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CHAPTER VIII.

THE ORGANISATION OF GORDON'S FORCE.

CHINESE PARTIALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL PHRASEOLOGY THE TITLE

“EVER-VICTORIOUS ARMY”—CAPTAIN HOLLAND'S DEFEAT AT TAITSAN, AND MAJOR BRENNAN'S AT FUSHAN COLONEL GORDON APPOINTED TO COMMAND THE E. V. A.-HIS PREVIOUS SERVICES -ITS OFFICERS AND PRIVATES-RATES OF PAY-ITS ARTILLERY AND SMALL-ARMS-THE PUNISHMENTS INFLICTED-CHINESE APTITUDE FOR DRILL-COLONEL GORDON'S FLOTILLA-THE STEAMER HYSON AND CAPTAIN DAVIDSON - THE AUXILIARY IMPERIALIST FORCE-APTITUDE OF THE CHINESE FOR WAR-FOR THE WORK OF SAPPERS-COLONEL GORDON'S TACTICS—EXPENDITURE OF THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT-COLONEL GORDON'S VIEW OF HIS POSITION AND THE AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH HE ACTED.

Though it had done some good service, and had received its title under Ward, yet it was not until it came under. Colonel Gordon's command that the Ever-Victorious Army became in any degree worthy of its highsounding name, which must be taken not in a literal but in a transcendental and Celestial sense. The Chinese have a fine faculty for inventing happy names -their streams are fragrant, their mountains holy, the poorest hamlet may call itself the place of sweetsmelling grain, and the smallest junk be a wonder of the deep. Nor are such titles merely hollow sounds. Foreigners, on discovering the immense discrepancy between the Celestial phrase and that which it re

words;

presents, are apt to regard the former as a mere trivial absurdity ; but to the Chinaman these titles have a vital significance, and the turn of a phrase will often influence his whole conduct towards the subject designated. No principle is more constantly enforced in the Chinese Classics than that wisdom lies in the proper knowledge and use of words. When it was asked of Mencius in what he surpassed, his brief reply was, “I understand

» and elsewhere he complains of inauspicious, hurtful words, which throw men of virtue and talent into the shade. When inquiry was made of Confucius as to what was the first thing necessary to improve the government, he answered,

“What is necessary is to rectify names ;” and very expressively he said, that “to have a bad name is to dwell in a low-lying situation, where all the evil of the world flows in upon one.

” Views such as these have sunk deep into the national mind, and every Chinaman is singularly desirous that he and all his belongings should have auspicious and honourable designations. When the people are so inclined, of course the Government is very careful in all its edicts and proclamations to use either high-sounding or beautiful phraseology, whether the reference be to the Son of Earth and Heaven sitting on the dragon throne, or to a ragged lictor who runs by the chair of some petty Mandarin. Crime and official imbecility are reprobated in the most vigorous and picturesque manner by the Emperor's vermilion pencil ; but where praise is to be awarded for judicious counsel or for battles won, then

"Strength is gigantic, valour high,

And wisdom soars beyond the sky." Hence it is in a Celestial and somewhat transcendental, not in an occidental or literal meaning, that this phrase,

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