The Chinese agricultural class drinks little; the merchant and literary classes are the chief drinkers. The very lowest class of the cities, a class without fixed occupation, drink heavily almost without exception. They subsist by borrowing from their neighbours. Both wines and spirits, as a rule, are drunk hot. A common saying is that if wine or spirits be drunk cold, one is apt to have anaethesia (numbness). The heating adds to its flavour, but it is said does not increase the amount of drinking, nor lead to excess among the Chinese. My personal experience is that one drinks more, and certainly with more pleasure, or at least with less aversion, when it is heated, although at public dinners one does not quite approve of the custom of emptying undrunk wine that has become cold into the common wine-kettle, to be re-heated and re-served to the guests. The heating is done by placing the kettle in hot water. This is the mode in which most things are heated in China.

Wine stands at the head of the four great vices of the Chinese, as mentioned by themselves; the other three being lust, sehWines And Spirits 148 wealth, ts'ai and anger, ch'i

At the betrothal of children, the words of agreement of the parents are not considered sufficient; each must give the other a cup of wine. In forming friendships likewise, the Chinese exchange cups of samshoo, like the Germans in their brotherhood of Du. On the first night of marriage, the same ceremony is gone through, the newly married couple pledging each other. The expression "wine mat," to designate that the tables are spread and the guests invited, refers to the period when there were no tables in China, and people sat on mats on the ground. The same expression is still current, although tables now exist. Three cups of spirits are always poured on the ground on the marriage day, in the centre of the court yard, when offerings are made to Heaven. Spirits are much used in sacrifice and worshipping at the temples. Pure water is sometimes also offered, as it is an original element; tea never, at least in the North, as it is not considered pure, and what is offered to the gods, or to ancestors at the graves, or to Confucius, must be clean. Spirits are used principally because, being distilled, they are of course the perfection of purity. Spirits are largely drunk by the Chinese as by ourselves, to add to joy and to drown misery and cares.

At first, spirits were chiefly used in the North by the Mongols and others; and the Chinese soldiery there, taking to it, brought the habit to the Chinese. To us, the people appear the soberest in the world; to themselves, they are a people addicted to spirituous liquors. Drunkenness, as already remarked, is not a common vice, as we Westerners see it; and yet drinking is very common among all classes, and intoxication is by no means rare, although it is not seen on the streets of an Oriental city as it is seen in the West. It is, therefore, a serious mistake to suppose that opium has taken its place. There is the unrestricted sale of ardent spirits, but mirabilc dictu unaccompanied by the scenes of brutality and violence which harmonize so miserably with our boasted Western civilization. I have seen more drunk persons between the hours of public worship on a Sunday in one street of Glasgow than I have seen on the streets of Peking in thirty years. There are no licensed shops in China, in our sense of the word, for the sale and consumption of spirits. Chinese retail spirit shops are known as Tsieu-kwanWines And Spirits 151 or Tsieu-lou and those of smaller dimensions as Tsieu-p'u For convenience, the shops for the sale of articles of food, vegetables, oils, and such like, also sell spirits. Outside the Ha-ta Gate, the wholesale spirit inns, known as Tsien-tien exist in large numbers.

The amount of duty levied on spirits brought into the city may be learned from the native Custom House, situated just outside this Gate. But even this amount will fall very far short of the amount consumed, for there is much smuggling at the Ch'i-hwa Wines And Spirits 155 Gate, and over the high city walls, at which the officials wink. The spirits sold so plentifully at tahles on the streets are of this smuggled sout. Both men and women, in considerable numbers, make a living by this smuggling. The chief distilleries are to the East of Peking, on the road to Tungchow. A Chinaman or woman, with their loose clothes and long gowns, can secrete 120 catties in 5 or 6 catty pig's bladders around their waists. They carry a few of these bladders likewise quite exposed on their shoulders, and for these they perhaps pay a small duty to the petty officials. They make three or four runs daily. A very large quantity of spirits is thus smuggled into the city. Poor people who desire to make a livelihood are found on the streets or by the road-sides, with tea and spirits for sale. The large kettles are wrapped round with a close-fluting felt covering, to keep the tea infusion warm; and the mouth of the spirit jar is coveted with a pig's bladder, to prevent evaporation. It is often sold in considerable quantities in these bladders.

Well, if drinking habits are so common, how is it that we do not see far more drunkenness? One reason is owing to opium. The people now drink less, although Dr. Kerr of Canton thinks that the drinking habits of the people are very much the same before opium smoking was begun as we find them now. The Chinese here tell me that the quantity now consumed is distinctly less. Before the advent of opium, intoxicated persons, they say, were frequently to be seen. Then people found spirits, as they now find opium, an almost necessary medium of conversation and for the transaction of business. A decade of years previously, I am informed, it was the custom in brothels to spread a repast with spirits; now it is opium. The customs in the country districts differ widely, however, from those of the cities. Foreigners notice the life of the Chinese principally in the towns, and it is there where opium is chiefly consumed. At the fairs in the country, which are held several times monthly, every five days as a rule, much spirits are drunk, with pretty much the usual consequences that follow drinking to excess in the West. But even here also there is a marked difference since the advent of opium. The universal prevalence of tea has largely moderated the use of spirits, although in the agricultural districts of the North even tea is little known. There is here a numerous sect of teetotallers, known as Tsai-li Wines And Spirits 156 Their tenets also forbid the use of opium and tobacco. They flourish specially in and around Tientsin. They, like all other sects, have been rigorously suppressed by the authorities, by whom they are regarded with suspicion as a secret political sect. The influence and fear of parents, teachers, masters, etc., has been largely felt in preventing the younger men, sons, pupils, and apprentices, from exhibiting themselves in public when intoxicated.