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Korea and the Koreans
By Mrs Bishop

APRIL, 1898.


Korea and Her Neighbours: A Narrative of Travel, with an Account of the Recent Vicissitudes and Present Condition of the Country. By Mrs. Bishop. Two Volumes. Maps and Illustrations. London : John Murray. 1898.

BOOKS on Korea are very far from numerous, and any work upon it describing the land and the people, more especially one from the hand of so adventurous a traveller and so patient and accurate an observer as Mrs. Bishop, whose charming letters, descriptive of so many unexplored or little known corners of the world, have long made her name almost as common as a household word, is sure to be welcomed by those who are in search of information respecting this strange country, which, until recently, was shut out from intercourse with the civilised world, and of which almost nothing was generally known beyond its name. Among man}- educated people, as lately as four years ago, not even its position was known. This is curiously illustrated by a story told by Mrs. Bishop in the opening paragraph of her volumes: 'In the winter of 1894,' she says, ' when I was about to sail for Korea (to which some people erroneously give the name of "The Korea"), many interested friends hazarded guesses as to its position— the Equator, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, being among them, a hazy notion that it is in the Greek Archipelago cropping up frequently. It is curious that not one of these educated, and, in some cases, intelligent people, came within 2000 miles of its actual latitude and longitude.'

Between January, 1894, and March, 1897, Mrs. Bishop visited the country four times—the intervals between her visits being taken up with excursions into Japan, Russian Siberia, and to the Korean settlements on Russian territory, and with an extremely perilous adventure in Manchuria. She was in Korea before the war, during the war, and after the war. Her adventures took her through most parts of the country. Of her two journeys, one, in which she explored for the first time the Southern Branch of the Han, was performed for the most part in a rickety boat, which had numerous, almost miraculous, escapes from being smashed to pieces or foundering; as for the rest of the travelling, with the exception of the voyage to Muk-den, it was done on the backs of the kicking, fighting, and thoroughly vicious ponies of the country. After the rickety shampan on the Han, her lodgings were sometimes in a Buddhist monastery, but, as a rule, in a country inn, or in the women's apartments of a native hut, in the former of which the noise and heat were usually intolerable, and the floor crawling. Except on one occasion, when she had the company of a young missionary, who accompanied her in the capacity of interpreter, no one else being procurable for the purpose, she travelled among the Koreans alone, but, notwithstanding the inbred hatred which the people have for the 'foreign devil, who is universally believed to be of Japanese origin, she was unmolested, and suffered little or no inconvenience from the crowds that flocked to see her, except what arose from their insatiable inquisitiveness.

After fifteen hours steaming from Nagasaki in the Higo Maru, one of the Japan Mail Steamship Company's vessels, Mrs. Bishop caught her first sight of Korea—the land of white robes and enormous hats—at the town of Fusan in Southern Korea. The Fusan at which the traveller lands is practically a Japanese town; Korean Fusan, or Fusan proper, lying some three miles away up amongst the hills. The foreign settlement is described as a fairly good looking Japanese town, somewhat packed between the hills and the sea, with wide streets of Japanese shops and various Anglo-Japanese buildings, among which the Consulate and a bank are the most important. Epidemics of cholera used to be frequent, but an abundant supply of pure water having been obtained, it is expected that these terrible scourges will soon become rare. The foreign trade of the place is only about thirteen years old, but during that period it has developed amazingly. In 1885 the value of the imports and exports together was £77,850, but in 1896 it had reached £491,946. The chief manufactured imports are unbleached shirtings, lawns, muslins, cambrics, and Turkey reds for children's wear; but, as yet, there is no trade in woollen fabrics, the white cotton /padded garments being still the vogue for winter wear. Iu the matter of lighting, however, Korean conservatism appears to have completely broken down : the fish-oil lamp and the dismal rushlight in the paper lantern are fast giving way to the American kerosene-oil lamp, while matches are said to have 'caught on' wonderfully. Some very remarkable figures are given respecting the latter, and the American kerosene-oil lamp is said to be ' revolutionising evening life in Korea.' The goods imported are carried inland on the back* of men and horses. In addition to a Japanese population of 5,500, lower Fusan has a floating population of 8000 Japanese fishermen, and among its exports, beside hides and rice, are mentioned dried fish, the preparation of sharks' fins, beche de mer, fish manure, and whales' flesh.

Mrs. Bishop's first introduction to a genuinely Korean town was in Fusan proper, her impressions of which we must let her describe in her own words :—

' I was accompanied to old Fusan by a charming English "Una," who, speaking Korean almost like a native, moved serenely through the market-day crowds, welcomed by all. A miserable place I thought it. but later experience showed that it was neither more nor less miserable than the general run of Korean towns. Its narrow, dirty streets consist of low hovels, built of mud-smeared wattle, without windows, straw roofs, and deep eaves, a black smoke-hole in every wall, two feet from the ground, and outside most are irregular ditches containing solid and liquid refuse. Mangy dogs and blear-eyed children, half or wholly naked, and scaly with dirt, roll in the deep dust or slime, or pant and blink in the sun, apparently unaffected by the stenches which abound. But market-day hid much that is repulsive. Along the whole length of the narrow, dusty, crooked street the wares were laid out on mats on the ground, a man or an old woman, bundled up in dirty white cotton, guarding each. And the sound of the bargaining rose high, and much breath was spent on beating down prices, which did not amount originally to the tenth part of a farthing. The goods gave an impression of poor buyers and small trade. Short lengths of coarse white cotton, skeins of cotton, straw shoes, wooden combs, tobacco-pipes and pouches, dried fish and sea-weed, cord for girdles, paper rough and smooth, and barley-sugar, nearly black, were the contents of the mats. I am sure that the most valuable stock-in-trade there was not worth more than three dollars. Each vendor had a small heap of cash beside him, an uncouth bronze coin with a square hole in the centre, of which at that time 3,200 nominally went to the dollar, and which greatly trammelled and crippled Korean trade.

