Page:Inside Canton.djvu/175

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quity, were masterpieces in their way: they were woven like the celebrated portraits executed by the Lyonnese.

While we were being initiated, by means of these paintings, into the mysteries of the women's apartments, the door of the saloon opened noiselessly, and a domestic admitted three small-footed ladies. "Evil be to him that evil thinks!" You may throw doors and windows open, and read aloud what I am about to relate.

As soon as these women came in, the disgusting silken pictures were rolled up precipitately, and Pan-se-Chen said to us, "I might have taken you to my house; only when one has at home a regular wife and twelve ladies beside, it is impossible to do anything secretly. So, I have induced these young ladies, upon, whose discretion I can rely, to visit us here, under this humble roof."

Callery and I exchanged looks, thinking that the moment for the revelations was nigh; but we were mistaken; a Chinese never hurries things.

"Let us sit down at table," said the mandarin; "we will drink a cup of tea."

The young ladies, as Pan-se-Chen called them, stared at us at first with large, startled eyes; but it was not long before their surprise gave place to another feeling, and they bust into loud laughter under our very faces. I imagine there may have been an excess of self-appreciation in the feeling