A General Description of China. 1

  • Info
  • Pages
  • Transcript
  • Related
A General Description of China. 1
A general description of China: containing the topography of the fifteen provinces which compose this vast empire; that of Tartary, the Isles, and other tributary countries
J.-B. (Jean-Baptiste) Grosier (1743-1823)
London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson
Translation of Description générale de la Chine (see below).
Page 1
Page 2

Comedies and farces are often represented during these repasts; but they
are always intermixed with the most wretched and frightful music. Their
instruments are basons either of brass or iron, the found of which is
harsh and shrill; drums made of buffalo’s hide, which they beat
sometimes with the foot, and sometimes with sticks; and flutes, that
have a most melancholy and plaintive found: the voices of the musicians
have nearly the same harmony. The actors in these domestic comedies, are
boys between the age of twelve and fifteen. Their manager conducts them
from province to province; and they are every where considered as the
dregs of the people. These youths have most astonishing memories; they
know by heart forty or fifty comedies, the shortest of which generally
lasts five hours. They carry their theatrical apparatus along with them,
together with a volume containing their comedies which they present: and
when a piece has been fixed on, they can immediately perform it, without
any preparation.

About the middle of the entertainment, one of the performers goes round
to all the tables, and begs some small reward from each of the guests;
the servants of the house do the same, and carry to their masters
whatever money they receive: a new repast is then displayed before the
company, which is destined for their domestics.

The end of these entertainments is generally suited to the beginning.
The guests praise in detail the excellence of the dishes and the
politeness and generosity of their host, who, on his part, makes a
number of excuses, and begs pardon, with many low bows, for not having
treated them according to their merit.