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of the Inclosure? There are above 200 of them, without reckoning as many other Houses for the Eunuchs; for they are the Persons who have the Care of each Palace, and their Houses are always just by them; generally at no more than Five or Six Feet Distance. These Houses of the Eunuchs are very plain; and for that Reason are always concealed, either by some Projection of the Walls, or by the Interposition of their artificial Hills.
Over the running Streams there are Bridges, at proper Distances, to make the more easy Communication from one Place to another. These are most commonly either of Brick, or Free stone, and sometimes of Wood, but are all raised high enough for the Boats to pass conveniently under them. They are fenced with Ballisters finely wrought, and adorned with Works in Relievo; but all of them varied from one another, both in their Ornaments and designs. Do not imagine to yourself, that these Bridges run on, like ours, in strait Lines: On the contrary, they generally wind about and serpentize to such a Degree, that seme of them, which, if they went on regularly, would be no more than Thirty or Forty Feet long, turn so often and so much as to make their whole Length 100 or 200 Feet. You fee some of them which, either at the Midst, or at the Ends, have little Pavilions for People to rest themselves in; supported sometimes by Four, sometimes by Eight, and sometimes by Sixteen Columns. They are usually on such of the Bridges as afford the most engaging Prospects, At the
. Ends Ends -of other of the Bridges there are triumphal Arches, either of Wood, or white Marble; formed in a very pretty Manner, but very different from any thing that I have ever seen in Europe.
I have already told you that these little Streams, or Rivers, are carried on to supply several larger Pieces of Water, and Lakes. One of these Lakes is very near Five Miles round; and they call it a Meer, or Sea. This is one of the most beautiful Parts in the whole Pleasure Ground.
On the Banks are several Pieces of Buildings, separated from each other by the Rivulets, and artificial Hills above mentioned.
But what is the most charming Thing of all is, an Island, or Rock, in the Middle of this Sea; raised, in a natural and rustic Manner about Six Feet above the Surface of the Water. On this Rock, there is a little Palace, which, however, contains an Hundred different Apartments. It has Four Fronts, and is built with inexpressible Beauty and Taste; the Sight of it strikes one with Admiration. From it you have a View of all the Palaces, scattered at proper Distances round the Shores of this Sea; all the Hills that terminate
..about it; all the Rivulets, which tend thither, either to discharge their Waters into it, or to receive them from it; all the Bridges, either at the Mouths or Ends of these Rivulets ; all the Pavilions and triumphal Arches that adorn any of these -Bridges; and all the Groves that are planted to
• separate and screen the different Palaces, and to prevent the Inhabitants of them from being overlooked looked by one another. The Banks of this charming Waiter are infinitely varied; there are no two Parts of it alike. Here you fee Keys of smooth Stone; with Porticos, Walks, and Paths, running down to them from the Palaces that surround the Lake: There, others of Rock-work, that fall into Steps, contrived with the greatest Art that can be conceived: Here, natural Terraces with winding Steps at each End, to go up to the Palaces that are built upon them; and above these, other Tejraces, and other Palaces, that -fife higher and higher, and form a sort of Amphitheatre. There again a Grove of flowering Trees presents itself lo your Eye; and a little farther you see a Spread of wild Forest-trees, and such as grow only on the most barren Mountains: Then, perhaps, vast Timber-trees with their Under-wood ; then Trees from all foreign Countries; and then, some all blooming with Flowers, and others all laden with Fruits of different Kinds.
There are also, on the Banks of this Lake, a great Number ofNet-work-houses,and Pavilions; Half on the Land,and Half running into the Lake, for all Sorts of Water-fowl ; as farther on upon the Shore, you meet frequently with Menageries for different Sorts of Creatures; and even little Parks for the Chafe. But of all this Sort of Things, the Chinese are most fond of a kind of Fish, the greater Part of which are of a Colour as brilliant as Gold; others, of a Silver Colour; and others of different Shades of red, green, blue, purple, and black; and some, of all Sorts of Colours mixt
together. together. There are several Reservoirs for these Fish, in all Parts of the Garden; but the most considerable of them all is at this Lake. It takes up a very large Space; and is all surrounded with a Lattice-work of Brass-wire, in which the ^Openings are so very fine and small, as to prevent the Fish from wandering into the main Waters.
To let you fee the Beauty of this charming Spot in its greatest Perfection, I should wish to have you transported hither when the Lake is all covered with Boats, either gilt, or varnished ; as it is sometimes, for taking the Air; sometimes, for fishing; and sometimes, for [d] Justs, and Combats, and other Diversions, upon the Water? but above all, on some fine Night, when the Fireworks are played off there; at which Time they have Illuminations in all the Palaces, all the Boats, and almost on every Tree. The Chinese exceed us extremely in their Fire-works; and I have never seen any thing of that Kind, either in France, or Italy, that can bear any Comparison with theirs.
[d] I have seen of this Sort of Justs upon the Water, 'in our Parts of the World ; and particularly at Liens in France. The Champions stand as firmly as they are able, on the Prows of two Boats, with a Shield in their left Hands, and a blunted Spear in their right. There is an equal Number of Rowers in each of the Boats, who drive them on with great Impetuosity. The two Combatants charge each other with their Spears; and often both, but almost always one of them is driven backward on the Shock; either down into his Boat, or (which often happens) into the Water; which latter makes one of the principal Paris in this odd Sort of Diversion.
The The Part in which the Emperor usually resides here, with the Empress, his [e] favourite Mistresses, and the Eunuchs that attend them, is a vast Collection of Buildings, Courts, and Gardens; and looks itself like a "City. 'Tis at least as big as our City of [/] Dole. The greater Part of the other Palaces is only used for his walking; Ot to dine and supin upon Occasion.
This Palace for the usual Residence of the Emperor, is just within the grand Gate of the Pleasure Ground. First are the Antechambers; then the Halls for Audience; and then the Courts and Gardens belonging to them. The Whole forms an Island; which is entirely surrounded by a large and deep Canal. 'Tis a sort of Seraglio; in the different Apartments of which, you fee all the most beautiful Things that can be imagined, as to Furniture, Ornaments, and Paintings, (I mean of those in the Chinese Taste ;) the most valuable Sorts of Wood; varnished Works, of China and Japan; antient Vases of Porcelain; Silks, and Cloth of Gold and Silver. They have there brought together all that Art and good Taste could add to the Riches of Nature.
[r] The Original fays; "les Kouciseys, les Feys, les "Pines, les Kouci-gins, et les Ichangtfays:" and informs us in a Note, that these are so many different Titles of Honour, for the dissere-it Classes of such of the Emperor's Mistresses asare most in hii Favour. I did not think it worth -while to set-down all these hard Names in the Text; and,.perhaps, they might as well have been omitted even here.
[/] The second City for Size in the Frantbe Comti. . Vol. I. D Fiom