Page:Inside Canton.djvu/189

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year one, to go and ferret about in the recesses and corners of the room. My curiosity was rewarded. I discovered in a bye-nook, almost concealed by a frame of European manufacture, a portrait of high ethnological interest. It was evidently that of a man of Asiatic origin; the square forehead was furrowed with wrinkles; the ears, like a bat's wings, looked as if nature had intended them for fly-flappers rather than to finish off the organ of hearing; the eyes, crushed up between the summits of the cheek-bones and the orbital arch, seemed as if they were going to take a turn round the temples; the nose was flat and large; the mouth, which was enormous, was yet half hidden by some gray and black hairs; and the white beard tapered away to the shape of a camel-hair pencil below the pointed chin. The head was bald and shaven, and a yellow cloak fell in wide folds over the shoulders of this worthy, who held in his hand the joueï, which is the symbol of authority. After an attentive study of this painting, I said to my friends:—

"Pan-se-Chen pretended, the other day, that nature could never come up to the sublime conceptions of the artist in the matter of female beauty; and I fancy she would find herself equally distanced in her efforts to realise the types of masculine ugliness invented by the Raphaels of the Flowery Land. Do look at this horrid old baboon!"