Mr. Talmage made an extensive tour on behalf of Missions in China among the Reformed churches in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
"Jan.15, 1850. Was married at twelve M. in First Presbyterian Church at Elizabeth, New Jersey, by Dr. N. Murray, to Miss Abby F. Woodruff. Started immediately with my wife on a trip to Seneca County, New York."
"March 16, 1850. In the forenoon accompanied by many dear friends we embarked on board the ship Tartar from New York bound for China."
"July 16th. Arrived safely at Amoy, for which our hearts are full of gratitude to Him who has watched over us on the deep and conducted us safely through every danger."
Though the entire Reformed Mission at Amoy then consisted of only three members, Mr. Doty and Mr. and Mrs. Talmage, still they believed in colonizing. Mr. Talmage secured a Chinese house and shop a mile or more away from the original headquarters and this became the missionary's home and preaching place. It was on the north side of the city in a densely populated neighborhood known as "Tek-chhiu-Kha," or "At the Foot of the Bamboos."
It fronted one of the main thoroughfares of the city. It was near the water's edge at the mooring-place of junks from the many-peopled districts of Tong-an and Lam-an. The house and shop were renovated and capped with another story. Here Mr. Talmage prayed and studied and preached and planned for nearly twenty years. On this spot to-day stands a flourishing Chinese church.
In a letter to Drs. Anderson and De Witt, dated Dec.17, 1850, Mr. Talmage thus describes their new home:
"Our house is pleasantly situated, having a good view of the inner part of the harbor, and of several small islands in the harbor. We also have a pleasant view of the mainland beyond the harbor. From our house we can count a number of villages on the mainland, beautifully situated among large banyans. We hope the situation will prove a healthy one. I like the situation most of all because I think it well adapted to our work. We are near the northern extreme of the city along the water's edge, while the other missionaries are near the southern extreme. Thus on entering the harbor from Quemoy and other islands, near the mouth of the harbor or from the cities and villages on the seacoast, the first foreign residence at Amoy, which meets the eye, is the residence of missionaries. On coming to Amoy from the cities and villages which are inland, again the first foreign residence which meets the eye is the residence of missionaries. We are in a part of the city where the Gospel has not yet been preached."
In the same letter he refers to the Opium habit -- and to the initiatory steps toward the formation of a Romanized alphabet for the Amoy Vernacular. The Chinese character is learned with great difficulty. It requires years of close application. In Southern Fukien not more than one man in a hundred can read intelligently. It is doubtful whether one woman in ten thousand can.
Protestant Christianity wants men to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. It urges our Lord's command, "Search the Scriptures." It demands not only the hearing ear, but the reading eye.
Hence this early effort on the part of the missionaries to prepare a version of the Scriptures and a Christian literature in a form more readily learned by the people. Those early efforts were doubtful experiments even to some of the missionaries. The Chinese converts at first looked quite askance at what appeared to them an effort to supersede their highly venerated Chinese character.
The Romanized system was gradually perfected. The Chinese were gradually disabused of their prejudices. To-day the most ardent advocates of the system are Chinese pastors and elders. The whole Bible has been translated into Amoy Romanized colloquial. An extensive literature adapted to Christian homes and Christian schools has grown up through the years and is contributing to the strength and progress of the Chinese Church to-day.
"Independent of the reproach which the opium traffic casts on the Christian religion, we find it a great barrier in the way of evangelizing this people. We cannot put confidence in an opium smoker. A man who smokes it in even the smallest degree we should not dare to admit into the Christian church. More than one-half of the men at Amoy are more or less addicted to the habit. Of this half of the population the missionary can have comparatively but little hope. We know the grace of God can deliver from every vice and there have been examples of reformation even from this. Yet from experience when talking to an opium smoker we always feel discouraged. Although this be a discouraging feature in our operations here, it should only be a stimulus to the Church to send more laborers and put forth greater efforts to stem the tide of destruction which the Christian world is pouring in upon the heathen. Independent of the principles of benevolence, justice demands of Christendom that the evil be stayed, and reparation if possible be made for the injury already done. If nothing more, let there be an equivalent for whet has been received from China. It is a startling fact, that the money which Christian nations have received from China for this one article, an article which has done to the Chinese nothing but incalculable injury, far, far exceeds all the money which has been expended by all Protestant churches on all Protestant missions in all parts of the heathen world since the days of the Reformation.
