases, having been ordered some time before, were now ready. These were now filled with earth, and all the plants carefully planted; at the same time large quantities of tea-seed, chesnuts, and other things of that nature were sown in the soil and left to germinate on the voyage to India. My other collections of the seeds of useful and ornamental trees and shrubs were well dried and packed in a common wooden box.
It is very rare that there is a vessel from Shanghae direct for Calcutta, and consequently all these things had to be transshipped at Hongkong. Living plants are not like bales of merchandize; they are easily destroyed by the admission of salt water or salt air, and are more likely to be damaged while undergoing transshipment than during a long voyage at sea. As on former occasions, I determined to accompany my collections to Hongkong, and look after the transshipment myself. The formation of this collection had cost me much labour and care; the unsettled condition of the country rendered it extremely doubtful that I should be equally successful in the following season; and it was therefore an object of the first importance to endeavour by every means in my power to ensure the safety of that now in hand.
Everything went according to my wishes; Hongkong was reached in safety, the collections were sent on to Calcutta in four different ships, and a few months afterwards I had the very great satisfaction to hear that the whole had arrived at their destination in excellent condition. No fewer than 23,892 tea-plants, upwards of 300 chesnut trees, and a large quantity of other things of great value in India, now growing on the Himalayas, were the results of this year's labours. The rice-paper plant (Aralia papyrifera) presented to me by J. C. Bowling, Esq., of Hongkong, was also introduced to India, and is now a remarkable object of great interest in the Calcutta gardens.
When the various consignments had been despatched, I went up to Canton for a few days before proceeding again to the north, in order if possible to get some reliable information as to the mode of scenting tea, which is only understood and practised at this port with teas destined for the foreign markets. I had been making inquiries for some time past, both of foreigners and Chinese, about this curious process carried on so extensively at Canton; but the answers and descriptions I received to my questions were so unsatisfactory, that I gave up all hopes of understanding the process until I had an opportunity of seeing and judging for myself. When I reached Canton I was informed the whole process might be seen any day at that season in full operation in a tea-factory on the island of Honan. Messrs. Walkinshaw and Thorburn, two gentlemen well acquainted with the various kinds of teas sent annually to Europe and America, consented to accompany me to this factory, and we took with us the Chinese merchant to whom the place belonged. I was thus placed in a most favourable condition for obtaining a correct knowledge of this most curious subject. When we entered the tea-factory a strange scene was presented to our view. The place was crowded with women and children, all busily engaged in picking the stalks and yellow or brown leaves out of the black tea. For this labour each was paid at the rate of six cash a catty, and earned on an average about sixty cash a day, a sum equal to about threepence of our money. The scene altogether was not unlike that in the great Government Cigar Manufactory at Manilla. Men were employed giving out the tea in its rough state, and in receiving it again when picked. With each portion of tea a wooden ticket was also given, which ticket had to be returned along with the tea. In the northern tea-countries the leaves are carefully weighed when they are given out and when they are brought back, in order to check peculation, which is not unfrequent. I did not observe this precaution taken at Canton. Besides the men who were thus employed, there were many others busily at work, passing the tea through various sized sieves, in order to get out the caper, and to separate the various kinds. This was also partly done by a winnowing machine, similar in construction to that used by our farmers in England. Having taken a passing glance at all these objects on entering the building, I next directed my attention to the scenting process, which had been the main object of my visit, and which I shall now endeavour to describe.
In a corner of the building there lay a large heap of orange-flowers, which filled the air with 'the most delicious perfume. A man was engaged in sifting them to get out the stamens and other smaller portions of the flower. This process was necessary, in order that the flowers might be readily sifted out of the tea after the scenting had been accomplished. The orange-flowers being fully expanded, the large petals were easily separated from the stamens and smaller ones. In 100 parts 70 per cent. were used and 30 thrown away. When the orange is used, its flowers must be fully expanded, in order to bring out the scent; but flowers of jasmine may be used in the bud, as they will expand and emit their fragrance during the time they are mixed with the tea. When the flowers had been sifted over in the manner described they were ready for use. In the mean time the tea to be scented had been carefully manipulated, and appeared perfectly dried and finished. At this stage of the process it is worthy of observing that, while the tea was perfectly dry, the orange-flowers were just as they had been gathered from the trees. Large quantities of the tea were now mixed up with the flowers, in the proportion of 40 lbs. of flowers to 100 lbs. of tea. This dry tea and the undried flowers were allowed to lie mixed together for the space of twenty-four hours. At the end of this time the flowers were sifted out of the tea, and by the repeated sifting and winnowing processes which the tea had afterwards to undergo they were nearly all got rid of. Sometimes a few stray ones are left in the tea, and may be detected even after it arrives in England. A small portion of tea adheres to the moist flowers when they are sifted out, and this is generally given away to the poor, who pick it out with the hand.