'A market is held in Fusan and in many other places every fifth day. On these the country people rely for all which they do not produce, as well as for the sale or barter of their productions. Practically there are no shops in the villages and small towns, their needs being supplied 011 stated days by travelling pedlars, who form a very influential guild.'

Living alone in this decayed and miserable place, Mrs. Bishop found three Australian ladies who, under ' very detestable circumstances,' were gradually winning the good will of the women around them and exercising upon them a civilising influence through rendering them what medical help they could. Without any fuss or blowing of trumpets, we are told they are quietly helping to solve one of the great problems as to missionary methods. ' Though why it should be a " problem," ' Mrs. Bishop adds, ' I fail to see. In the East at least, every religious teacher who has led the people, has lived among them, knowing, if not sharing, their daily lives, and has been accessible at all times. It is not easy to imagine a Buddha or One greater than Buddha only reached by favour of, and possibly by feeing, a gate-keeper or servant?' A year later when Mrs. Bishop visited the three ladies, they had built a small bungalow, turned their old native house into a sort of primitive orphanage, and were at the head of a thriving mission. The Catholic mission house, situated between the two Fusans, is seldom tenanted; but in the province of Kyong-sang there are said to be 2000 converts scattered among some thirty towns and villages.

Chemulpo, the port ot' Seoul, with its muddy water and slimy mud flats, is not an attractive place, but though a heavy drizzle was falling when Mrs. Bishop arrived, she found it much better than she expected, and after becoming acquainted with it in various seasons and circumstances, came to regard it with very friendly feelings. At the first visit the Chinese were there, ' busy and noisy with the continual letting off of crackers and beating of drums and gongs ' and ' obviously far ahead of the Japanese in trade.' They had nearly a monopoly of the foreign customs; the haulage of freight to Seoul was in their hands, the market gardening and much besides. Altogether their settlement with its handsome yamen and Guildhall and rows of substantial shops, was in a thriving condition ; but all this has since been changed. The Japanese settlement, on the other hand, was at the same period, ' more populous, extensive, aud pretentious.' Though outstripped by their rivals in trade, the position of the Japanese was still an influential one. They gave postal facilities between the treaty ports and Seoul, and carried the foreign mails. To them, too, was due whatever banking facilities the country had. Branches of the First National Bank had been established in the capital and in the treaty ports with which foreign residents transacted business and in which the}- had full confidence. As for Korean Chemulpo it was 'old Fusan over again ' except that there were permanent shops with stocks in trade worth from one to twenty dollars. The population is set down at 6,700. As elsewhere iu Korea, the male half of the inhabitants here were perpetually on the move, the narrow roads being always full of them sauntering along in their white robes and dress hats, and apparently doing nothing and with nothing to do.

Overland the distance between Chemulpo and Seoul is 25 miles. From Chemulpo to Mapu, the river-port of the capital, the way is more than twice as long. Attempts have been made to establish steam communication between the two ports; but as yet 'nearly every traveller .who has intrusted himself to the river has a tale to tell of the boat being deposited in a sandbank, and of futile endeavours to get off, of fretting and fuming, usually ending in hailing a passing sampan and getting up to Mapu many hours behind time, tired, hungry and disgusted.' Mrs. Bishop made the journey by land. At the time there was no road. i Traffic,' she observes, ' has worn for itself a track, often indefinite, but usually straggling over and sterilising a width enough for three or four highways, and often making a new departure to avoid deep mud holes. The mud is nearly bottomless. Bullock-carts owned by Chinese, attempt the transit of the goods, and two or three embedded in the mud till the spring-showed with what success. Near Mapu all traffic has to cross a small plain of deep sand. Pack bulls, noble animals, and men are the carriers of goods. The redoubtable Korean pony was not seen. Foot passengers in dress hats, and wadded white garments were numerous.' Mrs. Bishop was escorted by Mr. Gardner, the British acting Consul-General in Seoul, and ' I went up,' she says, ' in seven hours in a chair with six bearers, jo'ly fellows, who joked and laughed and raced the Consul's pony.'

Seoul is beautifully situated, but the first impression of its surroundings, like the first impression of so many other things in Korea, is not pleasing.

I know Seoul by day and night, its palaces and its slums, its unspeakable meanness and faded splendours, its purposeless crowds, its medieval processions which for barbaric splendour cannot be matched on earth, the tilth of its crowded alleys, and its pitiful attempt to retain its manners, customs, and identity as the capital of an ancient monarchy in face of the host of disintegrating influences which are at work, but it is not at first that one " takes it in." I had known it for a year before I appreciated it, or fully realised that it is entitled to be regarded as one of the great capitals of the world, with its supposed population of a quarter of a million, and that few capitals are more beautifully situated. One hundred and twenty feet above the sea, in Lat. 37° 34' N. and Long. 127° G' E., mountain girdled, for the definite peaks and abrupt elevation of its hills give them the grandeur of mountains, though their highest summit San-kak-San, has only an altitude of 2627 feet, few cities can boast, as Seoul can, that tigers and leopards are shot within their walls ! Arid and forbidding these mountains look at times, their ridges broken up into black crags and pinnacles, oftimes rising from among distorted pines, but there are evenings of purple glory, when every forbidding peak gleams like an amethyst with a pink translucency, and the shadows are cobalt and the sky is green and gold. Fair are the surroundings too in early spring, when a delicate green mist veils the hills and their sides are flushed with the heleotrope azalea, and flame of plum, and blush of cherry and tremulous-ness of peach-blossom appear in unexpected quarters.'

