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tion he was in Edinburgh, having gone "And if we sing, I and that dearer friend, thither to consult Dr. (afterwards Sir
Take thou our music. He dwells in thy light,
Summer and spring, blue day and starry Jaines) Simpson on the illness of his
night.” wife, and there he was to remain at bay during all the barking of the journals. A friend wrote that he could love A little cold comfort came from Char- Alexander" for that sonnet ; and, inlotte Brontë.
deed, who could not love him for a
thousand reasons ? The story of Smith's “There is power in that character of Bal- martyrdom has yet to be told-nay, can der," she wrote, “and to me, a certain horror.
never be told this side of the grave. Did you mean it to embody, along with force, many of the special defects of the artistic char
But let this suffice-it was a martyrdom, acter? It seems to me that those defects were and a tragedy. How tranquilly, how never thrown out in stronger lines.”
beautifully, Smith took the injustice and
the cruelty of the world, many of us Despite the ill-success of his second know. Few know the rest. book, Dobell spent a very happy season locked up in his great, gentle heart. in Edinburgh. If not famous, he was When I have mentioned that, immeat least notorious, and was well enough diately after the War Sonnets, Sydney in health to enjoy a little social friction. Dobell issued independently his volume Alexander Smith, the secretary to the of prose, ‘England in Time of War,' University, was his bosom-friend; and his literary history is told. Though he among his other companions were Sam- lived on for another quarter of a centuuel Brown, Blackie, and Hunter of ry, he never published another book. Craigcrook Castle. "Smith and I," he Three works, The Roman,' 'Balder,' wrote, seem. destined to be social and England in Time of War,' formed twins, Just then there appeared in the sum total of his contributions to litBlackwood's Magazine the somewhat erature while alive ; and all three were flatulent satire of Firmilian,' written at written at one epoch, in what Smith high jinks by the local Yorick, Professor called “the afterswell of the revolutionAytoun. The style of Dobell and Smith ary impulse of 1848.”' For the last half was pretty well mimicked, and the scene of his life he was almost utterly silent, in which Gilfillan, entering as Apollodo- only an occasional sonnet in a magarus, was killed by the friends thrown by zine, or a letter in a journal on some Balder from a tower, was really funny. political subject, reminding the public The poets satirised enjoyed the joke as that he still lived. Of this long silence much as anybody, but they little guess- we at last know the pathetic cause. Sicked that it was a joke
ness pursued him from day to day, fror kind. From the moment of the appear- hour to hour, making strenuous literary ance of the "spasmodic" satire, the so- effort impossible. Never was poet so called spasmodic school was ruined in unlucky. Read the whole heartrending the eyes of the general public. A vio- story in his biography ; I at least canlent journalistic prejudice arose against not bear to linger over these tortures. its followers. Even Dobell's third book, He had to fight for mere breath, and he 'England in Time of War,' though full had little strength left him to reach out of fine lyrics, entirely failed to reinstate hands for the laurel. How meekly he the writer in public opinion. He was bore his martyrdom I have already said. classed, though in a new sense, among When I met him, in 1860, he had the the " illustriously obscure," and he re- look of one who might not live long, a mained in that category until the day he beautiful far-off suffering look, wonderdied.
fully reproduced in the exquisite picture Perhaps the pleasantest of all his days by his younger brother, an engraving of were those days in Edinburgh, when, in which faces the title-page of his biograconjunction with Smith, he wrote a series phy. Many years later, not long indeed of fine sonnets on the war, which won before his death, he sent me a photothe warm approval of good judges, like graph with the inscription "Convalescens Mr. Tennyson. There was something convalescenti,” but all photographs realmost rapturous in Smith's opening produce the man but poorly, compared sonnet to Mrs. Dobell
with the picture of which I have spoken.
a very fatal
Even then, in the joyfulness of his eager some dark limbo of poetic failures, the heart, he thought himself “convales- public is already aware of him as one of cent," and was looking forward to busy the strong men of his generation, strong, years of life. It was not to be. No too, in the sublimest sense of goodness, sooner was his gentle frame reviving from courage, and all the old-fashioned Chrisone luckless accident, than Fate was tian virtues. He would have been recready with another. "The pity of it, ognised, perhaps, sooner later, the pity of it !” It is impossible to though I have my doubts ; but that he think of his sufferings without wondering has been recognised so soon is due to at the firmness of his faith.
