Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

me,

ness. And then my glance rested on the looked up and I saw the battle was won. small slender figure dressed in black, with “I will do it, but you will come with brown curls pushed off from her brow, and me,” she said. the wistful glistening eyes fixed on me. I So we went together to the little shop, knew what I had to say to her ; but would and once more Francesca entered it and she have strength to bear it! There was asked the workman where his master was. no help for it-I must try. I took her The man pointed to the inner room, but hand, and bent down to kiss her. Then muttered something about his being out I said, “ Francesca, will you do anything, of temper. I knocked, and hearing an anything in the world to set right the inarticulate exclamation of some sort, enwrong you have done?”

tered, Francesca following close behind Anything, Signora. I would give all The scene which met my eyes made the little money I bave. I would take any me rejoice that we had come at once. trouble. But what can I do?"

Carlo was standing by the table, his hand I said, “ It is not a question of money clenched, his features distorted with rage ; or trouble. Can you go to Carlo and con while Giovanna knelt crouching on the fess that you have forged the letters ?" ground a little way off, as if he had hurled

She started back. That, Signora ! her there in an access of fury. On the oh no, not that. Think how he would table the two letters were lying open. On hate me, despise me ; and he would not seeing me, Carlo made an effort to combelieve me either. Giovanna will have pose himself, and began, “ The Signora ;" confessed ; it will be too late.”

but as his eyes fell on Francesca, he sprang “It may not be,” I answered ; “ Gio- forward and cried, “Why have you vanna is sure to deny it. She may even come? is it to triumph over me with your suggest that the letters are forged.” She cursed letters ? Would to God you had sat in silent despair for a few seconds. left me in my ignorance, or that I had “Signora, anything else !--that I cannot never set eyes on you and your husband ! do.'

Curse you ! keep away from me, or I “But it is the only thing that will be shall do you a mischief." of any good," I urged. “Father Giro Francesca shrank back in terror, and I lamo would say so, I know, if you could said, “ Francesca wishes to tell you somesee him. Think-you are wrecking two thing, to confess something." lives.”

" What can she tell me that I want to And what will become of me, Sig- hear? She will only bring more of her nora ? Do you think that Carlo will not proofs. She is hardly likely to tell me be revenged? He wiil tell the story, he that the letters are forgeries, as that will bring shame on me. No, I cannot do wretched woman there says they are. it-I cannot."

Lies, more lies ! By the saints, I have It was terrible, and yet I felt quite had enough! God! I would have sworn clear that only by confession could she by her truth and by Andrea's." regain peace.

But the struggle was long There was a pause ; Carlo had sunk -she could not face the certain shame, down on a chair, his head on his arms. I the anger of Carlo, the contempt of her looked at Francesca. She came swiftly friends.

forward and took up the letters. Then in " It seems as if all the punishment will a low hesitating voice, as if she were sayfall on me, and yet I have not sinned as ing a haif-learned lesson, she began : much as the others," she said. And then “Carlo, Giovanna is right. These letters she went on, “ Is it not right that the -I-forged them.” truth should be known ? After all, it is Carlo sprang to his feet.

" You forged the truth."

them !" “ Not if it will only do harm," I an “Yes." swered ; " and what good can it do? Oh, And why?" it is hard for you, I know, but there is no “I was angry and jealous. I don't other way ; it is right that you should con- know,-oh, there was no reason. I imifess, Francesca. Do you not know it ? tated Giovanna's hand ; I had a lettercan you not bear the suffering ?”

here it is." And she threw it down on There was a moment's silence, then she the table.

** Can

Ah! you

Carlo seized it, glanced down the pages, you stay here I think I shall kill you. and compared it with the other letters. Go !" With a sneer he said : “I compliment Giovanna had fallen back, her hands you ; it is very clever.” He turned to pressed to her face, shrinking from his Giovanna, who had risen and was standing passion. There was no more to say, no with her

eyes
fixed on Frarcesca.

more to hear.

So we went, Francesca you forgive me ?” he said softly. “How and I, out of the room and the little shop. could I have suspected you ?” She caine It was all at an end-her self-sacrifice was forward and put her hand in his, but said accomplished. no word. He turned on Francesca : “So And here my story ends, or rather, as you were jealous, were you? You had in reality is often the case, it has no end, lost your own husband, and our happiness but simpy disappears into the sands of made you angry. It was lucky Andrea every-day life. For of the history of these died before he found you out.

three people very little remains to be told. tried to poison my life,” he went on, with Carlo fulfilled his threat, and spread the rising passion; very well, I will poison story of Francesca's wrong-doing as wideyours ; I teil you I will make your life a ly as he could. It was taken up and exagmisery to you. I will make you repent gerated with every kind of insinuation, till this-I will have my revenge.

