3 5 SIA M AND THE SIAMESE.
richly gilded ! The doors and windows, too, are more or less carved and gilded. Now we will go inside. The scenes with which these inner walls are so gaily painted are chiefly from the life of Buddha ; and see, at the farther end, on an ornamental throne, is an immense gilt image of this deity in a sitting posture. This is made of brick and mortar, but idols are sometimes of gold, silver, brass, ivory, wood and stone. All have the same self-complacent, sleepy look. Look ! a worshipper has followed us in. Watch his movements. See him prostrate himself before the idol, touching his forehead three times to the floor ; and now he lays his simple offering of flowers upon the altar. Mark the complacency of his countenance as he leaves, no doubt feeling that he has added not a little to his stock of merit.
But we must return to our boat and move on up the river, for I hope to have time to visit the royal temple and perhaps some others.
Ah ! there are some priests. I feared we should not meet any of these yellow-robed gentry. How strange they look with shaven heads and eyebrows ! Such as these are the religious teachers of the country. A few years ago there were ten thousand in Bangkok alone, and some thirty thousand in the kingdoma a perfect army (with few exceptions)kof self-conceited idlers ; but I am happy to tell yak.