Page:Inside Canton.djvu/216

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215
INSIDE CANTON.

Upon her bosom, suspended by a button of the cham, she wore an oval case, prettily broidered, to hold her spectacles. Madame Poun-tin-Quoua had given up cosmetics, whether white or red. Her venerable wrinkles spread undisguised over her yellow face, which was slightly emaciated, but she was not in the least decrepid. Her manners were noble and distinguished, and she appeared much pleased with the tokens of respect which we paid to her. In this conjuncture we for once threw off our European stiffness, and imitated Pan-se-Chen in all his bowings and salutations.

Madame Poun-tin-Quoua said to us:—

"I used to see Europeans during my husband's lifetime. I am glad to see them friendly with my son as they were with his father."

We spent some hours with the old lady, who catechised us much more closely upon our impressions of China than upon the customs of Europe.

When we took our leave of her, she wished us long life, and especially an early return to our country and the bosom of our families. In leaving Madame Poun-tin-Quoua, we said to Pan-se-Chen:—

"Here is one woman, whom you love and respect!"

"Certainly; of course," exclaimed the mandarin; "she is my mother."

"Well; among the women of your house there are women who are also mothers!"

"Quite another thing, I assure you—that is my