The flowers, at this part of the process, had impregnated the tea-leaves with a large portion of their peculiar odours, but they had also left behind them a certain portion of moisture, which it was necessary to expel. This was done by placing the tea once more over slow charcoal-fires in baskets and sieves prepared for the purpose of drying. The scent communicated by the flowers is very slight for some time, but, like the fragrance peculiar to the tea-leaf itself, comes out after being packed for a week or two. Sometimes this scenting process is repeated when the odour is not considered sufficiently strong; and the head man in the factory informed me he sometimes scented twice with orange-flowers and once with the "Mo-le" (Jasminum Sambac).
The flowers of various plants are used in scenting by
the Chinese, some of which are considered better than others, and some can be
had at seasons when others are not procurable. I considered it of some
importance to the elucidation of this subject to find out not only the Chinese
names of these various plants, but also, by examining the plants themselves, to
be able to give each the name by which it is known to scientific men in all
parts of the world. The following list was prepared with great care, and may be
fully relied upon. The numbers prefixed express the relative value of each kind
in the eyes of the Chinese, and the asterisks point out those which are mostly
used for scenting teas for the foreign markets in the order in which they are
valued; thus the "Mo-le" and the "Sieu-hing" are considered
the best, and so on:
1. Rose, scented (Tsing moi-qui-hwa).
1 or 2. Plum, double (Moi-hwa).
2*. Jasminum Sambac (Mo-le-hwa).
2 or 3*. Jasminum paniculatum (Sieu-hing-hwa).
4*. Aglaia odorata (Lan-hwa, or Yu-chu-lan).
5. Olea fragrans (Kwei-hwa).
6*. Orange (Chang-hwa).
7*. Gardenia florida (Pak-sema-hwa).
It has been frequently stated that the Chloranthus is largely used. This appears to be a mistake, originating, no doubt, in the similarity of its Chinese name to that of Aglaia odorata. The Chloranthus is called "Chu-lan," the Aglaia "Lan" or "Yu-chu-lan."
The different flowers which I have just named are not all used in the same proportions. Thus, of orange-flowers there are 40 lbs. to 100 lbs. of tea; of Aglaia there are 100 lbs. to 100 lbs.; and of Jasminum Sambac there are 50 lbs. to 100 lbs. The flowers of the Sieu-hing (Jasminum paniculatum) are generally mixed with those of the Mo-le (Jasminum Sambac), in the proportion of 10 lbs. of the former to 30 lbs. of the latter, and the 40 lbs. thus produced are sufficient for 100 lbs. of tea. The "Kweihwa" (Olea fragrans) is used chiefly in the northern districts as a scent for a rare and expensive kind of Hyson Pekoe a tea which forms a most delicious and refreshing beverage when taken à la Chinoise without sugar and milk. The quantity of flowers used seemed to me to be very large; and I made particular inquiries as to whether the teas that are scented were mixed up with large quantities of unscented kinds. The Chinese unhesitatingly affirmed that such was not the case; but, notwithstanding their assertions, I had some doubt on this point.
The length of time which teas thus scented retain the scent is most remarkable. It varies, however, with the different sorts. Thus, the Olea fragrans tea will only keep well for one year; at the end of two years it has either become scentless, or has a peculiar oily odour which is disagreeable. Teas scented with orange-blossoms and with those of the Mo-le will keep well for two or three years, and the Sieu-hing kinds for three or four years. The Aglaia retains the scent longer than any, and is said to preserve well for five or six years. The tea scented with the Sieu-hing is said to be most esteemed by foreigners, although it is put down as second or third rate by the Chinese.
