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The Mirror of Kong Ho by Ernest Bramah

The Mirror of Kong Ho by Ernest Bramah

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Published by Critteranne
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mirror of Kong Ho, by Ernest Bramah This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Mirror of Kong Ho Author: Ernest Bramah Posting Date: July 26, 2008 [EBook #1077] Release Date: October 1997 Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK T
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mirror of Kong Ho, by Ernest Bramah This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Mirror of Kong Ho Author: Ernest Bramah Posting Date: July 26, 2008 [EBook #1077] Release Date: October 1997 Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK T

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mirror of Kong Ho, by Ernest BramahThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Mirror of Kong HoAuthor: Ernest BramahPosting Date: July 26, 2008 [EBook #1077]Release Date: October 1997Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF KONG HO ***Produced by John BickersTHE MIRROR OF KONG HOBy Ernest BramahA lively and amusing collection of letters on western livingwritten by Kong Ho, a Chinese gentleman. These addressed tohis homeland, refer to the Westerners in London asbarbarians and many of the aids to life in our society giveKong Ho endless food for thought. These are things such asthe motor car and the piano; unknown in China at this time.INTRODUCTIONESTIMABLE BARBARIAN,--Your opportune suggestion that I should permit theletters, wherein I have described with undeviating fidelity the customsand manner of behaving of your accomplished race, to be set forth inthe form of printed leaves for all to behold, is doubtlessgracefully-intentioned, and this person will raise no barrier of dissentagainst it.In this he is inspired by the benevolent hope that his immaturecompositions may to one extent become a model and a by-word to those whoin turn visit his own land of Fragrant Purity; for with exacting carehe has set down no detail that has not come under his direct observation(although it is not to be denied that here or there he may, perchance,have misunderstood an involved allusion or failed to grasp the inner
 
significance of an act), so that Impartiality necessarily sways hisbrush, and Truth lurks within his inkpot.In an entirely contrary manner some, who of recent years have gratifiedus with their magnanimous presence, have returned to their own countriesnot only with the internal fittings of many of our palaces (which,being for the most part of a replaceable nature, need be only triviallyreferred to, the incident, indeed, being generally regarded as a mostcordial and pressing variety of foreign politeness), but also--inthe lack of highly-spiced actuality--with subtly-imagined and trulyobjectionable instances. These calumnies they have not hesitated tocommit to the form of printed books, which, falling into the handsof the ignorant and undiscriminating, may even suggest to theirill-balanced minds a doubt whether we of the Celestial Empire really arethe wisest, bravest, purest, and most enlightened people in existence.As a parting, it only remains to be said that, in order to maintainunimpaired the quaint-sounding brevity and archaic construction of yourprepossessing language, I have engraved most of the remarks upon thereceptive tablets of my mind as they were uttered. To one who can repeatthe Five Classics without stumbling this is a contemptible achievement.Let it be an imposed obligation, therefore, that you retain theseportions unchanged as a test and a proof to all who may read. Of myown deficient words, I can only in truest courtesy maintain that anyalteration must of necessity make them less offensively commonplace thanat present they are.The Sign and immutable Thumb-mark of, Kong HoBy a sure hand to the House of one Ernest Bramah.THE MIRROR OF KONG HOLETTER IConcerning the journey. The unlawful demons invoked bycertain of the barbarians; their power and the manner oftheir suppression. Suppression. The incredible obtuseness ofthose who attend within tea-houses. The harmonious attitudeof a person of commerce.VENERATED SIRE (at whose virtuous and well-established feet an unworthyson now prostrates himself in spirit repeatedly),--Having at length reached the summit of my journey, that London of whichthe merchants from Canton spoke so many strange and incredible things, Inow send you filial salutations three times increased, and in accordancewith your explicit command I shall write all things to you with anunvarnished brush, well assured that your versatile object in committingme to so questionable an enterprise was, above all, to learn thetruth of these matters in an undeviating and yet open-headed spirit ofaccuracy and toleration.
 
Of the perils incurred while travelling in the awe-inspiring devices bywhich I was transferred from shore to shore and yet further inland,of the utter absence of all leisurely dignity on the part ofthose controlling their movements, and of the almost unnaturalself-opinionatedness which led them to persist in starting at a statedand prearranged time, even when this person had courteously pointedout to them by irrefutable omens that neither the day nor the hour wassuitable for the venture, I have already written. It is enough to assertthat a similar want of prudence was maintained on every occasion, and,as a result, when actually within sight of the walls of this city, wewere involved for upwards of an hour in a very evilly-arranged yellowdarkness, which, had we but delayed for a day, as I strenuously advisedthose in authority after consulting the Sacred Flat and Round Sticks, weshould certainly have avoided.Concerning the real nature of the devices by which the ships arepropelled at sea and the carriages on land, I must still unroll a blankmind until I can secretly, and without undue hazard, examine them moreclosely. If, as you maintain, it is the work of captive demons hiddenaway among their most inside parts, it must be admitted that theseusually intractable beings are admirably trained and controlled, andI am wide-headed enough to think that in this respect wemight--not-withstanding our nine thousand years of civilisedrefinement--learn something of the methods of these barbarians. Thesecret, however, is jealously guarded, and they deny the existence ofany supernatural forces; but their protests may be ignored, for thereis undoubtedly a powerful demon used in a similar way by some of theboldest of them, although its employment is unlawful. A certain kind ofchariot is used for the occupation of this demon, and those who wishto invoke it conceal their faces within masks of terrifying design, andcover their hands and bodies with specially prepared garments, withoutwhich it would be fatal to encounter these very powerful spirits.While yet among the habitations of men, and in crowded places, they areconstrained to use less powerful demons, which are lawful, but whenthey reach the unfrequented paths they throw aside all restraint, and,calling to their aid the forbidden spirit (which they do by secretmovements of the hands), they are carried forward by its agency at aspeed unattainable by merely human means. By day the demon looks forthfrom three white eyes, which at night have a penetrating brillianceequal to the fiercest glances of the Sacred Dragon in anger. If anyperson incautiously stands in its way it utters a warning cry ofintolerable rage, and should the presumptuous one neglect to escape tothe roadside and there prostrate himself reverentially before it, itseizes him by the body part and contemptuously hurls him bruised andunrecognisable into the boundless space of the around. Frequentlythe demon causes the chariot to rise into the air, and it is crediblyasserted by discriminating witnesses (although this person only setsdown as incapable of denial that which he has actually beheld) thatsome have maintained an unceasing flight through the middle air for adistance of many li. Occasionally the captive demon escapes from thebondage of those who have invoked it, through some incautious gestureor heretical remark on their part, and then it never fails to use themgrievously, casting them to the ground wounded, consuming the chariotwith fire, and passing away in the midst of an exceedingly debasedodour, by which it is always accompanied after the manner of our ownearth spirits.This being, as this person has already set forth, an unlawful demon onaccount of its power when once called up, and the admitted uncertainty

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