The city is surrounded with a wall, faced with masonry or of solid masonry alone, from 25 to 40 feet high, and 14 miles in circumferences, 'climbing Nasu-San in one direction and going clear over the crest of Puk-han in another, enclosing a piece of forest here, and a vacant plain there, descending into ravines, disappearing and reappearing when least expected.' It is battlemented along its whole course and pierced by eight gateways, solid arches or tunnels of stone, surmounted by lofty gatehouses with one or two or three curved tiled roofs, and closed from sunset to sunrise by massive wooden gates, heavily bossed and strengthened with iron, bearing after the Chinese fashion, high sounding names, as Gate of Bright Amiability, the Gate of High Ceremony, the Gate of Elevated Humanity. One of them is the Gate of the Dead, only a royal corpse being allowed to be carried out by any other. By another gate criminals pass out to be beheaded. Outside another their heads are exposed. The north gate, high up on the Puk-han, is kept closed, and is opened only when the King is compelled to escape to one of his fortresses or places of refuge in the mountains. Outside the wall the country is charming, broken into hills and wooded valleys, with knolls adorned with stately tombs and their environment of fine trees, and villages in romantic positions among orchards and gardens. ' Few Eastern cities have prettier walks and rides in their immediate neighbourhood, or greater possibilities of rapid escape into sylvan solitudes, and I must add that no city has environs so safe, and that ladies without a European escort can ride, as I have clone, in every direction outside the walls without meeting with the slightest anuo}rance.'

Under the vigorous hand of Mr. M'Leavy Brown, Seoul, within the walls, has materially changed its character. Mrs. Bishop's first visit to it was made before the war, and while it was still in the sanitary or rather utterly insanitary condition in which it had been for centuries. The impression it made upon her then was that for utter filthiness it surpassed every other place upon the face of the earth.

' I shrink from describing intra-mural Seoul. I thought it the foulest city on earth till I saw Pekin, and its smells the most odious till I encountered those of Shao-shing ! For a great city and a capital its meanness is indescribable. Etiquette forbids the erection of two-storeyed houses, consequently an estimated quarter of a million people are living on "the ground," chiefly in labyrinthine alleys, many of them not wide enough for two loaded bulls to pass, indeed, barely wide enough for one man to pass a loaded bull, and further narrowed by a series of vile holes, or green, slimy ditches, which receive the solid and liquid refuse of the houses, their foul and fetid margins being the favourite resort of half-naked children, begrimed with dirt, and of big, mangy, blear-eyed dogs which wallow in the slime or blink in the sun. There, too, the itinerant vendors of "small wares," and candies dyed flaring colours with analine dyes, establishes himself, puts a few planks across the ditch, and his goods, worth perhaps a dollar, thereon. But even Seoul has its "spring cleaning," and I encountered on the sand plain of the Han, on the ferry, and on the road from Mapu to Seoul, innumerable bulls carrying panniers laden with the contents of the city ditches.

'The houses abutting on these ditches are generally hovels with deep eaves and thatched roofs, presenting nothing to the street but a mud wall, with occasionally a small paper window just under the roof, indicating the men's quarters, and invariably at a height varying from 2 to 3 feet above the ditch, a blackened smoke-hole, the vent for the smoke and the heated air, which have done their duty in warming the floor of the house. All day long bulls laden with brushwood to a great height are entering the city, and at six o'clock this pine brush, preparing to do the cooking and warming for the population, fills every lane in Seoul with aromatic smoke, which hangs over it with remarkable punctuality. Even the superior houses which have carved and tiled roofs, present nothing better to the street than this debased appearance.'

The shops are poor and unattractive, though here and there a piece of Korean niello work, iron inlaid with silver, may be picked up. In what is known as Cabinet Street, handsome bureaus and marriage chests of solid chestnut or veneered with peach or maple and heavily ornamented with brass work are exposed for sale. Among the sights of the place are the great bronze bell, said to be the third largest in the world, the Royal

Palace with its double roof, the old Audience Hall in the Mulberry Gardens, and the Marble Pagoda, seven centuries old, but hidden away in the backyard of a house in one of the narrowest and filthiest alleys of the city. Another is 'the stream or drain or watercourse, a wide, walled, open conduit, along which a dark-coloured festering stream slowly drags its malodorous length, among manure and refuse heaps which cover up most of what was once its shingly bed.' Here it is that the women of the capital, such of them at least as are suffered to be out in the streets during daylight, most do congregate. They belong to the poorest class and may be seen at all hours of the day, some 'ladling into pails the compound which passes for water, and others washing dishes in the fetid pools which pass for a stream.'

' All wear one costume, which is peculiar to the capital, a green silk coat —a man's coat with the "neck" put over the head and clutched below the eyes, and long wide sleeves falling from the ears. It is as well that the Korean woman is concealed, for she is no houri. Washing is her manifest destiny so long as her lord wears white. She washes in this foul river, in the pond of the Mulberry Palace, in every wet ditch, and outside the walls in the few streams that exist. Clothes are partially unpicked, boiled with ley three times, rolled into hard bundles, and pounded with heavy sticks on stones. After being dried they are beaten with wooden sticks on cylinders, till they attain a polish resembling dull satin. The women are slaves to the laundry, and the only sound which breaks the stillness of a Seoul night is the regular beat of their laundry sticks.'

The women of the better classes are rigidly secluded, perhaps more so than anywhere else, and the only time they are allowed out is at night. In Seoul there was a curious arrangement.

'About eight o'clock (p.m.) the great-bell tolled a signal for men to retire into their houses, and for women to come out and amuse themselves, and visit their friends. The rule which clears the streets of men occasionally lapses, and then some incident occurs which causes it to be rigorously re-enforced. So it was at the time of my arrival, and the pitch dark streets presented the singular spectacle of being tenanted solely by bodies of women with servants carrying lanterns. From its operation were exempted blind men, officials, foreigners' servants, and persons carrying prescriptions to the druggists. These were often forged for the purpose of escape from durance vile, and a few people got long stalls and personated blind men. At twelve the bell again boomed, women retired, and men were at liberty to go abroad. A lady of high position told me that she had never seen the streets of Seoul by daylight.'

Mrs. Bishop's stay at Seoul was considerably protracted by the difficulty of making satisfactory arrangements for her journey into the interior, but while waiting for their completion, she had the advantage of seeing the spectacle known as the Kurdong, an unique ceremonial, costing the country some 25,000 dollars, and consisting of an almost endless display of banners and gorgeous dresses. The procession, which was then held for probably the last time, and in which the King is the central figure, began at 7.30 a.m., and ended with the return of the King at night, through a lane of torches 10 feet high and accompanied by all the troops that could be mustered, with lanterns of blue and crimson silk undulating from the heads of their pikes and bayonets.

