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James Legge, Missionary and Scholar
Chapter X. Extracts from Letters written by Mrs Legge


THE following extracts from letters written by Dr Legge's second wife, whom he married during a visit to England, incidentally throw light upon their surroundings, on the daily life amid which he carried on his twofold work as missionary and scholar, and on the precarious conditions of travel and life in the East. These letters were written hurriedly, amid the press of daily duties, and often in much suffering from distressing headache and weakness.

'We make our home as English as possible, which means, as comfortable as possible in this far-off land. I think it is this element in it which has brought us so many visitors, especially evening visitors; we rarely sit down to tea with less than six besides ourselves, often double that number. The rooms are so spacious that they are never crowded. But I have invited twenty soldiers to tea on Wednesday; these will help to fill up, with ourselves and the full complement of friends who may come in.

'It is the fashion here for every visitor to bring his own servant to wait at table, so with our numerous visitors we have frequently as many as half a dozen standing round. Mr L-had his turbaned Hindoo, Mrs T-her Portuguese, and we our two Chinese, besides others who happen to belong to other friends. They are excellent in their way, noticing every want, so that you would not think of handing anything even to the person who sits next you. ... A thousand little matters from day to day occupy the time, in the midst of which the bell rings, and A-gong or A-fat brings up somebody's card.

'The visitor is announced, either a lady dressed grandly (for the fashions are out here six weeks after their appearance in Paris), or a military or naval officer, or chaplain in the army, or some young man just come out bringing a letter of introduction, or some adventurous female en route for Japan, or some new missionary just arrived from America on the way north, or some of our more intimate friends, or Chinese to say "chin-chin" ("How do you do?"). About half-past five we go out in chairs. Each chair is carried by two coolies, who seem wonderfully adapted to carry for a considerable distance without halting. Sometimes we take a row in a boat.

'Last Thursday Mr Beecher, brother of Mrs Beecher Stowe (authoress of Uncle Tom's Cabin), invited us on board a twelve-oared boat, and we crossed the harbour to the mainland, then got our chairs (which had been carried over in another boat), and made for the two military camps. We were met by Major Eagers, who gave us refreshment and conducted us all round. He and a lieutenant escorted us back to our boat by way of two villages inhabited entirely by pirates. A number of dogs, like wolves, rushed out, but were kept back by the inhabitants, who are always awed by red-coats. The pigs everywhere seemed to fraternise with the people, and filth reigned supreme. Our sailors rowed us to Mr Beecher's "chop" (a floating-house), and here we had quite a set-out of pure Japanese tea, which has a strong and fragrant flavour but no colour. Mr Beecher says his greatest and almost his only comfort is to spend one or two evenings a week at our house. The majority of white people here are men who have few social and no domestic pleasures, and with most who come it is almost, they say, like coming to a paradise out of the world, for their only other recreations are either the club-house or mess-room; there are here no lectures, concerts, etc. I think that with some their only hold on religion, humanly speaking, has been the privilege of coming and spending an occasional evening at the mission-house. Dr Legge has services every evening but Wednesday, but they are over at eight o'clock. We have now staying here a lady, Miss Aldersey, who has kept a missionary school at Ning-po for twenty years. She has such a beautiful, angelic countenance; a spiritual influence goes along with her. She is one of those women in whom "pious wishes dwell like prayers, and every image is a saint."

Hong Kong has been brimful of soldiers, and the harbour of ships. Tents on any bit of level ground. The Sikh regiments were very fine. I went over one day to see them; it was a most picturesque and animated scene; each man had his war-horse. I went through in my chair, and we passed the sacred bull they had brought with them. The Queen's Road is crowded with persons of almost every clime and costume.