she was avoided and scorned by many of She hesitated a second. I stood there, her former friends. The one consolation my resolution almost failing me. I almost she had was that her sacrifice had not hoped that Giovanna might, in an impulse been in vain ; for Giovanna atoned as far of repentance and generosity, confess all. as was possible for her sin, and nothing She stood by the table silent, her eyes ever again marred her husband's happicast down, but with her hands nervously ness. Sometimes, in after years, when I pressed together, her teeth tightly set. have thought of Francesca's gray melan

Francesca made one effort ; she drew a choly life, I have been tempted to regret little nearer to her and said, “Giovanna, the counsel I gave her- to wonder whether, you will remember what you said to me after all, it was necessary for her to take yesterday.”

on herself all the punishment. But such Giovanna looked up ; for a moment the thoughts have been very fleeting ; for my eyes of the two women met. Then Gio knowledge of her character as it was bevanna made a slight movement forward ; fore and after her fault has convinced me but if she would have spoken, it was that I was right, and has shown me the stopped by Carlo. He turned in a fury, purifying and ennobling power wbich lies and sweeping Francesca back with his in an act of courageous repentance. arm, he shouted : “Go! you are not fit Blackwood's Magazine. to speak to my wife ; leave the house. If

[blocks in formation]

DIFFERENT peoples require to be judged We need to widen, in her case, the basis by different standards, just as certain heav. of observation. Instead of judging by enly bodies require special methods of ob- years we must judge by periods, and from servation. The movement of a planet can various standpoints. And it has been be discerned easily enough, but it is only by suggested that, examined in this way, the means of fine threads drawn across the ob- audience lately accorded by the Emperor ject-glass that it is possible to detect that Kwangsu to the foreign representatives at the so-called fixed stars move at all. Ja- Peking presents some features of general pan goes ahead at a hand-galop ; her prog- as well as political interest. ress is visible to the unassisted European But we must indulge in a retrospect if ere ; whereas China moves so slowly that we would judge of the significance of that it is only by using a sort of political paral- ceremony. To note, merely, that certain lax that we can be sure she does progress. conditions were observed would be simply

to emphasize the fact that the Empire is dle of the present century China had, instill exceedingly pretentious ; whereas a deed, no foreign relations in our own accomparison with the traditional ceremonies ceptation of the term. Envoys from Conenforced at the Chinese Court before its stantinople, or at any rate from Antioch, vanity had been sbaken or its attitude of had visited her in the days of the Byzanpolitical superiority assailed, may enable tine Empire ; Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese us to appreciate the significance of the and English had traded on her coasts, and change. The experiences of Lord Macart- emissaries from some of these nations bad ney and Lord Amherst, at the close of the appeared at Peking. Mention is made in last and the beginning of the present cen- the Court records of “tribute-bearing” tury, may explain why men familiar with missions from the Dutch as early as 1664 ; the Far East discover so much interest in a King of the West named A-feng-su the interview just granted to Sir John (presumably Alfonso of Portugal) sent Walsham and his colleagues.

envoys in 1669 ; another “ King of the All Asiatic sovereigns are pretentious. West” sent an envoy (perhaps Cardinal It is not long since British envoys were Mezzaburba, who presented a letter from required to take off their boots in the the Pope in reference to the disputes bepresence of the King of Burmah, as tween Jesuit and Dominican missionaries) Moses was desired to put his shoes from in 1720.* But all these seem to have off his feet on holy ground, and as an complied with the Chinese ceremonial. Indian servant still leaves his slippers on A Russian envoy, wbo visited Peking durthe threshold when approaching his mas- ing the reign of Kanghi, is said, indeed, to ter. Until quite recently the Mikado have refused the kotowt unless a pact were could only be approached in an attitude made for its return, upon occasion, to his of humility as abject as that required at own sovereign. But there had been no the Court of Peking. But there was, deliberate and sustained attempt to assert perhaps, more justification for the assump- equality or to keep up diplomatic intertion of the Hwangte. The superiority of course on that footing. It is, indeed, no China over the nations with whom she exaggeration to affirm that, until within was acquainted was so manifest that it the last quarter century, or even less, the was not unnatural she should conceive her- very idea of a foreign ruler approaching self equally superior to the rest of the the Emperor otherwise than as an inferior world, and her ruler consequently supe- would bave seemed ridiculous. Nothing, rior to all other princes. All who sent however, can explain so well as the tradimissions accordingly were tributaries; the tional “Regulations for the reception of presents they brought were tribute ; and tributary envoys,” the full extent of the the Emperor replied by issuing patents of arrogance they imply; and the very investiture to their kings. The rest of quaintness of the picture may, perhaps, the world was, indeed, in the opinion of excuse its reproduction from the pages of the vast majority of Chinamen, of little the China Review, to which it was consignificance. At any rate they considered tributed some years ago by Mr. Jamieson, their Emperor's dominion as virtually ex H. M. present Consul at Shanghai. tending over the whole, and so scarcely distinguished the relations or duties of the days when the Emperor holds Court, as