At last, on the 14th April, 1894, Mrs. Bishop set out on her adventurous voyage up the Southern Branch of the Han. No European traveller had ascended it before, and little was known either about the river or about the country along it.

The party, in addition to our traveller, consisted of Wong, a Chinaman, her servant, Mr. Millar, a young missionary and his servant, Che-ou-i, who were to act as interpreters. The boat or sampan in which the voyage was to be made was 28 feet long by 4 feet 10 inches, and was manned by Kim, its owner, and his 'hired man.' It drew three inches and was ballasted with cash, the only coin current, £10's worth of which is a good load for a pony.

The voyage, which occupied five weeks, though not without its dangers, in consequence of the number and difficulty of the rapids that occur, was, on the whole, pleasant.

The country and the people were new, and we mixed freely, almost too freely with the latter ; the scenery varied hourly, and after the first few days became not only beautiful, but in places magnificent, and full of surprises ; the spring was in its early beauty, and the trees in their first vividness of green, red and gold ; the flowers and flowering shrubs were in their glory, the crops at their most attractive stage, birds sang in the thickets, rich fragrant odours were wafted off on the waters, red cattle, though rarely, fed knee-deep in abounding grass, and the waters of the Han, nearly at their lowest, were clear as crystal, and their broken sparkle flatbed back the sunbeams which passed through a sky as blue as that of Thibet. There was a prosperous look about the country, too, and its security was indicated by the frequent occurrence of solitary farms, with high secluding fences, standing under the deep shade of fine walnut and persimmon trees. . . .

'It was all very charming, though a little wanting in life. True, there were butterflies and dragonflies innumerable, and brilliant green and brown snakes in numbers, and at first the Han was cheery with mallard and mandarin-duck, geese, and common teal. In the rice fields the imperial crane, the egret, and the pink ibis with the deep flush of spring 011 his plumage, were not uncommon, and peregrines, kestrels, falcons and bustards were occasionally seen. But the song-birds were few. The forlorn note of the night-jar was heard, and the loud, cheerful call of the gorgeous ringed pheasant to his dowdy mate ; but the trilling, warbling and cooing which are the charm of an English copsewood in spring-time are altogether absent, the chatter of the blue magpie and the noisy flight of the warbler being poor substitutes for that entrancing concert. Of beast life, undomesticated, there were no traces, and the domestic animals are few. Sheep do not thrive on the soar natural grasses of Korea, and if goats are kept, I never saw any. A small black pig not much larger than a pug, is universal, and there are bulls and ponies about the better class of farms. There are big buff dogs, but these are kept only to a limited extent on the Han, in the idea that they attract the nocturnal visits of tigers. The dogs are noisy and voluble, and rush towards a stranger as if bent on attack ; but it is mere bravado—they are despicable cowards, and run away howling at the shaking of a stick.'

Several species of deer are found among the hills, and leopards, but here, as throughout Korea, the beast by preeminence is the tiger. They are numerous, and a source of great terror to the villagers, often carrying off dogs, pigs, and cattle; and human beings visiting each other at night or belated on the roads, are their frequent prey. Tiger-hunting is a profession in all parts of the country, but the pursuit of the profession is often more dangerous to the hunter than to the hunted. The Chinese have a saying that the Koreans spend one-half of the year in hunting tigers, and that the tigers spend the other half in hunting the Koreans. As the tiger-hunter is only armed with a matchlock, he is scarcely a match for his formidable antagonist. He does, however, sometimes manage to kill one, when he obtains a high price for the skin, and a still higher for the bones, which he sells to the Chinese, who use them, when reduced to powder, as a medicine, believing them to be a specific for strength and courage.

The population along the Han valley, much of the soil of which is a rich alluvium, from 5 to 12 feet deep, is large, and, on the whole, prosperous. The people are of fine physique, and generally of a robust appearance. Their ailments are few, and many of them attain to a great age. The peasants' houses are similar to those of the poorer classes in Seoul:—

'The walls are of mud, and the floors, also of mud, are warmed by a number of flues, the most economical of all methods of heating, as the quantity of dried leaves and weeds that a boy of ten can carry keeps two rooms above 70o for twelve hours. Every house is screened by a fence 6 feet high of bamboo or plaited reeds, and is usually surrounded by fruit trees. In one room an ang-pak—great earthenware jars big enough to contain a man—in which rice, millet, barley, and water are kept. That is frequently in small houses the women's room. The men's room has little in it but the mat on the floor, pillows of solid wood, and large red and green hat-cases hanging from the rafters, in which the crinoline dress-hats are stowed away. Latticed and paper-covered doors and windows denote a position above that of the poorest. A pig-stye, much more substantial than the house, is always alongside of it.'

The people are peasant farmers, and hold their lands mostly from the yang-bans at their pleasure. The owner may turn them out after harvest, but seldom does. He provides the seed, and receives half the yield in return.. Money is scarcely current; business is done by barter, or the peasant pays with his labour. The only foreign commodity he requires is piece cottons for his clothes, but these he must have twenty inches wide or not at all.

The most beautiful part of the river lies above Tamyang, a magistracy situated on the left bank, with a picturesque Confucian temple on the hill above. Here ' Great limestone cliffs swing open at times to reveal glorious glimpses, through fantastic gorges of peaks and ranges, partly forest-covered, fading in the far distance into the delicious blue veil of dreamland ; the river, usually compressed by its colossal walls, vents its fury in flurry and foam, or expands into broad reaches 20 and even 30 feet in depth, where pure emerald water laps gently upon crags festooned with roses and honeysuckle, or in fairy bays on pebbly beaches and white sand.' Its beauty, however, culminates at To-tam, where there is what Mrs. Bishop pronounces the finest river view she ever saw. Here, as elsewhere along the river, the valleys are amazingly productive, and the cultivation sufficiently neat to be surprising, the activity and industry of the population being a strange contrast to the utter laziness of the hangers-on at the Court in Seoul, by whom they are not seldom oppressed. This branch of the Han river is said to be navigable as far as Yang-wol, but at Yong-chhun, which, though twenty below Yang-wol, is within forty miles of the Sea of Japan, Mrs. Bishop turned back, and after several narrow escapes, reached Seoul in safety.