Yesterday we were kept in continual uproar by a Chinese wedding, which takes place in this neighbourhood oftener than we desire. Through the night previous and on the wedding-day there are tremendous explosions of crackers. A grand Chinese chair is brought for the bride, another for the mother, also lanterns and streamers. A crowd collects, and the greatest excitement prevails, in the midst of which, after explosions of crackers, a company dressed as priests, clad in scarlet, appears. But what most strikes you is the rudeness of the ceremony. These mock priests, clad in scarlet, wear trousers which may be denominated filthy, and no shoes or stockings. They make a clatter with their instruments of music, and the procession moves off. At night the bride arrives, and has to wait in her chair outside while her husband dines with his friends. She has to wait a long time, and then, in the midst of a fearful volley of crackers, she goes into the house, and the first thing she does is to hand food to her husband and his parents as a token of subjection.'

'We had a delightful drive on the sea-coast, the scenery wild and sublime, in some places exquisitely beautiful. The Swiss and French friends lately staying with us were quite enchanted. We passed a Joss House, much frequented by the sampan (boat) men and women. We went in, and nothing shows so much the low intellectual stature of the heathen as do these temples. One would imagine the arrangements had been the product of some infantile brain, rather than the product of a fully developed capacity. In a rude box of wood, filled with mould, is placed a shabby senseless-looking doll; round it are stuck spills made of a wood that will smoulder when lighted, and behind the idol is a stick (similar to those used to tie plants to in England), and at the top of this a dirty piece of rag is fastened. The food put before it consists only of a little rice and liquid tea, each contained in a common little gallipot black with dirt. These boxes and things similar are mixed up in the house side by side with grand lanterns, etc. Squalid wretchedness characterises the appearance of the men who live in it; it is black with dirt and smoke, and the odour is offensive.'

On Monday there walked into the house, carpet-hags, goloshes, umbrellas, four American missionaries, and one child. The next morning came another addition in the person of Miss B-, a most remarkable woman. Next, Dr Chalmers' brother arrived—then Dr Wong, the Chinese physician from Canton. So we have had all this week nine visitors besides Mr Turner; no joke when living is more expensive here than in any other part of the world.'

'Bustle was everywhere downstairs, for we had to entertain to dinner between one and two hundred Chinese. At 4 p.m. about sixty Chinese women and children came upstairs into the drawing-room, and were entertained till five. They then went into the school-room downstairs, and the men into the lecture-room; about 130 Chinese altogether. There were in each room perhaps about a dozen tables with bamboo seats round, and on the tables some twenty cups containing so many different kinds of fruits. There were perhaps thirty courses, each course containing a dozen different things—every nasty thing you can imagine, and every nice thing made nasty. Everyone had chopsticks and a tiny cup, with a little tea-pot containing a spirit obtained from rice. Sye-po (brother of the Shield King and our head servant) seemed very desirous that I should honour his table, and I sat down and took on a chopstick a bit of pine-apple, then a bit of hard pear; then I had to put the spirit to my mouth and drink healths. I went to several of the tables, at which they seemed mightily pleased. Mr Turner stood on a stool and proposed our health, which they drank with three cheers, Mr Turner instructing them. They laughed immoderately. The dinner lasted three hours—oh! the mosquitoes—and then they dispersed.

'A young fellow has just arrived from Shanghai. When he started the suburbs of Shanghai were in a blaze. The English have fortified the place to the utmost. We are expecting a shipload of ladies down.

'We had a letter from the Shield King (cousin of the Tai-ping king). He congratulates Dr Legge on our marriage. He has sent about a dozen letters, all in yellow (imperial colour) for different friends. Sye-po, his brother, went very anxiously yesterday to Canton to bring his wife and family here, and to bring his brother's wife and family. If the authorities know, all their heads will be cut off, for it is a law in China to cut off all tainted (meaning blood), disloyal to the remotest cousin. I enclose a letter I have received from the seat of war. Dr Legge has written an account of Sye-po's brother, the Shield King, for a newspaper. I have a note from Lady Grant, who is much interested in the rebel movement. She wishes the paper to be sent to her husband, Sir Hope Grant.

