The Mirror of Kong Ho HTML version

Letter 6
Concerning this person's well-sustained efforts to discover further demons. The
behaviour of those invoked on two occasions.
VENERATED SIRE,--In an early letter I made some reference to a variety of
demon invoked by certain of the barbarians. As this matter aroused your
congenial interest, I have since privately bent my mind incessantly to the
discovery of others; but this has been by no means easy, for, touching the more
intimate details of the subject, the barbarians frequently maintain a narrow-
minded suspicion. Many whom I have approached feign to become amused or
have evaded a deliberate answer under the subterfuge of a jest; yet, whenever I
would have lurked by night in their temples or among the enclosed spaces of
their tombs to learn more, at a given signal one in authority has approached me
with anxiety and mistrust engraved upon his features, and, disregarding my
unassuming protest that I would remain alone in a contemplative reverie, has
signified that so devout an exercise is contrary to their written law.
On one occasion only did this person seem to hold himself poised on the very
edge of a fuller enlightenment. This was when, in the venerable company of
several benevolent persons, he was being taken from place to place to see the
more important buildings, and to observe the societies of artificers labouring at
their crafts. The greater part of the day had already been spent in visiting
temples, open spaces reserved to children and those whose speech,
appearance, and general manner of behaving make it desirable that they should
be set apart from the contact of the impressionable, halls containing relics and
emblems of the past, places of no particular size or attraction but described as
being of unparalleled historic interest, and the stalls of the more reputable
venders of merchandise.
Doubtless, with observing so many details of a conflicting nature, this person's
discriminating faculties had become obscured, but towards evening he certainly
understood that we sought the company of an assembly of those who had been
selected from all the Empire to pronounce definitely upon matters of supreme
import. The building before which our chariot stopped had every appearance of
being worthy of so exceptional a gathering, and with a most affluent joy that I
should at last be able to glean a decisive pronouncement, I evaded those who
had accompanied me, and, mingling self-reliantly with the throng inside, I quickly
surrounded myself with many of the wisest-looking, and begged that they would
open their heads freely and express their innermost opinions upon the subject of
demons of all kinds.
Although I had admittedly hoped that these persons would not conceal
themselves behind the wings of epigram or intangible prevarication, I was far
from being prepared for the candour with which they greeted me, and although
by long usage I am reasonably unconcerned at the proximity of any of our own
recognised genii, it is not to be denied that my organs of ferocity grew small and
unstable at the revelations.