Our traveller's second journey, if we may so call it, led through the Diamond Mountain, whose celebrated monasteries were described some time ago by Mr. Curzon in his Problems of the Far East. The road to them is much frequented, for the Koreans, though they make no pilgrimages, are great travellers, and the monasteries are seldom without visitors. Most of the journey was made on the back of one of the Korean ponies. These extremely useful, but remarkably vicious, beasts of burden, are among the features of the country, and are thus described by Mrs. Bishop:—

'The breed is peculiar to it. The animals used for burdens are all stallions, from 10 to 12 hands high, well formed, and singularly strong, carrying from 1G0 to 200 lbs., 30 miles a clay, week after week, on sorry food. They are most desperate fighters, squealing and trumpeting on all occasions, attacking every pony they meet on the road, never becoming reconciled to each other even on a long journey, and, in their fury, ignoring their loads, which are often smashed to pieces. Their savagery makes it necessary to have a mapu for every pony, instead of, as in Persia, one to five. At the inn-stables they are not only chained clown to the troughs by chains short enough to prevent them from raising their heads, but are partially slung at night to the heavy beams of the roof. Even under these restricted circumstances, their cordial hatred finds vent in hyena-like yells, abortive snaps, and attempts to swing their hinu-legs round. They are never allowed to lie down, and very rarely to drink water, and then only when freely salted. Their nostrils are all slit, in an attempt to improve upon Nature, and give them better wind. They are fed three times a day on brown slush, as hot as they can drink it, composed of beans, chopped millet stalks, rice husks, and bran, with the water in which they have been boiled. The mapu are rough to them, but I never saw them either ill-used or petted. Dearly as I love horses, I was not able, on two journeys, to make a friend of mine. On this journey I rode a handsome chestnut, only 10 hands high. He walked four miles an hour, and in a month of travelling, for much of it over infamous mountain roads, never stumbled, but he resented every attempt at friendliness both with teeth and heels. They are worth from 50s. upwards, and cost little to keep.'

Great attention is paid to them by the mapu or ostlers in charge of them, who, though seldom their owners or even part-owners, always attend to what passes for their comfort, before seeing to their own. Immediately on halting, they remove the pack-saddle, rub the animals well down, and then swathe their bodies in thick straw mats. Each pony has its own attendant, and great care is taken with the preparation of its food.

The road taken was the main one between Seoul and the eastern treaty port of Won-san. For the most part it passes through rice valleys with abundant irrigation, and along the sides of bare hills. The weather was bad, and there were few travellers, but here and there was a string of coolies laden with tobacco, or carrying dried fish and dried seaweed—the latter a great article of diet—from Won-san to the capital. At the hamlet of Sar-pang Kori, Mrs. Bishop had her first experience of a Korean inn, where the ' entertainment,' both for man and beast, is peculiar :—

'There are regular and irregular inns in Korea. The irregular inn differs in nothing from the ordinary hovel of the village roadway, unless it can boast of a yard with troughs, and can provide entertainment for beast as well as for man. The regular inn of the towns and large villages consists chiefly of a filthy courtyard full of holes and heaps, entered from the road by a tumble-down gateway. A gaunt black pig or two tethered by the ears, big yellow dogs routing in the garbage, and fowls, boys, bulls, ponies, mapu, hangers-on, and travellers' loads make up a busy scene.

' On one or two sides are ramshackle sheds, with rude, hollowed trunks in front, out of which the ponies suck the hot brown slush which sustains their strength and pugnacity. On the other is the furnace-shed with the oats where the slush is cooked, the same fire usually heating the flues of the hang floor of the common room, while smaller fires in the same shed cook for the guests. Low lattice doors filled in with torn and dirty paper give access to a room, the mud floor of which is concealed by reed mats, usually dilapidated, sprinkled with wooden blocks which serve as pillows. Farming gear and hat-boxes often find a place on the low heavy crossbeams. Into this room are crowded mapu, travellers, and servants, the low residuum of Korean travel, for officials and yang-bans receive the hospitalities of the nearest magistracy, and the peasants open their houses to anybody with whom they have a passing acquaintance. There is in all inns of pretensions, however, another room, known as "the clean room," 8 feet by G, which, if it existed, I obtained, and if not I had a room in the women's quarters at the back, remarkable only for its heat and vermin, and the amount of ang-paks, bundles of dirty clothes, beans rotting for soy, and other plenishings which it contained, and which reduced i's habitable portion to a minimum. At night a ragged lantern in the yard and a glim of oil in the room made groping for one's effects possible.

' The room was always overheated from the ponies' fire. From 80° to 85° was the usual temperature, but it was frequently over 92°, and I spent one terrible night sitting at my door, because it was 105° within. In this furnace which heats the floor and the spine comfortably, the Korean wayfarer revels.

On arriving at an inn, the master or servant rushes at the mud, or sometimes matted, floor with a whisk, raising a great dust, which he sweeps into a corner. The disgusted traveller soon perceives that the heap is animate as well as inanimate, and the groans, sighs, scratchings, and restlessness from the public room show the extent of the insect pest. But I never suffered from vermin in a Korean inn, nor is it necessary. After the landlord had disturbed the dust, Wong put down either two heavy sheets of oiled paper or a large sheet of cotton dressed with boiled linseed oil on the floor, and on these arranged my camp-bed, chair, and baggage. This arrangement (and I write from twenty months' experience in Korea and China) is a perfect preventative.'

Food, such as rice, eggs and vegetables, is plentiful and cheap. Chickens can be had for 4d. a piece, and pheasants for less. Tea is not procurable and the water is dangerous. Dogs meat which is regarded as a dainty, many dogs being fed for the table, is frequently on sale in spring, and occasionally pork. The inn charges are low. Nothing is charged for the room with its glim and hot floor, and the traveller may have his three meals a day, and spend, inclusive of gratuities, no more than from 200 to 300 cash a day. Unless a drinking bout be going on the frequenters of the inns are not noisy and even then their noise soon subsides, but the squealing and shrieking of the ponies with the execrations of the mapu to quiet them go on all night-long. Mrs. Bishop's chief trouble at the inns was the persistent inquisitiveness that everywhere assailed her.