'Sye-po went to Canton to fetch his wife and family here, and they lived here in poverty till the Shield King sent him five thousand dollars, and so he has left our service only lately and taken a house in Hong Kong. I believe he is very grateful to me.'

The following to Dr Legge when he was called to a work of possible danger:—

'I know you are farthest from being a fanatic or a mere enthusiast, but you have the martyr spirit in you, and if circumstances arise in which you may think it your duty to go, you would go at all hazards into danger. I try to hope in God for you, and I have hope and confidence in you that you will act with the greatest prudence, unless necessity were laid upon you. You have been in China in times of danger before, and I must think that the good hand of God will be upon you as heretofore. But the thing has haunted me like a nightmare.'

The following letter speaks graphically of the river-population of China and of the so-called 'outcast square' of Canton :—

'We went for a few days to Canton by the "White Cloud" steamer. Nearing Whampoa two pagodas rose up in majesty. They are supposed to exert an influence on the spirits of the winds and storms. The conception of the pagoda is grand. It gives an idea of power and of oriental magnificence in connection with the mind of a Chinese. Whampoa is an aggregate of ships, chops or floating houses, Chinese junks and sampans or flat-bottomed boats. We passed a dense crowd of sampans, in which exist an indescribable mass of human beings. Some of their boats crowded round us, wedged into each other and right underneath our vessel.

'Next day we arranged to visit Pun-tin-qua's garden. We sailed up a stream which cannot be described. For a mile or two it seemed just wide enough for our boat to steer between the sampans which filled up the intervening waters on each side and in which the inhabitants squat and vegetate as weeds in a jungle. There were no river-banks, not even a footpath, only logs driven into the bed of the stream on which rested human habitations, black with filth, the smoke and oil diffusing malodorous particles, the open doors or crevices revealing only unmitigated squalor. Sometimes a human head and sometimes a pig would be peering out. The gentler sex could be distinguished only by their diminutiveness and old look. Every one of these hovels teemed with life—human life, and doubtless life of various kinds. The air was heavy and pestiferous, and, as if in provoking contrast, that line of Tennyson would keep prominent in my mind—

"Through walls of shadowy granite in a gleaming pass."

Glad were we when we suddenly emerged into open day and a purer atmosphere, for there are no suburbs to Canton, no villa residences.

'The country is flat, nothing noticeable but the white cloud mountain and the river Pearl winding its way through the plain. We stopped, and under the shadow of the Li-chao ascended the steps into the garden. The foliage was luxuriant, but flowers scarce^ except a magnificent bed of lotus in full bloom. The walks and terraces, bridges, arbours and the pagoda, if kept in good order, could be made a paradise. It might be called a Chinese Arcadia in decay. Pun-tin-qua has vacated the place and left it in neglect since some French officers despoiled his wife and daughters of apparel and jewellery, and took all portable curios. But the house still contains fine massive furniture, tapestries, lamps and fittings. The theatre is large and separated from the stage by a stream running between and through the apartment The attendants brought us water to drink in a basin. A snake about three feet long intercepted our path, setting itself up and shooting out its tongue with a hiss.

'We returned by the Pearl, a right royal river, but blackened over with sampans and junks, reeking with grease and filth, and wretchedness: at night it resembled a river of Pandemonium. Some of the largest sampans were brilliantly painted, and the Mandarin junks were superior in colour and cleanliness to the others. Some were illuminated with lanterns for an evening's revelry and gambling. The boats have a large eye painted on them: "No got eye, no can see, no can see, no can savvy, no can savvy, no can go." Everywhere were scenes, sights and sounds one would never wish to see or think of again, unless at the call of duty. Yet every sampan and junk into which I looked contained at one end a shrine or altar before which one or more lamps were burning, and food spread out as an offering. Whatever we may call this, idolatry or superstition or religion, it signifies on the people's part a feeling of dependence on some higher power, and, though groping in darkness, they do the best they can.

