Page:Inside Canton.djvu/191

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Pan-se-Chen still obstinately misunderstood me, and observed, "You will, sooner or later, I perceive, coincide with me in my opinion of the beautiful. God creates, but man brings to perfection. Nature made our Emperor as handsome as she could, but art has made him handsomer; and his nose, his ears, and his forehead are not so fine in the copy as in the original."

"Very good," said I to Gallery; "you must get permission to have this portrait copied, and we will make it known all over France."

Callery having explained our wish, Pan-se-Chen acceded, under the express condition that we should have the painting copied without disclosing who it was that gave us the permission. This reservation on the part of Pan-se-Chen surprised us, as he was usually so free in all his communications with us. Callery inquired the reason, and the mandarin replied:—

"It is forbidden to possess a portrait of the Emperor. This one was made clandestinely during a religious ceremony, and I doubt if you will find any painter who will dare to copy it for you."

Pan-se-Chen was right. When Rondot proposed the reproduction of this sacred effigy to several artists of Tsin-Youèn and Toung-Wan, he found their scruples invincible. "It is not worth while," said they all, "to run the risk of twenty blows with the bam-