Skip to main content

Full text of "The night tide : a story of old Chinatown"

See other formats

The Night Tide 

A Story of Old Chinatown 




New York 

Sheridan Square 

Copyright, 1920, by 


Chan Gow Doy smiled with satisfaction zvhen his eyes fell 










The Man Without Ancestors 5 


The Girl Who Had Eaten Meat 





Male and Female Spirits 
Consolation For The Dying . 
The Oath of The Chicken's Head 









The Vision in The "Long Draw 
The Prophet Speaks . 
The Working of a Miracle 
The Coming of The Law 
The Law of The Clan 





The Mortgaged Slave Girl . 
The War of The Tongs . 
The Highbinder Woman . 









Gambling for Her Freedom 


Unexpected Turn of Fortune .... 


The Water-Snake Shows Its Head . 


Contending With The Evil Spirits . 


Prophet and Priest Combine .... 


Obstinate Spirits and Determined Men 


The Death Song 




I. The Feel of Steel Bracelets 145 

II. The White Woman and Yellow Men . . 156 

III. The Bait In The Trap 168 

IV. The Trap Is Sprung 176 

V. The Snake In The Grass 188 

VI. Throwing Dust in The Snake's Eyes . . . 197 

VII. The Old Woman's Bribe 203 


I. A Little Foreign Devil 209 

II. A Sacrifice To The Gods 217 

III. Another Pig For Market 230 

IV. The Toad In The Burrow of The Mole . 241 
V. The Runaway Pig 247 

VI. A Laborer In The Vineyard 254 


I. The Home Of The Two Crippled Sons . . 263 

II. Little Chicken 268 

III. Quan Quock Ming's Revenge 273 

IV. The Boy Girl 284 

V. An Accounting Demanded 290 

VI. Glory of His Ancestors 295 

VII. The Girl Boy 304 

VIII. An Account Is Settled 308 

IX. A Prophecy Fulfilled 314 


Chan Gow Doy smiled with satisfaction when his eyes 

fell upon the fortune-teller . . . Frontispiece 


When Chew Foo hid her in the foreign part of the city he 

smiled, saying, "I will keep you for myself" . . 66 

"The old woman who guards you beats you often; and 
you know very well that you will be killed if you run 
away" 102 

"I've got you this time, Little Pete," said the official 183 

It was the afternoon before Chinese New Year and under 
the influence of the warm February sun Quan 
Quock Ming fell into a doze 279 

The illustrations are used with the kind permission of the Sunset Mag- 



The tide of night life in old Chinatown was 
just at its turning. The mimic emperor of an an- 
cient dynasty, with a final stamp of his paper boot, 
a farewell wave of his wooden sword and an ex- 
piring tremor of his cardboard armor, had just 
surrendered the stage of the sweltering and 
reeking theater to the adventurous rats and 
cockroaches from the cellars and sewers be- 
neath. The last insistent clash of cymbals had 
silenced all at once the shrieking fiddles, the wail- 
ing flageolets and the noisy banqueters at the 
Lotus Flower. From every quarter near and far, 
like irregular bursts of musketry, came the crash 
of triple oak and steel doors, and out of the bar- 
ricaded gambling houses glided file upon file of 
pale ghosts, visible for an instant under flicker- 
ing and sputtering arc lights before they faded 
into the spectral night. 

In the street of the Golden Chrysanthemums, 
where wistful faces peered from barred windows, 
the gaudy lanterns with misty aureoles were 
whisking out. Here and there flashes of light 
spanned the narrow passage, only to be blotted 
out by slamming doors and clanking bolts, and 

2 • 

' ' Trtt NIGHT TIDE 

hollow laughter on painted lips ended in sobs as 
slave girls turned away to weep out the night in 
silence. The yellow phantoms that shuffled past 
scarcely stirred the chill air, heavy with the per- 
fume of sandal wood and lily blossoms, thick with 
the dead odor of burned poppy juice. Plunging 
and struggling through the night fog came the 
melancholy shriek of the last ferry boat cross- 
ing the bay, and a single clang of the big clock at 
St. Mary's. Then all was still but for the sift! 
sift! siff! of slippered feet scurrying always from 
a host of malignant spirits and hurrying ever 
toward the Ten Courts of Justice in the King- 
dom of the Dead. 

"Are they all so hopeless as they seem?" I 
asked of my companion, Little Pete. 

The light of his cigar illumined his face for 
an instant, and it, too, was ghastly. 

"Every man of them carries his coffin on his 
back," he answered. 


"No; evil spirits." 

"And the women?" 

"The women!" There was both surprise and 
contempt in his tone. "They have nothing to do 
with it all but to work and to wait." 

"For what?" 

"Work for the men and wait for the worst.** 


"It is too long coming — so they pray to the 
Mother of Heaven to hasten it. But how can the 


one little goddess permitted to them contend 
against the many gods allotted to men. The 
death of a woman always causes some man dis- 
comfort, and the gods cannot permit that." 

"Ah ma!" 

It was a scream almost in my ear, followed in- 
stantly by a blinding flash and a deafening roar. 
A figure sprawled on the sidewalk at our feet; 
then came the soft patter of slippered feet on a 
creaking stair, the shrill of a patrolman's whistle 
in the distance, the thud of heavy boots pounding 
down the street toward us and the flash of a 
night light in our faces. 

"Hello, Pete! Has the Big Chink started 
something again?" 

U I know nothing of the matter." 

u The hell you don't!" 

Later, over a plate of preserved fruits and a 
pot of Mandarin tea, I asked: 

"Who is the Big Chink?" 

"A man with the wisdom of the gods, the cun- 
ning of demons and the heart of a chicken," an- * 
swered Little Pete. 

"Do you know him?" 

"As I know my own shadow." He flicked at 
the ash of his cigar with the inch-long nail of 
his little finger, watching the glint and sparkle 
of his solitaire a full minute before he looked 
me in the face again. "When you hear the 
death cry in your ear, when you see tears on the 
cheeks of a woman, when you hear a girl scream 


in the night you will surely see, if you look sharp- 
ly enough, the shadow of him on the wall." 

"What is his name?" 

"Quan Quock Ming." 

"His business?" 

Upon the face of Little Pete appeared the 
smile that must have earned for him the name 
bestowed by his people — Fung the Perfect. 

"He is a promoter of happiness and longevity." 

Almost nightly for weeks, at the turning of 
that tide, we met, sometimes behind the barri- 
caded doors of a deserted gambling house, oc- 
casionally in the silk, lacquer and perfume of a 
singing girl's reception room, but oftenest on the 
carved and gilded balcony of the Lotus Flower. 
And nightly, while I watched the flitting lights on 
the purple bay or the golden glow of the city be- 
yond, hearing only the murmur of his melliflu- 
ous Cantonese or faultless English, Little Pete, 
with fingers as deft as an Indian silk-weaver's, 
gathered the threads of Quan Quock Ming's life 
and wove them into fantastic patterns easily un- 
derstood and never to be forgotten. 




My mother, with the waters of sorrow stream- 
ing down her cheeks and falling on mine, had 
held me close in her arms and kissed me for the 
last time, and had slipped her last silver coin 
into my trembling hand. I had waved my yellow 
silk handkerchief until I could no longer dis- 
tinguish her form in the group ashore, or hear 
her voice admonishing me to be a good boy and 
never, never forget her. Then it seemed that the 
summer sun was suddenly obscured, and the har- 
bor was full of dismal depths into which the 
sampan threatened to plunge after each sickening 
uplift; and I, who had been so eager to depart 
and so fearful that I might not, was filled with a 
mighty longing to return, knowing that I could 

Then it was that I crouched in the stern of the 
sampan and whimpered like a sick puppy, until 
a wrench at one ear and a slaptm the mouth made 
me yelp and take my knuckles out of my eyes to 



discover the rude interrupter of my grief; and 1, 
a very small boy with a large and disconsolate 
heart, stared in gaping terror through a fresh 
flow of tears at — him, a very big man with a 
terribly fierce frown. 

"Hai-e-e!" he growled. "There are two les- 
sons in one, and nothing to pay. That should 
teach you to keep your ears open and your mouth 

His severity and my discomfort impelled me 
to put one hand over my mouth and the other 
over the ear for protection and alleviation, es- 
pecially as I had nothing better to do with my 
hands. Then, realizing that one covered an ear 
which he had commanded me to keep open, and 
the other could hardly hold my mouth, through 
which my heart was ready to burst, a new spasm 
of fear seized me, and I held both hands over 
my closed lips, let my tears trickle through my 
fingers and smothered my distress in sobs. The 
fierce one relaxed his frown, but still staring at 
me, said, not unkindly: 

"Now, my son, that your ears are open, you 
may listen. First dry your eyes, then open your 
mouth and speak of the causes of such a disturb- 

When I had succeeded in swallowing my heavy 
heart, I told him, with many tears and sobs, the 
exact truth (which is not so difficult when one is 
very young) ; and the truth was that my mother, 
fortunately, had many children, though little 


money, while my uncle, unfortunately, had no 
children and much money; that I had no father, 
but my uncle in the land of the white foreign 
devils beyond the great sea had adopted me, and 
would teach me to earn money and worship my 
ancestors; that it was a long way to the place 
where the sun rises, and it might be a very long 
time before I could see my mother again; and 
that I doubted if the silver coin she had given me, 
even though it were the equivalent of a thousand 
copper cash, would pay my passage back, if I 
should become sick for my home or be stoned by 
the foreign devils. 

"My son" — his voice was earnest and his 
demeanor grave — "even at this moment you are 
more fortunate than I, for I have nothing — 
no money, no women folk, no ancestors, and, 
worst of all, I have a bad fung shut." 

I glanced at the handkerchief in which he car- 
ried a few articles, and observing it he continued: 

"That holds as little promise as my life — a 
cold pipe, a box without opium and a lamp with- 
out oil. How can one live and prosper with a 
bad fung shut, when he cannot drive away the 
evil spirits that pursue him?" 

I could not answer that, nor could I understand 
how one could preserve his life so long and his 
health so well without the blessings that come on 
favoring winds and flowing waters from the 
tombs of ancestors advantageously located. I 
knew that my mother would never have permitted 


my departure if the geomancers, who selected the 
burial-place of my father, had not assured her 
that the fung shui was good. So I merely shook 
my head. 

"One more lesson, my son," and when I quickly 
clapped a protecting hand over the ear that had 
not been pulled, he smiled a little and said: "Not 
of that sort. But attend upon what I shall say. 
You have a good fung shui, no doubt, so if you 
would be both prosperous and happy have always 
a tranquil mind, a courageous heart and a gener- 
ous hand. Remember that you have kindred, 
money and ancestors, while I — why I have not 
so much as a single friend or a copper in cash." 

He seemed so melancholy and winked his eyes 
so quickly that I was quite sure, had he been as 
young as I, he, too, would have whimpered; and 
I knew that his liver was large with benevolence, 
though his hand was heavy when he was dis- 

I had been so much humored and so seldom re- 
proved by indulgent relatives that I was alto- 
gether unaccustomed to such correction as he had 
administered, but instead of resenting it deeply, 
I felt that he was one I should respect, obey and 
serve; and to show I was worthy of the interest 
he had taken in me, I asked very politely : 

"What is your honored surname?" 

"My insignificant surname is Quan," he re- 


"Distinguished and venerable Quan, what is 
your age?" 

"Alas, I have wasted forty years." 

"Sir scholar, I would be your poor, cheap 
friend, but I doubt if my fung shui would help 

"My son, you have a benevolent liver and a 
proper respect for your elders so we shall be 
friends and help one another whenever possible 
— shall we not?" 

We had reached the ship before I could frame 
words to tell him how happy I was to find so 
good a friend, even though he had a bad fung 
shui and no ancestors; and then I remembered 
that he had no money either, so I paid the sam- 
pan man twenty cash — ten for him and ten for 
me. And from that moment Quan Quock Ming 
has never failed to give me good advice when I 
required it, and I have never refused to give him 
money when he needed it. Therefore our friend- 
ship has endured. 



On the vessel's deck many of my countrymen, 
some of their women and a few children, were 
mixed in great disorder and confusion with num- 
berless boxes, baskets and bundles, over which 
some stood guard and others disputed, while still 
others, wishing neither to stand nor to quarrel, 
sat listening, watching and waiting until some 
one would tell them what disposition to make of 
themselves and their belongings. The midday 
heat and the excitement of embarkation produced 
intense irritation, and men bested in disputes 
cursed their wives, whereupon the women scolded 
their children, and the children screamed. 

Quan Quock Ming found a clear space, let 
himself down on the hot boards heavily, laid his 
bundle beside him, clasped his hands over his 
knees and fixed his gaze wistfully toward the west 
where Canton lay, paying no heed whatever to 
the uproar beyond frowning occasionally when 
some man cursed more fluently, or some child 
screamed more piercingly than usual; while I, 
feeling the need of my new-found friend in the 
strange surroundings, sat as near to him as po- 
liteness would permit and sought diversion in 



observing all that came from the ferment. Some 
of the sights amused me very much, and all in- 
terested me. 

Soon a stoop-shouldered, pock-marked man, a 
squat, fat woman and a weazened girl came over 
the side and joined the company. The man and 
woman carried a few small parcels, while the 
girl reeled under an enormous bundle, and as she 
swung her burden from her back it fell with a 
clatter. The man struck her a blow with the open 
hand en one side of the head, and, as she stag- 
gered, the woman cuffed her on the other side. 
The girl crouched low between them, shielded her 
head with her arms and peered fearfully this way 
and that, but made no sound. After cursing her 
for her clumsiness the man and woman sat down, 
mopped their faces and grumbled of the heat, 
paying no more attention to her. 

"Did that hurt?" I asked, when she had found 
a place near me. 

"Not so much as hunger," she muttered list- 
lessly without turning her eyes toward me. 

"Do you get such beatings often?" 

"Yes; but I am fed twice a day." 

"Your tongue is thick in its speech. From 
what place came you?" 

"From up the river." 

"Where everyone hungers?" 

"Where people die for the want of a handful 
of rice, as my father did; where others die for 
stealing a handful of rice, as my elder brother 


did; and where a family can live for a month on 
half a mat of rice, as my mother and younger 
brothers and sisters will." 

"But what will they do when the rice is gone?" 

"Sell another girl." 

"And when all the girls are gone?" 

"Sell a boy to one who has no son to preserve 
the family name." 

"And what will your mother do, hungry one, 
when there are no more children to sell?" 

"Die — and lie unburied until the flood comes 
to bear away the bodies." 

I thought of my mother and began to feel a 
little sorrow inside of me, so I asked: "Do you 
never cry when you think of it all?" 

"How can one cry when one no longer feels 
the pang of hunger?" 

With shame I recalled my grief upon parting 
from my mother, so changed the subject. 

"What is your honorable family name?" I in- 

"I am of the family of Fong, named Fah." 

"Do you belong to them?" and I nodded 
toward the man and woman who had beaten and 
cursed her. 

"Yes; they paid half a mat of rice for me." 

"Are you their servant or their adopted 

"How should I know? Why should I care 
when I remember that I have eaten meat? I 


may be sold as a slave to-day, or I may be given 
in marriage to-morrow." 

When she, a child not much larger than I who 
had lived but ten years, spoke of marriage Quan 
Quock Ming turned and gave her such an ap- 
praising scrutiny as one would bestow upon a fowl 
in the market-place, but remained silent; so I 
asked the question that I thought was in his mind. 

"What is your age?" 

"I had enough to eat for twelve years and was 
hungry for three." 

She was watching a baby beside her eat cakes, 
and as the crumbs fell she picked them up and 
munched them greedily. 

"Are you hungry now?" I asked. 

"I feel no pain, but 1 could eat always," she 
replied. "They say that I am a great pig. I 
have heard my honorable master say we are 
going to a country where no one ever hungers, 
and all have meat every day, but I cannot see 
how that can be true. Can you?" and she stared 
incredulously when I told her that I had given 
the matter no thought. 

Soon we were led to different parts of the ship, 
I to the quarters of the men, which made me feel 
very important, and she to the place reserved for 
the women and children; and when I observed 
that Quan Quock Ming's eyes followed her I 
thought he might feel as kindly disposed toward 
her as to me. 



As long ago as I can remember I was told that 
if I were not a good and obedient boy I would 
be given over to the white foreign devils, who 
would carry me to the other side of the world 
in a great devil boat that had no oars or sails, 
but was driven by fire; so, when I found myself in 
the hands of the fan quai and upon just such a 
vessel, I was terrified, even though many of my 
countrymen were with me and did not seem to be 
disturbed in the least. Then I had the thought 
that the tale of my uncle adopting me had been 
concocted to get me away with as little trouble as 
possible, and I wondered what wickedness qf 
mine had finally decided my mother upon the 
execution of her oft-repeated threat; and whether 
she had given me up willingly or with the sincere 
regret she had manifested. 

In my doubts and fears I felt greatly the need 
of my new-found friend, and I kept as close to 
him as possible, being at the same time very 
watchful ; and once when a fan quai sailor started 
suddenly toward me I seized Quan Quock Ming's 
arm and screamed in a convulsion of terror. 
Everyone laughed at me, but I did not relax my 
vigilance and hung closer on his heels, being care- 



ful to keep him between myself and the white 
devils who tortured me with grimaces and grabs 
at me. That was no easy task, as he took no rest 
at all but continually walked hither and thither, 
sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, pausing oc- 
casionally in a way that led me to believe he in- 
tended to rest, then starting off again so suddenly 
that I could scarcely keep pace with him. Down 
into the sleeping quarters where some of my 
countrymen were chatting or smoking opium, then 
up again, and to this and to that side of the ves- 
sel he would hurry. He paused oftenest and 
longest where the opium smokers were, speaking 
to no one, even ignoring the customary greet- 
ings and friendly inquiries of our countrymen, but 
watching intently while one prepared his opium 
and then rushing away at the first puff of smoke. 
As darkness fell over the harbor the small 
boats hurried back to their moorings. One by 
one the twinkling lights appeared here and there, 
and I shivered a little, more from the fearful still- 
ness than the evening cold. Quan Quock Ming, 
too, seemed fearful, for he started at sounds and 
shrank at shadows, and at times cursed or mut- 
tered or gesticulated excitedly. His inexplicable 
behavior augmented my fears, so I crept closer 
to him in my loneliness, hoping he would speak 
with me and stay the tears that were ready to flow. 
And he did. Though Quan Quock Ming has been 
my very best friend for many years I have never 
known him to converse with anyone so freely as 


with me that evening, while we stood at the side 
of the ship watching the lights on the shore that 
we were leaving. 

"My son," said he, u we shall soon leave be- 
hind us our country, our homes, our people and 
our ancestors." 

"But, sir scholar," said I, "you told me that 
you had no ancestors." 

"I had ancestors, but I have lost them." 

I waited for him to explain that to me, but as 
he remained silent I asked: 

"Would you be good enough to tell me, sir 
scholar, how one can lose his ancestors, except by 
death; and even then their spirits return to him?" 

He turned his eyes from the shore and kept 
them cast down as he walked quickly to and fro 
without speaking, while I, with very long strides, 
attempted to keep pace with him so that I might 
not lose his answer. While I was thinking that 
I might have given offense by asking an imperti- 
nent question, he said: 

"Your father died, and his friends went to the 
housetop and called to him to return. They 
placed uncooked rice and roasted flesh by his side 
and afterward buried his body in the earth with 
the head to the north, while they, with their faces 
to the south, looked to heaven, whither his spirit 
will go in its proper time. 

"In every man, my son, the intelligent spirit is 
of the shan nature, and the animal spirit of the 
kwei nature, just as there are male and female 


flowers upon the same plant. All the living must 
die, and dying return to the ground with the kzvei, 
but the shan issues forth and is finally displayed 
on high in a condition of glorious brightness. 
Kzvei is the mother spirit that watches over us 
here, while shan, the father spirit, is finding the 
way to the Land of the Immortals. 

"The shan of your father is now in the Ten 
Courts of Justice in the Kingdom of the Dead, 
which lies at the bottom of a great ocean beneath 
the earth. The kzvei of your father remains with 
his bones, which are buried on a height in dry 
soil, that they may grow yellow with the passing 
of the years, and rest in peace. And the kzvei 
looks down upon you with benevolence and comes 
freely to the ancestral tablet on the family altar 
to receive your sacrifices and hear your prayers. 
So it is with all your ancestors whose contented 
kzvei has not yet reunited with the purified shan in 
the Land of the Immortals. Thus your fung shui 
is good." 

"But is it true, sir scholar, that the dead can 
have knowledge of the service we render them?" 

"When Tsze Kung asked the illustrious Kung- 
foo-tsze that, the master answered: 'There is no 
present urgency about the point. Hereafter you 
will know for yourself.* M 

Quan Quock Ming stopped suddenly before 
me, and gripping my arm so hard that I winced 
with the pain of it, said: 

"The sons of Quan know for themselves!" 



Quan Quock Ming sighed deeply, rested his 
arms on the vessel's rail and kept his eyes fixed 
upon the distant shore that grew darker each 
moment as the lights began to wink themselves 
out; and after a few moments of silence he began 
to speak in low, earnest tones. 

"There was one of the family of Quan," he 
said, "who grew weary of the beatings of the vil- 
lage schoolmaster by day and the watching of 
his father's pulse field by night, and he took to 
the river — the great river that bears the good 
and the bad, the profitable and the unprofitable, 
the unstable living and the unburied dead steadily 
and irresistibly to the sea. He paused where the 
tide turns it back upon the shore and became a 
watcher of the river and a gatherer of its bur- 
dens, skimming the surface and searching its 
depths for the profit that may come from the liv- 
ing or the dead. 

"In time the son of Quan bought a boat and 
took a wife — one born and reared in a sampan, as 
were her parents and her grandparents before 
her. She seldom placed a foot upon the land, 
knowing the great city only as a place where one 


must leave his habitation and brave many un- 
known dangers even to buy the evening meal. 
She took her place at the oars and did a man's 
work with her strong arms, and a man's cursing 
with her sharp tongue; and there she bore him 
two sons, pausing only in her labors long enough 
to dip them in the muddy waters of the river and 
put a single garment upon each. 

"Unlike others of the river class the father had 
acquired enough of the classics to know their 
worth, and when his sons were old enough he sent 
them from the boat to the schoolroom to have the 
ancient wisdom beaten into their heads, while he 
plied the oars with only their mother's grumbling 
aid. Through the succeeding years he remained 
poor, honest, industrious and economical, and 
being altogether a worthy man, merited the good 
fortune that came to him so unexpectedly, for one 
day he found the floating body of a white foreign 
devil, and in the pockets were 150,000 cash, all 
in coined gold, of which one ounce is the equiva- 
lent of 12,000 cash. Being well advanced in 
years, he turned his boat up the river toward his 
native village where all were his near kin; and 
there he bought a good house and productive 
land, and settled himself to spend his old age in 
such ease and tranquillity as the possession of 
great wealth would warrant. 

"When his kinsmen of the village learned of 
his opulence they protested great friendship and 
sought loans, pleading various needs; and when 


he refused them as courteously as possible, they 
tried to defraud him in devious ways. May their 
wicked hearts be eaten by dogs! But they failed, 
for he knew the ways of the country as well as 
the manners of the city. The villagers became 
very angry and did much to vex and annoy him; 
and when he still walked his way with no show 
of resentment, they became bolder till even the 
old women and children would shout after him: 

11 'Hai-e-e ! Ducks fatten on the livers of the 

"Know, my son, that they who live by the land 
feel a great superiority over such as live by the 
water, and speak of them as Mucks.' So those 
words were contemptuous. And in the third 
ward of the ninth court of justice ducks feed upon 
the livers of the dead; therefore those words 
were insulting. 

"Often the villagers would stealthily set their 
dogs at the old mother — may their wicked skulls 
be filled with porcupines! — and laugh when she 
jumped in fright to avoid the curs that snapped 
at her bare heels, for she would never wear 
shoes, though the stones made her limp and 

"In time he of the family of Quan selected 
wives for his sons from a neighboring village, 
and though all of his kinsmen, with their wives 
and their children, went to the wedding feasts 
with trifling presents and soft words, they ate 


and carried away much more than they gave, and 
secretly cursed the provider. 

"The family worked diligently in the fields and 
grew good crops, but they could not watch so 
closely that their envious kinsmen would not 
steal the grain before it could be garnered; and 
often the elders of the village imposed heavy 
fines upon the old man because he would not as- 
sist others in guarding their crops against 
thieves, while his own was being stolen. Ha-i-ie ! 
May their rotting bones be rapped with ham- 
mers! And when the floods washed away a bit 
of ground from a field, the owner would go at 
night and take baskets of soil from the fields of 

"The' old mother could never accustom her- 
self to village life or to farm labor, and was 
never content with the earth under her feet or 
a roof over her head. She often humiliated the 
family and exposed herself to the ready ridicule 
of the villagers by running away to the river, sit- 
ting in the rain or wading in the roads when a 
heavy downpour made torrents of them. As the 
villagers grew more vexatious she used her sharp 
tongue more frequently, and the old father was 
no longer strong enough to give her such a beat- 
ing as would keep her quiet in the house. 

"One day, after she had beaten both of her 
sons and their wives with a stick, and quarreled 
with her husband because he would not let her go 
back to the sampan and the river, she climbed to 


the roof of the house, took off her clothing in 
the sight of the whole village and yelled and 
cursed until she could no longer make a sound. 
Her husband, in shame and disgrace, took to his 
bed and refused meat and drink; and when it was 
whispered through the village that the rich man 
was about to die, his poor kinsmen, as usual, 
quarreled among themselves over the selection 
of a funeral director. 

"The sons, who must be plunged in grief upon 
the death of their father, could do nothing so 
improper as to attend to the business themselves; 
and it was certain that much money would be 
spent upon the funeral of such a wealthy man. 
It was equally certain that many cash would stick 
to the fingers of the director. When the elders 
could not settle the question among themselves, 
they went to see the old father about it, and the 
family could not be so discourteous as to refuse 
them admittance to his bedside. 

" 'You are about to die, venerable uncle," said 
one, 'and we have come to ask that you select 
one among us to direct your funeral.' 

" 'I do not believe it possible for me to die 
now,' said the old man, very politely, 'though I 
would, very gladly and quickly, if I but had gold 
leaf to eat. I cannot hang or drown myself, for 
such a cheap death would be a great disgrace to 
one of my station; but, alas! I am too poor to 
buy gold leaf and die an expensive death.' 

M 'You are very wrong, venerable uncle, to say 


such a thing/ argued another, and all of them 
nodded their heads many times. 'You are surely 
about to die of a sickness, and even if you are 
not, we would respect you none the less if you 
should, upon reflection, decide to hang or to 
drown yourself. Remember, it is only very high 
officials who can eat gold leaf.' 

M 'And do not forget, venerable and respected 
uncle/ urged another, 'that you have lost your 
face in the village. If you should take your own 
life at once it would establish your innocence; 
but if you should die a lingering death people 
would still talk/ 

"Then all of them busied themselves in taking 
off the clothing he wore, in putting the funeral 
garments upon him, and in bringing in the coffin 
he had kept in readiness for a long time, each 
meanwhile urging such reasons as he could give 
why he should be selected to take charge of the 

" 'I am your blood relative and nearest kins- 
man, venerable uncle, and therefore should bury 
you/ said one. 

" 'You have had no experience with funerals, 
and I have had a great deal, and have always 
satisfied the relatives of the dead/ argued an- 

" 'But neither of you has a catafalque or 
dishes, as I have,' declared a third. 'Therefore 
I will not have to rent them, and that will be a 
great saving/ 


14 'The most important matter is the sacrificial 
meats/ urged another. T am a butcher and 
therefore can buy very cheaply, and I will watch 
closely, so that none will be stolen/ 

"Thus they wrangled until the old man turned 
his back upon them and died without uttering 
another word." 

Quan Quock Ming paused so long that I 
thought he expected me to speak, so I said : 

"So much attention paid to one who has lost 
his face must have been a great comfort in his 
last moments." 



Suddenly I discovered that the last light had 
disappeared and we, Quan Quock Ming and I, 
were swinging to and fro in utter darkness. I 
crept closer to him and clung to his coat, sick 
with fear, and it was not till he spoke again that 
I dared look behind me. One of the ship's lamps 
that seemed miles away assured me that we were 
not already on our way to the Kingdom of the 

"The elders of the village held many meetings, 
all at the home of the dead," continued Quan 
Quock Ming, "and it was necessary to provide a 
feast each time. And each time they said: 'We 
will eat first and then discuss the matter !' And 
after they had eaten: 'Now we must sleep upon 
it.' At last, when they had consumed everything 
that could be provided, they selected a funeral di- 
rector by casting lots. 

"The elder son gave him 20,000 cash to buy 
the meats and cover the other expense, and he 
sent to a nearby village for an ox, two pigs, a 
goat and many fowls; but on the way home the 
kinsmen of the family attacked the bearers with 
sticks and stones, drove them off and stole the 



meats. May boiling oil be dripped upon their 
naked bodies! 

"The son gave the director 10,000 more cash, 
but he was dishonest and bought little meat, and 
the greater part of it was stolen by the villagers, 
while the family waited for the geomancer to 
select a burial-place that would assure a good 
fung shui to the descendants of the dead; and 
when the funeral director led the musicians, the 
bearers and the mourners across a field of grow- 
ing pulse to the chosen spot, the owner of the 
field, with some of his neighbors, attacked the 
procession, beat the mourners and threw the cof- 
fin into the road. Under cover of night laborers 
placed it in the tomb; and the sons lost their 
faces in the village because they gave their father, 
who was a wealthy man, such a poor, cheap fu- 

"In the three years' period of mourning, the 
sons, of course, could transact no business and 
raise no crops. The old mother wandered away 
to the river and was never seen again. At the 
end of the third year the brothers sold the house 
and land for 80,000 cash, but they could not be 
so discourteous as to count the strings when they 
were paid over by the middlemen, so afterward 
found only 850 instead of 1,000 cash to the 

"Still, with confidence in the good fortune that 
must come to them from the bones of their an- 
cestor resting in tranquillity in a high place, they 


turned their faces to the city at the mouth of the 
river and took up the former vocation of their 
father. By industry and frugality they saved 
nearly 15,000 cash in three years, and then the 
wife and the infant son of the elder brother — his 
first-born — died upon the same day. 

"Aih-yah7 Such a terrible misfortune could 
come only from a bad fung shui! 

"The brothers could not rest until the elder 
had returned to his father's tomb to learn if by 
any chance the grave had been disturbed, or if 
water that mildews the bones had invaded it. 
Hai-e-e ! It was worse than that — much wors<- 
The body had been removed, and the remains of 
another were resting there. An elder of the vil- 
lage had died, and his relatives had stolen the 
tomb so that they might get a good fung shui, 
while the bones of Quan were rotting in a damp 
hole at the foot of the hill. 

"The son first offered sacrifices to the tutelary 
gods and worshiped the memory of his ancestors 
at the village temple, and then made complaint 
to the elders, saying: 

" 'These wicked men have murdered my wife 
and my first-born son by stealing my father's 
grave and throwing his bones in low place,' but 
the elders only shook their heads and answered: 

u 'If murder has been committed you should 
complain to the district magistrate.' 

"When, very justly and properly, he gave the 
son of him who had been buried in his father's 


tomb a well-deserved beating, the elders met to- 
gether again and listened to the shouting of the 
one who had been beaten, urging always : 

14 'Ten us more/ 

"But they turned deaf ears to the son of Quan, 
saying : 

" 'You talk too much.' 

"They decided that for his wickedness he and 
his descendants should be cut off forever from the 
family of Quan and denied the right to worship 
the ancestral gods at the village temple. Then 
his kinsmen set upon him with sticks and stones 
and drove him away. May sheep tread the fes- 
tering flesh from their bones! 

"Bruised and bleeding he dragged himself to 
the feet of the district magistrate, complained of 
the beating he had received and had the villagers 
brought to answer. They knocked their fore- 
heads upon the floor, shed many tears and cried 

11 'This wicked man attacked a peaceful clans- 
man without provocation — one who had per- 
formed his filial duty well by burying his father in 
a good place at great expense.' 

" 'It is true that this man has disturbed the 
peace of honest villagers,' said the magistrate. 
'Let him be beaten upon the feet with bamboos 
and then be kept in prison until his kinsmen pay 
the villagers 10,000 cash as damages,' but he 
said nothing of the 10,000 cash the younger 
brother had to pay to him as squeeze. 


"Aih-yah! What terrible misfortunes come 
from a bad fung shut! 

"The brothers returned to Canton, tramping 
and begging like wandering Hakkas, but there 
they quickly hunted out a near kinsman of one of 
the wicked elders of the village up the river, and 
gave him a good beating. Within a week their 
boat was destroyed in the night time. 

"Thus the misfortunes that one must expect 
from a bad fung shut pursued them wherever 
they went, and they knew they could not hope for 
peace or prosperity until their father's bones were 
reinterred in the place selected for them, where 
they would be at rest and his spirit would be con- 
tent and benevolent. So together they went to the 
village whence their wives had come, and there 
employed men to go at night, throw the bones of 
the elder out of the grave and reinter the re- 
mains of their father; but the villagers soon found 
it out, and they threw the body back in the hole 
at the foot of the hill. 

"The brothers were good, pious men, de- 
termined to fulfil their filial duty to the dead, so 
they hired fighting men to go to the village of 
the clan of Quan on the market day and beat the 
elders; but complaint was made, the brothers 
were thrown into prison and beaten and starved 
until their last copper cash had been wrung from 
them. Then their home in the city was burned 
at night, and all of their ancestral tablets were 
destroyed. How is it possible for such terrible 


things to happen, except through a bad fung shuif 
"The brothers, without money, without shel- 
ter and without ancestors, found a kinsman of 
their mother who was good enough to take them 
upon his junk, but on the second day it was sunk 
in the river by a typhoon. The wife of the 
younger was drowned, but his ten-year-old daugh- 
ter was saved and sold as a slave. 

"It may have happened that the brothers were 
not drowned, though they were seen no more, 
either upon the river or in the village; and it may 
be that it was they who sold the daughter for 
money enough to pay the passage of one to the 
land of the fan quai, where gold is plentiful and 
easily acquired. But this much is certain: If 
either be living, he will fight for his father's tomb 
until he is laid in his own, for the brothers knelt 
beside the humble grave of their father at mid- 
night, and, cutting off the head of a chicken, took 
a solemn oath to perform their filial duty if it 
took their last cash and their last breath. And 
you know, my son, that he who violates that 
oath shall live like a chicken, shall die like a 
chicken and shall, in the next life, be a chicken! 
"So it is, my son, that one may lose his an- 
cestors. It is vain for him to place ancestral 
tablets upon the family altar, for the spirits are 
blind to his pious sacrifices and deaf to his earnest 
prayers when his fung shui is bad; but they come 
in strange ways, and in unexpected forms, and at 
inopportune moments, bringing pain, misery and 


misfortune. Even a son may be born to him, and 
at the very instant of his rejoicing over the great 
good fortune, the child will die; and then he 
knows that it was not really a son, but an evil 
spirit sent in that guise to mock him. His nights 
are filled with fearful visions, and his days are 
full of woe. 

"You have, no doubt, observed my perturba- 
tions, my son, for all this day I have felt that 
some great calamity is impending, and I have not 
a single cash to offer as a sacrifice to the gods, 
who alone have power to avert it. Aih-yahl n 

Quan Quock Ming looked about him appre- 
hensively, peering this way and that into the dark- 
ness, opening and closing his hands convulsively 
and breathing brokenly, until I was nearly dead 
with fright. And then, quite providentially, I 
thought «f the silver coin my mother had given 
me, and offered it to him, crying: 

"Take this quickly! Will it be sufficient?" 

He seized it and ran toward the lower part of 
the ship, leaving me terror-stricken to grope my 
way through the awful darkness. 

I found Quan Quock Ming lying upon his berth 
in placid and languid content. His eyes were 
bright and his brow unfurrowed as he smiled 
upon me, and said: 

"My son, my pipe is warm, there is opium in 
my box, there is oil in my lamp and there is con- 
fidence in my heart, for the evil spirits no longer 


Of the first days of the voyage I remember 
little, save that I wanted to die and feared to 
do so lest I disturb Quan Quock Ming, who lay 
torpid with opium in the berth below. The siz- 
zling of the drug and the puffing of smoke merely 
punctuated his stupor of deathly stillness, for 
there are no sighs in an opium-smoker's dreams.' 
As my sickness began to leave me I felt such a 
hunger as Fong Fah had mentioned, but it was 
as much of the eyes and the ears as of the mouth; 
and after I had devoured a dish of smoked her- 
ring and rice and had licked out my bowl, I lis- 
tened eagerly to my countrymen chattering over 
their evening meal like children over their New 
Year lichee nuts. 

"At the next full moon," said one, "we shall 
be in the land of the fan quai, who drink as much 
sam shu at home as in Canton, and are as stupid 
at bargaining." 

"All one has to do to earn money," said an- 
other, "is to wash soiled linen or roll tobacco 
leaves. I am told one receives as much as a 
thousand cash for a single day's labor." 



"If one does not care to work for coined sil- 
ver," said a third, "he is free to go where he will 
and wash out the rough gold, as pure as the 
bracelets of a singing girl." 

"And the grains of gold are larger and more 
plentiful than grains of rice up the river," de- 
clared another. 

All talked much of their homes, their families 
and their honorable ancestors, and of the trivial 
things that had happened to them and to their 
kinsmen. Then I heard Quan Quock Ming, who 
held himself aloof from his countrymen, mutter: 

"The fools prattle of gold, and gold is drop- 
ping from their lips," but to me there seemed to 
be little wisdom in that remark. 

In the days that followed he smoked less and 
[wrote often in a large book I had given him at 
his request, with the ink and brush I had lent 
him on his suggestion; for he explained that the 
book could be of no use to him without the brush 
and the ink, and they could be of no service to me 
without the book — which was quite true. When 
he was not reading what he had already written 
he was splitting bamboo into slender strips, such 
as are used in large fans, smoothing them care- 
fully and placing on each with India ink charac- 
ters that meant nothing at all to me, but neverthe- 
less appeared very important and mysterious. 

One evening when the others had gone to en- 
joy their pipes in the open air, I hung my head 
over the edge of my berth to watch Quan Quock 


Ming cook his opium, and he was talking to him- 
self in low growling tones, saying: 

"I shall neither soil my hands with dirty linen 
nor roll the coarse tobacco leaf for the fan quai 
so long as I can roll the juice of the poppy bloom 
for myself. Nor shall I burrow in the earth like 
a mole, or guzzle in the mud like a duck, even 
for grubs of gold. Let my countrymen have all 
of that," and I considered it very generous of 
him to leave all of the gold for the others. 

Quan Quock Ming gave the warm opium its 
last roll on the bowl of the pipe and placed it 
over the vent. He stretched his limbs out a little, 
shifted his body to ease the shoulder upon which 
he had been lying, licked his lips, pressed the 
stem of the pipe against them and held the opium 
over the lamp. As he inhaled the fumes slowly 
and mightily his face purpled and his chest 
swelled, but not so much as a thimbleful of smoke 
escaped until the sizzling and the sucking had 
consumed the last grain. 

Open-mouthed and breathless I had been watch- 
ing him take the "long draw," and was just gath- 
ering a fresh breath when his nose wiggled rab- 
bitlike, and his nostrils spread, and then twin 
blasts of nauseous vapor nearly strangled me. 
I fell back on my berth choking and gasping, and 
I thought of the dragon of China slaying with 
its breath. There was a great weight upon my 
stomach (which was very cold) that held my 
body to the bed, while my head (which was very 


hot) rolled about so loosely that the ship went 
with it, threatening to capsize and drown us all. 
But I thought it did not matter much. 

Quan Quock Ming rose and strutted to and 
fro with shoulders back and head erect, for he 
had taken just enough to soothe the nerves that 
clamored and to stimulate the mind that lagged. 
His eyes were big and bright and his voice was 
deep and strong as Re soliloquized: 

"What if you were born in a sampan? What 
if your first breath was a gasp from a ducking in 
the muck-laden waters of the Pearl river? What 
if you have no money, no womenfolks, no ances- 
tors and a bad fung shut? You are no longer a 
garbage-fed scavenger of the river — a filthy duck 
without wings. You are a man with a strong 
body and a subtle mind. You have read the 
Four Books and the Five Classics, and they 
should teach you not only right living but good 
living, and both without physical exertion or 
mental fatigue. You should acquire wealth and 
achieve fame, and have fine progeny to conserve 
the one and preserve the other. Men are fools; 
make men your tools." 

Of this I am certain: From that "long draw" 
came all that afterward happened to Quan Quock 



My countrymen had finished their evening 
meal, washed their bowls and laved their hands, 
and one of the family of Lee had used the hand 
towel of one of the family of Chin — a very 
filthy thing to do. The two quarreled noisily 
over it, and had already wound their queues 
around their heads when Quan Quoclc Ming 
spoke : 

"You are fools," he said so quietly and de- 
cisively that the quarrel, which seemed so im- 
portant a moment before, was instantly forgotten. 
"You are fools to quarrel over that which may 
never be — the disease that one may get from an- 
other's towel; and you disturb the tranquillity of 
those who have given no offense to either of you. 
It is only from a tranquil mind that wisdom flows, 
for he who so orders and composes his intelli- 
gence that he is undisturbed by the present, lives 
wholly in the past and in the future; and he who 
knows all that lies behind can see all that stretches 
before. If you knew what the future holds for 
you, you would not be quarreling over such a 
trifle as a filthy towel." 



Before either could reply Quan Quock Ming 
drew from beneath his mattress the slips of bam- 
boo, shook them loosely in his hands and ordered 
each to select one, saying: 

"I know naught of you, naught of your ancestry, 
and naught of your destiny, but with these ques- 
tion sticks you interrogate the gods, and they re- 
veal all to me. I am but their interpreter." 

He carried the sticks to the light and studied 
the characters inscribed upon the)m, muttering 
mysterious words that had the sound of those I 
once heard a white foreign devil utter when he 
fell into a hole in a street of Canton. 

"You are the son of Chin You Do, of Chin 
Bin village, Sun Ning district," he said to the 
Chin man. "When you were twenty-nine days 
old you were given the milk name of Ah Sam, 
for you were the third child. After the smallpox 
had marked your face you were called Tow Pai 
by your friends and relatives. When you were 
sent to the schoolmaster you were given the book 
name of Chin Din, and when you were married 
you took the name of Chin Foo Wing. Your 
wife is Wong Yoke, and you have two children — ■ 
a boy and a girl. You broke your arm by falling 
over a dog, and your father, who was a prosper- 
ous farmer, once had two pigs and seventeen 
ducks. Is it not so?" 

Chin Foo Wing could only open and close his 
mouth in astonishment, but a bolder person said: 

"Chin Foo Wing has told us all that." 


"What Chin Foo Wing tells you, that you be- 
lieve; what the gods tell me, that I know'* said 
Quan Quock Ming sternly. "Has Lee Jung also 
told you of the knife that he has hidden in his 
sleeve, and with which he intended to kill Chin 
Foo Wing? Shall I tell you more of these two 

"Sir scholar, I lied about the ducks,'* confessed 
Chin Foo Wing. 

"I was about to speak of that. Your father 
had eight ducks one year and nine another, which 
made seventeen." 

"Hi low/" assented Chin Foo Wing at once, 
being very glad to learn that he had not lied so 
very much after all concerning his father's wealth. 

"My son," said Quan Quock Ming to Lee 
Jung, "a misfortune, which cannot be averted, is 
impending. You will meet with an accident soon, 
and it will be painful but not grave." 

Then he told them of other things that lay in 
the future — provided all went well during the 
voyage, and no misfortunes overtook them in the 
land of the fan quai. 

"Sir scholar, would you accept from one so 
mean and ignorant a silver coin for oil and punks 
to burn at the altar of your illustrious ancestors?" 
asked Lee Jung. 

"And also from one so low and humble as I?" 
begged Chin Foo Wing. 

Each bowed three times in the giving, and 
Quan Quock Ming accepted with gracious alac- 


rity, which seemed peculiar when I remember his 
telling me that he had lost his ancestral tablets 
and had no ancestors to worship. 

