Page:Inside Canton.djvu/214

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is the explanation of this reversal of natural laws in China."

He called the two men, who ran up directly.

"What are you weeping for?" he asked of the lachrymose individual.

The person questioned did not breathe a syllable.

His companion, however, spoke for him:—"Don't mind him, Nhon: the silly fellow is crying because his wife died this morning."

"Poor man! it is natural enough for him to cry," said Fitter. "And you are scolding him for it, I suppose?"

"Come, Nhon, you are as unreasonable as he is! Do you weep when you tear up an old coat? Do you weep when you lose something that has been useful to you for a long time? Then why weep for a wife? She is just like a best suit in your wardrobe. It is not worth while to fret about losing her; it is easy to go and buy another!"

Yet these Chinese, who have no natural affection for their wives and their tsié, are tender and respectful towards their mothers, even to the length of positive idolatry. Pan-se-Chen, the millionaire, the voluptuary, the savant, the man of intellect, never held himself released from those duties to his mother, which are so sacredly enjoined. As soon as he reached home, his first care was to salute her, his next, to inquire if anything had vexed her in his absence—if everybody in the house, great and small, had been