Page:Inside Canton.djvu/220

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219
INSIDE CANTON.

word, in England and France, the only Chinese women beheld as yet have been—the rejected of the flower-boats of Canton!

For the rest, in order to comprehend the beauty of the Chinese women, it is necessary to comprehend the style of Chinese art; to be able to look kindly upon their contorted architecture, their fantastic decorations, their dragons with notched and twisted tails, their impossible flowers, their childish tastes, and even their stumpy, etiolated, and moss-eaten trees. These conditions granted, you may find many charms in that strange product of human whim, that being in whom the vital forces have been sapped, whose physical development has been arrested, in order that she may never expand to the full, and may remain all her life a pitiable, suffering creature—a Chinese woman. You may really come at last to love these elegant and graceful creatures, with their helmet-like masses of black hair, whose slanting eyes wear an expression of goodness and sweetness unutterable; who resemble, in their little caressing, wilful ways, artful, spoiled children. Everything in them will seem loveable, even their little feet, bound with rings of gold, and imprisoned in red bandages!

The sentiment of unity, of congruity, is profoundly active, and ever present in the human mind. Whatever man creates links itself with some other thing; borrows completeness from its environment,

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