"Now," said he, "permit me to retire to my 
meditations and prayers, and disturb not my tran- 
quillity lest you offend the gods." 

Every head was bowed low and all eyes were 
cast down while the sage walked slowly and 
solemnly to his bed, and all kept very still while 
he was composing himself in his berth, scarcely 
daring to look upon his broad back. One whis- 
pered to me that I might place my foot upon his 
berth in climbing into mine, so as not to profane 
the resting-place of the prophet; and Lee Jung, 
observing that his chest occupied a little of the 
space in front of Quan Quock Ming's berth, 
moved it softly to its proper place. All went si- 
lently and stealthily to their beds, and later on 
those who were awakened by their own snoring 
started up in fear and cast apprehensive glances 
toward the resting-place of the prophet. But 
the gods doubtless knew that he had two silver 
coins for sacrificial oil and punks, and permitted 
him to sleep undisturbed. 

My countrymen agreed that Quan Quock Ming 
must be a man of great piety and wisdom, for he 
had the serenity of a Buddhist priest, he quoted 
the teachings of Confucius, he worshiped the 
Taoist gods, and he followed the precepts of all 
three religions; but that was not strange, as none 
but the wisest priests can say where one begins 


and another leaves off. All talked much of his 
marvelous revelations, disputed as to his exact 
words, argued as to the source of his wisdom, and 
discussed the matters he might reveal, the con- 
sequences that might follow and the marvelous 
power of one so gifted; and all wondered why he 
had taken his departure from the land of exalted 
wisdom, merciful gods and beneficent ancestors. 

Observing that the men no longer gambled in 
the evenings, but sat and smoked in silence, he 

"My sons, do not let my presence interrupt 
your innocent and harmless diversions, for time 
hangs heavily upon the hands of all who are ig- 
norant of the past and blind to the future. There- 
fore resume your fan tan and pat gow, and do 
not fear to disturb me." 

Made bold by his tolerance, many sought his 
counsel and advice daily, and all heard astonish- 
ing things of the past and amazing things of the 
future; but from listening much I learned that 
there is much uncertainty concerning the things 
that are to be, because they depend upon the 
whims of the gods rather than upon a fate that 
is worked out like a sum in mathematics; and one 
must be very careful not to offend them or omit 
frequent sacrifices lest something unexpected and 
disagreeable happen. Therefore, as Quan Quock 
Ming explained, one really needs to be told of 
his past not at all, but he should seek to learn 
the future frequently; and he told the bankers of 


the games (who always won), "Good luck at- 
tends you to-day," and the players (who usually 
lost), "Fortune will be against you, so do not 
play to-day." 

In return for the great service rendered none 
could do less than offer him a tael of silver for 
each fortune told, and this he always wrapped 
in red joss paper to cast into the sea, for many 
said they had seen the paper thrown when the 
prophet thought he was not observed and the coin 
must have been in it. That was well, for a ter- 
rible storm arose and threatened the destruction 
of the ship, and it was only after each man of 
the company had given five taels as a sacrifice to 
the sea god and Quan Quock Ming had offered 
many prayers for our safety that we were saved. 

At the same time the prediction that Lee Jung 
would meet with an accident was fulfilled in this 
manner: While the prophet was worshiping the 
storm gods and interceding for us, he commanded 
Lee Jung to close the door at the top of the stairs 
in the wind god's face; but the god was angry 
and struck the door a mighty blow the instant 
Lee Jung took hold of it, forcing him back; and 
as his feet touched the top step they suddenly 
went from under him and his body shot out into 
the air. I turned my face away, but I heard him 
scream and I heard him fall; and when I looked 
again he was lying quite still with one leg doubled 
under him. 

In an hour the storm was over, and the surgeon 


of the ship was putting splints on Lee Jung's leg, 
and everyone was saying: 

"It is miraculous! Quan Quock Ming is a 
great prophet, and he has saved our lives I" 

I was running up the steps after the storm to 
look at the sea when I slipped at the top one, 
upon which someone had carelessly dropped 
pieces of soap, and nearly broke my leg too. 
This the prophet had not predicted, doubtless be- 
cause I was a mere child and had not sacrificed 
five tack. 



When the vessel lay at an island port for 
twenty-four hours several went ashore, Quan 
Quock Ming among them, and visited our coun- 
trymen, many of whom had taken black islanders 
for temporary wives. The first evening after our 
departure Eastward the prophet, who seemed 
more gracious than usual, said to Fong Kit, the 
owner of the girl Fong Fah : 

"Come, my son. I have never told you 
whether you are to have good or bad fortune." 

After much persuasion and a great deal of re- 
luctance Fong Kit selected one of the question 

"Aih-yah! What could be worse!" exclaimed 
Quan Quock Ming almost as soon as he had 
glanced at it. "A great calamity is impending. 
Because of your wickedness you have angered the 
gods and brought all of us into great danger. 
Haie!" He shook his head and frowned. 

"What is it, sir scholar?" asked several as 
they cast menacing glances at Fong Kit. 

"This wicked man bought a widow's daughter 
for half a mat of rice, promising to adopt her at 
his daughter and not to sell her as a servant or a 



slave, else he would have been compelled to give 
a whole mat of rice. He offered her for sale in 
the land of the black islanders, but haggled over 
the price because he was told that he could get 
more money for her in the land of the white fan 
qttai. Now the curse of the gods is upon him 
and upon all of his family, and even upon the 
girl, for she is properly his adopted daughter. 
They have sent evil spirits to give him the small- 
pox, and he is spreading it among you." 

"But he and all the rest of us have had it, sir 
scholar, and surely we cannot have it again," said 

"The fan quai are in great fear of it, for they 
do not pass it from one child to another as we 
do; and if they find it among us we shall be cast 
into the sea, or at the very least sent back to 
China. To-morrow the pestilence will appear 
upon the face of Fong Kit for the second time. I 
have said it." 

"Aih-yah! Kill him! Throw him into the 
sea before the fan quai see him!" they shouted, 
and Fong Kit clung to the prophet's leg, begging 
to be saved from his countrymen, from the wrath 
of the gods and from the evil spirits, and promis- 
ing to do anything that might be asked of him 
to avert such a great misfortune as threatened 
his countrymen. 

"I shall do what I can, but it is a very difficult 
matter," said Quan Quock Ming, shaking his 
head as though he were without hope. 


Then he wrote "Yee Ling," the name of the 
god of medicines, upon a slip of red paper and 
placed it over the altar in the living places, as we 
had no figure of the joss on the ship; and then Ke 
worshiped for a long time. Afterward he took a 
vial of oil, and pouring some of it upon another 
piece of joss paper, anointed Fong Kit upon the 
forehead and around the mouth, for it is at these 
points that the disease first shows itself. 

"Now, my sons, retire each to his resting-place 
and await the issue," commanded the prophet. 

It is perfectly true that by the very next morn- 
ing the disease had appeared upon Fong Kit's 

Being but a child I was permitted to go to the 
women's quarters and had seen much of Fong 
Fah and had spoken freely with her, though it 
would have been very immoral for her to converse 
with a man; and I was very sorry to learn that 
more misfortune had come to one who had en- 
dured so much. She worshiped the Mother of 
Heaven often, and she never spat toward the 
north, stared long at a rainbow or at the moon, 
nor sighed in front of the cooking furnace, and it 
did not seem right that one so full of filial piety 
and reverence for the gods should be cursed for 
the sins of her foster parent. As she had grown 
quite plump and appeared very contented, though 
never really happy, I thought it probable that she 
did not know that she was accursed and would be 


rcry glad to learn of the matter, if it were told 
to her gently. 

"Have you heard any strange noises lately?" 
I asked. 

"Certainly," she answered. "One hears little 
else upon this great boat." 

"Well, have you teen any strange things 

"Truly; everything is strange among the fan 
qua*. The women all say that these wonderful 
things could not have been done by men alone, 
but they must have had the help of the great God, 
Sheung Tai. Still they must be very clever to 
find a way to get Him to help them." 

"Yes, I have heard the men say the very same 
thing," said I, "but that is not what I mean. 
Have you heard, or seen, or felt anything that 
might be the work of evil spirits?'* 

"How can one so ignorant as I tell what is 
good and what is evil among all these strange 
things? Are you wise enough to tell me?" 

It angered me to be mocked by her when I 
knew so much and she so little of a matter that 
was of such importance to her, so I replied: 

"You had best keep your eyes and ears open 
and say many prayers to your woman's god, for 
something is going to happen to you." 

"What is it? Am I to be sent back up the 
river, or is there a famine on the boat?" 

"I don't know what will happen, but evil spirits 


will make you pay for the wickedness of Fong 
Kit. The prophet has said it." 

"I have paid for the sins of my own ancestors 
and now I must pay for Fong Kit's. Well, it is 
my duty, I suppose, if I am now his daughter. 
I shall go at once and worship the woman's god." 

Each of my countrymen gave Quan Quock 
Ming ten taels of silver for sacrifices, and after 
spending three days and nights in prayers and 
supplications, he said: 

"My sons, the gods have been obdurate, but 
at last they have yielded and have shown me a 
way. It is more important that all of you should 
have happy and prosperous lives than that I, who 
have a bad fung shut, should seek to live in peace 
and tranquillity before I have restored my father's 
bones to the desecrated tomb and earned the 
beneficent protection of the spirit that guards 
them. Let the accursed Fong Fah be clothed in 
white with the red cloth about her head as for the 
marriage ceremony, and have her brought hither 
upon the back of her foster mother. I am com- 
manded by the gods, in order to save you, to 
marry Fong Fah and share her misfortunes. I 
shall not require the letter of three generations 
from Fong Kit, for I know Fong Fah's ancestry 
better than he; but if he demands it of me" — 
his voice grew loud and stern — "I shall give him 
a letter of three hundred generations." 

How his ancestors had been restored to him 
I never learned, as Fong Kit declared he would 


not think of demanding that their illustrious 
names should be exhibited like a Hongkong 
laundryman's list of soiled linen; but I suppose 
Quan Quock Ming found them with the ques- 
tion sticks. 

Fong Fah was carried in upon the back of 
Fong Kit's wife and placed in Quan Quock 
Ming's berth, for everyone knows that it is very 
bad luck for a bride's feet to touch the floor until 
she has reached the inner chamber of her hus- 
band's home, and that was the only home Quan 
Quock Ming had. As soon as her red cloth had 
been taken from her head she began eating of the 
wedding nuts and candies that had been thrown 
upon the berth, and when Quan Quock Ming was 
seated she knelt at his feet and gave him the two 
cups of wine. As he drank them Fong Fah 
munched candy and smiled, appearing very young 
and beautiful and not at all like one accursed. 

"Should I not be very happy?" she asked of 
me, as though she had heard my thoughts. 
"To get so fine a husband?" 
"No; to get such good things to eat." 
It was miraculous that Fong Kit recovered 
within two days, and not another mark was placed 
upon his face. But the prophet did not really 
cast the sacrifice money into the sea, for I heard 
it jingle in his pockets as we were leaving the 
ship, and when I spoke of it he said: 

"I am saving it to sacrifice all at once to the 
tutelary gods at the temple." 


Thus it was that Quan Quock Ming, who de- 
parted from China without a copper cash, with- 
out womenfolk, without ancestry and altogether 
unknown, arrived in the land of the fan qtiai with 
more than a thousand taels of silver, a young 
wife, three hundred ancestors and a great repu- 
tation for piety and wisdom. 



When I boasted to my uncle of the remark- 
able friend I had found, and told him how Quan 
Quock Ming had left China without money, 
without womenfolk and without ancestors; how 
he had foretold many marvelous things; how he 
had saved our lives quite miraculously; and how 
he had arrived in the land of t le fan quai with 
much money, a young wife and three hundred 
ancestors, my uncle smiled knowingly and said: 

u He must be a very clever man." 

"He is a very wise priest and a great prophet," 
said I, but my uncle merely wagged his head 
doubtfully, though there came a time long after- 
ward when he said quite seriously: 

"Quan Quock Ming is either a very great 
prophet or a very clever man; and there is little 
difference, my son." 

For a few days after our arrival there was 
much discussion among my people concerning the 
extraordinary events of the voyage, all who had 
seen and heard Quan Quock Ming, saying 
"prophet," and all who had not saying "man." 
Then, as the former were few and the latter 
many, and all had much else to think of and to 



talk about, he became just as another Chinese and 
was almost forgotten. But I met him on the 
street one day as I was about to buy some sugar- 
cane, and he spoke kindly to me and I politely 
to him. That he remembered me at all was sur- 
prising; but when he told me he had never for- 
gotten me and at that very moment had a luck 
charm he had made for me, it was astonishing; 
and when Quan Quock Ming explained to me the 
necessity of making a small sacrifice at the Tien 
How temple to make the charm more potent, I 
was glad to give him the ten-cent piece my uncle 
had given me. 

Then he told me in a few words that he had 
sacrificed every cent of his money to the gods, but 
they had in no wise relented; that evil spirits still 
pursued him and his accursed wife, Fong Fah — 
him, because of the wickedness of those who had 
desecrated his father's grave and brought to him 
a bad fung shut, and her, because of the iniquity 
of her foster-father — and that their misfortune;, 
continually multiplied. 

"Just see what has happened now!" he ex- 
claimed with great bitterness. "The swine of a 
woman has borne me a pig of a daughter." 

Then he asked if I were attending school; and 
when I said I was not, he generously offered to 
instruct me in the classics if I could induce my 
uncle to pay the cost and could procure some 
other pupils. As there were few teachers and 
many boys I got about twenty to go to him, and 


to compensate me he gave me the seat of honor 
at his left. He was a conscientious instructor 
and forced his pupils to work diligently, espe- 
cially in the practice of writing, saying: 

"Write all you know of your illustrious ances- 
try, and when you have done that write of your 
good friends and their honorable ancestors and 
of your bad enemies and their wicked progeni- 
tors, and of all that happens daily. Write of 
everything that you hear and see, for writing is 
very important." 

We did as we were commanded, and Quan 
Quock Ming manifested always a keen, kindly 
and patient interest in all that we wrote, reading 
it carefully, asking many questions and making 
corrections where we had made errors, and seem- 
ing never to tire in his efforts to get us to ob- 
serve, to inquire and to record. He often com- 
mended us for our diligence and rarely had occa- 
sion to reprove us for idleness or stupidity. He 
seldom beat us on the heads with his stick, and 
even on such occasions expressed profound re- 
gret that his tender heart would not permit him 
to punish us with deserved severity. Only once 
within my recollection did he become exceedingly 
angry, and that was when Hong Yee, who had 
received instruction in the school of the foreign- 
ers, wrote of a friend he had never seen named 
Jesus, the Son of God who was the first ances- 
tor of the Chinese as well as the fan quai. 

"Haie— el" roared Quan Quock Ming. "You 


are an unfilial little beast!" and he gave Hong 
Yee a tremendous thrashing. "That will teach 
you not to believe what the fan quai tell you, 
for they are very impious and great liars as well. 
Everyone knows that there is no family in the 
Middle Kingdom of the surname of God, and 
if there ever had been such an ancestor His 
memory would have been preserved by His 

To be starved in China or stoned in America 
was the alternative that confronted my country- 
men, so they came to a strange and inhospitable 
land and faced the angry foreign devils, smiling 
much and complaining little as they took bread 
and stones together. Having no official to speak 
for them, either to beg tolerance or to demand 
justice, they formed themselves into societies, 
according to the district whence they came, for 
their mutual benefit and protection; and when 
the presidents of these societies met together to 
consider matters of moment affecting all Chinese 
alike they were known as the Six Companies. 
But even they could not obtain justice, and in 
consequence there was much discontent among 
my people. 

When the Six Companies ordered a great pub- 
lic meeting to discuss the matter, Quan Quock 
Ming, who had been mentioned frequently as a 
man of great learning and wisdom, though his 
face was scarcely known, was invited to attend; 
and everyone was astonished when he strode in 


quite late and, without pausing even to look to 
the right or the left or to make the usual salu- 
tations, took the seat of honor at the left of the 
president, Lee Tsi Bong, but his appearance was 
so impressive that none of the other presidents 
dared to ask him to take a lower seat, though 
they scowled with displeasure. 

Through the whole meeting he sat on the edge 
of his chair with his knees wide apart and a hand 
on each, his shoulders straight, his head erect 
and his eyes fixed upon the scrolls from the clas- 
sics that hung on the wall opposite; and Lee Tsi 
Bong seemed to shrink and Quan Quock Ming to 
expand with each moment that passed, until all 
spoke toward him, though he noticed them no 
more than a joss would a rag-picker or a woman. 

"Honorable sirs," spoke Lee Tsi Bong, "this 
is a strange country of strange people and strange 
ways; a country where men respect even a big- 
footed woman but have no reverence for their 
elders; where women are permitted to associate 
with men in public places and even to transact 
business; where no one worships his ancestors, 
and few have ancestors to worship; where all 
touch the filthy hands of one another on meeting 
instead of each shaking his own; where men take 
off their hats instead of their shoes on enter- 
ing the home of a friend; where all have pale 
sickly faces and staring eyes, and the men have 
big beards and bald heads; where young men 
have the effrontery to wear beards before they 


have lived forty years; where every one boasts 
loudly of much law and great justice for all, 
though there is none for us. Now what can we 
do about all this?" 

u The fan quai have many magistrates," said 
Chew Foo, the interpreter, "and lawyers are as 
numerous and as busy as cockroaches in a kitchen. 
Each has many rooms filled with books, and 
every book is filled with laws upon every subject 
that men may dispute over — even laws concern- 
ing the driving of horses, the catching of shrimps, 
the picking of chickens, the beating of wives 
and all such trifling matters. Yet, when we have 
disputes and buy a big lawyer at a high price, 
we often lose, though we have plenty of money 
to pay the magistrate." 

"Now I would like to know what sense there 
is in buying a lawyer to lose a case, when one can 
just as well lose without paying a copper cash!" 
shouted Jeong Chuey, the merchant, and every- 
one said: 

"Hi low! That is true!" and all nodded 
their heads many times. 

"Even when a magistrate is paid by us to de- 
cide a cause in our favor," continued Chew Foo, 
"another magistrate says he was wrong and or- 
ders him to decide against us, but we never get 
our money back. There is a magistrate for 
widows and orphans, a magistrate for promis- 
sory notes and other debts, a magistrate for gam- 
bling and a magistrate for murder, and there are 


still other magistrates over all these to say that 
the lesser magistrates are ignoramuses. There 
are magistrates for the city, for the district, for 
the province and for the whole country. Our 
disputes are taken from one to another, and be- 
fore each a lawyer reads from his books saying 
the law is thus and so; and then the opposing 
lawyer reads from other books saying it is not 
thus and so, but this and that. The magistrate 
listens, finally saying what the law is, and then 
the lawyer who is dissatisfied takes the matter 
before another magistrate, who says that the first 
made a mistake. If anyone ever finds out what 
the law is, there are other officials who change it 
at once, so that no one ever knows it, though it is 
the law that everyone must know it. So if you 
pause to look into the window of a fan quai and 
a foreign devil kicks you, you say to yourself: 
'That must be a new law' and you pass on. It is 
not so in our country, for there the law is cer- 
tain, the decision prompt and the punishment 

"Chew Foo speaks truly," said Chin Dock, 
the butcher, "but he is from Canton and knows 
more of magistrates and less of law than we 
who are from the interior. In the coast cities 
men of all families, the Wongs, the Lims, the 
Lees, the Louies and the Chins, are intermingled, 
but in the interior districts each family has a 
village of its own, in which none but clansmen 
live; and the heavenly dynasty expects each fam- 


ily to do all things that are necessary to regulate 
itself, so the elders of the villages sit as judges 
and administer the law among their own kins- 
men. When they decide, all must obey, for that 
is the law." 

"That is quite true," spoke Wong You, "for 
when Wong Yick killed Wong Lock and fled to 
the rice-fields his father and grandfather were at 
once imprisoned by the elders of the village of 
the Wongs, and the very next day, as Wong 
Yick had not surrendered himself, they were 
taken out to the river to be drowned. Everyone 
knows that such a law is just and proper, for 
the elders of a family, who must be obeyed, are 
responsible for the conduct of their direct de- 
scendants. When the weights had already been 
tied to their feet, and everyone was saying 
'What an unfilial and impious son Wong Yick 
is to let his elders die this way/ and all stood 
with their heads bowed in shame for Wong 
Yick, he came running from the fields and was 
drowned at once, thus saving the family's face 
and proving that he was a good son. And it was 
all a matter that concerned only the family of 
Wong, and in which neither the magistrates nor 
other families had any interest." 

"I remember once," spoke Lim Toy, "that a 
Lee man was killed in the village of the Lims, 
and the elders of the Lee village complained to 
the elders of the Lim family, demanding that 
the slayer be killed or that the village pay the 


relatives of the Lee man one hundred taels 
of silver as compensation. But the elders of the 
Lim village proved that the Lee man had vis- 
ited a married woman of the Lim village when 
her husband was not at home, and the elders of 
the Lee village were forced to say: 'It is right 
that he should have been killed, for that is a 
terrible crime, and we bow our heads in shame.' 
But had it not been proven, the Lim village 
would have been forced to pay the money, or 
the Lee men would have been quite right in kill- 
ing an elder of the Lim village; and they would 
have killed man for man until peacetalkers from 
a friendly village could arrange a compromise. 

"In these things no one complains to the mag- 
istrates, for all learned many centuries ago that 
they imprison and torture litigants, those in the 
right as well as those in the wrong, and the wit- 
nesses for both sides, until they and all their 
clansmen have not a single cash left. Then per- 
haps all are punished for making so much 
bother. So it has come to be the law that fam- 
ily matters shall be settled by the families. Thus 
justice is done, and peace and good order are 

"Hi low!" shouted Chew Foo. "But how is 
it in this country? If a Lim kill a Lee the fan 
quai interfere and take him to prison. The mag- 
istrate of deaths says he killed the Lee man; the 
magistrate of small crimes says he killed the Lee 
man; the magistrate of great crimes and his 


twelve assistants say he killed the Lee man; and 
after a year or two the great magistrate say he 
killed the Lee man, but it was not properly 
proven. Then the lesser magistrate and his as- 
sistants again say that he killed the Lee man, 
and in another year or two the greater magis- 
trates say that he did not kill the Lee man, but 
if he did, it was not proven. Then the Lim 
man is released, though you all know it is the 
law of our country that he who kills another 
must prove he is innocent. And that is a very 
good law, for who knows so much about the 
matter as the one who commits the crime?" 

"But that is not the worst of the matter," 
spoke Lee Tsi Bong. "Everyone knows that no 
good luck can come from the spirit of a relative 
if his body be buried before his murderer is pun- 
ished. You may as well bury one with his feet 
to the north and be done with it. Now, how 
can we keep our relatives unburied for three or 
four years while lawyers and magistrates dis- 
pute about the matter? It is very unreasonable 
to expect such a thing. Without a doubt, sir 
scholar, whose honorable surname I am told is 
Quan, you can advise us wisely upon this per- 
plexing matter." 

Quan Quock Ming sat for a moment as though 
he had not heard, and then rose with great de- 
liberation and took from beneath his long coat 
the question sticks with which he interrogated 
the gods when telling fortunes. He shook them 


in his hands and held them toward Lee Tsi Bong, 
who selected one. 

M I know naught of you, naught of your illus- 
trious ancestors, naught of your business affairs, 
and naught of all the things that perplex you," 
he said as he took the stick chosen by Lee Tsi 
Bong, "but this reveals all to me." 

Then he took from his pocket a pair of large 
spectacles, which made him appear so important 
when they were on the end of his nose that no 
one thought of the discourtesy, and through 
them he studied the mysterious characters on 
the stick, while everyone kept very still waiting 
for the sage to speak. At last he raised his 
chin high and looking at Lee Tsi Bong through 
his spectacles, said: 

"You are Lee Tsi Bong, son of Lee Soo Doon, 
and he was the son of Lee King Chong. You 
are a merchant, your father was a merchant, and 
your grandfather was a merchant; and all of 
you have prospered, except that your grand- 
father's store in Canton was once burned, and 
you were once cheated by a foreign devil in this 
country, whereby you lost $1200. Is it not 

U H% low'* assented Lee Tsi Bong, while many 
others murmured "marvelous," "wonderful," and 
similar words, for all that Quan Quock Ming 
had said was quite true. 

"All that lies behind you in your life and in 
the lives of your ancestors," continued the sage, 


"is revealed by this question stick, but it is of 
more important matters that lie in the future 
that you would know. They are equally clear 
and certain, provided you follow the tao — the 
way — but if you turn to the right or to the left, 
you may offend the spirits of your ancestors, and 
their malignant influence will change all." 

Everyone had risen and many had pressed for- 
ward to hear more distinctly all that he might 
say, and when he observed it he frowned upon 
the people and waved them back with his 
hands, so that all took their seats hastily and 
stretched their necks greatly. When all were 
still again he said: 

"This is a very simple matter. If the gods 
of the fan quai are not beneficent, worship your 
own; if the attire of the fan quai is not com- 
fortable, wear your own; if the food of the fan 
quai is not savory, eat your own; if the law of 
the fan quai is not reasonable, make your own — 
and live in peace and comfort. Is that not wis- 

"Hi low!" shouted everyone, and all nodded 
their heads many times. 

"The great master said: 'To govern simply 
by statute, and to reduce all to order by means of 
pains and penalties, is to render the people 
evasive and devoid of any sense of shame. 1 So 
let all of the surname of Wong form one tong; 
all of the surname of Lee another, and all of the 
surname of Lim another, until each family shall 


have its own society governed by the elders. 
Then, though you of different families mingle 
under the same roof, you will still have your vil- 
lage law and government, so that when a Chin 
man wrongs a Chin man, complaint may be laid 
before the elders of the Chin family tong for 
settlement; and when a Wong man wrongs a Lee 
man, the elders of the Lee family man complain 
to the elders of the Wong family, and the mat- 
ter may be adjusted. If the elders refuse to do 
justice, let those of the complaining family pro- 
ceed as they would in their own country. But 
let no one complain to the fan quai officials or 
magistrates, but let all submit their own affairs 
to their own people for adjustment under their 
own laws.'* 

Everyone shouted his approval, and all pressed 
forward to converse at greater length with the 
philosopher, but he walked out of the meeting- 
place with long, slow strides, keeping his eyes 
straight ahead of him and saying not another 
word, though many important persons addressed 
him and sought by questions to detain him. 



The Chins, the Wongs, the Lees and the Lims 
were numerous, and the tong of each family was 
strong; but the Quans, the Loos, the Jeongs 
and the Chews were few, so they united in one 
society, naming it the Tin Yee, or Four Family 
tong, and taking an oath of great solemnity that 
bound them together as brothers of one clan. 

Chew Foo had been in this country long and 
spoke the language well, so he found profitable 
employment as a chut fan in dealings with the 
fan quai; but when there were few complaints 
to the magistrates, interpreters earned little 
money. Then he began to whisper to the offi- 
cials, to the writers of news and to the mission- 
aries concerning the doings of the gamblers and 
slave dealers, receiving pay for his tales and 
making much trouble for my people, for the 
foreign devils had made crimes of the things 
that had been lawful among us for centuries. 

Chew Foo had always a double face. To the 
fan quai he was a Christian who abhorred the 
ways of gamblers and slave dealers, and to the 
Chinese he was a believer in our gods and our 
laws who hated the meddlesome foreign devils. 



He sang songs and said prayers at the mission, 
offered sacrifices and took oaths at the Tien How 
temple, played fan tan in the gambling-houses 
and drank sam shu with the slave girls, all in 
one day; and though he was greatly suspected he 
was so sly that none could get proof against 
him, so he lived, had sons and prospered. 

Chew Foo was strolling through the small 
streets at night when a slave girl, whom he had 
never seen before, smiled upon him through her 
grated wicket, and he paused to speak with 

"Your face is as beautiful as the full moon," 
he said. 

"What is your honorable surname ?" she 
asked, still smiling at the compliment. 

"I am of the family of Chew," he replied. 

"I, too, am of that family." 

She quickly drew her curtain, for it is a hein- 
ous crime, and the proper punishment is death, 
for any man to take as his wife or slave one of 
his own clan, even though their common ancestor 
may have been dead two thousand years. 

Chew Foo often walked that way, just to see 
her face in passing, always saying to himself: 
"How unfortunate!" One evening he spoke to 
her softly and kindly. 

"Your life is very hard for one so young and 
beautiful," he said. "Why not leave it for a 


"What can I do? Where can I go?" she 

"To the fan qual mission home." 

"No, no! Everyone tells me that girls are 
taken there only to be tortured and killed." 

"That is a wicked lie to frighten you. There 
a pleasant home will be provided you, instruc- 
tion in many useful things will be given you, 
only pleasant tasks will be imposed upon you, 
and very soon a fine husband will be found for 
you. I can have the woman of the mission come 
for you early in the morning, when your owner 
and the old woman who guards you are sleep- 
ing. Will you go?" 

"I will go." 

'At the mission Chew Foo said long prayers 
and sang loud songs, and then told in whispers 
of the slave girl who wanted to escape. The 
woman of the mission went in the early morning, 
found the giFl crouching on the dark stairs, cry- 
ing and shivering with fright, and hurried her 
away in a carnage — but not to the mission. 

"Her owner will run quickly and buy a law- 
yer, who will have her taken before a magis- 
trate," whispered Chew Foo. "Many will be 
there to frighten her with threats, and she will 
say she does not want to stay in the mission. 
Then her owner will get her back. I will hide 
her in my own home until you can get a magis- 
trate's paper saying that you may keep her as 
your daughter." 


When Chew Foo took her in at the front 
door of his home, he smiled on the mission 
woman, saying: "I will keep her for you"; but 
when he took her out the back door and hid her 
in the foreign part of the city he smiled on the 
girl, saying: U I will keep you for myself." 

The owner of the slave, a man of the family 
of Jeong, soon learned of the wickedness of 
Chew Foo, and he complained to the elders of 
the Four Family tong, saying: 

"Chew Foo, a bond brother of our tong, has 
stolen my slave, and the family of Chew must 
reimburse me. He has taken her for a secondary 
wife, though she is of the same clan,* but the 
family of Chew may deal with that unspeakable 
crime as it will." 

The elders ordered Chew Foo to show his face 
and prove his innocence, but he knew he was 
guilty, and would surely be punished by the 
Chinese law. So he hurried to the woman of 
the mission, the writers of news and the fan 
quai officials, crying loudly that his wicked coun- 
trymen intended to kill the slave girl for escap- 
ing and him for aiding her, and begged for the 
protection of the fan quai law. And while all 
the foreign devils were smiling, nodding their 
heads and saying: "Chew Foo is a good Chris- 
tian and must be protected," all his people were 
frowning, shaking their heads and saying: "Chew 
Foo is a bad Chinaman and must be punished." 

When Chew Foo did not show his face at 



the meeting of the Four Family tong the elders 

"One of the family of Chew has stolen a 
slave from one of the family of Jeong, and it is 
proper that the family of Chew should pay 
$2000 to the Jeong man. There is another mat- 
ter which shame forbids us to mention. Let the 
family of Chew regulate itself." 

Then the Quans, the Loos and the Jeongs 
departed silently and without the usual polite- 
ness, while the Chews sat with their heads bowed 
in shame and the waters of sorrow filling their 
eyes. It was long before any spoke, but the first 
was Chew Lim, the blood brother of Chew 

"Honorable kinsmen," said he, "one of the 
family of Chew has wronged one of the fam- 
ily of Jeong. Therefore let each contribute ac- 
cording to his means, so we may promptly pay 
that which is justly due. It that not proper?" 

"Hi low!" answered all. 

"The detestable one, whose name is too ab- 
horrent to be mentioned, has also committed 
such an abominable crime that he has brought 
shame and disgrace upon all of his king ti in this 
country. Wherever we go men speak in whis- 
pers and turn away, and we of the family of 
Chew are as lepers who have lost their faces, 
until he has been punished. It is the law that 
he and the filthy female shall die. Is it not 


"Hi low!" 

"Then, though he is my elder brother, who 
•lone of my family his sons to worship our hon- 
orable ancestors, I shall kill them both. Now 
let me take the oath of the punk." 

Kneeling before the altar of the tong, with the 
punk between the palms of his hands, the burn- 
ing end downward, he said: 

"In order that we may dwell together har- 
moniously, that we may save the faces of our 
family, and that we may preserve the honored 
name of our ancestors, I swear that I will kill 
the one of the unspeakable name and the swin- 
ish woman. If I fail, may I die like this punk!" 
and he crushed the burning end upon the floor. 

"That is good," said all, as they went their 
several ways, walking slowly with bowed heads; 
but they knew their heavy hearts would soon be 

Chew Lim knocked lightly on the door of 
Chew Foo's home. 

"Who is there?" 

"Your younger brother, Ah Lim." 

Chew Foo's wife opened the door to him, 
poured him a cup of tea and waited for him to 

"Where is my elder brother?" he asked. 

"I do not know," she answered. "He is hid- 
ing somewhere in the foreign part of the city," 
and she began to cry. 

"Why does he hide?" 


"Do you not know that he foolishly took the 
slave of another without paying for her?" 

M I know that you are a very bold woman to 
criticize your husband, especially for such a 
small thing." 

"Can't something he done about it?" 

"Yes, it can be arranged. When can I see 

"He comes home sometimes at night dis- 
guised as a foreigner. Wait and you may see 

Chew Foo came, and he was filled with sur- 
prise and fear to find Chew Lim waiting for 

"Elder brother, you hare done a very fool- 
ish thing in stealing the slave of a bond brother," 
said Chew Lim, "and your king ti are very angry 
with you, but I shall deal justly with you, 
for you are my elder brother and have sons. 
First tell me where this girl is, that I may send 
her where she belongs." 

Chew Foo had not told his wife that the girl 
was of the Chew family, and when he thought 
his brother did not know it he became bolder. 

"Why is the Jeong man talking so loudly 
about it? I will pay him when I get the 

"Let the king ti pay the Jeong one for his 
slave," said Chew Foo's wife, "and my honor- 
able husband will repay them. Then let him 
take her for a secondary wife, for anyone can 


see that I am no longer young or beautiful. My 
husband can provide well for two wives, so why 
should he not have them?" 

"That is true," said Chew Lim. 

"Yes, that is reasonable," said Chew Foo. 
"I earn much money and can repay the king ti 
in a short time." 

"I fear our family would grumble at the ex- 
pense and the delay in repayment," said Chew 
Lim, "but I shall see what can be done." 

It was very late when Chew Foo and Chew 
Lim, walking on the dark sides of the streets, 
went to Chew Foo's hiding-place, but the girl 
was waiting and gave them tea and noodles. 
Though the brothers conversed in a friendly 
way, and Chew Lim politely took no notice of 
her, still she was filled with fear and forebod- 
ing and cast many apprehensive glances toward 

"Younger brother, walk slowly and sleep 
well," said Chew Foo when Chew Lim had taken 
the parting cup of tea. 

"Elder brother, sleep long and soundly," re- 
plied Chew Lim, and his knife found Chew 
Foo's heart twice before he could fall or utter 
a cry. 

The girl stared stupidly for a moment, then 
covered her face with her hands and sank to the 
floor, moaning and crying softly: 

"I didn't know the people; I didn't know the 


language ; I didn't know what to do, or where to 


"You shall go with him," said Chew Lim, 

and the blood of the cousins mingled on the 

The fan quai newspapers said a highbinder 
did it, and that is a strange word to me; the 
magistrate of deaths said he knew not who did 
it, and it was a strange crime to him; my coun- 
trymen said not a word, but they knew Chew 
Lim did it; and it was not strange to them. It 
was the law. 



Aih-yah! The newspapers of the foreign 
devils say that I am a highbinder. Hai-c-e ! That 
is a very bad name for a good man, but a very 
good name for a bad man. It is perfectly true 
that I am a member of the Gai Sin Sear tong, and 
that is a fighting society. But I do not fight. 
When the hatchetmen of my tong go out to kill 
or to be killed, I help to piy the expenses and hide 
until the war is over. 

When I wear the fan quai attire and speak the 
fan quai tongue the foreign devils say "Little Pete 
is a sport ;** but my countrymen say "Fung Ching 
is a rich man.** A highbinder finds more profit in 
blackmailing one who is wealthy and more honor 
in killing one who is conspicuous, and if it were 
not for the protection that my membership in a 
fighting tong assures, I could never keep the 
money I earn honestly by betting on running 
horses, playing fan tan, bribing officials and deal- 
ing in smuggled opium and slaves. Any high- 
binder could hold his weapon to my head, saying, 
"Give me your money,*' and I would have to give. 
If I should then complain to the fan quai officials 
I would lose my life as well as my money. 



Highbinder ! Hai-e-ef That is a strange word 
to the Chinese and a strange person to the foreign 
devils. No one knows the source of the word, 
but I know the origin of the person. Quan Quock 
Ming told me that many years ago. 

When Quan Quock Ming showed my people 
in this country how to bring the law of the Middle 
Kingdom to the land of the fan quai and in- 
structed them in the manner of applying it to their 
own affairs, all said: 

u Quan Quock Ming is a sage." 

When he interrogated the gods with :he aid 
of his question sticks, and wonderful things in 
the distant past and marvelous events in the near 
future were revealed, all said: 

"Quan Quock Ming is a great prophet." 

When, through frequent sacrifices to the gods 
and his knowledge of the ways of good and evil 
spirits, he averted great calamities, all said: 

"Quan Quock Ming is a pious priest." 

He was therefore consulted upon all matters 
of great importance, and though his profits from 
telling fortunes and giving advice grew with his 
reputation, he seemed indifferent to the opportu- 
nities to increase the one and enhance the other, 
but still devoted himself to the instruction of his 
young pupils in the classics. They always ad- 
dressed him as Quan-foo-tsze — Quan, the Philos- 
opher — just as the pupils of the great master, 
whom the fan quai ignorantly call Confucius, ad- 
dressed him as Kung-foo-tsze. 


"Quan-foo-tsze, what is a highbinder?" one of 
them asked of him. 

"When one of the far East marries one of the 
far West, as your father did," replied Quan Quock 
Ming with great severity, "the offspring is wicked, 
as you are, and yields neither respect nor obe- 
dience to either parent. When the laws of the 
far East and the laws of the far West unite they 
produce the highbinder — a person who neither 
respects nor obeys any law but that of the tong, 
which is a law unto itself. This is the way of it: 

"If one foreign devil steals from another, it is 
the law of the West that his hand shall be cut off? 
If one kicks another, is his foot beaten? If one 
bites another, are his teeth drawn? No; each 
man must control his own members, and if one 
of them does a wrong the whole man is pun- 

"The fan quai religion teaches that if one's eye 
offends he shall put it out, and if his hand is 
wicked he should cut it off; but I never heard that 
anyone did that. If it is good religion, it is good 
law, and in the Middle Kingdom it is both religion 
and the law, but of the family instead of the in- 
dividual, for there the family is the unit. The 
Heavenly Dynasty says to the family: 

" 'Regulate yourself and keep your members 
in order, or the whole family shall be punished.' 

"So when one commits a crime the family 
shouts : 


" 'He is wicked; kill him!' and the member is 
cut off. 

"In the West the family cries: 

"'He is insane; saVe him!' and neither the 
member nor the family is punished. 

"So it happens that the foreign devil, thinking 
much of himself and little of his family, writes his 
personal name first (and that is peculiar) ; while 
a Chinese, thinking little of himself and much of 
his family, writes his family name first (and that 
is as it should be). 

"But many mistakes and much confusion result 
when the people of the far East and of the far 
West, with their different laws and customs, come 
together. Once a foreign devil of' the name of 
John killed a man of the family of Wong in Can- 
ton, and the fighting men of the Wongs, follow- 
ing the law of the family, hunted out another for- 
eign devil named John and killed him. Expect- 
ing the family of John to retaliate, all of the 
family of Wong — and they were thousands — hid 
from the Johns for a long time. 

"And Jue Toy, who was arrested in this coun- 
try for theft, said to me when he came out of 

" 'I told the foreign devils my name was Ah 
Toy, so they could not find and punish the elders 
of the family of Jue. All they could do was to 
send me to jail. Wasn't that a great joke on 

"The foreign devils who went to the Middle 


Kingdom found the laws not to their liking, so 
they carried their own with them and established 
courts- to administer them. When our people 
came to this country and found the laws distaste- 
ful, they brought their own and formed family 
societies to enforce them. 

"Now if a foreign devil has a crushed finger 
to be amputated or an aching tooth to be drawn 
he does not do it himself, but employs a surgeon 
or a dentist to do it neatly. So, if a family among 
our people has some bad member to be beaten or 
killed, the elders do not soil their hands with the 
cudgel or the cleaver, but hire a fighting man to 
do it nicely; and if one family quarrels with 
another, each pays its fighting men to give blow 
for blow until one is whipped or a compromise is 

"But whether a hatchetman in this country pun- 
ished a member of his own family, or fought with 
the hatchetmen of another, the fan quai officials 
meddled in the matter and made the occupation of 
a fighting man more hazardous. Consequently 
such employment became honorable, profitable, 
and much sought after by the adventurous. 

"In the beginning the family societies, with 
their hatchetmen, were powerful, and the law 
of the Middle Kingdom was well administered, 
but in time the fighting men became more numer- 
ous and formed a long of their own. They black- 
mailed, killed and robbed, and no one dared to 
complain to the fan quai officials. Then other 


hatchetmen formed other tongs, and the family 
societies had little to do but worship ancestors at 
the temple, care for the sick and aged and attend 
to such trifling matters as did not concern fighting 
men. And then scholars, farmers, laborers, mer- 
chants and gamblers had to join one or another 
of the fighting tongs to get the protection that 
their family societies could no longer give. 

"There is always one law for the strong and 
another for the weak; and that is because the 
strong are able to say 'This is the law,' and the 
weak can only answer, Tes, that is the law.' The 
long is stronger than the family, so there is no 
law for our people in this country but the law of 
the tong." 

Quan Quock Ming spoke truly. 



Of all Wong Hung's slave girls Suey Sum 
seemed the happiest, so her owner gave her that 
name — Contented Heart. She was also the sau- 
ciest, therefore she was beaten often by the old 
woman who guarded her. She was the prettiest, 
consequently all men admired her greatly. 

When Wong Hung was about to depart for his 
old home in the Middle Kingdom, there to strut 
before the villagers in fine attire and boast of 
his wealth, he said to Suey Sum: 

"You have served me for the full four years 
of our contract, and it is my duty to fix a price 
at which you may buy yourself. You cost me 
$2,000, but I will make the price $1,800. From 
now on you may take all you earn, paying me for 
your board and lodging and three per cent a month 
interest upon the amount you owe for yourself 
until all is paid. You are a clever girl, and in a 
year you should be free." 

From that moment Suey Sum thought of little 
but buying her freedom, and the men who gave 
her the most money or the finest jewelry were al- 
ways most favored by her. 

When Lee Fook, a hatchetman of the Bing 


Kung tong, won at fan tan, his first thought was 
of Suey Sum, and he hurried to her, fingering the 
gold in his pockets and saying to himself: 

"I will give her $200, and she will think I am 
•a very fine fellow." 

But when Suey Sum, hearing the jingle of the 
coin, smiled upon him, he said: 

"Accept this $200 as a present and buy brace- 
lets, for they can always be sold at a good price, 
and there is not so much danger that they will be 

"If I had many friends as kind as you," said 
Suey Sum, "I could soon buy myself," and while 
they ate preserved fruits, drank tea and smoked 
cigarettes together she told him what her owner* 
had said. 

"Why do you not run away from Wong Hung 
and go to the fan quai mission?" asked Lee Fook. 
"When he returns and finds that he cannot get 
you back he will sell you to me at a very small 
price. Then you can leave the mission and go 
with me." 

"That would mean only a change of owners 
without hastening my freedom," replied Suey 
Sum. "Besides, Wong Hung would make much 
trouble. Still, if he does not return, I may go 
rather than be sold to another." 

Lee Fook did not forget that, and when he 
heard that Wong Hung was returning he hurried 
to the fan quai officials, who say what foreigners 
may come to this country, and whispered: 


"Wong Hung is not a merchant as he pretends, 
but is really a keeper of slaves." 