'Next day we went in chairs, three and two men to a chair. They began a heathenish half shout, half yell, which I afterwards understood was commenced by the first and carried through to the last to give notice of what lay before them. "A hill, a bridge, a step, a corner, accompanied with "Make way, great man coming," and only a few retorts from the populace of " foreign devil," and " foreign devil's wife.' With the swiftness of a dromedary we passed through one lane after another, and the impression was even worse than that of the day before. Streets— miscalled streets, for there was carriage road in none —they were mostly just wide enough to get along, the people compressing themselves to the side or into a shop door. To turn the corner was quite a feat, the coolies had to get into the shops and with difficulty clear the poles. The buildings looked black and dirty, and seemed built to exclude light and air; opposite sides of the street would be in the upper story sometimes not one yard apart. Each lane would have in it shops all of one trade or nearly so; the shoe, dress and ivory shops were less squalid than the fish, fruit and meat shops, etc., in which teemed human beings in a state of more than half nudity.

'The odour of 'bones and relics carnal' would have been sweet compared to the aroma which we inhaled. Sometimes we came into a square, which was only a larger space, where were squatted pell-mell individuals selling various commodities, most of which, in conjunction with their belongings, would be rightly called disgusting. One square is the place of resort for outcast wretches who, having no home and no friend, crawl hither to die. The lame, the blind, the leper, the afflicted of any disease lie down uncared for, and unbemoaned, to await their final doom. Would not death be to them "the dearest friend, the kindest and the best?" When we arrived at the temple a crowd came around us. Presently a priest appeared, dressed in the elegant cloak like a Roman toga, his head shaven, and priest and people followed at our heels, while we surveyed the rude emblems of heathenism. The 500 Worthies are 500 statues as large as life, not two alike. They seem to be bronze, but are made of some composition, and lacquered to resemble that metal. One represented an immensely stout man with children climbing all about him. Again the rudeness of the arrangements struck me so forcibly. In cathedrals at home everything offensive to the eye is put out of sight Here there is no study of effect; unwieldy painted bedizened idols, splendid new embroideries, faded old ditto, food, parcels neatly done up in paper containing presents for the gods, cumshaws from persons who suppose they have received some special benefit: these are jumbled side by side with smoky black fans and old empty boxes. Dirty wooden stairs come down into what we should call the grand nave; and you are not supposed to look at the ceiling, where are things worse than brushes and dustpans, which if they did not improve the effect, would at least suggest a cleanly idea. The Chinese seem to have no idea of the feeling of reverence in connection with their gods. It is characteristic of a Chinaman to agree with all you say—this from want of reflection. The gifts which Christianity brings include the reflective faculty.

'We passed, in returning to our chairs, the great bell through which a bullet had passed. The legend ran that so long as it was untouched the city would not be taken; when our fire struck it, all hope was lost We called on Mr Parkes at his residence, the Ya Moon, which was formerly the residence of the Tartar governor. Mr Parkes is Commissioner and ConsuL He showed us the grounds, which are like a park. We ascended the pagoda, and had a magnificent panoramic view. An immense plain bounded by lofty mountains, the Pearl spreading its broad arms, and winding into the dim distance, paddy fields and meadows, with here and there a few trees, and well-cultivated gardens. The city of Canton, a most perfect fiat, lay as complete as a parcel, with three or four breaks, where the Ya Moon and the principal temples stand. They looked with their fine trees like oases in the desert of huts.

4 Out at dinner last Tuesday. We met the Governor and Lady Robinson, Major Fane of Fane's Horse,— the magnificent Sikh cavalry, and others. There were, I suppose, some thousand pounds' worth of curios in the rooms. The other day a large bronze urn was sent to be interpreted. Dr Legge discovered it to be 3700 years old.

'We have come for a change to Castle-Douglas at Pok-foo-lum. Our room is an octagon, with windows in seven sides, and a door in the eighth. The wind sweeps down the valley behind, and in from the sea in front, and all night long it whirls round the turrets and toils at the Venetians, as if a host of hard-breathing giants were trying to break in upon us.

