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marriage, lest he should weaken the tender
remembrance of one who had proved herself so faithful
to his interests.

This is one among many stories of the kind
in Chinese literature. But, without any more
reference to books, I will proceed to show how
a sacrifice is managed in our own times, by
relating the facts of the tragedy enacted before my
own eyes in the neighbourhood of Foo-Chow-
Foo.

The first notification I had of what was about
to take place was the parading of a handsome
wedding chair about that suburb of the
provincial capital in which our foreign settlement is
situated. The chair was accompanied by all the
pomps and gaieties of a weddingmusic, gay
streamers, and so forth. There was, however,
one thing most unusual in this procession. The
occupant of the chair was exposed to public gaze,
instead of being, as in weddings is invariably
the case, closely screened. On making inquiry
among our Chinese servants as to what this
extraordinary departure from established customs
might portend, I was informed that the lady was
no bride, but a disconsolate widow, recently
bereaved, who, finding herself unprovided for
and unprotected, and having, moreover, neither
father nor mother, son nor daughter, father-in-
law nor mother-in-law, was determined upon
following her husband to the unknown world,
where she might serve and wait upon him as
became his dutiful and loving wife. Having
accordingly made known her intention to her
friends, and having fixed the day for her
departure, she was now taking leave of all she
knew, and parading the streets as a pattern to
her sex. The object of her death being to
rejoin her husband, the ceremony was a sort of
wedding; she was arrayed and adorned as a
bride, and seated in a wedding chair.

I ascertained the time and place appointed for
the closing ceremony, and on the morning of
Wednesday, the 16th of January, proceeded,
accompanied by two friends, to a spot some four miles
distant from Nantae, the seat of the foreign
settlement and southern suburb of Foo-Chow-Foo.

Everybody we passed appeared as well
acquainted with the object of our journey as we
ourselves were. As we approached the scene of
action we found ourselves in a stream of people,
chiefly women and girls, the greater part of whom
were small footed, and were hobbling along leaning
one against another for support, or assisting
their tottering footsteps, by means of the
shoulders of dutiful sons or brothers.

We arrived only just in time to see the chair
of the victim carried on the ground, and herself
ascend the scaffold which had been prepared
for her. The chair was the bridal chair
in which she had been carried about the streets;
and the scaffold consisted of two stages, one
raised a few feet from the ground, and the
other about a foot higher. The whole was
covered with a dark cloth canopy, supported by
a framework of bamboos, within which was set
a gallows of one very thick cross piece of bamboo,
fastened at either end to a stong upright pole.

From this bamboo, under the canopy, and
exactly in the middle of the scaffold, hung the fatal
rope, covered with a red silk napkin; beneath it
was set a chair, to enable the devotee to reach
the noose. On the lower platform, was a table
of choice meats and vegetables, at which she
was to take her last meal in the land of the
living. The table was surrounded by the woman's
friends, dressed in holiday costumes, and wearing
the red cap of Chinese officials. In former
times it was the custom for two district magistrates
to be in attendance on all these occasions;
but since the higher authorities were hoaxed,
some years ago, by a lady whose courage failed
her at the last moment, they have refused to be
present at such exhibitions, and now despatch an
inferior officer to superintend the arrangements.

The scaffold was raised in the midst of a large
expanse of fields, at the time lying fallow, and
was surrounded by a crowd numbering some
thousands. Benches from which a better view
could be had, were so much in demand, that we
were obliged to pay a dollar (four and
ninepence) before we could obtain one for myself
and another for my companion; I use the singular
number, because we had lost the third member
of our party in the crowd.

The chief actress in this extraordinary scene
appeared at first to be far less excited than any
one in the vast concourse assembled. She
was dressed in red bridal robes, richly
embroidered with coloured silk, and her head was
adorned with a handsome gilt coronet. Her
decidedly plain face betrayed not the slightest
emotion, and she sat down at the table with as
much apparent good will as if it had been her
bridal, rather than her funeral, feast. While she
was eating, we made some inquiries among the
crowd, and ascertained, in addition to the fact
of her being childless, that she was twenty-five
years of age, and that her only surviving relations
were a brother in poor circumstances, and
his infant child, her nephew. We were further
informed that she had resided in a village which
was pointed out to us at a little distance from
the spot.

After the lapse of about half an hour, the poor
woman having apparently satisfied her appetite,
rose from her seat, and, still standing on the lower
platform, addressed the surrounding crowd in
a set speech, thanking them for their attendance,
and explaining why she acted as she did.
When she had finished speaking, she took from
a bowl on the table, several handfuls of uncooked
rice, which she scattered among the crowd, and
eager was the scramble to get a few grains as
her virtuous blessing. This done, she fondled
her baby nephew, and bade an affectionate
farewell to her brother, who stood by her on the
scaffold; then, stepping upon the upper stage of
the platform, she bowed gracefully to the
surrounding multitude, and addressed to them a
few last words. It struck me at this moment
that she might be under the influence of opium,
for her laughing countenance and rapid gestures
were too highly excited, to be natural, except
under the influence of some such stimulants. It

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