« PreviousContinue »
Inchantment, all at once, in some beautiful Vasley, or on the Brow of some Hill.
This whole Inclosure is called' Tven-ming T*jent the Garden of Gardens; or the Garden by way of Eminence. It is not the only one that belongs to the Emperor; he has Three others, of the fame Kind; but none of then* ib large, or so beautiful; as this. In one of these lives the Empress his Mother, and all her Court. It was built by the present Emperor's Grandfather [/) Ganghy; and is called Icbang tchun yven, or the Garden of perpetual Spring. The Pleasure-places of the Princes and Grandees are, in- Little, what those of the Emperor are in Great.
Perhaps you witl aflt me, " Why alt this long ••Description? Should not F rather have drawn ** Plans of this magnificent Place, and sent them ** to you"?*' To have done that, would' have taken me up at least Three Years, without touching upon- any thing else; whereas I' have not a-. Moment to spare; and am forced to borrow the Time in which I now write to you, srom my Hours of Rest. To which you- may add, that , for such a Work, it would be-necessary for me te have full. Liberty of going into any. Part of the Gardens whenever I pleased, and-to slay there ag king as I pleased; which is quite impracticable here. 'Tis very fortunate for.me, that I had get *he little Knowledge of Pai8ting that Lhave ; for,
[i] Cnng hy began his Reign 1st 1660; his Son Yongtchin^ succeeded him- in 1722 j and his Grandson Kitn-Ung in 1735.;
without this, I should have been in the fame Cafe with several other Europeans, who have been here between Twenty and Thirty Years, without being able ever to set their Feet on any Spot of this delightful Ground. There is but one Man here, and that's the Emperor. All Pleasures are made for him alone. This charming Place is scarce ever seen by any body but himself, his Women, and his Eunuchs. The Princes, and other chief Men of the Country, are rarely admitted any further than the Audience-Chambers. Of all the Euro^ seans that are here , none ever entered this Inclosure, except the Clock-makers and Painters, whose Employments make it neceflary that they mould be admitted every where. The Place usually assigned us to paint in, is in one of those little Palaces above-mentioned; where the Emperor comes. to fee us work almost every Day; so that we cartnever be absent. We don't go out of the Bounds of this Palace, unless what we are to paint cannot be brought to ui; and in such Cases they conduct: us to the Place under a large Guard of Eunuchs. We are obliged to go quick, and without any Noife; and huddle and steal along softly, as if. we were going upon some Piece of Mischief. 'Tis in this Manner that I have gone through, and seen, all this beautiful Garden; and entered into' the Apartments." The Emperor usually resides here Ten Months in each Year. We are about Ten Miles from. Pekin. AU the Day we are in the Garden; and have a Table furnished for us by the Em£eror: For the Nights, we have bought. us a House near the Entrance to the Gardens. When the Emperor returns to Pekin, we attend him; are lodged there within his Palace; and go every Evening to the French Church. [k]
I think it is high Time both for you and me, that I should put an End to this Letter; which has carried me on to a greater Length than I at first intended. I wish it may give you any Pleasure ; and should be very glad if it was in my Power to do any thing more considerable, to shew you the perfect Esteem I have for ypM. I shall always remember you in my Prayers; and beg you would sometimes remember me in yours. I am,. with the greatest Regard, ,
i.. . •:.. . - s i** ;. -.. .....
Tour most obedient^
'• A T Tire Y\
I. ••I ... :»
[i] Here follow Fourteen or Fifteen Pages in the Original, which treat only of the Author's private Affairs, or of the Asfairs of the Mission, without any thing relating to the Emperor's Garden j and are therefore omitted. by the Translator.