1. Confucius in his life at home was shy and diffident, as if he were not a good speaker. In public life, however, in courts and councils, he spoke readily, but with deliberation.
2. At court, in conversation with the junior officers, he spoke with frankness; With the senior officers, he spoke with self-possession. In the presence of his prince, he looked diffident, awe-inspired, but composed.
3. When his prince called to him to see a visitor out, he would start up with attention, make obeisance to receive the command; then, bowing right and left to officers in attendance and adjusting the folds of his robes, he would quicken his step, and walk out, not stiffly, but with dignity and ease. When the visitor had left, he would return to his place, announcing simply, “The guest had retired.”
4. In entering the rooms of the palace, he would bend low his body at the door as if it were not high enough to admit him. In the room he would never stand right before the door, nor, in entering it, step on the door sill.
In passing into the Presence Chamber; he would start up with attention and speak only in whispers. Then, holding up the folds of his robes, he would ascend the steps leading to the throne, bending low his body and holding in his breath as if he were afraid to breathe.
After the audience, when he had descended one step away from the throne, he would relax his countenance and assume his ordinary look. After clearing the last steps, he would quicken his pace and walk with ease and dignity to resume his place among the courtiers, looking diffident, with awe and attention.
5. When he ha to carry the scepter of the prince, he would bend low his body as if the weight were too heavy for him; holding it not higher than his forehead nor lower than his chest, and, with his look all awe and attention, walk with slow, measured steps. At a public reception in the foreign courts to which he was sent, he behaved with great dignity. At a private audience in such courts, he was genial and engaging in his manners.
6. Confucius considered the following details necessary for a gentleman to observe in matters of dress: —
A gentleman should never permit anything crimson or scarlet in colour to be seen in any part of his dress; even in his underclothing he should avoid anything red or of a reddish colour. In summer, when dressed in a single suit of gauze or grass-cloth, he should always wear something underneath, worn next to the skin. In winter he should line a black suit with lambskin; a light suit with fawn skin; a yellow suit with fox skin. His fur underclothing should be made long, with the right sleeve a little short.
He should always have a change of night-dress. Which should be as long again as the trunk of his body. When at home in winter, he should be dressed in a suit of fox or badger skin., When not in mourning, he may have any ornaments of appendages on the girdle of his dress. His under-garment, except when it is worn as an apron (like the Free Masons now) on State occasions, he should always have cut pointed on the upper part. On a visit of condolence he should never wear a suit of lamb’s fur or a dark blue hat. On the first day of the month he should always put on his full uniform when he goes to Court.
7. On days when he fasts and gives himself up to prayer, he should always put on a bright clean suit of plain cloth. On such days he should always change the ordinary articles of his food, and move out of his usual sitting-room.
8. The following are the details which Confucius observed in matters of food and eating: —
In his food, he liked to have the rice finely cleaned and the meat, when stewed, cut in small pieces. Rice injured by damp and heat, or turned sour, he would not take; nor fish or flesh which was gone. He would not take anything that had an unwholesome colour or unwholesome flavour; nor any articles of food which had been spoilt in cooking; nor anything out of its season. Meat not properly cut he would not take; nor any dish served without its proper sauce.
Although there might be plenty of meat on the table, he would never allow the quantity of meat he took to exceed a due proportion to the rice he took. It was only in wine that he did not set himself a limit; but he never took it to excess. He would not take wine or meant bought where it had been exposed for sale. He would always have ginger served on the table. He never ate much.
9. After a public sacrifice, he would never keep the portion of meat he received over night. The meat he used in sacrifice at home he would never keep over three days; if kept over three days, he would not allow it to be eaten.
10. At table, while eating he would not speak. When in bed he would not talk.
11. Although he might have the plainest fare on the table, he would always say grace before he ate.
12. In ordinary life, unless the mat used as a cushion was properly and squarely laid, he would not sit on it.
13. When at a public dinner in his native place, he would always leave the table as soon as the old people left.
14. In his native place on the occasion of the Purification Festival, when the procession of villagers passed his house, he would always appear in full uniform on the steps of his house, standing on the left-hand side of the house.
15. When he had occasion to entrust a message of enquiry after the health of a friend in another country to any person, he would always, on the person entrusted with the message leaving him, make obeisance twice and see him to the door.
16. On one occasion when a noble, who was the minister in power in his native State, sent him a present of some medicines, he received it respectfully, but said to the messenger: “Tell your Master I do not know the nature of the drugs: therefore I shall be afraid to use it.”
17. On one occasion when, as he was returning from an audience at the palace, he heard that the State stable was on fire, his first question was, “Has any man been injured?” He did not ask about the horses.
18. When his prince sent him a present of a dish of cooked meat, he would always have it properly served on the table, and he himself would taste it before he allowed others to taste it. When his prince stint him uncooked meat as a present, he would have it cooked and then offer it first in sacrifice before his ancestors. When his prince sent him a live animal, he would keep it alive. When he had the honour to sit with his prince at table, after the prince had said grace he would first taste the dishes.
19. When he was sick, on his prince coming to see him, he would lie with his head to the east and have his court uniform laid over him with the girdle drawn across.
20. When he received a summons from his prince he would immediately go on foot, without waiting for his carriage.
21. When he attended the service at the Great Cathedral (ancestral temple of the reigning prince) he always enquired what he should do at every stage of the service.
22. When any fiend who had no one to perform the last offices, he would always say: “leave it to me: I will bury him.”
23. When fiends sent him presents, although these might consist of carriages and horsed, he would not on receiving them make obeisance. The only present which he received with an obeisance was meat which had been used in sacrifice.
24. In bed, he was never seen to lie straight on his back like a corpse. In ordinary life at home, he would never use formality.
25. When he met anyone dressed in deep mourning, although the person might be a familiar acquaintance, he would always look grave and serious. When he met with an officer in full uniform or a blind person, although he himself might be in undress, he would always behave with ceremony and punctiliousness.
When driving in his carriage, on meeting with a funeral cortege, he would always bend his head forward out of the carriage, to bow. He would behave in the same way when he met the procession carrying the mortality returns of the population.
At a dinner, whenever a dish en grand tenue was bought to the table, he would look serious and rise up to thank the host. On a sudden clap of thunder or during a violent storm, he would look grave and serious.
26. When about to mount his carriage he would stand in a proper position, holding the cord in his hand. When in the carriage he would look straight before him without turning his head. He would not talk fast or point with his fingers.
27. As they turned to look at it, it instantly rose and, hovering about, it settled again. Somebody said, “Ah! Pheasant on the hill! Ah! pheasant on the hill! You know the times! You know the times!” Confucius’ disciple, the intrepid Chung Yu, conned it over three times; then, suddenly understanding the meaning of the remark, made and exclamation, rose, and went away.