Page:Inside Canton.djvu/113

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stop at the threshold of his door, and a great lady from the West descend from one of those elegant chairs, he ran forward as quickly as his old limbs would permit him. He hastened to lead Madame de Lagrene into his back shop, so as to withdraw her from the eager curiosity of the crowd, and he expressed his astonishment by all sorts of exclamations.

I am convinced that the visit of Madame de Lagrené to his shop marks the date of a new era to Talkee-True. Indeed, the traditional annals of his house had never related a like event. Preserves of all sorts were served on an old Japan tray, the bottom of which was, as it were, paved with little squares of painted porcelain. Plates of different forms, adapted to each other like a Chinese puzzle, were filled each with a different kind of fruit. In the middle of the tray was a two-pronged fork with an ebony handle, that every one might help himself without putting his hand in the dish. After the the preserves, we were offered tea in cups as light as egg-shells. Having done honour to the hospitality of old Talkee-True, we cast a glance over his museum: we visited first his principal shop, then the back shop, and afterwards the upper storey.

The curiosities of Talkee-True's warehouse may be classed thus: precious stones, bronzes, pictures on silk, old coins, bamboos, rhinoceros-horns, and porce-