The Night Tide
A Story of Old Chinatown
J. A. CAHILL
THE H. K. FLY COMPANY
Copyright, 1920, by
THE H. K. PLY COMPANY
Chan Gow Doy smiled with satisfaction zvhen his eyes fell
TO MY FATHER-IN-LAW
JAMES N. BLOCK
IN APPRECIATION OF BLESSINGS. BESTOWED
THE LAW OF THE EAST
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 .
WAYS THAT ARE DARK
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
EAST AGAINST WEST
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
THE DAUGHTERS OF QUAN
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
"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 NIGHT TIDE
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
' ' 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."
"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."
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
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
4 THE NIGHT TIDE
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."
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.
THE LAW OF THE EAST
THE MAN WITHOUT ANCESTORS
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
6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE MAN WITHOUT ANCESTORS 7
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
8 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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-
THE MAN WITHOUT ANCESTORS 9
"Distinguished and venerable Quan, what is
"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.
THE GIRL WHO HAD EATEN MEAT
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
GIRL WHO HAD EATEN MEAT 1.1
observing all that came from the ferment. Some
of the sights amused me very much, and all in-
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
12 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
GIRL WHO HAD EATEN MEAT 13
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.
MALE AND FEMALE SPIRITS
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-
MALE AND FEMALE SPIRITS 15
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
1 6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
MALE AND FEMALE SPIRITS 17
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
"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!"
CONSOLATION FOR THE DYING
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
CONSOLATION FOR THE DYING 19
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
20 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
CONSOLATION FOR THE DYING 21
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
22 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
CONSOLATION FOR THE DYING 23
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
24 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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
THE OATH OF THE CHICKEN'S HEAD
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
26 THE NIGHT TIDE
meats. May boiling oil be dripped upon their
"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
OATH OF THE CHICKEN'S HEAD 27
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
28 THE NIGHT TIDE
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,
" '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.
OATH OF THE CHICKEN'S HEAD 29
"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
3 o THE NIGHT TIDE
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
OATH OF THE CHICKEN'S HEAD 31
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
"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."
VISION IN THE "LONG DRAW" 33
"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-
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
34 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
VISION IN THE "LONG DRAW" 35
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
THE PROPHET SPEAKS
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
"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."
THE PROPHET SPEAKS 37
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."
3 S THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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-
THE PROPHET SPEAKS 39
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
4 o THE NIGHT TIDE
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 PROPHET SPEAKS 41
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
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
In an hour the storm was over, and the surgeon
42 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE WORKING OF A MIRACLE
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
44 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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.
THE WORKING OF A MIRACLE 45
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
46 THE NIGHT TIDE
rcry glad to learn of the matter, if it were told
to her gently.
"Have you heard any strange noises lately?"
"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
THE WORKING OF A MIRACLE 47
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
4 8 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
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."
THE WORKING OF A MIRACLE 49
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.
THE COMING OF THE LAW
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
THE COMING OF THE LAW 51
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;,
"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
52 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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
THE COMING OF THE LAW 53
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
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
54 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE COMING OF THE LAW 55
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-
"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
56 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
THE COMING OF THE LAW 57
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
58 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE COMING OF THE LAW 59
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-
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
60 THE NIGHT TIDE
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,
THE COMING OF THE LAW 61
"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
62 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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 LAW OF THE CLAN
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.
64 THE NIGHT TIDE
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,"
"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
THE LAW OF THE CLAN 65
"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
66 THE NIGHT TIDE
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 LAW OF THE CLAN 67
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
68 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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?"
THE LAW OF THE CLAN 69
"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
"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
70 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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
THE LAW OF THE CLAN 71
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.
THE MORTGAGED 8LATE GIRL
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.
THE MORTGAGED SLAVE GIRL 73
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.
74 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
THE MORTGAGED SLAVE GIRL 75
" 'He is wicked; kill him!' and the member is
"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
7 6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE MORTGAGED SLAVE GIRL w
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
Quan Quock Ming spoke truly.
