Page:Inside Canton.djvu/104

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103
INSIDE CANTON.

out being seen, an unexpected incident happened to complete the spectacle. Her chair crossed the procession of a new bride. Musicians blowing their hautboys marched at its head. Then came men carrying flags of all colours floating in the air: to these succeeded others bearing parasols of red silk, of the form of a sieve, and ornamented all round with long pendant fringes. Three gilded chairs, decorated with flowers and ribbons, followed the parasol bearers. On this sort of portable altar were exposed to the admiration of gastronomers, whole roast pigs, succulent geese, and cakes of all kinds. A few women in sedan chairs preceded the palanquin of the new bride, who was, as it were, enclosed in a sheath of satin, of the most brilliant colours. At last, children in their holiday clothes, and a few pedestrians, closed the procession.

This encounter was one of the odd incidents of our expedition. Madame de Lagrené and this young girl, meeting without seeing each other, must each of them retain an ineffaceable impression of this day. The young Chinese cannot forget the moment when she renounced her name to take that of a family till then unknown to her; and in the midst of her souvenirs of travel, Madame de Lagrené will preserve that of the emotion she must have experienced when for the first time she set her foot on a land