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into her garden, and her mother-in-law stole and killed them for eating. When she sat down to table and saw the fowls, she would not dine, but burst into tears, at which the eld lady was much surprised, and asked the reason. “I am much distressed that I am so poor and cannot afford to supply you with all I wish I could, and that I should have caused you to eat flesh belonging to another.” Her parent was affected by this, and threw away the dish.” The evils attending early betrothment induce many parents to defer engaging their daughters until they are grown, and a husband of similar tastes can be found ; for even if the condition of the families in the interval of betrothment and marriage unsuitably change, or the lad grows up to be a dissipated, worthless, or cruel man, totally unworthy of the girl; still the contract must be fulfilled, and the worse party generally is most anxious for it. The unhappy bride in such cases often escapes from her present sufferings and dismal prospects by suicide. A case occurred in Canton in 1833, where a young wife visiting her parents shortly after marriage, so feelingly described her sufferings at the hands of a cruel husband to her sisters and friends, that she and three of her auditors joined their hands together and drowned themselves in a pond, she to escape present misery, and they to avoid its future possibility. Another young lady, having heard of the worthless character of her intended, carried a bag of money with her in the sedan, and when they retired after the ceremonies were over, thus addressed him : “Touch me not; I am resolved to abandon the world, and become a nun. I shall this night cut off my hair. I have saved $200, which I give you; with the half you can purchase a concubine, and with the rest enter on some trade. Be not lazy and thriftless. Hereafter, remember me.” Saying this, she cut off her hair, and her husband and his kindred fearing suicide if they opposed her, acquiesced, and she returned to her father's house.” Such cases are not uncommon, and young ladies implore their parents to rescue them in this or some other way from the sad fate which awaits them. Sometimes girls become skilled in female accomplishments to recommend themselves to their husbands, and their disappointment is the greater
* Chinese Repository, Vol. I., p. 293.
EVILS OF EARLY BETROTHMENT. 65
when they find him to be a brutal, depraved tyrant. A melancholy instance of this occurred in Canton in 1840, which ended in the wife committing suicide. Her brother had been a scholar of one of the American missionaries, and took a commendable pride in showing specimens of his sister's exquisite embroidery, and not a few of her attainments in writing, which indicated their reciprocal attachment. The contrary happens too, sometimes, where the husband finds himself compelled to wed a woman totally unable to appreciate or share his pursuits, but he has means of alleviating or avoiding such misalliances which the weaker vessel has not. Pursuing this brief account of the social life of the Chinese, the right of parents in managing their children comes into notice. It is great though not unlimited, and in allowing them very extensive power, legislators have supposed that the natural af. fection of the parents, a desire to see their children come to honor, and continue the succession of the family, and the influence of proper education, were as good securities against paternal cruelty and neglect as any laws which could be made. Fathers give their sons the ju ming, or “milk name,” about a month after birth. The mother, on the day appointed for this ceremony, worships and thanks the goddess of Mercy, and the boy, dressed and having his head shaved, is brought into the circle of assembled friends, where the father confers the name, and celebrates the occasion by a feast. The milk name is kept until the lad enters school, at which time the shu ming, or school name, is conferred upon him, as already mentioned. The shu ming generally consists of two characters, selected with reference to the boy's condition, prospects, studies, or some other event connected with him ; sometimes the milk name is continued, as the family have become accustomed to it. Such names as Ink-grinder, Promising-study, Opening-olive, Entering-virtue, Rising:advancement, &c., are given to young students; while children are called by the names of flowers, virtues, or some endearing or fanciful epithet, and sometimes by their number, as Wei Ayih, Wei Asan, i.e. No. 1 Wei, No. 3 Wei, &c. The personal names of the Chinese are written contrariwise to our own, the sing or surname coming first, then the ming or given name, and then the complimentary title; as Liang Wāntaisiensäng, where Liang or Millet is the family name, Wänlai or Terrace of Letters, the given name, and siensäng, Mr. (i. e. Master), or Teach. er. A few of the surnames are double, as Sz'ma Tsien, where Sz’ma is the family name, and Tsien the official title. A curious idea prevails among the people of Canton, that foreigners have no surname, which, as Pliny thought of the inhabitants of Mt. Atlas, they regard as one of the proofs of their barbarism; perhaps this notion came by inference from the fact that the Manchus have only one name, as Kishen, Kiying, slipu, &c. When writing Chinese names in translations and elsewhere, some attention should be paid to these particulars, but the names of Chinese persons and places are constantly written so as to appear as singular as Williamhenryharrison, Rich-Ard-Or-Ford, or Phila Delphia-city, do in English. The name being in a different language, and its true nature unknown to most of those who write it, accounts for the misarrangement. In Canton and its vicinity, the names of people are abbreviated in conversation to one character, and an A prefixed to it; as Tsinteh is called Ateh. In Amoy, the A is placed after, as Chin-a , and in other parts not employed at all. Some families, perhaps in imitation of the imperial usage, distinguish their members from others in the clan by adopting a