THE WAR OF THE TONGS
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
THE WAR OF THE TONGS 79
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*
"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
"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:
to THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
THE WAR OF THE TONGS 81
"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
"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
82 THE NIGHT TIDE
$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:
THE WAR OF THE TONGS 83
"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-
"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
8 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
"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
THE WAR OF THE TONGS 85
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
86 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
THE HIGHBINDER WOMAN
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,
38 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE HIGHBINDER WOMAN 89
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
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
90 THE NIGHT TIDE
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 HIGHBINDER WOMAN 91
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
92 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
THE HIGHBINDER WOMAN 93
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:
94 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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
THE HIGHBINDER WOMAN 95
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
96 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
WAYS THAT ARE DARK
GAMBLING FOR HER FREEDOM
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
98 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
GAMBLING FOR HER FREEDOM 99
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
ioo THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
GAMBLING FOR HE* '"FREEDOK* ; "ioi
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.
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
102 THE NIGHT TIDE
sticks, shook them until they were well mixed and
asked her to select one. As he took it from her
"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
GAMBLING FOR HER FREEDOM 103
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."
io 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"What do you mean by second companies?"
"Surely you know what they are, sir scholar?"
"Certainly, but I wish to know if you under-
"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
GAMBLING FOR HER FREEDOM 10$
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
"It will be very easy."
THE UNEXPECTED TURN OF FORTUNE
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
THE TURN OF FORTUNE 107
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
108 THE NIGHT TIDE
at three o'clock the prophet was saying to the
"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
THE TURN OF FORTUNE 109
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-
"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
no THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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."
THE TURN OF FORTUNE 1 1 1
"She may die or run away, and then you would
"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
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
"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."
in THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"Women are weak and foolish," said Quan
THE WATER-SNAKE SHOWS ITS HEAD
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
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-
"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
ii 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
tea of the chrysanthemum bloom. He would dis-
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
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
THE SNAKE SHOWS ITS HEAD 115
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-
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
"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
n6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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."
THE SNAKE SHOWS ITS HEAD 117
"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
"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
"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,
n8 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
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."
CONTENDING WITH THE EVIL SPIRITS
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
"Our honorable husband must be ill," the third
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
120 THE NIGHT TIDE
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!
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
CONTENDING WITH EVIL SPIRITS 121
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
"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.
122 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
All of the women suddenly remembered that
they had much to do at home and hurried their
"Is it true that my honorable husband intends
to die?" asked the first wife.
"No; I shall not permit it," the physician as-
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.
CONTENDING WITH EVIL SPIRITS 123
"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
"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
i24 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
PROPHET AND PRIEST COMBINE
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
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.
126 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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.
PROPHET AND PRIEST COMBINE 127
"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
"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
128 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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 ?"
"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-
PROPHET AND PRIEST COMBINE 129
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
"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
"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
130 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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.
PROPHET AND PRIEST COMBINE 131
"Now when the evil spirits have succeeded in
killing him, they will still remain in his body, will
"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.
132 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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!"
OBSTINATE SPIRITS AND DETERMINED MEN
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
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
i34 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
OBSTINATE SPIRITS 135
"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
i 3 6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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 DEATH SONG
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
138 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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 DEATH SONG 139
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
"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
"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
Ho THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE DEATH SONG 141
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
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
"Haie!" responded the boy, and hurried up
"Go fetch a doctor quickly — the doctor that
killed Lee Sam Yick."
"I am going for the doctor that killed Lee Sam
142 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
THE DEATH SONG 143
Sing 'The Lady Lamenting the Death of her
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.
But I shall see him nevermore.
"My lover like the pine tree stood,
And bowed toward my humble door.
But I shall see him nevermore.
"My lover like the pine tree sighed;
Each breeze to me a message bore.
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:
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
i 4 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
EAST AGAINST WEST
THE FEEL OF STEEL BRACELETS
"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 :
"Little Pete," I answered, thoughtlessly giv-
ing the name by which I am known only to the
"Fung Ching," and then the door was opened
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
i 4 6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE FEEL OF STEEL BRACELETS 147
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
148 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
"They are paid wages, sir scholar."
