Imágenes de páginas


AN INDIAN MOTHER'S LAMENT. MARCH, In the evening, commenced at the entrance of the street, from west to east. We stopped at a potter's place, and I endeavoured to prove to the people that the potter and his vessels were one, and that there was no difference between them. Several of the bystanders laughed, and thought my argument strange. Wben, however, I turned the subject, and showed them that my foolishness, in supposing that the vessel and the potter were the same, was exactly their case, they supposing that God and the creature were one, the impression was good, and the subject understood and felt. The crowd was large and attentive, and we might have spent the whole afternoon among them.

AN INDIAN MOTHER'S LAMENT. The following paraphrase of a Dakota mother's lament, containing passages of great heauty, was prepared some years since for the “ Dakota Friend”—“My daughter! my daughter! Alas! alas! My hope, my comfort, has departed: my heart is very sad. My joy is iurned into sorrow, and my song into wailing. Shall I never behold thy sunny smile? Shall I never more hear the music of thy voice? The Great Spirit has entered my lodge in anger, and taken thee from me, my firstborn and only child. I am comfortless, and must wail out my grief. The pale-faces repress their sorrow; but we children of nature must give vent to ours, or die. My daughter! my daughter!

“ The light of my eyes is extinguished. All, all is dark. I have cast from me all comfortable clothing, and robed myself in comfortless skins; for no clothing, no fire, can warm thee, my daughter. Unwashed and uncombed, I will mourn for thee, whose long locks I can never more braid, and whose cheeks I can never again tinge with vermilion. I will cut off my dishevelled hair; for my grief is great, my daughter! my daughter! How can I survive thee? How can I be happy, and you a homeless wanderer to the spirit land ? How can I eat, if you are hungry? I will go to the grave with food for your spirit. Your bowl and spoon are placed in your coffin, for use on the journey. The feast for your playmates has been made at the place of interment. Knowest thou of their presence ? My daughter! my daughter!

“When spring returns, the choicest of ducks shall be your portion. Sugar and berries also shall be placed near your grave. Neither grass nor flowers shall be allowed to grow thereon. Affection for thee will keep the little mound desolate, like the heart from which thou art torn. My daughter, I come, I come! I bring you parched corn. Oh, how long will you sleep? The wintry winds wail your requiem. The cold earth is your bed, and the colder snow thy covering. I would that they were mine! I will lie down by thy side. I will sleep once more with you. If no one discovers me, I shall soon be as cold as thou art; and together we will sleep that long, long sleep from which I cannot wake thee, my daughter, my daughter!”

Poor disconsolate mother! Had she known the gospel, and had its blessed truths illuminated the heart of her dying daughter, she would have had hope in the midst of sorrow.

JAPAN. JAPAN has been for several centuries a shut-up land, jealously excluding all intercourse with foreigners. It cannot be denied that in so acting the Japanese have preserved themselves from some evils, such as the dire use of the opium amongst the Chinese ; but they have inflicted on themselves one injury which more than counterbalances any good that

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]


[APRIL, may have resulted from their jealous restrictions—they have shut out the Gospel, of which they have such need, and shut themselves in with the leprous plague of their own corrupt nature. This rigid exclusion of foreigners, and refusal of intercourse with them, the Dutch excepted, have of late yielded a little. Conventions have been entered into, on the part of Japan, with the Governments of Great Britain and the United States, whereby permission is given to vessels needing repair, or requiring supplies, to enter two ports, the local authorities, according to a regulated tariff, supplying workmen and materials : ships in distress are free to enter any harbour. .

The communications which have been necessary in order to secure these concessions, have afforded 10 English and Americans more than usual opportunity of making themselves acquainted with Japanese customs. One magnificent book has been published by order of Congress, containing the proceedings of the American expedition, beautifully illustrated, and presenting a very remarkable contrast to the Parliamentary Blue Books at home; and from this we shall glean from time to time instruction for our readers, which may lead to interest and prayer on behalf of the secluded Japanese.

The American ships lay at anchor for a considerable time off a village called Yoku-hama, in the Bay of Yedo. Here they were accustomed to get on shore, and, in their walks, embrace a circuit of five miles, which afforded them a good opportunity of seeing the country and people.

“The early spring, in that temperate latitude, had now much advanced, and the weather, though never very severe—the thermometer having varied during the stay of the squadron from 38' to 64'-had become more warm and genial. The fields and terraced gardens were now carpeted with a fresh and tender verdure, and the trees, with the full growth of renewed vegetation, spread their shades of abounding foliage in the valleys and on the bill-sides of the surrounding country. The camellias, with the immense growth of forty feet in height, which abound everywhere on the shores of the Bay of Yedo, were in full bloom, with their magnificent red and white blossoms, which displayed a purity and richness of colour, and a perfection of development, unrivalled elsewhere. As soon as a village or hamlet was approached, one of the Japanese attendants would hurry in advance, and order the women and rabble to keep out of the way. This did not suit the purpose of the commodore, who was desirous of seeing as much as possible of the people, and learning all he could of their manners, habits, and customs. He accordingly spoke to the interpreter, and took him to task, particularly for dispersing the women. Yenoske pretended that it was entirely for the benefit of the ladies themselves, as their modesty was such that they could not endure the sight of a stranger.

“ The commodore did not believe a word of this interpretation, however adroit, and plainly told Yenoske so. The imputation, though it expressed a doubt of his truthfulness, did not offend the interpreter in the least, but was taken rather as a compliment to his duplicity, which is one of the most cherished accomplishments of a Japanese official. Finding that the commodore was quite alive to Japanese cunning, and was not to be baulked of any of his privileges as a sight-seer, Yenoske promised that, at the next town, where some refreshments had been

1857.] JAPAN.