' To me the curse of the Korean inn is the ill-bred and unmanageable curiosity of the people, specially of the women. A European woman had not been seen on any part of the journey, and I suffered accordingly. Sar-pang Kori may serve as a specimen.

' My quarters were opposite to the ponies, on the other side of the foul and crowded courtyard. There were two rooms, with a space under the roof as large as either between them, on which the dripping baggage was deposited, and Wong established himself with his cooking stove and utensils, though there was nothing to cook except two eggs obtained with difficulty, and a little rice left over from the boat stores. My room had three paper doors. The unwalled space at once filled up with a crowd of men, women, and children. All the paper was torn off the doors, and a crowd of dirty Mongolian faces took its place. I hung up cambric curtains, but long sticks were produced and my curtains were poked into the middle of the room. The crowd broke in the doors, and filled the small space not occupied by myself and my gear. The women and children sat on my bed in heaps, examined my clothing, took out my hairpins and pulled down my hair, took off my slippers, drew my sleeves up to the elbow and pinched my arms to see if they were of the same flesh and blood as their own; they investigated my few possessions minutely, trying on my hat and gloves, and after being turned out by Wong three times, returned in fuller force, accompanied by unmarried youths, the only good-looking "girls" ever seen in Korea, with abundant hair divided in the middle, and hanging in long plaits down their backs. The pushing and crushing, the odious familiarity, the babel of voices, and the odours of dirty clothing in a temperature of 80° were intolerable. Wong cleared the room a fourth time, and suggested that when they forced their way in again, they should find me sitting on the bed cleaning my revolver, a suggestion I accepted. He had hardly retired when they broke in again, but there was an immediate stampede, and for the remainder of the evening 1 was free from annoyance. Similar displays of aggressive and intolerable curiosity occurred three times daily, and it was hard to be always amiable under such circumstances.'

The roads, along which the traveller rides or trudges at the rate of three miles an hour, where not polished tracks over irregular surfaces and ledges of rock, are for the most part mere tracks deep in dust in summer and in mud in winter. Many of the streams are uubridged, and the bridges which exist, even on the 'Six Great Roads' that centre in the capital, are apt to be so rotten that a mapu usually goes over in advance of his ponies to ascertain if they will bear their weight. Among the mountains the roads are frequently nothing better than the boulder strewn beds of torrents.

The monasteries, and monastic shrines—forty-five in all, which exist in the Diamond Mountain, besides enhancing its picturesqueness and supplying it with a religious and human interest, are monuments of the great hold which Buddhism once had upon the Koreans. Chang-au Sa, the first which Mrs. Bishop visited, is one of the three largest of the monasteries, and the oldest, dating as far back, it would appear, as a.d. 515. It is described as 'a fine old building of the type adapted from Chinese Buddhist architecture, oblong, with a heavy tiled roof 48 feet in height, with wings, deep eaves protecting masses of richly coloured wood carving. The lofty reticulated roof is internally supported on an arrangement of heavy beams, elaborately carved and painted in rich colours, while the panels of the doors, which serve as windows, and let in a " dim religious light," are bold fretwork, decorated in colours enriched with gold.'

The monks had at first some difficulty in admitting our traveller, but afterwards treated her with considerable courtesy. The scenery around the monastery is described as of surpassing beauty. *It is an exercise of forbearance,' Mrs. Bishop remarks, ' to abstain from writing much about the beauties of Chang-an Sa, as seen in two days of perfect heavenliness. It is a calm retreat; that small, green, semicircular plateau which the receding hills have left, walling in the back and sides with rocky precipices half clothed in forest, while the bridgeless torrent in front, raging and thundering among huge boulders of pink granite, secludes it from all but the adventurous. Alike in the rose of sunrise, in the red and gold of sunset, or gleaming steely blue in the prosaic glare of mid-day, the great rock peak on the left bank, one of the highest in the range, compels ceaseless admiration. The appearance of its huge vertical topmost ribs has been well compared to that of the " pipes of a great organ," this organ-pipe formation being common in the range ; seams and ledges half-way down give root-hold to a few fantastic conifers and azaleas, and lower still all suggestion of form is lost among dense masses of magnificent forest.' Leaving at Chang-au Sa her ponies and unnecessary impedimenta, and taking two coolies xxxi. 16 and her servant, Mrs. Bishop struck off from the regular path and took a five days journey on foot to Keum-kang San, past the monastery of Chyang-yang Sa with its famous view of the ' Twelve Thousand Peaks ' which passes for the grandest in Korea, and of which Mrs. Bishop says ' There is assuredly no single view that I have seen in Japan or even in Western China which equals it for beauty and grandeur.' A visit to Keum-kang San, it seems, elevates a Korean youth into the distinguished position of a traveller. It is visited, however, not because of its sanctity, but on account of its picturesque beauties, which are much celebrated in Korean poetry. There are four great monasteries and forty-two shrines in the district, forming the headquarters of about 400 monks and about 50 nuns, who add to their religious exercises the weaving of cotton and hempen cloth. There are also about a thousand lay servitors of whom the four monasteries absorb more than 300. The monks are ignorant and superstitious, know nothing of the history and tenets of their creed or of the purport of their liturgies, grossly profligate, though courteous to strangers, and benevolent to the old and destitute, who find a peaceful asylum among them.

From Keum-Kang San, to which Mrs. Bishop returned by a different route, the road to Wou-San lies chiefly through a rich and fertile country capable of supporting twice its population. It crosses the Mak-pai Pass and then the Sai-kal-chai at an altitude of 2200 feet, which is said to be infested by tigers, and runs through Tchyu-Chi-Chang, the pass of the 'Ninety-nine Turns,' so called because of the number of sharp zig-zags in it, the number of which is by no means exaggerated. At the village of Chyuug-tai as well as in other places Mrs. Bishop had occasion to notice the extreme voracity of the Koreans.