THE FEEL OF STEEL BRACELETS 149
"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:
ISO THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE FEEL OF STEEL BRACELETS 151
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 —
152 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE FEEL OF STEEL BRACELETS 153
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
154 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
"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."
THE FEEL OF STEEL BRACELETS 155
"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.
THE WHITE WOMAN AND YELLOW MEN
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-
"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."
THE WHITE WOMAN 157
"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
"Go away, you fool!" he shouted as soon as
I entered his door. "Why do you come here?
i 5 8 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
"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
"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
THE WHITE WOMAN 159
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-
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:
160 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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.'
THE WHITE WOMAN 161
" '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
162 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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
THE WHITE WOMAN 163
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
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
"That is nothing. I am certain you will yet
be very lucky," and I gave her another $20 to
1 64 THE NIGHT TIDE"
bet for me. When that, too, was lost, I said
"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.
THE WHITE WOMAN 165
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
1 66 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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.
THE WHITE WOMAN 167
"Where is that paper?" asked the govern-
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
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.
THE BAIT IN THE TRAP 169
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
170 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
THE BAIT IN THE TRAP 171
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
"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.
"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
172 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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-
THE BAIT IN THE TRAP 173
"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
i 7 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE BAIT IN THE TRAP 175
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
"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 TRAP IS SPRUNG
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.
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG 177
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
"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
" *I have one hundred five-tael cans of opium
that has not paid the government tax.'
178 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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:
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG 179
"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,
180 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG 181
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
" 'I am afraid to keep the opium hidden be-
neath your store. Will you buy it?'
"He will bargain, and haggle and delay, but
182 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG 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.
i8 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG 185
"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
1 86 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG 187
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
"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.
THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS
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
THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS 189
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-
i 9 o THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
"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
THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS 191
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,
"Who should know them better, since I have
twice been in prison on your account?"
1 92 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS 193
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
"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
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
i 9 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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."
THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS 195
"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
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
I hoped he would not consent, but within two
i 9 6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THROWING »UST IN THE SNAKE'S EYES
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:
198 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
DUST IN THE SNAKE'S EYES 199
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
"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
"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
200 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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."
DUST IN THE SNAKE'S EYES 20 r
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
202 THE NIGHT TIDE
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,
2o 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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.
THE OLD WOMAN'S BRIBE 205
"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.
"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:
206 THE NIGHT TIDE
"You are under arrest."
"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-
"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
"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
"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
THE OLD WOMAN'S BRIBE 207
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.
208 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE DAUGHTERS OF QUAN
A LITTLE FOREIGN DEVIL
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
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
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
2io THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
A LITTLE FOREIGN DEVIL 211
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
2i2 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
A LITTLE FOREIGN DEVIL 213
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
2i 4 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
A LITTLE FOREIGN DEVIL 215
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
216 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS
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
"Are you still grieving for your mother, broth-
ers and sisters in the Middle Kingdom?" asked
"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.
218 THE NIGHT TIDE
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?"
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
A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS 219
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
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
220 THE NIGHT TIDE
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.
"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?"
"Hai-e-el 'No. 2' isn't fine enough for you,"
grumbled Shim Ming. "Next the ugly Ah Yut
will want a pretty name."
A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS 221
"No; she will always be Ah Yut," said Fong
Fah. "Won't you?"
"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 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
"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-
222 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS 223
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
224 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS 225
will some day be very good daughters to their
"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
"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
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
"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."
226 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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,
"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
"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 SACRIFICE TO THE GODS 227
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
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.
228 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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
A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS 229
"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
ANOTHER PIG FOR MARKET
"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.
ANOTHER PIG FOR MARKET 231
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.
232 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
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
ANOTHER PIG FOR MARKET 233'
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-
234 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
ANOTHER PIG FOR MARKET 235
ness, and I am told that he intends buying some of
the foreign devils' glass eyes to keep watch while
"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
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
236 THE NIGHT TIDE
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,"
ANOTHER PIG FOR MARKET 237
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
"It is quite large, but the girl will make a very
"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
"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
238 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
ANOTHER PIG FOR MARKET 239
"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
"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.