"The question whether there is any way by which this people can be made a reading people, especially by which the Christians may be put in possession of the Word of God, and be able to read it intelligently for themselves, has occupied much thought of the missionaries here. At present most of the church members have no reading for the Sabbath and for private meditation. They may have family worship, but they cannot at their worship read the Holy Scriptures. Some of us are now trying an experiment whether by means of the Roman alphabet the Sacred Scriptures and other religious books may not be given to the Christians and to any others who cannot read, but who take enough of an interest in Christianity to desire to read the Scriptures for themselves. By the use of seventeen of these letters we can express every consonant and vowel sound in the Amoy dialect, and by the use of a few additional marks we can designate all the tones. Dr. James Young, an English Presbyterian missionary physician, has commenced teaching the colloquial, as written with the Roman alphabet, in his school, a school formerly under the care of Mr. Doty. From his present experience he is of opinion that boys who are at all apt in acquiring instruction, in less than three months may be prepared for reading the Scriptures, with understanding. I have a class of three or four adults an hour an evening four evenings in the week, receiving instruction in the colloquial. They have taken some half dozen lessons and are making good progress. At present we have no printed primers or spelling-books, and are compelled to teach principally by blackboard. We are of opinion that almost every member of the church can soon learn to read by this system. Arrangements have been made to print part of the history of Joseph in colloquial. These are but experiments. If they succeed according to our present hope, it may be worth while to have the whole Bible and other religious books printed in this manner. A little more experience will enable us to speak with more confidence for or against the plan."
"Dec.23. Yesterday morning my chapel was opened, according to appointment. I preached to the people my first regular sermon from the text, 'There is one God and one Mediator,' etc. The room was crowded. It will seat about one hundred comfortably."
CHINESE SENSE OF SIN.
March 17, 1851. To his brother, Goyn.
"I think the Chinese are very different in their religious feelings from many other (perhaps from the most of other) heathen people. We have often heard of the great sacrifices which the heathen of India will make and the great sufferings they will impose on themselves in order to make atonement for their sins and appease the anger of the gods. There may occasionally be something of the kind among the Buddhists of China. But I rather suppose that where there are any self-mortifications imposed (which is very rare in this part of China), they are imposed to secure merit, not to atone for sin. I do not remember ever to have met with an individual among the Chinese who had any sense of sinfulness of heart, or even any remorse for sinfulness of conduct except he was first taught it by the Gospel. It is one of the most difficult truths to convey to their minds that they are sinners against God. We have had a few inquirers who have expressed a deep sense of sinfulness. But this sense of sinfulness has come from hearing the Gospel. The way the most of those, whom we doubt not are true Christians, have been led on seems to be as follows: They hear the Gospel, presently they become convinced of its truth. Their first impulses then seem to be those of joy and gratitude. They are like men who were born blind, and had never mourned over their blindness, because they had no notion of the blessing of sight. Presently their eyes begin to be opened and they begin to see. They only think of the new blessings which they are receiving, not of the imperfections which still remain in their vision. A sense of these comes afterwards. Was not this sometimes the case in the days of the apostles? It was not so on the day of Pentecost. The multitude were 'pricked in their hearts' because the moment they were convinced that Jesus was the Christ they were filled with a sense of their wickedness in crucifying Him. So it is with persons in Christian lands when their minds become interested in the truth; they are made to feel their wickedness in so long resisting its influences. But the case seems to have been different when Philip first carried the Gospel to Samaria. The first effect there seems to have been that of 'great joy.'
"It seems to be thus in Amoy. The conviction of deep sinfulness comes by meditating on the Gospel, the work of Christ, etc.
"It is the doctrine of the cross of Christ, after all, which should be the theme of our discourses."
March 18, 1851. To his brother, Goyn.
"They say in regard to preaching, that when a man has nothing more to say he had better stop. If this rule were carried out in conversation and letter-writing, there would be much less said and written in the world, than is now the case.
"You seem to think that we missionaries can sit down at any time and write letters, always having enough matter that will be interesting to you at home. This is a good theory enough, but facts do not always bear it out.