'There are such robberies by armed bands of ruffians continually taking place; they come thirty and forty together, so that it is not safe to wander unprotected in lonely parts of the island. Hundreds are landed every day for no other purpose but plunder.

'You know the mountain towering just above Hong Kong is called the a Peak." Mr Coffin went up about a month ago to stay with the signalman, just as we did last year. We slept then with the doors open, but they fastened them. Well, one night they were awakened by a loud noise breaking in the Venetians, the doors were forced open, and some "stink-pots" thrown in. These are shells that explode, and produce such a horrible smell that it suffocates people, besides burning them, as the shells contain gunpowder. The signalman was all but killed, and is lying in the hospital. Mr Coffin has been very ill ever since, but was not so severely injured. What should we have done if an attack had been made upon us!

'A-yaou's mother has been brought here very ill of fever. I had to wash her from head to foot in hot vinegar and water and change her clothes, for I could not get a Chinese to touch her. They are so superstitious about dead people. A-mooey told me that when a child is very ill, and the mother thinks it is going to die, she will throw it into a corner, and not go near it.

'1 have been to see Mrs Eastlake and Franky after their terrible voyage; to see them with my own eyes, and to be sure it was not their ghosts.

'Little Franky looks two years older, and has got so thin. They were very gay in the ship till ten o'clock at night, and then went to bed and asleep, and were awakened about twelve by the scraping and heaving of the vessel. It had struck upon a rock. They waited for hours. The captain said they were to put on their warmest clothes, and be ready any moment to come when he called. Then the three boats were lowered. In the captain's boat were Mrs Eastlake and Franky, Mrs Abbe and two children, two amahs (nurses) and seamen; making nineteen in the little boat. They landed, but the natives looked so savage and piratical, and boats began to spread their sails, that the ladies begged the captain to commit them to the sea rather than to the horrors of being taken by these men. So they embarked again and were nine days in this boat; the captain became delirious, and Mrs Eastlake had to steer the boat herself. They were wet through. Then they were picked up by a Chinese junk and stowed down in the vessel with five hundred naked Chinese, and the filth and vermin of all sorts were past conception; rats continually crawling over them ; and they were a mass of sores from the bites of the insects. They had only filthy rice and water, and at the end of thirteen days they reached Tai-gon. They were taken on board the "Viscount Canning," and two days after Mrs Abbe died. The others reached Kong Kong on Friday. Dr Eastlake arrived from Shanghai last night.

'The ship "Maiden Queen" came in on Monday, having been fifty-four hours on the rocks where Mrs Eastlake was wrecked. They had to throw 200 tons of cargo overboard. We don't know yet whether any of our cases are gone. But whether they are or not, we shall have our share of the loss on the ship's cargo to bear. Dr Legge has 100 of printing ink on board.

'A-yun (one of the maids) is the laziest child, besides being untruthful and dishonest. She has never been betrothed, and her mother is now anxious to get a husband for her. Miss Baxter's cook was thought of, and he was to stand at a certain door of the street yesterday while she passed by, and if he liked her face he was to pay his money and buy her from her mother. But A-yun would not go, so she is still on my hands.

'We have had more than fifty soldiers to tpa. I got splendid flowers, and decorated the hanging lamps. I sat next to a soldier who said, "Ah, we shall never get another minister like the old man' (meaning Dr Legge). "He's not only pleasant but fascinating in his way." Another made a speech, and, alluding to the tea in our drawing-room three years ago, said that from that night he had been made a new man; for that meeting was like heaven begun upon earth. I played on the piano and sang "Auld Lang Syne," which brought down thunders of applause. On Christmas Eve we went to see the Rev. Mr Lechler's Christmas tree. It was such a setting out, so dark and lonely, with the knowledge that the roads were infested with thieves and cut-throats. But we crawled along at a snail's pace. I with my train and Mrs Chalmers with hers, Miss Magrath and her small-footed girls, Mr Soden and Mr Chalmers as protectors. At last we got to the house, brimful of Chinese, and the atmosphere corresponding. We went home with the addition of one lamp to make the darkness visible.

