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- The Barley-Sugar Stall
I have often noticed longing eyes watching the pan of boiling sugar at the corner of some thoroughfare, or under the porch of some well-frequented temple in China ; and as the desired consistency was attained, the sugar-stick drawn out to the proper thickness, the elegant spiral twist given by a dexterous movement of the hand, and as the long scissors snipped the transparent and fast-hardening stick into convenient inches, You notice that the figure in our sketch has two baskets, or rather tubs, the one containing his goods in the form of sweetmeats of various devices, the other the fire-pans and implements necessary for their manufac-ture. When he moves from place to place, that short pole which is resting by his side is laid upon his shoulder, and a tub hangs on a hook at either end. Listen ! He is striking with a flat piece of brass his little sounding gong, which, with its clang, clang, clang, invites customers. Each trade has its own particular cry or call, some vocal, some, as in this case, instrumental. See ! an urchin, whose fingers are evidently so burnt with the money that they can hold it no longer, is running forward to make a purchase. You may tell he is very young, for his tail is not yet grown, his head is entirely shaved, save two little tufts of hair, which are twisted and bound up into a soft horn, and orna-mented with a piece of crimson silk. Though so young, yet he has his own mind about his money, and very likely will prefer giving that funny-look-ing wheel in front of the sweetmeats a turn, to know whether he is to have double the worth of his money in sugar, or none at all. The gambling spirit is even strong in infancy, and though the chances are that the sweetmeat-seller will gain, yet he cannot resist the temptation ; only think, if he should get two pieces of sugar instead of one ! If he loses, he will stand there watching while others take their turn ; if he wins, he will run home delighted with his success. Children are children all the world over, they will have their fun and frolic, the sweet tooth can never be pulled out; if it could, what would become of the poor lollipop-makers !
- A Chinese Bookseller
In so arbitrary a government as that of China, it would scarcely be supposed that the press should be free; that is to say, that every one who chooses it may follow the profession of a printer or a bookseller without any previous licence, or without submitting the works he may print or expose for sale to any censor appointed by government; but then he must take his chance to suffer in his person all the consequences that may result from the impression that may be made on the minds of the civil officers as to the tendency of the work. A libel against the government, an immoral or indecent book, would subject both printer and publisher to certain punishment both in his person and purse.
- Woman Selling Chow-chow
There is little more to be observed of the present engraving than this: that whatever wares, goods, or merchandize are exposed to sale in the open air, which in the open plains, as well in the broad streets of cities, is very much the case, the vender and the articles themselves are, during the summer months, protected from the rays of the sun by a large umbrella, which is generally square, like that in the print. Some hundreds of similar stands and umbrellas were displayed on a plain near the spot where the embassy disembarked, within the mouth of the Pei-ho; the little booths, if they may be so termed, being generally well stored with sweet-meats and sliced water-melons laid upon ice. The poorest peasant in China carries an umbrella, either to defend him against the rays of the sun, or heavy rains.
- A tradesman with his swan-pan
The Chinese merchants and tradesmen are most expert and ready reckoners; but they perform all arithmetical operations mechanically, by means of a table divided into two compartments, through which pass iron wires; and on these wires are strung in one compartment five, and in the other two, moveable balls. The principle is something of the same kind as that of the abacus of the Romans, and is with some little variation still made use of in Russia. It has been observed, that in weighing several thousand chests of tea, or bales of goods, at Canton, the Chinese accountant can invariably name the sum total long before the European can cast up his account.
- A Seller of Rice
Almost every necessary of life, and many articles that are not of that description, are carried about the streets for sale, and the invariable mode of bearing burthens of this kind is in baskets or boxes suspended from the two extremities of a bamboo lath, swung across the back part of the shoulder. If a Chinese should only have one basket to carry, he is sure to get a log of wood, or a large stone to counterpoise it at the opposite end, thus preferring to carry a double weight rather than place it on the head, or the shoulder, or across the arm. The Chinese are in appearance far from exhibiting any signs of great muscular powers, but in lifting, or carrying a load, they are probably not excelled by the porters even of Ireland.
- A Man with Pipes for sale
The very general use of tobacco throughout the whole extensive empire of China, and the still more extensive regions of Tartary, would seem to contradict the commonly received opinion, that this herb is indigenous only in America. One can hardly suppose that the Chinese, who are so remarkably averse from the introduction of any thing novel, would, in the course of three centuries, have brought the custom of smoking into universal use; yet so it is; men of all ranks and all ages; women, whatever their condition in life may be, and children even of both sexes of eight or ten years of age, are furnished with the necessary apparatus for smoking tobacco. In walking the streets, in almost all the occupations of life, the tobacco pipe is seldom out of the mouth.
- A Man selling Betel
The practice of smoking tobacco is not more common, at least in the southern provinces of China, than that of chewing the areca nut, mixed with chunam, or lime made of shells, and wrapped up in a leaf of the betel pepper. Indeed this compound masticatory is in universal use throughout all India, the Oriental Islands, Cochin-china, and Tonquin. In addition to the little purse which every Chinese wears suspended from his belt as an appendage to his tobacco pipe and to hold the ingredients for smoking, whether tobacco, or opium, or both, he generally carries another to contain areca nuts broken into small fragments: the other materials, the betel leaf, and chunam are to be met with in every little eating shop, and on almost every stall in the bazar, or market, and are among the most common articles carried about the streets for sale.