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The Young Sir George

Staunton's Memories of China

Approaching the Emperor
Approaching the Emperor
Being presented to the Emperor
Being presented to the Emperor

“As soon as the Emperor and his retinue was seen in the distance, the Ambassador
and his suite moved toward the road and were placed within the line of soldiers.
Once the Royal procession was in earshot the Chinese band struck up a martial air
interrupted as ever by the most discordant percussion.’

…His Imperial Majesty was preceded by a body of horse. His sedan, surrounded
by Mandarins and cavalry, was of a rich yellow carried by 8 bearers… He looked
eminently towards us kneeling on one knee and bowing, and as he passed he sent a
message to the Ambassador regretting the Ambassador was not well, and as the cold
weather was approaching it would be better for him to return immediately to Peking,
rather than make any stay at the Yuan Ming Yuan…Next followed his Chief Minister
in a green sedan chair.

He gave the Ambassador a very gracious salute… The Mandarins employed and
connected with the Embassy stood behind us, dressed in their habits of ceremony,
while we were kneeling when the Emperor passed by. One of these, thinking my bow
was not sufficiently respectful to his monarch, actually put his hand behind my neck
and lowered my head almost to the ground. Perhaps my eagerness to see all that
was possible of this splendid sight might shorten the inclination of the head on this
memorable occasion.”


This page is part of HISTORY