Page:Inside Canton.djvu/172

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171
INSIDE CANTON.

hand, and she did not withdraw it. Although professionally accustomed to vigorous exercise, she was exceedingly plump—indeed too fat—and allowed none of the slenderness and grace of frailer plants trained in the shadow of domestic seclusion. Upon the whole, I was of the opinion of Pan-se-Chen about her. I would not have had such girls in my women's apartments—if I had been a Chinese. The musical abilities of the girl were very poor, and she danced like a tumbler, frisking and springing about with little taste.

While we were talking of China and France, we reached the landing-place of a house built upon the bank of a canal, of which the mandarin had given us the name. Inviting us to step out of the boat, Pan-se-Chen said to us, "I have brought you hither in order to carry out the design I have in view."

Callery, who alone understood these mysterious words, paid little attention to them. We crossed a vestibule paved with marble, where servants stood in waiting, wearing the blue cham and short trousers. We amended to the first storey by a staircase ornamented with tufts of flowers, and were then led into a chamber decorated with paintings of the gayest description, while in the middle there was laid out a collation, of which every component dish was indigenous. I looked at Callery, with a countenance which asked as plainly as possible, "Do you know

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