Scented teas for the foreign market are nearly all made in Canton, and are known to merchants by the names of "Scented Orange Pekoe," and "Scented Caper." They are grown in and near a place called Tai-shan, in the Canton province. Mr. Walkinshaw informs me that other descriptions of tea, both black and green, have been scented for the English market, but have been found unsuitable. True "caper" is to black tea what the kinds called "imperial" and "gunpowder" are to green: it assumes a round, shot-looking form during the process of manipulation, and it is easily separated from the other leaves by sifting or by the winnowing machine. It is a common error to suppose that "imperial" or "gunpowder" amongst green teas, or "caper" amongst black ones, is prepared by rolling each leaf singly by the hand. Such a method of manipulation would make them much more expensive than they are. One gathering of tea is said to yield 70 per cent. of orange pekoe, 25 of souchong, and 5 of caper. The quantity of true caper would therefore appear to be very small; but there are many ways of increasing the quantity by peculiar modes of manipulation, as I shall afterwards show.
In a large factory, such as this at Canton, there is, of course, a considerable quantity of dust and refuse tea remaining after the orange pekoe, caper, and souchong have been sifted out of it. This is sold in the country to the natives at a low price, and no doubt is often made up with paste and other ingredients into those lie teas which now-adays find a market in England. Nothing is lost or thrown away in China. The stalks and yellow leaves which have been picked out by women and children are sold in the country; while the flowers which have done their duty in the scenting process are given to the poor, who pick out the few remaining tea-leaves which had been left by the sieve or winnowing machine. Some flowers, such as those of the Aglaia for example, after being sifted out from the tea are dried and used in the manufacture of the fragrant "joss-stick," so much used in the religious ceremonies of the country.
It appears from these investigations that many kinds of fragrant flowers besides those used by the Chinese would answer the purpose equally well, and therefore in places like India, where tea is likely to be produced upon an extensive scale, experiments in scenting might be made with any kinds of fragrant jasmines, daphnés, aurantiaceous or other plants of a like kind indigenous to the country.
It will be observed from the description just given that the method of scenting teas, like most of the arts in China, is exceedingly simple in its nature and most efficient. It used to be said by those who knew nothing about the matter, that "the flowers were put over a slow fire, with the tea in a separate basket above them, and so the fire drove the scent from the flowers into the tea"! Knowing the immense capacity which dry tea has for moisture of any kind, how much more simple and beautiful is the process of allowing it to lie for a space of time mixed up with undried flowers!
A few years ago I published a description of the Chinese mode of dyeing green teas to suit our depraved tastes in Europe, and particularly in America, where they are largely consumed. Scenting teas is a very different thing, and nothing can be urged against the taste for them. That this is so in the eyes of the Chinese may be gathered from the fact that, while they dye their teas, not to drink, but only to sell, they consume and highly appreciate these scented ones.
The price paid for flowers used in the scenting process varies, like everything else, according to the demand or supply in the market. In 1854 and 1855 it was about seventeen dollars per pecul,1 but sometimes as much as thirty dollars are paid for the same quantity. In former years ten or twelve years ago as much as sixty dollars per pecul used to be paid for flowers. This information was given me some time after I had been examining the method of scenting in the Honan factory, and by another manufacturer, and confirmed me in the opinion I had then formed, namely, that after the tea is once scented with the proportions of flowers mentioned above, it is mixed up with large quantities of unscented tea. Were this not so, the large quantity of flowers used would render the tea much more expensive than it really is. Upon making further inquiries, of different individuals and at different times, I found that my surmises were correct. The results of the information thus obtained were, that sixty pounds of this highly-scented mixture were capable of scenting one hundred pounds of unscented tea, and no doubt it is sometimes used in even smaller proportions.
In all investigations of this nature one is very apt to be misled by the Chinese; not, perhaps, so much intentionally as from ignorance or carelessness as to whether the information given be correct or otherwise. And having once made an assertion, a Chinese does not like to confess himself mistaken or in the wrong; but this propensity is not confined to the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire. Unless one sees a process with his own eyes, he must in all cases use some discretion when he has to take his information at second hand. With ordinary care, however, and a little common sense, the truth may generally be arrived at, even from the Chinese.
