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CHINESE THEATRE AND DANCES.        189
eluded, and the law seems to be obsolete. This punishment is not attended with much infamy; the bastinado is in fact the lightest of Chinese punishments. "When the number of blows does not exceed twenty, there is no disgrace whatever attached to the infliction: it is then considered only a paternal chastisement; the emperor himself often orders this correction to be administered to high officials for slight faults, and afterwards treats them as if nothing had happened. After such paternal punishment is inflicted, the victim goes on his knees to the judge, bows his head three times to the earth, and thanks him for the care he has given to the education of his subject.*
It is significant that the " State Gazette " of Pekin, which will often enter into details con­cerning the death of a private soldier, and give eulogies to the military valor of the most humble, does not even mention the decease of the most brilliant and well-known comedian, no matter how much applause may have been accorded to him while living.
In such a country as China, it is easily imagined that there exists a large troupe of " comedians to the emperor." These although not more superbly costumed than those of some rich mandarins, are clothed in a peculiar manner. Of course it would not be allowable to turn their backs upon the emperor, and yet often the action of the play, might demand that they turn around. This dilemma is overcome by allowing them to wear
• DnIlAld*, Description da 1'emp. d. la Chin*. T. 2, p. 166.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III