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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 333MB


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      Very likely, my dear, said Mrs Keeling{106} amiably, and Im sure thats a beautiful bit of figured silk which he has his coat made of.

      A dignified native, with the fore part of his head closely shaven, was squatted on the floor in front of a little box about a foot high, which served as a table. Opposite was his wife, and at the moment our party looked in she was engaged in pouring something from a bottle into a small cup the size of a thimble. Directly under her hand was a bowl filled with freshly boiled rice, from which the steam was slowly rising; and at the side of the table was another and smaller one, holding some plates and chopsticks. A tiny cup and a bowl constituted the rest of the breakfast equipment. The master was waited upon by his wife, who was not supposed to attend to her own wants until his had been fully met. She sat with her back to the window, which was covered with paper in small squares pasted to the frame, and at her right was a screen, such as one[Pg 95] finds in nearly all Eastern countries. On her left was a chest of drawers with curious locks and handles, which doubtless contained the family wealth of linen.

      She looked at him a moment with eyes behind which there smouldered a real though a veiled hostility, and he found himself wishing that she would put it into words, and repeat definitely and seriously the accusation at which her dismal little jest about the work of the catalogue keeping him here in Bracebridge, had hinted. Then he could have denied it more explicitly, and with a violence that might have impressed her. But his roughness, his fierce challenging of her stupid chaff had effectively frightened her off any such repetition, and she gave him no opportunity of denial or defence. Only, as she left him, with the intention of seeing Alice before lunch, he noted this intensified situation. It had become more explosive, more dangerous, and now instead of taking it boldly out into the open, and encouraging{184} it to explode, with, probably, no very destructive results, he had caused his wife to lock it up in the confined space of her own mind, hiding it away from his anger or his ridicule. But it was doubtful whether she had detached the smouldering fuse of her own suspicions. They were at present of no very swiftly inflammable stuff: there was but a vague sense that her husband was more interested in Norah than he should be, and had he answered her chaff with something equally light, she might easily have put out that smouldering fuse. But he had not done that: he had flared and scolded, and his attempt to respond in the same spirit was hopelessly belated. She began to wonder whether Mrs Fyson was not right.... True, Mrs Fyson had said very little, but that little appeared now to be singularly suggestive.

      Do you really mean she has gone? he asked.

      "No; no, Richard, I wanted, and I still want, you to take care of me! But go, now, go! at once or not at all! Good-bye!" She laughed and fluttered away. I sprang upon my horse and sped into the forest.


      From the temple they proceeded to a garden, where they had an opportunity of seeing some of the curious productions of the Chinese gardeners in the way of dwarfing trees and plants. There were small bushes in the shape of animals, boats, houses, and other things, and the resemblance was in many cases quite good. They do this by tying the limbs of the plants to little sticks of bamboo, or around wire frames shaped like the objects they wish to represent; and by tightening the bandages every[Pg 407] morning, and carefully watching the development of the work, they eventually accomplish their purpose. If they represent a dog or other animal, they generally give it a pair of great staring eyes of porcelain, and sometimes they equip its mouth with teeth of the same material. Many of the Chinese gardens are very prettily laid out, and there are some famous ones near Canton, belonging to wealthy merchants.



      They descended the river to the sea, and then turned to the northward. Nothing of moment occurred as the steamer moved along on her course, and on the morning of the third day from Shanghai they were entering the mouth of the Pei-ho River. The Doctor pointed out the famous Taku forts through the thin mist that overhung the water, and the boys naturally asked what the Taku forts had done to make themselves famous.