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"It's stunningly staged," said Mollie Weston, enthusiastically. "Who did it, Frohman or Belasco?"

"I wish," said Miss Hannah, plaintively, "that you would strive to restrict yourself to facts."

Abner Weston laughed good-naturedly. They were in Chinatown, and Mollie's eyes rejoiced in its picturesqueness.

Here was a Chinaman whom it was impossible to believe was anything but an extremely well-made automaton; there was one who might have been Harte's famous "Chinee," and the Cherub and One-Two might be behind any doorway.

Miss Hannah did not share her niece's enthusiasm. She thought the place was a heathen abomination.

Theoretically, Mr. Abner Weston had invited and was now escorting his daughter and sister around the world; in point of

fact, Mollie Weston had planned, and was now personally conducting, an indulgent father and a reluctant aunt upon a trip encircling the globe.

Like Columbus in the primary history, "believing the earth to be round," she had started on her way to the famed splendors of Cathay and of Ind; having in further prospect an alluring vision which the great Genoese lacked, a vision of reaching on her homeward way the modern Elysium, where in a street inappropriately called Peace, new creations should be accomplished for her personal adornment and her entire satisfaction.

Abner Weston viewed the world with a quizzical good humor. If Mollie wanted to go, of course she could. Business was prosperous. His partner could get on without him as well as not.

His daughter's ready enthusiasms amusedhim, and he had the lavish generosity of the self-made man whose own youth had held limited pleasures.

Miss Hannah Weston often said that she didn't see where her brother got his disposition. Not that she looked on it as a great bargain. Au contraire.

Miss Hannah believed in always moving on the lines of greatest resistance. She believed that your first natural impulses were bad, and that if a thing was disagreeable,

then it was plainly your duty. It was not for nothing that the two words began with the same letter.

She was a good woman, but she had a way with her. It was not a tactful way. It assumed that the chances of your being saved, even under the most favorable circumstances, were exceedingly remote.

She liked to speak of man in general, and you in particular, as a worm of the dust; then if you appropriately and proverbially turned, she had an idea you were impious. Miss Hannah was confronted by a problem when the trip was broached. She was her brother's housekeeper. If she had acknowledged to herself that she wanted to go, she would have felt it her duty to stay at home-perhaps to go and stay with her sister in Clarion.

Her Clarion visits were usually short. Although the two sisters agreed perfectly on the unreasonableness of everyone else, they did not hit it off very well in the same house.

Hannah said Hattie was obstinate; Hattie said Hannah was set; they were both right.

Miss Hannah argued truthfully that her sister didn't need her, that her only brother was going on a long and perilous journey. Doubtless it was her duty to share such perils as he might encounter. And the minister had said that he should expect her to speak before the missionary society when she came back.

Miss Hannah had enough natural depravity to hope secretly that the evils of heathendom had not as yet been depicted in their full depravity, and that her own account would cause the missionary society to feel a creepy sensation down their several backs. That future speech was the goal toward which she was willing to tread martyr-like through the benighted lands. She pronounced Chinatown emphatically Benighted Land Number One.

The old façades which Mollie found so picturesque, she opined, in many cases correctly, were flaunting Dens of Vice.

You felt the capitalization of all the capital sins in Miss Hannah's tone.

The show restaurant with its teakwood tables, its odd musical instruments hanging on the walls, its elaborately carved screens, its fragile china tea-bowls, and its famous tea, did not soften her mood.

She drank her tea gingerly, while her mind framed a sentence of her future speech: "The moral leprosy of the Chinese is perhaps as contaminating as the physical. "

The Joss-House disclosed to her An Idol. Her mental state made Moses's feelings on beholding the Golden Calf seem entirely inadequate.

The pungent odor of sandalwood, in which Mollie revelled, offended Miss Hannah's nostrils; and she narrowly escaped apoplexy at that young person's proposition to offer up a few tapers to propitiate the Pacific into a three-weeks calm.

The Chinese pharmacist's window, with its pleasing prescriptions compounded of star-fish, toads, and similar delicacies, caused Benighted to become as over-capitalized as some of the recent trusts.

