Page:Inside Canton.djvu/221

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and bestows it in its turn. The law of association will always rule; and a Chinese woman, to be seen as I have painted her, must be seen in the gilded prison which man has made for her. You must watch her tottering along, screen in hand, over those brilliant floors which reflect her features; watch her seated in her porcelain chair, her little body swaying to and fro without cessation; watch her eating with the mother-of-pearl chopsticks, which so well become her little fingers and her little mouth! Removed from these native conditions, the Chinese woman is a caricature; as the Turkish woman is a caricature, out of the harem.

Still, it does strike me that if Madame Li had visited France—and the idea was really just started for a moment—she would have been enthusiastically admired; that sonnets, madrigals, and odes, would have been at her truncated feet in showers. I have a foundation for this opinion: a lady friend of mine, having seen Madame Li a year after I had seen her, replied to my inquiry, as to what she thought of her:—"I thought her the most graceful, the most charming, the very prettiest, creature I ever saw in my life!"

This, then, is not my impression—it is that of a woman of taste unquestionably without bias in favour of a woman of another race. But, alas! Madame Li will never visit France. She died two years ago. Probably no memorial of her remains but that which I have intrusted to these faithful pages.