' They eat not to satisfy hunger, but to enjoy the sensation of repletion. The training for this enjoyment begins at a very early age, as I had several opportunities of observing. A mother feeds her young child with rice, and when it can eat no more in an upright position, lays it on its back on her lap and feeds it again, tapping its stomach from time to time with a flat spoon to ascertain if further cramming is possible. "The child is father to the man," and the adult Korean shows that he has reached the desirable stage of repletion by explations, splutterings, slapping his stomach, and groans of satisfaction, looking round with a satisfied air. A quart of rice, which when cooked is of great bulk, is a laborious meal, but besides there are other dishes, which render its insipidity palatable. Among them are pounded capsicum, soy, various native sauces of abominable odours, himchi, a species of sour kraut, seaweed, salt fish, and salted seaweed fried in batter. The very poor only take two meals a day, but those who can afford it take three and four.

' In this respect of voracity all classes are alike. The great merit of a meal is not so much quality as quantity, and from infancy onwards one object in life is to give the stomach as much capacity and elasticity as is possible, so that four pounds of rice daily may not incommode it. People in easy circumstances drink wine and eat great quantities of fruits, nuts, and confectionery in the intervals between meals, yet are as ready to tackle the next food as though they had been starving for a week. In well-to-do houses beef and dog are served on large trenchers, and as each guest has his separate table, a host can show generosity to this or that special friend without helping others to more than is necessary. I have seen Koreans eat more than three pounds of solid meat at one meal. Large as a "portion" is, it is not unusual to see a Korean eat three and even four, and where people abstain from these excesses it may generally be assumed that they are too poor to indulge in them. It is quite common to see from twenty to twenty-five peaches or small melons disappear at a single sitting, and without being peeled.

' There can be no doubt that the enormous consumption of red pepper, which is supplied even to infants, helps this gluttonous style of eating. It is not surprising that dyspepsia and kindred evils are very common among Koreans.'

At Nam-San Mrs. Bishop diverged from the main road to Won-san, in order to visit the monastery of Sok-wang Sa, where, in the palmy days of Korean Buddhism, Atai-jo, the first king of the present dynasty, was educated and lived, and where many of the magnificent trees which adorn the mountain clefts are said to have been planted by him. There is now nothing of sanctity about the place, but the situation is extremely beautiful and some curious things are to be seen. ' An abbot, framed in the doorway of a quaint building, and looking like the picture of a portly, jolly, medieaval friar, welcomed us, and he and his monks regaled us with honey water in the large guest-hall, but simultaneously produced a visitors' book and asked us how much we were going to pay, the sum being duly recorded.' The monks fleeced the mapu so badly that they said they ' had fallen among thieves.' The interiors of the temples are shabby and dirty and rapidly decaying. So little of religion is there that the very altars were hidden beneath piles of herbs drying for use in the kitchen. The notable 'sight' is a small temple dedicated to the ' Five Hundred Disciples,' whom some artist has caricatured in stone.

' The "Five Hundred" are stone images not a foot in height, arranged round the dusty temple in several tiers, each one with a silk cap on, worn with more or less of a jaunty air on one side of the head or falling over the brow. The variety of features and expression is wonderful; all Eastern nationalities are represented, and there are not two faces or attitudes like. The whole display shows genius, though not of a high order.

' Among the infinite variety, one figure has deeply-set eyes, an aquiline nose, and thin lips ; another a pug nose, squinting eyes, and a broad grinning mouth; one is Mongolian, another Caucasian, and another approximates to the Negro type. Here is a stout, jolly fellow, with a leer and a broad grin suggestive of casks of porter and the archaic London drayman ; there is an idiot with drooping head, receding brow and chin, and a vacant stare ; here again is a dark stage villain, with red cheeks and a cap drawn low over his forehead ; then Mr. Pecksniff confronts one with an air of sanctimoniousness obviously difficult to retain; Falstaff outdoes his legendary jollity ; and priests and monks of all nations leer at the beholders from under their jaunty caps. It is an exhibition of unsanctified genius. Nearly all the figures look worse for drink, and fatuous smiles, drunken leers, and farcical grins are the rule, the effect of all being aggravated by the varied and absurd arrangements of the caps. The grotesqueness is indescribable, and altogether " unedifying." '

Won-San, the western treaty port stands on Broughton Bay, and, except in the large Japanese quarter, is as dirty as any other Korean town. Its considerable foreign trade is mostly in the hands of the Japanese. Not far off, on the other side of the bay, is the Port of Lazareff, which Mrs. Bishop visited, and then went by steamer to Fusan, and arrived at Chemulpo to find the place in the hands of the Japanese troops. The British Vice-Consul warned her the same night that she must leave Korea, which she accordingly did, taking the first steamer to Chefoo, and thence on to Newchwang in Manchuria, reaching the mouth of the Lian River in five days from Chemulpo. ' Rain was falling, and a more hideous aud disastrous looking country than the voyage of two hours up to the port revealed, I never saw. The Lian, which has a tremendous tide and strong current, and is thick with yellow mud, is at high water nearly on a level with the adjacent flats, of which one sees little, except some mud forts on the left bank of the river, which are said to be heavily armed with Krupp guns, and an expanse of mud and reeds.' Newchwang was first opened as a port for foreign trade in 1860 and is now a city of 60,000 souls and of great commercial importance, among its chief exports being the small beans for which Manchuria is famous, and the pressed bean-cake which goes in enormous quantities to fertilise the sugar plantations and the bean fields of South China.

At Newchwang Mrs. Bishop hired a pea-boat to take her to Muk-den, a sail of from eight to ten days. The country all around is usually infested by bands of robbers; but at the time Mrs. Bishop started it was raining hard, and before she had proceeded far the river burst its banks and flooded the country for miles around. Robbers and all else were in many places swept away, and instead of keeping to the channel of the river, she sailed across the country, having to stop every now and then to rescue a farmer and his household, whose dwellings had been submerged, from the trees in which they had taken refuge. In this way the capital of Manchuria was reached in five days.

