Madame Li was quite incredulous. She called for a soft towel, and having moistened it, took the hand of Madame de Lagrené and rubbed it vigorously. When she found that there was not a grain of either white or red powder on the skin, she held up the hand to her companions, exclaiming, in accents of astonishment:—
"It is true! it is true! the women of Europe have naturally a skin delicately coloured like the flowers in our gardens!"
To dress so as to please is the leading idea of the life of a Chinese woman; perhaps, indeed, of the women of all countries. Madame Li, grateful for the present of the bracelet, volunteered to instruct Madame de Lagrené in some of the secrets of the art of beauty practised at the toilettes of Chinese ladies.
"You have," said she, "a sweet mouth, small and red as that of an infant newly-born; but it would be smaller still if you would adopt the method we employ."
"What is that?" inquired the Ambassador's lady.
"I will show you!"
They brought to the young Chinese a saucer containing a pink paste; she took some up on the tip of her little finger, and very neatly made in the middle of the lower lip of Madame de Lagrené an artificial