Page:Inside Canton.djvu/141

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comedies, or sometimes merely sentences written in large characters, were suspended from the walls; there was nothing in the centre of the room; at the sides were two black tables opposite one another, and arm-chairs, of reed or wood, all round. On our arrival, an elderly female of distinguished appearance, bowed and then retired discreetly; another woman, young and becomingly whitened with rice flour, soon after brought us some tea. The two women represented in this household Sarah and her servant Hagar; the distance which separated them, was especially indicated by the deformity of the one's feet, and the ample and commodious shoes of the other. But there was nothing to predict for the latter the fate of the Egyptian slave: she was the mother of the "Ten-thousand-pieces-of-gold," and it was not to be presumed that Sarah would ever make amends for her long sterility. This establishment was peaceable and comfortable; all the family seemed happy. We heaped a thousand caresses on "Ten-thousand-pieces-of-gold," who, at a word from her father, came and seated herself familiarly on my knees; it could be seen that the affection of the whole family was centred in this little child: her feet were not yet compressed, but her face was painted; and her head was surrounded with a little band of black velvet, delicately embroidered with green and gold silk.