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habitations disinterred from the scoriæ and ashes of Pompeii. They consist usually of a ground-floor, divided into several apartments within the dead wall that fronts the street, and lit only by windows looking into the internal court-yard. The principal room, next to the entrance, serves to receive visitors as well as for eating; and within are the more private apartments, the door-ways of which are screened by pendent curtains of silk or cotton. Near Peking, the embassies found most of the apartments furnished with a couch or bed-place of brickwork, having a furnace below to warm it during the winter.
This was usually covered with a felt rug or mat which, with the assistance of the warmth, gave perpetual lodging to swarms of vermin, and rendered the bed-places quite unavailable to the English travellers. These flues, however, are very necessary during the severe winters, when the fires in the better houses are lit on the outside; but in poorer ones the furnace is within, and serves the double purpose of cooking and warmth, the whole family huddling round it.
All houses of consequence are entered by a triple gateway, consisting of one large folding-door in the centre, and of a smaller one on either side. These last serve for ordinary occasions, while the first is thrown open for the reception of distinguished guests. Large lanterns of a cylindrical shape are hung at the sides, on which are inscribed the name and titles of the inhabitant of the mansion, so as to be read either by day, or at night when the lanterns are lit. Just within the gates is the covered court, where the sedan-chairs stand, surrounded by red varnished label-boards, having inscribed in gilt characters the full titles of any person of rank and consequence. We cannot better describe one of their larger mansions than in the words of Sir George Staunton* :-“'This
* Emtassy, vol. ii. p. 139.
palace was built on the general model of the dwellings of great mandarins. The whole enclosure was in the form of a parallelogram, and surrounded by a high brick wall; the outside of which exhibited a plain blank surface, except near one of its angles, where the gateway opened into a narrow street, little promising the handsome structures withinside. The wall in its whole length supported the upper ridge of roof, whose lower edges, resting upon an interior wall parallel to the other, formed a long range of buildings divided into apartments for servants, and offices. The rest of the enclosure was subdivided into several quadrangular courts of different sizes. In each quadrangle were buildings upon platforms of granite, and surrounded by a colonnade. The columns were of wood, nearly sixteen feet in height, and as many inches in diameter at the lower end, decreasing to the upper extremity about one-sixth. They had neither capital nor base, according to the strict meaning of those terms in the orders of Grecian architecture, nor any divisions of the space called the entablature, being plain to the very top, which supports the cornice; and were without any swell at the lower end, where they were let into hollows cut into stones for their reception, and which formed a circular ring round each, somewhat in the Tuscan manner. Between the columns, for about one-fourth of the length of the shaft from the cornice downwards, was carved and ornamented woodwork, which might be termed the entablature, and was of a different colour from the columns, which were universally red. This colonnade served to support that part of the roof which projected beyond the wall-plate in a curve, turning up at the angles. By means of such roofed colonnades every part of those extensive buildings might be visited under cover, The number of pillars throughout the whole was not fewer than six hundred.
“ Annexed to the principal apartment, now destined for the ambassador, was an elevated building, intended for the purposes of a private theatre and concertroom, with retiring apartments behind, and a gallery for spectators round it. None of the buildings were above one story, except that which comprised the ladies' apartments during the residence of the owner : it was situated in the inmost quadrangle. The front consisted of one long and lofty hall, with windows of Corea paper, through which no object could be distinguished on the other side. On the back of this hall was carried a gallery, at the height of about ten feet, which led to several small rooms, lighted only from the hall. Those inner windows were of silk gauze, stretched on frames of wood, and worked with the needle in flowers, fruit, birds, and insects, and others painted in water-colours. This apartment was fitted in a neater style, though upon a smaller scale than most of the others. To this part of the building was attached a small back court with offices; the whole calculated for privacy.
“ In one of the outer quadrangles was a piece of water, in the midst of which a stone room was built, exactly in the shape of one of the covered barges of the country. In others of the quadrangles were planted trees, and, in the largest, a huge heap of rocks rudely piled, but firmly fixed upon each other; and at one end was a spot laid out for a garden in miniature; but it did not appear to have been finished.”
In the best Chinese mansions there are seldom any stairs beyond the few stone steps by which they are raised above the general level of the ground. The stone-work of the foundation is extremely solid and handsome, and in the neighbourhood of Canton it is always of granite. The walls are of blue brick, frequently with an artificial facing or pointing, by