I Tih is the reputed inventor, some 2,200 years B.C., of the use of wine in China. In spirit shops, we often observe the tablet with the woids - I Tih chih tsieu Wines And Spirits 140 - "The fine wine of I Tih." He is said to have made it to the order of the daughter of the Great Yu, who tasted it, found it good, poured it on the ground, sent I Tih into banishment, and forbade the knowledge of wine, adding that it would cause the ruin of his country. The characters used to designate this individual, viz., - "barbarian fiery dogs" - lead us to suppose that this wine was of foreign origin, these barbarians being located outside the North-west of China. Lieu Ling, one of the renowned fraternity of poets and wine-bibbers in the 3rd century A.D., is said to have uttered the wish that he might be followed by a grave-digger, so that he should be interred without delay or ceremony, when l:e should fall dead in his cups. Li Tai-po, the famous poet of the fang dynasty, whose poems are still sung by the boys on the street, and whose poems was the subject of an interesting Paper read before this Society by Dr. Edkins, one of our previous Presidents and most active members, was one of the most notorious drinkers of antiquity. Unless he drank wine to intoxication, he could not versify. The fang Emperor of his day once, it is said, received a despatch from a neighbouring outside kingdom, most probably Corea or Japan, which none of his officials could decipher. His minister Ho Chih-chang, a lover of dissipation and joviality, who was called the mad cap of Sze-ming, and by the Emperor, Ho Kwei, Ho the Devil, a friend of the poet's, introduced him to the notice of the Emperor. After executing the task found impossible by the Ministers of State, he became Poet Laureate to the Emperor, who, whenever he wished verses, plied the poet liberally with wine. On one occasion, the Emperor found him lying dead drunk, and himself wiped the (roth that oozed from his mouth. Latterly the poet, afraid of offending the high officials of the Court, resolved to relinquish his post. The Emperor offered him money and rewards, but these he declined. He finally granted Li Tai-po a decree that, wherever he went, he should be freely supplied with wine. He formerly used to get into debt for drink, on all possible occasions. And upon these terms the poet parted with his august master, and it is said shortly afterwards was drowned during a drunken spree in a river of the province of Szechuan.

The oldest temperance address in the world (older than the Proverbs of Solomon) is that by the Duke of Chao, as found in the Shu KingWines And Spirits 141 in which it is said: -

"When Heaven was sending down its [favouring] commands and laying the foundations of our people's sway, spirits [wine] were used only in the great sacrifices. [But] when Heaven has sent down its terrors and our people have thereby been greatly disorganized and lost their [sense of] virtue, this too can be ascribed to nothing else than their unlimited use of spirits. Yea, further, the ruin of the feudal states, small and great, may be traced to this one sin, - the free use of spirits. King Wen admonished and instructed the young and those in office managing public affairs, that they should not habitually drink spirits; their use should be confined to times of sacrifices, and even then with such limitations that virtue should prevent drunkenness. Farther on, in the same address, he says: - "Sternly keep yourself from drink." Dr. Legge remarks: - "The drunken debauchery of Ku was the chief cause of the downfall of the Hia dynasty, and that of Shang was brought to an end mainly by the same vice in Show."

It is to the credit of the Chinese that drinking to excess is almost unknown, although moderate drinking is largely indulged in. The consumption of wine among the better classes, and of spirits among the middle and lower classes, is very common. The latter seldom, if ever, partake of a meal without a small cup of samshu. One of the most common contrivances for the promotion of drinking at their social gatherings, as for example during the New Year festivities, is similar to the game of morra, played by the lower orders in Italy, derived from the Roman sport of micare digitis, of which Cicero remarked that you must have great faith in the honesty of any man with whom you played in the dark, - "multa fide opus est, ut cum aligno in tenebris misces," - and which gave rise to the Latin proverb - "Dignus est, quicum in tenebris misces," - said of a thoroughly honest man, since it would be easy to cheat in the dark.

The game consists in each person guessing at the number of fingers suddenly held up between himself and his opponent, and the penalty of the loser is each time to drink a cup of wine. In Western lands, the penalty would most probably be reversed, the loser forfeiting the glass of wine! The game is called in Chinese Hwa Chu'enWines And Spirits 142 speaking with the fist, or Ts'ai Meiguessing the plum, and consists, as just stated, in two persons simultaneously throwing out towards each other one of their fists, with one or more fingers distended, each at the same moment pronouncing a number which the parties guess will be the aggregate of the number of distended fingers of both hands. The winner is the one who guesses the exact number of these fingers, and the loser drinks a cup of wine as a forfeit. Should neither guess rightly, the game proceeds without either drinking. If both should happen to be right, neither wins. For example, if A thrusts out three fingers and calls out six, and B thrusts out five fingers and calls five, neither wins. If B had called eight, he would have won. If B had thrust out three, and called five, A would have won. He called six, which is the aggregate of the two numbers. The Chinese are usually very boisterous in playing this game. Frequently all the guests at the table may be engaged at the same time in playing it. Among scholars the same game of forfeits is played, the game consisting in writing poetical sentences to rhyme with some given words. I have often been present at such gatherings, but I have never seen any scenes such as, with us, would give rise to scenes worthy of Sir Toby and his associate in Twelfth Night. On such occasions, when some freedom is permitted, the drinking is almost entirely that of forfeits, the winner being freed from emptying his cup on "entering the year." The peculiar noise of calling out the numbers associated with some animal or other object is heard in the streets of a Chinese town in almost every house, along with the clanging of gongs and the firing of crackers to frighten away evil spirits.