"Our missionary work moves on usually in the same steady manner without many ups and downs or interesting episodes (rather a mixture of figures you will say), which we think worthy of note. I wish you folks at home could send us more men to drive on the work a little faster. The door of access at Amoy still continues as wide open as ever, and now seems to be the time for the Church to send her men and occupy the post, which the Master offers to her. But the Church at home cannot, it seems, look at this matter as we who are on the ground....
"We have no good lamps yet for the church, consequently cannot open it in the evening. But I have prepared some lamps for my chapel. I think you would laugh to see them. They are four in number. Two of them are merely small tumblers hung up by wires and cords. By means of another wire a wick is suspended in each tumbler and the tumbler filled with oil. The other two are on the same principle, but the tumblers are hung in a kind of glass globe which is suspended by brass chains. These look considerably more ornamental than the first two. Whether you laugh at them or not, they answer a very good purpose. They do not make the room as light as would be required in a church, in as large a city as Amoy is, in the United States, but by means of them my chapel is open on Sunday evenings and on every other evening in the week except one. The church and chapel are both open almost every afternoon in the week, and sometimes in the mornings. One, two, three, or more of the converts are always ready to hold forth almost every afternoon and evening. Besides this, they go to other thoroughfares frequently and preach the Gospel as well as they are able. For much of the work these converts are perhaps better adapted than ourselves. They understand the superstitions of the people in their practical working, better than we probably will ever be able to learn them."
"April 14, 1851. There are now in connection with our church thirteen converts. In connection with the church of the London brethren there are eight. Two of our members, although compelled to labor with their hands for the sustenance of themselves and their families, yet devote the afternoons and evenings of almost every day in the week, in making known the way of salvation to their countrymen. They spend the Sabbath also, only omitting their labors long enough to listen to the preaching of the missionary and to partake of their noonday meal, from early in the morning until bedtime, in the same way, publishing the Gospel to their countrymen."
THE TERM QUESTION.
It was at this time that the translation of the Bible into the Classic Chinese Version, or "Delegates' Version" as it was afterwards called, was going on. A long and heated controversy had arisen as to the proper terms in the Chinese language to be used in translation of the words "God" and "Spirit." Missionaries in different parts of the empire took most opposite views and held them with the greatest tenacity. The Missionary Boards and Bible Societies in Great Britain and America were deeply interested spectators. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the American Bible Society became participators. On what they considered satisfactory evidence they declared in favor of certain Chinese words and characters to be used in preaching the Gospel and in translating the Scriptures. They advised their missionaries and Bible distributors of their decision.
The missionaries at Amoy, Messrs. John and Alexander Stronach, London Mission, and Messrs. Doty and Talmage, had very strong convictions on this subject. Their views agreed. Rev. John Stronach was one of the Committee who prepared the "Delegates' Version." The views of the brethren at Amoy were diametrically opposed to the decisions of the American Board and American Bible Society. In a long letter of eighty four pages, addressed to Drs. Anderson and De Witt, Oct.31, 1851, Mr. Talmage sets forth their side of the question. No man can read that document, weighty with learning and charged with moral earnestness, but must feel the profoundest respect for the writer, however he may dissent from his arguments. He concludes as follows:
"Such are our views concerning the use of the words 'Shin' and 'Ling' as translations of the words 'God' and 'Spirit.' While we hold ourselves open to conviction, if it can be proved that we are wrong, we at present hold these views firmly. We may not have succeeded in convincing the Prudential Committee that our views are correct, yet we trust we have convinced them that we have given due attention to the subject. We now ask, Can the Prudential Committee expect of us, while we hold such views, to conform to their decision? Would they respect us if we did? We could not respect ourselves. If we could thus trifle with conscientious views on subjects of such importance, we certainly should regard ourselves as being unworthy to be called missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M. or any other Protestant association, and we think the Prudential Committee would also lose confidence in us. We now feel called upon to state our views in reference to the propriety of the various missionary societies and Bible societies and other institutions deciding for us what terms we shall use and what terms we shall not use in preaching the Gospel to the heathen. We shall state our views with the utmost kindness and with all due deference to those from whom we differ. We cannot doubt that the Prudential Committee are willing also and desire us to state our views with the utmost frankness. If our views are incorrect, we desire that others use the same freedom in pointing out our errors. Our views are these: -- The societies in the United States and England are not called upon, at least at the present time, to decide this question for us. Those societies which have made such decision have acted prematurely. In deciding this question authoritatively, they are assuming a responsibility which we think they are not called upon to assume. This responsibility belongs properly to the missionaries, and they, we say it with all due respect, are much better qualified to bear this responsibility; for they are better qualified to judge of the evidence and discover the truth in the case. If they are not, then they are not qualified to be missionaries. But whether better qualified or not, they are accountable to a higher power than that of any society under whose patronage they may labor. Whatever be the decision of such society, they are still bound, in preaching the Gospel, to conform to their conscientious views of truth. The only way to produce agreement among Protestant missionaries is not by authoritative decisions or even by compromise, but by producing evidence sufficient to convince the judgment. We must have evidence. In selecting men for China or any other heathen field, missionary societies should first examine whether they have mental ability to acquire the language of the people to whom they are going. If they are deficient in this respect they should not be sent, and if missionaries on the ground are found deficient in this respect they should be recalled."