'Mr and Mrs Gulick walked in one morning and we scarcely knew them. They were married about a month ago, and three weeks ago started for Tientsin, but their vessel was wrecked; pirates came up directly and began to knock open everything to get the contents away before the vessel sank. They were afraid they might be murdered, which is too often the case, but the pirates treated them very kindly, and brought them all to Hong Kong. Still they had to give up everything to them, so we had to clothe them from head to foot. Friends sent in clothes and they sailed again last Saturday, in a steamer which is taking troops to the north.

'Dr Legge has gone into the province with some friends, and I do feel so lonely till his return. The province is in a most unsettled state, but I trust they will be preserved from danger. He is obliged to go, or his health would, I fear, quite give way, for unless he runs away from his work he will do it. His eyes are so bad. I have not heard from him since a fortnight last Sunday. Though the house has been full of company, I have felt desolate. I am expecting every day a bishop from America; so what with Revs., Drs, bishops, children and ladies, amahs and boys, I am pretty well occupied from morning till night' [A fortnight later.] 'Dr Legge has returned. Dr Kane told me he was the life and soul of all'

'A Chinaman called to ask whether he should get married or not. The parents wanted sixty dollars for their daughter, ten dollars for cakes, fruit, etc, and two roast pigs on the third morning after the marriage. "Why," said Dr Legge, "it will cost you more than one hundred dollars to get married. Have you got the money?" "No," was his answer. So he was advised not to think of it.

'1 am kept so constantly anxious about Dr Legge's health and my own. I think he cannot stand his work much longer; his sight is dreadfully bad, and he sometimes looks, and is, nearly blind. And he is so regardless of himself. The general opinion is, he will soon break up. My own health, too, seems quite broken, and I cannot stand the summers of Hong Kong. I try and roll my burden upon God. There is a satisfaction and a joy trusting Him which is above all human joy.

'On Saturday the bishop returned from his visit of inspection in the north, and I had a dinner party to meet him.

'Dr Legge had a fall yesterday which might have been very serious. The doctor came three times yesterday and did not know till night if any ribs were broken. He was standing on a chair in the study reaching for books, and a leg broke and suddenly he fell all his weight on the floor. As is so characteristic of the Chinese, the servants put the chair for the teacher as usual placing the broken leg at the corner as if it were all whole.

'Hong Kong is getting into a dreadfully unsafe state. Two large firms are running steamers in opposition to and from Canton. They take Chinese for ten cents each. Sometimes over a thousand Chinese come in one steamer. The most desperate characters are thus imported every day. Of course many go back again, but it is now unsafe to go out of the town except in numbers. Many ladies of Hong Kong always carry a loaded revolver with them which they can fire six times, and others carry M Penang lawyers, or sticks, or life-preservers. This week our doctor was walking on the West Road when two men rushed upon him, cut his head open in three places, and went off with his gold watch and chain, the second of his stolen within a year. I tell Dr Legge he will be rushed upon for his watch ; he says, "Sufficient unto the day, my dear."'

Apropos of the allusion to ladies carrying revolvers, Mrs Legge used to relate that she herself never ventured to carry one, but that a spirited friend did so, and rather hoped for an opportunity to use it. One day, seeing a dog among her fowls, she fired, thinking only to scare it away, as she had very little idea of aim. The dog, however, tumbled down and lay flat, and feeling that now she must put the wounded creature out of its misery, she went and knelt down beside it and fired the remaining shots into its body. Whereupon the dog got up, shook itself, and ran away.

'Last night, although feeling very ill, I went with Dr Legge to Government House. It was a brilliant "At Home." Among the celebrities were Sir Rutherford and Lady Alcock. He is the best man for Japan. He looks as if he had sense. He had a long talk with my husband.'