Muk-den was before the war a busy place. Besides being a great grain emporium, it was the centre of the Chinese fur-trade, which attracted to it buyers from all parts of the world. Five wide streets divided it into nine wards, the central being the imperial quarter, containing a fine palace with much decorative yellow tiling, the examination hall, and a number of palaces and yamens all solidly built. To our traveller's way of thinking no Chinese city is so agreeable. ' The Tartar capital is free from that atmosphere of decay which broods over Pekin. Its wide streets are comparatively clean. It is regularly built, and its fine residences are well kept up. It does a large and lucrative trade, specially in beans, grain and furs. It has various industries, which include the tanning and dressing of furs, and the weaving of silk stuffs; its bankers and merchants are rich, and it has great commercial as well as political importance.' When Mrs. Bishop arrived there the place was full of rumours of war and excitement. Troops were continually passing through it at the rate of a 1000 a day. Generally they were men of fine physique, but wretchedly armed, and without discipline. In proportion as the troops poured in the excitement increased, and the anti-foreign feeling rose rapidly. One of the missionaries was killed, and shortly after, acting on the advice of her friends, Mrs. Bishop returned to Newchwang, where she arrived after ' having encountered no worse risk,' as she quietly remarks in summing up the record of her journey, 'than that of an attack of pirates, who captured some junks with some loss of life, after I had eluded them by travelling at night.'

While the war was going on in Korea Mrs. Bishop passed from Newchwang to Nagasaki and then to the Russian port of Vladivostok, which 'is nothing if not military and naval.' There are forts and earth-works, 'at which it is prudent not to look too long or intently,' and great military hospitals and huge red brick barracks in every direction, while ' two out of every three people in the streets are in uniform.' The place is also naval, with its ships of war in and out of commission, its brand-new admiralty, its navy yard, floating and dry dock. Not far off, too, in the interior is more than one large military establishment. It was only in 1860 that the site on which the town of Vladivostok stands was surveyed, and in 1863 that the trees covering the ground were felled and some shanties erected ; but the place has now a population of 25,000, including 3000 Koreans and 2000 Chinese.

' The chief object of my visit to Russian Korea,' Mrs. Bishop writes, 'was to settle for myself by personal investigation the vexed question of the condition of those Koreans who have found shelter under the Russian flag, a number estimated in Seoul at 20,000.' With this object in view Mrs. Bishop visited Nowo Kiewsk, not far from Possiet Bay, to the south of Vladivostok, a great military post, with a civilian population of about 1000, the greater part bein'g Koreans, also Yantchihe, a large village where'' Russian and Korean pupils sit side by. side at their lessons,' and where at the ' police station a Korean sergeant wrote down my requiMments and sent off a smart Korea! policeman in search of an interpreter.' From thence Mrs. Bishop travelled along the whole of the Korean frontier to Hun-chun on the west to Krasnoye Celo on the south-east, and after seeing all the villages on her way, speaks of the condition and prospects of the Korean immigrants in the highest terms. They are well housed and well fed, and have about them every sign of comfort and prosperity. ' The air of the men,' she remarks, ' has undergone a subtle but real change, and the women, though they nominally keep up their habit of seclusion, have lost the hang-dog air which distinguishes them at home. The suspiciousness and indolent conceit, and the servility to his betters, which characterise the home-bred Korean, have very generally given place to an independence and manliness of manner rather British than Asiatic.' . . . 'In Ylona I had learned to think of Koreans as the dregs of a race, and to regard their condition as hopeless, but in Primorsk I saw reason for considerably modifying my opinion. . . . They [the Korean settlers] were mostly starving folk who fled from famine, and their prosperity and general demeanour give me the hope that their countrymen in Korea, if they ever have an honest administration for their earnings, may slowly develop into men.'

On her return to Seoul in January, 1895, Mrs. Bishop found the place in the hands of the Japanese, many things changed for the better, and shoals of edicts being continually issued by the Japanese authorities for the reform of abuses and the establishment of a new order of things. During her stay in the city Mrs. Bishop had several interviews with the King and Queen, and as Sir Walter C. Hillier, who was then the British representative at Korea, remarks in the preface he contributes to the volumes, was 'honoured by their confidence and friendship in a degree never before accorded to any foreign traveller.' Though not present when the insurrection broke out in Seoul towards the end of the year, and resulted in the murder of the Queen and the flight of the King and Heir Apparent to the Russian Embassy, Mrs. Bishop gives a detailed narrative, gathered from reliable sources, of the events of that terrible night, and by no means acquits Viscount Miura and Mr. Sugimura, Secretary of the Japanese Legation, from complicity in the plot. Commenting on the part it is alleged they took in the affair, she remarks, 'A heavier blow to Japanese prestige as the leader of civilisation in the East could not have been struck, and the government continues to deserve our sympathy on the occasion.'

Mrs. Bishop's third, or counting the first two as one, second journey in Korea led her pretty much in the' track followed by the Japanese army, and here and there we come across descriptions of the desolation it had caused. Among the places she passed through were Songdo, a royal city, and the centre of the ginseng district, to the cultivation of which famous drug it owes its prosperity, and Phyong-yang, the population of which had been reduced by the war from 60,000 to 15,000, and close to which fell General Iso, the only capable general the Chinese seem to have had. At Tok Chhon, our traveller turned southwards, and by a different route returned to Seoul.

In both the volumes of this entertaining and extremely instructive work many notes and frequently detailed accounts occur of the manners and customs, religion or no-religion, folk-lore and superstitions of the people. Here and there, too, are references to the work done by missionaries, of which Mrs. Bishop always speaks in commendation. Many things are also said with respect to the resources and trade of the country, and much information given which can scarcely fail to be of value to those who are engaged in commerce. But to enter upon these matters would require more space than is now at our disposal. There are few classes in the community, indeed, to whom these volumes do not appeal. They throw a flood of light upon a country which hitherto has been little better than a terra incognita, while the information they contain induces the hope that under a wise and strong administration the nation which, though scarcely yet awake, notwithstanding the horrors through which it has lately passed, has still a great future before it,

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