constant character for the first one in the ming or given name; thus, a family of brothers will be named Lin Tungpei, Lin Tungfung, Lin Tungpeh, where the word Tung distinguishes this branch of the clan Lin from all others. There are no characters exclusively appropriated to proper names or different sexes, as George, Julia, &c., all being chosen out of the language with reference to their meanings. Consequently, a name is sometimes felt to be incongruous, as Naomi, when saluted on her return to Bethlehem, felt its inappropriateness to her altered condition, and suggested a change to Mara. Puns on names and sobriquets are common, from the constant contrast of the sounds of the characters with circumstances suggesting a comparison or a play upon their meanings; sly jokes are also played upon foreigners, when writing their names, by choosing such characters as have a ridiculous meaning. When a man marries, he adopts a third name called tsz’ or style, by which he is usually known through life; this is either entirely new, or combined from previous names. When a girl is married, her family name becomes her given name, and the
NUMBER AND CHANGES OF PERSONAL NAMEs. 67
given name is disused, her husband's name becoming her family name. Thus Wa Salah married to Wei Sanwei drops the Salah, and is called Wei Washi, i. e. Mrs. Wei [of the clan] Wa, though her husband or near relatives sometimes retain it as a trivial address. Among friends and relatives, a man is frequently known by another compellation, called pieh tsz’, or “second style,” which the public do not presume to employ. When a young man is successful in attaining a degree, or enters on office, he takes a title called kwan ming, or “official name,” by which he is known to government. The members or heads of licensed mercantile companies each have an official name, which is entered in their permit, from whence it is called among foreigners, their chop name. Each of the heads of the co-hong or companies, formerly licensed to trade with foreigners at Canton, had such an official name. Besides these various names, old men of fifty, shopkeepers, and others, take a hau or “designation ;” tradesmen use it on their signboards, as the name of their shop, and not unfrequent. ly receive it as their personal appellation. Of this nature are the names of the tradesmen who deal with foreigners, as Cutshing, Chanlung, Linchong, &c., which are none of them the names of the shopmen, but the designation of the shop. It is the usual way in Canton for foreigners to go into a shop and ask Is Mr. Wanglik in which would be almost like one in New York inquiring if Mr. Alhambra, or Mr. Atlantic House was at home, though it does not sound quite so ridiculous to a Chinese. The names taken by shopkeepers allude to trade or its prospects, such as Mutual Advantage, Obedient Profit, Extensive Harmony, Rising Goodness, Great Completeness, &c., all of which are translations of real shop-names. The names of the partners as such, are not employed to form the firm as with us. Besides this use of the hau, it is also employed as a brand upon goods; the terms Hoyuen, Kinghing, Yuenki, meaning Harmonious Springs, Cheering Prospects, Fountain's Memorial, &c., are applied to particular parcels of tea, silk, or other goods, just as brands are placed on lots of wine, flour, or pork. This is called tsz’-hau, or mark-designation, but foreigners call both it and the goods it denotes, a chop. When a man dies, he receives another and last name in the hall of ancestors, though not necessarily a new one ; emperors and empresses have new ones given them, as Benevolent, Pious, Discreet, &c., by which they are worshipped, and referred to in history, as that designation which is most likely to be permanent. In their common intercourse, the Chinese are not more formal than is elsewhere considered to be well-bred ; it is on extraordi-nary or official occasions, that they observe the precise etiquette for which they are famous. The proper mode of behavior towards all classes is perhaps more carefully inculcated upon youth than it is in the west, and habit renders easy what custom requires to be observed. The ceremonial obeisance of a court or a levee, or the salutations proper for a festival, are not carried into the everyday intercourse of life; for as one chief end of the formalities prescribed for such times is to teach due subordination among persons of different rank, they are in a measure laid aside with the robes which suggested them. True politeness, exhibited in an unaffected regard for the feelings of others, cannot, of course, be taught by rules merely ; but a great degree of urbanity and kindness is everywhere shown, whether owing to the naturally placable disposition of the people, or to the effects of their early instruction in the forms of politeness. Whether in the crowded and narrow thoroughfares, the village green, the bustling market, the jostling ferry, or the thronged procession,-wherever the people are assembled promiscuously, good humor and courtesy are observable; and when altercations do arise, wounds or serious injuries seldom ensue, although from the furious clamor one would imagine half the crowd were in danger of their lives. Chinese ceremonial requires superiors to be honored according to their station and age, and equals to depreciate themselves while lauding those they address. The emperor, considering himself as the representative of divine power, exacts the same prostration which is paid the gods; and the ceremonies which are performed in his presence, partake, therefore, of a religious character, and are not merely particular forms of etiquette, which may be altered according to circumstances. There are eight gradations of obeisance, commencing “with the lowest form of respect called kung shau, which is merely joining the hands and raising them before the breast. The next is tso yih, bowing low with the hands thus joined. The third is ta tsien, bending the knee as if about to kneel; and kwei, an actual kneeling, is the fourth. The fifth is ko tau, kneeling and striking the head on the ground,