Having satisfied myself as to the mode of scenting teas, I was now anxious to know how the kinds called "Caper" and "Orange Pekoe" are manufactured, as they are quite different in appearance from teas made in the great black-tea provinces of Fokien and Kiang-si. As large quantities of these teas indeed, the whole which are exported are made up near Canton, it was not difficult to find out where some of the factories were situated, or to gain admission to witness the process. M. C. Morrison, Esq., her Majesty's Vice-Consul at Canton, whose knowledge of the Chinese language is of a very high order, having expressed a wish to accompany me, we set out together, with a Chinese merchant for our guide. Our guide told us that the manufacture, which was very extensive, was carried on in a great many parts of the suburbs of Canton; but that the most extensive and best hongs were situated on the island of Honan already mentioned. We crossed the main river in a boat, and then pulled up a canal for a short distance which led through a densely populated suburb. Here we soon found ourselves abreast of a number of large tea-hongs, which our guide informed us were those to which we were bound. These hongs were large and spacious buildings of two stories. The lower portion was filled with tea and implements of manipulation, while the upper was crowded with hundreds of women and children engaged in picking and sorting the various sorts.
Tea picker. Canton.
On entering one of these hongs or factories, the first thing to which we directed our attention was the tea which was to be made into "caper." I have already stated that this description of tea is produced near a place called Tai-shan, in the Canton province, a few miles inland from the city. Here it undergoes only the first process of manipulation; that is, it is fired, rolled, and dried, and the colour fixed, but nothing further is done to it. It is then packed up in mat-bags or baskets and sent down to Canton to be made up in the approved manner, and scented for exportation. On examining the tea it presented a very rough appearance, and in the state in which it was, seemed unsuited for the foreign markets. The workmen were busily engaged in remaking it during the time of our visit, and they went to work in the following manner:
A convenient quantity about twenty or thirty pounds was thrown into the drying-pan, which had been heated for the operation. Here it was sprinkled with a basinful of water, and rapidly turned over with the hands of the workman. The dry leaves immediately imbibed the moisture, and became soft and pliable. This softening process prevented them from breaking down into dust, and fitted them, also, to take any form which was considered desirable by the manipulator. The water used on this occasion stood in a large basin adjoining the drying-pans, and bad a yellow, dirty appearance, which I was rather at a loss to account for. At first sight I thought it was mixed with some ingredient which was intended to give a peculiar tint or colour to the tea; but on inquiry it turned out that my conjecture was wrong. Our guide, on being appealed to for information on the subject, coolly informed us that "there was nothing in the water, it was quite clean, but that the workmen were in the habit of washing their hands in it!"
As soon as the leaves had become softened by the moisture and heat in the pan, they were taken out and put into a strong canvas bag, and twisted firmly into a round form, resembling a football. This bag was then thrown down on the floor, which had been covered with a mat, and a man jumped upon it with both feet, supporting himself at the same time by laying hold of a bamboo pole, which had been erected in a horizontal position for the purpose. The heel, sole, and toes of his feet were now kept in perpetual motion in turning and twisting the ball, while the weight of his body compressed it gradually into a smaller size. As the bulk of the ball is thus reduced by pressure, the canvas slackens, and it is necessary for the workman from time to time to jump off it and tighten its mouth by giving it an extra twist with his hands. The balls by this process of rolling and twisting become at last very hard and solid, and are then thrown on one side, and allowed to lie in this state for several hours: if this work has been done in the evening, they remain all night. By this system of pressing, twisting, and rolling, the greater portion of the moist leaves take a circular form, which goes on to perfection during the subsequent drying which the leaves have, of course, to undergo, and ends in the production of the round shot-like appearance by which this kind of tea is known.
It is a most curious sight to a stranger who sees the mode of making this tea for the first time. A whole row of these men, nearly naked when the weather is warm, each with a large ball under his feet, which he is twisting and rolling with all his might, is so unexpected a sight in tea-making. The clever sketch (Frontispiece) by my friend Mr. Scarth gives a good idea of this curious process.
The best kind of "caper" takes the round form naturally during the manufacture of souchong or congou; but, as I have already mentioned, only a very small quantity about five per cent. could be procured in this way. By far the greatest portion of the caper exported is manufactured in the manner I have just described.
But as I am letting out all the secrets of tea-manufacture, I may just as well notice another mode of making "caper," which is scarcely as legitimate as the former. In one corner of the factory we observed a quantity of tea, exceedingly coarse in quality, in fact, the refuse of that which we had been examining. All the art of the manipulator, in so far as heating, and pressing, and rolling in the usual way, was not equal to make a good-looking "caper" out of this. The leaves were too old, too large and coarse in their present state. But, although there might be some difficulty, even to a Chinese, in making small leaves into large ones, there was none whatever in making large leaves small; and their mode of doing this was as follows: These coarse leaves were first of all heated and moistened as the others had been, in order to make them soft and pliable. They were then thrown into square boxes and chopped up for some time, until the size of the leaves was reduced. When this was accomplished to the satisfaction of the operator, they were then made into nice-looking round "caper," suitable for the market.