"If there should happen to occur one of other nations toward him from their own.

birthday, New Year's Day, or one of the festiThese ideas existed in full force at the vals, the envoys will have audience along with time of Lord Macartney's mission to the officers of the Court, as follows - The Kienlung. He travelled, it is well known, Guest Master and the director in charge of the across China with the words “Envoy the palace, where they will wait outside in

envoys will conduct them to the south gate of bearing tribute from the country of Eng- one of the waiting-rooms. They enter by the land" inscribed on the flags floating above his boat ; and his embassy is claimed as conferred, if not of honorific investiture. “ tributary'' in the Chinese records, which Vide " China and her Tributaries." China give a list of the "tribute" he presented, Review, September, 1883. and expressly state that the Emperor gave

* lbid. letters and gifts in return.* Till the mid

+ It is scarcely necessary to explain that the kotow consists in going down on the hands

and knees and knocking the forehead on the * The idea conveyed being at least of honor floor.

66

Chentu Gate of the Taibo Pavilion, where the President of the Board will conduct the enEmperor gives audience. After the officers in voys back to one of the waiting-rooms, where attendance at the Court have finished their refreshments will be graciously provided by ceremonial, the envoys will be conducted to order of the Emperor. That being ended, the the open courtyard below the steps of the director in charge of the envoys will conduct pavilion, where ibey will be placed at the foot them back to their residence," of the file of officials on the west side. At the word of command they will kneel and kotow

It is a tribute to Lord Macartney's bearnine times,

ing and diplomacy that he succeeded in If no Court is being held at the time, the getting a satisfactory audience in spite of Board will memorialize and take his Majesty's these provisions. And few more interestbe granted, one of the presidents of the Board ing chapters have been written, in the his. of Ceremonies will, at the appointed time, tory of our intercourse, than those in conduct the envoys, who must be in the court which Sir George Staunton* describes that dress of their country, to the palace, where first interview of a British envoy with the they will wait outside. His Majesty, in or. dinary costume, will enter one or other of the sovereign whom the Jesuit missionaries audience balls, as may be convenient, attend. called the greatest monarch in the world, ed by the Ministers of the Presence, the Min. and the best literate in his Empire. The isters of the Body Guard, and the Ministers question of the kotow came, of course, of the Household, arranged as in ordinary

very early to the fore. The Emperor was ceremonial. The President of the Board of

at Žehol; but the Mandarins began speakCeremonies will then conduct the envoys, attended by their interpreters, as far as the

ing of it at Yuen-min-yuen, trying, alcourt-yard, on the west side of which they will ready, to induce Lord Macartney to prackneel and kotow nine times. This being tise'' it before “ the screen''.

-a function ended they will be conducted up the west

which has, in Chinese eyes, the signifisteps, attended by one interpreter, to the door

cance of personal homage. . llaving, kneel. His Majesty will ask in a soothing howerer, no intention of performing the manner after their welfare. The President of

ceremony, he naturally declined the rethe Board will communicate the question to hearsal, urging that the ceremonies practhe interpreter, who will pass it on to the chief envoy. The envoy will reply, the inter

tised by subjects were not to be expected preter will translate the reply to the president, from the representatives of Foreign Powand the president will report it to his Majesty. ers, and that he would incur serious re. The ceremony being ended, they will retire. ** If it is desired to treat the envogs in a sponsibility if he did, in his representative

character, anything that could be conmore favored manner, the Manchu and Chi. nese officials who are on the roll of attendance strued as an act of homage. He seems to for the day will assemble, wearing their em have taken a leaf, however, out of the broidered robes, and take their positions on Russian book. The difficulty might, he the right and left. The President of the Board of Ceremonies will conduct the envoys order an officer of the Court equal to him

said, be obviated if the Emperor would as far as the farther part of the court-yard of the pavilion, where they will perform self in rank to perform before the picture the obeisance as above. That being ended, of his Britannic Majesty, dressed in robes he will conduct them up the west steps to of State, the same ceremony that he was the pavilion, which they will enter by the asked to perform before the Chinese right door, attended by their interpreters, They will take np a position at the rear

throne ; otherwise he must be guided by of the officials, forming on the right. Af English custom. A people keenly alive ter standing for a short space his Majesty to humor must have been tickled by the will graciously direct that all be seated. The suggestion, how extravagant soever it may Ministers of the Imperial Guard, the Minis- have seemed. Lord Macartney was asked ters of the Household, and all the officials on duty will kotow once and take their seats

wbat form of respect, then, he could conin order

, after which the envoys will kneel sistently adopt ; and answered that on apand kotow once, and take their seats. His proaching his own sovereign he bent on Majesty will then graciously order tea to

one knee, and he was willing to demonbe served. Text will first be handed to his Majesty, apon which all will kneel and kotow.