The "term question" has not been settled to this day.
Jan.22, 1852. To Dr. Anderson.
"I made another effort to extend our influence by going out towards evening into the streets and selecting eligible situations from which to preach to those who would assemble. In this manner I often had opportunity to publish the glad tidings more widely than we can do in our houses of worship. I found much encouragement in this work. If we had the physical strength we might thus preach day after day, from morning to night, and find multitudes ready to listen."
WHAT IT COSTS A CHINESE TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN.
In the same letter, speaking of ten converts received, he says: "One of them was gaining a mere living from the profits of a small shop, in which he sold paper and candles to be used in idolatrous worship. As he became acquainted with the Gospel, he soon found that his business was opposed to the doctrines of Christianity. A hard contest ensued, but the power of the Gospel finally triumphed. He gave up his business and with it his only prospect of making a livelihood and for some months had no other prospect before him and his family but beggary or starvation, except such a hope as God afforded. Another held a small office of government, the requirements of which were inconsistent with obedience to the Gospel, but the perquisites of which were his only means of sustaining his family, including an aged father. In his case the conflict seemed yet more fearful and lasted a much longer time. We hoped that the truth had taken a deep hold on him, but we began to tremble for the result. The love of Christ, as we trust, finally gained the victory. He gave up his office, gave up his living, gave up the world, that he might find the salvation of his soul and confess Christ before men. So also with the most of the others. They were called to sacrifice their worldly prospects, in order to embrace the Gospel. Christians in our beloved land hardly know what it is to take up the cross and follow Christ. The ridicule and obloquy with which they meet, if indeed they meet with any, is not a tithe of that to which the native convert here is exposed. Besides, they are seldom called to suffer much temporal loss for the sake of Christ, but it is very different with him. If he belong to the literary class, he must give up all hope of preferment. If he be in the employ of the government, he may expect to be deprived of his employment, if indeed he be not compelled to give it up from conscientious motives. If he be a shopkeeper, his observance of the Lord's day will probably deprive him of many of his customers, and if he be in the employ of others the same reason will render it very difficult for him to retain his situation."
PERSECUTED FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.
April 6, 1852. To his brother, Goyn.
"I promised to give some account of the young man who was baptized on the Sabbath before the last. His name is Khi (pronounced like the letter 'X' of the Greek alphabet). Early last year I noticed a young man who began to be quite regular in attending service at my chapel. I inquired of him where he lived and why he came. He said he was employed in burning lime at a lime-kiln not far off from my house. That I had met him in the street and invited him to come to the chapel. Of this I remembered nothing, but I often thus invite persons to come and hear the Gospel. He said he came in consequence of that invitation. But having heard the doctrine, he found it to be good, and had embraced it. This man has since been baptized. I soon learned that he had been persuading his fellow-workmen to come along with him. One of these workmen was Khi. He soon determined to obey the doctrines of the Scriptures. One of these doctrines brought him into immediate collision with his employer. This doctrine was, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' He refused to work on the Sabbath day. His employer told him if he did not work he would discharge him. Khi was not to be moved from his determination and was finally dismissed. After a few ineffectual efforts to get employment, he returned to visit his father's family; They reside a day's journey from Amoy. While home he was taken ill. It was two or three months before he returned again to Amoy. When he came back I conversed with him concerning his conduct while away. He had as yet but little knowledge of the doctrines of the Bible. But I was much gratified at the simplicity of piety which his narration manifested. He had not only endeavored to serve God himself, but had endeavored to persuade others also to turn unto God. After his return, all his efforts to get employment failed. I spoke to a mason who has done much work for us, and who employs many workmen, and requested him to employ Khi for the carrying of bricks and mortar and such work, if he had an opening for him. He consented to do so and employed him