When Wong Hung found he would not be 
kept a prisoner until the matter could be decided, 
he sent this message to Suey Sum: 

"Mortgage yourself for $300, that I may buy 
a lawyer. Otherwise I may be sent back to the 
Middle Kingdom," and she borrowed the money 
from Chin Doon, a member of the Hop Sing 

When the fan quai officials decided that Wong 
Hung was not a merchant (though he really 
owned a twentieth share in a cigar stand), and 
ordered that he be sent back to the Middle King- 
dom, he sold Suey Sum to Loo Yee for $1,000. 
Chin Doon, the moneylender, was very angry that 
Loo Yee should have gotten such a fine bargain 
when he himself had counted on it, and he talked 
so loudly about his $300 mortgage on Suey Sum 
that Jue Yoke, the interpreter, said he would 
lend her the money to pay the debt. But Suey 
Sum paid only $200, keeping back $100 to buy 
hair ornaments. Chin Doon demanded the re- 
mainder from Jue Yoke, and when the interpreter 
refused to pay it made complaint before a magis- 
trate at San Jose, saying Jue Yoke had killed a 
man many years before. 

When Jue Yok* was taken to prison the elders 
of the family of Jue sent a peace-talker to ask of 
Chin Doon: 


"Why have you done this when you know very 
well that Jue Yoke did not kill the man?" 

"Because he owes me $100 that he guaranteed 
for a slave girl," replied Chin Doon, "and if the 
family does not pay it for him I shall have him 
hanged by the fan quai law." 

When the family of Jue refused to pay, Chin 
Doon sent members of his tong to the magistrate 
to say: 

"Yes, it is true that we saw Jue Yoke kill the 

All that trouble cost Chin Doon $250, but it 
cost Jue Yoke $260 to prove that he was in the 
Middle Kingdom at the time of the killing and 
could not have done it. And then it cost Chin 
Doon $150 more to prove that he had made an 
honest mistake about it and was not such a liar 
as should be sent to prison. 

As soon as the jail doors opened for Jue Yoke 
he ran to his tong to complain of the wrong Chin 
Doon had done him, and it made complaint to 
the See Yup society, which is a high court com- 
posed of the presidents of twelve important tongs 
and which decides all questions of tong law. After 
hearing all that was to be said on both sides of 
the question the See Yups said: 

u The slave girl, Suey Sum, was the cause of 
all the trouble. She should pay Jue Yoke the 
$300 she borrowed as well as the expense of $260 
he incurred; and she should pay Chin Doon the 


$100 she still owes him as well as the $400 ex- 
pense he has been put to in the matter." 

Lee Fook, the Bing Kung hatchetman, had 
urged Suey Sum many times to run away with 
him, and he became so angry at her refusals that 
he demanded of her the return of the $200 he 
had given her to buy bracelets. At the same time 
the moneylender was clamoring for his $500, the 
interpreter for his $560, and her owner for the 
interest on what she owed for her freedom; and 
peace-talkers could do nothing at all, for every 
time they opened their mouths to speak of the 
matter all the creditors of Suey Sum would shout 
at once. While they were still quarreling Lee 
Fook went to Sacramento and made complaint to 
a magistrate saying that Suey Sum had stolen a 
bracelet from him, and had an official put her in 
prison at night, expecting to get her out by giving 
$50 security, to take her quickly to Portland or 
Seattle and either keep her for himself or sell her 
at a profit. But her owner was quick in buying 
a lawyer, who got the magistrate to make the se- 
curity $1,000, and that was more than Lee Fook 
could pay. Then the owner, the money-lender 
and the interpreter hurried to Sacramento to get 
the girl and make trouble for Lee Fook; but the 
Bing Kung tong was very strong there, so they 
thought it better to have peace-talkers arrange a 
compromise. While Suey Sum was still crying in 
prison they all met, shouted about everything that 
had been done, and then signed a paper saying: 


"Lee Fook shall tell the magistrate that it was 
all a mistake about the theft, and when the girl 
is released she shall return to her owner and pay 
first to Lee Fook the $200 he gave her; then to 
Chin Doon, the moneylender, the $500 she owes 
him; then to Jue Yoke, the interpreter, the $560 
due him; and then to Loo Yee, her owner, the 
$240 expense he has been put to in this matter in 
addition to the principal and interest due him 
for her freedom." 

The men were all satisfied, for that was good 
Chinese law, and Suey Sum was content, for there 
were rats in the prison. But Chin Doon, the 
moneylender, was a very wicked man, and when 
he had lost a great deal at fan tan he went at 
night and took all Suey Sum's bracelets, holding 
them as security for the money due him, though 
it had been agreed that Lee Fook should be paid 
first. Lee Fook would not eat a dumb man's 
loss, so he, without consulting his tong, chopped 
Chin Doon with a cleaver until he was quite dead. 

In the time it takes to cook and smoke an 
opium pill everyone in Chinatown was saying: 

"A Bing Xung has killed a Hop Sing, and 
war may begin at once." 

The shopkeepers shook their heads and mut- 
tered : 

"Hai-e-e! This is a bad business," and all who 
belonged to either tong quickly put up their 
shutters, locked their doors and hurried to tong 


headquarters to learn what was to be done about 

At the meetings of the tongs the laborers and 
business men were of one voice in saying: 

"If there is war we must hide and neglect our 
affairs until it is over, or we shall be killed; and 
if we save our lives we still lose much money, as 
we must pay for rewards upon the heads of our 
enemies and for the defense of hatchetmen that 
may be arrested by the meddlesome fan quai. So 
let us make peace and save our money." 

But the hatchetmen, who saw profitable em- 
ployment in earning rewards, and the interpreters 
who saw big commissions in employing lawyers, 

"Let us make war and save our faces." 

The business men of the Hop Sing long got 
peace-talkers from the Tin Yee tong to go to the 
Bing-Kungs and ask politely: 

"Why has one of your hatchetmen killed a 
Hop Sing man?" and the Bing Kungs sent peace- 
talkers from the Suey Sing tong to answer cour- 
teously : 

"It was because a Hop Sing man robbed a girl 
who owed a Bing Kung man, and the Hop Sing 
tong should see that the stolen bracelets are re- 

"That is not a very good reason for killing a 
man," replied the Hop Sings, and they asked the 
Bing Kungs to pay $1,000 for the relatives of the 
dead man, anrl also to furnish the firecrackers and 


roasted pork for a feast to show that they were 
in the wrong and were sorry. 

"It is not reasonable to suppose that we could 
do such a thing," replied the Bing Kungs. 

"Then we must kill a Bing Kung man," de- 
clared the Hop Sings, firmly but courteously. "It 
is only right that we should." 

The peace-talkers went from one tong to the 
other, suggesting compromises, holding confer- 
ences and consuming a great deal of tea, noodles 
and opium at the expense of the tongs, and in time 
the Bing Kungs agreed to say nothing more about 
the bracelets, and the Hop Sings promised to 
withdraw the demand for money for Chin Doon's 
relatives; but neither tong wanted to lose its face, 
so neither would agree to provide the feast and 
firecrackers. Merchants on both sides were quite 
willing to pay for the feast in order to have peace, 
but each tong insisted that the other should give it. 

"Let each tong give a banquet in turn," said 
the peace-talkers, but neither would provide the 

"Then let the two tongs combine and give one 
feast for all, contributing an equal amount to the 
expense," they suggested, but it was perfectly 
clear that there could not be two seats of honor, 
and neither president would sit in the lower seat. 

"Then let there be peace without a feast," ad- 
vised some foolish person, but that was impos- 
sible, for there must be a feast when anything im- 
portant is done, in order to make it binding, and 


this was very important. The hatchetmen were 
continually yelling: "Fight!" and the business men 
were always saying: "Wait!'* but when it became 
certain that the peace-talkers could make no com- 
promise the business men ran for their hiding- 
places and the hatchetmen ran for their guns. 



Some of the fighting men attired themselves in 
the clothing of the fan quai and wore wigs over 
their queues, so they could approach their enemies 
without being recognized. Other stained their 
faces and dressed like farmers; others disguised 
themselves in the rags of beggars, and still others 
carried baskets of fruit or vegetables that they of- 
fered for sale. But somewhere in their rags or 
their baskets big guns were concealed, and they 
were looking more for someone to shoot than for 
someone to buy or give alms. Many of the boldest 
went out openly, undisguised and unarmed, for 
they knew the fan quai officials would search them ; 
but each was followed by a very young boy or a 
very old man who carried a gun ready to pass 
to the fighting man when he should require it. 
Others took their stand in the doorways of cigar- 
stands owned by members of their tong, and 
watched for the coming of an enemy,, while 
their weapons were within easy reach behind the 

Only those of the quarters who did not know 
that war had begun, or those who were compelled 
by the urgency cf business, went on the streets, 



tor often men are killed by mistake, or by a bullet 
intended for another; and they tarried not a mo- 
ment longer than was necessary. They saw fight- 
ing men loitering in the shadows or lounging in 
the doorways, looking sharply this way and that 
to avoid a shot in the back, or to put one in the 
back of another when no official was near. And 
whenever one heard the half-whispered warning 
of some watchful fighting man, "Pass quickly," he 
scurried from one doorway to another in deadly 

Written and spoken messages were sent by 
electricity to all places where there were Hop 
Sings or Bing Kungs, telling of the commence- 
ment of the war, and all who received them hur- 
ried to hide or to kill before their enemies could 
kill or hide. 

When Lee Fook killed Chin Doon he fled to 
Oakland so that the fan quai officials could not find 
him, and was hidden away by members of his 
tong. He passed the time in smoking opium, tell- 
ing how Chin Doon had squealed and boasting 
that he would kill the first Hop Sing if war should 

Lee Sam Yick, the president of the Hop Sings, 
was taking his evening meal at his home in Oak- 
land, and no message of warning had yet reached 
him, when Lee Fook, who was of the same family, 

"Will you share my mean fare, younger cou- 
sin?" asked Lee Sam Yick politely, though he 


knew Lee Fook was the Bing Kung fighting man 
who had caused so much trouble. 

u No, venerable uncle," replied Lee Fook. "I 
have something for you," and he shot Lee Sam 
Yick dead. 

That was not good law — it is not the law of 
the Middle Kingdom — that one should kill a 
member of his own family. That was the law 
of the tong. 

That same night a Bing Kung man was killed 
in Oakland and another in San Francisco; a Hop 
Sing man was killed in Sacramento and another 
in Los Angeles; and the next day a Bing Kung 
man was killed in Portland. Thus they had killed 
the same number — which is the law — but the 
Bing Kungs had killed a president, while the Hop 
Sings had not, and they must do so or lose their 
faces and be laughed at. 

It is not alone with knives, cleavers and revol- 
vers that hatchetmen fight. They have learned 
to use another weapon that puts an enemy out of 
the way for a time and sometimes kills. It is the 
fan quai law — the same that Chin Doon used 
against Jue Yoke. For every Hop Sing man that 
was killed three or four Bing Kungs were pointed 
out as the murderers and taken to jail; and for 
every Bing Kung man that died three or four 
Hop Sings were imprisoned; but of all these, 
scarcely one had anything to do with the actual 
killing of which he was accused. Nevertheless, 
tong members must serve the tong, and merchants 


who cannot fight can give testimony, saying they 
saw the killing and that the prisoner did it. 

And wherever there had been a killing or a 
robbery a long time before, and for which no one 
had been punished by the fan quai law, Bing Kung 
or Hop Sing interpreters hurried to buy papers of 
the magistrates accusing many John Does of doing 
these things; and officials carried these papers with 
them, so that whenever a Bing Kung man was 
pointed out by a Hop Sing, or a Hop Sing was 
pointed out by a Bing Kung, he was said to be 
the same John Doe named in the paper and was 
taken to prison. Thus a great many men were in 
jail, a great many lawyers were employed, and the 
interpreters, to say nothing of the magistrates 
who sold the papers and the officials who carried 
them, were earning much money. 

But neither the hatchetmen with their guns nor 
the officials with the John Doe papers could find 
Wong Hing Chung, the president of the Bing 
Kungs, and the Hop Sings were so angry that 
had he been on his way to prison with the hand 
of an official upon his arm, or had he been stand- 
ing before a magistrate with his lawyers by his 
side, he would have been killed at once, even 
though it meant the hanging of the man who 
should do it. 

Wong Hing Chung knew that the man who 
would kill him would receive $2,000 for himself 
if he escaped, and the same amount for his near 
relatives if he were hanged or sent to prison for 


the remainder of his life; and that is a great deal 
of money. In the Middle Kingdom twenty men 
would die willingly if assured that their families 
would each receive $100, for that is a great for- 
tune there. And Wong Hing Chung knew that 
anyone who would give the Hop Sings informa- 
tion of his hiding-place would receive $250, so 
remained securely hidden away, even from the 
members of his own tong. 

Quan Quock Ming sat very straight on the 
edge of his stool, his elbows resting on a table 
and his hands Holding "The Book of Changes," a 
very mysterious work that only great scholars un- 
derstand. His pupils sat in a semicircle on the 
floor, the twenty of us shouting over and over 
again twenty different sentences from "The Great 
Learning," while he, paying no attention what- 
ever, though we were growing hoarse, studied the 
pages of his book through the big horn-rimmed 
spectacles that rested on the end of his nose. Sud- 
denly he closed the book, laid it on the table and 
surprised us by saying: 

"That is sufficient for today" — we had been 
at our lessons only a little more than eight hours 
— "and none of you need return to your studies 
tonight, excepting Fung Ching." 

That surprised me still more, for I was a dili- 
gent and favored pupil, and was as deserving of 
an evening's holiday as the others, especially as 
it was the first he had ever given us. Still I 
thought he must have some purpose that I did 


not understand, for he had been my very best 
friend from the time I first saw him in the sampan 
that carried us out to the ship in Hongkong 

When I returned in the evening I was admitted 
by Fong Fah, his wife, and as I started toward 
the lesson-room she stopped me, saying: 

"Not that way. Go in there," and she pointed 
toward the inner compartment where Quan Quock 
Ming did his reading and writing, told fortunes 
and gave advice. 

The room was quite dark, except for a dim 
light that came through a partly opened door at 
the back of the apartment, which evidently opened 
into another room that I had never seen. I hesi- 
tated a moment and then approached the door, 
not stealthily but noiselessly, for my Chinese shoes 
made no thumping sound, and when I looked in 
I saw Quan Quock Ming and Wong Hing Chung, 
the president of the Bing Kungs, smoking opium 
together on a bunk, and I heard Quan Quock 
Ming saying: 

"It is well that you came to me, for you have 
always been my very good friend. None will 
ever think of looking for you in the home of the 
poor scholar who knows nothing of passing events, 
excepting such as are revealed to him when he 
tells a fortune." 

"That is true, venerable and learned Quan," 
said Wong Hing Chung. "If you were not my 
very good friend you would have told the Hop 


Sing men long ago that I was hiding here, you 
would have earned the reward, and I would now 
be before the King of Death. It is hard to put 
trust in any person when such rewards are offered. 
You and my wife are the only persons upon whom 
I could stake my life. I know there are men in 
my own tong wicked and treacherous enough to 
earn the reward upon my head, if they thought it 
could be done with safety to themselves." 

"I will send your message to your wife tonight 
by a pupil of mine," said Quan Quock Ming, "and 
you can see her here." 

I was greatly frightened, not knowing what 
would be done to me if they should find that I 
had overheard them, so I slipped away to the 
other side of the room, and then advanced noisily 
as though I had just entered. Quan Quock Ming 
met me at the door, and closing it behind him 
took me by the arm and led me back to the outer 

"Take this letter to the opium room beneath 
the theater and give it to the woman you will find 
there," said he. "If you make a mistake I shall 
beat you when you come for your lessons; if you 
do as you are told I shall reward you well." 

As I hurried away I heard Quan Quock Ming 
tell Fong Fah that a woman would soon come and 
to admit her at once. I had no difficulty in find- 
ing the room at the theater, but the door was 
locked, and I had to knock loudly several times 
before a man's voice asked: 


"Who is there ?" 

U A boy with a letter," I answered. 

The door was opened a very little and some 
person peered out, and then wider when the oc- 
cupant of the room saw I was alone. I entered 
and found only a man in woman's attire. He ex- 
tended his hand for the letter, but I put it behind 
me saying: 

"This is for a woman." 

"I am a woman — in the play," he replied. 

"It is for the wife of — of a man." 

"I know. I will give it to her," and holding 
me by the arm he took the letter from me rudely. 

I went away slowly and reluctantly, fearing 
I had done wrong in not following exactly the in- 
structions that had been given me; and the more 
I thought of the matter the more fearful I became 
that I would surely get the beating that Quan 
Quock Ming had promised me. So, upon reflec- 
ion and after much hesitation, I decided to hurry 
back to him and explain the mistake, if one had 
been made, in order that it might be rectified, if 
it were not already too late. 

As I ascended the stairs leading to Quan 
Quock Ming's apartments I saw the person to 
whom I had delivered the letter seeking admit- 
tance, and I hurried the faster. The door was 
opened by Fong Fah, and as the stranger entered 
and strode directly toward the inner room without 
speaking she appeared greatly agitated, stared 
after him and held her baby closer in her arms. I 


followed as quickly as possible to warn Quan 
Quock Ming, but when I reached the door the 
stranger had already entered. I was about to cry 
out when I saw my instructor, without a nod of 
recognition or a word of greeting, point toward 
the inner apartment where Wong Hing Chung 
was hiding. The man in woman's garb walked 
quickly across the room, paused just long enough 
to take a big revolver from his sleeve, threw open 
the door and stepped inside. 

There was a scream and then three quick shots. 
I stood paralyzed with fear while the stranger 
opened the door to the public hallway, threw the 
revolver out, left the door open, bolted the one 
leading into Quan Quock Ming's apartments, ran 
back to the living-room, seated himself beside 
Fong Fah and took her crying baby from her 

"Your stupidity was the cause of this," said 
Quan Quock Ming, and he glared at me so fiercely 
that I thought he would not wait until the morrow 
to give me a beating. "You gave the letter to 
the wrong person, but if you say nothing of this 
matter to anyone you will not be punished. If 
you open your mouth to speak of it you will surely 
be killed. As he is dead I may as well claim 
the reward, so that I may make sacrifices at the 
Tien How Temple, asking the gods not to punish 
you too severely for your error." 

When the fan qitai officials came, talking loudly 
and breathing hard, they found Wong Hing 


Chung dead; they found the revolver that had 
killed him; they heard me repeating sentences 
from "The Sreat Learning," they saw Quan 
Quock Ming studying "The Book of Changes"; 
they saw two frightened women, one of them 
holding a crying baby and saying: 


But they did not find the person who killed 
Wong Hing Chung, the president of the Bing 
Kungs. He was a highbinder. 




When I called for my night lessons in the clas- 
sics Quan Quock Ming was smacking his lips glut- 
tonously over the last morsel of his evening meal. 
Fong Fah was standing at his elbow watching 
him furtively in order that his wants might be 
anticipated, and tossing her child incessantly on 
one arm so that no cry should disturb her honor- 
able husband's serenity. 

He merely glanced up and grunted, but she 
gave me a weary, wistful smile of welcome. 

"Tea!" growled Quan Quock Ming. 

Fong Fah hastily poured another cup for him, 
and he sipped it noisily. Then, moving swiftly 
but softly, she placed before him the basin of hot 
water and cloth. When he had laved and dried 
his greasy fingers he rose from the table, smack- 
ing his lips and grunting with satisfaction as he 
retired to the inner apartment to smoke and rest. 

As Fong Fah cleared away the empty dishes, 
for he had not left so much as a scrap for her, I 



saw she was crying, but without sound or expres- 

I had often seen the waters of sorrow spring to 
her eyes and fall upon the baby as it slept in her 
arms, or upon the sewing as it lay in her lap; 
but Quan Quock Ming seemed never to observe 
her grief, for that was her own affair, nor to 
notice the child, for it was a girl and therefore a 
reproach, nor to watch the sewing so long as he 
received the usual amount of money from the 
factory across the street. 

"Why do you shed tears? Is it because you 
are still hungry?" I asked, thinking of the stunted, 
half-starved girl she was when I first saw her on 
the ship at Hongkong. 

"I have enough to eat,*' she replied. 

"Is it then because you have not borne your 
honorable husband a son?" 

"No; he can take a secondary wife who will 
bear him a son." 

"Then, is it because you are tired?" 

"No; it is not that. Though a wife never rests 
or sleeps and is always dressed, ready to attend 
her husband or her children at any moment of the 
day or night, that is but her duty, and she would 
be very wicked and ungrateful to complain. Be- 
sides I am fortunate in having no husband's 
mother to reprove or to beat me." 

"Then why are you so often crying?" 

"From hunger of the heart — a hunger for news 
of my mother and of my younger brothers and 


sisters, who were starving when I was sold for 
half a mat of rice. I would be content and cry 
no more, even though the sea is always between 
us, if I only knew " 

Quan Quock Ming, like Kung-foo-tsze, could 
have said of himself, quite truthfully: 

"I am an insatiable student, an unwearied 

He could write an ode in the ancient style, 
which is unintelligible without explanation, or he 
could compose a thesis in the flowery style, such 
as is used by scholars in preparing essays. Often 
he would say to his pupils: 

"If the Son of Heaven should destroy all the 
books in the Middle Kingdom, as Shih Huang-ti 
did twenty-one centuries ago, I could rewrite the 
Five Classics and the Four Books from memory 
without omitting a single character. But you, 
who are to be merely laborer* or merchants, re- 
quire only a knowledge of the business style for 
legal papers and commercial correspondence, and 
of the colloquial style for letters to your personal 
friends and relatives." 

While he was teaching them to observe, to learn 
and to record everything concerning their families, 
their friends, their acquaintances and even their 
enemies, he was growing in repute as a sage and 
a prophet. He could tell the past or reveal the 
future with perfect ease and accuracy, and many 
persons called at his home daily to receive advice 
upon perplexing matters. To me, his only student 


in the classics, these interruptions were always 
welcome, for my lessons were wearisome, and 
the discussion of intimate personal affairs, to 
which I was permitted to listen, was diverting. 
Often he would say to a visitor: 

"The day is not propitious. Come at another 
time," and then to me: "I could have told that 
person all he wishes to know this very day, but 
I desire that you should learn all you can con- 
cerning him, in order to test your abilities. We 
shall see how near you get to the truth." 

The progress I made under his guidance was 
marvelous, for by listening when he subsequently 
told the visitor of his past I found that I had 
made few and only trifling errors; and Quan 
Quock Ming would compliment me upon my dili- 
gence and accuracy. 

I was reciting from the Analects of Kung-foo- 
tsze, repeating over and over again the sentence 
to fix it in my memory: 

"Ah, 'tis hopeless. I have not yet met with 
the man who loves virtue as he loves beauty." 

Quan Quock Ming was reading "The Doctrine 
of the Golden Medium," and paying no attention 
whatever to me. A young woman came to the 
door and paused an instant as though in doubt 
whether to enter or to retreat. When I halted 
in my recitation she advanced the three paces, 
gave the three salutations and stood before Quan 
Quock Ming with head respectfully bowed, wait- 
ing for him to speak. 


He raised his eyes slowly from his book until 
he could see her over the horn-rimmed spectacles 
on the end of his nose; then he threw up his chin 
with a jerk and stared at her long and seriously 
through the glasses. 

The girl stood with downcast eyes while his 
gaze traveled slowly from her shining black hair, 
newly dressed and held with ornaments of gold, 
jade and pearls, down to her white silk stockings 
and embroidered street shoes, then swiftly back to 
her face that was like an almond, first blanched 
and then tinted. Her eyebrows were shaven to 
delicate arches that nearly touched her long black 
lashes at the corners of her eyes, and her chin 
came to a point so fine that it seemed to pinch 
her carmine lips into a dimpled pout. 

"What do you want?" asked Quan Quock 
Ming, but in a tone so mild and gentle that it 
sounded like the voice of another. 

"Advice, sir scholar," she answered, without 
raising her eyes. 

"Sit down." 

She found a stool, removed her silk-padded 
coat, laid it across her knees, buried her folded 
hands in the tiger-fur lining and sat quite still. Her 
manner was of one who is accustomed to awaiting 
commands patiently and obeying them promptly. 

Quan Quock Ming's eyes roved over her silken 
garments, richly embroidered, and rested for an 
instant upon her gold and jade bracelets and jew- 
eled fingers. Then he took up his urn of question 


sticks, shook them until they were well mixed and 
asked her to select one. As he took it from her 
he said: 

"I know naught of you; naught of your honor- 
able ancestry; and naught of your personal af- 
fairs; but this will reveal all to me." 

He held it to the light, squinting at the mys- 
terious characters upon it and muttering to him- 
self. Then he turned to the girl, saying: 

"You are Ah Gum, of the family of Chin, and 
you are owned by Loo Yee. He bought you for 
$1,000 after Wong Yick, your first owner, had 
agreed that you might buy yourself for $1,800. 
You owe so much money to other persons that 
you cannot see how you can ever buy your free- 
dom. Is it not true?" 

"It is true, sir scholar." 

"You are called Suey Sum, because you seem 
always to be happy, but it is not true that you 
have a contented heart. The old woman who 
guards you — Woo Ho is her name — beats you 
often; and you know very well that you will be 
killed if you run away." 

"That is true, sir scholar; and you can doubt- 
less tell me that when I smile all day for the men 
I cry all night for my mother; that my father, 
who was very poor, died when I had lived but 
fourteen years, ana his relatives sold me in order 
that my mother, who was his secondary wife, 
might live. It was quite proper that they should, 
and it is only right that I should be obedient and 

The old woman who guards you beats you often; and you 
know very zvell that yon will be killed if you run away." 102 


live as I am commanded by the elders of my 
family — and without complaint. I am used to it 
— the beatings and all — but I want my freedom 
so that I may return to the Middle Kingdom and 
my mother with money enough to support her in 
her old age." 

"In this country," said Quan Quock Ming, 
"there are few women and many men. You are 
young and beautiful. Wait and work patiently, 
and in time some prosperous man will buy you 
for a wife." 

"Then my owner will get the price of my free- 
dom, and my mother will get nothing." 

"But you will get a good husband." 

"I want no husband. Wives are only furniture 
and mothers — the slaves of their husbands and 

"Every woman should marry, for no man can 
die without a son." 

"That is true, sir scholar, and if I could first 
gain my freedom, so that my mother would get 
the wedding present, I could endure even a hus- 
band. It will take me two years at least to earn 
enough to buy my freedom, and I will hang 
myself rather than work that long. I have told 
my owner so many times. Tell me how I can get 
enough to buy myself quickly." 

"That is very difficult, but it may be done — pro- 
vided you have been obedient to your master, re- 
spectful to the gods and have not otherwise vio- 
lated the rules of propriety." 


"I have been obedient to my master and respect- 
ful to the gods, and I have observed the rules of 
propriety so far as I know them." 

u There is but one way that you can earn money 
quickly — in the lottery." 

"I have been trying to win in the lotteries for 
two years, sir scholar, but fortune is against me, 
and I have already lost what would have paid for 
my freedom if I had saved it." 

"You have doubtless bought tickets every day?" 

U I have played in the daytime and nighttime 
drawings of all the companies — and even in the 
second companies." 

"What do you mean by second companies?" 

"Surely you know what they are, sir scholar?" 

"Certainly, but I wish to know if you under- 
stand them." 

"When the fan quai officials are meddlesome 
the lottery drawings are held in the city across the 
bay. The agents here must deliver to the com- 
panies before three o'clock their reports of all 
tickets sold. At that hour the daytime drawing 
is held, and the result is sent by a messenger, who 
cannot get here before four o'clock. Between 
three and four the agents sell tickets on their own 
account, paying all losses and keeping all profits. 
These are called second companies." 

"That is quite right. There must be a way 
to win the favor of the gods and the money of 
the lotteries. I shall have to make sacrifices at 


the Tien How Temple before I can advise you. 
Come tomorrow at two o'clock." 

"I will come, sir scholar." 

Suey Sum put on her coat, bowed and departed, 
and Quan Quock Ming sat staring at the door 
long after she had gone. Then he sighed deeply, 
took off his spectacles, clasped his hands over his 
stomach, rested his chin upon his breast, closed 
his eyes and pondered. Suddenly he raised his- 
head, rubbed his hands together, smiled broadly 
and said: 

"It will be very easy." 



Quan Quock Ming looked often at the clock 
and the door before Suey Sum came. He nodded 
her to the stool opposite him, and she sat with 
downcast eyes and folded hands waiting for him 
to speak, while he studied her narrowly and waited 
for her to raise her eyes. When she glanced up 
without raising her chin he smiled, and she twisted 
her shoulders nervously. 

4 'Have you any advice for me today, sir 
scholar?" she asked. 

"Will you follow it if I give it?" 

"I will do whatever you tell me, sir scholar. I 
must have my freedom or I shall die." 

"You are well known at the lottery agencies, 
are you not?" 

"At every one. My ill fortune is so well known 
that they are eager for my patronage." 

"Then go at once and buy one fifty-cent ticket 
at each of the ten agencies where you are best 
known, marking always the same characters. And 
play only in the Tie Loy Company." 

"I have no money, sir scholar." 

"Then pledge one of your bracelets with a 
money-lender. Be sure to say at each agency: 'I 



have been compelled to pawn a bracelet in order 
to play, but I shall win enough to buy my free- 
dom or lose all I have.' After three o'clock re- 
turn to the same agencies and buy at each another 
fifty-cent ticket in the second companies. Come 
again at noon tomorrow and tell me what success 
you have had." 

There was disappointment on Suey Sum's face 
when she came, and she said at once: 

"Sir scholar, I lost." 

"I knew you would," replied Quan Quock 
Ming, smiling and rubbing his hands. 

"But I want you to tell me how to win." 

"I must first teach you how to lose." 

"I have done nothing else for years." 

"Either do as I tell you without question, or 
walk your way," said Quan Quock Ming severely. 

"I will do as you bid me, sir scholar, even if I 
must pawn my clothing, for I trust you." 

"That is well. Go again today and do exactly 
as you did yesterday. Pledge your bracelets as 
you need money, complain much of your losses 
and shed a few tears if you can." 

"I do not know which is the easier, sir 

Each day Suey Sum returned to tell of her ill 
fortune, and each day Quan Quock Ming advised: 

"Do again today as you did yesterday." 

On the morning of the ninth day foreign devils 
came to Quan Quock Ming's house and placed 
upon the wall the instrument for wire talking, and 


at three o'clock the prophet was saying to the 
slave girl: 

"You are good and obedient. You have learned 
how to lose, and now I shall tell you how to win. 
The gods will instruct me through this machine 
of the foreign devils. Take this pen and ink and 
mark the characters as I instruct you." 

Soon there came the ringing of a bell and Quan 
Quock Ming put the hand piece of the instrument 
to his ear. 

"Be ready," he said to Suey Sum. "Earth — 
cloud — flood — moon — heat — autumn — winter — 
gold," he called, and then left the instrument. "Go 
at once to the ten agencies that you have been 
patronizing and at each mark those characters 
upon a fifty-cent ticket of the Tie Loy Company. 
For the other two mark any but 'dew' and 'gem,' 
for they are also winning charcters." 

"Then why should I not mark them, too?" 

"Your winnings on ten characters would be 
more than the second companies could pay. All 
will grumble as it is, and some may even refuse, 
but we shall see about that. The instant the 
drawings come from across the bay collect the 
money and come to me." 

Within an hour Suey Sum came running in. 

"I won! I won!" she cried, and began throw- 
ing gold by the handful upon the table. 

"Did I not tell you that you would?" said Quan 
Quock Ming sternly. 

"Yes, but I can hardly believe it now, sir 


scholar. Such great good fortune! Now I shall 
be able to buy my freedom and return to the 
Middle Kingdom. And my mother will be rich!" 

Suey Sum laughed and clapped her hands with 
joy. Then she dropped upon a stool, flung her 
arms upon the table, buried her face in them and 
wept. Quan Quock Ming frowned, shook his 
head and clicked his tongue, as he gathered the 
coin into stacks. 

"All have not paid, or you have been cheated," 
he said, as he finished counting it. 

"It does not matter, sir scholar. There is still 
enough," sobbed Suey Sum. 

"Who are the thieves that would rob an unfor- 
tunate girl?" 

"Sang Wo and Tai Yick refused to pay, saying 
they had been tricked." 

"I shall see that they pay. Return to your 
master now and let me negotiate with him for 
your freedom. I will be able to make a better 
bargain than you, and it must be done promptly, 
else he may hear of your good fortune and de- 
mand a higher price." 

"Do not haggle with him, sir scholar. I am so 
eager to see my mother that I can hardly wait a 

Suey Sum dried her eyes and went away slowly 
and weakly, like one who has been ill. As she 
passed through the outer room she stopped to 
look at Fong Fah sewing buttons on shirts and 


jouncing her baby on her knee. Fong Fah glanced 
up and smiled in her friendly way. 

"You are a wife and a mother," said Suey Sum, 
"and still you are a slave." 

"You are a slave," replied Fong Fah, softly, 
"but still you are free." 

"I would rather be a slave of the world than 
the wife of a man; but I should like to have a 
child like yours — if I were sure it would never 
be a slave." 

"Or a wife," said Fong Fah. 

Suey Sum touched the baby's cheek lightly with 
her finger-tips and went her way. 

"I sent for you, Loo Yee, to ask you to fix a 
price upon the slave girl, Suey Sum," said Quan 
Quock Ming. 

"Are you seeking an investment or a secondary 
wife?" asked Loo Yee. 

"I am prepared to buy this girl. Be good 
enough to state your price." 

"I will sell her for $3,000." 

"That is too much." 

"The price at which she may buy herself has 
been fixed at $1,800, and she owes the interest for 
nearly two years at three per cent a month. The 
price I have given you is merely principal and 

"I will pay $2,200. That is principal and in- 
terest at one per cent." 

"I cannot accept it. I would lose too much." 


"She may die or run away, and then you would 
lose all." 

"You are taking the same risk if you buy her." 

"I am willing to take some risk, but not all." 

"I will meet you halfway. I will accept 

"I will pay it. Here is the preliminary present 
to bind the bargain," and Quan Quock Ming 
handed him a few small coins. "Draw your writ- 
ing of sale and deliver the girl. The money will 
be ready." 

As Loo Yee departed a kinsman of Quan 
Quock Ming's entered. 

"I did everything, venerable uncle, as you di- 
rected," he said. "I attended the drawing, and 
the very instant it was completed I ran to the 
speaking-machine and repeated to you the numbers 
that had been drawn. Was it successful?" 

"It was successful, but Sang Wo and Tai Yick 
refuse to pay, saying it was a trick. Take these 
tickets and collect the money. They will hardly dare 
refuse a hatchetman of the Suey Sing tong. Do 
whatever is necessary, and I guarantee everything." 

"If they refuse they will carry their coffins on 
their backs." 

"Sir scholar, you did not tell me that this girl 
had won nearly $5,000 in the lottery," complained 
Loo Yee when he came to deliver Suey Sum. 

"Loo Yee, you did not tell me that this girl 
has frequently threatened to hang herself and 
owes much money." 


"Here is your writing and your slave." 

"Here is your money." 

Loo Yee went his way, shaking his head and 
grumbling over the bad bargain he had made. 

"Loo Yee gave me account of your debts, and 
I have paid them all," said Quan Quock Ming 
to Suey Sum. 

"Then, sir scholar, I am quite free?" 

"Yes, you are quite free." 

"And how much money have I left?" 

"Nothing. It was necessary to use much for 
sacrifice to the gods, so that they would instruct 
me how to proceed, and there were other ex- 

"It is no matter. I can soon earn enough to 
take me back to the Middle Kingdom and keep 
my mother in comfort for the remainder of her 
life. But how can I ever pay you, sir scholar?" 

"Very easily, Suey Sum. Give me a cup of tea." 

Suey Sum poured the tea, spilled a little on the 
floor for good luck and handed it to Quan Quock 
Ming. He drank it quickly. 

"Now you should be very happy, Suey Sum. 
Your freedom has been bought, and you have 
given the ceremonial cup. You are no longer a 
slave, but my secondary wife. Assist Fong Fah 
with the evening meal. I am hungry." 

"Aih-h-yah!" cried Suey Sum, as she fell to 
the floor. 

"Women are weak and foolish," said Quan 
Quock Ming. 



Quan Quock Ming, promoter of happiness, 
and longevity, sat beneath the shelter of his faded 
sunshade at the street corner, his arms resting 
upon the table before him and his eyes wandering 
listlessly over the deserted cross-ways. 

"Fortunes 1 Fortunes! Good fortune for all!" 
he croaked perfunctorily, then muttered a male- 
diction upon the heat that kept prospective patrons 
within doors. 

A premonitory crash of gongs sounded in the 
restaurant opposite, and he waited expectantly for 
the beginning of the orchestral selection, blinking 
with each succeeding smash. The wooden drums 
rattled their prelude, and the fiddles whined a 
theme, repeating it insistently till the voice of a 
slave girl took it up, then dropping into a punc- 
tuating accompaniment. 

"Ha! 'A Wife's Grief Because of Her Hus- 
band's Absence,' " muttered Quan Quock Ming, 
as he recognized the ancient ode of T'sin. "The 
fool should have provided something to occupy 
her time more profitably," and he wondered 
whether his three wives were working diligently 
at the shirts from the factory or idling over the 


tea of the chrysanthemum bloom. He would dis- 
cover later. 

His eyes closed, opened and closed again. His 
chin buried itself slowly in the fat beneath it, and 
his horn-rimmed spectacles dropped upon the table 
before him. Perspiration oozed from his face like 
lard from the jowls of a roasting pig, and he 
breathed in half-choked gurgles. As the orches- 
tra brought its whining, twanging and clattering 
to a close with a series of crashes, he started from 
his doze. 

u Hai-i-ie!" he growled. "May ducks guzzle 
the livers of all musicians!" 

He mopped his face with a green silk hand- 
kerchief and refitted his red-buttoned cap to the 
top of his head, as he would the lid to a ginger 
jar. He set his spectacles astride the end of his 
nose, where they would not obstruct his vision, 
and folded his hands over his paunch as though 
to hold himself upon his stool. 

"Fortunes ! Fortunes ! Good fortune for all !" 

The screen door of the Great Harmony and 
Good Will pork shop flew open, and old Wong 
Yee Shi, the marriage broker, rushed out to cry 
her wrongs to the world. 

"Aih-yah!" she screamed. "Five cents for six 
sausages no larger than punk-sticks!" A quick 
glance up and down the street convinced her that 
her design of attracting a crowd and compelling 
a compromise was hopeless. "May an evil spirit 
in the form of a razor cut the tallow from the 


ribs of all butchers for candles to light their way 
to hell!" she shrieked, as she straightened the 
pad over the bald spot at her forehead, then 
turned away muttering and grumbling. 

"Fortunes ! Fortunes ! Good fortune for all !" 
and Quan Quock Ming shook his urn of question- 
sticks briskly. 

Wong Yee Shi stopped at his table and faced 
him with an accusing frown. "Hai-ie 1 How can 
you promise good fortune to everyone, when there 
is nothing within the Four Seas but misfortune?" 
she demanded. "Tell me that?" 

"All fortune is good fortune, even though evil 
be predicted," replied Quan Quock Ming. 
"Warned of its approach, one may induce the 
gods to avert it through prayers and sacrifices," 
and he shook the sticks invitingly. 

"You know very well that evervone meets it," 
insisted Wong Yee Shi. 

"No — only the foolish. The wise know noth- 
ing of it." 

"Aih-yah! I am the most unfortunate of 
women !" 

"Therefore the most foolish." The promoter 
of happiness and longevity nodded sapiently. 

"Hai-ie ! Is it my folly that makes the young 
people immoral and unfilial?" she demanded. 

"How have they become so? And how does it 
concern you, if they have?" he asked. 

"Why, the girls have become so immodest that 
they actually converse with the young men, who 


arrange their own marriages — just as the wicked 
foreign devils do — leaving honest marriage 
brokers to starve and indulgent parents to grieve." 

"The wise always profit by the folly of others, 
Wong Yee Shi." 

"That is easy to say, but difficult to accom- 
plish." She nodded a challenge. 

"Easy for a sage; difficult for a fool," he an- 

"Then tell me how I can turn my misfortunes 
to account." 

"I sfiall first show you how I can use them to 
my profit, Wong Yee Shi. Pay me a fee for 

"Hai-ie! Why should I be so foolish as to do 

"In order that you may gain wisdom." 

Wong Yee Shi took a coin from her purse and 
flung it upon the table. "It is throwing silver 
into the street," she grumbled. 

"And giving you advice is wasting wisdom on 
the winds, so we are quits, Wong Yee Shi. But 
listen. In going from house to house in search 
of husbands for girls and wives for men you 
gather much gossip. All that you hear is of 
value to some one. Sort it and sell it." 

"Aih-yah!" cackled Wong Yee Shi. "I have 
heard some that may be of value to you, sir 

"That is possible." He smiled patronizingly. 
"Tell me, and I shall pay its worth." 


"Dr. Young Hop often visits your home in 
your absence. I have heard it from many, and 
all smile in speaking of it." 

"Hai-ie!" Quan Quock Ming sprang from his 
stool so suddenly that he nearly upset his table 
and Wong Yee Shi at the same time. "What a 
great misfortune!" 

"How much is it worth to you, wise philos- 
opher?" and she grinned through her gums. 

"This piece of silver!" and he flung the coin 
at her. 

"Such a great misfortune should be worth 
much more," she chuckled. 

"We shall see," growled Quan Quock Ming. 

"When you have turned it to account?" 

"Go away! 1 ' 

The promoter of happiness and longevity 
snatched the sunshade from its socket and closed 
it with a snap. He kicked the legs from under 
the table and folded it with a bang. He hung his 
stool from the crook of his left elbow, tucked the 
urn of question-sticks under his right arm, and 
gathering up the remainder of his paraphernalia 
hurried up the hill, puffing and muttering. He 
climbed the three flights of stairs and kicked on 
the door of his home. In three slaps of a pair 
of slippers it opened, and he tottered in. He 
threw the implements of his profession into a 
corner, dropped on a stool at the round table and 
labored for breath. One of his wives brought 
him a fan, another a cup of tea, the third — yes, 


he took a third wife — his water-pipe, and then 
all resumed their sewing. As he fanned himself 
and sipped his tea he glared at first one and then 
another, but they only hung their heads lower and 
worked faster. 

"Hai-ie!" he growled. "Prepare the evening 

They dropped their work and hurried to the 
kitchen. He shook hfs head and clicked his tongue 
as he filled his water-pipe. 

"Aih-yah ! To expose themselves to gossip and 
their honorable husband to ridicule!" he mut- 
tered between puffs. u Ts! ts! ts! The filthy 
swine !" 

The Analects of Confucius lay open before him 
and his eyes fell upon the first page. 

"Men of superior minds busy themselves first 
in getting at the root of things," he read, "and 
when they have succeeded in this, the right course 
is open to them." 

Upon reflection he nodded his approval. "Yes; 
that is true," he mused. "The man is at the root 
of this matter, and I shall get at him first. The 
water-snake who has invaded my home shall learn 
that I am no turtle to hide my head under a lily- 
leaf. Which one is guilty is a question of no im- 
portance, for I can beat the three of them and 
thus make sure that the right one is punished." 



At the very moment that Quan Quock Ming 
sat glaring at his three wives, the three wives of 
Lee Sam Yick, two floors below, stood staring 
at their honorable husband, who lay upon the 
flat of his back. 

"No one ever does that, unless he is dead or 
very ill," whispered the first wife. 

Lee Sam Yick groaned and rolled his eyes. 

"No one ever does that when he is dead," de- 
clared the second wife. 

"That is true," said the others, and all drew 
closer to his couch to see what else he was doing. 

Lee Sam Yick took a short breath and held it 
so long that they wondered how he managed to 
make it last; and when he did the same thing 
again, they marveled that he had enough left for 
a groan. 

"Our honorable husband must be ill," the third 
wife whispered. 

They had never been permitted to forget that 
a good wife should have no mind of her own, 
either for good or evil, and that nothing should 
be done without consulting their honorable hus- 
band, so the first wife, who had borne him a son 



and was therefore free to speak without first beg- 
ging his permission, asked: 

"What is the matter, honorable husband ?" 

