Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/242

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
186
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

Tibetans who pass through here in the spring, I made a raid upon the shops, but in vain; all that I found was two good pieces of Chinese bronze. The owner and I could not agree on a price, so I left him to think it over until I came by again, and then he was away and his wife did not dare unlock his cases, although I offered her what he had asked. The rain poured down, but a crowd gathered to offer sympathy and suggestions, while my men and I argued with her. Would she not fare worse if her husband found she had missed a sale than if she disobeyed orders? All to no purpose, so I went away emptyhanded. That evening it rained brass pots, but alas, nothing that I wanted.

Usually in these small places the woman seems a very active member of the establishment, and I am told that a man often wishes to consult his wife before making a large deal. The Chinese woman, perhaps, lacks the charm of the Japanese or Indian, but in spite of her many handicaps she impresses the outsider with her native good sense and forcefulness, and I should expect that even more than the other two she would play a great part in the development of her people when her chance came.

It was again raining when we started the next morning; indeed, it seemed a long time since I had felt really dry, but the grey day harmonized perfectly with the soft English beauty of the country that lies