Page:Inside Canton.djvu/108

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107
INSIDE CANTON.

medicament. It was simply powdered camphor, in the midst of which one might detect some seeds imperfectly pounded. I separated a few of these vegetable particles, and ascertained, by their form and their taste, that they were remnants of divers aromatic herbs related to the angelica and fennel. I followed the prescription, which the dentist had given me, with perseverance and very conscientiously; he, on his part, came to see me in our house at Thè-ki-Han, precisely as he had promised. The moment he entered, I opened my mouth; he thrust in his dirty fingers. I allowed him to do so, so great at that time was my devotion to science. He seized with his thumb and forefinger the second upper molar tooth, on which I had imprudently allowed him to make his experiments. He gave my head a shake, sufficient to dislocate the vertebræ of the neck, but the tooth braved all his efforts, and remained set in the gum as firmly as ever.

The operator then explained at length, and with much pomposity, to my interpreter, who, with a wise air, approved by gestures all he said, that the tooth was much loosened and ready to fall of itself, but that it would be better to aid it by means of a little instrument which he had in his case. And the monster advanced towards me armed with a pair of enormous pincers, and with a formidable key, which must certainly have been manufactured in the days of the first Emperors of China. The instrument was hideous

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