+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

is right to add, that the gaiety was clearly not

She was helped to mount the high chair
placed under the rope, but the rope proving
to be still beyond her reach, her brother stepped
forward and held her up in his arms, while
she with her own hands passed the fatal noose
over her head and adjusted the cruel slip-
knot to the back of her neck. The red silk
napkin was then placed over her face, and a
handkerchief fastened to her right hand. At a
signal given by herself, her brother stepped back
and left her suspended in mid air. She then,
shaking her joined hands before her breast,
"chin-chinned" the crowd: her own weight
causing her to turn round and round, so that
persons on all sides received her parting
salutations. The spectators had, up to the fatal
moment, been laughing and chattering as if
assembled at a village fair; but now there was
perfect stillness, as every ear was strained and
every eye intent. In two or three minutes the
action of the hands, at first decided and regular,
grew weaker and weaker, and finally ceased
altogether; then followed a convulsive shudder
of the tiny feet (not above three inches in
length), and all was over.

The body was allowed to remain suspended
for about a quarter of an hour, when it was cut
down and placed in a common covered palanquin,
which was in waiting: the bridal chair
having been removed. The rope which had
been the instrument of death, was now cut into
small pieces and distributed among the friends
on the scaffold, all struggling violently to
obtain a portion. The chair and the corpse were
carried to a small temple about a hundred
yards from the spot, followed by a terrific
rush of people anxious to obtain another
glimpse of the lifeless clay. My friend, who
was somewhat sceptical of the reality of the
transaction, forced his way into the temple, and
witnessed the removal of the corpse from the
chair. He returned, painfully satisfied that no
deception had been practised: the poor girl's
swollen and blackened face bearing unmistakable
testimony to the manner of her death.

I have since been informed that had her
mother-in-law been alive, she would have been
in attendance, and that it would have been
her duty to help in forcing the soul from its
earthly tenement by grasping the feet of her
daughter, and adding her strength to the weight
already bearing on the rope.

It is worthy of note that, although the greater
part of those present were, as I have said,
females, yet the only sense of pity or dread that I
saw shown in any way, was on the part of one
of three Canton women who stood near us, and
whose dress and manner showed but too plainly
the position they held in Foo-Chow. At the
moment the victim was left to herself on the
rope, this girl, unable to endure the sight,
crouched on the ground, and buried her face in
her handkerchief: while others, holding
respected stations in society, were tearless and

I have since heard that a costly funeral will
be granted to the remains of the devotee, at the
public expense; an arch will be erected to her
memory, as to the memory of the soldier's wife
in the story, in order that the bright example
of her virtue may be impressed upon others, and
may receive the praise of future generations.

As to the real nature of this dreadful transaction,
I cannot help looking upon it rather as
an act of determined suicide than as an instance
of extraordinary and superstitious devotion. The
woman was evidently in a low station of life, and
on the death of her husband was left absolutely
destitute and unprotected. Her small feet would
prevent her from gaining a living by field labour,
or any work of a like nature, while her
unprepossessing face left her no chance of being
purchased into the harem of any man of wealth. In
England, a country abounding with the rich and
generous, and furnished with a poor-law, such a
desolate condition would be bad enough; but in
China, where the wounded deer is invariably
either driven from the herd, or gored to death,
it is far more miserable. The choice lay
between abject life as a drudge, and triumphant
death as a saintand the woman preferred the

            THIS SHEET OF PAPER.

MY parents, natives of Livonia, were
originally settled near Riga. About a year before
my birth they emigrated to Belgium, with a
vast number of their relatives, and established
themselves in the neighbourhood of Courtrai,
whereon the broad plain watered by the river
LysI first felt the breath of air. My family
name, Latinised, according to a prevalent
custom, was Linum, but the honest Flemings
amongst whom my earliest days were spent
preferred calling me Vlas, which, with a very
slight alteration, becomes, in English, Flax.
Though not very tall, my height being under
two feet, I was greatly admired for my slender
figure and general elegance of appearance, and
I must do my Flemish nurses the justice to say
that, during my infancy, they took the greatest
care of me, and did their best to train me in an
upright manner. A selfish motive was, without
doubt, at the bottom of this treatment; but, as
it made me strong and healthy, I suppose I
must not complain. I had a great many brothers
and sisters, all born at the same time as myself,
and treated in every respect like me; so
completely, indeed, were our fortunes identified in
after life, that I necessarily include their
adventures in relating my own.

A great poet has told of the cruelties which,
in his tender age, were practised on the
renowned John Barleycorn. Those inflicted upon
us, after the first period of delusive kindness
was past, would not fall short by comparison.
Torn from our mother's bosom, we were huddled
together in groups, and exposed to the wind
and sun until all the moisture in us was evaporated.
We were then carried into rude sheds,
aud treated with great barbarity, some of us