The origin of the name this tea bears is, no doubt, derived from its resemblance in form to the flower-buds of the caper-bush of the south of Europe. And yet it is rather a curious coincidence that the greater part of caper tea finds its market in the Cape of Good Hope.
It will probably suggest itself to the reader who has paid any attention to tea-making that large quantities of those kinds of green tea known as "gunpowder" and "imperial" may be manufactured in the same way as "caper," and this is, no doubt, the case, particularly about Canton. And further, it is the simplest thing in the world to convert "caper" into "imperial" and "gunpowder," and this, too, is often done. Our Chinese guide informed us, with a peculiar grin on his countenance, that, when there is a large demand for green teas, "caper" is converted into "imperial" and "gunpowder" by dyeing it with Prussian blue and gypsum!
The "orange pekoe" of commerce, which is produced in the same district as the "caper," is somewhat like congou in make, but the leaf is much more wiry and twisted, and is of a lighter complexion. The infusion produced by this tea has a yellow or orange tint, and hence the name of orange pekoe which it bears. Like hyson pekoe amongst green teas, this is made from the young leaves soon after they unfold themselves in spring, and hence many of the leaves are covered with white hairs which are formed at this season of the year. These hairy leaves are called "pekoe ends" by the trade. A large quantity of this tea is gathered and dried by itself, while another portion is taken out of that of which the "caper" is ultimately made.
Canton enjoys the unenviable notoriety of manufacturing what are commonly called "lie teas" or "lie capers." These are made out of tea-dust mixed with other rubbish, and which is taken up and held together by a glutinous substance consisting of rice and water. Thin showers of this substance are thrown over the layers of dust, and, as each little globule of the fluid comes in contact with it, a certain number of particles adhere, and in the course of time are made into little round balls resembling the caper of commerce. But no one is, or ought to be, deceived by this. Small quantities of such teas are, no doubt, exported, but it must be with the knowledge and connivance of the foreigner himself, whom I shall not honour with the title of foreign merchant. And I shall be greatly surprised to find that such a clumsy fraud affects the respectable broker or dealer in Europe or America.
During a late tour in India I was told on more than one occasion, on the authority of "Old Indians" who had been home, that it was next to impossible to get genuine tea in England, now that the East India Company had no control over the China trade; and that since the demand had so much increased, the Chinese were in the habit of supplying it by substituting the leaves of other trees and shrubs for that which is genuine.
This idea is simply absurd: as a general rule the Chinese are doing no such thing; they have plenty of true tea in the country to supply all demands, were they twice as great as they are. And while it may be perfectly true that some unprincipled adventurers encourage the production of "lie teas" by buying them up, the great bulk of the teas exported are unadulterated with other articles. If sloe-leaves and beech-leaves, and other articles of that kind, are found in the teapot by the consumer, they are much more likely to have been manufactured in England than in China.
The foreign merchants in China as a class are upright and honourable men, and quite incapable of lending themselves to frauds of this description. Besides, every house of any standing has a "tea-taster" who has a perfect knowledge of his business, and who can not only tell true tea from false, but, in most instances, can tell the identical district in which the sample presented to him has been produced.
As it seems only a step or two from the well-known "Howqua's Mixture" to the less known Howqua's Garden, I now ask the reader to visit that with me before we leave Canton.
This garden is situated near the well-known Fa-tee nurseries, a few miles above the city of Canton, and is a place of favourite resort both for Chinese and foreigners who reside in the neighbourhood, or who visit this part of the Celestial Empire. I determined on paying it a visit in company with Mr. M'Donald, who is well known in this part of the world as an excellent Chinese scholar, and to whom I am indebted for some translations of Chinese notices, which appeared very amusing to us at the time, and which, I dare say, will amuse my readers.
Having reached the door of the garden, we presented the card with which we were provided, and were immediately admitted. The view from the entrance is rather pleasing, and particularly striking to a stranger who sees it for the first time. Looking "right ahead," as sailors say, there is a long and narrow paved walk lined on each side with plants in pots. This view is broken, and apparently lengthened, by means of an octagon arch which is thrown across, and beyond that a kind of alcove covers the pathway. Running parallel with the walk, and on each side behind the plants, are low walls of ornamental brickwork, latticed so that the ponds or small lakes which are on each side can be seen. Altogether the octagon arch, the alcove, the pretty ornamental flower-pots, and the water on each side, has a striking effect, and is thoroughly Chinese.
