"Chinese Dwarf Trees" from Brooklyn Daily Eagle

      "News Items, Chinese Letter" (1864), the last of five paragraphs:

       "A CHINESE GENTEMAN'S [sic] HOUSE -- He first takes us to his country house now uninhabited.  It was the perfect residence of a Chinese gentleman.  There was a very large garden with bamboo hedges and large fishtanks, edged with walls of blue bricks, perforated tiles.  His pigs were in admirable condition, and as beautiful as the Prince Consort's at Windsor.  About the grounds were nutmegs, mangosteens, plantains, cocoanuts, dariens, and small craepers [sic] trained into baskets and pagodas.  Inside the house the drawing-room had doors sliding across a circular opening.  We then went on to this gentleman's private residence, entering by a Chinese triumphal gate.  He tells me he has ten miles of cariage road round his estate.  It is on a fine undulating tract of land reclaimed from the jungle, and laid out with rare taste.  In the outskirts a tiger killed a man the other day.  In his garden I found Jacko, living in a cane cage, next door to a porcupine; there were also some rare birds.  Further on some very small Berhmin [sic] bulls, a Cashmere goat, and a family of young kangaroos.  There were all sorts of unknown beautiful flowers placed about in enormous Chinese vases.  Here I first saw the tea plant growing.  It is of the camelia [sic] tribe, three or four feet high, perhaps, and bears a small white flower like an ordinary rose.  Also I was shown the "moon flower," a kind of rounded convolvulus that only opens at night.  There was a bower of "monkey cups," the pitcher flower which collects water, and from which Jacko refreshes himself in the jungles.  The fan palm produced water by being pierced with a penknife, of a clear cold quantity.  Several minute creepers were trained over wire forms to imitate dragons, with egg shells for their eyes; there were many of the celebrated dwarf trees -- the first I had seen -- little oaks and elms about eighteen inches high, like small withered old men.  The house here was superbly furnished in the English style, but with lanterns all about it.  At six the guests arrived -- mostly English -- all dressed in short jackets and white trowsers.  The dinner was admirably served, in good London style, and all the appointments as regarded plate, glass, wines and dishes, perfect.  The quiet attentive waiting of the little Chinese boys deserved all praise.  After dinner we lounged through the rooms decorated with English prints of the Royal family, statuettes, curiosities from every part of the world, and rare objects in the stone and cracked China. -- Chinese Letter" 1


1     Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 1, 1864, pg. 2

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