for a short time. But Khi's fellow workmen did not like his religion and succeeded in getting him discharged. In consequence of the dampness of the climate, it is not safe for foreigners to live on the first floor. We always live above stairs. Therefore I have rooms in the lower part of my house unoccupied. Khi asked me if he might sleep in one of these rooms. I of course consented. He had no bed or bedding. I had some empty boxes in the room. He put these together, and laid some straw and a straw mat on them for his bed. After he was discharged by the mason, he endeavored to make a living by carrying potatoes about the street for sale. His profits were from two to four cents a day. He made no complaint. He lived on potatoes. Winter came on; he had no means of buying clothing, or better food. The consequence was that he became ill. The room in which he slept was directly under my study. Almost every night I would hear his voice engaged in prayer, before he retired to his straw. Sometimes he would pray for a long, long time. The first thing in the morning again I would hear his voice in prayer. I knew that he was destitute, but as he never complained, I knew not how great his destitution was, and did not dare to help him lest it would throw out inducements for others to profess Christianity. We are continually compelled to guard against this danger. Many of these poor people would profess Christianity for the sake of a living. One Sabbath evening I heard his voice in prayer, much earlier than usual, and therefore it attracted particular attention. Presently word came to me that Khi was ill. I went down to see him. It made my heart bleed to see a fellow-creature in such destitution, one, moreover, who I hoped was a brother in Christ Jesus. I had had no idea that his destitution was so great. He seemed to be suffering under a severe attack of colic. On inquiry as to how he usually fared, I did not wonder that he was ill. I gave him a little medicine, took means to get him warm and he was soon relieved.
"I then had some good food prepared for him. I was peculiarly struck with the meekness and patience wherewith he bore his sufferings. There was not a murmuring word from his lips, but many words of an opposite character. The next day I called him into my study to give him a little money with which to buy clothing and food. But I had great difficulty in persuading him to take it. He said his sufferings were of no consequence. They were much less than he deserved. The sufferings of this world were all only for a short time. They were sent upon us to teach us not to love the world. Much more he said to this effect. I had to call upon one of the native converts to intercede with him, before he would take the money. But I must not dwell on this subject longer. From what I have said about our missionary work, you will understand why the missionary loves his work and why he would not leave it for any other work, unless duty compels him."
"HE IS ONLY A BEGGAR."
Nov.27, 1852. To the Sunday-school of the Reformed Church at Bound Brook, New Jersey.
"There is very much poverty and misery among the heathen. They do not pity each other and love each other as some Christians do. Those who have the comforts of life seem to have very little pity for those who are destitute. Therefore they have no poorhouses where the poor may be taken care of. Consequently very many steal, very many beg, and very many starve to death. In going from my house to church on the Sabbath I have counted more than thirty beggars on the streets. The most of them were such pitiable looking objects as you never saw. I have seen persons who are called beggars in the United States, but I never saw a real beggar till I came to Amoy. Some of them are covered with filth and a few filthy rags. Some of them are without eyes, some without noses, some without hands, and some without feet. Some crawl upon their hands and feet, some sit down in the streets and shove themselves along, and some lie down end can only move along by rolling over and over. On Sunday before last, while I was preaching, a blind girl came into the chapel. She was led by a string attached to a boy going before her. He could see, but could not walk. He crept along on his hands and knees. A month or two ago, during a cold storm, late in the evening, just as I was going to bed, I heard some one groaning by my front door. I went out to see what was the matter. I found an old man with white beard Iying in the mud and water, and with very little clothing. He was shivering from cold. He was unable to speak. I had him carried into my house, and covered over with some mats. We prepared some warm drink and food for him, as speedily as possible, hoping that thus we might save his life. But before we could get it ready he died. He had probably been carried by some persons and laid at my door to die, that they might be free from the trouble and expense of burying him.