such love and duty as are the crown and When Death came at last, after years glory of a good man's life. The public of nameless torture, only a few cold par- gratitude is due to those who have vinagraphs in the journals told that a poet dicated him, and made impossible all had died. The neglect, which had hung mistakes as to the strength of his genius like a shadow over his poor ruined life, and the beauty of his character. His brooded like a shadow on his grave. music was not for this generation, his But fortunately for his fame, he left rela- dream was not of this earth, his final contives behind him who were determined secration was not to be given here below. to set him right, once and for ever, with posterity. To such reverent care and
* Vex not his ghost : O let him pass! he
hates him much industry we owe the two volumes of
That would upon the rack of this rough world collected verse, the exquisite volume of
Stretch him out longer." prose memoranda, and lastly, the beautiful Life and Letters. Thus, although But henceforth his immortality is secure. only a short period has elapsed since He sits by Shelley's side, in the loneliest Dobell's death, though it seems only and least accessible heaven of Mystic yesterday that the poet lay forgotten in Song.
ON CHINESE FANS.
BY HERBERT A. GILES.
In China, just as the dragon is the summer equipment. The term 'fan’ is symbol of power and the national em- expressed in the Chinese language by a blem of the Chinese people, so is the fan single and unchangeable character, which the characteristic accompaniment to the in Mandarin is pronounced shan, the a everyday life of the ordinary Chinaman. having almost exactly the value of the a It is, therefore, possible that a few re- in 'can't.' This character is a commarks from a purely Chinese standpoint pound of two others, namely hu (or hoo), may not be wholly out of place. For a door,' and yü, 'feathers. These are even in these days of advanced globe- written in the modern style, said to be trotting it is not every man's luck to get a gradual modification from the ancient either to Corinth or to Peking; and the hieroglyphs, under which form this same topic is one, moreover, to which the hu is believed actually to stand for the writer has personally devoted some at- picture of one leaf of a door, and yü * tention. In his new Dictionary of the for that of the feathers or wings of a English Language, Dr. Latham has ven- bird. From the conjunction of these tured to define a fan as an instrument two hieroglyphs we obtain, not a third used by ladies to move the air and cool hieroglyph-for no one pretends that themselves ;' a definition which is any form of shan, ancient or modern, clearly bounded by the four walls of a in any way resembles a fan-but an ideEuropean ball-room. All over theographic combination, analysis of which Asiatic continent fans are as much in guides by association to the sense. use among men as among women ; and Feathers beneath a door, door standing in China, to which the following paper will be confined, a fan of some sort or * Here used as a contraction of a more comother is part and parcel of every man's plex character.
by synecdoche for a house : that which, (A.D. 405),* of a strange enactment made of feathers, is used within doors : against the use of silk in the manufacscilicet, a fan.
ture of these articles. It was apparently Another, and, in the written language, a mere sumptuary law, having for its obequally common term for a fan, is sha ject the protection of silk, the material (or shah),* compounded of the same which, according to a very ancient belief word yü, feathers,' placed above the still prevalent in China, can alone give character-also an ideograph-which warmth to the aged. In one of his disstands for a female companion ;' in sertations on political economy Mencius other words, a woman fanning her lord, observed :t At fifty, without silk no such indeed being one of the daily duties warmth ; at seventy, without meat no of the denizens of a Chinese harem, satiety.' The sage had been advocating With regard to the constant use of the a more extensive cultivation of the mul. word 'feathers' in these combinations, berry tree, with a view to provide an it would appear from Chinese authorities adequate source of food for the silkthat wings of birds and leaves of trees worm; and in the present instance it is dispute, if not divide, the honor of most probable that the imperial edict having furnished the first fans to man- was directed against the indiscriminate kind. But Chinese authorities are emi- waste of silk for purposes of mere luxnently unreliable on most points, and ury; but like all similar enactments, the invention of the fan has been vari- this one fell speedily into desuetude. ously attributed to different heroes of Almost every large city in China, and antiquity according to the fancy of each certainly every important division of the particular writer. For instance, the Empire, has its own characteristic fan ; Yu-hsuo, or Child's Guide to Knowl- or else there is something peculiar in the edge, tells us that to the Emperor Hsien make, color, or ornamentation of the Yüan, who came to the throne B.C. 2697, common 'folding' fan as seen in that we are indebted for this boon to suffer- particular district, by which it may
be ing humanity; while the Kuang shih-lei- distinguished from its ubiquitous confu, a well-known cyclopædia of antithe- gener. For the folding fan, as the ses, defers the invention to the reign of Chinese call it, is the fan par excellence ; Wu-wang, the first ruler of the Chow and all that ingenuity of design has hithdynasty, or more than a thousand years erto accomplished has not succeeded in later. Other authorities declare for the displacing this convenient form from Emperor Shun, B.C. 2255, with whose the affections of the people at large.. honored name tradition has lovingly The large palm-leaf, with its stronglycoupled more than one similar achieve- bound edges and natural handle, large ment designed to promote the welfare quantities of which are exported annuand happiness of his children. Of the ally from Canton and elsewhere, may history of fans in China, and their grad- possibly be the cheapest and most ual development from the primitive breeze-compelling of all kinds ; but it is bird's wing or unelaborated leaf, there not very portable, and cannot readily be is positively nothing to record, unless stowed away about the person, or stored perhaps it be the publication by the Em- so as to last into a second summer. It peror Ngan Ti, of the Chin dynasty finds favor in the eyes of tea-shop and
public eating-house keepers, and is al* With regard to the two words sha and shan, ways to be seen in the guest chambers, it is stated in the Fang-yen, by Yang Hsiung, whether of guilds, monasteries, or private that the former is employed to the east, the establishments. The folding fan, on latter to the west, of the Shan-hai-Kuan, or point at which the Great Wall of China abuts
the other hand, occupies but little
space ; upon the sea coast, dividing Manchuria from and when not in use may be stuck in the the eighteen provinces.