Lee Sam Yick took another breath and ex- 
pended a part of it on another groan, but none 
of it on speech. 

"Are you iff?" she asked, but he made no an- 
swer. "Shall I call a doctor?" Still he did not 
reply. "Our honorable husband has no breath 
to waste on words," she said, "so I shall speak 
to Lee Lim of the matter. Lee Lim! Hai-ie! 
Lee Lim!" 

He came at once, watched his father's queer 
breathing and listened to his deep groaning. "Yes; 
my honorable father is ill. Send for a doctor." 

"Chin Foo's boy! Hai-ie! Chin Foo's boy!" 
screamed the first wife at the door. "My honor- 
able husband is thinking of dying! Fetch Young 
Hop, the doctor!" 

"Lee Sam Yick is dying, and I am going for a 
doctor to help him!" shouted the boy, as he ran 
down the stairs three steps at a time and then up 
the street, pausing only long enough to tell all 
whom he met, for his news was much more im- 
portant than his mission. 

The neighbors hurried to Lee Sam Yick's house 
to look into the matter and crowded about the 
doorway. When they saw him rolling his eyes 
and heard him groaning, they asked : 

"Is it true that you are dying, Lee Sam Yick?" 
but he made no reply. "He surely intends to 


die," they said to one another. "Ts! ts! ts!" and 
shook their heads. -* 

"Aih-yah!" cried half a dozen at once, as Dr. 
Young Hop came up the stair. u Lee Sam Yick 
surely intends to die!" and the children began to 

"Hai-ie! Are all of you physicians then, that 
you know so much about the matter?" demanded 
the doctor. 

"No; but we have said it several times, and 
he does not deny it," they declared, as they made 
way for him, then followed him in. 

Wishing to be helpful and to learn more of Lee 
Sam Yick's illness, all that could hastened to re- 
move his clothing, then stood back and watched 
the doctor poke and pinch him, while he groaned 
louder and rolled his eyes wider. 

"Ts! ts! ts! He is in a very bad way," they 
said. "It will be a big funeral, for he is wealthy." 

Dr. Young Hop straightened himself, tucked 
his hands in his sleeves and regarded his patient 
gravely through his gold-rimmed spectacles while 
all waited breathlessly for his decision. 

"Yes; Lee Sam Yick is ill," he said; "and some- 
thing must be done about it." 

"I have some medicine that I got from a foreign 
devil's drug store for my honorable husband's 
knee," said one. 

"And I have some syrup that I keep for my 
baby's cough," suggested another. 


"I made some turnip soup for my cold this very 
morning," said a third. 

"Lee Sam Yick is no baby, and he has no cold," 
declared the doctor. "Nor is the trouble in his 
knee." He looked from one to another gravely. 
"He is possessed of evil spirits." 

"Aih-yah!" gasped the women and drew back 
toward the door. 

"Now I shall proceed to drive them out," said 
Young Hop. 

All of the women suddenly remembered that 
they had much to do at home and hurried their 
children away. 

"Is it true that my honorable husband intends 
to die?" asked the first wife. 

"No; I shall not permit it," the physician as- 
sured her. 

Seeing it was five o'clock, Dr. Young Hop 
forced five large pills down Lee Sam Yick's throat, 
painted his body in five places with brown medi- 
cine and put five blisters upon him. 

"In five minutes the evil spirits will begin to 
leave him," he said, "and he will feel much bet- 
ter. In five days he will be quite well. I will 
come again tomorrow." 

"That is good," said Lee Lim. He counted the 
minutes up to five. "That is bad," he muttered, 
as his father's groans grew louder, and he sent 
Chin Foo's boy for a foreign doctor. 

"Lee Sam Yick is dying again, and I am going 
for a foreign doctor !" shouted the boy as he ran. 


"If the evil spirits leave Lee Sam Yick, they 
will surely attack some other person," said the 
neighbors, as they closed their doors and win- 
dows and gave the children li chee nuts to keep 
them quiet. 

"Who put on this paint and these blisters?" 
asked the white physician, after he had examined 
Lee Sam Yick. ^H 

"China doctor," replied Lee Lim. "He say evil 
spirits. Can drive 'em out. No die." 

"He's a fool," declared the doctor. "No evil <. 

spirits. Bad lungs, bad heart, bad liver — bad all 
over. Sure die," and he pulled off the blisters, 
wrote a prescription and went away. 

"I shall have to see a fortune-teller to learn 
the truth," thought Lee Lim. 

"Chinese medicine is good, and foreign medi- 
cine is good," said the first wife, "and both to- 
gether will surely cure my honorable husband." 

She put the blisters back and gave the powders 
that the physician had prescribed, though she had 
much difficulty in getting Lee Sam Yick to swal- 
low the papers. She got a bowl of turnip soup 
from the woman upstairs and gave him as much 
of that as she could compel him to take between 
groans. Then she borrowed the liniment from 
the woman next door and the cough syrup from 
the one at the end of the hall, and gave him a 
spoonful of each, for she could not remember 
which was to be taken and which rubbed in. 

"When one is ill. one cannot have too much 


medicine," she said, and hurried to the foreign 
devil's drug store to buy a bottle of the kind that 
costs a dollar, and gave him that, too. Still Lee 
Sam Yick groaned and rolled his eyes. 

"There is but one way to account for it," de- 
clared Dr. Young Hop the next day. "They must 
be very obstinate and malignant spirits. But I 
shall yet succeed in driving them out." 

He gave more pills, applied more paint and 
blisters, burned joss paper and lighted punks. 
"Now you must leave him alone for five days 
without food or drink," he ordered. "The win- 
dow must be left open, so that the spirits may 
go out when they become hungry and thirsty. The 
door must be kept locked, or they will surely re- 
main in the house." 

"How is the sick man?" inquired the white 

"Jess now he go out," replied Lee Lim. 



The promoter of happiness and longevity was 
smacking his lips over the evening meal, and his 
three wives were attending him. The moment he 
laid aside his chop-sticks one poured his itea. 
When he had finished his third cup another placed 
a bowl of hot water before him. When his wet 
fingers had passed over his mouth for the third 
time another gave him a towel. 

"Now I shall take my rest," he said, as he 
dried his hands. 

He rose from the table, kicked off his slippers, 
stretched himself upon his couch and closed his 

"Silence irritates me, loud sounds disturb me, 
but the murmur of voices soothes me," he had 
told them once, and the admonition had been but 
once forgotten. 

As the women settled themselves at the table 
to finish what he had left, they glanced at him 
furtively and saw a frown gathering. 

"We have earned 75 cents today," murmured 
one quickly, and the frown began to relax. 

"Tomorrow we should be able to earn nearly 
80 cents," said another. The frown disappeared. 



"The wife of Lim Toy has borne her husband 
a son," observed the third. 

"There will be a great feast," reflected Quan 
Quock Ming, "and I shall advise Lim Toy to have 
it at the Lotus Flower restaurant. I should get a 
good commission." 

"Lee Sam Yick is very ill," said the first wife. 

"The foreign doctor says he will surely die," 
remarked the third, "but the Chinese doctor says 
that he will not." 

"What doctor was called?" asked one. 

The third wife glanced sharply at Quan Quock 
Ming, and saw his eyelids quivering. 

"I don't know," she answered quickly. Quan 
Quock Ming frowned again. "But I think — some- 
one said " 

The bell rang, and she hastened to open the 

"Is the promoter of happiness and longevity at 
home?" asked Lee Lim. 

She answered him by opening the door wider. 

"Hai-i-ie!" growled Quan Quock Ming, as he 
sat up on the couch. "Is one not permitted to 
Test in his own home? One may as well be a 
stray dog in the streets!" 

As he shoved his feet into his slippers he cal- 
culated the extra charge to be made for the dis- 
turbance of his tranquillity. Lee Lim advanced 
the three polite paces and made the three saluta- 
tions, as he would upon entering the presence of 
a minor official. 


"How is your health, sir scholar?" he asked 

"Good!" grunted Quan Quock Ming. 

"You are very fortunate," murmured Lee Lim. 

"Did you disturb me to tell my fortune or to 
have yours told?" demanded the promoter of 
happiness and longevity, who had no patience with 
the rule of propriety that forbids one speaking of 
his business too precipitately. 

"I came to have mine told, sir scholar." 

"That is soon done." He took up his urn of 
question-sticks, shook them and held them before 
Lee Lim. "Choose one," he ordered. 

Quan Quock Ming held it to the light and 
studied it intently, knitting his brows, shaking his 
head and mumbling over the characters inked 
upon it. 

"Ah! I see!" he exclaimed, as light broke over 
his face. "You are anxious about something, and 
you wish to know whether it will end happily?" 

"That is true, sir scholar," admitted Lee Lim. 

Quan Quock Ming tapped the question-stick im- 
pressively with the long nail of his little finger. 
"This tells me that your honorable father is ill," 
he said, "and you wish to know whether he will 
live or die." 

"It is marvelous, sir scholar, that you should 
know my thoughts." 

"A foreign doctor has said he will die; a Chi- 
nese doctor that he will live. Is it not so, Lee 


"It is exactly as you say, sir scholar." 

"And they differed as greatly concerning the 
cause of his illness, did they not?" 

"Yes. The Chinese doctor says it is the work 
of evil spirits; the foreign devil that it is not." 

"And you came to me to be told the truth, Lee 

"Yes, sir scholar." 

"You have acted wisely. The truth, like your 
honorable father, lies between two liars, Lee Lim. 
Your honorable father's illness is the work of evil 
spirits — and he will die." 


"What Chinese doctor did you have, Lee Lim ?" 

"Young Hop." 

"Ah!" Quan Quock Ming glanced sharply at 
his wives and saw two of them look up at Shim 
Ming, the youngest. ff Ah!" he repeated and 
smiled knowingly. "You may as well send for 
the bonze to make the sacrifices and offer the 
prayers, Lee Lim. Be careful to get one who 
knows the ways of evil spirits." 

"Would you recommend one, sir scholar? I 
do not know the priests." 

"Well — as a favor to you, Lee Lim — I will 
say this much : You should employ Soo-hoo Hung. 
He is a very learned man." 

"I shall follow your advice, sir scholar." 

"If there should be anything in your honorable 
father's business affairs that will require the at- 


tention of a lawyer, be very careful in your se- 
lection, or you may be unfortunate." 

"I shall ask your advice in that case, sir scholar. 
Now I shall walk my way." 

The moment Lee Lim had paid the fee and de- 
parted, Quan Quock Ming laid aside his spec- 
tacles, clapped on his cap, slipped into his fur- 
lined jacket and hurried to the house of Soo-hoo 
Hung. The priest had just finished his fourth 
pipe of opium and was still reclining upon the 

"My door never creaks when you enter, sir 
scholar." The "bonze smiled amiably up at Quan 
Quock Ming. 

"And it never slams when I depart," replied 
the teller of fortunes, as he kicked off his slippers. 

"Because you are indeed a promoter of happi- 

Quan Quock Ming stretched himself upon the 
bunk, took up the pipe and began cooking opium 
for himself. "Alas! I am a bearer of sad news 
tonight. A man is about to die." 

"How unfortunate — for the man!" observed 
Soo-hoo Hung. 

"Yes; he is very wealthy." 

"Funerals have been few and fees small of 
late," said the bonze. "I must see to this." 

"I have already attended to the matter, Soo- 
hoo Hung, and you will be employed." 

"You shall receive the usual commission, sir 


"I expected it, or I would have mentioned the 
name of another bonze.'* 

"Who is the man?" 

"Lee Sam Yick." 

"Aih-yah! It will be a big funeral. What is 
Wb affliction, sir scholar?" 

"Evil spirits," replied Quan Quock Ming. 
"What else can afflict a wealthy man?" 

"Nothing — so long as doctors are eager to get 
large fees. It is disgusting! Ts! tsl ts! They 
would leave nothing for the priests." 

"Hai-ie! Which is more important — pills for 
the living or prayers for the dead? Tell me 
that," demanded Quan Quock Ming. 

"If I were the man, I should say the pills, sir 

"If you were a dead man, you would say " 

"Nothing," laughed the priest. 

"You have had too much opium, Soo-hoo 
Hung," said Quan Quock Ming reprovingly. 
"Give heed to what I am saying, and it will be 
to your profit." 

"Likewise to yours, sir scholar. My ears are 

"If you were the filial and therefore foolish son 
of a wealthy man, Soo-hoo Hung, you would pay 
much for pills for the living, as Lee Lim does, 
and you would pay much more for prayers for 
the dead, as he will." 

"And Lee Sam Yick will be dead much longer 
fhan he will be alive," chuckled the priest. 


"Now when the evil spirits have succeeded in 
killing him, they will still remain in his body, will 
they not?" 

"Certainly, sir scholar." 

"And prayers instead of pills will be required 
to get rid of them." 

"That is true, sir scholar. Only a bonze can 
drive them out." 

"And that involves much time, trouble and ex- 
pense," continued Quan Quock Ming. 

"Time and tro»Me are as nothing to me, sir 
scholar, so long as others bear the expense," de- 
clared Soo-hoo Hung. "Evil spirits are obstinate 
and exacting, and invariably refuse to depart till 
the money or the patience of the family is ex- 

"Thus much good flows from evil, Soo-hoo 
Hung. But what do you do with the spirits when 
you drive them out?" 

"Oh, let them go their way. That is the end 
of the matter." 

"Why let it end there, when it may be pursued 
further with profit?" asked Quan Quock Ming. 

"I follow profit with willing feet and eager 
hands, sir scholar," laughed Soo-hoo Hung. 
"Show me the way." 

Quan Quock Ming remained silent long enough 
to cook, roll and smoke another portion of opium, 
then laid aside the pipe. 

"What will the evil spirits do when they leave 
Lee Sam Yick?" He asked. 


"Doubtless busy themselves in annoying some 
other person," replied Soo-hoo Hung. 

"Whom would they be most likely to select?" 

The priest pondered and shook his head. "I 
cannot say, sir scholar." 

"Why, an enemy — one who has been opposing 
them — most probably the doctor. Yes; you must 
send them after the doctor." 

"Hai-ie! I had never thought of that!" 
laughed Soo-hoo Hung. 

"Think more of it, and you will think well of 

"But where will be the profit, sir scholar?" 

"Leave that to me." 

"And how can it be done? Even a priest can- 
not send evil spirits after persons as he would 
ferrets after rats." 

"We will find the way, Soo-hoo Hung." 

"Hai-ie! But that will be a great joke!" 



While Lee Sam Yick lay struggling with the 
evil spirits that beset him, his wives went softly 
about their household duties, and his son offered 
prayers at the family altar and sacrifices at the 
Tien How Temple. Often they paused at Lee 
Sam Yick's door to listen and hurried away when 
he groaned. Once there came from his room a 
sound as though he had fallen, and listening they 
heard him call feebly. 

"I must go to my honorable husband," cried 
the first wife. 

"No — not yet," said Lee Lim. "It is only the 
fourth day." 

Then they heard the sound of coin clinking, fall- 
ing and rolling upon the floor. 

"Aih-yah !" cried the first wife. "It is the death 
offering to the evil spirits. I must go to him !" 

"No; only the gods can aid my honorable 
father now," said Lee Lim, as he led her away 
from the door. 

He prostrated himself at the family altar and 
beseeched the souls of his ancestors to aid his 
father. The three wives knelt to the Mother of 
Heaven and prayed silently, the first that her 



husband might be spared, the second that suitable 
provision might be made for her support by the 
family of Lee, and the third, that she might still 
find favor in the eyes of a younger man. 

"You may unlock the door," said Dr. Young 
Hop on the morning of the fifth day. 

"Aih-yah ! Aih-yah !" cried the first wife, when 
she saw her honorable husband still lying upon 
his back — not in his bed, but upon the floor among 
the gold and silver offerings. 

"Hai-ie!" exclaimed the doctor. "How unfor- 
tunate! He has foolishly permitted his spirit to 
accompany the evil ones," and he departed in dis- 
appointment and disgust, but not before he had 
gathered up the coins. 

The three women stood at the windows of the 
house waving the garments of Lee Sam Yick and 
crying to their husband's spirit to return to them, 
while Lee Lim waited in silence for the bonze to 
come with punk-sticks and prayer paper. 

"What was the cause of your honorable father's 
departure?" asked Soo-hoo Hung. 

"Evil spirits," replied Lee Lim. "They at- 
tacked his heart, and liver and lungs." 

"Hai-ie!" exclaimed the priest, and rolled his 
eyes to heaven, mumbled a pious invocation and 
bowed with clasped hands three times toward the 

"Now there is nothing to be done but to pro- 
vide a funeral suitable to his wealth and station," 
said Lee Lim. 


"There is much more to be done, Lee Lim," 
and the bonze shook his head gravely. 

"The elders of my clan will order the funeral 
meats, hire the carriages, employ the mourners 
and bear him to his tomb," replied Lee Lim. 

"There is more yet to be done, Lee Lim. The 
evil spirits must first be driven out of your hon- 
orable father's body." 

"But Dr. Young Hop said they had gone." 

"He knows more of pills and plasters than of 
the ways of spirits. If they should be interred 
with your father's bones, his spirit would never 
know a moment's rest, and neither you nor your 
children, nor your children's children would ever 
know anything but misfortune. You' may as well 
lay him in a low place with his head to the south 
and be done with it." 

"Aih-yah !" cried Lee Lim. "What is to be 

"It is a very delicate and difficult matter^ Lee 
Lim. I shall first be compelled to offer sacri- 
fices at the Tien How Temple." 

"Take this," and Lee Lim gave the priest sev- 
eral gold coins. "Neglect nothing that may be 

For seven days Soo-hoo Hung burned incense 
and opium at the expense of Lee Lim, sharing the 
pipe and the money with Quan Quock Ming, who 
in return gave sage advice. 

"My father's body is still unburied," Lee Lim 
then said to the priest, "and the wicked foreign 


devils are threatening to put me in prison if I 
do not attend to the matter. I have already paid 
you $250, and nothing has been accomplished. 
What am I to do?" 

The bonze shook his head and sighed. "I fear 
there is but one way, Lee Lim," he said. "I had 
hoped to find another, but it cannot be done." 

"Tell me the way, and I shall follow it." 

"It is now certain that the evil spirits do not 
intend to leave your honorable father's body till 
another is provided for them." 

"That should not be so very difficult," said Lee 
Lim eagerly. "A picker of rags, who has no kins- 
men, died yesterday, and " 

"Hai-ie! Do you think the spirits that at- 
tacked your honorable father would be satisfied 
with the filthy carcass of a rag-picker?" 

"Then what is to be done? Tell me." 

"They might be induced to attack Dr. Young 
Hop," whispered the priest. "He is the enemy 
that has been opposing them. I have no doubt 
that if he were to die they would be very glad to 
make him uncomfortable." 

"But he is young and healthy, and I cannot keep 
my father's body unburied till he dies." 

"It is possible, Lee Lim, that some good spirits 
might be persuaded to assist. I am quite certain 
it could be arranged if as much as $500 were paid 
— for sacrifices. It is the only way." 

"I will provide the means, for I am a filial son," 
said Lee Lim. 



The three wives of Quan Quock Ming sat 
cross-legged upon the bare floor around a small 
lamp, sewing buttons on shirts. Quan Quock 
Ming sat at his round table impatiently turning 
the leaves of a fat dirty book — "The Geomancer's 
Lantern and Staff" — in search of the table of 
lucky days upon which one may punish an enemy. 

"Ha! The 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 21st or 27th," 
he read. "This is the 5th day of the month. 
That is fortunate — provided Soo-hoo Hung is 

A violent ringing at the door interrupted the 
sewing and the soliloquy, and when it was opened 
the priest rushed in. 

"Hai-ie! Did any one ever hear of such 
wickedness!" He clicked his tongue and shook 
his head in disgust. Quan Quock Ming eyed him 
over his spectacles and waited for the explanation. 
"What is worse than an unfilial son?" demanded 
Soo-hoo Hung. "Ts! ts! ts!" The fortune- 
teller merely blinked his eyes without taking them 
from the face of the bonze. "I told Lim that it 
would require $500 at the very least to secure the 



peaceful repose of his father's bones, but he re- 
fused to pay more than $400." 

"Hai-i-ie!" growled Quan Quock Ming. "We 
are doubly unfortunate. Ts ! ts ! ts !" 

"Why? What has happened, sir scholar? 
Couldn't you find a fighting man to attend to the 

"One accepted the employment at $300, but 
now demands $400." 

"Aih-yahl That will leave nothing for us. 
Give the employment to another." 

"Shall I say to him that you oppose it?" asked 
Quan Quock Ming. 

"Hai-ie! Do you want to have me killed? 
Ts ! ts ! ts ! It's very bad, but let him have it." 

"I am certain, Soo-hoo Hung, that each of us 
has done the best that he could. Is it not so?" 

"Yes — certainly — but — " 

"Then give me the money, and I will attend to 
the matter." 

"It must be done at once, sir scholar," said the 
priest. "The foreign devils have threatened to 
take Lee Lim to prison unless he buries his 
father's body at once." 

Quan Quock Ming blinked his eyes and pon- 
dered. If Lee Lim were taken to prison he would 
require a lawyer. But the offense would be 
trifling, the fee small and the commission from 
the attorney only a third of it. 

"Lee Lim may bury his father tomorrow," he 


The priest, cursing unfilial sons and extortion- 
ate fighting men, counted out the money with 
lingering reluctance and departed. Quan Quock 
Ming counted it again and put it away in his 
camphor-wood chest. 

"To be prosperous one must not only keep all 
that comes to him, but must contrive to get more," 
he mused, as he took up his water-pipe and re- 
sumed his seat at the table. "Too much light im- 
pedes thought.'* He extinguished the lamp and 
puffed and pondered in semi-darkness. "Ha! It 
is very simple. Call Chin Foo's boy," he ordered. 

The first wife went to the top of the stairs and 
screamed down: "Chin Foo's boy! Hai-ie! Chin 
Foo's boy!" 

"Go to the Great Profit to the Four Families 
tobacco shop," Quan Quock Ming directed the 
boy, "and tell Quan Ben to come here at once." 

"I'm going to find Quan Benl" shouted the 
boy, as he ran down the stairs. 

While awaiting the coming of his kinsman 
Quan Quock Ming watched his wives working 
with monotonous deftness and rapidity. The 
light of their lamp fell squarely upon the face of 
Shim Ming, and he studied her leisurely. He 
smiled as he reflected upon the wisdom of his 
ancient ancestors that prompted them to repeat 
the ideographic character for "women" to make 
"wrangle," and the addition of another "woman" 
to mean "intrigue." 

Shim Ming, vaguely conscious of his steady 


gaze, shifted and glanced toward him furtively, 
but saw only the glow of his pipe. At the sound 
of footsteps without she dropped her work and 
hurried to open the door. 

"Come in, younger nephew," said Quan Quock 
Ming, as his clansman hesitated at the threshold. 
"Sit down, younger nephew." 

"It is dark, venerable uncle," said Quan Ben. 

"Darkness has indeed descended upon the clan 
of Quan," sighed Quan Quock Ming, "and you 
are to be the bearer of light, younger nephew." 

"What shadow has fallen, venerable uncle?" 

"The heaviest — the blackest — younger nephew, 
and all of the family of Quan must hang their 
heads in shame till it is lifted." 

"Hai-i-ie! That is very bad. But why am I 
selected to do this, venerable uncle?" 

"Because it must be done," replied Quan Quock 

"Then why does not the one who has lost his 
face boldly recover it?" 

"By such a course he would advertise our dis- 
grace more broadly, younger nephew. It must be 
done secretly by another." 

"Then why does he not pay a fighting man to 
do it, venerable uncle? They ask no questions if 
the reward be ample." 

"They would surmise — and whisper — and laugh 
at a clan so weak that it is compelled to buy its 
face. You must do it, younger nephew." 

"I am no fighting man, venerable uncle, but it is 


my duty to obey the elders of my family. It shall 
be as you say. Tell me the name." 

"His name is — " Quan Quock Ming turned his 
eyes upon Shim Ming — "Young Hop." She 
started and dropped her sewing. "What is the 
matter, Shim Ming?" he asked. 

"I — pricked my finger, honorable husband." 

"Fetch us fresh tea." 

As she placed it upon the table her hands shook 
so that she spilled it. 

"Hai-i-ie! What is the matter with you?" de- 
manded Quan Quock Ming. 

"I burned myself, honorable husband." 

"You appear to be ill, Shim Ming." 

"No; I do not feel ill, honorable husband." 

"If you should fall ill you would be unable to 
do your sewing, and that would be very bad. 
Shall I not call a doctor for you?" 

"No — no, honorable husband — don't. I am 
quite well." 

Quan Quock Ming shook his head gravely. 
"No; you surely need a doctor, Shim Ming," he 
said, and rose from the table, went to the door 
and called: 

"Chin Foo'sboy!" 

"Haie!" responded the boy, and hurried up 
the stairs. 

"Go fetch a doctor quickly — the doctor that 
killed Lee Sam Yick." 

"I am going for the doctor that killed Lee Sam 


Yick!" shouted the boy as he ran, and all who 
heard him laughed. 

Quan Quock Ming opened his camphor-wood 
chest and took out a large revolver. As he handed 
it to his kinsman he smiled and said: 

"The pills in this are not so large as some 
physicians prescribe but they are even more ef- 

Quan Ben hid it under his blouse. "Now I shall 
walk my way, venerable uncle." 

"Walk slowly, younger nephew," replied Quan 
Quock Ming. "The hallway at the second floor 
is very dark — when the lamp is extinguished. Be 

"I will be both careful and sure, venerable 

"Remember — the second floor! I want no for- 
eign devil officials kicking upon my door with 
their big boots." 

"It shall be as you say, venerable uncle." 

"Light my lamp, Shim Ming," ordered Quan 
Quock Ming. "Ah ! That is better. You should 
not work when you are not feeling well. Rest — 
and while you are doing so, sing to me." 

Shim Ming took up the dulcimer hammers and 
struck the strings of the yung kum lightly to see 
that it was in tune. 

"I think I would like to hear one of the odes 
of T'sin." Quan Quock Ming smiled up at her. 
"Yes — by all means — one of the odes of T'sin. 


Sing 'The Lady Lamenting the Death of her 
Lover.' " 

While Shim Ming, with her eyes fixed upon the 
instrument, played and sang, Quan Quock Ming, 
his hands folded over his abdomen, smiled up at 
her, rocked himself and nodded the time. And 
these were the words she sang: 

"My lover like the pine tree grew, 
And lordly was the mien he bore. 

Ah, me! 
But I shall see him nevermore. 

"My lover like the pine tree stood, 
And bowed toward my humble door. 

Ah, me! 
But I shall see him nevermore. 

"My lover like the pine tree sighed; 
Each breeze to me a message bore. 

Ah, me! 
But I shall hear them nevermore. 

"My lover like the pine tree fell; 

But still his shadow's on my floor " 

The sound of a shot roared up from the lower 
floors and with it the death cry of a man: 


Shim Ming faltered for only an instant before 
she half cried, half echoed: 

"Ah, me! 
And I shall see it evermore!" 

As she finished the hammers dropped from her 
hands and clattered on the floor. Quan Quock 
Ming smiled and nodded. 

"Very good, Shim Ming — very good! You 
sang that with much feeling. I think you are 


cured, Shim Ming. You may return to your 

With bowed head Shim Ming took her place 
among the other wives and took up her sewing. 
Quan Quock Ming resumed his reading where it 
had been interrupted, pausing long enough to say: 

"I think I will have fried noodles for break- 
fast, Shim Ming." 

"Hai-ie! Sir scholar!" shouted Chin Foo's boy 
in the hall. "Dr. Young Hop is dead at Lee 
Sam Yick's door!" 

"Aih-yah! How unfortunate!" exclaimed the 
promoter of happiness and longevity. "Now I 
must lose my rest to seek a priest for Young Hop's 
widow and a lawyer for Lee Sam Yick's son. 
Ts! tslts!" 




"Promoter of Happiness and Longevity." 

I read the carved and gilded characters above 
Quan Quock Ming's door while awaiting a re- 
sponse to my ring. From within came the odor 
of opium burned in the pipe, the shuffle of slip- 
pered feet, and then the high-pitched voice of a 
woman — one of the three wives of the fortune 
teller — demanding : 

"Who's there?" 

"Little Pete," I answered, thoughtlessly giv- 
ing the name by which I am known only to the 
foreign devils. 


"Fung Ching," and then the door was opened 
to me. 

The promoter of happiness and longevity sat 
on the edge of his big cushioned chair — one such 
as lazy foreign devils use — his arms resting 
on the oilcloth-covered table and his horn-rimmed 
spectacles on the end of his nose. At his right 



hand were his bamboo pens and India ink, his 
abacus and his water pipe, while at his left was 
a small lamp, to which he held a book so close 
that one could not be certain whether it was 
the lamp or the leaves that smoked. 

As I entered he marked the point of interrup- 
tion with his finger, raised his eyes and frowned 
at me over his spectacles during the time re- 
quired to advance the three polite paces and 
make the three respectful salutations, and then 
he resumed his reading. 

I did not know whether he was angry with 
me or perplexed by the text, so I seated myself 
on a teakwood stool opposite him, and took 
much time, first in finding a cigar and then in 
lighting it. He continued to read from "The 
Book of Changes" very slowly and half aloud, 
the guiding finger of his right hand pausing at 
each character until he had uttered it and then 
passing to the next. I puffed at my cigar and 
watched his head nodding rhythmically, his chin 
rising quickly with each line completed and de- 
scending slowly again until I could see only the 
red button of his cap over the top of the book. 

When his finger had passed over the last char- 
acter of the chapter he laid the book aside, 
folded his fat hands over his paunch, lay back 
in his chair and stared at me long and seriously 
through his spectacles. To do this it was nec- 
essary for him to raise his chin so high that the 
rolls of fat beneath it seemed to slide around 


and form a cushion at the back of his neck. 

I waited for him to speak, watching him 
meanwhile out of the corners of my eyes, and 
when I saw him reach for his water pipe I knew 
he was not angry, for he never smoked when 
he was perturbed. He had burned the first 
pinch of tobacco, had blown the ash from the 
bowl and was refilling the pipe before he 

u Fung Ching, what is the cause of all this 
commotion among our countrymen over the for- 
eign devils' chock chee?" he asked. 

"Sir scholar," I answered, "why do you, a 
sage and a prophet, ask one so ignorant as I? 
Why do you not consult your question sticks?" 

"The gin quah are but the means employed 
by me to interrogate the gods, who concern them- 
selves little with the affairs of the foreign devils. 
Our gods are not their gods. Still if this chock 
chee business concerns our people greatly, I have 
no doubt that the gods will look into the mat- 
ter. Therefore tell me of it." 

"Very well, sir scholar. You remember — for 
often I have heard you complain of it — that 
the foreign devils made a law requiring all of 
our people in this country to get chock chees, 
stating the age and residence of each person, 
and upon each chock chee was placed a portrait 
of the one who received it, as well as the red seal 
of the official who gave it. After that none of 
our countrymen, unless he were a scholar or a 


merchant, could come here, and none of those 
here could remain unless he had his chock chee." 

"Yes, that is quite true; and it was a very 
wicked thing for the fan quai to do." 

"Now a great many of our countrymen, who 
in truth are neither merchants nor scholars, 
wish to come here, and the fan quai officials 
have made it very difficult for them to prove 
that they really are merchants or scholars." 

"What a great injustice! How wicked to 
deny that which can be proven!" 

"And many who have been put to the expense 
of coming secretly by the northern or southern 
borders of the country are sent back to the Mid- 
dle Kingdom, merely because they have no chock 
chees to prove they were here before the wicked 
law was passed." 

"Then if a person once gets here and has a 
chock chee to show to the officials, he cannot 
be sent away?" 

"That is true, sir scholar." 

"What, then, does a chock chee cost?" 

"They cannot be bought." 

"Can it be true that the fan quai officials, who 
get them for nothing, will not sell them?" 

"That is true, sir scholar. If one were caught 
doing so— and the government is very vigilant 
— he would be sent to prison." 

"How is it possible for officials to live with- 
out squeeze?" 

"They are paid wages, sir scholar." 


"What a foolish way to govern! Paying 
wages to officials who could pay themselves out 
of the squeeze!" 

Quan Quock Ming arose heavily and with 
much puffing and blowing searched in his cam- 
phor-wood chest until he found his own chock 
chee. He spread it on the table before him, 
smoothed it with his hands and studied it in- 
tently, frowning and shaking his head. Then he 

"Who made this paper?" 

"Fan quai paper makers," I answered. 

"Who printed these characters upon it?" 

"Fan quai printers." 

"Who made this seal?" 

"Fan quai seal makers." 

"And a fan quai clerk did this writing, and 
a fan quai picture maker produced this portrait 
of me. Now, if one could get a concession from 
the government to make and sell chock chees, 
what price would they command?" 

"Our countrymen would gladly pay $100 

"What would such a concession cost, Fung 

"It cannot be bought at any price." 

"What! Is it not possible to buy a conces- 

"Not such a concession as that, sir scholar." 

Quan Quock Ming shook his head, clicked 
his tongue and growled: 



Then he leaned back in his chair and folded 
his hands over his stomach in order to think 
with greater ease and accuracy. The fan quai 
ignorantly believe that intelligence is all in one's 
head; my people that it is in one's stomach. If 
anyone would be sure as to which is right, let 
him look at Quan Quock Ming, whose head is 
scarcely larger than a rice bowl, while his stom- 
ach is the size of a vegetable peddler's basket, 
yet he is the wisest man I ever knew. 

"It is all settled, Fung Ching," said Quan 
Quock Ming, after a few moments of deep 
thought. "We shall make and sell chock chees 
without a concession." 

"How can that be done, sir scholar? Surely 
it is impossible!" 

"Nothing is impossible, Fung Ching, unless it 
be the task of providing you with ordinary in- 
telligence. Find a foreign devil to do the print- 
ing, another to do the writing, and another to 
make the seal. The portraits can be obtained 
from any maker of pictures when they are re- 

"But, sir scholar, we shall be sent to prison 
if we are caught." 

"Then we must not be caught. Pay no money 
to the foreign devils who do the work, but 
promise each a share in the profits, so that they 
will not afterward speak of the things they have 
done. Think of the matter, Fung Ching, and I 


will consult the question sticks to learn what 
lies in the future for us." 

I did think much of the matter during the 
succeeding days, saying to myself again and 

"The expense will be trifling and the profit 
great; but the risk will be considerable and the 
penalty may be severe." 

I weighed the certainty of profits that meant 
luxury and ease against the chance of prison with 
mean fare and hard labor, and they seemed to 
balance; and as I was in no urgent need of 
money I determined at last to have nothing what- 
ever to do with the matter. When I visited 
Quan Quock Ming to tell him of my decision he 
greeted me with unusual warmth and cordiality. 

"I have interrogated the gods, Fung Ching," 
said he, "and it is certain that we shall have 
their aid in this chock chee business. If you 
doubt it, let me tell your fortune," and without 
waiting for a word from me he shook the ques- 
tion sticks about in their urn until they were well 
mixed and ordered me to select one. 

He took it from my hand, held it to the light 
and scrutinized it carefully, mumbling and frown- 
ing over the mysterious characters upon it, and 
then smiled broadly. 

"Ah! Here it is, Fung Ching!" he exclaimed. 
"The good spirits will aid you in any venture 
you may make that will be of benefit to your 
countrymen, and all will go well with you — 


provided you are cautious and vigilant. Wealth, 
happiness and great age are assured you. Now, 
you see, it is just as I said." 

I paid him his usual fee of twenty-five cents, 
for he had often explained that the gods would 
be angry if he took no money for sacrifices in 
exchange for their secrets, and then sat down 
to smoke and ponder upon the answer I should 
give him. He continued to urge me so strongly 
and with such positive assurances of success that 
I felt the glow of enthusiasm and made up my 
mind to it; but the moment he ceased speaking 
I thought of the prison, felt the chill of fear and 
changed my mind again. But soon I thought 
more and more of the profit and less and less of 
the prison, until the one appeared very large 
and near, and the other very small and distant; 
and then I consented. 

I went from one printing place to another for 
days, and sought long and diligently before I 
found one who had such a large family and such 
a small business that he had to do his own work 
and wear old clothing. I employed him to print 
a few cards for me, and more for friends of 
mine, and then, as his charges were reasonable, 
and I paid a little out of my own pocket on each 
order, I was able to take him 7 so much business 
from Chinatown that he was forced to employ an 

The printer expressed much gratitude and 
friendship, and I did all I could to increase 


both. One day I showed him my chock chee, 
asking if he could print some exactly like it. 
He said he could, and then I told him what 
great profits could be made if he would do the 
printing and get others to do the writing and 
make the seal. But he, too, was afraid of prison 
and politely refused. After that I took him very 
little business, and he was forced to discharge his 
assistant; and then I could see that he was think- 
ing of the matter as I had. When he himself 
spoke of it again I knew that he had made up 
his mind to it, and we soon agreed that he should 
produce the chock chees, and I should dispose of 
them, the profits to be divided equally between 

It was all done as we planned, and I had given 
Quan Quock Ming nearly $2000 as his share of 
the proceeds, when I went to the printer one day 
to have the writing and seal placed on a chock 
chee I had sold. As I entered his shop I saw at 
once that all was not right, for he was not work- 
ing, but was sitting beside a stranger, saying not 
a word and appearing ill and aged. 

u Hello, Pete!" exclaimed the stranger. "You 
are the one that fixed up this scheme, are you?" 
and though he wore no star and had no brass 
buttons on his clothing he put bracelets of steel 
on my wrists and ordered me to accompany 

I tried to get the chock chee out of my pocket 
to hide it or destroy it, but the official had 


keen eyes and took it from me. I knew it 
could do me no good and might do me much 
harm to say anything, so when he asked me 
questions I simply answered: 

"No sabe talk." 

From the prison I sent for the principal men 
of the clan of Fung, told them all about the 
matter, asked them to get the advice and assist- 
ance of Quan Quock Ming and begged them to 
procure my freedom as quickly as possible. And 
from them I learned how it all had happened, 
for Quan Quock Ming explained it to them. 
It was this way: the gods were angry with me 
because I had not been more cautious in deal- 
ing with the foreign devils, and this was their 
manner of punishing me; nor could Quan Quock 
Ming help me without incurring their displeas- 
ure also. Nevertheless, my clansmen were very 
angry with him and said many harsh things of 

"He is very rich," said one, "but he lives like 
a Hakka barber. He earns much money by tell- 
ing fortunes." 

"No; he has always been very poor," I ex- 
plained. "There was a curse on his wife when 
he married her, and he himself has had bad luck 
ever since his father's grave was stolen and the 
bones disturbed. Every cent that Quan Quock 
Ming has since earned he has sacrificed at the 
Tien How Temple to placate the gods. He has 
told me so many times." 


"We have heard much of the jingle of his 
money, but we have seen little of the smoke from 
his sacrifices,'* declared another. "Now he tells 
us that he has spent his share of the profits from 
this business in offerings for your benefit, but I 
do not believe him. I am sure he is a very rich 

"That cannot be true," I answered heatedly. 
u If he were wealthy he would either boast of 
it or display it. What else would one do with 
his wealth? If one spends it he is no longer 
rich; if one hoards it he merely increases his bur- 

"He would not even give us advice, and that 
costs nothing," said another, "except to tell us 
to bribe the official, whom everyone knows very 
well cannot be bought. And when I asked him 
how one could bribe an honest official with 
money, or how one could bribe a dishonest of- 
ficial without money, he merely wagged his head, 
looked wise and answered: 

" 'Yes, that is the question. 1 " 

When I learned that Quan Quock Ming would 
give me no assistance (I had counted on his 
share of the profits to aid me), and that the 
official could not be bribed (I had counted on 
that, too), the profits appeared very small and 
distant and the prison very large and near. 



Merchants of the family of Fung guaran- 
teed to the extent of $5000 that I would not run 
away, and I was released from prison. I went 
at once to see the lawyer my kinsmen had bought 
for me, to learn what the witnesses would have 
to say to prove I was innocent, so that they could 
be promptly procured and properly instructed. 

"The officials will have to prove you are 
guilty," explained the lawyer. 

"But suppose they do it?" said I. 

"Then you will be sent to prison for sev- 
eral years." 

"Can I not prove that I am innocent after 
they have proven me guilty?" 

"That would be well if it could be done, but 
the printer and the men who aided him have 
told all they know of the matter. Still, that 
would not be sufficient if the official had not 
found the chock chee in your pocket." 

"Then, suppose I get witnesses to prove the 
official himself placed it there?" 

"That would not be credited, especially if it 
were told by Chinese witnesses." 



"But I can get many honest merchants to 
swear they saw him do it." 

"They would not be believed when he denied 

"Not believe many honest men rather than 
one official ! That is very wicked and unjust. It 
looks bad for me." 

"Yes, it does, indeed." 

The lawyer read to from me the fan, quat 
newspapers, which had much to say concerning 
the forgers of chock chees. The official who 
arrested me had talked much to the writers of 
news, boasting that he had captured a big gang 
of desperate criminals, that all concerned would 
be sent to the prison across the bay, and that it 
was not possible for one to escape; that the 
printer, who had told everything at once and 
had a large family, would be given a short 
term; that the maker of the seal and the one 
who did the writing would be given longer 
terms; and that "Little Pete," the notorious 
highbinder and gambler, would be sent away for 
as long a term as the law would permit, be- 
cause he was the ringleader. That was very 
certain, they said, because one of the forged 
chock chees had been found in his pocket. 

All of this was very bad news for me, so I 
hurried to Quan Quock Ming to beg his advice 
and assistance. 

"Go away, you fool!" he shouted as soon as 
I entered his door. "Why do you come here? 


Do you wish to see me in prison, too? Go 

"Why are you angry with me?" I asked. 
"What have I done but to follow your ad- 

"You have been very stupid and incautious 
and have offended the gods greatly, for you 
have thrown away an opportunity to do our 
countrymen much good and gain us great profit." 

"You have shared in the profit, you are in no 
danger of prison, and now you refuse even to 
advise me." 

"I can do nothing for you except with the 
permission of the gods. I shall have to make 
propitiatory offerings at the temple, and they 
will cost you $100." 

I gave him the money and went my way, but 
I called again the very next evening and asked 
at once: 

"Now, sir scholar, what can be done about 
this chock chee business?" 

"Will the official who arrested you accept a 

"No; and anyone who offers it will be taken 
to prison." 

"Then he is a fool, and one can do what one 
wishes with a fool." 

"What is to be done with him?" 

"Make him take it." 

"But how can such a thing be done?" 

"Yes, that is the question. I shall have to 


think," and he leaned back in his big chair with 
folded hands and rocked himself gently to and 
fro. "Has this wicked foreign de\il any wives?" 
he asked, after long and deep reflection. 

"Yes; I am told that he has one wife." 

"Does he foolishly keep a servant instead of 
making his wife do the work of the house- 

"He did have a boy of the family of Wong, 
but he has gone away, and the official has asked 
Jue Wing, the interpreter, to get him an- 

"Go at once, you fool, and make arrange- 
ments with Jue Wing to recommend one of the 
family of Fung — one who understands well the 
language of the fan quai, but do not let the for- 
eign devil know that; and one who knows well 
how to do all that will be required of him, and 
be sure to let the foreign devil know that. Let 
him demand a very small wage. When he has 
been engaged bring him to me, and I will in- 
struct him." 

I lost no time in finding one of my clansmen 
who would be glad to help me out of my trou- 
ble; Jue Wing was very well satisfied with the 
few dollars he received for recommending the 
boy to the official; and the official considered 
himself fortunate in finding one who knew how 
to do all the work of the household for $5 a 
week. When I took the boy to Quan Quock 
Ming, this is what the prophet said to him: 


"Pretend you understand very little of the 
language of the foreign devils, but at the same 
time be quick to comprehend what is required 
of you. Be ever diligent and prompt in doing 
all that ought to be done without waiting to be 
directed. Above all, keep your eyes and your 
ears open to all that is done and said in the 
household, forgetting nothing that you see or 
hear. Each night when you finish your work 
come and tell me everything.*' 

"They are very strange people," said my kins- 
man to Quan Quock Ming a few evenings later. 
"The foreign devil's wife is very young and 
pretty and has much fine apparel, and he shows 
her as much attention as one would a favorite 
singing girl, instead of the contempt that is due 
a wife who has not yet borne a son. Yesterday 
when they were at the evening meal she said to 

" 'I need some money.' 

