A Woman's Journey Round The World, From Vienna To Brazil, Chili, Tahiti, China, Hindostan, Persia, And Asia Minor By Ida Pfeiffer

 -   Last of all, were some priests and a
crowd of people.

The chief priest wore a kind of white {110 - Page 119
A Woman's Journey Round The World, From Vienna To Brazil, Chili, Tahiti, China, Hindostan, Persia, And Asia Minor By Ida Pfeiffer - Page 119 of 364 - First - Home

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Last Of All, Were Some Priests And A Crowd Of People.

The chief priest wore a kind of white {110} fool's cap, with three points; the other persons, who consisted of men alone, had a kind of white cloth bound round their head or arm.

I was lucky enough to be enabled to visit some of the summer palaces and gardens of the nobility.

The finest of all was certainly that belonging to the Mandarin Howqua. The house itself was tolerably spacious, one story high, with very wide, splendid terraces. The windows looked into the inner courts, and the roof was like those in European buildings, only much flatter. The sloping roofs, with their multitude of points and pinnacles, with their little bells and variegated tiles, are only to be found in the temples and country-houses, but never in the usual residences. At the entrance there were two painted gods: these, according to the belief of the Chinese, keep off evil spirits.

The front part of the house consisted of several reception rooms, without front walls, and immediately adjoining them, on the ground floor, elegant parterres; and on the first floor magnificent terraces, which were also decorated with flowers, and afforded a most splendid view over the animated scene on the river, the enchanting scenery around, and the mass of houses in the villages situated about the walls of Canton.

Neat little cabinets surrounded these rooms, from which they were only separated by walls that in many cases were adorned with the most artistic paintings, and through which the eye could easily penetrate. The most remarkable of these walls were those composed of bamboos, which were as delicate as a veil, and plentifully ornamented with painted flowers, or beautifully written proverbs.

A numberless quantity of chairs and a great many sofas were ranged along the walls, from which I inferred that the Chinese are as much accustomed to large assemblages as ourselves. I observed some arm- chairs most skilfully cut out of a single piece of wood; others with seats of beautiful marble-slabs; and others again of fine coloured tiles or porcelain. Among various objects of European furniture, we saw some handsome mirrors, clocks, vases, and tables of Florentine mosaic, or variegated marble. There was also a most extraordinary collection of lamps and lanterns hanging from the ceilings, and consisting of glass, transparent horn, and coloured gauze or paper, ornamented with glass beads, fringe, and tassels. Nor was there any scarcity of lamps on the walls, so that when the apartments are entirely lighted up, they must present a fairy-like appearance.

As we had been fortunate enough to reach this house without being stoned, we were emboldened to visit the Mandarin Howqua's large pleasure-garden, situated on a branch of the Pearl stream, about three-quarters of a mile from the house. We had, however, hardly entered the branch of the river, before the crew wanted to turn back, having observed a mandarin's junk, with all its flags hoisted, a signal that the owner himself was on board.

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