It should also be mentioned that there is an- * Here again authorities are at variance. other character, similarly read sha, but differ- Hsieh Ling-Yün credits this enactment to the ently written, which likewise means a fan. Emperor Hsido Wu, of the same dynasty, who The two are given in dictionaries as separate reigned from 373 to 397 A.D. The date given words, but it is not improbable that they were in the text is taken from the Kuang-shih-lei-fu. originally the same.
| Book vii.
high boot of the full-dressed Chinese not uncommon. The Hangchow fan gentleman, or at the back of the neck in has a great many bones. It is a very the loose collarless jacket, which, with strongly made article ; and though only the addition of a curt caleçon, constitutes of paper, prepared in some way with oil, the entire toilette of a Chinese coolie. may remain plunged in water (it is said) Besides, the folding fan opens into a tol- for twenty-four hours without injury. erably smooth surface, fairly well adapt- But this fan finds no favor with those ed for the painter's art ; and even the who can afford to pick and choose, and dirtiest specimen of Chinese vagabond- for a rather singular reason. Just as age loves to rest his eye upon some gaily with the Chinese white is the emblem of painted flower or a spray or two of the death and mourning, so black is regardmuch-prized bamboo. Consequently, ed as typical of moral impurity, and the folding fan obtains all over the black things are consequently avoided eighteen provinces of China Proper, and on the strength of the proverb, ' Proxbeyond, far away across the Great Wall, imity to vermilion makes a man red ; to over the steppes of Mongolia and the ink, black.' Now the Hangchow fan is, mountains of Tibet. Of the more elab- with the exception of a sprinkling of orate kinds, produced at Canton for ex- gold or silver on the face, as black as port to Europe, with their exquisitely it well could be ; and it is therefore at carved or perforated ivory handles, &c., a discount even among those by whom it will suffice to say that such are quite the most trifling form of economy canunknown even in the highest and wealth- not be satisfactorily ignored.* Chair iest circles of Chinese society, the folding coolies, everywhere a degraded class, fan being rarely the vehicle of extrava- invest their money in these fans without gant expenditure in this respect. It hesitation, doubtless feeling themselves may be made, indeed, either of paper or beyond the reach of such influences as of silk; for handle, ivory or sandal these. Old men, too, may use black wood may be used ; but even then the fans without scruple. Their age is held general get-up is as a rule plain, while to have placed them on a vantage ground for the common folding fan of the Em- in this as in all other respects ; for, as pire, bamboo is the material most ex- Confucius observed, “That which is tensively employed, being at once the really white may be in the darkest dye cheapest and most durable of all woods. without being made black,'t and a man Pendents of amber, jade, ivory, cornel- who has led for years a spotless life is ian, and other substances, are also unlikely to be influenced for the bad by affected by the more refined, and a fan mere contact with a fan. Black fans, case beautifully embroidered in some with black lacquer handles, are made in quaint pattern, accompanied perhaps Canton for sale to the outer barbarian, by some appropriate classical allusion, the hated foreigner, whose moral obis a very ordinary birthday present from liquity is regarded by the masses of a sister to a brother or from a wife to China as more prononcé than that of the her husband. The number of 'bones lowest of their low. or ribs to a folding fan is a matter which Besides the large non-folding feather is by no means left to chance. Sixteen, fan, generally looked upon in Europe as including the two outer pieces, may be a hand screen for the fire, some beautiquoted as the standard ; but fans made ful specimens of the folding fan are also in certain localities have more, as many to be seen in feathers, which show, on as thirty-two, and sometimes even thirty- being opened, beautifully painted bousix. The reason why the number six- quets of flowers, butterflies, birds, &c., teen is preferred is that such a fan opens &c. Kingfishers' feathers and beetles' into a convenient number of spaces to wings are also largely employed in the receive the poetical inscription which manufacture of fans and screens, and custom has almost, but not altogether, tied down to a given number of lines. * So punctilious indeed is a respectable Irregular inscriptions are, however,
Chinaman in the case of mourning, that he will even abstain from chewing betel-nut, be.