" 'This is all I have,' said he, and he gave 
her a few coins. 

M 'That is not enough. How can I live on so 

" 'But I give you money to pay the rent, the 
boy and the tradesmen, and you really need very 

" 'I need money for car fare, for clothing, for 
luncheons and for a thousand little things when 
I go shopping. Besides, I want to go to the 
theater, and I want to entertain my friends.' 


" 'But I earn very little, and I spend nothing 
on myself. I give all to you. I have not even 
bought a suit of clothes since we were mar- 

" 'Then why do you not earn more?' 

" T cannot do it honestly.' 

" 'Then do it some other way. I am tired of 
living like a beggar,' and then she began to cry 
and to talk very loud and fast about the things 
that other women do and have; but he put his 
arms around her, called her pretty names and 
kissed her many times, instead of giving her 
such a thrashing as would teach a wife her 

"They do not pay the tradesmen as they buy, 
but get bills at the end of each month, and the 
official examines them very closely. This month 
he did not give her the money with which to 
pay until other bills had been sent, and then she 
kept a part of the money back, spending it for 
pretty things that she did not need in the least." 

"That is very good," said Quan Quock Ming, 
rubbing his hands together and smiling. "Now 
take a small package of choice tea as a present 
to your mistress, and if she seems pleased with 
it give her a bit of rare China or a piece of fine 
embroidery from time to time. Also tell the of- 
ficial that the tradesmen cheat him, and it would 
be much cheaper to pay cash for everything." 

Thus all that occurred in the home of the of- 
ficial was reported to Quan Quock Ming, and 


in all that my kinsman and I said or did wc but 
followed his instructions, though I could not see 
the wisdom in it. Once when I asked him why 
this or that should be done he roared at me: 

"Because I say so," and I asked no more ques- 

In time the official gave his wife money each 
day to pay the expenses of the household, but 
she would often spend a part of it for other 
things. Then my kinsman would pay for what 
was required. Sometimes she would try very 
hard to save enough to repay him without let- 
ting her husband know of the matter, but in the 
end she would spend what she had saved for 
some new finery, and soon she owed him more 
than $50. 

One day when she was crying because she had 
no money the boy said to her: 

"Wha' fo' alle time cly? Takee fi' dolla; go 
hoss lace, bet, ketchee much money." 

She took the coin he offered, went to the races 
and lost, and the very next day, when she was 
crying again, he gave her $10, and that, too, was 

Then I went to the house to visit my kinsman, 
being careful to select an hour when the official 
would surely be out and his wife would cer- 
tainly be in. At that time I spoke the language 
of the fan quai very well, very badly, or not at 
all, as the occasion seemed to require. When I 


was introduced to the lady in the kitchen as a 
rich cousin of her servant, I said to her: 

"You are very fortunate, for you are young 
and beautiful, and you will have a long life and 
much good fortune." 

"Are you a fortune teller?" she asked, laugh- 
ing as though she were greatly pleased. 

"I can tell a little by the face, but much more 
by the hand." 

"Then tell mine," and she held her hand out 
to me. 

I examined it long and carefully, for it was 
very soft, and white, and warm, and then I 

"You are very unhappy now, but that will 
soon pass over. You have been greatly disap- 
pointed in many small matters, but you will soon 
have a great deal of money and many fine 

"I hope your predictions are as true as the 
rest of it," she said, seeming well pleased, and 
when my kinsman spoke of the races, I said: 

"I am so sure that you are very lucky that I 
wish you would bet $20 for me. I will gladly 
give you half that you win." 

She offered a few mild objections at first, but 
took the money. When I called again she told 
me she had lost and was very sorry, but I smiled 
and answered: 

"That is nothing. I am certain you will yet 
be very lucky," and I gave her another $20 to 


bet for me. When that, too, was lost, I said 
to her: 

"I am so positive that great good fortune at- 
tends you that I will lend you all you require, 
for I have much money. You can repay it when 
you have recovered your losses. You must make 
larger bets, doubling each time that you lose." 

I carried $300 in gold the next time I went to 
the official's house, and when his wife saw me 
spread it on the table she smiled and her eyes 
grew bright. Then she looked grave and said 
with much reluctance and hesitation: 

"I cannot take so much. I do not know when 
I can repay it — if ever.'* 

"I am quite sure you will, and it does not mat- 
ter if you do not, for I am very rich." 

She hesitated a little longer, then picked up 
the gold slowly and thoughtfully, and when it 
was all in her hands I offered her a paper to 
sign. It was a promise to pay to me, Fung 
Ching, $300 in gold whenever I should damand 

ft I cannot sign this," she said, and laid the 
money down again. 

"It is merely a receipt and amounts to noth- 
ing. I may not remember to put this in my 
books, and then forget where the money went, 
unless I have some sort of a paper." 

She laid the writing on the table, and with the 
tip of her finger between her teeth stood looking 
at the money and the paper for a long time. 


Then she turned and walked out of the room — 
but it was to get a pen. 

My kinsman told me she lost it all in two 
days, but that she did not cry this time. Instead 
she sat very still all day, looking pale and ill, 
and saying nothing at all, even when he spoke to 

I went to the house once more, and as soon as 
she saw me she hurried to me, shook my hand, 
called me her friend and asked me if I could 
lend her a little more money. 

"I have come for what you already owe me/' 
I said, politely but firmly. 

At first she did not seem to understand me, 
but when I repeated my request she caught her 
breath quickly, grew very pale, straightened her 
shoulders and stared at me. 

"Very well, I shall attend to the matter," 
she said, u as soon as possible." 

My kinsman and I left the house at once, and 
neither of us ever went back. 

Quan Quock Ming was sitting in his big chair 
smoking his long pipe when I called, and he 
merely nodded and grunted in response to my 

"Sir scholar," said I, "tomorrow is the day 
upon which I am to go before the magistrate 
and his twelve assistants to answer concerning 
the chock chee matter. The official is still telling 
the fan quai newspapers that I shall surely be 


sent to prison. I have been to see my lawyer, 
and he says he can tell me nothing." 

"I have seen your lawyer, too," said Quan 
Quock Ming. 

"Then tell me, sir scholar, what is to be done 
about the matter." 

"Nothing," and he puffed his pipe as though 
it made no difference whatever to him if I were 
sent to prison. "All has been done that can be 

"And nothing has been done except the spend- 
ing of my money. I could have gone to prison 
just as well without that. Can you think of 
nothing that I can do to save myself?" 



"Wait and see what the magistrate and his 
twelve assistants do," and he smiled and smoked. 

I left him in anger without another word, for 
the thought suddenly came to me that he had 
tricked me so I would go to prison without tell- 
ing of his part in the business. 

The very next day I sat in court beside my 
lawyer, feeling so hopeless that I scarcely heard 
the questions asked of the twelve who were to 
say whether or not I was guilty, or the words of 
the printer, who related all that had been said 
and done by me. But I listened to the official 
when he told of the chock chee that had been 
found in my pocket. 


"Where is that paper?" asked the govern- 
ment's lawyer. 

The official hesitated an instant, his face 
growing red and then white, and finally, looking 
straight at the lawyer, answered: 

"It disappeared from my desk last night." 

As soon as the twelve men had said I was not 
guilty I went to Quan Quock Ming's home to 
boast that I had escaped prison without his as- 
sistance. He said nothing, but smiled signifi- 
cantly as he handed me the missing chock chee. 

"Where did you get this?" I asked in amaze- 

"A white lady gave it to me last night in ex- 
change for her written promise to pay you 


the bait in the trap 

"Fung Ching!" 

Someone called me, and I listened without 
pausing. There are sixteen ways of speaking 
the two words of my name, and each way has a 
different meaning. When spoken properly they 
mean u Fung, the Perfect." But the one who 
called uttered them in the seventeenth way, 
which had no meaning whatever, except that the 
speaker was an ignorant foreign devil. So I pre- 
tended not to hear. 

"Pete!" he called again, a little nearer and a 
little louder, but still behind me. 

My friendly name among the fan quai is "Lit- 
tle Pete," but the voice of that foreign devil 
had no friendly sound to my ears, so I continued 
on my way without changing my pace until I 
felt a grip on the arm that made me wince with 
pain and a jerk that turned me about so sharply 
that I nearly lost my cap. 

I found myself face to face with the official 
who works secretly for the government — the one 
that promised to send me to prison for selling 
forged chock chees — the very same, yet very 
different. Then he had smiled on me with a 
little pity, much contempt, and great satisfaction. 



Now he glared at me so fiercely that his thin pale 
face had the look of a cleaver that would cut and 
slash, and his deep dark eyes were like bullets that 
were ready to drive holes through me. As he 
held me by the arm, scowling and biting his lip 
beard, I knew I could not run away, and I knew 
it would be useless to call for help, so I tried to 
smile a little as I said, very politely: 

"Hello! How bus'ness?" 

In dealing with foreign devils I purposely, 
speak their language imperfectly, for it is often 
convenient to misunderstand or to be misunder- 

The official gripped my arm a little tighter, 
and I was wondering whether he intended to 
put irons on my wrists or a knife in my breast, 
when he said: 

"You knew I would not take your dirty 
money, so you put up that job to get my wife to 
take it. You got away that time, but I will put 
you in prison yet. Do you understand?" and he 
gripped my arm tighter and shook it savagely; 
but when I found he had nothing worse than 
threats for me I was able to smile again. 

"You likee put me in jail? All light; I go," I 

"Yes; you will go all right. Don't forget that. 
And I will put you there." 

He spoke so seriously and emphatically that 
I had no doubt at all that he was perfectly sin- 
cere, and as I hurried away I decided at once 


I would be very careful to walk a long way 
around and step softly in all my dealings with 
foreign devils, so that he could neither see nor 
hear the fall of my feet. But when I saw him, 
within two days, talking into the ear of the Jew 
man who dealt secretly in opium that had not 
paid the government tax, I was certain he had 
found some of my footprints and was following 

It is always well to know as much as possible 
of matters that may be important, so I thought it 
would be wise to make more tracks and see what 
would be done concerning them. I waited until the 
official had gone his way, and then a little longer, 
before I approached the dealer in opium. 

"You ketchee opium today ?" I asked. 

u No have got," he replied, "but I get 'im one 

"You ketchee ten cans, allee one box?" 

"Yes, I get 'im." 

"All light; you ketch 'im; I come back." 

Now that was a very peculiar way for the Jew 
man to do business. It was his custom to bar- 
gain long and sharply, saying much about the 
price, the difficulty of getting even so much as 
one can that had not paid the tax, and the great 
risk of detection and imprisonment, and telling it 
all in whispers. Yet this time he spoke loudly 
and quickly, saying nothing at all about the 
price or the trouble of getting ten cans, and 
seeming to be in no fear whatever. 


Upon leaving I watched the dealer through 
the window of his store from the opposite side 
of the street and saw him go to the closet for 
wire talking; and soon the official came in a great 
hurry, and went away again even faster. And 
in the time it takes to smoke a cigar that costs 
no more than five cents he returned with a box, 
just large enough to hold ten cans of opium. 

I walked once around the block, and when I 
returned the official was standing in the shadow 
of a doorway watching the store of the opium 
dealer so intently that he did not see me until I 
said : 

"Hello! How Wness?" 

He started, stared and frowned, but made no 
answer, so I walked on directly to the store. 
The dealer told me at once that he had the 
opium, but this time he did not take me down to 
the secret place beneath his store to show it to 
me, and I was careful not to take it in my hands 
for an instant. 

"How much?" I asked. 

"Two hundred dollars,*' he replied, without 
once asking me how much I would pay. 

"That cheap." 

"Yes; I get 'im cheap." 

When I told him that I did not have the 
money with me he offered me credit, though 
he had always been careful on other occasions 
to demand payment down, and he urged me to 
take it at once; but I did not want that opium 


then, for I knew I could not carry it far while 
the official was watching. 

Quan Quock Ming was sitting very straight 
in his big carved chair of velvet and soft cush- 
ions — such a chair as the wealthier and lazier of 
the fan quai use — and it seemed none too large 
for him. His chin was high in the air and his 
horn-rimmed spectacles were low on his nose, 
which was aimed at his three wives sewing in 
the corner. From the severity of his counte- 
nance and the diligence with which they were 
working I knew they must have idled during the 
day and had not earned as much as usual from 
the shirt factory across the street. They did 
not raise their eyes from their work, nor did 
Quan Quock Ming turn his gaze from them or 
respond to my salutations. After I had seated 
myself and lighted a cigar he growled deep in 
his throat: 

"Hai-e-e! Indolence is wicked and disgust- 

The wives of Quan bent their heads lower 
and sewed faster. Then their honorable hus- 
band slowly filled his long pipe, throwing fierce 
glances at the women from time to time, lighted 
the tobacco, arranged his feet on a cushion, 
leaned far back in his chair, folded his hands 
over his paunch and looked at me questioningly. 

"That is true, sir scholar," said I, thinking 
of his remark concerning the wickedness of in- 


"Did you come here to tell me that I speak 
the truth, Fung Ching?" he growled. 

"No, sir scholar." 

"Then perhaps you came to tell me that I do 
not speak the truth?" 

"No, not that, sir scholar. You always speak 
wisely and truthfully, even concerning those things 
that are dead and buried in the remote past, as 
well as of events that are yet to occur in the dis- 
tant future. You are a sage and a prophet." 

"Then, like the foolish foreign devil uttering 
a prayer to Sheung Tai, the One Great God, you 
came to tell me what I already know." 

"No, sir scholar. I can tell you nothing that 
you do not know, unless it be a new-born fact, 
which, by mere chance, has not yet been re- 
vealed to you by the gods. I have tonight some 
news that possibly you have not heard." 

"Then speak of it at once and cease annoy- 
ing me with senseless chatter, such as is em- 
ployed by the lazy wives of an indulgent hus- 

"There is a Jew man — " 

"A fan quai?" 

"Of a certainty he is a foreign devil. Is 
there a single Jew in the world who is not?" 

"Of a certainty there is a whole village of 
them among our own people, and they have lived 
in the Middle Kingdom since the time of the il- 
lustrious Kung-foo-tsze. They are Chinese in 
every way, except that they are better bargainers 


in the markets, and, it is said, formerly wor- 
shiped a ram's horn in their temple. But what 
of this one?" 

Then I told Quan Quock Ming what the of- 
ficial had said of the prison, and what had been 
done in the matter of the opium, not forgetting 
to mention the peculiar manner of the dealer. 

"I am certain it is a trap prepared by the 
official, sir scholar," I said in conclusion. 

"It is a trap, surely," he agreed. "What do 
you purpose doing in the matter?" 

"I purpose to keep out of it, sir scholar." 

"What marvelous wisdom you display, Fung 
Ching! I propose that you walk into it." 

"And get caught like a rat?" 

"That is true, Fung Ching," and Quan Quock 
Ming shook his head sadly. "I had forgotten 
that you have less intelligence than a rat. It 
knows how to spring a trap and carry off the 

"The opium is the bait," I reflected. "And 
you think I should carry it away?" 

"Certainly. It is there awaiting you." 

"But you forget, sir scholar, that it is watched 
by a vengeful official and a shrewd Jew." 

"That is true. I had forgotten — the Jew. 
You will carry off the official's bait and leave the 
Jew in the trap. That will be better still. Arid 
we may as well take a little profit out of him at 
the same time. Yes, that will be quite proper," 
and Quan Quock Ming nodded his head many 


times, as though it were all settled except the 
taking and walking away. 

"How is it possible to do such a thing, sir 
scholar?" I asked. 

"I will think for you, Fung Ching, if you will 
act for me. All that is necessary is that you 
have sufficient intelligence to comprehend what 
is said to you and do as you are told. Is that 

"I think so, sir scholar." 

"Then listen while I speak. Delay the mat- 
ter of purchasing the opium with whatever ex- 
cuses you can offer, and come here tomorrow 
evening. In the meantime I will interrogate 
the gods with the question sticks and learn how 
our enterprise will prosper. Then I will tell 
you how it is to be done." 

I sat staring at Quan Quock Ming stupidly, 
for I could not think how it would be possible. 
He had given me the parting cup of tea (it was 
seldom necessary for him to remind me in this 
polite way that it was time to take my depar- 
ture), and I had drunk it and was still staring, 
forgetting even to keep my cigar alight, when 
he asked: 

"Will you have another cup of tea, Fung 
Ching, or shall I throw you downstairs, as a fan 
quai policeman would a Chinese gambler? No? 
Then walk your way slowly." 

So I left him watching his wives and smoking 
his pipe, while they sewed and said nothing. 



The official was in his doorway and the opium 
dealer was in his store, and both seemed greatly 
interested in me, though I pretended that I did 
not see the one and had very little to say to 
the other. I told the dealer I had been too busy 
to get the money, and as there was no urgency 
about the matter I would not take the opium 
for a day or two. 

Still he held me by the arm and stroked my 
back, telling me many times that I was an hon- 
est man and could take, not only the opium, but 
anything else I desired, paying for it when it 
was convenient. But I could think of little save 
the official on the opposite side of the street, 
his revengeful face, his sharp eyes and his 
strong grip, and I wanted nothing so much as to 
get beyond the reach and the sight of him. 

When I went to Quan Quock Ming's home 
that evening the prophet was sitting on the 
very edge of his chair with his hands on his 
knees and shouting at his wives, who were put- 
ting five-tael cans of opium into boxes; and he 
was very red in the face from the exertion of it. 
There were ten boxes and ten cans to the box. 



Each can was full, as I knew by the weight of 
them, and not one had paid the tax of the gov- 
ernment, as I saw by the labels on them. 

"Where did you get so much opium, sir 
scholar?" I asked in great surprise, for I had 
never before seen so much at one time. 

"What opium, Fung Ching?" and he looked 
at me over his spectacles as though he, too, were 

"The opium your women are putting in 

"Where would you say an honest man got 
it? Would you say it was given to him, or that 
he bought it, or found it, or stole it?" 

"I cannot say, sir scholar. What do you in- 
tend doing with it?" 

"Fung Ching, you have forgotten the lesson 
I taught you in the sampan in Hongkong har- 
bor, when you were whining like a sick puppy 
over leaving your home. Did I not pull your 
ears and slap your face to teach you that you 
should keep your eyes and ears open and your 
mouth closed?" 

"That is true, sir scholar?" 

"It is true that you have forgotten the lesson. 
Now keep your mouth closed and your ears 
open, for it is my intention to speak. Tomor- 
row you will go to the dealer in opium and say 
to him: 

" *I have one hundred five-tael cans of opium 
that has not paid the government tax.' 


"You will see, if you remember to keep your 
eyes open, that he will open his even wider. 
Then say to him: 

11 *I must hide this opium at once, for the 
government officials are very vigilant and may 
find it.' 

"When he opens his mouth wide and stares at 
you, say to him: 

11 'Let me put this opium in the secret place 
beneath your store.' 

"He will frown and wink his eyes very quick- 
ly, seeming not to think well of the matter, and 
then you must say: 

11 'We can make a great profit out of this, 
for opium is becoming very scarce.' 

"Then he will rub one ear and stroke his chin 
while considering the matter. He may offer 
some objections at first, but they will be only 
for the purpose of gaining time while he is 
thinking how he can put you in prison and get 
the opium without risk or expense to himself. It 
is certain, however, that he will tell you to 
fetch it at night and hide it beneath his store. 
Do you understand, Fung Ching?" 

"Yes, sir scholar, but why should we send 
this opium there, and how can we ever get it 

Quan Quock Ming raised his hand as though 
he would strike me and frowned on me long and 
fiercely. Then he shook his head as though in 
great sorrow and said: 


"Fung Ching, you arc a great fool. It is very 
unfortunate. But listen. I am about to speak 
again. You will come with a light wagon at 
night and carry these boxes to the place beneath 
the dealer's store. Then you will say to him: 

M 'Fetch the other box which I will buy from 
you and place it here.' 

"When the eleven boxes are together you will 
take the tops from them so he may see there are 
ten cans in each. Then say to him: 

" 'I think I hear someone moving about up- 

"When he has gone to see about the matter, 
quickly take one can out of each of these ten 
boxes, place them in the box he sold you, and 
the ten cans you take from that box put in the 
place of the ten you took from these. Remem- 
ber where in these boxes you place each can of 
the opium he sold you, so you may find all again* 
without difficulty. Do you understand, Fung 

"Yes, I am to put ten cans of this opium in 
his box and put his opium in these boxes so I 
can find it again." 

"Your intelligence is increasing, Fung Ching. 
Though I still have to teach you what to say, 
as one would a parrot, I no longer have to show 
you what to do, as one would a monkey. Now, 
when the dealer returns to tell you that no one is 
about, say to him: 

" 'I wish to test the opium I have brought, 


for the one who sold it is not as honest as 

"He will want to see it tested, too. Then 
take from these ten boxes, one at a time, the 
cans you bought from him, opening and testing 
each. Be careful to take everyone of the ten 
cans the dealer sold you, for we want no cheap 
opium. I know what is in these cans." 

"But why, sir scholar, should we quarrel with 
the quality if we are to get it for nothing?" 

"Because you negotiated for first quality 
opium, and it is due you, Fung Ching. You 
would be cheated to take any other, and you 
would lose your face as a maker of bargains. 
When you have tested it all, you will say to the 

" 'I am satisfied and ready to go, but first 
look about very carefully to see that no one is 

"When he goes, quickly put the ten cans 
you have tested into one box, replace the other 
cans and put the covers on all the boxes. When 
he returns to tell you that no one is watching, 
start away, but pause and say to him: 

" 'I am foolish. I forgot that I must have 
one box in the morning early.' 

"Then take the box of tested opium and 
carry it away with you." 

"But you forget the official, sir scholar. He 
will be watching to take me to prison." 

"I have forgotten nothing, Fung Ching. If 


you have any fear you may look to see if he is 
standing in the doorway before you go with the 
opium. But you will not see him. Of that I am 
as certain as I am that you are a great fool — 
and nothing can be more certain than that." 

It was just as Quan Quock Ming had said. 
The dealer opened his eyes very wide when he 
saw so many cans and watched me hungrily 
while I was testing it. And I carried away ten 
cans of first quality opium, and the official was 
not there to grip me by the arm, put irons on 
my wrists and take me to prison. 

I carried the box to Quan Quock Ming's home, 
but he did not even glance up from "The Book 
of Odes" he was reading, and paused only long 
enough to say: 

"Put it beneath the opium bunk in the small 
room, Fung Ching." 

I did as he ordered and sat down to smoke 
until he should finish his reading; but it was the 
long "Ode to King Seuen on the Occasion of a 
Great Drought," and he read very slowly to the 
last word. Then he asked: 

"What is the quality of it, Fung Ching?" 

"The best, sir scholar." 

"Then I shall test it in the pipe tonight. 
Tomorrow you will return to the dealer and say 
to him: 

" 'I am afraid to keep the opium hidden be- 
neath your store. Will you buy it?' 

"He will bargain, and haggle and delay, but 


he will buy. He may not take it all, but sell all 
he will take, making as good a bargain as you 
can — but sell. If he does not buy it all bring 
one box away with you. And be sure to get your 
money for the opium you sell. Do not give 
credit. If the dealer has not so much in his 
store, wait until he gets it. Take this can of 
third quality opium with you, and when you 
are in the secret place beneath the store hide it, 
but do not let him know of it." 

"But you have forgotten that the official will 
be watching in the daytime, even if he is not 
there at night, and if I carry away so much as a 
thimbleful I will be taken to prison." 

"Fung Ching! I forget nothing/' he bel- 
lowed. "Do as I bid you." 

I went the next day, but slowly and fearfully, 
to bargain with the dealer, but when I saw the 
official watching from the doorway across the 
street my legs carried me quickly away. I was 
then convinced that Quan Quock Ming had made 
some mistake, so I hurried to the place where 
he told fortunes on the street. 

"The official is watching, sir scholar." 

"Watching who — what?" 

"The store of the opium dealer. If I carry 
any away I shall surely be arrested. I will not 
do it." 

"Fung Ching, do as I bade you," and he 
spoke so quietly and deliberately that I knew 
he was very angry with me. 

Tve got you this time, Little Pete," said the official 183 


"No, I shall not go to prison for you." 
u Fung Ching, I tell you that the official can 
do nothing. Go at once and attend to the mat- 
ter, or I shall know that you are no longer a 
good friend of mine, but a malignant enemy, and 
I shall call down the curses of the gods upon 

I went slowly and reluctantly and with many 
forebodings, even though Quan Quock Ming 
had been my very best friend for many years, 
and was a sage and a prophet. And as I went 
I weighed the risks I ran — the risk of years in 
prison on the one hand and of Quan Quock 
Ming's enmity on the other — and they seemed of 
equal weight until I threw his wisdom into the 
scale. Then I said to myself: 

"I shall have faith in my friend." 
I did not look again to see if the official were 
still there for fear my faith would fly at the 
sight of him, and my knees were weak and my 
voice tremulous while I bargained for the sale 
of the opium. I am certain that the mere 
thought of the official cost me at least a dollar 
a can. Still, I sold ninety cans — all but one box 
— for $19.50 a can. I had the money in my 
pocket and the box upon my shoulder and had 
only started up the street when I heard: 

"Fung Ching!" and once more I felt that grip 
upon my arm. "I've got you this time, Little 
Pete," said the official, and he smiled in a very 
unfriendly way when he used my friendly name. 


When he placed the irons on my wrists and 
led me to prison Quan Quock Ming's friendship 
and wisdom seemed as nothing and my cell as 
the whole world. 

As soon as my hing ti — my cousins of the 
same family name — could give their stores as 
security that I would not run away, I was se: 
free until such time as I should go before the 
magistrate to make my answer. Filled with an- 
ger I hurried to Quan Quock Ming. He was 
sitting behind his little table on the sidewalk 
with his hands tucked in his sleeves, turning 
his head slowly from side to side as he looked 
first up and then down the street, calling as 
usual for patronage: 

"Fortunes! Fortunes! Good fortune for 

"I did as you told me," I said angrily, being 
careful not to mention that he was a scholar, "and 
now see what has come of it!" 

"Fortunes! Fortunes! Good fortune for 
all!" he repeated, paying no attention whatever 
to me. 

"Quan Quock Ming, I was taken to prison by 
the official, and I shall go for a much longer 
time unless something is done. It is all your 
fault. Now what is to be done about it?" 

Quan Quock Ming yawned and repeated his 
droning call : 

"Fortunes ! Fortunes ! Good fortune for 


"This is very bad fortune for me, and it will 
be for you, too, Quan Quock Ming," I said as I 
seized him by the arm, "unless you help me." 

"Do you want your fortune told?" he asked. 

"It takes no prophet to tell me that I am in 
serious trouble, all because I was foolish enough 
to do as you told me." 

He ignored my words and manner and shook 
the question sticks in their urn as he would do for 
any patron. Then he held them out to me. I 
took one and flung it on the table before him. 

"I know naught of you and naught of your 
ancestry — " that is what he always said to stran- 
gers when he told their fortunes, and he said the 
same to me, though he knew more of me than I 
did of myself — "but this reveals all to me," and 
he tapped the question stick with his long finger 
nail and smiled knowingly. 

After he had looked through his spectacles at 
me for a moment — and it seemed that he was 
mocking me — he studied the mysterious charac- 
ters on the stick for a long time, and then said: 

"Your name is — let me see. What is it? Oh, 
yes, it is Fung Ching. Your father's name — " 

"Never mind that, fortune-teller, I know what 
my father's name was. Tell me, if you can, what 
I am to do." 

"Your father's name was Fung Doo You. He 
is now dead, and that is a great piece of good for- 
tune for him, for it would grieve him to know 
his son is a fool. All fools are lucky. You are 


very lucky, therefore you must be a very great 
fool. Pay me and walk your way." 

"Tell me first what I am to do," I commanded 
in a threatening tone. 

"Do? Do nothing — nothing except what your 
wise friends tell you to do. / tell you to do 

"You can tell me much to do when there is 
money to be gained and risks to be taken, and 
you are always careful to take half the money 
and none of the risks." 

"Fortunes I Fortunes! Good fortune for 

I flung a twenty-five-cent piece upon the table 
and went my way, not knowing what to do but 
reflect upon the gravity of my position. My 
clansmen were angry with me that I should have 
done all that Quan Quock Ming ordered in this 
matter of the opium, after he had once been the 
cause of my imprisonment in the chock chee busi- 
ness. They would do little to help me and he 
would do nothing, but their anger toward me was 
as nothing compared to my resentment toward 

The very next day I was to go before the lesser 
magistrate, who listens to the complaints of of- 
ficials, for him to decide whether I should go 
before the higher magistrate for trial, and I 
had not even bought a lawyer. The fan qua* 
newspapers had much to say about "Little Pete," 
the notorious highbinder and gambler, who had 


been caught with a whole box of opium that had 
not paid the tax; and the official had talked to 
the writers of news, saying that "Little Pete" was 
the same man who had sold forged chock chces, 
but had escaped prison; that he had watched for 
a long time to catch "Little Pete," and he could 
not possibly escape this time, but would surely be 
sent to prison for a long time. 

I sat before the magistrate thinking many 
things, but saying nothing at all, while the of- 
ficial told how he had learned I was dealing in 
opium and had taken ten cans to the Jew to sell 
to me. Then the dealer told how I had bought 
it, and both said I had carried it away on my 
shoulder. The very same box and the very same 
cans I had taken from the dealer's place of busi- 
ness were brought in, and one who understands 
much about drugs held up his hand and took an 

"Have you seen what is in these cans?" he 
was asked. 

"I have," he answered. 

"What is it?" 


The official believed the Jew man had tricked 
him, searched his place of business and found 
the can of third quality opium I had hidden in the 
secret place beneath the store. And while the 
Jew man lay in prison awaiting trial, Quan Quock 
Ming, my very best friend, lay on his bunk and 
smoked first-quality opium. 



Quan Quock Ming had finished his evening 
meal, his four pipes of opium and his eight pinches 
of tobacco, and now he was sleeping, while his 
three wives, who never slept, were cleaning the 
dishes, the pots and the kitchen, so all would be 
in readiness when their honorable husband should 
call for another meal. 

Quan Quock Ming's kitchen was very small, 
and his wives, his utensils and his furniture nearly 
filled it. Quan Quock Ming's cushioned chair 
was very large, but he more than filled it, and 
at that moment he seemed to be holding himself 
in it by clasping his hands over his protruding 
abdomen. Quan Quock Ming's throat was enor- 
mous, but it would not accommodate a single 
large breath, and a small one could get through 
only with much effort and noise. 

Quan Quock Ming's head lolled on the back 
of his chair, his big horn-rimmed spectacles were 
on his forehead, his knees were wide apart, and 
his stockinged feet with soles pressed together, 
rested on a carpet-covered stool. 

Whether it was my entrance, his own snor- 
ing or the clatter of tongues and pans in the 

1 88 


kitchen that awakened him I cannot say, but he 
stopped in the middle of a snore to gasp, in the 
middle of the gasp to yawn, and in the middle of 
the yawn to growl; as he always did when dis- 

"Can one never rest, even in his home? One 
may as well be a dog in the streets.'' 

I seated myself on a teak-wood stool and puffed 
my cigar until he had finished grumbling and 
yawning and was ready to speak with me; and 
that was not until he had shuffled his feet into 
his slippers, filled his long pipe and puffed three 

"What have you heard and seen today, Fung 
Ching, that may be of profit to us?" he asked. 

"Nothing, sir scholar," I answered. 

"Have you then become deaf and blind, or 
have you been sleeping all day like a confirmed 
smoker of opium?" 

"No, sir scholar. I have been about the stores, 
the streets, the gambling houses and the lottery 
places, but one hears little more than old women's 
gossip — nothing that would profit us." 

"Surely you are a fool, Fung Ching — as great 
a fool as Moy Hung, the rag-picker. He never 
sees anything but refuse, and to him a first qual- 
ity gem would be but a bit of glass. He once 
gave away the stamp from an old letter that was 
afterward sold to a foolish foreign devil for 
$150. I have just said you are a fool, and even 
that trifling bit of information is worth some- 


thing to someone. How many times must I tell 
you that every word that is uttered and every- 
thing that is done has a value, providing one 
can find the person who wants to know of it? 
Let us pick over the rags you have gathered to- 
day and see if there be not something of worth 
concealed among them. What have you heard?" 

"Ching Jung won $84 in the lottery." 

"That is worth something. I told his fortune 
this morning and predicted good luck. To- 
morrow I shall make him pay double or treble 
the fee for another prediction." 

u Jue Toy's father is dying." 

"That is good, too. I shall advise Jue Toy 
to have the priest Soo-hoo Hung, so that I may 
get a commission on the burial fee. What else ?" 

"The Ning Yung Benevolent Association has 
decided to send four old men back to the Mid- 
dle Kingdom on the next steamer, and has set 
aside $200 to pay their expenses." 

"We shall see what can be done about that. 
Anything else?" 

"Four young men who were arrested last 
month for being in this country unlawfully are 
to be sent back to the Middle Kingdom. The 
officials of the government so decided to- 

"What would they pay to remain here?" 

"Two hundred and fifty dollars at the very 

"And neither the government nor the officiak 


will accept their money and permit them to re- 

"No, sir scholar; and besides the government 
must pay the steamship company to carry them 

"Then there are four old men who wish to 
go, and four young men who wish to stay, and 
money could be obtained by arranging it so that 
each could do as he wishes?" 

"That is true, sir scholar, but there is noth- 
ing to be done about it." 

"The government, then, will waste money to 
send men away when it could get money to per- 
mit them to remain. What a wasteful govern- 
ment! And the officials will not accept the money 
secretly, either to save it for the government or 
to profit themselves. What foolish officials!" 

"You speak truly, sir scholar; and now you can 
see clearly why nothing can be done about it." 

"On the contrary, Fung Ching, I see clearly 
that we can do much. We shall trade old men 
for young and make a profit on both." 

"That can never be done. The young men 
are in prison, and they are closely guarded." 

"Then we shall find a way to get the young 
men out and the old men in. If neither the gov- 
ernment nor the officials will trade with us, per- 
haps the jailers will. Do you know the jailers, 
Fung Ching?" 

"Who should know them better, since I have 
twice been in prison on your account?" 


"Not on my account, Fung Ching, but on ac- 
count of your own stupidity; and even that mis- 
fortune may now be used to our advantage. Will 
the jailers accept presents and grant favors?" 

u They do not even put their hands behind 
their backs, sir scholar, but extend them like beg- 
gars, and without closing even one eye. For a 
few small coins they will permit visitors to en- 
ter the prison at forbidden hours and carry in 
opium to their friends, or will take prisoners 
out to places of amusement." 

"Then it is all very easy. Go at once to the 
Ning Yung Association and make a contract to 
send each of the four old men back to the Mid- 
dle Kingdom for $40. Then go to the relatives 
of the young men and make a contract to pro- 
cure their release for $250 each — or as much 
more as they will pay. Then go to the jailers 
and give them $80 to let the young men out and 
the old men in. There will be a profit of nearly 
$1,000 for us in this one transaction, Fung 
Ching, and doubtless we shall have many more 
when it is known among our people that we are 
able to do this, for there are many old men who 
wish to go, and many young men who wish to 
stay. Attend to this at once." 

All that Quan Quock Ming said seemed quite 
feasible and proper, and I had started toward 
the door to do as he advised when I had a thought 
that gave me a cold painful feeling just above my 
belt and made my knees weaken under me. Then 


I sat down very quickly and opened and shut 
my mouth several times without saying a word. 

"What is the matter?" asked Quan Quock 
Ming. "Are you ill?" 

"No, sir scholar. I was only thinking, and it 
hurt my stomach." 

"What thought can yow have that is so weighty 
it hurts?" 

"This thing cannot be done, sir scholar." 

"It can be done, and we shall do it." 

"I will have nothing to do with it, sir 

"Why not?" 

I did not answer at once, for I still felt the 
pain of the thought, but finally asked: 

"What would you do, sir scholar, if one of 
your wives borrowed money and lost it in gam- 

"I would do my duty, Fung Ching. Yes, I 
would do my duty, no matter if I esteemed her 
as highly as one does a younger sister. But what 
has that to do with the matter?" 

"What, sir scholar, would you deem to be your 
duty under the circumstances?" 

"I would surely beat her for borrowing the 
money; then I would certainly beat her again 
for gambling; and I would, without doubt, beat 
her once more for losing. Upon reflection, I 
would, in all probability, give her yet another 
beating to teach her that I am master of my own 


"But you would not seek to injure the man 
who had lent her the money?" 

"No; I might try to borrow more from him, or 
have her do it for me, if I should need it. But 
what has this to do with our business?" 

"Nor would you consider that the lender has 
done you an injury?" 

"No; I should consider that he had done me 
a favor in showing me my wife's folly and his own 
generosity. Why are you speaking so foolishly?" 

"The foreign devils are peculiar. They are 
like the married snakes of the Middle Kingdom 
that go in pairs, and if a person so much as 
touches one its mate will follow him until it kills 
him. The official who works secretly for the 
government is well named by our countrymen, for 
they call him 'the Snake in the Grass.' He thinks 
I did his wife an injury when I lent her money to 
bet on the races, and threatened to complain 
to a magistrate about her failure to repay me 
unless he ceased prosecuting me. He has since 
promised many times to send me to prison for a 
long time, and I do not want to go. He is in 
Chinatown day and night, sir scholar, and is 
watching me constantly." 

"But what has that to do with this matter?" 

"He is the official who arrested the four young 
men, and he will see that they are sent away. 
If we should attempt to trade the old men for 
them he will surely know of it and send me to 
prison. I will have nothing to do with it." 


"Have you not yet learned that there is no 
reason to fear him? Twice he has placed irons 
on your wrists, and twice he has failed to keep 
them there. He will fail again. Be cautious 
when you deal with the jailers, and he will know 
nothing of it. Go, now, and do as I bade you." 

His imperative tone showed me that further 
discussion would be useless if not impossible, sq 
I went, but slowly and reluctantly, thinking now 
of Quan Quock Ming, the sage and prophet, who 
had always been my very best friend, and then 
of the Snake in the Grass, the shrewd and venge- 
ful official, who had long been my very worst 
enemy. And to myself I said: 

"I will do as my friend commands, but surely 
someone who is necessary to the success of his 
plan will refuse to act, and that will be the end 
of it" 

But the secretary of the Ning Yung Association 
was glad to be relieved of the care of the old 
men, and earn a small fee, the relatives of the 
prisoners were willing to pay any reasonable sum 
to procure their release, and the jailers were 
eager to engage in anything that would profit 

"It will be necessary to arrange matters with 
the assistant of the Snake in the Grass," they 
explained. "He takes the prisoners to the wharf 
and places them on the ship. We will see him 
about it." 

I hoped he would not consent, but within two 


days I was told that he would permit the ex- 
change for $20 a man. I raised the price on the 
young men to $300 each, hoping their relatives 
would refuse to pay it; but they readily agreed, 
and there was nothing to do but carry out our 

The night before the steamer's departure the 
assistant took the young men from prison, placed 
them in a closed carriage and had them driven to 
a dark corner, and there let them out, taking 
in the four old men who had been waiting with 
me; and the next day they were on their way 
to the Middle Kingdom. 

Quan Quock Ming and I were greatly pleased 
with so large a profit so easily earned, but what 
pleased us much more was the thought that we 
had outwitted the Snake in the Grass, whom I 
saw every day walking quickly on the streets, 
and every night lurking in the shadows, but al- 
ways following me with vindictive eyes. 

Soon afterward two more young men were in 
prison waiting to be sent away, and when I found 
two old men willing to go I went to the prison to 
make the arrangements with the jailers. 

"Nothing doing, Pete" — they said. "Some- 
one has been whispering to the Snake in the Grass, 
and he has been asking questions. Wc denietl 
everything, but he is watching, and we can do 



It is quite true that Quan Quock Ming earned 
much money by the telling of fortunes upon the 
street corner and the giving of advice at his home, 
but each day's earnings could be counted easily 
upon the fingers. It is also true that he had come 
by much more money through business ventures 
that required no more capital than his great wis- 
dom and gift of prophecy; and I have no doubt 
at all that every cent that came into his hands 
beyond what was required for the frugal main- 
tenance of his household was sacrificed to the 
gods at the Tien How Temple, for he often told 
me that was the truth of it. Therefore I could 
never understand why he should require the abacus 
that always ray on the table at his right hand. 

When I went to Quan Quock Ming's home late 
in the evening to tell him what I had heard I 
was in great haste and entered abruptly, though 
with little commotion. He was squatting on the 
floor before his camphor-wood chest, flicking the 
counters of the abacus to and fro and mumbling 
sums as he counted them. He did not hear me 
when I opened the door, but as soon as my foot- 
steps sounded on the floor within he sprang *p, 
slammed the Kd of the chest and shouted: 



"I'm a poor man! I have nothing!" 

Then as he recognized me he looked at me 
long and sharply while he panted for breath, and 
finally found enough to ask in a severe tone : 

"Fung Ching, why do you come into my home 
stealthily and like a thief?" 

"I came as I usually do, sir scholar," I an- 
swered, "except that I came more hurriedly and 
more noisily, but you did not hear me; and you 
forgot to lock the door. I wanted to speak with 
you concerning the matter of trading old men 
for young. I have — " 

"Yes, Fung Ching," he interrupted, "I was just 
making some calculations concerning the profit of 
that enterprise when you disturbed me. I find — " 

"There is no need of making any further cal- 
culations, sir scholar. It is — " 

"Fung Ching, I was making calculations when 
you disturbed me by entering so unceremoniously, 
and I was telling you that when you interrupted 
me again quite rudely. Now do not be so im- 
polite as to repeat your offense. I find that if 
we trade six old men for six young men in each 
month we will make $1800, to say nothing of 
trading old women for young girls, where the 
profit is much greater. This is even more profit- 
able than our enterprise of making certificates for 
our countrymen who slipped across the unguarded 
borders, and that would have brought wealth to 
you and satisfaction to the gods if you had not 
been so incautious as to let the Snake in the Grass 


catch you. Let him now arrest as many as he 
pleases, and let the magistrate order all to be 
sent back to the Middle Kingdom. We have 
but to find old persons to trade. Perhaps some 
day I may return, and you can trade me for a 
young man." 

"To fulfill the oath of the chicken's head and 
see that your father's bones are properly in- 
terred?" I asked. 


He seized a stool, and I thought he intended 
to strike me with it. His face grew red and then 
pale while he stood glaring at me. Then he sank 
down into a chair and seemed to breathe with 
great difficulty. 

"I have not the means. I am still a very poor 
man." He was almost whimpering. 

"Now may I speak, sir scholar?" I asked when 
he had composed himself. 

"Yes — but not of that." 

"Very well. We shall make no more profit, 
and we may lose what we have already earned, 
for someone has whispered to the Snake in the 
Grass about our business, and he will interfere 
again. I will have nothing more to do with it." 

"What has he found out?" 

"Nothing to a certainty, but he suspects a great 
deal, is asking many questions and is watching 
me even more closely. The young and the old 
may go where they please, but I am not going 
to prison." 


"You are a great coward, Fung Ching." 

"It is easy for you to say that, sir scholar, so 
long as you sit here and advise and count the 
profits, but take no risks. You do not know the 
feel of irons on the wrists and steel bars about 
you. I do. You know very well that I have had 
a price put on my head many times in the tong 
wars, and you know that shots have been fired 
at me by fighting men who would earn the re- 
wards, and you know they did not frighten me. 
But there is one thing I am afraid of, and that 
one thing is prison. It is bad enough to be locked 
up for a few hours; it would be much worse to 
be imprisoned for many years; and it would be. 
very much worse to be sent to jail by the Snake 
in the Grass. He is not watching you as he is 
me, or you would be fearful too." 

"Listen to my words, Fung Ching. You are 
in no danger. While the Snake in the Grass is 
watching you he can see no one else ; and you say 
he is watching you constantly. Is that not true?'* 

"Yes, sir scholar." 

"You do not know what my wives are doing 
in the next room, do you, Fung Ching?" 