The plants consist of good specimens of southern Chinese things, all well known in England, such, for example, as Cymbidium sinense, Olea fragrans, oranges, roses, camellias, magnolias, &c., and, of course, a multitude of dwarf trees, without which no Chinese garden would be considered complete. In the alcove alluded to there are some nice stone seats, which look cool in a climate like that of southern China. The floor of this building is raised a few feet above the ground-level, so that the visitor gets a good view of the water and other objects of interest in the garden. That this is a favourite lounge and smoking-place with the Chinese, the following Chinese notice, which we found on one of the pillars, will testify: "A careful and earnest notice: This garden earnestly requests that visitors will spit betle2 outside the railing, and knock the ashes of pipes also outside." Several fine fruit-trees and others are growing near the walks, and afford shade from the rays of the sun. On one of these we read the following: "Ramblers here will be excused plucking the fruit on this tree." How exceedingly polite!
Near the centre of the garden stands a substantial summer-house, or hall, named "the Hall of Fragrant Plants." The same notice to smokers and chewers of betle-nut is also put up here; and there is another and a longer one which I must not forget to quote. It is this: "In this garden the plants are intended to delight the eyes of all visitors: a great deal has been expended in planting and in keeping in order, and the garden is now beginning to yield some return. Those who come here to saunter about are earnestly prayed not to pluck the fruit or flowers, in order that the beauty of the place may be preserved." And then follows a piece of true Chinese politeness: "We beg persons who understand this notice to excuse it!" Passing through the Hall of Fragrant Plants we approached, between two rows of Olea fragrans, a fine ornamental suite of rooms tastefully furnished and decorated, in which visitors are received and entertained. An inscription informs us that this is called "the Fragrant Hall of the Woo-che tree." Leaving this place by a narrow door, we observed the following notice: "Saunterers here will be excused entering." This apparently leads to the private apartments of the family. In this side of the garden there is some fine artificial rockwork, which the Chinese know well how to construct, and various summer-houses tastefully decorated, one of which is called the "Library of Verdant Purity." Between this part of the garden and the straight walk already noticed there is a small pond or lake for fish and water-lilies. This is crossed by a zigzag wooden bridge of many arches, which looked rather dilapidated. A very necessary notice was put up here informing "saunterers to stop their steps in case of accident."
On the outskirts of the garden we observed the potting sheds, a nursery for rearing young plants and seeds, and the kitchen garden. Here a natural curiosity was pointed out by one of the Chinese, which, at first sight, appeared singularly curious. Three trees were growing in a row, and at about twenty or thirty feet from the ground the two outer ones had sent out shoots, and fairly united themselves with the centre one. When I mention that the outer trees are the Chinese banyan (Ficus nitida), it will readily be seen how the appearance they presented was produced. The long roots sent down by this species had lovingly embraced the centre tree, and appeared at first sight to have really grafted themselves upon it.
I am afraid I have given a very imperfect description of this curious garden. Those who know what a Chinese garden is will understand me well enough, but it is really difficult to give a stranger an idea of the Chinese style which I have been endeavouring to describe. In order to understand the Chinese style of gardening it is necessary to dispel from the mind all ideas of fine lawns, broad walks, and extensive view; and to picture in their stead everything on a small scale that is, narrow paved walks, dwarf walls in all directions, with lattice-work or ornamental openings in them, in order to give views of the scenery beyond; halls, summer-houses, and alcoves, ponds or small lakes with zigzag walks over them in short, an endeavour to make small things appear large, and large things small, and everything Chinese. There are some of these ornaments, however, which I think might be imitated with advantage in our own gardens. Some of the doorways and openings in walls seemed extremely pretty. In particular I may notice a wall about ten feet high, having a number of open compartments filled with porcelain rods made to imitate the stems of the bamboo. I shall now close this notice with the modest lines of the Chinese poet, which we found written in the "Library of Verdant Purity," and which seemed to be an effort to describe the nature of the garden:
"Some few stems of bamboo-plants
A cottage growing round;
A few flowers here some old trees there,
And a mow3 of garden ground."
1 133 1/3 lbs.
2 Betle-nut is much used by the southern Chinese.
3 A mow is about the sixth part of an acre.