A Chinese Doctor.
A Memorial Gate.
In view of such a pharmacopoeia, it is a comfort to learn that in the Chinese theology a special place in hell is assigned to ignorant physicians. All quacks are doomed to centuries of torture, the worst fate being reserved for doctors who abuse their professional skill for purposes of immorality. Their punishment is the cheerful one of being boiled in oil. Another curious, and not altogether absurd, custom of the Chinese is to pay a physician so long as they continue in health, but if they fall ill, the doctor's salary ceases until they recover, whereupon it commences again.
Beggars On The Temple Steps.
A Chinese Funeral Procession.
A Group Of Chinese Women.
Chinese women seemed to me, as a rule, exceedingly plain, but, even were they Venuses, one of their characteristics would make my flesh creep. I refer to their claw-like finger-nails, which are so long that apparently they could be used with equal ease as paper-cutters or stilettoes. Gloves cannot possibly be worn upon these finger-spikes, so metal sheaths have been invented to protect them. To show what can be done in nail-growing, the following lengths were measured on the left hand of a Chinese belle: thumb nail, two inches; little finger nail, four inches; third finger, five and one-quarter inches. Under these circumstances we cannot wonder that in China it is not the custom to shake hands: otherwise, painful accidents might occur. Accordingly, the Chinese clasp their own hands and shake them gently at each other.
A still more repulsive peculiarity of Chinese women is their stunted feet, which for the purposes of locomotion are little better than hoofs. All Chinese ladies of the better class must have these "lily feet," as they are called. Sometimes a Chinaman will have two wives; the first an ornamental one with "lily feet," the second, a large - footed woman for business. The origin of this barbarous custom of preventing the growth of the foot is unknown. Perhaps it sprang from a sentiment which Ah Cum graphically expressed by saying:
"A small foot is much safer to live with. A big foot runs about too easily and gets into mischief, Moreover," he added, with a smile, "a big - footed woman sometimes kicks." One Chinaman assured me with great pride that his wife's foot was only two and a half inches long. There is a class of women here whose regular business it is to bind the feet of little girls when about six years of age. The process of repressing the natural growth of the foot lasts for seven years - the four smaller toes being bent under until they lose their articulations and become identified with the sole of the foot. When this has been accomplished, the second and severer operation commences - of bringing the great toe and the heel as nearly together as possible. The bandage is drawn tighter, month by month, until the base of the great toe is brought into contact with the heel, and the foot has become a shapeless lump. By this unnatural treatment the leg itself becomes deformed, and its bones are made not only smaller in diameter, but shorter. The circulation also is obstructed, and the large muscles are soon completely atrophied from disuse. The agony caused by such interference with nature can be only faintly imagined. It made the tears come to my eyes to hear a Chinese gentleman describe the methods taken to console his suffering children and help them forget their misery. The poor little creatures scream and moan from the incessant pain, and often lie across the bed with their legs pressed against the edge, in the hope that this will lessen their distress; but nothing can relieve them but freedom from the torturing bandage, which is never relaxed. It makes one sick at heart to think that such a custom has prevailed in China for more than a thousand years.
Mother And Child.
A Distorted Foot.