Page:Inside Canton.djvu/106

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"The deuce! does he really possess the philosopher's stone?" I asked; with ironical earnestness.

The Englishman stopped, looked at me for a moment, and then slowly, emphasising every word, gave me the following explanation:—

"By means of a powder, of which he alone knows the composition, this man draws teeth without pain, without the aid of any kind of instrument; in other words, the teeth on which he puts his powder detach themselves and fall out after a certain time."

I regarded my informant with an air which was meant to say, " My dear fellow, you are mad, or you are quizzing me." But he struck his forehead, and exclaimed:—

"Ah, pardon me! I had forgotten that you are a doctor; and naturally you are on this point as incredulous as your colleagues."

"Say, my dear sir, as the most incredulous of my colleagues," added I.

"Nevertheless, testimony is something even in your opinion, and if hundreds of persons assure you that they have seen the phenomenon of which I speak?"

"Let us first see what is this testimony. Have you, my dear sir, passed under the hand of that fellow?"

"God forbid!" cried the Englishman, showing me two rows of teeth as white as those of a shark. "But my cousin John told me."