"A week or two ago when walking through the streets I saw a beggar Iying a little distance off. I inquired whether he was already dead. Some men, who stood near, said 'Yes.' I then asked why they did not bury him. 'Oh, he is of no use.' I inquired, 'Is he not a man ?' 'No,' they said, 'he is only a beggar.' 'But,' I asked again, 'is he not still a man?' They laughed and answered, 'Yes.' A few days after, walking with Mrs. Talmage by the same place, we saw another beggar Iying nearly in the same spot. I inquired of the persons who were near whether he was dead. They answered, 'Yes.' Close by sat a beggar who was still alive. He was scarcely grown up. But his face was so deformed from suffering that we could not guess his age. He held out his hands for alms. We gave him a few cash and went on. The next day we passed that way again. We saw two beggars lying together, both dead. We went to them. One was the lad to whom we gave the cash the day previous. On Sunday in coming from church we again passed by that sad spot, and there was still another beggar lying dead directly in the road. This gives you, in part, a picture of what heathenism is."
Parts of two letters written in 1852 to his sister Catharine will prove interesting.
PRINTING UNDER DIFFICULTIES.
"Our work here is continually growing on our hands. Besides our usual missionary work, I do a little teaching, a little book-making, and a little printing. You did not know, perhaps, that I am a printer. We are teaching a few persons to read the colloquial (or spoken) language of Amoy. But in order to teach this, it is necessary that this spoken language be committed to writing. It is necessary to have books printed in it. We have no printing press at Amoy. I have had some types cut on bone or horn. With these I print a copy. This is handed to the carver. He pastes it upside down on a block and carves the words on the block. This block is then inked and is made to print other copies. It is a slow process, but the only one we have at Amoy at present. I have thus prepared a spelling-book in the Amoy colloquial. It is not all completed yet. The carver is busy with the last two or three sheets. A few of the first sheets were struck off some weeks ago and made up into small books, which we have been using to teach those who are learning to read, until the whole book is complete. Our printing is not very pretty. When the caners get more experienced in their work, they will be able to do their part better. Our plan of teaching is as follows: On Monday afternoon we have a meeting for women at our house. Before and after the service we teach them (those of them who wish to learn) to spell. On Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Doty meets those who wish to learn, in a room connected with the church. On Wednesday, Mrs. Doty has a meeting for women at her house. She also spends a little time then in teaching them. On Friday, Abby and I go to the church and spend about an hour in teaching. We cannot expect them to make very rapid progress in this manner of teaching, but it is the best we can do for them at present. There are two little girls who have been coming to our house every day for more than a month. They are beginning to read."
"I must tell you a little of what I have been doing to-day. This forenoon, among other things, I doctored a Yankee clock. I bought it in Amoy nearly a year ago for three dollars. Sometimes it goes, and sometimes it stands still. But it stands still much more than it goes. This morning I took it all apart, every wheel out, rubbed each wheel off, and put the clock together again. It has been running ever since, but how long it will continue to run, I cannot tell.
"Our cook, 'Lo,' takes care of our pigeons. Some have died and a few have been stolen, but they have continued gradually to increase. They now number twenty. They are very pretty, and very tame. They spend much of the time on the open veranda in front of our house. Some of them are of a dark brown color, some are perfectly white, some are black and white. We shall soon have enough to begin eating pigeon pies, but I suppose we shall be loth to kill the pretty birds. Some of them are of the Carrier pigeon species. We might take them to a good distance from Amoy and they would doubtless find their way home again. The Chinese have a small whistle which they sometimes fasten on the back of the pigeons near the tail. 'Lo' has some attached to some of our pigeons. When they fly swiftly through the air, you can hear the whistle at a great distance. The noise often reminds us of the whistle of a locomotive.
"The gold-fish in the lamp continue much as when I wrote before. We have made some additions to our flower-pots and flowers this spring. Our open veranda is being turned into a sort of open garden. We now have from sixty to seventy pots, from the size of a barrel down to the size of a two-quart measure. Some of them are empty and some of them are not. Besides flowers, we have parsley, onions, peppers, mint, etc., etc. Our garden does not flourish as well as it would, if I had time to attend to it. Besides this, the pigeons are very fond of picking off the young sprouts. Lest you should think us too extravagant, I ought to tell you the cost of the flower-pots. Those which were presented to us, did not cost us anything. Those we bought, cost from a cent apiece to sixpence. Some two or three cost as high as fifteen or twenty cents apiece. But you will never understand how nice and how odd we have it, unless you step in some day to look for yourself."