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sorely to torment foreigners. The dragon-boats
were always buzzing about an English
ship, like teasing flies, and when one rogue
was bribed away, another started up. But
the war settled that matter. A mandarin of
that class now stands in such awe of the consul's
complaints, that he knows it would be as much
as his cap of office is worth, to intrude,
unlicensed on an European captain, besides his risk
of being bundled over the side with little
ceremony. On shore, the copper and crystal
buttoned dignitaries areas arrogant as ever, but they
do not venture beneath the shadow of European
or United States bunting.

The large war-junks are decidedly inferior in
sailing qualities to the junks of commerce, and
built chiefly with regard to the officers' comfort.
They have roundhouses, pavilions, andshould
the captain be a devout Buddhist, as many Tartars
area pagoda on deck, constructed, as the taste
of the occupants may prompt, of bamboo, timber,
chunam, or firm masonry. The stumpy masts, the
square sails of matting, the lofty poops covered
with lanterns and carving, and the absurd prows,
make these vessels unfit to face the open sea.
Accordingly, they haunt creeks and rivers,
preferring fresh water to salt, and depending
much more on their double or triple banks of
oars than on their sails. According to the
Official Pekin Almanack, there exist four
hundred and fifty war-junks of the largest size,
divided into four squadrons, and distinguished as
the blue, white, yellow, and red. Besides
these, there are nineteen hundred dragon-boats,
fire-ships, block-ships, and smaller craft in general,
said to be manned by forty-one thousand
sailors: a number possibly not very much
exaggerated. The commanders of the war-junks
are military mandarinstimid in general, after
the usual fashion of Tartars, when a sea-voyage
is concernedand mostly thieves. Often a
commander sells his brass-guns to a native dealer,
and buys worthless European ordnance sold as
old iron. The sailors are never rightly paid,
but they get rice and fish, and perquisites
screwed out of the nation; for they, too, are men
in a little brief authority, and have their ways
of plunder. They are splendid rowers. Indeed
no toil at the oar seems too much for a Chinaman,
if you only feed him, and encourage him
with tom-toms and flageolets and singing and
buffoonery. So stimulated, he will row all
day gaily and well. The war-junks have given
more trouble to the Taiping rebels than the
land troops: not because of the courage of
their crews, but because of the difficulty of
reaching them, while, if the captains are poor
navigators, they are first-rate artists in
fireworks. Most of the Chinese victories over the
barbarous tribes on their borders have been
due to their rockets and red-fire. They are
very ingenious in the use of fire-ships and
explosive raffs, and in the manufacture of
compounds which explode with horrible smells and
smothering smoke. It takes nothing less than
European discipline to prevent any fleet from
being set on fire by the shoals of combustibles
sent floating down the tide in war-time. If a
country could be saved by Roman candles and
Catherine wheels, China might defy the arms of
united Europe.

It is very pleasant to watch one of the
regular fleets of trading junks returning from
Siam and the Irrawaddy with cargoes of
birds'-nests, skins, feathers, spices, sea slugs,
dried fish, and other dainties. Steadily and
pleasantly the vessels bowl along, before a
moderate wind, through a sparkling sea, alive
with flotillas of the nautilus, and weeds, and
fish of every size and shape. The lines are
always out, for so thrifty a race never
neglects an opportunity of hooking something,
and the sailors save their rations at the
expense of the fishes. The awkward sails draw
pretty well, for the wind is right astern, and
the solemn pig-tailed smoker, in rattan cap
and thick-soled shoes, who holds the tiller,
has an easy time of it. The captain shares
his snug cabin with the supercargo: an
important person, probably a literary graduate
and cousin of the owner. Perhaps even the
owner, that great merchant, is on board; if
so, he sits in solitary state in his pavilion,
glaring with dull eyes through the fumes of his
opium pipe. He eats, and drinks hot wine and
scalding tea, and smokes, throughout the voyage:
only rousing himself in port, where there is
buying and selling, and a penny to be turned.
The captain, who has the sole charge of the
navigation, can always take a solar observation,
and can work a reckoning tolerably: though he
loves to see the land whenever it is possible to
hug the shore, and is unhappy if the stars are
lost at night behind the clouds. Logarithms do
not concern him, for Chinese mathematics do
not recognise discoveries, and " ircle sailing" is
outside the Chinaman's world altogether. But
give him a smooth sea, and a wind right astern,
then he will glide along, safe and placid.

                 Will be commenced
             BY CHARLES DICKENS,
              A NEW SERIAL STORY,
To be continued from week to week until completed
              in about EIGHT MONTHS.