As for the theatre, it was an unintelligible blare and confusion to them all; there was something sinister in the closely packed audience. The concentrated stare aslant had the effect of the Evil Eye.

They were glad to be out in the air again. They got here, though, for the first time, that impression which the intuitional traveller learns to treasure, of being themselves the foreign thing.

The opium den, through which the guide conducted them as a matter of course, combined the repulsive features of a mild Inferno, the waters of Lethe, and the bunks of a lumber camp.

It was after all this that they came, as I come to the point of my story, to the wonderful shop of Hop Lung; a shop which displayed its curios with an irresistible lure; a shop where curious bronze and multicolored cloisonné consorted on the friendliest terms, with certain marvellous embroidered hangings as a fitting background.

Who so gracious and smiling as Hop Lung! Who so ready to display his "plitty" wares!

Abner Weston was tired. Mollie was a trifle depressed by the reverse of the medal. Miss Hannah was exhaustedly aghast, and the guide was engaged by the hour.

They went in. They were Hop Lung's prey.

He piled treasures upon treasures in Mollie's lap. His business instinct pointed her out as the vulnerable member of the triumvirate. His English, excellent enough

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with the police, relapsed into the pigeonest variety practicable.

In his way, Hop Lung possessed the artistic temperament. He knew the foreignness of everything was its charm. He laughed when Mollie laughed, and she laughed again at the sight.

He seemed like an innocent and precocious child as he showed her curious fans, wonderful carved sandalwood, and crêpe shawls that could be drawn through a ring. It was hard to realize that guile could lurk in that genial soul.

"You ta-kee this," had more the sound of a gift than a sordid business transaction.

And it appeared that Hop Lung had saved the best for the last. He brought out proudly two bronze jars surmounted by grotesquely squat little gods, seated with a placidity which seemed capable of enduring through the ages.

"Chinese gods, you li-kee?" said Hop Lung persuasively.

"When a young man who has haunted the house like a conscientious ghost, appears at the station with a huge bunch of violets for the daughter, and cigars for Papa," he said humorously, "Papa suspects naturally that his gratitude is not the prime object that young man is working for. Of course," he continued, "if you're going to give a young man the devil, or a couple of them, I think it is kinder to do it from this distance. If you want to divide the responsibility, you can put in my card."

Hop Lung's expression was as placid as ever, but in the heart of Hop Lung rage smouldered. Strangely enough, he regarded his customers as deserving the appellation of heathen, and cherished a devout loyalty toward his country's gods.

However, “Les affaires sont les affaires,' as a French dramatist has recently demonstrated, and Hop Lung, assured of this sale, brought out two more vases.

You have seen the electric lights grow "Oo-oh," said the travelling fly with a sickly greenish-white before the rosy radisigh of delight, as the spider Hop Lung dis- ance of the dawn; you may, if you are a played this new lure. "I think I shall have woman, have felt the gaucheries of every to have these, Pater," she said coaxingly. seam of your country-made costume in"My dear girl, you can't begin lugging tensify suddenly in comparison with a creathings as big as that around the world now," tion conceived a stone's throw from the remonstrated her father. Colonne Vendome; you may have arisen He was getting rested and consequently to an entirely new conception of the simple


"Do you think it is right to purchase from a heathen?" inquired Miss Hannah sepulchrally. She had recovered enough to allow her conscience to begin to tick again. Hop Lung's face preserved its placid smile.

"They would be stunning for Dick's den," mused Miss Weston, stricken with convenient deafness. "We might send them to him for his birthday, and charge him not to open them till then." She elucidated this idea with the air of knowing that it was sure to please.

"Is that a sign of remorse, or have you changed your mind?" queried her father, with lazy raillery.

The color in Mollie's cheeks sent the peach-blow vase out of commission.

She looked at her father reproachfully. "After his bringing you a box of your pet cigars at the train," she said reproachfully, "I should think you would want to make some return. "

Abner Weston chuckled genially.

word fish, when a famous chef has served you with his own hands his celebrated apotheosis of sole; and any one of these experiences will prefigure to you in some slight degree, the effect which this new apparition had upon the rest of the wares of Hop Lung.