'We are going to Government House next Thursday. A party of friends is invited to meet Dr Legge, and the Governor is commissioned by the Home Government to present to him a tea and coffee service of silver for services rendered to the Colonial Government.'

Mrs Legge paid a visit shortly after this to Japan for the sake of her health, and was joined there by Dr Legge.

'We are staying in the precincts of the Buddhist temple which is under the shadow of the holy tree, a magnificent camphor. You first reach a part of this house, and then crossing from the dining-room by the fascinating bridge over a pond, you are in the other part, the drawing-room, my bedroom, and another large room, too sacred to be let at any price.

It is the shrine of some prince whose tablets are on the walls. The whole structure is purely Japanese. All the floors are matted with four inches of wadding underneath, so that it is like walking on mattresses. Every night and morning it is just as if the whole house were coming about one's ears, for then the grand shutting up or opening takes place. The lacquered and wooden slides or walls are run along and fixed into grooves. The first night I was terribly frightened and lay sleepless. Strange noises kept me constantly on the alert, rats gambolling about the prince's shrine, the rich sonorous bells of the temple, and now and then a terrible barking of dogs. I had not been favourably impressed with the looks of the two sworded gentlemen whom I had met One of them had shown me one of his swords so sharp. I told Mrs Verbeck (my hostess) I should be frightened, and she said, "Oh, I'll give you a revolver just to put under your head, and then you have only to show it and they'll run away; we always sleep with one under ours." Next day I asked Mr Verbeck to engage a watchman and he has done so. Mrs Verbeck, with her wonderful unselfishness, has actually had her bed brought down and sleeps here now with her baby, and with her revolver under her head.

'We are just on the edge of a hill. I suppose that when the temple was built a few acres of ground were levelled for it. Splendid trees, the Japanese fir and camphor, the cedar and wax—and shrubs, tea, azalea, rhododendron and feathery maple, are everywhere— and then you come to terrace on terrace where the trees are thicker, and you see first one and then another shrine, and can open the stone doors just sufficiently to see a cabinet inside, stuffed with paper charms.

'One night I heard such strange sounds in the prince's ghostly apartment, that in the morning I tried the slides and found they would all open to it, and that its outer slides would open to my touch, so that one whole side of my room had no fastening whatever. The old priest of the temple has since been pegging them tight with old nails, but you could easily unfasten any one. There is, however, really no cause for fear, beyond what might happen in almost any place, and this I am pretty sure of. Under God's protecting care we are safe anywhere.

'I had quite a fright this afternoon while calling at the hotel. A gentleman who had a newspaper in his hand said, "What a shocking thing that these steamers are lost" "What steamers?" "Six steamers between Hong Kong and Shanghai." I knew, if all were well, my dear husband and our little boy, would be in some steamer between Hong Kong and Shanghai this month, and having had no letters from him for a month, you may well suppose what a shock it gave me. I looked at all the papers I could see, and can ascertain that the "Fohkien" (the very vessel my husband said he should try to come by) went down in twenty minutes, having struck on a rock, but all the passengers and crew had got off in boats. The vessel, however, was going to Hong Kong. Two other vessels, by either of which Dr Legge might have come, have disappeared in a typhoon, but that was before he could have come, I believe. The names of the passengers, some of whom I know, are mentioned, and it is feared all of them are lost. Of the other three I can only make out the names, but the typhoon took place on the sixth, when Dr Legge hoped to be in Canton.

'The morning after writing the above my husband walked into the room. I was indeed thankful.'

Many years after, when living at Oxford, Dr Legge, in a letter to a friend, mentions an incident of this visit of Mrs Legge to Japan :—

'A wonderful compliment was once paid me at Nagasaki long ago. My wife, on her arrival, was seated in the custom-house there on one of her boxes, waiting to get her baggage examined. A Japanese officer came by, and reading the name on a box, said: "Legge? Is he the famous translator of the Chinese Classics?" "Yes," was the reply. "Then your baggage shall all go free." And he sent it off at once. Forgive me this bit of gossip.'


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