strate in the same manner bis respectful Tea will then be served to the Ministers and sentiments toward the Chinese Emperor. the envoys in order ; all will kneel to receive it, and kotow once. The drinking being fin. * An Authentic Account of an Embassy from ished, all kneel as before. His Majesty will the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of then soothingly ask a question, which will be China. By Sir George Staunton, Bart. Lon. passed on by the President of the Board, and don. 1797. answered in the form and manner already + The King of Korea, for instance, kotows stated. The ceremonies being ended, the on receipt of an Imperial letter,

New SFRIES.–VOL, LIV., No 4. 31

It is to the credit of Kienlung's good sense And here I venture again to draw on Mr. that the compromise was accepted ; but Jamieson, for the Chinese version of the an agreement was not improbably facili- transaction : tated by the fact that the advent of the

“In the 58th year of Kienlung (A.D. 1793) mission chanced to coincide with the Em

the English nation sent the envoy Ma-ko.erni peror's birthday, so that any concession in and others to present tribute. His Majesty point of ceremonial might be obscured in held court in a grand pavilion. The Ministhe eyes of the people by the evidence of ters of the Grand Council and the Presidents

of the Board of Ceremonies introduced the his arrival“ from afar,'' on a visit of re

envoy, who respectfully presented the King's spect and congratulation. However that letter on his knees. The Emperor ordered may be, the interview was held-in a one of the Ministers of the Presence to receive great tent erected for the purpose in a it, which was done, and the document was garden of the palace ; and we may quote handed up for the inspection of his Majesty.” Sir George Staunton's account of the cere Englishmen will not be disposed to mony. It is interesting to compare it credit the Chinese record in preference to with the regulations that have been quoted, Sir George Staunton's ; though it must be and with the experience of later envoys. noted, in confirmation of its general ac.

“ The Emperor, on his entrance into curacy, that no allegation is made of Lord the tent, mounted the throne by the front Macartney's kotowing, and that mention steps consecrated to his use alone. The is even made of the well-known incident Chief Minister and two of the principal of the Emperor's gift of a purse to his persons of the household were close to page! After the ceremony came a banhim, and always spoke to him upon their quet, not of the mere perfunctory kind knees. The princes of his family, the prescribed in the Regulations, but in the tributaries and great officers of State being very society of the Emperor. Certain already arranged in their respective places Burmese and Turkoman envoys having in the tent, the President of the Board of been introduced, repeated nine times Rites conducted Lord Macartney, who was the most devout prostrations, and been attended by his page and Chinese inter- quickly dismissed,” Lord Macartney and preter, near to the foot of the throne. his companions were conducted to cushThe other gentlemen of the embassy, to- ions on the left* of the Emperor, about gether with a great number of Mandarins mid-way down the tent, while the princes, and officers of inferior dignity, stood in tributaries, and dignitaries of the Court the great opening of the tent, from whence were seated, according to their rank, most of the ceremonies could be observed. nearer to or farther from the throne. "A “The Ambassador, instructed by the table was laid for every two guests ; as President, held the box of gold adorned soon as all were seated these were uncovwith jewels, in which was enclosed the ered and exhibited a sumptuous banquet. King's letter between both hands lifted On each was a pyramid of dishes or bowls above his head, and in that manner, as- containing viands and fruits in vast variety. cending the few steps that led to the A table was placed likewise before the throne and bending on one knee, presented Emperor, who seemed to partake heartily the box with a short address to his Impe- of the fare set before him. . . . The rial Majesty, who, graciously receiving the dishes and cups were carried to him with same with his own hands, placed it by his hands uplifted over the head in the same side and expressed in a few courteous manner as the gold box had been borne words pleasure at the reception of the em- by the Embassador.” The Emperor sent bassy and the presents.”

dishes from his own table during the reIt is scarcely surprising, after what we past, and his attentions culminated, at the have seen of Chinese pretension, to learn close, in calling his guests to the throne that “ the Chinese considered this recep- and presenting with his own hands a gobtion exceptionally honorable and distin- let of Chinese wine. guished ;' the privilege of delivering cre The Embassy arrived, as we have seen, dentials into the Emperor's own hands on the occasion of Kienlung's eighty-third being especially remarked. The conde- birthday ; and Sir George's description of scension seen:s indeed to have been too a“ prostration before the screen':

the much for the Court historiographer, who alleges the intervention of a Minister. * In China the left is the

place of honor.

on

« VorigeDoorgaan »