The wall, which encompassed it, is two feet and a half high, and at least eleven inches broad, so that a coach and horses may be driven very safely round it; and it is flanked with strong towers at ten feet distance. I stept over the great western gate, and passed very gently, and sideling, through the two principal streets, only in my short waistcoat, for fear of damaging the roofs and eaves of the houses with the skirts of my coat. I walked with the utmost circumspection, to avoid treading on any stragglers who might remain in the streets; although the orders were very strict, that all people should keep in their houses at their own peril. The garret-windows and tops of houses were so crowded with spectators, that I thought in all my travels I had not seen a more populous place.
The city is an exact square, each side of the wall being five hundred feet long. The two great streets, which run across and divide it into four quarters, are five feet wide. The lanes and alleys, which I could not enter, but only viewed them as I passed, are from twelve to eighteen inches. The town is capable of holding five hundred thousand souls; the houses are from three to five stories; the shops and markets well provided.
The emperor’s palace is in the centre of the city, where the two great streets meet. It is enclosed by a wall of two foot high, and twenty foot distant from the buildings. I had his majesty’s permission to step over this wall; and the space being so wide between that and the palace, I could easily view it on every side.
The outward court is a square of forty feet, and includes two other courts; in the inmost are the royal apartments, which I was very desirous to see, but found it extremely difficult; for the great gates from one square into another were but eighteen inches high, and seven inches wide. Now the buildings of the outer court were at least five feet high, and it was impossible for me to stride over them without infinite damage to the pile, though the walls were strongly built of hewn stone, and four inches thick.
At the same time, the emperor had a great desire that I should see the magnificence of his palace; but this I was not able to do till three days after, which I spent in cutting down, with my knife, some of the largest trees in the royal park, about an hundred yards distance from the city. Of these trees I made two stools, each about three feet high, and strong enough to bear my weight.
[Illustration: “HER IMPERIAL MAJESTY WAS PLEASED TO SMILE VERY GRACIOUSLY UPON ME” P. 50.]
The people having received notice a second time, I went again through the city to the palace, with my two stools in my hands. When I came to the side of the outer court, I stood upon one stool, and took the other in my hand; this I lifted over the roof, and gently set it down on the space between the first and second court, which was eight feet wide. I then stept over the building very conveniently, from