The shape of the vases was of extreme simplicity, high and round, but the mind of a true artist had stamped itself indelibly upon them. They had a delicacy almost lace-like; the dainty arabesque design wove itself into intricate convolutions with an elaborate subtlety which carried the conviction that you saw before you a labor of love.

Mollie Weston heaved an enraptured sigh. "If you will let me have these, Pater," she said solemnly, "I won't buy another thing except those vases for Dick. And I'll tell you why I want them," she went on hastily, seeing his more than dubious expression.

She crossed the little shop and sat down beside him.

"You know when we stopped at Clarion on our way out, Aunt Hattie took us over to that dear little Episcopal Church where Mother went; where she sang in the choir until she married you and went away to live. There was a beautiful cross on the altar, but that was all. I want to send these vases there in memory of Mother." The sweet young soprano voice fell to a lower note involuntarily as she spoke the dear name. Her impulse was none the less strong because of its suddenness. She slipped her hand in her father's.

Abner Weston's eyes clouded with the shadow of an old grief.

The wife who had been hardly more than a child-wife when she had died, leaving him to care for the little daughter who was her replica in miniature, had been the one romance in the practical man's life.

The man of one romance, like the man of one book, has gained power in concentration. And curiously enough, the man of one steadfast, idealistic, tender romance, is more often not your poet, nor artist, nor dreamer, nor the graceful dilettante who prides himself on possessing the temperament, at least, of the artist; he is your plain man of affairs, keenly alive in his everyday life to the importance of single-name paper and the three days of grace.

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Her brother's face wore its usual shrewd smile. "Well, I wouldn't risk setting up those squat little idols on the other pair,' he said. "I should expect to see the church struck by lightning. But I think these are perfectly safe."

Miss Hannah turned to Hop Lung. If she could not prevent the sale, perhaps she might prepare the soul of the seller for better things.

"Have you ever been to a Christian church?" she said. "Wouldn't you like to go? to be a Christian instead of clinging to wickedness and idolatry?" Hop Lung looked cheerfully non-committal.

"My plodner velly good man," he said, imitating Ananias. "He get Clistian maybe."

"Well," said Miss Hannah, with a sigh of relief. "I'm sure I'm glad to hear it."

"Can we trust him to box them?" inquired Abner Weston of the guide. They held a murmured conversation.

Then Mr. Weston walked over to Hop

So Fate gently tips the balance until the Lung. scale stands at Due Compensation.

Mollie could not have touched her father more profoundly, yet all he said was: "All right, my girl." And his question to Hop Lung, "What's the price of them?" was merely a desire for information, with no bearing on the question of decision.

Hop Lung made a rapid calculation of the possible profits on everything else which had hung in the balance, and tacked it on to the most he had originally thought of asking for the vases.

The sum he stated was a considerable one-one which made Mollie glance at her father questioningly, but Abner Weston merely nodded approval. The higher the price for what was to serve such a purpose, the more appropriate he felt it was.

Hop Lung realized with a pang that he might have asked more, and it intensified the feeling of dislike with which his customers had inspired him.

On the other hand, the price seemed to Miss Hannah so appallingly large that she VOL. XXXVI.—52

"You box these two jars together, and the two vases together in another box, and mark them plainly so we can tell which is which, and bring them over to the Palace. Hotel to-night at six o'clock," he said, distinctly and carefully.

Hop Lung nodded cheerfully.

"You li-tee names where you send-ee," he said sweetly; "I put-tee name on box velly plitty.'

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Mr. Weston wrote on his card the name and address of one Richard Wells, and tucked it carefully in the bronze jars; then on his daughter's card he wrote his sister's name and Clarion address, and thrust it into one of the altar vases.

"At six sharp," he said, as they turned to leave the shop.

"I bling," returned Hop Lung smilingly. He sat very still when they were gone. And he was very, very wroth. He hated them with a racial hatred intensified by an intense personal dislike. Their conversation, to state the case mildly, had been

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