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The Chinese at Home.

General Tcheng-ki-Tong, Secretary at the Chinese Legation m Paris, has published a new book, m which he descants on the various pleasures of his countrymen. Now Year's Day is observed, he says, m China nearly after the fashion thafi prevails m France. There are official and social visits, dinners, family games, and "tips" to retainers. Evil 'spirits are kept at a distance by prolonged explosions of squibs and crackers. The end of the year is solemnised by special .sacrifices to each Deity, and a pot of rice covered with cypress leaves is 'eft on the tables until midnight, when ib is replaced by fresh grain for the New Year. " Green tea from young leaves is our Chateau Laffifcte," and "is drunk by the aristocracy; the other classes contenting themselves with black tea, of which there is such an abundance that it is distributed freely to poor people m the streets. .To be good the tea should be made with rain water or water from a well, carefully boiled and put m a Ni-Hing earthenware pot." The ordinary meals m the Celestial Empire consist of eight courses, the meats being pork and goat m the south, and beef and mutton m the north. The viands are washed down by soup taken m gulps. For about fivepenco a good "square meal" may be obtained, and if poultry be needed a fowl can be bought for sixpence. "Swell ' dinners m a restaurant of note may be obtained for a little over a half-a-crown, and often include the fins of sharks and tho bodies of starfish. A ceremonial banquet for a party of eight costs £4, and frequently comprises "hard-boiled eggs preserved for twenty-five years," after whioh they are exquisite J As to the Chinese taste for cooked dogs and cats, the general says that ifc is all a fable ; and he relates that, when the Chinese Legation first came to Pacis m i 876, the servant of a Polish countess, who kept a lot of Chinese puppies, came to warn him that if one of the small dogs Avere missing from her house, which was near the Legation, she ! would burn down the establishment. Referring to the class of womeij known m Paris as degratees, General Tcheng-ki-Tong says that the most select of them are not m the "flower- boats, 1' or floating restaurants,, but m handsome dwellings outside the towns. They set the fashions m female apparel, and are,.gone.K*ly well educated, being addressed by persons writing to them $s "lady authors," 'lady musjcansi'* Qreven "lady historians ;" such titles being held m high honour. They are ohiefly children of poor parents who have sold them, or foundlings, and are carefully brought up, so that some, etf them are able to "run" salons whfch would not discredit a frail French ''•blue-stocking" who discusses Philosophy or the Fine Arts with her adn\JF«rs. Some of them make brilliant marriages and become noble. General Tcheng-ki-Tong makes many other interesting revelations, about his people.

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Bibliographic details

The Chinese at Home., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2489, 12 August 1890

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The Chinese at Home. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2489, 12 August 1890