2 4 o THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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."
THE TOAD IN THE BURROW OF THE MOLE
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
242 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE TOAD IN THE BURROW 243
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
244 THE NIGHT TIDE
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!"
"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
THE TOAD IN THE BURROW 245
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!"
"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.
246 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
"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?"
THE RUNAWAY PIG
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:
248 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
THE RUNAWAY PIG 249
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
250 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
THE RUNAWAY PIG 251
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:
252 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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."
THE RUNAWAY PIG 253
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
"I will deliver her," promised Quan Quock
A LABORER IN THE VINEYARD
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!"
A LABORER IN THE VINEYARD 255
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
"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
256 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
A LABORER IN THE VINEYARD 257
see her go — unless she can see through brick walls
and — underground."
"Those Christian foreign devils are very
"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
"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
2 5 8 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"No, mother; the girls there are not sold. 11
A LABORER IN THE VINEYARD 259
"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
"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
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
"I am only a poor laborer in the Master's
260 THE NIGHT TIDE
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:
A LABORER IN THE VINEYARD 261
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.
262 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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.
THE HOME OF THE TWO CRIPPLED SONS
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
264 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
TWO CRIPPLED SONS 265
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
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.
266 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
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:
TWO CRIPPLED SONS 267
"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!"
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?"
LITTLE CHICKEN 269
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
2 7 o THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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-
LITTLE CHICKEN 271
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
"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,
272 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
QUAN QUOCK MING'S REVENGE
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
274 THE NIGHT TIDE
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."
QUAN QUOCK MING'S REVENGE 275
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."
276 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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-
QUAN QUOCK MING'S REVENGE 277
ful of her little sister and never feed her candy
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
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
278 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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
QUAN QUOCK MING'S REVENGE 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
280 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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-
QUAN QUOCK MING'S REVENGE 281
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
282 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
QUAN QUOCK MING'S REVENGE 283
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.
THE BOY GIRL
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
THE BOY GIRL 285
"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
286 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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
THE BOY GIRL 287
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-
288 THE NIGHT TIDE
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-
THE GIRL BOY 289
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
AN ACCOUNTING DEMANDED
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."
AN ACCOUNTING DEMANDED 291
"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
"Defraud you! Hai-ie!" and Quan started up
i 9 2 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
AN ACCOUNTING DEMANDED 293
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
"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."
"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."
294 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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-
"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.
GLORY OF HIS ANCESTORS
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
"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 —
296 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
GLORY OF HIS ANCESTORS 297
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."
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
"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
298 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
"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,"
"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.
GLORY OF HIS ANCESTORS 299
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
"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?"
300 THE NIGHT TIDE
"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
GLORY OF HIS ANCESTORS 301
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-
"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?"
302 THE NIGHT TIDE
"Because you took mine — and some day I will
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
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
GLORY OF HIS ANCESTORS 303
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.
THE GIRL BOY
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
THE GIRL BOY 305
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
3 o6 THE NIGHT TIDE
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."
THE GIRL BOY 307
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,"
"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.
AN ACCOUNT IS SETTLED
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
"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
AN ACCOUNT IS SETTLED 309
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
"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
310 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
AN ACCOUNT IS SETTLED 311
"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
312 THE NIGHT TIDE
interest in the controversy or sympathy with either
side, for fear that u a horse might be mistaken for
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
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.
AN ACCOUNT IS SETTLED 313
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.
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
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
A PROPHECY FULFILLED 315
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
"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
316 THE NIGHT TIDE
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,
"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
A PROPHECY FULFILLED 317
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
318 THE NIGHT TIDE
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
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,
A PROPHECY FULFILLED 319
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/' "
-SBO0K sI S S -&- STDATE
AN INITIAL ^,°» A^Su"
wT'lincb^s^oTth. ^venth day
OAY AND TO S'"