"No, sir scholar." 

"That is because you are looking at me and 
not at them. While the Snake in the Grass is 
watching you he is not watching the old men or 
the young men. Well, we shall permit him to 
watch you, and we shall then make the trade. 
Listen, and do not fail to do as I tell you." 


I listened respectfully, for Quan Quock Ming 
is a sage, and then I obeyed him, for he is my 

"I am taking great chances, Pete, in speak- 
ing to you at all," said the assistant of the Snake 
in the Grass, "for if I were seen I would lose my 
position. We went into this together, and I do 
not want to see you caught." 

"You are afraid that if I am caught I will tell 
of your part in it," said I. "You need not be. 
The Chinese never talk. If I am caught I shall 
have to go to prison, I suppose, but I will take 
no one else with me." 

"Look out for yourself. The boss is laying 
a trap for you. He has questioned me closely and 
he has told me that if any one tries to substitute 
old men for the prisoners on the next trip to the 
wharf, not to offer any objections, but to watch 
everything that is done. It is certain that he will 
be following the carriage, and as soon as the pris- 
oners are let but he will arrest them and you too." 

The next night I saw the carriage leave the 
prison with the two young men inside with the 
assistant, and I saw it come slowly down the 
dark street on the way to the wharf. And I 
saw, too, that the Snake in the Grass was follow- 
ing stealthily on the other side of the street, keep- 
ing close to the buildings where the shadows 
are darkest, but I pretended not to see him, even 
when I knew he was watching me. 

When the carriage came nearly opposite to me 


I walked out with two old men and signaled for 
the driver to stop, and then went around to 
the door that was in view of the Snake in the 
Grass. From the corner of my eye I say that he 
had come closer and was watching me from a 
dark doorway, but he did not see the two young 
men get out of the carriage on the farther side 
and slip around the corner while two more old 
men who had been waiting in the shadows got 
in. After conversing with them for a moment, 
I, with the two old men who had accompanied 
me, turned and walked away, and the carriage 
was driven on toward the wharf with the Snake 
in the Grass following. 

This is what was said at the steamer's side, 
as the assistant told it to me: 

"He must have been warned," said the Snake 
in the Grass. "Did you do it?" 

"I know nothing about the matter," replied the 
assistant. "I did only as you ordered. It is your 

"Well, can you explain why the substitution 
was not made?" 

"It was; and while you were standing watching 
it. I supposed you knew what you were doing." 

The Snake in the Grass looked into the car- 
riage and saw it was true. He swore a great deal 
at first, then searched Chinatown for the two 
men, and when he could not find them told his 
assistant to say nothing of the matter. And the 
two old men went back to the Middle Kingdom. 


Quan Quock Ming and I were still laughing 
over the success of our plans when a clansman 
of mine entered hurriedly. 

"I am in great trouble," he said, "and I beg 
your assistance. I came to this country when I 
was a child, and in order that I might always 
go and come freely my kinsmen proved that I was 
Born here. Three times I have returned to the 
Middle Kingdom, and three times I have brought 
back a wife. The first two I sold for slaves at 
a great profit, but the magistrate has wickedly 
decided that the third is not really my wife, 
though I paid $200 gold for her in Canton, and 
he has ordered that she be sent back, though I 
have been put to an expense of $650 in bringing 
her here, and she is now worth $2300. 

"Now I have been told that you, cousin, and 
you, sir scholar, can adjust such matters. I will 
pay $1000 and procure an old woman to return 
in her place if you can arrange it." 

"Cousin, that cannot be done," said I. 

"It can be done, and we will do it," declared 
Quan Quock Ming, "but you must pay $1250." 

"Sir scholar," said I, disregarding his frowns, 


"the Snake in the Grass cannot be deceived again 
by the same trick." 

"Then we shall think of a new one. What 
right has he to interfere in my business merely 
because he wants to send you to prison? Hai-e-e! 
He is very wicked. Will you pay $1250?" 

"It is a very large sum, but I will pay it." 

"It is not possible, sir scholar, to do this," I 

"Do as I bid you and say no more about it," or- 
dered Quan Quock Ming. 

A high official of the government was here in- 
vestigating the going and coming of my country- 
men and their dealings with other officials, and 
acting under Quan Quock Ming's instructions I 
went to him and told him that the Snake in the 
Grass had traded young men for old and was 
doubtless making a fine profit from it. And the 
assistant confirmed what I had told, saying that 
he had had no part in it except to follow the or- 
ders given him by his superior. 

"You must help me trap him," said the official. 
"Make an exchange and give him marked coin." 
And then to the assistant he said: "Follow the 
instructions you receive, and you may have a 
chance for promotion." 

I was certain that the Snake in the Grass would 
take no money from me, and would arrest me if 
I offered it, but I did not tell the official that. 

"It will be very easy," said Quan Quock Ming. 

"It is surely impossible," said I. 


"Then we shall do that which is impossible." 
The Snake in the Grass saw the carriage leave 
the prison with his assistant and the girl inside; 
he followed, eager, alert and soft-footed as a 
tiger cat stalking a hare. He saw the carriage 
stop at a dark corner, and he saw the girl leave it 
and an old woman take her place ; but he did not 
see what his eager eyes sought most hungrily — 
Little Pete. He hurried forward and seized 
the girl, and as he approached the carriage the 
old woman inside handed him an envelope. He 
opened it and found some paper money that had 
been marked by the higher official, and a letter 
that he read by the light of a match. This is 
what was written: 

The rest of the money will be paid by 
me at the wharf. 

Little Pete. 

"Smith, you look after this girl and then come 
to the wharf," he ordered, and he took the as- 
sistant's place in the carriage. 

He said not a word but smiled often during the 
drive, and when the carriage stopped he peered 
out cautiously this way and that, but he did not 
see Little Pete. He saw the higher official 
walking quickly toward the carriage. The Snake 
in the Grass stepped out to greet him, but before 
he could say one word the official brushed by him, 
looked into the vehicle and then placed a hand 
upon his shoulder, saying: 


"You are under arrest." 

"What for?" 

"You know well enough without asking any 
questions. You took a girl from the prison and 
this is an old woman. I shall have to search 

When the official had found the money and 
read the letter he asked: 

"What explanation have you to make concern- 
ing this?" 

"I was laying a trap for Little Pete." 

"I suppose you were also laying a trap for Lit- 
tle Pete when you made that substitution on the 
'ast steamer?" 

"Yes, but he got away from me." 

"I have found nothing concerning that trans- 
action in your reports, and you know I am in- 
vestigating this business. How do you explain 
that fact?" 

"I have already told you that I was trying to 
trap Little Pete, and I had personal reasons for 
wanting to do it alone. When it was accom- 
plished the results would have been reported. 
Here is Smith — " the assistant had just come 
up— "he knows what I was doing." 

"All I know about it," declared the assistant, 
"is that you told me not to interfere in any sub- 
stitution, and afterward ordered me not to say 
anything about it." 

"If you were trying, as you say, to trap Little 
Pete, why did you not arrest him when he gave 


you this money that I marked and gave to him?" 

"He did not give it to me. That was given 
to me by the woman in the carriage. Smith saw 
her. I intended to arrest him when he gave 
me the balance as he promised in the letter." 

"Where is the girl that was in prison?" 

"I told Smith to take her into custody, as I 
wanted her for a witness." 

"You gave me no such orders," declared the 
assistant. "You told me to look after her and 
come here. I delivered her to her friends." 

"You know who gave me that envelope. Tell 

"I saw Little Pete give it to you." 

"That is a damnable lie!" shouted the Snake 
in the Grass. "This is a conspiracy to ruin me!" 

The higher official turned to the carriage, but 
it was empty. The old woman had disappeared. 

"Where is Little Pete?" cried the Snake in 
the Grass. "Where is he? He may tell the 
truth," and he looked about him like a rat in a 

"Yes, I will tell the truth," said I, stepping 
from behind the carriage. 

"Did you give me that money and that let- 

I looked straight into his white face and staring 
eyes as I answered: "Yes." 

"You lie!" he screamed, and he snatched a 
revolver from his pocket. 


The others sprang upon him, and as I fled I 
heard a struggle and then a shot. 

The ignorant foreign devils said his suicide 
was a confession of guilt, but my people know 
that when a man takes his life it is proof of his 
innocence. Thus the truth is often misunder- 
stood. He said I lied when I told of the payment 
of the money, but he would have known it was 
the truth if he had found the clothing in the car- 
riage — for I was the old woman who rode with 




When Fong Fah bore her honorable husband 
a daughter the face of the sage was not com- 
pletely lost, but a cloud of disappointment shaded 
it darkly. 

When Suey Sum, the slave girl, had been 
bought, delivered and installed in the home of 
the prophet as a secondary wife the glow of a 
new hope drove the shadows away. 

"Now I shall have a son to preserve my mem- 
ory and worship his ancestors,'* said Quan Quock 
Ming. - 

u Aih-yah !" wailed Suey Sum. "Never to have 
my freedom ! Never to see my mother again I" 

"As I have borne my husband only a daughter 
I can expect nothing else," thought Fong Fah, 
and she went about the preparation of the evening 
meal, pausing only to touch Suey Sum lightly on 
the shoulder and whisper: 

"Sh-h-h ! Do not cry, younger sister." 

The gentleness of Fong Fah and the cooing of 


her baby checked the first great flood of Suey 
Sum's grief, and the affairs of the household pro- 
ceeded peacefully and harmoniously. Quan Quock 
Ming devoted the days to instructing me in the 
classics, telling fortunes and giving advice. Suey 
Sum slept away the mornings,, yawned and 
stretched for half an hour and then dressed her 
hair, painted her face and clothed herself in fine 
apparel. The afternoons she idled away, chat- 
ting with Fong Fah, playing with the baby, nib- 
bling at preserved fruits and smoking cigarettes. 
In the evenings she entertained Quan Quock 
Ming with odes and ballads, accompanying her- 
self on the yung kum, while he smoked his opium, 
and then sat quite still beside his couch while he 

All day long Fong Fah attended to the duties 
of the household and sewed for the factory across 
the street, patiently and diligently, never asking 
help from Suey Sum or showing any of the au- 
thority that property belongs to the principal 
wife, but smiling at her frivolities, sympathizing 
with her sorrows and treating her as an equal in 
all things. 

"Do you never feel anger when our honor- 
able husband neglects you and shows me such 
favor?" asked Suey Sum. 

"Wives, daughters and slaves must be obedient 
and respectful and live as they are ordered," re- 
plied Fong Fah. 

When Suey Sum bore Quan Quock Ming a 


daughter he paid no further attention either to 
Fong Fah or Suey Sum. Then the two women 
became as sisters, attending the house, the sew- 
ing and the babies together, and Suey Sum sang 
no more, except occasionally to hum this ode of 

"He lodged us in a spacious house, 

And plenteous was our fare. 
But now at every frugal meal 

There's not a scrap to spare. 
Alas! alas, that this good man 
Could not go on as he began." 

Shim Ming, a slave girl, ran away from her 
owner one day, and though he spent much money 
he could find no trace of her. 

"It is as though she had gone on the back of 
a dragon," said he to Quan Quock Ming. "What 
can you advise, sir scholar?" 

"Sell her," said Quan Quock Ming. 

"Who would be so foolish as to buy a pig that 
can neither be weighed nor delivered?" 

"I will give $200 for her. With the aid of 
the gods I may be able to find her," and Shim 
Ming's owner was glad to get a tenth part of her 

When he had given the writing of sale and 
departed with the money, Quan Quock' Ming 
opened the door of a closet and said: 

"You may come out, Shim Ming. I have 
bought you for a third wife. Be sure that you 
bear me a son." 

When Shim Ming gave him a daughter he 


merely shook his head, saying: "I endure what 
the gods inflict." 

An impious man would have cursed loudly, and 
an impatient man would have given all three 
wives a beating. 

Shim Ming was a big boisterous woman, who 
laughed when she was amused and scolded noisily 
when she was displeased. She knew her place as 
third wife, but being always rebellious assumed 
the authority that belonged to the first wife, did 
all the marketing, scolded Fong Fah and Suey 
Sum and laughed at Quan Quock Ming's re- 

"If you do not keep your place I shall give you 
a beating," he once said to her. 

Shim Ming flew into a terrible passion, 
scratched his face, screamed and cursed, and 
shouted from the windows to all on the street that 
her husband was beating her. Then a fan quai 
official broke down the door and humiliated Quan 
Quock Ming greatly by pulling his queue. 

"The next time you so disgrace me," said the 
sage, "I shall thrust you out the front door and 
close it after you." 

Shim Ming, fearing such a disgrace, and Quan 
Quock Ming, remembering his humiliation, were 
ever afterward more careful of their conduct to- 
ward one another. 

Quan Quock Ming, as is customary when one 
greatly desires sons and has only daughters, gave 
his girls no names, but referred to them by num- 


ber. Ah Yut was as shy as a partridge, as timid 
as a mouse, but as playful as a kitten — when her 
honorable father was not there to scowl, or her 
honorable father's third wife to scold; and she 
was a little mother to her younger sisters. When 
she had lived six years she led three-year-old Ah 
Kee by the hand and carried one-year-old Ah 
Sam on her back, and watched her with such care 
that she never lost the cap from the baby's head 
or the bottle from the pocket of the baby's apron 
when she went on the street to buy sugar-cane or 
candy. But if anyone tried to take" the baby from 
her she would yell, and kick, and bite, and scratch 
like the mother of kittens. At night none could 
hush the baby so quickly as Ah Yut, and when it 
was asleep in its own bed she would take Ah Kee 
in her arms and soothe her until they both slept. 

It was not only with the children that Ah Yut 
was helpful, for often when the women were 
working hard over the sewing she made the fire 
in the oil can that stood in the old fireplace and 
served very well as a stove, putting the ends of 
the sticks together and blowing them into a flame, 
or pulling the ends apart when they blazed too 
quickly, so as to cook the rice without waste of 
paper or wood. 

The three sisters were sitting on the steps at 
the foot of the stairway one day watching the 
wonderful happenings on the street, when strange 
girls spoke to them of the fan quai school where 
children were taught to speak, to read and to 


write the language of the foreign devils, where 
they learned to sing pretty songs and were told 
wonderful stories. And all the daughters of Qaun 
wanted very much to go, but it was only little Ah 
Sam who dared speak of the matter; and it was 
only her mother who had the courage to mention 
it to Quan Quock Ming. 

"How can it be proper for girls to go to 
school?" he asked in severe tones. "Why is it 
necessary for them to learn anything beyond the 
care of a household? Why should I fatten pigs 
for someone else?" 

Shim Ming slammed doors, upset stools, 
burned the rice and grumbled until Quan Quock 
Ming said: 

"Ah Sam may attend the fan quai school." 

Every day when Ah Yut and Ah Kee took 
their younger sister there and brought her home 
again, they watched with hungry eyes the other 
girls with the pretty clothing of the foreign devils 
and make-believe babies that looked like little 
women; and they listened with hungry ears to 
all that was said of the school. Then they walked 
home slowly and played very quietly with the 
little things they found in the streets, tying bits 
of cloth around them, calling them babies and 
giving them pretty names. 

The wonderful fan quai woman, whom they 
had often seen, and who had spoken to them oc- 
casionally, walked home with them one day, hold- 
ing Ah Yut and Ah Kee each by one hand; and 


both were at the same time very happy and very 
fearful, for neither knew the meaning of such 
kindness, being more accustomed to the jeers of 
little foreign devils who threw stones. When Ah 
Sam, who had learned to speak in the foreign 
tongue, told their mothers that the woman wanted 
Ah Yut and Ah Kee to go to school too, they ran 
and hid themselves behind the curtains of a bed 
and wondered when they peeped out and saw their 
mothers shedding tears over nothing and saying 
not a word. 

Shim Ming made clothing for Ah Sam after 
the fan quai fashion, and bought for her a large 
hat adorned with bright ribbons and flowers, and 
Ah Yut and Ah Kee looked at the things long- 
ingly, but dared not ask so much as to touch them. 
But when they walked to school Ah Sam would 
sometimes let one of them wear the hat, and 
though it looked peculiar with the Chinese attire, 
the lucky one strutted like a viceroy with a three- 
eyed peacock feather. 

Ah Yut and Ah Kee were very proud of Ah 
Sam, with her learning and her attire, and one 
day when Louie Hong's boy pointed the impor- 
tant fingers of his two hands at her and shouted 
in the foreign language: 

"No likee king ti! 
Heap likee fan quai!" 
Ah Yut caught him and gave him a good thrash- 

When the smallpox came to Chinatown every 


thoughtful parent inoculated his children with it, 
so that they would have it at the age when there 
is little danger, but the foreign devils were so 
fearful of it that they made laws against it, and 
all Chinese who had it were kept hidden, so that 
they would not be taken from their homes. Thus 
it was impossible for all to receive proper care, 
and though Ah Kee and Ah Sam were scarcely 
touched with the flowers of heaven, Ah Yut's face 
was left a livid scar. 

"Let no one see the face of the Pow Tai," or- 
dered Quan Quock Ming. 

Ah Yut went upon the street no more, and 
when visitors came she was hidden in a closet. 



Fong Fah and Suey Sum were sewing silently 
and diligently. Ah Yut was moving softly about 
her duties in the house. Shim Ming was doing 
her gossiping and marketing. Ah Kee had gone 
with Ah Sam to the closing entertainment of the 
school. Suey Sum saw tears falling upon Fong 
Fah's sewing. 

"Are you still grieving for your mother, broth- 
ers and sisters in the Middle Kingdom?" asked 
Suey Sum. 

"No; it is not what has been, but what is to be, 
that disturbs me," replied Fong Fah. "Your 
daughter and Shim Ming's are young and beauti- 
ful, while mine is pock-marked and ugly, and al- 
ready past the age when a husband should be pro- 
cured for her." 

"But you have your daughter, Fong Fah, and 
we have none. Though we bore them, they must 
call you 'mother,' and call us 'sister.' But I have 
taught Ah Kee to call me 'mother' when no one 
can hear. You do not care, do you, Fong Fah?" 

"Not if it makes you happier, Suey Sum." 

The bell rang, and Ah Yut opened the door. 


Shim Ming, excited and puffing with the exertion 
of climbing the stairs, hurried in. 

u Aih-yah! But I have heard a piece of news!" 
she shouted. "One of Loo Yee's slave girls ran 
away to the fan quai mission last night, and it is 
believed that Lim Doon persuaded her to go. 
He is surely carrying his coffin on his back, and if 
he does not hide, the Hop Sing tong will see to it 
that he sleeps on the sidewalk." 

"I am glad she ran away," said Suey Sum. "Did 
she go because she liked Lim Doon?" 

"When you were Loo Yee's slave did you get 
our honorable husband to buy your freedom be- 
cause you liked him? Or was it because old Woo 
Ho beat you with a stick? It is said that she 
grows more severe every day, and the girls she 
guards are never free from bruises. Loo Yee will 
have to buy another girl now." 

"The one he buys would do well to take opium 

"None should know better than you. Some 
day he will get a girl with spirit enough to die on 
his doorstep and bring him bad luck. Have Ah 
Sam and Ah Kee returned yet?" 

"Not yet." 

Shim Ming disposed of her groceries and sat 
down to help Fong Fah and Suey Sum with the 

"It is time our honorable husband was seek- 
ing a husband for Ah Kee," she said. "She has 
now lived fifteen years, and what is the sense of 


wasting food and clothing upon one who is to 
become the daughter of another?" 

"It is fortunate that women are few and men 
are prosperous here," said Suey Sum. "Wedding 
presents are very large. But Ah Yut is not yet 

"Hai-e-e! That ugly pock-marked pig! It is 
useless to think of doing anything for her, except 
to make her work and thus pay for her food and 
her clothing." 

Fong Fah hung her head and made no reply, 
but Suey Sum said: 

"Ah Yut is a very good girl." 

"Yes; she is a good girl," Fong Fah said softly, 
"even if she is ugly. But Ah Kee is very beauti- 
ful, and a very fine husband should be found for 

"No; you should not expect much of a husband 
for her," said Shim Ming. "She has not been to 
the fan quai schools, and is lazy and vain. When 
my girl is old enough to marry she shall have a 
very smart young man — one who knows every- 
thing that the Chinese and the fan quai know, 
and wears fan quai clothing, and is very rich and 

"There are many fine young men who still 
wear queues and know how to want a wife that 
does not know too much. A good wife should 
have no mind of her own either for good or evil." 

"Oh, yes; a wife should be like a dove — quiet 


and stupid. You two should be very good wives, 
for you are very stupid." 

There was a great clatter on the stairs and 
Ah Sam and Ah Kee came running in, excited and 

"I won it!" shouted Ah Sam. 

u Won what?" asked her mother. 

'This medal." 

"What is it? A good luck charm?" 

"No; it is a scholarship medal for being the 
best in the school." 

"What is the meaning of those characters upon 

"William Wood Scholarship Medal. To El- 
sie D. Quan. 1902." 

"What is the meaning of the words, 'Elsie D. 

"That is my book name." 

"Who ever heard of a girl having a book 
name? Who gave it to you — the professor?" 

"No; I gave it to myself. When I first went 
to this school and the teacher asked my name, I 
answered: 'No. 3/ and all the white pupils 
laughed. So I took a foreign name." 

"I have a fan quai name, too," said Ah Kee. 
"Ah Sam gave it to me — didn't you, Elsie?" 

"Yes, Gladys." 

"Hai-e-el 'No. 2' isn't fine enough for you," 
grumbled Shim Ming. "Next the ugly Ah Yut 
will want a pretty name." 


"No; she will always be Ah Yut," said Fong 
Fah. "Won't you?" 

"Yes, mother." 

"Go back to your cooking, or everything will 
be burned," shouted Shim Ming. "Take off those 
fine clothes, Ah Sam, for your honorable father 
will soon be home." 

Ah Kee was lighthearted and mischievous, and 
as Ah Sam took off her pretty fan quai clothing 
Ah Kee put the skirt on over her Chinese trousers 
and placed the big hat on her head. Then she 
ran into the room where they were sewing. 

"I will show you how Ah Sam won the medal," 
she said. 

She made a bow to the women and spoke the 
foreign words she heard Ah Sam learning, about 
the wreck of a vessel and the death of the cap- 
tain's little daughter. She was interrupted by 
the sound of Quan Quock Ming's footsteps on 
the stairs, returning to his home after a day of 
telling fortunes on the street. The girls scam- 
pered into the bedroom while Ah Yut was open- 
ing the door. 

Quan Quock Ming threw his folding table and 
stool, his big umbrella and his urn of question 
sticks into a corner of the room, mopped his face 
with his green silk handkerchief and scowled at 
the women. 

"Hai-e-e ! Indolence is wicked and disgusting," 
he grumbled. "It is almost time for the evening 
meal and not more than half of your factory sew- 


ing is done. How do you expect to earn enough 
money to buy the food and clothing for the fam- 
ily, to say nothing of the rent? Not a drop of 
tea ready for me ! Three swinish wives and three 
pigs of daughters! Was ever a man so cursed? 
The meddlesome fan quai officials have stopped 
all fan tan and lottery, and no one comes to have 
his fortune told! Nothing but flies and old women 
buzzing on the street corners the whole day — and 
there is only vexation in both ! Has anyone called 
on business today?" 

"No one has called today," replied Shim Ming. 

"Is Ah Kee here?" 

"Ah Kee is here." 

"Someone is coming to see her. Is she well 

"Yes, she is well dressed." 

"Our honorable husband doubtless thinks of 
finding a husband for Ah Kee," whispered Suey 
Sum to the other women, "and it is the marriage 
broker he expects." 

Ah Yut brought her father his tea, and as he was 
supping his third cup noisily the door bell rang. 

"See who is at the door, Shim Ming," he or- 
dered, as he seated himself hastily at his table 
and took up a book. 

"It is Loo Yee and a woman," said Shim Ming, 
after peeping through the spy hole at the door. 
"I can't see her. Oh, yes; it is old Woo Ho." 

Suey Sum dropped her sewing and clutched 
Fong Fah's arm when the man who had owned 


her and the woman who had beaten her were men- 

"Admit them," ordered Quan Quock Ming. 

They entered three paces and bowed several 
times toward Quan Quock Ming but he made 
a pretense of reading for a moment before he 
looked up and stared at them through his spec- 

"Have you business with me?" he asked. 

"Yes, sir scholar; I will have my fortune told," 
replied Loo Yee. 

Quan Quock Ming took up his urn of question 
sticks, shook them about and asked Loo Yee to 
select one. As Quan Quock Ming took it from 
him he said: 

"I know naught of your honorable ancestry; 
naught of your business affairs; naught of your 
private life, and naught of your past or your 
future, but this reveals all to me." 

"You always say the same thing, tfiough you 
know me very well and have told my fortune 
many times, once no later than yesterday." 

Quan Quock Ming made no reply, but scrutin- 
ized the characters on the question stick. Woo 
Ho looked about her, nodded her head toward 
the women many times and grinned. 

"You found a very fine husband, Suey Sum," 
she said, but none of the women paid any at- 
tention to her. 

"Your name," said Quan Quock Ming, "is 


"Never mind that, sir scholar," interrupted Loo 
Yee. "I know my own name, and the name of 
my father, and the name of my grandfather. I 
want to know if I am to have some good for- 

"Every fortune is good fortune, even though 
evil may be predicted, for in that case one may 
offer sacrifices and avert it; and that is good. You 
are contemplating a business transaction that will 
bring you profit, though at first it may appear 
to be a bad bargain." 

"That is good, sir scholar, though I would 
rather not feel that I had made a bad bargain." 

"Hai-e-e!" grumbled old Woo Ho. "You came 
here to transact business, so why not do so at 

"Hold your tongue, or you will walk your way 
quickly," said Quan . Quock Ming. "There is 
much greater good fortune in store for you, Loo 
Yee. You have a son who will be a great com- 
fort to you all the days that you live; and when 
you are dead he will inscribe your name upon a 
tablet and place it upon the family altar, where 
the oil will never cease to burn, and he will offer 
sacrifices and worship your memory at your 

"All that is very good to hear, sir scholar. 
Doubtless you, too, have a fine son." 

"I have three worthless wives, and each has 
borne me a pig of *a daughter." 

"They must be very fine girls, sir scholar, and 


will some day be very good daughters to their 
husband's parents." 

"One of them may be considered handsome. 
Call Ah Kee." 

Suey Sum dropped her sewing and seized Fong 
Fan's hands as Shim Ming went to call Ah Kee, 
but Fong Fah smiled and patted her reassuringly. 
Ah Kee came in shyly, but with a smile on her 
face, and Loo Yee and Woo Ho eyed her long 
and steadily. 

"You have a very fine daughter, Suey Sum," 
said Woo Ho, "but it is unfortunate that you 
did not bear your honorable husband a son." 

"Is this your thousand of gold?" asked Loo 

"This is the little pig of whom I spoke," replied 
Quan Quock Ming. 

Woo Ho walked over to Ah Kee and felt of 
her limbs and body, and examined her much as 
she would a squab in the market. 

"Will you take a seat, Loo Yee?" said Quan 
Quock Ming. 

Quan Quock Ming filled his water pipe two 
or three times and then passed it to Loo Yee, 
who smoked for a time in silence as he looked at 
Ah Kee. 

"She is very small, sir scholar," said he. 

"She is not tall, but she is strong and well de- 

"How many years has she lived?" 

"We have fed her for fifteen years." 


"Fifteen years !" exclaimed old Woo Ho, and 
she counted on her fingers. "Yes; that is true. 
It is sixteen years since you bought her mother 
from my honorable master for a second wife. 
Still she appears to be no more than thirteen, and 
she looks so much like a child that the missionaries 
may make trouble over her." 

"She appears to be ill-tempered and disobe- 
dient," said Loo Yee. 

"She has a very good disposition, Loo Yee, 
and you may be sure that I have taught my daugh- 
ters obedience and the respect that is due their 

"What would you consider a suitable present, 
sir scholar?" 

"I could not think of accepting less than 

"Hai-e-el That is too much," growled Loo 

Woo Ho clicked her tongue and shook her 

"I cannot accept less," said Quan Quock Ming. 

"I can give you no more than $1500," declared 
Loo Yee. 

"Aih-yahl Are you insolent, or do you think 
me a fool?" 

"Neither, sir scholar; but I know what a suit- 
able present should be, and what I can afford to 

"I would not bargain with you, but tell you to 
walk your way, Loo Yee, were it not that I have 


a bad fung shut, and the evil spirits bring me 
nothing but misfortune. I must have money to 
sacrifice at the temple, but I cannot accept one 
cent less than $2250." 

Suey Sum began to cry very softly, but Quan 
Quock Ming scowled at her and Shim Ming shook 
her as she would a child that was misbehaving. 

"I am a business man, sir scholar," said Loo 
Yee, "and this is a business transaction. If I 
should give you what you ask I would lose my 
face as a maker of bargains. Still, appreciating 
the worthy motive that prompts you, I will give 
as much as $1750, but no more. That is all the 
money I have, and if I gave a higher price I would 
have to borrow only to be cheated." 

"You are a close bargainer, Loo Yee, while I 
have no mind for business matters, so I will fix 
my last price. I will abate $150 if you will add 
$350. That will make $2150." 

"It is too much. I cannot give it." 

"Then walk your way, Loo Yee." 

"Very well, sir scholar," and he went toward 
the door, followed by Woo Ho, clicking her 
tongue, shaking her head and muttering at the 

"One moment, Loo Yee," said Quan Quock 
Ming. "You have not paid my fee for telling 
your fortune." 

Loo Yee tossed a twenty-five cent piece upon 
the table and turned again to go. Suey Sum 
smiled, dried her eyes and picked up her sewing. 


"You are an honorable man, Loo Yee," said 
Quan Quock Ming, "and on second thought I be- 
lieve that I can abate $250 if you will add as 
much to your last price." 

Loo Yee hesitated and looked at Ah Kee again 
for a long time. Woo Ho went to the girl, felt 
of her again and nodded to her master, say- 

"She will do quite well, though it is a very 
big price." 

"Is that your last price, sir scholar?" 

"That is my very last price, Loo Yee." 

"Well, I accept it, though I believe I am being 
cheated," and he laid the money on the table. 
"Count it to see that it is right and sign this writ- 
ing of sale." 

Suey Sum started up as though to interfere, but 
Shim Ming pushed her back upon her stool, and 
Fong Fah put her arm about her and whispered 

When the money had all been counted and the 
writing signed Woo Ho took the arm of Ah Kee 
and started to lead her toward the dcor, but Ah 
Sam, who had been listening in the bedroom, ran 
out and held Ah Kee by the hand, crying out: 

"Don't go, Ah Kee! Fight! Scream!" 

Quan Quock Ming struck his youngest daugh- 
ter with the flat of his hand, but so heavily that 
she sprawled upon the floor till Shim Ming picked 
her up, shook her, and shoved her out of the 


"Come !" ordered old Woo Ho, but Ah Kee re- 

"Go!" commanded Quan Quock Ming. 

Ah Kee started to obey, but she saw that her 
mother was crying, and tearing herself from Woo 
Ho's grasp she ran and flung her arms around 
Suey Sum's neck. 

"Come at once!" ordered Woo Ho, as she 
tried to drag Ah Kee away. 

"Mother! Mother!" cried Ah Kee. "Where 
are they taking me?" 

"Go!" shouted Quan Quock Ming. 

"Obey, daughter," sobbed Suey Sum, as she 
kissed Ah Kee on the cheek, and Ah Kee went 
obediently with Loo Yee and Woo Ho. 

As the door closed behind them Suey Sum 
walked unsteadily to the family altar, placed the 
women's god on the front of it, lighted fresh 
Dunks with trembling hands and prostrated her- 

Quan Quock Ming was busy at his camphor- 
wood chest and did not notice her at once. When 
his eyes fell upon her praying to the Goddess of 
Heaven he stared, then roared: 

"Suey Sum ! Give me my evening meal — at 

"Yes, honorable husband." 

"Obedience is the greatest virtue," observed 
Quan Quock Ming, as he smacked his lips over 
his food. 



"Mental tranquillity and physical repose are 
of equal importance, for they are interdependent, 
and that which disturbs the one destroys the 
other," wrote Quan Quock Ming, whose cor- 
pulence had so increased with his years that his 
stomach was big with wisdom. "That will be 
both a lesson and a warning," he said, as he hung 
the scroll upon the wall. 

At precisely nine o'clock every night he called 
his daughters, Ah Yut and Ah Sam, and aiming 
his finger at the writing, said: "Go to bed." 

At ten o'clock he laid aside his book, stared 
long and steadily through his horn-rimmed spec- 
tacles at each of his three wives in turn and shook 
a monitory finger as he announced: "I am about 
to retire. Be sure to fan me incessantly that my 
rest may be unbroken." 

At the first breath from the sandalwood fans 
his eyelids quivered and closed, and he grunted 
with content, complete but for the thought: 

"Doubtless the very instant I slumber, these 
lazy swine steal away to their couches. Tonight 
I shall catch them neglecting me, and I shall give 
them such a thrashing as they will never forget. 



Then I shall be able to sleep peacefully," and he 
grunted again with the satisfaction of it. 

Afterward he lay quite still, feigning sleep, 
waiting patiently for the fans to stop, and plan- 
ning the punishment he should administer to each. 
He would slap Fong Fah three times, for she al- 
ways curled up and showed no resentment. He 
would strike Suey Sum but twice, for at the third 
blow she always fell on the floor and cried, and 
Shim Ming he would cuff but once, and that very 
lightly, for she might scream out the window 
and disturb the neighborhood. This being settled 
he breathed deeply and regularly, and after a time 
snored a little. At intervals he started up sud- 
denly with the feeling that something was wrong, 
only to find that he had nearly fallen asleep. 

The wives of Quan knew as well as the mother 
of a fretful child when slumber came, and then 
Fong Fah stretched herself at her honorable hus- 
band's feet, Shim Ming dozed in his big cushioned 
chair, and Suey Sum stole away to the kitchen 
to take up her factory sewing. If he woke to call 
for tea or tobacco, it was only after much stretch- 
ing, yawning and grunting, and he always found 
them at his side ready to attend him. When he 
slept again the house of Quan was as still as the 
Tien How Temple at midnight, except for the 
snoring of the sage, the smothered sobs of Ah 
Sam grieving for Ah Kee, and the whispered con- 
solation of Ah Yut, who was always a little mother 
to her younger sister. 


"Our father had no right to sell our sister as a 
slave," cried Ah Sam, "and I shall yet help her 
to run away to the mission." 

"It does not seem right, younger sister," said 
Ah Yut, "but disobedience would be more wicked 

"You do not understand, Ah Yut. Our father 
is Chinese and follows the laws and the customs 
of his people, but we are Americans, and should 
obey their law. He had no right to sell her, and 
Loo Yee has no right to keep her. This is 
America — not the Middle Kingdom." 

"No, I cannot understand that, Ah Sam. You 
have attended the fan quai schools and have be- 
come a fan quai girl, while I am ignorant and still 
Chinese. But we shall always be sisters, shall 
we not?" 

Then they put their arms about each other and 
cried themselves to sleep. 

No one in the household ever saw Suey Sum 
close her eyes. When she was not attending to 
her honorable husband she was sewing by the dim 
light of an oil lamp, half-blinded with tears. 

"Why do you not rest?" Fong Fah often 

"I cannot rest for thinking of Ah Kee — my 
little girl — the slave of him who once owned and 
beat me," she always answered. 

"Your day's sewing is done, and you will surely 
blind yourself or become ill if you work the whole 


u But I earn a little more money that our hon- 
orable husband knows nothing of. Then I buy a 
lottery ticket and pray to the Mother of Heaven 
to win, so that I may buy Ah Kee's freedom. But 
I always lose." 

"I am glad that my daughter has an ugly pock- 
marked face, for no one will ever buy her for a 
slave or take her for a wife, and I shall always 
have Ah Yut with me." 

Quan Quock Ming had finished his midday 
meal and had gone back to his stool and table on 
the sidewalk to tell fortunes. Ah Sam was eating 
cakes from one hand and doing sums in mathe- 
matics with the other, when her mother, Shim 
Ming, said to her: 

"You will not go to school this afternoon." 

"Why not?" asked Ah Sam, petulantly, for she 
had become too much of a fan quai girl to be re- 
spectful or obedient. 

"Because you are wanted at home. Take off 
your fan quai clothing and dress yourself in holi- 
day attire after the Chinese fashion." 

"I would like to know how I shall ever finish 
at the high school if I am to be kept at home." 

"Do as you are told. It is your honorable 
father's orders. If anyone calls, you are to pre- 
tend that you are Ah Yut." 

Ah Sam obeyed with no more questions, though 
she did not understand the matter at all; but 
while the women were unbraiding her two queues, 
smoothing her hair and fastening it with orna- 


ments, she thought much, and muttered in the 
foreign tongue so they could not understand: 

"If he tries to sell me to any dirty slave dealer 
I shall yell for the police. ,, 

But it was no slave dealer who called that day. 
It was Wong Yee Shi the marriage broker. 

Wong Yee Shi drank the tea of the chrysanthe- 
mum bloom, ate preserved fruits and gossiped 
with the wives of Quan, speaking of all matters 
except marriage. She saw nothing of the ugly 
Ah Yut, but much of the beautiful Ah Sam, noting 
carefully her face, her form and her manners, and 
she listened eagerly when Shim Ming spoke of 
the gentleness and sweetness of Ah Yut. 

Quan Quock Ming seemed greatly surprised 
and none too well pleased when he returned and 
found Wong Yee Shi at his home. 

"What do you want?" he asked. 

"To inquire after your health, sir scholar." 

"Aih-yah ! It is very bad. I get no sleep what- 
ever for the fear that my rest may be broken. I 
must lie awake all night to see that those lazy 
women fan me while I sleep." 

"Ts ! ts ! ts !" and Wong Yee Shi shook her head 

"Kung-foo-tsze says truly: 'No man can watch 
three wives with two eyes.' " 

"I have heard it said, sir scholar, that a foreign 
devil cannot watch one wife with two eyes." 

"But what can one do about it?" 

"Louie Juck Sam is also troubled with sleepless- 


ness, and I am told that he intends buying some of 
the foreign devils' glass eyes to keep watch while 
he sleeps." 

"Who is this person Louie Juck Sam?" 

"He is a merchant and very prosperous. That 
reminds me, sir scholar, that he has asked me to 
find him a daughter, and I have seen your thou- 
sand of gold. Will you be good enough to tell 
me her name?" 

"Her name is Ah Yut." 

"It is possible that Louie Juck Sam may con- 
sider Ah Yut a suitable wife for his son. If you 
will consider the matter, be good enough to tell 
me the moment of her birth." 

"Would Louie Juck Sam's son be a suitable 
husband for Ah Yut?" 

"Louie Lim is a very handsome young man. 
Perhaps you have never seen him, for he has only 
recently come from the Middle Kingdom, and is 
so full of filial piety that he never goes from his 
father's house!" 

Wong Yee Shi was so eager to earn her fee that 
she did not tell Quan Quock Ming Louie Lim had 
been blind from birth, and Quan Quock Ming was 
so anxious to make a good bargain that he pre- 
tended not to know it. 

"Doubtless it is as you say, Wong Yee Shi, but 
my little pig is a very good housekeeper, and I 
am such a foolish old man that I do not like to 
see her leave my home to become the daughter of 
another. Then I doubt if Louie Juck Sam would 


make so large a present as I should demand. 
However, you may negotiate, " and Quan Quock 
Ming wrote: u Ah Yut, born 5th year Kwang 
Hsui, 3rd month, 1 8th day — " 

"Aih-yah!" exclaimed Wong Yee Shi. "Is she 
so old? Why, one would say that she had not 
lived more than fifteen years." 

"That is Ah Yut's exact age." 

Wong Yee Shi went her way, marveling that 
one who appeared so young could have lived 
twenty years, but she returned the next day to say 
to Quan : 

"The astrologer finds, sir scholar, that the 
births of Louie Lim and Ah Yut agree, and that 
good luck would come from their marriage, so I 
have come with the offer. What would you con- 
sider a suitable present from Louie Juck Sam?" 

"I know that he is wealthy and has an honor- 
able ancestry," said Quan Quock Ming. "While 
I am poor and my family is very mean and low. 
Still I could not consider anything less than 

"Hai-i-ie!" exclaimed Wong Yee Shi. "That 
is surely too much, sir scholar. No one ever gives 
more than half of that, and Louie Juck Sam will 
never pay it." 

Wong Yee Shi shook her head, clicked her 
tongue and looked very cross about it, for she 
feared that she would not be able to arrange the 
matter, and would lose a fine fee. 

"Then walk your way slowly, Wong Yee Shi," 


said Quan Quock Ming firmly. "That is my last 
price, and Louie Juck Sam can pay it or not as 
he chooses, for I shall not reduce it. However, 
you are a good woman, and you have found such 
a handsome young man that I will add $50 to 
your fee, if you can arrange the matter." 

"It is all arranged," said Wong Yee Shi to 
Louie Juck Sam. "It is only necessary for you 
to agree upon the present that you will offer Quan 
Quock Ming for his daughter, Ah Yut." 

Louie Juck Sam smiled and rubbed his hands 
together as he said: "You are a good broker, 
Wong Yee Shi. What present does Quan Quock 
Ming demand?" 

"It is quite large, but the girl will make a very 
fine daughter." 

"You must be a bad bargainer, Wong Yee Shi. 
How much is it?" 

"It is not easy to bargain with Quan Quock 
Ming, for he is a wise old man and very obsti- 

"How much does he ask?" 

"Remember that it is very difficult to find a 
wife for Louie Lim, and I doubt if Quan Quock 
Ming would bargain at all if he knew your son 
is blind." 

"Tell me, Wong Yee Shi, what he demands." 

"It does seem too much, but — " 

"Cease your chatter and tell me at once." 

"He demands a thousand dollars." 

"Haie-i-ie!" roared Louie Juck Sam. "He is a 


fraud and you are a fool ! Go away!" and Louie 
Juck Sam cursed the mother of Quan Quock 
Ming, the mother of Wong Yee Shi, and the 
mother of his own son. 

"But you must find a wife for Louie Lim, or he 
will never have a son to preserve your memory 
and worship his ancestors," argued Wong Yee 

"Must I bankrupt myself and lose my face as 
a maker of bargains because Quan Quock Ming 
is avaricious and you are a fool?" and Louie Juck 
Sam cursed the moment of his birth. "Look else- 
where for a wife for my son, Wong Yee Shi." 

"There is no place to go. I have already been 
in every home where there is a marriageable 
daughter, and none will negotiate. Quan Quock 
Ming is the only one who will fix a price." 

"A thousand dollars for a woman who has 
wasted twenty years! Hai-i-ie!" and Louie Juck 
Sam cursed heaven and earth and the gods. 

"But she appears much younger and is very 
beautiful," said Wong Yee Shi. "Besides, she is 
respectful and obedient and is a very fine house- 

Louie Juck Sam walked to and fro, shaking 
his head and cursing everything that he had not 
mentioned before, but finally he said: "Go to 
Quan Quock Ming and offer $750." 

"He will not accept it. He has fixed his last 


"He must know that Louie Lim is blind. Did 
you tell him?" 

"Aih-yah ! Do you think I am such a fool?" 

"Yes. Now I suppose I shall have to give 
what he asks — but I shall not be able to pay you 
a fee." 

"Hai-i-ie! Why do you suppose I have gone 
from house to house for the last two months?" 

"To get your mouth full of gossip and your 
belly full of tea and cakes." 

"If you will not pay me my fee I shall go at 
once and tell Quan Quock Ming that Louie Lim 
is blind," and Wong Yee Shi started away. 

"Wait a minute, Wong Yee Shi," said Louie 
Juck Sam quickly. "I will pay it, though I know 
I am being cheated." 

The letters of three generations, naming the 
parents, the grandparents and the great-grand- 
parents of Louie Lim and Ah Yut were ex- 
changed, and then the daughter of Quan Quock 
Ming and the son of Louie Juck Sam were told 
that they were to be married. 

Ah Yut retired to the seclusion of the inner 
apartment to make her wedding garments, and 
though it was her duty to cry for three days only 
before her wedding to show she was sorry to 
leave her parents, she was so blinded with tears 
from the moment she was told of the matter that 
she could scarcely see her sewing. 