39 ordered, the women should not be required to avoid the party. Accordingly, on entering this place, every one crowded out to see the strangers men, women, and children. . “The commodore and his officers were conducted to the home of the mayor, or chief magistrate, of the town. This dignitary, with great cordiality, met and welcomed them to the hospitalities of his establishment. The interior was quite unpretending, consisting of a large room, spread with soft mats, lighted with oiled-paper windows, hung with rudely-executed cartoons, and furnished with the usual red-coloured benches. The wife and sister of the town official soon entered with refreshments, and smiled a timid welcome to the visitors. These women were barefooted and barelegged, and were dressed very nearly alike, in dark-coloured robes, with much of the undress look of night-gowns, secured by a broad band passing round the waist. Their figures were fat and dumpy, or, at any rate, appeared so in their ungraceful drapery; but their faces were not wanting in expression, for which they were very much indebted to their glistening eyes, which were black, as well as their hair: this was dressed at the top of the head, like that of the men, though not shaved in front. As their "ruby' lips parted, in smiling graciously, they displayed a row of black teeth, set in horribly-corroded gums. The married women of Japan enjoy the exclusive privilege of dyeing their teeth, which is done with a mixture of vile ingredients, including filings of iron and saki, termed oha-gur, or camri. This compound, as might be naturally inferred from its composition, is neither pleasantly perfumed nor very wholesome. It is so corrosive, that, in applying it to the teeth, it is necessary to protect the more delicate structure of the gums and lips, for the mere touch of the odious stuff to the flesh burns it at once to a purple gangrenous spot. In spite of the utmost care, the gums become tainted, and lose their ruddy colour and vitality. · “. The effects of this disgusting habit are more apparent from another practice which prevails with the Japanese, that of painting the lips with rouge. The ruddy glow of the mouth brings out in greater contrast the blackness of the gums and teeth. The rouge of the Japanese toilet, called bing, is made of carthamus tinctorius, and is prepared in cups of porcelain. When a slight coat is applied, it gives a lively red colour; but when it is put on thick, a deep violet hue, which is most prized, is the result.

“The worthy mayor had prepared some refreshments for his guests, consisting of tea, cakes, confectionary, and the never-absent saki: with the latter was served a kind of hot waffle, made apparently of rice flour. The civic dignitary himself was very active in dispensing these offerings, and he was ably seconded by his wife and sister, who always remained on their knees in presence of the strangers. The awkward position of the women did not seem to interfere with their activity, for they kept running about very briskly with the silver saki-kettle, ihe services of -which, in consequence of the smallness of the cups, were in constant requisition. The two ladies were unceasingly courteous, and kept bowing their heads like a bobbing toy mandarin. The smiles with which they perseveringly greeted their guests might have been better dispensed with, as every movement of their lips exposed their horrid 40

MISSIONARY LABOURS AT FUH-CHAU. APRIL, black teeth and decayed gums. The mayoress was uncommonly polite, and was good-natured enough to bring in her baby, which her guests felt bound to make the most of, though its dirty face, and general untidy appearance, made it quite a painful effort to bestow the necessary caresses. A bit of confectionary was presented to the infant, when it was directed to bow its shaven head, which it did with a degree of precocious politeness that called forth the greatest apparent pride and admiration on the part of its mother and all the ladies present.”

MISSIONARY LABOURS AT FUH-CHAU. FUH-CHAU, one of the five free ports of China, is a great city, containing a population of some 600,000 souls, and with an increasing European trade. It stands on the north bank of the river Min, and about thirty-four miles from its mouth, situated in the midst of a vast natural amphitheatre, surrounded by mountain ranges, through which the Min winds on its course. The walled part of the city is about three miles from the river, with which it is connected by a long suburb. In the middle of the river is an islet, connected with the northern shore by a stone bridge 420 paces long, resting on forty stone piers; and with the south shore by another bridge, resting on ninety abutments. On the south bank lies another large suburb, about three miles long. Within a circuit of twenty miles are numerous towns and villages, which, with the population of the city itself, may amount to two millions of souls.

We have now two Missionaries in the centre of this vast assemblage of human beings. They have only recently entered upon their work, and have been deprived for a season of the experience of the senior Missionary, the Rev. W. Welton, who has been compelled, from enfeebled health, to revisit England. Their position is of great importance, more especially as they are the only Missionaries resident within the walled town. This advantage was secured through the firmness of Mr. Welton, on his arrival as the first Missionary; and has been since maintained, notwithstanding the efforts of the literati to deprive the Missionaries of it. Mr. Welton's medical knowledge, and his ready help afforded to sufferers on all occasions, more particularly to those who had become deluded by the vice of opium-smoking, had worked very beneficially in conciliating the masses of the people; and of this the present Missionaries, Messrs. M'Caw and Fearnley, are now reaping the good results. Their power of using the vernacular is as yet but imperfect, yet they find themselves well received. Abstaining for the present, until better qualified to do so, from preaching in a chapel, or in the crowded streets, they mingle in conversation with the people, or visit the surrounding country and its temples, distributing books. Thus, in the suburbs and elsewhere, they are feeling their way, and becoming more conversant with the natives, both as to their manners and language. Our readers would like to have a little sample of what passes on such occasions. Mr. M Caw writes, Oct. 1, 1856–

« AnteriorContinuar »