cause it would make his lips red, and red is * This again is a translation of the Chinese emblematical of joy.
+ See the Lun-yü, bk. xvii., ch. 7.
tortoise-shell and jade are occasionally rious as what is commonly termed the used in elaborating the handles of the 'broken fan,' which at first sight would more expensive kinds. White silk, appear to be a simple folding fan, and stretched tightly over both sides of a on being opened from left to right as narrow frame, round, octagonal, sexag- usual discloses nothing to distinguish it onal, or polygonal, as the case may be, from the most ordinary kind. Opened, forms what is considered in the higher however, the reverse way, from right to circles of Chinese society the ne plus left, the whole fan seems to have fallen ultra of elegance and refinement ; espe- to pieces, each bone, with the part atcially so when some charming study in tached to it, being separated from all flower or landscape painting on the ob- the others, as if the connecting strings verse is accompanied by a sparkling were broken. This arrangement is of stanza on the reverse, signed by the course simple enough, but at first sight writer and addressed to the friend for the effect, as a trick, 'is remarkably whose delectation it is intended. This good.
good. From the broken it is an easy is a very favorite present among the transition to the secret or double-entendre Chinese ; and as poets and painters are fan, which opened one way shows a but a small minority in China, as else- flower or similarly harmless design ; the where, it follows that any man who is other, some ribald sketch which with us sufficiently an artist to supply either the would entail severe penalties on maker, verses or the design need never starve publisher, and all concerned.
It is only for want of occupation. One of the fair, however, to the administration of highest officials and most renowned China to state that, theoretically speakcalligraphists in the Chinese Empire at ing, the same penalties would be incurthe present moment, when formerly a red, though practically they are seldom struggling student at Foochow, eked if ever enforced. In the Peking form of out a scanty livelihood by writing in- this fan there are always two such picscriptions for fans in all kinds of styles, tures to each. These are not seen when ancient and modern, at about one shil- the fan is opened out, and it will only ling and eightpence per fan. Outside
open one way ; but are disclosed by his door was a notice calling the atten- turning back the two end ribs or ' bones.' tion of the public to the above fact, and A far more creditable and more useful the fancy name he gave to his studio compagnon de voyage is the map fan, which was · Laugh, but Buy.'
gives the plan of some such great city as That kind known as the ‘Swatow'fan Peking or Canton, with the names of the is for a non-folding fan perhaps the most streets and public buildings marked in serviceable of all, as for lightness and characters of medium legibility. Somedurability combined it is certainly with- times whole districts are included on the out a rival.
It is formed from a piece surface of a fan ; and as the distances of bamboo, about 1} foot in length and from place to place are given with conhalf an inch in diameter, split two-thirds siderable accuracy, travellers not unof the way down into a number of slips, usually invest the small sums required each very thin and apparently fragile, for the purchase of these topographical while really possessed of its full share guides. So, too, any great national of the strength and flexibility of the event may be circulated over the Empire parent stem. These slips are spread by means of fans, precisely as penny out in the same plane, with their tips books of the Lord Mayor's Show are slightly bent over, somewhat like a mus- still sold in Fleet Street on every Novemtard spoon; and then strong paper is ber 9. The Tientsin Massacre, for inpasted over the whole as far down as stance, brought forth a hideous specithe splits extend, the remaining unsplit men, with horrid details of the hacking half serving as handle. This fan is to pieces of Roman Catholic priests and said to be actually made near Amoy, sisters, the burning of the cathedral and probably near Chang-chow, and to be of the French consulate, the murder of sent to Swatow only to be painted ; but the French Consul and his chancelier. to foreigners resident in China it is uni- The sale of these fans was almost imversally known as the ‘Swatow' fan.
Swatow' fan. mediately prohibited by the Chinese Of all fancy fans there is none so cu- authorities, and they are now very rare.