"Louie Lim believes I am young and beautiful, 
while I am old and ugly," she cried. 


"But you will make a fine wife for him," said 
Ah Sam, as she put her arms around her sister 
and kissed her on the cheek, "and you will be a 
good daughter to Louie Juck Sam." 

"No, no; they will not wait to find that out, but 
they will beat me as soon as they see how they 
have been cheated. They will drive me to work 
with a stick, and Louie Lim will take a second 
wife, who will laugh at me. It is only reasonable 
that he should do so, for no man so young, so 
handsome and so wealthy wants an ugly wife when 
he can just as well get a pretty one." 

"That is what comes from being a Chinese girl. 
I would not marry any man that I did not know 
and love." 

"What else can a girl do, when it is improper 
even to notice a man and immoral to speak to 

"I would run away to the mission." 

"No, Ah Sam. One must obey one's parents. 
It would be very wicked to do otherwise." 

"That is the reason girls in the Middle King- 
dom form societies and take a pledge to hang or 
to drown themselves before they can be delivered 
to a husband." 

"One can do that as well afterward." 



When Louie Lim was told of the beautiful 
young wife that had been selected for him he 
said not a word, but hour after hour he sat think- 

"I am my father's only son, and I must take a 
wife in order that I may have a son. Still, Ah 
Yut believes I am as handsome as the marriage 
broker described me, and when she finds I am 
blind she will surely drown herself, as did the girl 
who married the lame Chin, or hang herself, as 
did the one who married the cross-eyed Chew. 
If she does neither she will neglect my father's 
house and smile on other men, while I am sitting 
alone in darkness." 

But all the tears of Ah Yut and all the sighs 
of Louie Lim could not interfere with the 
covenants and ceremonials. The betrothal money 
was paid, and the tea presents — cakes, betel-nuts 
and a goose — were sent to the family of Quan, 
who in turn sent the small presents — bedding and 
cooking utensils — to the house of Louie. 

The lucky day had been selected by the 
astrologer, and all who had made presents to 
Louie Lim were assembled at his father's home 



to await the delivery of Ah Yut. They hid his 
wedding robes, and after he had redeemed them 
with small presents he clothed himself and wor- 
shiped at the family altar. Children disputed over 
the candies, nuts, oranges and copper cash — the 
symbols of fruitfulness and wealth — that they had 
stolen from the wedding bed, while old women 
cooked chickens, rice and red eggs, for guests must 
feast at weddings, and red eggs bring good luck 
and many sons. 

Ah Yut had no girl friends to gather at her 
home, tear off her clothing, tie her hands and feet 
and lock her in a room to keep her from leaving 
them and going to her husband, but Ah Sam alone 
did all she could. And Ah Yut, with tears in her 
eyes, resisted gently until, with the help of Ah 
Sam's mother, she escaped to her room and 
locked herself in. Then Shim Ming dressed her 
in the plain white garments of mourning, wrapped 
the red cloth around her head to show she was 
the first wife, and took her to the carriage that 
waited at the door, for there are no red sedan 
chairs here. Neither was there a procession, for 
there were no musicians or friends of the family 
to walk before, and no younger brother to ride 

When Shim Ming climbed the stairs of Louie 
Juck Sam's home to make her offerings of betel- 
nut and beg Louie Lim to receive his wife, Ah Yut 
crouched in the corner of the carriage, pressed the 
red cloth to her face and trembled with fear. She 


wept and waited, it seemed hours and hours, for 
Louie Lim's friends had locked him in a room and 
held him for ransom. One demanded a box of 
opium, another a silk jacket and a third a box of 
cigars, all of which Shim Ming agreed to pay, but 
they refused to accept her promises unless some- 
one guaranteed them. She bowed to each guest, 
offering betel-nut, and begging that the presents 
be guaranteed, but none would do it until the de- 
mands had been reduced to a little opium, a silk 
handkerchief and a box of tobacco. Then Shim 
Ming was permitted to kneel at the feet of Louie 
Lim and say to him : 

"Your bride is waiting in humility at your door 
and begs that you receive her." 

With a heavy heart, lagging feet and groping 
hands Louie Lim made his way to the carriage in 
which Ah Yut still waited and wept, and tapped 
the door of it with his fan to signify his consent. 

Ah Yut was like one rising from a long sickness 
when Shim Ming took her upon her back to carry 
her from the carriage to the inner apartment. 

"What worse luck can come if my feet do touch 
the floor ?" she cried, and forgot to pray as she 
passed over the charcoal fire that purified her 
and through the shower of firecrackers that drove 
away the evil spirits. 

She slipped from Shim Ming's back and lay in 
a heap at Louie Lim's feet, while he stood upon 
a stool to show his superiority. She dared not 
raise her eyes even to the soles of his slippers, and 


the old women frowned, shook their heads and 

"Ts! ts! ts! She shows too much humility. 
She should only kneel." 

Shim Ming helped her to her feet and took the 
red cloth from her head, but Ah Yut held her 
face so low that none could see it, even while she 
and Louie Lim knelt at the family altar and wor- 
shiped the ancestral tablets, the gods of the prin- 
cipal doors of the house and the parents of Ah 
Yut. Nor did she raise her eyes to see the orange- 
tree and the good wishes for a hundred sons and 
a thousand grandsons, nor when she knelt before 
Louie Lim to give with trembling hands the two 
cups of wine. And when they took seats side by 
side both seemed to forget the most important 
thing at a wedding, or not to care which should 
have the upper hand in ruling the household, for 
neither tried to sit upon a piece of the other's gar- 

Ah Yut buried her chin in her blouse and clung 
to her chair to keep from falling, while Louie 
Lim sat very straight with clenched teeth and 
twitching fingers, both waiting for the guests to 
make the usual jokes. 

"Tell her she is very beautiful, Louie Lim!" 
shouted one. 

"You are very beautiful, Ah Yut," muttered 
Louie Lim, and all laughed, for it was like one 
speaking in his sleep. 

"Tell him he is very handsome, Ah Yut!" but 


she could not find her tongue to speak the words, 
and Louie Lim thought she had already dis- 
covered that he was blind. 

"Tell her you will beat her, Louie Lim!" 
shouted another. 

"1 shall beat you, Ah Yut," he said, and his 
voice was stern, for his heart was heavy; and 
when everyone laughed Ah Yut shivered and 

"Tell him you will smile on other men when 
he is not at home, Ah Yut!" 

"I will smile — " muttered Ah Yut. 

"Louder! Louder!" the people shouted, but 
she could not say another word. 

"Tell her she is a pock-marked toad, Louie 
Lim!" and all laughed and clapped their hands 
at so good a joke on her. 

"You are a pock-marked toad, Ah Yut," said 
Louie Lim, slowly and clearly, as one who would 
speak the truth. 

The waters of sorrow rushed to Ah Yut's eyes 
and overflowed her cheeks, and when they fell 
upon the hand of Louie Lim he touched her face 
lightly with his finger-tips. 

"Tell him that it makes no difference to a blind 
man, Ah Yut!" 

Then for the first time Ah Yut looked into the 
face of Louie Lim, and she saw that he was really 
blind. She fell at his feet, clasped them in her 
hands and kissed them. 


"My dear husband is blind,'* she cried, "and 
he can never see my ugly face I" 

Louie Lim sprang to his Feet and lifting Ah 
Yut put his two arms about her, saying softly and 
gently : 

"I can see nothing but your loving heart, Ah 

"You deceived me, Wong Yee Shi/' said Quan 
Quock Ming. "You did not tell me that Louie 
Lim was blind." 

"You did not tell me that Ah Yut was pock- 
marked, sir scholar.'* 

"I shall not pay your fee, Wong Yee Shi." 

"Aih-yahl But I found a good husband for 
her, sir scholar." 

'What is it to me if the toad finds a home in the 
burrow of the mole?" 



It is probable that Ah Sam would have been 
very beautiful had she attired herself with taste, 
and doubtless she would have appeared quite de- 
sirable had she conducted herself with propriety. 
After she had attended the foreign devils' school, 
however, she would never let her body be band- 
aged, as all modest girls should in order to have 
a fine flat chest, but she even wore the jacket of 
whalebone to make her waist smaller and her 
grossness more apparent. Instead of remaining 
in her home and concealing herself from the sight 
of men she boldly went on the streets alone. That 
would not have been considered so indecorous if 
she had walked softly with mincing steps and had 
carried her head low and her eyes cast down with 
becoming humility; but she held her chin high, 
looked at, over or through everyone and every- 
thing and clicked the very high heels of her very 
low shoes as though to call attention to the slen- 
der ankles and plump calves so impudently ex- 
posed. And every defiant toss of her feathered 
bonnet and every confident swing of her squared 
shoulders seemed to say: 



"Well — look at me! What have you to say?" 

Much was said and none of it whispers. 

"Hai-ie! The fortune-teller found a daw 
among his doves!" laugh'ed the elder people. 

"She is worth no more than a poisoned pig!" 
declared the slave dealers. 

"One might as well take a plague into his home !" 
said the merchants with marriageable sons. 

"Some chicken!" shouted the small boys who 
understood the idioms of the foreign tongue. 

But there were others, born and educated here 
— those who cut off their queues, wore foreign 
attire and called themselves Native Sons — who so 
far demeaned themselves as to lift their hats, 
speak to Ah Sam as an equal and stroll along the 
street at her side. With them she laughed and 
chatted as shamelessly as a slave girl trying to 
wheedle a bracelet from a gambler. But at such 
times she was careful to avoid the corner where 
her father told fortunes. 

Though all agreed that she was a very immoral 
girl, a disgrace to her family and a reproach to 
her people, I, who had known her from infancy, 
had amused her in childhood and had liked her 
always, knew she had been corrupted by the per- 
nicious foreign doctrine that women should live as 
they wish — not as they are ordered. 

It was after she had finished at the high school 
that she was often seen in many different places — 
sometimes in a public park, sometimes at a for- 
eign restaurant or theater — but always with a 


student from the university across the bay, who 
called himself Robert E. Lee. And always he 
was whispering to her of things that only their 
elders should mention — things that no scrupulous 
man should utter and no decent girl should hear 
— about love and marriage — marriage by a for- 
eign priest without a present to her father ! And 
Ah Sam not only lent an eager ear, but degraded 
herself by discussing the matter. 

"I care nothing for my father but much for my 
freedom," she told him, "and I fear you do not 
really love me. Beneath your foreign clothing 
and culture you are still only Chinese." 

To this he protested vehemently that he had 
become altogether foreign, even as she; that he 
believed in the one God and the one wife, and that 
they two would always be as one heart and one 
soul. At last she believed and waited for him to 
kiss her on the lips, but perhaps that was one for- 
eign custom he had not learned, for he did not. 

They were standing at a corner near her home 
fixing the hour and place of their meeting the 
following day to be secretly married, when she 
received a blow on the side of the head that sent 
her rolling into the gutter. While she still lay 
there half stunned she heard shouts of laughter 
and then her father's voice bellowing: 

"Get up, you filthy pig!" 

When Ah Sam picked herself up and looked 
about her Quan Quock Ming was cursing and 
waving his arms, and far down the street, where 


shop-keepers stood at their doors laughing and 
shouting, Robert E. Lee was running like a 
frightened rabbit, while small boys pelted him 
with bad vegetables. Her father would have 
beaten her where all might see, but Ah Sam 
sounded the whistle she wore on a chain at her 
throat, and a fan quai policeman came. 

"Take me to the Mission," she said, and as he 
walked up the street with her the people shook 
their heads and shouted: 

"Quan Quock Ming put a gold collar on his 
puppy, and now it follows only foreign devils!" 

"See what comes of your folly!" said Quan 
Quock Ming to Ah Sam's mother. "I have lost 
my face and a valuable daughter. Get her back, 
Shim Ming, or I will surely put you out the door 
and lock it behind you." 

When a secondary wife is permitted to grumble 
a great deal she is contented, and when she is 
growing old and fat she fears nothing more than 
divorce, for the instant her husband's door closes 
behind her all other doors slam in her face. So 
Shim Ming puffed up the hill toward the foreign 
Mission, wasting so much breath in cursing un- 
filial daughters and unreasonable husbands that 
she had to pause often for more. 

"I have come to take you home," she said as 
soon as Ah Sam had finished kissing her. 

"This is now my home," replied Ah Sam. 

"Unless you return with me your honorable 
father will surely put me out in the street, and I 


shall starve," declared Shim Ming. "He has said 

Though Ah Sam loved her mother and shed 
many tears with her she shook her head against all 
persuasions, pleas and promises, saying again and 
again: u No, mother; I intend to remain here." 

"Hai-ie ! Then I shall give you the beating you 
deserve," and Shim Ming would have done it if 
the woman at the Mission had not shoved her 
out the door. 

"Aih-yah! Aih-yah!" screamed Shim Ming all 
the way to her home, and at every window and 
door that opened she stopped to wave her arms, 
shed more tears and cry out: "The female foreign 
devil first stole my daughter and then gave me a 

By the time she had reached her home a crowd 
was following at her heels, and she felt assured 
that her honorable husband would not dare deal 
harshly with one whose great suffering had already 
stirred the interest and sympathy of the public. 

That night Quan Quock Ming talked long and 
loudly before the assembled clan of Quan, say- 

"Why should I fatten a pig for the foreign 

But his kinsmen only shook their heads and 
answered: "Why indeed? But nothing can be 
done about it." 

When he complained to the Suey Sing tong 
the fighting men said: 


"If you will offer a suitable reward we will kill 
Robert E. Lee, or any other Chinese who may 
have meddled in the matter, but we cannot fight 
foreign devil women." 

So Quan Quock Ming was still eating a dumb 
man's loss and suffering of it when Loo Yee, the 
slave dealer, stopped at his table on the street 

"Your pig has been rooting in my garden, sir 
scholar," he said. 

"Hai-ie! Since I sold her to you she has been 
your pig, Loo Yee. Do what you please with 

"I am speaking of your pig — the one that ran 
away and found a new sty." 

"What has she been doing?" 

"She came last night with an official and the 
female foreign devil from the Mission and took 
Ah Kee away." 

"I am not the keeper of your slaves." 

"But you are the regulator of your own family. 
Fetch back my pig or pay the loss occasioned by 

"I have neither the money nor the power; and 
if I had I would not waste the one or exert the 
other. Go away!" 

"Then I shall pour water on the grindstone 
while the Bing Kung hatchet men sharpen their 

"A grindstone would be a fine target for the 
gunmen of the Suey Sing tong." 


Quan Quock Ming and Loo Yee looked long 
enough into each other's eyes to see that there 
was no misunderstanding and then hurried away 
to attend to the business in hand. But peace- 
talkers from the Tin Yee tong intervened and 
brought them together again, saying: 

"It is true, Loo Yee, that you have suffered a 
loss, but it is also true that Quan Quock Ming 
should not be held wholly responsible. He should 
do what he can to repair it, and with that you 
should be satisfied." 

"I have no money," said Quan Quock Ming, 
"and you know that runaway slaves cannot be 
returned. Perhaps Loo Yee will accept in ex- 
change the one that caused the damage. I may be 
able to catch her again." 

Loo Yee seldom smiled, but he did then, and it 
was not pleasant to see. 

"I will accept her if Quan will deliver her," 
he said, "even though I am able to keep her for 
only a single night. It will be worth the money 
just to see the little foreign devil fight and hear 
her scream." 

"I will deliver her," promised Quan Quock 



From the windows of the Mission Ah Sam and 
Ah Kee often saw men of the clan of Quan with 
their hands in their pockets loitering on nearby 
street corners or lounging in nearby doorways; 
and sometimes they saw faces peering at them 
from windows across the street. Ah Sam knew 
their business but had no fear of them in the day 
time and never went out at night time unless ac- 
companied by the keeper of the Mission, while 
Ah Kee went out not at all. Many traps and 
snares were laid for Ah Sam, but she was too 
wary to walk into them. 

Loo Yee was grumbling, the fighting men were 
growing impatient and the fan quai police were 
trying to discover why the business men of China- 
town wore anxious faces when they hurried and 

"You must help me," said Quan Quock Ming 
to me. "You are the only person she will trust." 

He was very angry when I refused to meddle 
in the matter and talked so much and so loudly 
to the merchants that all said to me : 

"You can prevent a war and will not do it? 
Very well! We shall see about it!" 



Then I hurried to Quan Quock Ming and prom- 
ised to do whatever he might advise. Under his 
instructions I procured a room in a house across 
the street from the Mission and rearranged it, not 
forgetting curtains for the bed to keep out 
draughts, an altar for the Mother of Heaven to 
keep out evil spirits and a yard of carpet for the 
floor to keep out splinters when one should wor- 
ship. Then Shim Ming went to the Mission weep- 
ing and complaining to Ah Sam: 

"Your honorable father put me out on the 
street because you ran away, and my own kinsmen 
closed their doors in my face. I would have had 
no place to lay my head if Fung, the Perfect, had 
not provided me a room over there. But who 
will supply me with food? Aih-yah! I shalf 
surely starve!" 

"I will send food to you," said the Mission 

"But who will prepare it for me? The evil 
spirits have put needle-pains in my legs and often 
I cannot stand on my feet." 

"I will prepare your meals, bathe your feet and 
brush your hair, mother," said Ah Sim, kissing 
and consoling her. 

"I will first see the room," declared the woman. 

She went with Shim Ming and inspected the 
halls, examined the windows and even peeped be- 
hind the curtains of the bed to satisfy herself that 
there was no way for a person to leave the room 
except by the front door or the fire ladders in 


sight of the Mission. And every morning Ah 
Sam went across the street to perform her filial 

It was this very morning that Shim Ming was 
on her knees before the altar touching her fore- 
head to the floor and calling: 

"A-a-a-a! Mother of Heaven! A-a-a-a! 
Mother of Heaven! Hear me! Help me! Help 
me to recover my unfilial daughter, who has aban- 
doned her good mother to follow after wicked 
foreign devils ! A-a-a-a ! Mother of a thou- 
sand devils! My rice is burning!'* 

She scrambled to her feet and snatched it from 
the stove, and I stepped out from behind the cur- 
tains of her bed. 

"Aih-yah!! How did you get in here?" 

"The same way Ah Sam will go out." 

"But I was gone from the room only long 
enough to get water and never out of sight of 
the door." 

"Will she surely come this morning?" 

"She will surely come." 

"Then we shall surely get her." 

"She is very suspicious and watchful. If I but 
turn my hand this way or that her hand flies to 
the whistle at her neck." 

"Then do not turn your hand." 

"And the female foreign devil is on watch 
across the street from the moment Ah Sam comes 
until she goes again." 

"To-day she may see her enter, but she will not 


see her go — unless she can see through brick walls 
and — underground." 

"Those Christian foreign devils are very 
clever." «' 

"Your honorable husband has always been clev- 
erer than they, and I have become a very good 
Christian, so together there should be no diffi- 
culty about the matter. I have brought you a 
hammer and some tacks." 

"What am I to do with them?" 

"Conceal the way of her going — when she is 
gone. This room will be searched." 

"What am I to do when she comes?" 

"Nothing whatever — except to keep what little 
sense you have. Be neither kinder nor harsher 
than usual. I will return — and get her." 

"What am I to say to you?" 

"Only what you would say to one who has been 
your benefactor." 

"I cannot see how it is to be done," she said, 
shaking her head. 

"You will see when the time comes — not before 
— for your eyes tell all that your tongue with- 
holds — which is little." 

Then I went down the stairs to wait and to lis- 
ten. I heard Ah Sam come and knock at the door, 
and I heard Shim Ming grumbling as she opened 

"Hai-i-ie ! Why do you always come just at a 
time to make trouble for me? The very instant 


I get seated to a bowl of rice I have to get up 
and open the door for you. 11 

U I always come at the same hour, mother, 11 re- 
plied Ah Sam gently. 

"Hear her! Always comes at the same hour! 
If you were a filial daughter you would be here 
always to attend me, instead of following after 
wicked foreign devils and their invisible God. 
Hai-ie! Parents ought to know but one trouble 
— that of their own illness — yet you leave me 
helpless in my old age to starve. 11 

"No, mother dear; you shall never starve. See 
the nice piece of pork and the vegetable I have 
brought you for your evening meal — and some 
salt fish for your breakfast. I am learning to 
do fine needle-work at the Mission, and all the 
money I earn I will give to you. 1 ' 

"But I have to wait for you to comb my hair 
and bathe my feet. 11 

"I would stay with you always, mother, if I 

"Aih-yah! Stay with me always! Then we 
both would starve. Who fed you till you were 
old enough to be useful? Who clothed you till 
you were large enough to be valuable? Then 
you ran away to the Mission, you ungrateful pig! 
And some day, no doubt, you will let the female 
foreign devil sell you for a wife or a slave, and 
she, instead of your honorable father, will get the 
profit. 11 

"No, mother; the girls there are not sold. 11 


"Not sold? Hai-ie! First stolen from their 
parents and then given away ! What wickedness ! 
What are girls for but to become wives or slaves, 
as their parents shall decide? You would bring 
at least $3,000 as a slave " 

"No, mother; I will not let myself be sold." 

"Then why not let your kinsmen select a hus- 
band for you? We can get a wedding present of 
at least $500. That is very little, but it is better 
than nothing." 

"You might better drive the nails in the lid of 
my coffin than sell me either for a wife or a 

"Hai-ie !" and I heard the slap that Shim Ming 
gave her. 

When Shim Ming opened the door in answer 
to my knock, Ah Sam was near the open window 
with her whistle in her hand. I bowed with 
clasped hands and greeted her: 

"Peace be with you!" 

She smiled and came toward me. "Are you, 
too, a Christian?" she asked in surprise. 

"I have seen the light," I answered. 

"One can see many lights in this country," 
laughed Shim Ming. 

"There is but one true light," I replied. 

"Aih-yah ! I am a poor old woman and can 
use nothing but oil — and a very little of that. But 
for your benevolent liver I would be wandering 
in darkness." 

"I am only a poor laborer in the Master's 


vineyard, but the light shines for all," I told her. 

"Hai-ie! I always thought you were a rich 
gambler instead of a poor laborer." 

"I am glad — very glad," said Ah Sam, who had 
been listening to all I said, "that you, too, are a 
believer in the one great God. I wondered why 
you had helped my mother." 

"Can I help you, Ah Sam?" 

"Only by praying for me." 

"I have prayed for you, Ah Sam, and I will 
pray for you every morning and every night — if 
you will teach me the prayer to the Father of 
Heaven." I went toward the altar. 

"Not there," said Ah Sam. 

I turned the face of the Mother of Heaven to 
the wall, took a large cross from beneath my 
blouse and placed it upright against the back of 
the figure. Ah Sam smiled and knelt beside me. 

"Our father " said Ah Sam. 

"Our Father," I repeated after her. 

"Who art in heaven " 

"Who art in heaven " 

"Hallowed be thy name " 

"Hallowed be thy name " 

"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done- 

I threw one arm around Ah Sam, covering her 
mouth with my hand and touched a spring with 
my other hand, and we went through the floor to- 
gether. As we slid down the long chute into the 
cellar I heard Shim Ming cry: 



Looking up I saw the trap door closing and 
Shim Ming peering down, and when she ham- 
mered the tacks into the carpet it sounded like 
one driving nails in a coffin. 

"Oh, my God ! Help me !" cried Ah Sam. 

"Help yourself," and I laughed at her. 

When she had scratched my face sufficiently I 
took her in my arms and held her so she could 
no longer move. 

"Your one great God can do nothing," I told 
her, "but your one little friend can do much. If 
you should go through that door to the right you 
would find Loo Yee waiting for you at the other 
end of the passage. If you should go through 
that door to the left you would find no one ex- 
pecting you in the store adjoining the Mission. 
Now choose your way," and I set her on her feet. 

"He has softened your heart," she said. 

"No, you scratched my face to soften the heart 
of your honorable father toward me. Go 
quickly — and trust no one again!" 

Ah Sam ran and I after her, so swiftly that I 
would surely have caught her if I had not stum- 
bled and fallen twice in the store across the street. 

Quan Quock Ming listened in silence while I 
told him all — or nearly all — that had happened, 
but he never took his eyes from my face, which 
he could see was scratched and bleeding. He 
looked at me a long time, and when he spoke I 
was greatly surprised and not a little relieved that 
he showed no anger — not even disappointment. 


"You are growing so weak, Fung Ching," he 
said very quietly, "that I fear you will not live 

"Yes, sir scholar," I replied, -'I feel that I am 
carrying my coffin on my back," and I coughed 
like one dying of lung trouble. 

Though that was only this morning I feel so 
much better now that I am encouraged to believe 
that I may still live to see the realization of my 
old friend's worst fear — that he will die like a 
chicken. It is only a step from the Land of the 
Living to the Kingdom of the Dead — if so much 
— and Ah-h-ma ! 

/ had seen no hand, I had heard no footfall; 
but as Little Pete plunged forward to the balcony 
floor a knife fell clattering at my feet, and the 
door behind me slammed and locked. Flung 
upon its frosted glass for just an instant was the 
shadow of a man, gigantic and grotesque. 




When Chan Gow Doy, with the tan of a 
Kwang Si summer still fresh on his face and the 
mud of a Comstock mine still damp on his boots, 
broke the fan-tan bank in Virginia City, his coun- 
trymen looked at him askance, shook their heads, 
clicked their tongues and muttered: 

"Suey quai!" (Lucky devil). 

He stuffed his winnings into his pockets, turned 
his back stolidly upon the numerous cousins who 
clamored for a feast, packed his few belongings 
into an oil-cloth bag and departed for San Fran- 
cisco. A small part of his capital bought a young 
wife, for every man must have a son; a larger 
portion fitted up a gambling-house and provided 
the bank-roll to operate it, and the remainder 
went for sacrifices at the Tien How Temple, 
where Chan Gow Doy prayed long and fervently 
for much money and many children. Within a 
year he had doubled his capital, and his wife 
had borne him a daughter. Within a decade it 



required six figures to total his wealth and six 
fingers to count his daughters. 

"Lucky devil!" muttered his competitors who 
saw his fortune growing with never a break. 

"Poor devil!" mused his countrymen who saw 
his family increasing with never a son. 

But Chan Gow Doy took what came to him 
with no sign of elation and no word of complaint, 
holding himself aloof from those who looked at 
him askance. 

"Three healthy daughters are worth no more 
than one crippled son," say the classics, so his 
abode was always referred to as "the Home of 
the Two Crippled Sons." 

One cannot be too guarded in speaking of 
aught that concerns evil spirits, so his gambling- 
house became known as "the House of Beautiful 

Chan Gow Dow stood at the door of the Ho 
Yin Doong smoking his pipe and meditating, as 
he had every morning for years — meditating upon 
the caprices of demoniacal spirits that brought 
him wealth and denied him sons. His desire had 
become a yearning, his yearning an obsession; 
and over and over again he had said to himself: 

"I would give all I possess if that stupid woman 
would only bear me a male child, no matter how 
dullwitted or misshapen." 

As usual his meditations ended when his eyes 
fell upon Quan Quock Ming, the fortune teller, 
squatting on his stool across the street. For ten 


years he had watched the necromancer dozing 
on the corner, rousing himself only long enough 
to advise some credulous gambler that the god 
of chance was perhaps propitious. For ten years 
he had seen the gamblers hasten across the street 
and lose their money at his tables, so he regarded 
Quan with good-natured tolerance and contempt. 

For ten years Quan Quock Ming had sat at 
his table pretending to slumber, but covertly 
watching Chan Gow Doy, each day formulating 
new plans to share in the profits of the gambling- 
house and as quickly abandoning them as imprac- 
ticable; but always awaiting with confidence the 
coming of the rich gambler and the great oppor- 
tunity. Not so much as a nod — not even a New 
Year greeting had ever passed between them, for 
Chan Gow Doy had no need of fortune-tellers, 
and Quan Quock Ming never played at fan-tan. 

While Quan watched the gambler from be- 
neath half-closed lids he cast frequent glances up 
the street toward the Home of the Two Crippled 
Sons. When at last he saw a window raised and 
a white cloth waved he sprang from his stool 
and stood erect with both hands raised high above 
his head. 

Chan Gow Doy started and stared in amaze- 
ment, wondering if the fortune-teller had suf- 
fered a sudden seizure. Quan stood quite still 
an instant, then strode deliberately across the 
street, stopped before the gambler and bowed 
with clasped hands. 


"Younger brother," he said gravely, "I am the 
bearer of bad news. Evil spirits still pursue you, 
and another daughter is about to be born to you." 

u Hai-i-ie!" roared Chan Gow Doy. He flung 
his pipe upon the sidewalk and raised a clenched 
fist angrily. u Who asked you to meddle with my 

"I never meddle, younger brother," replied 
Quan softly. "I give information." 

"Hai-ie! You merely guess when the chances 
are equal and you take no risk." 

"I never guess, younger brother. I know." 

u Go away!" ordered Chan impatiently. 

Quan bowed and turned to go. Again he 
flung his hands high above his head and stood 
in the attitude of one listening intently. As he 
lowered his hands he turned and bowed again to 
Chan Gow Doy. 

"Younger brother," he said solemnly, "another 
daughter has just been born to you." 

Then he turned and walked slowly back to his 
stool, while Chan hurried to the telephone within. 
The midwife answered his impatient call. 

"Yes; it is another daughter," she said, "born 
this instant." 

Chan flung the receiver from him with an oath 
and strode across to Quan's stand. 

"How did you know that?" he demanded. 

Quan Quock Ming squinted at him through his 
horn-rimmed spectacles for a full half minute be- 
fore he answered: 


"Just as I know the next one will be a son, 
younger brother, if — if " He paused and pon- 

"If what?" asked Chan Gow Doy eagerly. 

"If you are wise enough to listen to wisdom — 
and will act promptly." 

"Tell me what to do* sir scholar." He laid a 
gold piece upon the table. 

"Hurry to your home and see to it that the 
news goes forth that a son has been born to you. 
Then return to me." 

Within an hour women were crying to one an- 
other from open windows and men were calling 
to one another from shop doors: 

"Chan Gow has a son!" 

"Suey quai!" 



When Quan Quock Ming saw Chan Gow Doy 
emerge from his home and hurry down the street 
he seized "The Necromancer's Staff and Lan- 
tern" and buried himself in its pages. When he 
calculated that he had kept Chan Gow Doy stand- 
ing before his table exactly long enough he 
glanced up at him over his spectacles. 

"What do you want?" he demanded. 

"I want to know what is to be done, sir 
scholar?" He laid another gold-piece upon the 

"Concerning the matter of the boy girl?" 

"Yes, sir scholar." 

Quan laid aside the book and pocketed the coin 
with a pretense of indifference. He picked up his 
urn of "question sticks," shook them till they 
were thoroughly mixed and when Chan Gow had 
selected one, studied the cryptic characters upon 
it long and attentively, at the same time mutter- 
ing and shaking his head. 

"It is a very difficult matter, Chan Gow Doy," 
he said. "You were an only son, born to your 
parents in their middle age and long after they 
had abandoned all hope. Is it not true?" 



u That is true, sir scholar." 

"In order to delude the evil spirits into the be- 
lief that you were a little dog and considered of 
no importance you were given the name of Gow 
Doy. To further safeguard you, your father had 
one of his cousins, who had many sons, pretend 
to adopt you." 

Quan looked to Chan for confirmation. 

u Yes; that Ts the way to fool the evil spirits, 
sir scholar," he said. 

"But you may be certain that they were not de- 
ceived, Chan Gow Doy. They have been pur- 
suing you and playing tricks upon you ever since. 
They have brought you great wealth, but only 
to take it away from you at the time of your 
greatest need — in your old age. And* if they per- 
mit you to have a son they will just as surely take 
him away again — unless they are outwitted." 

"Aih-yah!" cried Chan Gow Doy. "Let them 
take my fortune if they will, for I can then no 
more than starve, but if I have no son to perpet- 
uate the family name and offer sacrifices at my 
grave, how can I ever get through the Ten Courts 
of Justice in the Kingdom of the Dead?" 

"That is true. You must have a son — at any 

"I would freely give all I possess, sir scholar." 

"You may have to, Chan Gow Doy." 

"Tell me — what is to be done?" 

"Much — if the evil spirits are to be deceived. 
They must be led to believe that you have a 


son despite their machinations, and that you have 
parted with your fortune without their interven- 
tion. Thinking themselves defeated, they will 
retire in disgust and cease meddling with your af- 

"But how is that to be done, sir scholar? My 
parents took every precaution, and yet the spirits 
were not deceived. ,, 

"Your parents were not well advised, Chan 
Gow Doy." 

"I shall do as you say, sir scholar." 

"If you fail, I will not answer for the con- 
sequences," declared Quan. "First, you must close 
the mouth of the midwife so tightly that it will 
not open again. Then you must proceed exactly 
as you would have done had your seventh daugh* 
ter been your first son. You must give a great 
feast to your friends, make a handsome present 
to the Mother of Heaven, and on the 29th day, 
when you shave the head of the child, give her 
a boy's name, attire her in boy's clothing, have 
her adopted into another family with many sons 
and rear her exactly as though she were a boy." 

"And my fortune, sir scholar?" 

"That matter will be attended to in due time." 

"It shall be as you say, sir scholar," promised 

Quan Quock Ming was so lost in meditation 
on the past and speculation in the future that he 
had completely forgotten his mechanical croak: 
"Fortunes! Good fortunes for all!" He shud- 


dered as he recalled the long neglected bones of 
his ancestor and the oath he had taken upon the 
chicken's head. Yes, he had indeed lived the life 
of a chicken, scratching and pecking in the gar- 
bage of Chinatown for years. But at last the 
wealthy gambler had given his confidence and 
:d his purse. He would be able to return to 
v Jiddle Kingdom, inter his father's bones in a 
place and placate the evil spirits that had 
cursed and pursued him. A good fung shut would 
come to him, and he would spend his last days 
in the ease and luxury of a Mandarin. Even if 
lie lived like a chicken he would not die because 
of a chicken, be killed like a chicken or become 
a chicken in the next life. 

On the twenty-ninth day little Ah Chut, her 
head freshly shaven, was clothed in bright-colored 
silks and carried out upon the public streets in 
the arms of her father; and Chan Gow Doy, who 
had seldom been heard to speak and had never 
been seen to smile, stopped all whom he met to 
laugh and to chat, saying: 

"Just look at my fine boy!" 

He stood before Quan Quock Ming, smiling 
and whispering: 

"When I placed him upon a quilt and offered 
him many different articles in order to discover 
the calling he will follow when grown up, he 
would not look at the book, so he is not to be a 
scholar; he would not touch the abacus, so he 
is not to be a business man; but what do you think, 


sir scholar? He stretched out both hands for 
my revolver, so he is to be a fighting man!" 

Both laughed so long and so loudly that many 
people paused to wonder. As Quan Quock Ming's 
eyes fell upon the baby's cap adorned with a 
rooster's comb of red silk instead of the custo- 
mary puppy ears of fur, his face grew grave. 

"What name did you give?" he asked. 

"While he was kicking on the floor I threw a 
poultryman's net over him — be sure it was a clean 
one — and named him 'Little Chicken.' " 

"Hai-i-ie!" The fortune-teller sat staring and 
blinking, muttering to himself: "Guy Juy! Guy 

"Is that not a good name with which to deceive 
the evil spirits?" asked Chan Gow Doy, but Quan 
Quock Ming merely shook his head and clicked 
his tongue. 



Guy Juy spent more of her time on the streets 
and in her father's gambling house than in her 
own home. Before she was two years old she 
knew every place in Chinatown where sugar-cane, 
candy or sweet cakes were sold — and she had 
learned the location of every shooting-gallery. If 
her father tried to lead her past one of them with- 
out pausing to buy sweetmeats or to listen to the 
pop of firearms, she would throw herself upon the 
sidewalk, kick, scream and swear as fluently as 
any loser at his gaming tables; and whenever she 
wandered away — which was almost daily — he 
was sure to find her munching candy and listen- 
ing contentedly to the crack of pistols. 

On New Year's day Guy Juy, attired exactly 
like her father in a cap with a red button, a blue 
silk jacket and yellow silk trousers tied at the 
ankles, accompanied him when he made his calls, 
strutting proudly at his side, bowing gravely to 
every host and wishing great prosperity with a 
lisping "kung-hee fat tsoy!" Everywhere she re- 
ceived the customary presents of silver coin 
wrapped in red paper, trying vainly to estimate 
the quantity of sweetmeats she would be able to 



buy; and everywhere she was praised, petted and 
indulged as the first-born son destined to become 
the successor of her wealthy father. 

The last call of the day was made at the home 
of Quan Quock Ming. Guy Juy shrank from him 
with undisguised aversion, and instead of the po- 
lite greeting she cursed him roundly. Neither 
Quan's offering of coin nor the threats of her 
father moved her. 

"You're a very bad boy," said Quan shaking 
his head and frowning at her, but she merely stuck 
out her tongue at him and returned to her candy. 

Chan Gow Doy sank wearily upon a chair, 
bowed his head and sat quite still. 

"Are you ill, younger brother?" inquired Quan 

"I am sick at heart, sir scholar," replied the 
gambler, after a moment's hesitation. "For al- 
most two years I have been very near all the joy 
that comes to the father of a son, pretending — 
always pretending — to possess it, but never — 
never — able to take it. Today — today — as the 
time draws near, I am overwhelmed with anx- 
iety. If the next one be not a son, sir scholar, I 
shall surely despair — and die." 

"Be patient and confident, younger brother," 
admonished Quan Quock Ming. "You have done 
all that a man who is engaged in a contest with 
evil spirits can do. Still — if I had another hun- 
dred dollars to offer as a sacrifice at the temple, 
it would be timely and perhaps propitiatory." 


Chan Gow Doy gave him the money as readily 
as he had always given, but with little hope that 
the spirits would be vanquished, then took his de- 
parture. Quan unlocked his camphbr-wood chest, 
took from it a bag of gold, poured it upon the 
table, ran his fingers through it again and again, 
then fell to stacking it and counting it. 

"Ah!" he exclaimed. "A fortune already! 
And if the next one be a son — ah!" 

He put the gold back into the bag and the bag 
back into the chest, and he had scarcely turned 
the key upon it when hurried footsteps sounded 
upon the stairs and an impatient ring came at his 
door. When it was opened Chan Gow Doy burst 
into the room. 

"I have a son, sir scholar!" he shouted. "At 
last I have a son!" 

"Sh-h-h! Not so loud, younger brother," 
warned Quan Quock Ming. 

"Why can I not shout it to the world, sir 

"The evil spirits may hear you, take him from 
you and turn your moment of greatest happiness 
into one of deepest grief. That is their way, 
Chan Gow Doy. You must still be patient and 
watchful. Return quickly to your home, close 
the mouth of the midwife with gold as you did 
before, and announce to your friends that another 
daughter has been born to you." 

"Another daughter!" 



"Aih-yah! Am I never to know the joy of a 

"Not if he is taken from you. Do as I bid 
you? Otherwise, I will not undertake to answer 
for the results." 

"You have found a son for me, sir scholar, and 
I shall trust you to preserve him to me. It shall 
be as you say." 

And the first-born son of Chan Gow Doy be- 
came the last born daughter, and was given no 
name, but called No. 8. 

Guy Juy, as the petted and pampered son of 
the house of Chan, scarcely knew the meaning 
of a wish denied. The idolatrous parents were 
her obedient servants, the despised daughters of 
the family her absolute slaves. So when the mid- 
wife refused to give her the baby to play with 
she flew into a passion that nothing would as- 
suage. She threw herself upon the floor, kicked, 
screamed, cursed and bumped her head till she 
was exhausted, then listened sullenly to bribe- 
offerings of unheard-of quantities of candies, 
cakes and firecrackers, only to burst into an- 
other paroxysm the moment she recovered suffi- 
cient strength and breath. Every trick and every 
artifice that her parents could think of was em- 
ployed, but nothing would swerve her for an in- 
stant from the determination to have Ah Bot; so 
at last in sheer desperation her father told her she 
could have the baby all for her own, first exacting 
a promise from her that she would be very care- 


ful of her little sister and never feed her candy 
or peanuts. 

Guy Juy and Ah Bot became inseparable. She 
soon learned to give the baby his bottle, and he 
would take it from no other. When his teeth 
began to come and he grew peevish and fretful 
no hand but Guy Juy's could rock his cradle, no 
ringer but hers could rub his aching gums. It 
was Guy Juy who taught him to walk and first 
guided him to the candy shops, where she drove 
bargains with the dealers and explained that she 
was Chan Gow Doy's boy, and Ah Bot was her 
little sister. 

Together they roved the streets and alleys 
of Chinatown in search of adventure, pausing to 
pull feathers from the chickens in the poultry- 
men's coops, to make grimaces at the old pipe- 
mender on the corner or to steal rides on passing 
trucks; but Guy Juy was always careful to avoid 
the stand of the old fortune-teller, whose sinister 
smile or savage frown filled her with fear and 
aversion. She guided Ah Bot into the shopping 
district of the city, where he stared wide-eyed and 
wondering at the foreign devils and into the shop 
windows, clinging in bewilderment to Guy Juy's 
hand. And once with money she found in her 
mother's cupboard she took him by ferry-boat and 
train to the city across the bay, bought all the 
candies and cakes they could carry, spent the en- 
tire afternoon practicing in a shooting-gallery, 
and when night came sat in a doorway consoling 


Ah Bot till the police found them and sent them 

As Guy Juy grew older she played shuttle-cock 
In the alleys, fought with the boys of the quarter 
and threw stones at little foreign devils who wan- 
dered into Chinatown. In all of her deviltry Ah 
Bot was a silent and passive accessory, sticking 
close to Guy Juy's side, running when she ran, 
stopping when she stopped, and always looking 
up to his big brother with pride. And for once 
Chinatown was unanimous in an opinion — Guy 
Juy was a very bad boy; but whenever some 
indignant victim of her pranks expressed that 
opinion to Chan Gow Doy, he would smile and 
answer : 

"Oh, boys will be boys." 

Guy Juy had one hero — Wong Kit, the son of 
a merchant — a lithe wiry lad, gentle in speech 
and manner till he was roused and then a tiger in 
temper and courage. He was feared and avoided 
by the other boys, and held himself aloof from 
them, but conceived a great liking for little Guy 
Juy. And she was never happier than when sit- 
ting by his side on a door-step in the dusk of 
the evening listening to tales of highbinder wars 
and the prowess of hatchetmen. 

"And some day," he often said to her, "you 
and I will be great fighting men together." 

Guy Juy, fired with that ambition, watched a 
chance to steal her father's revolver, terrified 
her sisters with it, threatened them with instant 

// was the afternoon before Chinese New Year and under 
the influence of the worm February sun Quatl Quock 
Mini) fell into a doer ." 279 


death if they told her father and carried the 
weapon in the waist-band of her trousers till 
the bulge beneath her blouse attracted attention 
and prompted the search that discovered it. 

Though Chan Gow Doy's face wore a smile 
his heart was filled with misgivings. 

"What can I do about it, sir scholar?" he asked 
of Quan Quock Ming during one of their frequent 
consultations. "My girl has become a very bad 
boy, and my son is becoming a very good girl." 

"Wait, younger brother — wait," admonished 
the fortune-teller. "When the time comes you 
shall have a good son and a valuable daugh- 

It was the afternoon before Chinese New 
Year and under the influence of the warm Feb- 
ruary sun Quan Quock Ming, sitting at his little 
table on the street corner, fell into a doze. When 
his chin dropped upon his chest he started and sat 
bolt upright for a moment, rubbed his eyes and 
remembered that prosperity had relieved him of 
the necessity of watching for prospective patrons. 
He planted his elbows upon the table, rested his 
fat face in his hands, closed his eyes and was 
soon slumbering peacefully. 

Guy Juy, passing warily, heard him snore, 
paused and grinned. She drew a stout cord from 
her trousers pocket, tied one end of it to a leg of 
the table, slipped around the corner, braced her- 
self, gave the string a jerk and ran. The table 
flew from under the old fortune-teller, and he 


sprawled upon the sidewalk; but his pursuit was 
unexpectedly swift and sudden. Guy Juy, turn- 
ing to look back, stumbled over a chicken coop 
and escaped capture only by rolling under a 
wagon and scrambling out on the other side. 

