Temple Of Five Hundred Gods

Temple Of Five Hundred Gods.

But, if we accept the ancient proverb that "To labor is to pray," then are the Chinese devout indeed. Whatever other faults they may possess, idleness is not one of them. The struggle for existence keeps them active. Yet they live on almost nothing. A German merchant told me that one of his coolies, after twenty - five years of service, had recently had his salary raised to ten dollars a month. The laborer was, of course, delighted. "Now," he exclaimed, " intend to marry another wife. For years I have longed to have two wives, but have never been able to afford it; but now, with ten dollars a month, I can indulge in luxuries!"

An Old Temple, Canton

An Old Temple, Canton.

Approach To A Shrine

Approach To A Shrine.

In strolling about among these Chinese coolies, I found that life in China is indeed reduced to its lowest terms. In some of the Canton shops, for example, I saw potatoes sold in halves and even in quarters, and poultry is offered, not only singly, but by the piece - so much for a leg, so much for a wing. Second-hand nails are sold in lots of half-a- dozen. A man can buy one-tenth of a cent's worth of fish or rice. I understood, at last, how Chinese laundrymen can go home from the United States after a few years' work, and live upon their incomes. When one perceives under what conditions these swarming myriads live, one naturally asks how pestilence can be averted. One source of safety is, no doubt, the universal custom of drinking only boiled water in the form of tea. If it were not for this, there would be inevitably a terrible mortality, for the coolies take no precautions against infection. A gentleman in the English consular service told us that he had seen two Canton women in adjoining boats, one washing in the river the bedclothes of her husband who had died of cholera, the other dipping up water in which to cook the family dinner!

If, perchance, these people should fall ill, I fear they would not be greatly benefited by any Chinese doctor whom they might employ. Chinese physicians are thought to be ignoramuses, unless they can diagnose a case by merely feeling the pulse. Hence, if they are called to attend a lady, they see of her usually nothing but her wrist, thrust out between the curtains of the bed. Those who prescribe for internal diseases are called "inside doctors," while others are "outside" men, just as some of our medicines are labeled "for external use only." A story is told of a man who had been shot through the arm with an arrow. He first applied to an "outside" doctor, who cut off the two ends of the weapon and put a plaster on each wound. "But," said the patient, "the remainder of the arrow is still in my arm." "Ah!" replied the "outside" doctor, "that is not my affair. To have that removed, you must go to an 'inside' man."

One Of The Many

One Of The Many.

One day, in passing through a temple gate, a half-clad Chinaman offered me for sale a box of grasshoppers, which, when ground into a powder, make a popular remedy for some ailments. In fact, aside from ginseng and a few other well - known herbs, the medicines used in China seem almost incredible. A favorite cure for fever, for example, is a soup of scorpions. Dysentery is treated by running a needle through the tongue. The flesh of rats is supposed to make the hair grow. Dried lizards are recommended as a tonic for "that tired feeling," and iron filings are said to be a good astringent. Chinese physicians say that certain diseases are curable only by a decoction whose chief ingredient is a piece of flesh cut from the arm or thigh of the patient's son or daughter. To supply this flesh is thought to be one of the noblest proofs of filial devotion. This is not an exaggeration. In the Pekin Official Gazette of July 5, 1870, is an editorial, calling the emperor's attention to a young girl who had cut off two joints of her finger and dropped them into her mother's medicine. The mother recovered, and the governor of the province proposed to erect a monument in honor of the child.

A Chinese Doctor