"You little she-devil!" roared Quan Quock 
Ming, as he stood at the edge of the sidewalk 
shaking his fist at her. u Wait! Wait! I will 
fix you!" 

Guy Juy put her thumb to her nose, wagged 
her fingers derisively and scampered away to 
watch the preparations for the approaching fes- 

Confectioners were heaping stacks of sweet- 
meats upon their counters, and merchants were 
wrapping coins in red papers, while their em- 
ployees wove ropes of fire-crackers and put up 
decorations. Creditors were pursuing debtors, 
and debtors were dodging creditors on this day 
of accounting, and when they met there were 
many altercations and a few fights. With the 
coming of darkness crackers began to pop at in- 
tervals here and there, like the desultory firing 
of the old year's pickets being driven in, quickly 
followed by the crash of musketry at close quar- 
ters, now dying down, now breaking out afresh 
and dying again; and, at last, the silence that 
told of the death of the old year. 

Guy Juy was in the thick of it all from begin- 
ning to end, even forgetting to go home for the 
evening meal, missing nothing, enjoying every- 


thing, laughing, shouting and fighting with the 
boys of the street over the possession of unex- 
ploded crackers; and when she climbed the stairs 
of her home, grimy, happy and breathless with 
the excitement of it all, a new joy awaited her. 
The fine clothing to be worn by the members of 
the family on the morrow was spread out on the 
chairs of the living-room — rich embroideries for 
the girls, and green silk trousers that tied at the 
ankles and a purple silk blouse for Guy Juy. 

"You may put them on now," said the mother, 
and all scampered away to dress themselves in 
their holiday attire. 

"Aih-yah !" cried Guy Juy, as she strutted about 
with her hands tucked in her long sleeves. "Don't 
you wish you were boys, so you could always do 
exactly as you please? Hai-ie! You are only 
good-for-nothing girls dressed for the market like 
pigs, and have to sit around home waiting for 
someone to buy you ! Don't you wish you could 
make New Year calls on merchants, drink rice 
wine and get presents of silver? And when I am 
old enough I shall be a fighting man!'* 

The older girls frowned and angry retorts rose 
to their lips, but their mother scowled at them and 
shook her head. 

Guy Juy was calculating the amount of money 
she would receive on the morrow, wondering if 
it would be enough to pay for a revolver, when a 
ring came at the door, and Quan Quock Ming en- 
tered, red in the face with anger and the exertion 


of climbing the stairs. He stopped when his eyes 
fell upon Guy Juy, and he stood glaring at her 
malevolently till he could get his breath. With 
the prank of the afternoon still fresh in her mind 
she slipped to her father's side for protection. 
Quan Quock Ming turned to Chan Gow Doy and 
raising his hands high above his head roared: 

"The time has come, Chan Gow Doy! The 
time has come!" Then he strode across the room 
and shook a fat finger in Guy Juy's face. "I made 
a boy of you, and now I shall make a girl of 
you!" he bellowed. 

"You shan't! You can't!" cried Guy Juy with 
an oath. "I won't be a girl!" 

For the first time in her life she felt the weight 
of her father's hand. A buffet on the side of the 
head sent her sprawling upon the floor. 

"Let that teach you the respect that is due 
your elders!" he roared. ''You are a girl! You 
have always been a girl — and you shall remain a 
girl ! Garb and comport yourself accordingly, or 
you shall be well beaten." 

On the morning of the New Year Guy Juy, 
dressed in the cast-off clothing of an elder sister, 
her forehead shaven like a boy's, sat in sullen 
silence listening to the taunts and jeers of her el- 
der sisters while they attired themselves for the 

"Look at the boy girl!" exclaimed one. 

"No; that is a girl boy!" laughed another. 

Ah Bot, attired in a yellow silk blouse and blue 


silk trousers, his head freshly shaven and his 
queue carefully braided, came to bid Guy Juy 
good-bye before departing with his father to pay 
the New Year calls. ** 

"Where is Guy Juy?" he asked. 

"Aih-yah!" laughed one of his sisters. "There 
is no Guy Juy; but there is Ah Chut!" 

"See !" cried another. "The great fighting man 
is only the seventh pig!" 

Guy Juy flew at them in a frenzy of rage, curs- 
ing, scratching, kicking and biting, till she was 
overpowered by her sisters and beaten by her 
parents. And they flung her into a corner like a 
bundle of old rags, locked the door upon her and 
left her to her own meditations. 



Anyone who, for thirteen years, has enjoyed 
all the privileges and immunities of an only son 
in a large family, who has been the tyrant of the 
household and the terror of Chinatown, ruling 
the home inflexibly and roving the streets unre- 
strainedly, only to be suddenly cuffed and cursed 
by parents who had always been indulgent and 
jeered by sisters who had always been respectful 
and obedient, locked within doors that had al- 
ways opened to the lightest knock and — worst of 
all — told that she was not Guy Juy, the first-born 
son, but merely Ah Chut, a nameless daughter — 
anyone less spirited and rebellious would have 
been completely crushed. But Ah Chut was only 
stunned. When her family bolted the door upon 
her she spat after them and cried vehemently: 

"I shan't be a girl! I shan't!" 

She ran to the window and saw not Ah Bot, 
the little sister whom she had loved and pro- 
tected from babyhood, but Chew Doo, a boy with 
freshly shaven head, going reluctantly with his 
father to pay the holiday calls, and heard him 



"I don't want to be a boy!" 

Ah Chut sat down to ponder upon the sudden 
metamorphosis that had robbed her of her name 
and sex, that had overthrown her little despotism 
and had transformed Ah Bot, the seventh daugh- 
ter, into Chew Doo, the Glory of his ancestors, 
the first-born son of the house of Chan. It meant 
that she must sit at home and learn to ply the 
needle instead of roaming the streets and prac- 
ticing the use of the revolver; that she must be a 
household drudge instead of a fighting man of the 
Bing Kung tong; that she could never go out of 
the house again unless accompanied by her mother 
or an elder sister; that she must then walk with 
mincing steps, keeping her eyes modestly cast 
down when she passed the contemptuous loungers 
on the street corners; that she would not be the 
natural successor of her wealthy and influential 
father, but merely one of his possessions, to be 
sold as three elder sisters had been. 

"I shan't be a girl!" she cried again, then flung 
herself upon her bed and burst into a flood of 

Her first paroxysm of rage and grief had near- 
ly spent itself before she remembered that only 
girls wept. She- quickly smothered her sobs, 
sprang up and cried again and again: 

"I shan't! I shan't!" 

She looked about her for means of escape from 
the humiliation and misery of it all, thinking only 
of flight — just flight, swift and immediate, with 


no thought of anything that lay beyond. As she 
crossed the room toward the window she caught 
a glimpse of her shaven forehead in a mirror and 
stopped. That would not do. Everywhere a boy 
in girl's clothing would attract attention that 
would inevitably result in speedy capture and re- 
turn. She made a quick search for an old suit 
of her own and found one that she had outgrown 
— but it would suffice. She tore off the clothing 
that had been forced upon her, donned the boyish 
attire, climbed out on the fire-escape and was 
scrambling down the narrow ladder when an old 
woman across the alley stuck her head out the 
window, stared at her in amazement and 

"Hai-ie! What are you doing in boy's cloth- 
ing, Ah Chut? Aren't you ashamed of your- 

Ah Chut stopped abruptly, hung her head and 
climbed slowly back. It was hopeless. Everyone 
had heard of her disgrace, and everywhere she 
would be recognized, not as Guy Juy, the son of 
Chan Gow Doy, but as Ah Chut, his daughter. 
She crept back into her room, changed her cloth- 
ing, threw herself upon her bed and cried herself 
to sleep. 

Ah Chut remained steadfastly in the seclusion 
of her home, enduring taunts, jeers and blows 
in dogged silence rather than suffer the humilia- 
tion of appearing on the public streets, and Chew 
JDoo, who had been almost her sole companion 


and always her confidant, sought every oppor- 
tunity to be with her. The timid, shrinking lad 
had found his boyhood almost as insufferable as 
Ah Chut had her girlhood, for the men in the 
streets laughed at him and teased him, the other 
boys chased him and threw stones at him, and 
everyone told him that he was nothing but a girl 
in boy's clothing. Whenever they found them- 
selves alone in the house they resumed the garb 
of their choice and played that Ah Chut was Guy 
Juy, the boy, and Chew Doo was Ah Bot, the girl; 
and often at night they would climb up the fire- 
escape and scamper over the roofs of the houses 
in the block. But even that diversion — Ah Chut's 
only pleasure — was taken from her when their 
father returned unexpectedly one night and caught 
them at their play. 

"Hai-ie!" he bellowed. "Are you determined 
to bring disgrace upon the whole family? Do 
you want to degrade the only son of the house 
of Chan by making a girl of him ? Who then will 
perpetuate the family name and be the glory of his 

He gave her a beating and forbade her even to 
speak to Chew Doo, but they often found means 
of conversing secretly, and always Ah Chut would 
put her arms around him and say: 

"Even if I cannot be a boy, Chew Doo, you 
must be a worthy son." 

By the time the hair had grown long upon Ah 
Chut's forehead she had learned — mainly by lis- 


tening at keyholes — the whole story of the deceit 
that had been practiced upon her and the evil 
spirits. Toward her parents she felt no great 
resentment, for they had but followed the advice 
of the old fortune-teller in order to protect her 
brother against malign influences; but the aver- 
sion that she had always felt toward Quan Quock 
Ming grew into bitterest hatred. Every day, 
and a dozen times a day, she would stop at her 
window, from which she could see him sitting on 
his stool at the street corner, scowl at him, gnaw 
her finger-nails in impotent rage and reiterate a 
vow of vengeance. She meditated slipping out in 
the night-time and setting fire to his house, but re- 
flected that her own home, which was in the same 
block, and possibly the whole Chinese quarter, 
would be endangered. Whenever she could get 
possession of her father's revolver she would rest 
it on the window sill and draw a careful bead upon 
him. As good a marksman as she was, she knew 
thedistance was too great to leave the result of a 
shot beyond question, or she would have fired. 
Instead she would take the cartridges out, aim 
again and pull the trigger, and in her imagina- 
tion she could hear the crash of the explosion and 
see him sprawl upon the sidewalk. 

She thought of lying in wait and shooting 
him from a doorway, but she must have some one 
to warn her of the approach of the police so that 
escape would be certain. She suggested it to 
Chew Doo, but he trembled at the thought of vio- 


lencc and death and begged her to dismiss it from 
her mind. There was only one other — Wong Kit, 
the hero of her boyhood days. Had he not often 
told her that some day they would be fighting men 
together? So she watched at the window for 
him, and when she saw him passing beneath it 
called to him. He stopped, glanced up, saw a 
strange girl looking down at him, spat contemptu- 
ously and walked on. Ah Chut turned away in 
disappointment and chagrin, but some day in some 
way, she knew not when or how, she would be re- 
venged upon Quan Quock Ming. Upon that she 
was determined 



Quan Quock Ming had finished the evening 
meal, the dishes had been cleared away, and he 
was sitting at the table with an abacus, an ac- 
count-book and stacks of gold coins before him. 
When he had finished checking up and had struck 
the total, he smiled and rubbed his hands with 
satisfaction, for it ran well into five figures. Then 
he drew from its envelope a large document bear- 
ing the enormous seal of Chan Gow Doy, read it 
carefully and pondered. 

"Everything — everything he has — in my 
hands 1" he mused. "The evil spirits certainly 
will never be able to get it — but how can I man- 
age to keep it?" 

A ring came at the door, and he barely had time 
to lock his documents and gold in his camphor- 
wood chest before Chan Gow Doy was shown 

"Ha ! Long life and great happiness, younger 
brother !" greeted Quan. 

Chan Gow Doy frowned. 

"You will have neither," he said, "if you do 
not return my fortune to me at once." 



"Hai-i-ie!" exclaimed the fortune-teller. u Is 
that the way you talk to your friend and adviser?" 

"You have been well paid for both your friend- 
ship and advice — well paid, Quan Quock Ming — 
but I im not to be stripped like a beef bone, 1 ' 
replied Chan Gow Doy. 

"And is that not what I am protecting you 
against, younger brother?" protested Quan. 

"I am able to protect myself, Quan Quock 

"Against evil spirits? Who is able to do 
that?" Quan shook his head. "No; it cannot be 
done, except by one who knows their ways." 

"Do you also hold written powers from the 
evil spirits? Are you their friend and adviser — 
or merely their instrument?" demanded Chan. 

"Hai-ie ! How can you say such things, Chan 
Gow Doy? Have I not been their enemy for 
years? Have I not protected you against them? 
Did I not outwit them when they had decided 
that you were not to have a son?" 

"Have you not been well paid for all that you 
did? Have I not always given you whatever you 

"To be sure, younger brother. Was not my 
advice worth all that you paid for it?" 

"Yes," admitted Chan Gow Doy, "but that is 
no reason why you should defraud me of my 
whole fortune." 

"Defraud you! Hai-ie!" and Quan started up 


"Rob me, then." 

Quan fell back on his stool, shook his head 
and clicked his tongue. 

"Certainly you must be possessed of an evil 
spirit, Chan Gow Doy, to use such language 
toward one who has always been your best friend 
— one who has always regarded you as a younger 
brother. Why did you place everything in my 
hands? To preserve it, of course. You know 
very well that the evil spirits gave you wealth, 
only to deal you a heavier blow — when they take 
it away again at the time of your greatest need. 
Have I not kept it safely for you?" 

"You have kept it," admitted Chan Gow Doy, 
"and you are still keeping it, though I have de- 
manded its return many times." 

"And have you not always managed your af- 
fairs as though your fortune were your own?" 

"Is it not?" 

"Sh-h-h! Not so loud," admonished Quan 
Quock Ming. "The evil spirits may hear you 
and take it from you. Of course it is yours — 
in substance — but mine in form. The paper you 
gave conveying it all to me means nothing to any 
one — except the spirits. They think the property 
is mine and dare not meddle with it." 

tr And you think it is yours and don't want me 
to meddle with it — but I want it. I may die." 

"In that case, younger brother, it will be re- 
turned to your family." 

"If I cannot procure its return while I am still 


living, I surely could not do it when I am dead. 
Give me the paper, Quan Quock Ming." 

"But reflect," argued the fortune-teller. "If 
the evil spirits should take it from you while you 
are living, your family will have nothing when 
you are dead. Think of the risks you are tak- 

"I am thinking of the risk I have taken," re- 
plied Chan. "It makes little difference, so far as 
my family is concerned, whether you or the evil 
spirits take it from me. Give me the paper, Quan 
Quock Ming." 

"Do you demand it?" 

"Have I not done so many times? Give it to 

"Then," said Quan decisively, "I on my part 
demand an accounting." 

"An accounting!" 

"Yes. Have I not held your written authority 
for fifteen years?" 

"Yes — as a matter of form." 

"And have you not said many times that you 
would give all you possessed to have a son?" 

"Yes — if it were necessary." 

"And through my advice you found a son. 
Lawfully I could claim it all, but I am not only 
just — I am generous, and I shall make a fair 
compromise with you. You shall pay me ten per 
cent of all profits for the fifteen years that it has 
been in my hands — just as though you had re- 
turned to China, and I had acted as your agent." 


"Compromise! I shall not pay one cent!" 
roared Chan Gow Doy. 

"Then I shall keep every cent," replied Quan 
Quock Ming, firmly. 

-"Give me that paper!" demanded Chan. He 
advanced menacingly upon Quan. 

"I shall give you nothing. Get out of my 

"Give it to me!" 

Chan Gow Doy sprang upon him, seized him 
by his fat throat and tried to throttle him. Stools 
were overturned, the table was upset and the 
k/erosene lamp crashed to the floor and went 
out. One of Quan's wives, alarmed by the sounds 
of the struggle, threw open a window and blew a 
police whistle. A passing patrolman ran up the 
stairs, burst in the door and pulled the combat- 
ants apart. 

"He first tried to rob me — then murder me!" 
cried Quan Quock Ming, when an interpreter 
had been called. "I have a weak heart, and this 
will surely kill me !" 

The policeman recognized them both, put Chan 
out of the house and told Quan to apply for a 
warrant if he wished his assailant arrested. 



The elders of the clan of Chan, called in con- 
ference at the home of Chan Gow Doy, sat lis- 
tening to his complaint. He told them all that 
had passed between him and Quan Quock Ming 
from the time, seventeen years before, when he 
had first sought advice from the fortune-teller. 

"I called a meeting of the Six Companies," he 
said in conclusion, "laid the whole matter before 
them and demanded justice, but Quan Quock 
Ming was there with a lot of fighting men from 
the Suey Sing tong at his back to shout and to 
threaten, so the directors dared do nothing but 
shake their heads and recommend a compromise. 
Now what is to be done about it?" 

"You should join the Bing Kung tong and get 
its fighting men behind you," advised one of 
Chan's clansmen. 

"I thought of that and spoke of it to the presi- 
dent of the Bing Kung tong" said Chan. 

"What did he say?" 

"He said that though the Bing Kungs and Suey 
Sings were often at war with one another, it 
would not look well for either to meddle in the 
controversy of one who was not a member — 



that it would look much like buying trouble. Quan 
Quock Ming is a member of the Suey Sings, while 
I belong to no tong" 

"You should have joined one long ago — for 

"I did not need it, for I have always paid the 
foreign devils' police for it — and have received 

"But in such a matter they can do nothing," 
said another. "Why don't you buy a lawyer 
and take the matter into the courts of the foreign 

"I have also considered that," replied Chan 
Gow Doy, u but Quan Quock Ming would bring 
a hundred men from the Suey tong to take oath 
that they had heard me promise to give him all 
that I possessed." 

"But you can get a hundred men from the clan 
of Chan to swear they had heard him say that 
the paper you gave him was merely to fool the 
evil spirits," declared one of the elders. 

"I told that to the lawyer I consulted, and he 
said that in such a case the magistrate would be- 
lieve neither side and leave matters as they 

"Hai-ie ! He would not take the word of hon- 
est merchants against the lying statements of tong 
men? How wicked!" and all shook their heads 
and clicked their tongues. 

"The lawyer told me there was but one way to 
proceed," added Chan. "He said that if I could 


get the paper back from him, he would have to 
prove everything, or the magistrate would do 

"How can that be accomplished?" asked one 
of the elders. 

"It cannot be done," declared Chan Gow Doy. 
"He keeps it locked in his camphor-wood chest. 
I have hired men to go to his house at night and 
take it from him by force, but they cannot gain 
admission. No; there is but one way to deal with 
such a man. I have lost my fortune, but he shall 
lose his life. I will offer a reward to all of the 
fighting men in Chinatown, and some one will 
surely accept it secretly." 

"Hi low!" 

The elders nodded emphatically in approval 
and took their departure. 

Quan Quock Ming seated himself at his table, 
turned the lamp a little higher, picked up the 
Analects of Confucius and turned the pages to the 
Fourth Book. 

"It is social good feeling that gives charm to a 
neighborhood," he read, half aloud. "And where 
is the wisdom of those who choose an abode where 
it does not abide? Those who are without it 
cannot abide long, either in straitened or happy 
circumstances. Those who possess it find content- 
ment in it. Those who are wise go after it as men 
go after gain." 

Quan nodded his approval. "What a foolish 


man Chan Gow Doy is, that he cannot be con- 
tent," he soliloquized, and resumed his reading. 
"Riches and honor are what men desire; but if 
they arrive at them by improper ways, they should 
not continue to hold them." 

"That is quite true," and again he nodded. 
"Chan Gow Doy became wealthy through the 
losses of others at his gambling tables, therefore 
he should not continue to hold his wealth. I have 
really done him a great service in depriving him 
of it." 

"The masterly man has an eye to virtue," he 
read, "the common man to earthly things; the 
former has an eye to penalties for error — the 
latter, to favor. Where there is habitual going 
after gain, there is much ill will. Men of loftier 
minds manifest themselves in their equitable deal- 
ings; small-minded men in their going after gain." 

"Ha ! Quite true !" mused Quan Quock Ming. 
"Chan Gow Doy is a very small-minded man of 
much ill will, so he should suffer the penalty of his 


A ring at the door startled Quan. One of his 
wives entered the kitchen and looked at him 

"Find out who it is before you open the door," 
he ordered. 

"Who is there?" she called. 

"A girl," replied the one seeking admittance. 

"Be sure that it is a girl and not a fighting man 
in disguise," warned Quan Quock Ming. 


His wife slid a little panel at the side of the 
door and peered out. 

"Stand back in the light so that I may see 
you," she ordered. "It is really a girl," she said 
to Quan, after she had scrutinized the visitor. 

"Who is she?" 

"She is a stranger to me." 

"Ask her what she wants." 

"Let me in — quick!" cried the girl, before she 
could be questioned. "I have run away and seek 

"Admit her," ordered Quan at once. 

He noted at a glance the girl's fine attire — 
such as is usually worn by slaves at banquets and 
occasionally by daughters of wealthy men on holi- 

"Hide me! Quick! Hide me!" she cried as 
she hurried into the room, her face half-concealed 
by the embroidered handkerchief she carried in 
her hand. 

"Who are you?" demanded Quan bruskly. 

"I am a slave girl who has run away," she re- 
plied. "Help me!" 

"Return to your work and close the door," 
said Quan to his wife. It was not well for women 
to know too much. "To whom do you belong?" 
he asked the girl. 

"To one of the family of Cheong. He brought 
me from Portland to sell me here, but I ran 

"To what family do you belong?" 


"To the clan of Quan." 

"Is that why you rang at my door?" 

"No; all doors here are alike to me. I ran 
up the stairs till there were no more." 

"Were you seen to enter this house?" asked 

"No; no one saw me. Please hide me-— or take 
me quickly to the foreign devils' mission." 

Quan Quock Ming reflected. Here was a mat- 
ter that promised profit, and the only problem was 
to make the most of it. A little could be gained 
by notifying the owner of the whereabouts of the 
girl and accepting what he chose to pay. More 
could be made by keeping her concealed till a 
large reward were offered for her return, and 
still more by hiding her till pursuit had been 
abandoned and then selling her in some other city. 
The risks were commensurate with the profits, so 
he must move cautiously. It was important that 
he should learn all that he could concerning the 
matter as quickly as possible. 

"Very well," he said. "I will keep you — safely 
— till I can find an opportunity to get you to the 
foreign devils' mission — secretly." 

Quan rose from his stool, turned to the wall 
and took down his fur-lined jacket. He heard 
the bolt on the kitchen door shot into place, 
whirled to learn the meaning of it and looked into 
the muzzle of a large revolver. 

"If you sound an alarm I will shoot," said the 
girl, arid there was a gleam in her small eyes and 


a firmness in her warning that told him sihe 
would do it. 

"What do you want?" he demanded. 

"Not so loud," she ordered, and stepped closer 
to him. "I want to kill you — but not just yet. 
Unlock that!" and she pointed to the camphor- 
wood chest. 

"I am a poor man," he whined. "Would you 
take all " 

"Unlock it — and be quick about it." She thrust 
the revolver almost within an arm's length of his 
breast. Quan glanced about for some means of 
escape, then obeyed her reluctantly. "Throw 
back the lid!" He did as he was ordered. "Now 
take out all the papers and spread them on the 

Quan obeyed the command, being careful to 
keep the bag of coin covered with his long sleeves 
while he rummaged in the chest. When the pa- 
pers were spread out, the girl picked up the one 
that bore the seal of Chan Gow Doy and thrust 
it inside her blouse. 

"That is all," she said, and backed quickly to 
the bedroom door, keeping him covered with the 

"Why have you robbed me of that which is of 
no value to you?" demanded Quan. 

"You are fortunate in escaping with your life, 
which is of no value to any one," she replied. 

"Why do you wish to take my life?" 


"Because you took mine — and some day I will 
take yours!" 

Her eyes blazed at the recollection of all she 
had lost and suffered, her teeth clenched with 
hatred and new determination, and her finger be- 
gan to tighten on the trigger. 

"Who are you?" gasped Quan Quock Ming. 

"I was Chan Gow Doy's boy — Guy Juy," she 
replied. "Now I am only Ah Chut !" 

Quan staggered back and stared at her wide- 
eyed. His jaw sagged, his face grew ashen and 
he trembled from head to foot. Ah Chut smiled 
grimly at the thought of the terror she had in- 
spired, and shoved the revolver toward him. He 
closed his eyes and with a moan crumpled down 
in a heap upon the floor. Ah Chut laughed out- 
right and lowered the revolver. 

"Remember! I will kill you yet!" she cried, 
then slammed the bedroom door, bolted it behind 
her, climbed out on the fire-escape and fled over 
the housetops. 

Chan Gow Doy was sitting at home with his 
face buried in his hands. A demand had been 
served upon him that day to deliver all prop- 
erty in his possession to Quan Quock Ming, and 
with It a covert threat that failure to comply 
would necessitate action by the Suey Sing tong. 
Chew Doo entered from the adjoining room. 

"Aih-yah!" cried Chan Gow Doy. "You are 
the cause of all my misfortune— you, who should 


have been born a girl — and are a girl. If you 
were only half the son that Ah Chut is " 

Without a word Chew Doo drew a paper from 
his blouse and handed it to his father. 

"What is this?" cried Chan Gow Doy in amaze- 
ment. "Where did this come from?" 

Chew Doo, with his head bowed respectfully 
and his eyes upon the floor, hesitated an instant 
before he answered: 

"From Quan Quock Ming's camphor-wood 

"My son — my son!" cried Chan Gow Doy. 
He flung his arms around" Chew Doo and hugged 
him to his breast. "What a joy to have a worthy 

Ah Chut, listening at the door, smiled, ran to 
her own room, threw herself upon her bed and 
cried — softly and happily. 



Quan Quock Ming was sitting at his usual 
place on the street corner, his shoulders hunched, 
his hands tucked in his long sleeves and his toes 
turned around the legs of his stool; but the seren- 
ity that had marked his repose through a long 
period of prosperity was gone. His low fore- 
head was puckered to a frown, his heavy jaws 
were set savagely, his thick lips were compressed 
with hatred, and his beady eyes were fixed malev- 
olently upon Chan Gow Doy, the gambler. 

"Hai-i-ie!" he growled. "To lose a fortune 
that it took me fifteen years to get! And to be 
robbed by a girl ! Hai-i-ie !" 

Chan Gow Doy was standing at the entrance 
to his gambling-house, his shoulder braced against 
the door-jamb and one foot crossed negligently 
over the other. He puffed contentedly at his pipe 
and smiled with satisfaction when his eyes fell 
upon the fortune-teller. 

"Aih-yah I" he chuckled. "What a great joke ! 
The cunning old thief, who defrauded me of my 
whole fortune, outwitted by a mere boy!" 

The truth of the matter lay with Quan, while 
the document remained with Chan ; but it was the 



result more than the means of its accomplish- 
ment that perturbed Quan and satisfied Chan. 

Old Wong Yee Shi, with her arms full of 
meat, groceries and vegetables, waddled up the 
street and paused before Quan's table to get her 
breath and exchange bits of gossip. 

"Aih-yah! This hill grows steeper eyery day, 
sir scholar," she grumbled. 

Quan changed neither his expression nor the 
direction of his gaze. Wong Yee Shi shifted her 
parcels to one arm and mopped her face with a 
green silk handkerchief. 

"Has the promoter of happiness and longevity 
any information that would be profitable to the 
procurer of husbands and wives?" she inquired. 

"Go away!" ordered Quan, without taking his 
eyes off Chan Gow Doy. 


Wong Yee Shi braced herself to deliver a curse 
appropriate to the occasion and the provocation 
and discovered that she was not receiving the un- 
divided attention of the fortune-teller essential 
to its effectiveness. She turned and saw Chan 
Gow Doy smoking and smiling. Everyone in 
Chinatown had heard of the controversy that 
had arisen between them. 

"Haie! Haie!" she cackled. "Two dogs and 
a bone ! But I have done a good bit of business 
with him, I can tell you. Six husbands for six 
girls — and twelve commissions out of it!" 

Quan started up angrily. "Go away, I tell 


you!" he bellowed. "What do I care about your 
business or your commissions ?" 

"What do you care?" screamed the undaunted 
marriage -broker. "You have never failed to de- 
mand your share if you so much as mentioned a 
name to me. May evil spirits in the form of 
fleas pick the flesh from all fortune-tellers and 
leave their bones to rot in the gutter!" 

Quan Quock Ming dropped on his stool help- 
lessly. He knew that whenever Wong Yee Shi 
engaged in an altercation on the street a crowd 
quickly gathered to laugh and urge her on. He 
saw her gathering her breath for another out- 
burst and raised a staying hand. 

"One moment, Wong Yee Shi. It occurs to me 
that there is another bit of business in which you 
might find a profit." 

"Haie! What do I care about your business, 
Quan Quock Ming?" she shrieked. "Take it to 
someone else," and she glared at him defiantly. 
"Well— what is it?" 

"Chan Gow Doy still has another daughter." 

"Another daughter! Aih-yah! Is she a boy, 
or is he a girl?" 

"Chew Doo is a boy, Ah Chut is a girl." 

"No; he is still a girl and she is still a boy. 
Who would want her for a wife?" 

"That is for you to find out, Wong Yee Shi. 
In that way you may earn a triple fee, for I will 
pay as much as Chan Gow Doy or the father of 
the husband you may find. Now walk your way." 


Wong Yee Shi, muttering maledictions upon all 
fortune-tellers, boy girls and girl boys, waddled 
off up the street. A fighting man of the Suey 
Sing tong stopped before Quan's table. 

"The reward has been accepted, sir scholar," 
he whispered. 

"So soon! Hai-ie!" 

Quan sprang to his feet, gathered up his for- 
tune-telling paraphernalia, snapped the legs of 
his table together, folded his stool and hurried 
up the street toward his home. Chan Gow Doy 
was looking after him, wondering at the celerity 
of his movements, when one of his clan came up, 
breathless and excited. 

"Quick, elder cousin!" he gasped. "Hide! 
Quan Quock Ming has placed a price upon your 
head, and the fighting men of the Suey Sing tong 
have accepted it." 


Chan Gow Doy dropped his pipe and ran 
toward his home. 



As Wong Yee Shi approached the home of 
Chan Gow Doy a face peered out of a doorway 
for an instant, then disappeared. She glanced 
across the street and saw two fighting men of 
the Suey Sing tong lounging in the doorway of a 
cigar store. 

"Hai-ie ! The cats are waiting for the mouse l M 
she muttered and hurried on, her heart keeping 
time with the pat of her slippers. 

As she climbed the three flights of stairs lead- 
ing to the top floor of the tenement she heard 
panels softly sliding at each door and knew that 
watchful eyes were peering out at her, though she 
could see nothing in the dark halls. There was 
no answer to her ring at Chan Gow Doy's door 
and after waiting a moment she repeated it. 

"Who is there?" inquired a tremulous female 

"I am Wong Yee Shi, the promoter of con- 
jugal felicity," she answered. 

There was whispered conversation, the soft 
sliding of a panel, the quick scrutiny of fright- 
ened eyes, the drawing of bolts, and then the door 



that was opened just wide enough to admit her 
was slammed behind her. 

"One cannot be too careful at such times," 
apologized the wife of Chan Gow Doy. 

"Certainly — unless one wishes to become a 
widow," cackled Wong Yee Shi. "But you are 
too venerable and too corpulent to think of such 
a thing. Besides, my business is to procure hus- 
bands, not to dispose of them. Don't you want 
one for your seventh daughter?" 

"Certainly — if one can be found. Ah Chut ! 
Ah Chutr she called. 

Ah Chut came from her bedroom. When she 
saw Wong Yee Shi she stopped in the doorway 
and scowled. 

"Aih-yah!" exclaimed the marriage-broker. 
"What a fine-looking girl you have made out of a 
bad boy! Without a doubt I shall be able to find 
a good husband for her very quickly." 

According to all the rules of propriety Ah 
Chut should have blushed and hung her head. 
Instead she poured upon the head of the mar- 
riage-broker all the curses she had learned when 
she was the bad boy of Chinatown. 

"Oh, I know a young man who will be just the 
husband for her," laughed Wong Yee Shi. 
"Wong Kit has a wealthy father, and he is a 
fighting man, so he will be able to provide her 
with fine apparel and give her a beating when- 
ever she deserves it." 

Ah Chut flushed and dropped her eyes as she 


recalled the evenings she had sat on doorsteps lis- 
tening to Wong Kit's tales of highbinder wars, 
and his prediction that when she grew up they 
would be fighting men together. 

"And I shall tell his father," continued Wong 
Yee Shi, "that Ah Chut is like a dove — quiet and 
stupid — with no mind of her own." 

"If I am sold to any man for a wife," de- 
clared Ah Chut, "I shall first put opium in his 
noodles and then hang myself." 

When Wong Yee Shi had departed, chuckling 
and cackling over the prospects of a match that 
would give her so much satisfaction and profit, 
Chan Gow Doy entered from an inner room. 

"You worthless pig!" he roared. "How can 
I ever get for you one-tenth of the sum I have 
wasted upon you? But I care nothing for the 
money and nothing for you — you demon's brat! 
But my son — my only son ! The one who should 
be the glory of his ancestors! You are deter- 
mined that he shall be nothing but a girl ! Was 
ever a man so cursed? Let this teach you obedi- 
ence and respect for your family!" and he gave 
her a beating that left her stunned and bleed- 

Late at night Chew Doo stole to her bedside. 
He found her still sobbing and moaning with 

"It is hard, elder sister," he whispered, as he 
took her hand and held it, "but try to be a 


"I can't, Chew Doo— I can't!" cried Ah Chut 

"I know, Ah Chut. It is as difficult for me to 
be a man; but you are a woman, and women must 
become wives, while men may be anything they 

"It does not matter what becomes of me, Chew 
Doo," she replied, "but you are the only son of 
our father, and you must be a man — you must 
be — you shall be — for the honor of the clan of 

The deadly feud between the fortune-teller and 
the gambler, both of whom had figured so prom- 
inently in the affairs of Chinatown, and who had 
been such fast friends for so long a time, stirred 
the whole quarter. As the residents passed along 
the streets they glanced at the corners where for 
years Quan Quock Ming had sat on his stool 
and Chan Gow Doy had lounged in his doorway, 
shook their heads and muttered: 

"The foxes are still hiding in their holes!" 

They paused at shop doors to discuss the affair 
in whispers and before the deadwalls to read the 
latest news conveyed by flaming placards. They 
learned that the Six Companies were "doing all 
in their power to adjust amicably the differences 
that had recently arisen between two prominent 
persons," and that the See Yup society had ap- 
pointed "peace-talkers with the hope that a com- 
promise might be effected." And they read the 
announcements of timorous men disclaiming all 


interest in the controversy or sympathy with either 
side, for fear that u a horse might be mistaken for 
a deer." 

Quan Quock Ming, fearing that retaliatory 
rewards upon his head might have been offered 
and accepted, dared not venture across the thresh- 
old of his home — scarcely beyond the opium 
bunk in an inner room that had no windows. 
Fighting men still loitered in doorways watching 
the home of Chan Gow Doy, and watched in turn 
by Chan Gow Doy and the police stationed in the 
quarter. Days passed — days of tense waiting 
and watching, punctuated only by the occasional 
visits of "peace-talkers" urging Quan and Chan 
to submit their differences to arbitration, in the 
hope that the loss of life and injury to business 
resulting from a highbinder war might be averted; 
but both stood firm. Neither would recede in the 
slightest degree. 

Urgent messages calculated to lure Chan Gow 
Doy into the open were received by him over the 
telephone and by mail, but he was too well ac- 
quainted with the methods of highbinders to ven- 
ture out. Occasionally at night stealthy footsteps 
could be heard on the roof of his home, and once 
when Ah Chut opened the iron shutters of her 
bedroom a face peered in at her. 

At last came the police to the home of Chan 
Gow Doy with a warrant of arrest charging him 
with robbing Quan Quock Ming, and he was com- 
pelled to accompany them to the city prison. 


Members of his clan quickly provided bail and 
employed white bodyguards to accompany him 
and protect him on his way to and from the 

"Be watchful," they were warned, "or the 
Suey Sings will surely kill him." 

When the case came to a hearing Quan Quock 
Ming, his three wives, and several clansmen tes- 
tified that Chan Gow Doy had gone to Quan's 
home at night and had robbed him; but Chan 
proved by his clansmen and a white watchman 
that at the time fixed by the other witnesses he 
was at his gambling-house; so the charge was dis- 

Chan Gow Doy, with a protector on each side 
of him, hurried toward his home. As they ap- 
proached the mouth of a small alley two Chinese 
boys emerged fighting viciously, and a large crowd 
surged out after them. Before Chan and his 
bodyguards could turn aside they were com- 
pletely surrounded and swept along with the 
crowd. Suddenly there was a half-muffled report, 
and Chan Gow Doy sank to the sidewalk with a 
cry. His guards saw a large revolver lying be- 
side him, seized the two men nearest to him and 
held them till the police came. They were Suey 
Sing fighting men, but no one could be found who 
would say that he had seen either fire the shot. 



The elders of the clan of Chan, assembled at 
the home of Chan Gow Doy, sat with bowed 
heads waiting for the eldest and wisest among 
them to speak, their minds. 

"Our kinsman has been murdered," said the 
one who because of his age and probity occupied 
the seat of honor, "and two things remain to be 
done. His body must be buried in a manner be- 
fitting one of his wealth and station, but first his 
murder must be ayenged. If that be not done his 
spirit will know no peace and his descendants will 
know nothing but misfortune." 

"Two fighting men of the Suey Sing tong are 
already in prison," suggested one among them. 

"That is not sufficient," declared the first speak- 
er. "You may as well throw the weapon that 
killed him into the sea and say, 'He is avenged!' 
Quar Quock Ming, the wicked old fortune-teller, 
is the real murderer — the fighting men merely his 
instruments. Would the death of both of them 
wipe out the insult and maintain the honor of the 
clan of Chan?" 

"No! No!" cried half a dozen of the elders. 

*'Then what is to be done?" asked one among 



u It is the duty of Chan Chew Doo, the only 
son of our dead kinsman, to avenge his death 
and save the face of the family, and it is only for 
us to counsel and advise.' 1 

"Hai-ie! Chan Chew Doo?" cried one. "He 
is only a boy." 

"No," said another contemptuously, "he is only 
a girl!" 

"He has lived sixteen years," said the counse- 
lor of the family, "and at that age one is supposed 
to be a man. One must be a man." 

"He will never do it," declared another. 

"He must — or he shall be driven out of the 
family and be denied the privilege of worshiping 
our tutelary gods," said the head of the clan. 

Chew Doo was summoned and stood before 
them with head bowed respectfully and eyes cast 

"You are now the head of this household, Chew 
Doo," said the elder, "and it is your duty to main- 
tain the honor of the family and to secure the 
repose of your father's spirit. See to it at once 
that Quan Quock Ming is removed. Employ 
whatever means you choose, but do not fail. If 
you do, you shall be driven out of the family of 
Chan — and that is worse than death." 

With this admonition the elders departed slow- 
ly and gravely. 

"I cannot do it! I cannot/" cried Chew Doo, 
when alone with Ah Chut. 

u must be a man, Chew Doo," she said 


gently. "Our father's death must be avenged 
before his spirit can rest." 

"I have offered a reward of ten times the usual 
amount, but no fighting man will accept it, for 
Quan Quock Ming is the head of the Suey Sing 

"I have always sworn I would do it," said Ah 
Chut, "for making a boy of me and then changing 
me to a girl — but you yourself must do it. You 
must be a manF' 

"Be a man?" cried Chew Doo petulantly. "Be 
a man? I shall be a man when you are a woman, 
Ah Chut." 

"Then I shall do it myself," she declared. 

It was past midnight when Ah Chut and Chew 
Doo climbed out the window of her bedroom to 
the fire-escape and clambered to the roof. They 
had put aside their habiliments of mourning and 
were dressed as Chinese youths, with soft caps 
drawn low over their eyes and rubber-soled shoes 
upon their feet, and in the waistband of her trous- 
ers Ah Chut carried her father's revolver. They 
crept over the roofs of the neighboring houses, 
Ah Chut leading the way with grim determina- 
tion, Chew Doo following fearfully and with chat- 
tering teeth. Ah Chut slipped down the fire- 
escape that led past the rooms of Quan Quock 
Ming, but all the windows that could be reached 
from it were protected by iron shutters closed 
and bolted. She climbed back to the roof and 
examined a small skylight that rose slightly above 


it. With Chew Doo's pocket-knife she cut away 
the putty and raised a pane of glass, then peered 

"Look, Chew Doo !" she whispered. 

Quan Quock Ming lay upon his opium bunk 
with the light of a small oil lamp shining directly 
upon his face. His eyes were closed, and the 
regular rise and fall of his broad chest told them 
that he was sleeping heavily. Ah Chut lifted out 
the glass and laid it on the roof softly. She drew 
the revolver from her waistband, cocked it and 
rested it upon the sash. The time and opportu- 
nity for which she had waited and prayed for 
years was at hand. Her thoughts flew back to 
the night when the old fortune-teller had changed 
her from a happy boy, whose every whim had 
been indulged, into a wretched girl whose every 
wish had been denied. She thought of the humil- 
iation she had suffered, the beatings she had re- 
ceived and the misery she had endured. Now he 
should pay for it all. Oh, how he should pay! 
She smiled grimly at the thought of it. But her 
vengeance must be complete. To kill him while 
he slept, to send him to the Ten Courts of Jus- 
tice in the Kingdom of the Dead ignorant of the 
manner in which his fate had overtaken him, 
would be too merciful. She would wake him first 
and tell him who she was. She could see him 
start up and stare at her, his face convulsed with 
deadly fear for just an instant, and then, before 
he could cry out, she would send a bullet crashing 


through his black heart. She could almost see 
him fall back upon his bunk with the blood gush- 
ing from his breast. 

Ah Chut, kneeling by the skylight, slid the bar- 
rel of the revolver down till her hands rested on 
the sash. Chew Doo shuddered and turned away. 
Ah Chut took long and careful aim and opened 
her lips to call, but her throat closed and she 
could not utter a word. For a full half minute 
she held the weapon aimed at Quan Quock Ming's 
breast before she could utter a sound. 

u Quan Quock Ming!" she called in a voice 
that sounded hoarse and strange. u Your time has 
come !" 

The fortune-teller started from his couch and 
stared with protruding eyes at the figure silhouet- 
ted against the sky and the demoniacal face peer- 
ing down at him. 

"I am Little Chicken 1" 

With a gasp Quan Quock Ming fell back upon 
his couch, his eyes fixed and staring. Then Ah 
Chut tried to pull the trigger but her strength 
seemed to have left her. With a moaning sob 
she turned away and crept back to Chew Doo's 

"I can't do it, Chew Doo! I can't!" she whis- 
pered. "I am nothing but a girl after all." 

Chew Doo stared at her as she crumpled down 
at his feet sobbing impotently. 

"Then I will do it — for I am a man!" 

He snatched the revolver from her hand, 


shoved her aside and crawled to the skylight. As 
he knelt and thrust the revolver through the open- 
ing Ah Chut closed her eyes and covered her ears. 
Quan Quock Ming lay on his back still staring. 
There was a crash and a roar. Chew Doo threw 
away the revolver and raced after Ah Chut over 
the roofs, down the fire escape and into their own 

"You are surely a man!" she whispered. 

"And you are a woman," he replied. 

"Yes; I am only a woman," sighed Ah Chut as 
she flushed and hung her head. "If you should 
see Wong Yee Shi ask her to mention my name 
to Wong Kit's father." 

"Valvular disease of the heart," read the re- 
port of the autopsy surgeon. 

"Chew Doo's invisible bullet carried by the. 
spirits," declared the elders of the clan of Chan. 

// the spirit of Little Pete could return from 
the Ten Courts of Justice in the Kingdom of the 
Dead and walk beside me in the street of the 
Golden Chrysanthemums at the turning of the 
night tide it would whisper: 

"The Big Chink, who violated the chicken's 
head oath and lived like a chicken, died like a 
chicken when he heard Little Chicken crow: 
'Your time has come/' " 



AN INITIAL ^,°» A^Su" 
wT'lincb^s^oTth. ^venth day 



lb 32339